Friday, August 28, 2015

Dalia and Goliath

Historically, I have not been a very physically active person. The most activity I consistently got was in physical education growing up. Even then, I did the bare minimum to get a passing grade. 

Over the past few years, I've been taking yoga classes, mainly sticking to "easy" yoga. You know, the classes where you stretch but don't sweat. I mistakenly came across a class called Hot Vinyasa where the heat is in the upper nineties and the class is very active. I adapted to the higher physical levels until I took one particular instructor's class. It. Nearly. Killed. Me. 

Typically, after yoga classes I feel super energized and better than I felt going in. Jason's class completely intimidated me and I walked out feeling like I "failed." I couldn't keep up with what he asked of the class, even though he told us to go at our own pace. It was like being on America Ninja Warrior in the desert with yoga pants on. So, I avoided his classes like the plague. For months. 

Until one day, I decided to face the giant. This time, I went into class without expectations of "doing well." My intention was to simply make it through the class without judging myself for my lack of stamina. 

Well, what do you know?!?! I DID IT!!! A few weeks later, I sat in his class to observe his teaching style, as part of my Yoga Teacher Training requirements. Seeing how he constructs his classes and continually encourages his students, even as many are collapsing in fatigue, was inspirational. 

In fact, I was so inspired that I actually seek out his classes to attend. I just left one and noticed that I walked out with confidence and pep in my step. My body is tired in a relaxed way. I didn't judge myself, even when I took a knee instead of remaining in three-legged planks (who even thinks of such a thing?) for three more breaths. Jason isn't exactly a Goliath, even though he is kind of tall with a large presence, but he has been a good life lesson for me: run to what scares me, rather than away. Even the scary shadow monster disappears when you approach it. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Changes of Tide

I'm beginning the 200 hour yoga teacher training (YTT) program on Monday. Because of this, I've significantly reduced my social media time. I now log on for a purpose instead of as a habit (more likely an addiction). 

I've been reading The World Peace Diet for a couple weeks as a pre-YTT assignment. On August 3, a group of ladies and I began a 30 day Saucha challenge (cleansing--it could be purer thoughts, choices, eating, etc.). I chose to abstain from alcohol and bread.  

Now, not only have I decreased social media distractions and given up alcohol and bread (for at least the next 2 weeks or so), I've completely stopped eating animal products (flesh, fluids, eggs)...which means all my favorite dishes are no longer in my diet: hot wings, hot dogs, over easy eggs, ice cream, cheese...and it's ok. 

Over the past couple years, my Husband and I, along with my son Deuce, have been slowly removing meat from our diets. But, the reason I jumped in to the complete vegan pool, rather than continuing to dip my toes in, is related less to the health benefits (I'll post another time) than the guilt I began to feel regarding how animals are treated (am I on the road to tree hugging???), which is a different story for a different day. 

We've been conditioned from birth to believe that we NEED animal proteins in our diet, and I've come to learn that is only one of the many lies (traditions) that have been passed down from generation to generation. I recently found videos of former NBA John Salley's vegan lifestyle and feel comforted in knowing that although Deuce says that he's only going to continue eating certain animal products, if he makes the choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle, his hoop dreams won't be affected. They'll actually been enhanced since meat tends to make people feel sluggish and drained and can affect mental capacity. 

The journey I began was focusing on becoming a yoga teacher, but the unexpected changes of tide led me to an even greater accomplishment: opening my thoughts toward compassion for all living beings instead of humankind and opening conciousness to bigger and better expressions of wholeness. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Constant Validation

Life gives what I need when I need it. The past few days, Life has been giving constant validation, support and guidance. 

My Husband was in a brutal car accident about 20 years ago. As a result, he now lives in constant pain and discomfort. He gave my son and I am impassioned plea recently, as he's done in the past. This time though, he was more adamant than usual as he warned us to stop taking advantage of our life before we lose it and wish we had it back. After that talk, I told myself that I would be more faithful in practicing yoga, because that's the physical activity I like most. 

The next day, I had a chiropractor appointment and planned to go to yoga class. On the way to the chiropractor, I came across a webinar that discussed three areas to manifest your dreams. One of them was maintaining your health and gave yoga as an option. Ok Life, I hear you giving hints. 

The next morning while waiting for yoga to start, I listened to yet another webinar that talked about getting a daily routine to ground yourself and start your day on a good note. What daily routine did the person do? Yep, you guessed it. Part of her ritual includes yoga. 

Today was my third straight day of yoga. The teacher was more vocal than any I'd ever had in the past. She focused the class on opening the throat chakra, which controls the voice and one's truth. She gave many great quotes, one of which was by Eleanor Roosevelt:  No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful. 

When I  heard that quote, a thought came to my mind: I am the Truth. I didn't consider that Life has been preparing me for a specific test, although that's what Life always does for me. 

The test appeared innocently enough with a voicemail from my father. I say "innocent" because a question can be harmless or dangerous depending on who's asking. 

Because I know my father, I was admittedly leaning toward defensive mode when I heard the question and returned his call. After answering the question, I asked his motive for the question, since as stated before, I know him. 

