i’ve learned a lot within these past few months about gratitude.
I was talking to my best friend today about the faith crisis i had a couple of months ago.
i was in this space where i felt like i was constantly having to give up things/relationships that i didn’t want to. and i felt that i had no choice. and honestly, i was really angry with God.
i was angry that i was sad. i was angry that i was in the position i was in. but most of all, i was completely devastated.
i had to make a choice about my faith. if i really truly believed in God. if i really truly believed that He has this plan for me that’s greater than what i can imagine. if i want to lean into that, while still feeling all of the emotions.
and i decided i did. and i am still choosing to believe in God. i am still choosing my faith. i am still choosing growth.
i moved back to atlanta this past weekend and it’s already been a whirlwind of emotions. i’m making a lot of faith based decisions. i’m finishing graduate school. i’m moving to make sure i’m in a better space emotionally. practicing non-attachment. trying to stay present. figuring out what i can do to create happiness. trying to let myself know that these changes don’t always “feel” good. i’m praying for increased discernment. and trying to give myself more space to listen to God.
and y’all it is hard. and i will keep choosing growth.
i’ve spent most of my time lately, at home. while i’m still in school, i’ve had so much more time for yoga and meditation, and healing. i’m astonished at how much i’ve grown, in just two months. honestly i feel like a new person.
one of the biggest things for me is looking at my life from a different perspective. from the perspective that everything is happening for a reason, which is to help me grow closer to God. it gives me comfort. i know that my experiences are teaching me things. “All you are is God and you cannot hurt me, thank you for being my teacher.” ive started thinking of my emotions as indicators of a problem and to be joyous when i find things to release. much of this is credited to my mom and Louise Hay (her book you can heal your life is AMAZING- 10/10 recommendation)
lately, i’ve been working through old emotions. sadness about things that i thought i had completely healed from. i’ve learned that old things come up so you can let them go. and to be grateful during this process of letting go.
i’ve also learned that forgiveness is based on being willing to forgive. and i’ve learned that you can forgive and choose to not continue the relationship. in my mother’s words, “you (the person being forgiven) took it too far.” sometimes it’s too far to rekindle a relationship. and all that means is you learned what you needed from them.
i’m also working on staying present more. i have a very active imagination and have my whole life. i daydream constantly. while i enjoy these qualities and know that they make me, me, i want to spend more time being engaged in the real world. to do this, i’ll keep doing yoga and probably start journaling more. i bought a passion planner which also has goal settings and prompts and stuff so i will use that as well.
as my chalkboard says “be intentional”. everyday i’m trying to be more of myself. to get to know me. and to be kinder to myself and the world.
i was told once by a reader that my life task/challenge is to learn how to forgive. i wasn’t surprised at all. i struggle with forgiving. it’s something that i had been working on before my chart was read, but after it was i have been focusing on it more.
earlier today i was thinking about toxic masculinity (thanks to Watch the Yard’s IG post) and how to dismantle it. i responded to the post (which is something i don’t normally do) explaining how toxic masculinity is a result of horizontal violence, specifically in the black community. paulo freire has written about oppression and horizontal violence is in his book pedagogy of the oppressed (10/10 recommend, it def changed my life). oppression according to freire is based on the desire to control. as a result, the oppressed embody some of the oppressors habits, leading to them wanting to control. this leads to toxic masculinity, in the context of the black community, because black men have very little they can control (due to institutional racism). so thus they try to control women and children, and other men. so what’s the key? what stops it? love. freire theorizes that the oppressed have to be the ones to free themselves- liberating themselves by recognizing the patterns of the oppressors they embody, as well as recognizing their own situation. the whole point is that if we understand the system, use our voices to talk about our experiences and educate, we can dismantle it. it’s a lot of work, but that’s a way to explain it simply.
so then i was thinking about love, and one of my favorite books, all about love, by bell hooks. in chapter 8, she talks about forgiveness. she explains that forgiveness is the act of truly understanding and allows the person who was hurt to turn from a victim to a co-creator in their own narrative. in the chapter she explains how she was hurt my people and took time to understand them, and forgave them. she even mentions how she’s encouraged others to do the same.
then my questions arise- well when does one truly know how to forgive? like how do you truly understand where someone is coming from? how do you maintain the space to allow someone to explain themselves? when is enough enough? how do you forgive and not let them back in?