He didn't appreciate my not believing that he was without motive and the conversation quickly went downhill. My father is a preacher in rural Arkansas. His sermons and conversations follow typical Christian teachings, one of which sets him as a father on high grounds. He believes, based on our conversations, that God sets apart people for specific tasks, and of course he is one of the chosen few. I was even one of the chosen...until today's conversation, maybe. 

Typically, when different points of view arise during our talks (as they often do), I respectfully refrain from standing too firmly by my stance. I sit back and let the conversation play itself out. But today, after Life having affirmed and validated me for the last several days, I couldn't sit back and be content. 

This is a fake reenactment of how the ending played out:
Me: Pizza didn't start out the way we know it. It began...
Dad: But I'm talking about the pizza I know.
Me: Just because it's the pizza you are familiar with doesn't mean that's how it started. (Begin excerpts of real ending) You can't just make facts what you want them to be.
Dad: Well people fit facts to their beliefs and understanding.
Me: That's not how facts work. A fact...
Dad: Well that's not why I called so how's the family?
Me: You're not just going to cut me off. If we are going to have an adult conversation then you need to treat me like an adult. But, the family is well and I need to go because we have things to prepare for. 

This conversation was an important Life lesson because sometimes as parents, especially of adult children, we forget that the functions of our roles alter as the child ages. The parent-child relationship does not usurp the human-human relationship. 

As humans, we owe it to ourselves to FIRST respect ourselves and then respect others. It would have been an offense upon myself to let someone take my power and belittle me with my permission. 

If I put myself in my dad's shoes, as a pastor, I would picture myself going to the pulpit and preaching from Exodus 20:12 KJV: Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 

However if I were to enter a pulpit after this conversation and preach from the same text, I'd point out that honoring someone does not entail me allowing myself to be disrespected. Because if honoring you means dishonoring myself, you'll lose, whether parent, friend or foe. And as a married woman, in regard to parental relationships, I'd throw in a bonus
 verse Genesis 2:24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Thank you, Life, for ways directing my course and setting my path with your constant affirmation and validation, even when I do not notice or acknowledge. Without you, I would have once again chosen to honor someone else and disrespect myself in the process. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

All Around the World, Same Song

I've been working in Sydney, Australia for the past couple days. Last night while walking around with a colleague named Sue, the subject of Aborigines came about. She compared Australian's treatment of them to America's treatment of Native Americans. I took the liberty of including African Americans and Mexicans into the conversation. 

As a nurse, she was saying that Aboriginal people do not care about their health. They go into their lands and drink, even though they shouldn't be. She has tried to recruit them into her clinical trials, but they won't participate. 

I told her that it may not be that they don't care about their health, but that they don't trust the people trying to run tests on them. She did not know about the Syphilis experiment done on Black men or that Native Americans were given blankets with smallpox, with both groups being left untreated and left to die (or worse, live with the painful, disfiguring symptoms). 

She asked if Obama being in office made it better. I told her that it actually made it worse because instead of the country discussing the systemic issues, people use his presence as "proof" that there is no racism, or blame him for keeping racism alive when he does address racial issues. 

"But," she asked, "What about Hillary? Will a woman in office make it better?" Women still make 74 cents or so to the dollar compared to men (I didn't bother mentioning the race gap). Is Hillary going to fix that? She hadn't heard of the show scandal, but I used Mellie as an example of a woman staying with her husband for political aspirations because Sue wondered why Hillary stayed by Bill's side for so long. It could be love and dedication, but alas she's running for President, so....

After all that, Sue said that she has people in her family dark as me and doesn't care how people look. Her father is from England and her mother from Scotland. She was born and raised in New Zealand and relocated to Australia to make more money. She had never been to London and wanted to afford to visit her father's family. While in England visiting, she talked to her cousin about the English (of England) treatment of Aborigines and the cousin was astounded. 

Sue told me it's a shame that her cousin didn't know her history.  My questions to her, which (unspoken) are the same of American English were, "Why would they? Why would they want to discuss their past? It's not like they're going to give up the benefits they've gained from it." 

In the end, we agreed that English people are "something else." And with all of America's transgressions, it's all the country I have for the moment. 

(We also discussed the goodness of America such as travel and food options...so please nobody tell me the "If you hate America so much" speech)

Friday, April 03, 2015

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

I had a bad habit of staying in relationships too long. I stayed with my philandering first boyfriend because he knew secrets about me that I couldn't bear to get unleashed. I stayed with my ex-husband because I couldn't bear people talking about me behind my back being a failure in marriage.

All of these relationships lasted because I was afraid. Of embarrassment, of failure, of an ideal. Fear kept me entrapped, unfulfilled, and sometimes depressed. 

I lied to myself based on lies that I'd been told: I love you, I'd die for you, I'll never cheat on you or leave you or hurt you. Lies for which I lived in a daily hell. 

So I set myself free. It took years in each instance. Years that I wasted believing instead of trusting my inner voice...or the actions and words of those with whom I was involved.

You'll never cheat on me, but you've done it several times. You'll protect me, but you won't gain viable employment to provide for me.  

I stayed in church, with my biblical "husband" Jesus, because I couldn't bear the idea of an eternity in hell. Even though Jesus told me the truth via the bible, I believed the lies. Jesus told me that I was his sister, but I called him "Father". He told me to only worship God in heaven, but I praised him. He told me that I have everything that I need already, but I continually sought more of him.

I was a needy woman, looking for yet another man to fulfill me. Why? Because that's what I was supposed to do. That's what everybody did. 

I take full responsibility for my choice to follow blindly. All information was available to me had I bothered to investigate, research and simply use my God-given sensibilities.

Outside parties pushed propaganda to further their religious agenda and I followed because that's what everyone around me did. I was cheated on in relationships and I stayed because that's what everyone did. I was living the man's role in a marriage because that's what everyone I knew did. 

But, when has what everyone does been beneficial to everyone doing it? Everyone was living in debt. Was that beneficial to me? Nope, but it was an easy trap to get caught in. Now, I see the light. In spirituality, in relationships, in finances. 

And as I was conjuring up this blog, I had a real life reminder to stop overstaying my welcome. In Costco, I smelled bacon...and yall know I LOOOOVVEEEE bacon! But, no sooner than I took the first bite, my stomach was angry and protesting. So, I have officially (knowingly) taken my last bite of pork. Not for religious regions or because a couple of my honorary sisters have beseeched me over the years, but because I have to continue practicing to listen to my Sprirt before it gets tired of talking.   



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mount KilimanDalia

39 days and 39 blogs ago, I set out on a journey to compose a blog a day. Well today is day 40 and I reached the mountaintop. 

There were some delays on writing, but I double-timed my pace to get back on track. I sometimes had to travel during very early or super late nights, but I made it. 

Any time you take on a challenge, you learn new things about yourself, see recurring patterns and/or find areas of improvement. Over the last 40 days, I found that my recurring goal for each day, as seen in many blogs, is inner peace and self-acceptance. Being cool with who I am, where I am, what I'm doing makes a big difference in the world around me. 

I realized that writing isn't as difficult as I made myself believe. I have LOTS of thoughts, ideas, opinions, views, advice floating around in this brain of mine. It's quite easy for me to compose and share them with others, even the tough topics. To my knowledge I haven't offended anyone or damaged any of my relationships beyond repair. I've not gotten any anonymous posts or irate texts. 

Maybe I didn't dig deep enough into my hidden thoughts and express anything major. Or maybe I didn't give people enough credit to be able to handle my truths. Or, more than likely, I gave myself TOO much credit that I would voice something that hasn't already been thought. 

I'll keep blogging so that I don't forget how much I enjoy writing. Maybe all of these posts, along with my many journals at home, will find their way into an organized format that be published and foot the bill for my college education!

Until next time, be well and do well. Thank you for supporting me on this journey!

Paid In Full

I came across a girl from NY in one of my Facebook hair groups last year. She asked a question about budgeting money and you know I jumped right in! 

The thread got deleted so we started inboxing each other. It was hard to help her via fb so we started calling and texting. She was in DEEEEPPPPP debt. She owed her landlord about $5000 in back rent, still had to pay monthly rent to the same landlord, food, etc.  I created her one of my handy dandy spreadsheets and told her that if she stuck to it she could dig her way out. 

She'd been dealing with depression for quite some time and I told her that getting her financial house in order would make a difference in her life. Over the months, we kept in touch via fb. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, people tell me their life stories. I was able to encourage her to accept all of her past, the things that have been done to her and move forward so that she can be empowered to make sure her future outshines her past. 

She had her moments in the beginning with trusting the spreadsheet, but it became easier.  When she saw it begin to work for her, she would thank me and express her gratitude. 

Today, she reported that she has paid off the back rent. It brought a tear to my eye that a stranger on the other side of the country took something I taught her and has experienced a positive change in her life. 

Whatever it is you're passionate about, keep doing it. Keep teaching others what you learn. Keep helping others grow. You will see the fruit of your labors in the right season. 

Thank you A. C. for trusting me. For trusting the process. For trusting yourself to create a better life for yourself. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Road Less Traveled

I used to travel a lot for my job...getting paid. I also use to travel a lot for people...for free. Well, I won't say for free. Let's just say that while I wasn't getting paid it was costing me a lot. 

I was going on a lot of guilt trips. Some were of my own making and others were because of outsiders. 

Guilt trips start off harmlessly enough. You're going about your merry way and then the questions start. "Why didn't you...?" "Why don't you...?" "Can't you...?"

Demands and suggestion quickly follow. "You should...""You can..."

Then accusations. "So you can't..." "You're just going to..." "You could if..."

Then the tripping. "So and so did such and such..." "You missed this already and now you're going to miss that?" "If you wanted to..." "If you don't, then..." "If I was so and so you would..."

All of these questions, accusations and threats are tiring! It's been a journey, but I'm at the point where no means no. I'll still explain a little bit (sometimes), but I no longer feel the need to make excuses or lie about why I can't or won't. 

My Husband's protection toward me is excellent. He used to see me get upset about guilt trips. Feel the negative vibes it brought into our home.  Then he said enough is enough. If I can't bring myself to say no to things I don't want to do, then he will do it for me. He even gets on me for doing things or changing my plans to accommodate him. What a breath of fresh air. 

I understand that people want to see or spend time with me. Or want things from me. However, I also understand that my personal peace and sanity are the priority. 

So, if I choose me over what's going on with you, I'm ok with that. It's up to you to make accommodations for you. If I don't attend your event, don't focus so much on my absence that you're ungrateful toward those present. And I'll do the same if the tables ever turn.