mind you, i’ve done all of these things. it’s just that i feel like forgiveness is tricky. one thing i’ve learned from therapy is trauma rewires your brain. i know i struggle with identifying if the action was done to harm me or not, and it’s very hard for me to convince myself that people aren’t trying to hurt me. since i’ve had people who have, it’s not as easy for me to just say okay well they didn’t mean it.
i would love to get to that point where i don’t have a complete meltdown when something hurts my feelings. or when i don’t sit and cry for hours because i got a bad grade.
it’s hard for me to bounce back. and then when you factor in the concept of ego, and the idea that i don’t want to be hurt and am offended by someone hurting me, it gets even harder.
so what do i do? i meditate and do exercises to promote discernment (i.e. ego eradicator, receiving reiki treatments, healing sessions, yoga and a lot of praying). i ask for guidance and help.
i want to open my heart to forgive like bell hooks says. i want to be able to stand in spaces with those who have offended me and understand that their actions are a reflection of them and that they may actually not be personal. that’s the goal.
keep on trying to forgive. it may be hard but according to chapter 8, forgiveness allows love to exist. and we need love.
gratitude is a deliberate choice. i’ll say it again, gratitude is a deliberate choice. you get to choose how you want to view situations. you get to choose how you want to talk about situations. you may not get to choose the situation. but you get to choose how you react to it.
i woke up this morning feeling very grateful and loved. i had ideas for rebranding and connecting my blog, twitter and instagram. i’ve been getting excited because i have more time to exercise, do yoga and do my hair. excited to sleep and get to recharge. i was feeling grateful for my family and my partner and overall feeling very happy. i had already done one of my workouts and some meditation.
then i had a thought of a situation that happened that made me feel unloved. it was time for me to follow a yoga class (one of the studios i thought about doing YTT at has free online classes right now), which i was also very grateful for. as i started the class i released the sad thoughts and started focusing more on my breath.
after the class was over i felt much better and went on to complete my morning routine. while i was doing it, anytime the sad thought would come back i would not give it any attention. i have so much to be grateful for and so many situations where i feel loved. why would i focus on the ones that i don’t?
i decided to focus my energy on being grateful. gratitude allows you to reflect on the good. there’s always something to be grateful for.
my message of the week for myself is take care. so the message of this post will be to take care of yourself by focusing on the good, investing in it and centering yourself in love and light. you got this!
at first it can seem overwhelming to be at home, have more time to ponder and be unsure of what is going on in the world. here are some tips that i’ve used to create a smooth transition to this new life.
• clean your space- i started staying at home last Thursday and have thus far left the house twice (three times if you include that i got things from the store, brought them home and then went back out to the store). the first thing i did was clean. i disinfected and washed everything. it made me feel better and left my home a lot cleaner. everyday i have time scheduled in to clean so it’s not overwhelming. yesterday i cleaned the kitchen. today i cleaned my closets. tomorrow i’ll organize the kitchen and my desk. a little cleaning each day has made me feel so much better • create a routine- these last few days i have strictly done no work and just taken time for myself. now that i’m ready to start working, i need a plan. i used the time block method so i have a calendar stating what i will do at what time. i know i thrive on schedules and want to maximize my time. • do what makes me happy- yoga, eating good food, meditation, doing my hair and interactions with my loved ones make me happy. so i have carved out time for my favorite things within my schedule. a yoga studio i was thinking about doing YTT (yoga teacher training) at is currently offering free classes via YouTube. I did one today, as well as my own personal practice and it felt so good! • invest in a passion- i’ve decided that i’m going to publish my poetry book i started last year during this time. i also have been wanting to rebrand myself (connecting my blog more to IG and possibly expanding into YouTube). so i’ll be working on content creation! • healthy habits- “I’m only going to eat 1 cookie today.” and then you actually only eat one cookie. take this time to create healthy habits- working out, drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, or even doing yoga. these are things people say they want to do, but claim they don’t have time. i get it- i never work out either. but i’ve decided i have no reason to not work out and will be doing so. struggling with your natural hair? take this time to learn it! check out my blog post (https://lovemayah.com/2019/08/29/my-hair-routine/) for my hair care regimen! • creating firm boundaries- mostly with yourself and others. the consumption of fake news is at an all time high. choosing to not engage may be for the best. other boundaries can be harder but more worthwhile- choosing to eat 1 cookie instead of 3 is a good example. • get some sleep- last but not least! get some sleep! taking care of your body is so so important! this is a time to rest and recharge! take advantage of it!