I'll go on road trips; business trips; plane, train or boat trips. But you'll have to count me out of guilt trips. They're played out and I can no longer afford them.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Just Got Paid...Feeling Alright

I got paid today and I knew exactly where the money was going before it posted to my account. My savings account was paid just like any other bill. I knew exactly how much of the check I'd have left to work with. But it wasn't always this easy breezy. 

I used to be pretty lackadaisical with money. I didn't spend a lot, but for some reason I could never manage to keep a lot either. That all changed when I started paying closer attention to how I was paying bills. 

In the past, I paid bills when I remembered or could afford to (often late) or based on the due date of the statement. However that kept me scrounging to make ends meet since the bills were sometimes due at the same time.

I enhanced a spreadsheet that my Husband created to track our income to include our bills. I pay all the bills via online banking based on the spreadsheet. Below is a fake example of what went out today:
Income: 1000
Student loan: 50
Mortgage: 200 (will pay other half in 2 weeks with next check)
Cell 1: 80
Savings: 100 (see picture for a savings challenge I started last year)
Electricity: 60 (not due until next month but why wait when I have it now?)
Life insurance: 60 (due every 3 months; next payment due June but why wait?)
Credit card: 250 (paid in full)

Now, I know that out of the remaining $200 I have to prioritize my spending until my next check. Gas is a must, eating out is not. Deuce may take peanut butter and jelly for lunch instead of lunch meat. 

As you notice, I pay half of the mortgage every 2 weeks (check with your lender to see if that's an option for you). I always pay my credit card in full to avoid any extra fees (this wasn't always an option since I used to survive off of them).

Get creative to start making your money work according to your plans, not your creditors'. If you need help, I can assist you to figure out a system for your household. There are many variations to what I use. Whatever you decide, it's worth getting control of any money issues you may have. Your health and wellbeing depend on it. 

iSpy With My Little Eye...Someone Awesome

Periodically on Facebook I see people "cleaning house," deleting people with whom they don't regularly interact. I've done this before myself. My thoughts were, if you don't talk to me or post on your page, then what's the point of having you on my page?

How dumb was that? First, not everyone has the luxury to be on social media like I do. I work from home, don't participate in extracurricular activities, and pretty much waste the days away seeing who is doing and saying what. 

Second, it's quite haughty to assume that everything I say is worthy of all my 700+ "friends" to comment on or like. I don't even know that my posts show on each person's newsfeed. 

Lastly, as was reconfirmed today, just because people aren't commenting doesn't mean they aren't looking. I had the pleasure of catching up with one of my many honorary aunts. She told me that she loves reading my posts but doesn't comment. 

She's been watching me since I was about 6 and is happy to see my growth. We talked about a conversation we had a while ago where she told me that the person that I want to be is the one that I already am. I was always the woman that I am now, but I was just trying to please everybody else.

Over time, I've tried to be more conscious of what I post, how I brand myself. I have people watching me, some of them looking to me to set a positive example. Some of them taking pleasure in watching my mind and life transform. Maybe even some watching and waiting for the bricks to fall. I hope whoever's watching for whatever reason is enjoying this ride as much as I. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Live Now or Evil Won

I'm wearing a shirt that says "live in the now". When I looked at it in the mirror while washing my hands, I saw "evil ni eht won", which obviously couldn't be the title of this blog. *Coincidentally our car has 104401 miles on it.* 

Living in the now means to be present with what is going on around you. To be talking to someone and being engaged in that, not wondering what's happening on Facebook. To sit at a stoplight and not curse it for taking too long. 

What happens when you don't do that? When you wish you are doing something else? Talking to someone else? Physically somewhere else?

You make yourself anxious. You are discontent. You are anything but peaceful. And it reflects in the world around you.

It may seem that the world is conspiring against you.  You get caught by every red light or train. The line you enter in the grocery store has the slowest cashier and most demanding customer. The bank closes just minutes before you had a chance to withdraw the rent money. 

Life isn't conspiring against you. Life is teaching you to work with what's happening right, not against it. If you choose not to live now, then you'll find that evil won. 

Breathe. Be fluid like water. Learn the lesson of the moment and the "evilness" of it will disappear. Take a moment to smell the roses. Look at the nature around you. Notice how your heart rate decreases as you focus and how much more peace you feel. Live in the now because the later is not promised. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Legalized Pot

Recently, after a trip to urgent care for congestion, I was told that I had allergies. At first I was shocked since I am pretty old (38) to be getting allergies. Then I remembered that about 7 years ago another doc told me I had allergies and the cough was from post nasal trip. 

Both times, the diagnosis of allergies came a year or two after I'd moved to a new city. Each time, I was prescribed sinus sprays, most recently Flonase. 

I don't like taking medicines because they're SO full of toxins. But, I used the sprays as I researched natural cures. I found out about neti pots with my first diagnosis. I'd completely forgotten that I'd once before cured myself of allergies after being diagnosed in 2008-2009. 

So, here I am, once again suffering through a condition that I'd already conquered. Two weeks after the second diagnosis I've finally gotten a new pot. And I COMPLETELY forgot about the strangeness of it. 

If you've never heard of a neti pot (and don't like to use your internet search engine), it's a container shaped like a small teapot. You fill it with filtered water and salt (I use the salt packets that come with the pot) so that the pH is neutral (240 ml of water to one packet of salt for me). Then you insert the spout into one nostril, tilt your head and pour the water so that it comes out the other nostril and drown yourself (at least that how it feels for me the first time). The water brings with it all the gunk that's clogging your nasal passages...side note, I'm having déjà vu at this very moment!!!

Anyway, although it's a strange sensation, it really works. It's safe for ages 4 and older. There are many videos online that show the process on adults and kids. Maybe I'll tape Deuce tomorrow when he tries it for the first time. 

PS I am all for the decriminalization of the real pot. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

You Are Not The Father

You Are Not The Father
From Day 1, my Husband (Rick) was intent on letting my son (Deuce) know that he is his step-father, mentor, father-figure and any number of things, but never a replacement for his father. We made up a nickname for Deuce to call him so that there was no pressure for him to pick a name. Calling him by his first name seemed disrespectful and "Uncle Rick" or "Mr. Rick" were out the question. 

They have a good relationship. I let them forge their own path (but sometimes slip up and interject when I should just observe). They show their affection for each other by giving fist bumps. Rick sometimes throws an arm across his shoulder if they're talking a life talk or he's encouraging him about something. Rick treats him like a son. He reminds him that he knows he is not his dad, but he still wants the best for him. 

Deuce is only 9 (and 1/4). The hope is that we never have to experience the "you ain't my daddy" period that many blended families go through. For now though, we are just enjoying each other, providing Deuce with opportunities that we didn't have and trying to give him the tools to be his best self. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Once Was Blind

Most times, I start writing a blog in my mind before typing it here. I come up with a topic, create a title and then write. Then I search the web for a picture that fits. This particular blog, I Once Was Blind, was initially was to be named Third Eye Blind, since the topic is about the pineal gland which is also called the Third Eye. 3rd Bass has a song (or album or both?) called Third Eye Blind. Many of my blog titles come from musical references. 

Anyway, after starting the mental portion of the blog, I came into contact with an autistic teenager. I said excuse me since she was sitting in front of my locker. Her caregiver told me that she would only move if the caregiver moved her. She then explained that the 17 year old is non-verbal, autistic, epileptic and a bunch of other things. 

I told the woman, let's call her Jane, that Jill (fake name) probably hears, sees and communicates more than we'll ever know. Jane said that Jill only looks people in the eyes and doesn't pay attention to the other features or register who the person is. I told Jane that she's looking behind the mask and seeing the person's soul. I told her that I've read that autistic people are extremely alert and often brilliant but since they don't function as a "normal" person, we miss out on that. I also said that eye doctors look in our eyes with flashlights because that is the only way to see inside of us without surgery. I ended by telling Jane that Jill is teaching her a lot and that she should learn from that. 

Jane said that over the 8 years she's had Jill, she has planted a lot. I hope one of those lessons eventually becomes that Jane will stop treating Jill as a walking billboard of ailments. 

So, if you're wondering how this relates to the blog process, Life gives us interactions that confirm some of our thoughts. I was thinking about the pineal gland and encounter a young lady who is probably using her Third Eye constantly and those around her are unaware.

The pineal gland is one of the many mysteries of our bodies. Scientists at first didn't think it served a function, but they didn't know that the gland functions differently based on the amount of melanin in the being. Their initial studies were done in white people who, because of their pale skin, have low levels of melanin. It was not until they studied the gland in black people that they realized the gland actually serves a purpose. 

Melanin helps keep the gland from calcifying (thus allowing it to function properly). All living things contain melanin. However, just as Tupac says, "The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice," the darker the skin, the higher the amount of melanin. 

Although melanin helps decalcify the pineal gland, other lifestyle changes can aid in the process. A few of these are sun gazing, meditation and a healthy diet. 

An important change one can make is to decrease exposure to fluoride. This can be a daunting task since it's so prevalent in our everyday lives. We drink it in processed water, brush our teeth with fluoridated paste and ingest it in our foods. Fluoride, as can be found in even governmental documents, is a very dangerous chemical for humans and nature. 

A decalcified pineal gland is linked to clearer and more creative thinking, increased awareness and even being able to better see through lies. This is why it's called the Third Eye. When it's decalcified and one can "see," the Third Eye is open and no longer blind. 

It's an interesting thing to research. People who've had Third Eye experiences have very interesting tales to tell. I've not had any far out happenings but have been noticing more "coincidences," the the one with Jill and Jane. Perhaps the proverbial caul (veil) is falling off my Eye. 

Editorial note:  after looking online, 3rd Bass apparently had nothing to do with a song or album call Third Eye Blind. I don't know why/how I associate that phrase with 90s rap. Somebody research it for me. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just My Imagination

They say that people become less imaginative as they get older (or did I make that up?). I've been recently thinking about imagination and how, if left unchecked, it will have you "looking over your shoulder and peeking 'round corners."

Whereas kids have "innocent," creative imaginations, we adults tend to use our imagination based on our experiences (more of my making up fake facts?). I can't sit down and draw something creative, but I can sure sit down and draw some false conclusions about people's intentions or what they or I should/shouldn't be doing. 

In becoming increasingly self-aware, I'm better able to catch myself making up lies and false assumptions (still gotta work on making up statistics!). Life is creative enough without my coloring things in jade (being jaded). It only adds more stress to myself and those around me when I do that. 

So what if things didn't go the way I planned. Or if someone didn't do something I thought they should have. Or if I ran out of mayo and wanted to make some potato salad. 

Did I die? Did it REALLY have a drastic impact on my life? Was irreparable harm done? Is it REALLY as bad as I'm making it out to be. The answer is always (at least to date) NO!

Life is an ongoing lesson in flexibility. More often than not, you're going to run into situations and people that cause you mental discomfort. Shake if off and keep on moving toward your goal. 

My goal is peace. And I look for it whenever and wherever I can. It's usually found at the end of a deep breath or a hearty laugh, often at something goofy that I did. 

A pebble in the ocean doesn't stop the water's flow. The water just gives it a cursory glance (if water was a person) and keeps on moving. Like Bruce Lee said, "Water can flow or it can crash." I like my waters calm!

Saucy Saucy

I love going to restaurants with condiment bars, like Rubio's. I load up on small containers of them to take home. This week I took two limes, but it turns out they really are just for decoration. 

I use the salsas as toppings or dipping sauces. But I found that they are EXCELLENT when I make beans. They add so much flavor and I don't even have to bother cutting up any ingredients (Rubio's has chopped cilantro and onion on the bar). 

Places with different dipping sauces are also favorites. I am especially happy when they have super spicy varieties. We have a wing place here (Native Grill) that lets you get unlimited sauces and they have about 20 flavors. I use the barbecue sauces to turn my regular beans into BBQ baked beans when I need to spruce up leftovers. 

There are always random sauce containers in the fridge. Why buy sauces when I can hoard them?!?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Empty House Full Hearts

When my Husband and I started dating, he led a discussion about where our relationship was heading. He knew from the beginning he wanted to marry me, but needed to know my thoughts about what marriage means. 

It's not JUST about loving a person. It's also a business transaction. So we set relationship and financial goals. 

We'd both made some foolish financial follies (why not alliterate, even though it's redundant). And were tired of not having anything to show for our hard-earned income. And those student loans were/are stifling.  

So we moved into a studio apartment with a futon and a desk. Thankfully we've always loved spending time with each other or we'd have suffocated in those 400 square feet. ESPECIALLY when Deuce visited, before moving with us. I did sleep in a closet for a few hours once when I was mad about something (and looking for attention). But other than that it was more than enough space. 

As a result of us sacrificing square footage for paying bills, I'm not awake agonizing over how I was going to make ends meet as I once did.

However, a new "problem" arose. I was so used to being broke and wanting that I held on SUPER tight to money. Even though we could afford things, I kept having a nagging fear that it could all go away at anytime. I'm just now getting fully comfortable with the idea that I'm not a day away from homelessness.

We still live in a small home. There's just enough permanent space for the three of us with room for periodic visitors. We have furniture now. I also sleep better knowing that Life can throw a curveball and it won't send me to the curb or somebody's couch. I'm not rich but my heart is full. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Hate Christian Laettner

just watched an ESPN documentary called "I Hate Christian Laettner." People have made T-shirts and YouTube videos expressing their hate. He's mentioned on social media outlets hundreds of times a day.  Who is he and do they hate him? 

He's one of the best collegiate athletes in history (according to people on the show). As a basketball player at Duke University in the early 90s he took his team to four Final Four games, won two championships and holds the record for most points scored in an NCAA tournament. He was the first college player to play with the pros when they took over the Olympics in 1992. 

So, what is there to hate? Greatness. If people are still harboring hate for you after almost 25 years, you must have done something right. They probably don't even remember why they hate you. All they know is you did SOMETHING that rubbed them the wrong way. It may not even been something that directly affected them, but something they heard through the grapevine. 

People who hate you have no place in your life or on your radar. Let them deal with their issues and you keep living your life. Like Christian said, he's over his basketball days. He wants to be remembered for being a great husband and father. He's not letting people's hate hold him back or down and neither should you. We have work to do and moves to make!


Being Gay is a Gift

I had a dream early this morning. I was reluctant to talk about it since homosexuality is such a precarious topic and discussions on the topic are often wayward

In the dream, two of my favorite YouTube personalites (one was Funky Dineva and I can't remember the other) were talking and FD said, "Being gay is a gift." I made the RCA dog "what you talking about" face and he kept talking. 

When I awoke, I kept thinking about that statement. Why or how could being gay be a gift? They are often victimized because of their lifestyle, sometimes even killed. So HOW could that be a gift???

I concluded that anything Life brings us can be viewed as a gift or curse. It's all about how you live it and look at it. Kind of like the saying, "Today/Now is a gift, that's why it's called the present."

To all my gay friends, I want a cut of the "Being Gay is a Gift" merchandise yall are gonna be rocking. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Sound of Music

Some of my earliest memories include music. I remember hanging out with my aunt Niecy in her room listening to 45s. I used to be so excited when she let me switch albums on the record player. One of our favorite songs to belt was "Want Ads" by Honey Cone. Even though the 1970 song came out before I was born in 1976, I knew all the words...and still remember most of them. 

Music was an integral part of my life, and still is. My uncles blasted it as they washed their cars. It was played at cookouts and family functions. My dad's family always sings when they're together. 

I sing every chance I get. Deuce is also a songbird. I'm sure my Husband loves every minute of our daily serenades. I sing Christmas songs year round because who doesn't love a good Christmas song?!? 

Sometimes though, I want the music to stop. Well not stop, but the lyrics aren't always beneficial. I know a lot of gospel songs. Although I love the melodies, I don't quite subscribe to the messages. Same with rap music. I find myself singing songs about drugs because I look the hot beat. 

Music comes to my mind based on my mood. If I'm sad, I can think of songs that support that feeling. But, when I find the pity party becoming too much, I redirect to a more upbeat, positive song. 

In addition to singing other people's music, I make up my own lyrics. So, when the lyrics of a song I'm singing don't meet my needs, I switch them up so they do. 

I'm a freestyler by nature. Or maybe that's my way to rebel since I'm a rule follower. I don't stick to recipes, rules of the road or song lyrics. I just sinnnngggg sing a song!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Namaste Namasta Mamakusa

I've been doing yoga off and on (mostly off) for about the past four years. I've never regretted going to a class (but I may dread and drag getting up and out the house). Even when I expected it to be the laid back relaxing yoga and it turned out to be a sweaty strengthening out of my comfort zone and league class.  

I'd been interested in yoga and meditation for many years before that. When I used to go to church, we were told that such practices went against Christianity, because of the mantras I suppose. I've also heard others question whether or not yoga was safe for them to do or if it contradicts their religious affiliations. 

I never picked up yoga or meditation until long after I stopped going to church. In the classes that I attend or group meditations I've participated in (like with Deepak and Oprah), I've not heard, seen or done anything that would have affected my standing with Christianity. If, by chance, you are interested in "alternative" spiritual practices, these are good activities. They help strengthen your relationship with you and in turn those around you. 

If you do not like or want to do yoga or meditate, you can always pick up other beneficial relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, sun gazing or watching nature in action (or in inaction). You can get your Namaste on from anywhere! Woo sah!

Namaste means "I bow to you" or "the God (or good) in me sees the God (or good) in you"

For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.


Girl Gone Wild

There's a school of thought that if a father doesn't give his daughter love, she'll seek it out in all the wrong places. I have several examples of this, but one area where I lived this is not being respectful of my female friends' relationships.

Ever since boys started sniffing me out, I've stepped on ladies' toes. If a friend liked a guy and he smiled at me, I entertained it. If someone's boyfriend wanted me to be his confidante, I was available. Often behind her back or against her wishes. Even though there was no romantic interest on my end (maybe one) and no physical interaction, it was shady and sheisty. 

I've jeopardized about five friendships this way. Three of them fatally. And that's just the ones I remember. There is no telling how many I've forgotten about or didn't even realize were affected. 

It wasn't until college when a friend sat me down and talked to me about what I was doing to people that my eyes opened. By that time lots of damage had been done. But, that ushered in a beneficial period of self-reflection and change. I reckon there is always a silver lining hiding in the clouds. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

On Your Mark!

On your mark. Get set. STOP!

I am a master of unfinished business. I started piano lessons. And vocal lessons. I've sold telephone lines. And junk toys. And adult toys. I was in modeling troupe. And choir. I wrote poetry. And songs. And started books. And I've stopped all of these things before realizing my full potential. 

This brings about a great parenting dilemma. When a child says they want to be or do something when they grow up, do you force them to continue that path? Even if they're lackadaisical about it some days? Do your force them to stay on that path even when they say they want to detour or completly switch?

Are they farsighted enough to know that they have what countless other kids dream about, such as access to different programs and facilities? Or do they only see what's in front of them in the here and now? Should they be expected to think about their future when we, at their age, didn't think that far ahead? When some of us still do not plan for our futures?

Where is the boundary between supportive versus overbearing parenting? At what point does helping your child find and follow their passion get overshadowed by the parent reclaiming unknown or unreached dreams?

When I have ANY of these answers, I'll let you know. In the meanwhile, I'll keep talking and encouraging and sharing my experiences. 

Whose Story is it Anyway?

This is Day 21 of my 40 Days of Me journey. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Does that still hold true when I've missed 3 days (but made up by posting 2)?

I used to write often in diaries. But, it became censored for fear that someone would read it. I'm a (recovering) snoop and maybe I was paranoid that it'd catch up to me. I had lots of secrets that I didn't want to get out. 

Then I became an over sharer. I would tell things about myself before anyone else could spread the news. Even with that, I censor. I tell things that cannot be easily traced to a source other than me (like abortion or molestation). 

Why do I do this? Because I always have a hard time telling parts of my story that intersect with other people's lives. Maybe they don't want certain things to come out. Is it my right to expose them or their feelings or actions?

Yes, it kind of is, when it affects me. Just because they played a supporting role doesn't mean that the star (me) has to edit the show to protect them. 

But what if they start telling their own tales and add a twist that I've forgotten or blocked out? Or even worse unlock a pain that I thought no longer hurt? 

And after the mental back and forth, I stop writing for months at a time. So maybe I'm going to use these remaining 19 days to push through. If not, at least I'll keep logging my daily random thoughts. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

iComfort

I got a call from a coworker today about a work related email I sent. During the call, she started venting about something. I listened and encouraged her as I tend to do. At the end of the call she felt better and said, "I wasn't even calling you about this, but something in me said, 'Call Dalia.'" I got a little teary eyed when we hung up. 

In the early 2000s, I took a spiritual gifts assessment and scored high in exhortation (encouragement).  I don't remember at what point in my life I became a source of comfort for people and their sounding board, but that's been my role for most of my adult life. 

And I welcome it. And somehow, people know that. Maybe I have an invisible neon light flashing over my head that says, "Come to me, Stranger, and tell me all your troubles." 

And they do. In airports. Checkout lines. Locker rooms. Bathrooms. Just about anywhere. 

By the time I'm done talking to people I know their life story. And they're smiling. And I'm smiling.

Another weird thing is that when people talk to me on the phone they get tired and yawn a lot. Maybe they think of the iComfort mattress when talking to me. I got the power!

Monday, March 09, 2015

From Milk Carton to Newsfeed

I remember seeing missing kids on milk cartons for the first time and looking at each face and name. Giving thought into who they were and where they are. Calculating to see how long they've been missing. 

And then they were on every milk carton, then on Walmart or K-Mart walls and now all over Facebook. I see them and share some of them. Because there are SOOOOO many, I pick and choose which to share......which I JUST decided is dumb. 

I watched an HBO a short documentary called "Muted" about how the media and police focus less on the disappearance of minorities. I'll now share them all. Better to flood everyone's newsfeeds than to lose a chance to help find someone. That's what I'd want if I was missing a child!



Sunday, March 08, 2015

Young Old Lady

A (slightly) older cousin said that even though I'm his "little" cousin, he comes to me when he has big questions/issues. My uncles often make the mistake of calling me their sister instead of their niece. 

I am an encourager and advice giver. And I'm pretty good at it! Maybe, like older people say, I've been here before. 

Friday, March 06, 2015

Growing Pains

I grew up in East Chicago, IN, a small town outside of Chicago. The area I was raised in, Calumet, was a tight-knit community.  A lot of us were related to each other by blood or baby mama. Many had roots originating in the South. Most, to my knowledge, coming from Alabama and Georgia. 

Back then, as was customary during that time, the community was active in the kids' lives. I remember getting in trouble and my mother hearing about it from two or three people before she made it home. Stories about neighbors whipping each other's kids are common. 

That era began to die out as I was a teenager. In came new age where kids were talking back to adults without any fear of consequences. I even got bit by the bug in high school. 

I tried to get a friend out of class and the teacher slammed (or shut the door harder than I like) the door on me. As the door was closing, I called her a bitch. The teacher told the Dean or someone and I was called into an interrogation. After lying for what seemed like hours, I finally admitted to it and got suspension AND detention. My uncle was watching me while my mother was on a trip. I got in trouble by him and then had to wait in suspense for my mom. When she came home, I got a good old fashioned...well let's just say I regretted it. 

My treatment of the teacher was not an isolated incident. At that time, disrespect for peers and authority was on the rise. But, we knew exactly who to test, especially since corporal punishment was still allowed. The teacher I called a bitch was a white woman. Had it been one of the black teachers or a few select white ones, the outcome would've been different. I don't even know if I'd have made it to the office unscathed by words or wood (paddle).  

Today, twenty years later, not only can the teacher not touch kids, neither can the neighbors or parents. This may be a benefit since there's a thin line between discipline and abuse. People can hardly communicate without feelings being hurt. People think they have free reign over what they can say and do to each other. Adults don't always know how to reach the kids. Kids don't always want to be reached. Both sometimes repel others by their words and action. 

Who's minding the store? Who's making sure that the produce is fresh and the product protected? That core values are upheld while remaining current with trends? How can balance between the fluid roles of teacher and student be achieved?

I don't know the answers.  But one thing I know for sure is I'm glad social media didn't exist when I was navigating through adolescence and early adulthood! 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Maybe I Deserve

Do you ever think about what you deserve? If you do, you likely think about  deserving happiness, a raise, a treat, etc. Good/positive things. But, do you ever think about those things that you should have experienced and were spared from? 

Every time I talk to someone, I deserve to be treated rudely. Not because I'm a rude person...now. However, once upon a time, rudeness and defensiveness were my default setting...and it still lingers if I'm not careful. 

I deserve to be judged for how I look, talk, act because I've judged people by those things. I deserve to have my belongings stolen, my property damaged, my heart broken, my feelings hurt, to be laughed at, to be made to feel stupid or dumb, lots of things that I've done to people where payback wouldn't be a surprise. 

I practice seeing the good in all things so that whether positive or negative things come my way, I can usually see the silver lining. If something bad happens, I try not to get upset. It usually pales in comparison to the havoc I've wreaked and is still more bearable than what I likely deserve (for example, I deserve a speeding ticket everyday but rarely get them). When good comes into my life, I appreciate it because things could be a lot worse, as it is indeed a lot worse for many people. 

*You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have the facts of life.*

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Honey Shots

Last week Deuce was sick. This morning my throat is scratchy and I hardly ever get sick. Today will be a day of working from bed downing honey shots (spoonful of honey sprinkled with cinnamon followed by a slice of lemon). And drinking tea with the above ingredients and apple cider vinegar. 

What home remedies do you use for illnesses? We stay stocked with ACV and each drink it first thing in the morning with a glass of water.