my book is available as of now as an eBook, but will be a paperback later this week!
please check it out!
bienvenido | bienvenue | welcome
my book is available as of now as an eBook, but will be a paperback later this week!
please check it out!
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!
our world has changed.
so what do we do know?
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!
yoga is physically and mentally challenging. there are times where i am in practice, thinking “*insert explicit word, this is hard”.
yoga continues to teach me so many lessons, but the one i want to focus on is when to give up.
yoga has taught me when to give up or when to keep going by presenting me with a lot of opportunities to either push myself or to rest. when i first started doing yoga, the whole class was me pushing myself to remember the poses and how to do them. as i got more comfortable, it was pushing myself to rest and let myself take in the healing energy from the practice. right now, i think i’m at the place to push myself even when i want to give up.
yoga focuses on the difference between pain and discomfort. these are often used as the same word, but they’re very different. pain is not beneficial, it hurts you and could lead to injury and prolonged suffering. when something is painful, you must learn to let it go immediately and do something that’s restorative (like a restorative pose, my favorite is child’s pose). when you stretch yourself too far, there are no benefits because you’ve hurt yourself. discomfort on the other hand presents a challenge. maybe it’s a pose you don’t think you can do. and maybe you still are feeling uneasy about the pose, but you try it. discomfort may bring satisification because you tried something new. whether you “did it right” or not, you tried and that’s something to be proud of.
examples of pain vs. discomfort are present all the time in my practice. i often have wrist pain (i’m working on better distrupting the weight in my hands and working through emotional stuff). when my wrists hurt, i do variations of the pose. i’ve even had instructors give me extra props or offer other variations for me. but if my wrists hurt when i’m in a posture, i stop because that’s painful and i know it will not help my wrists heal faster. doing wrist strengthening exercises though does cause discomfort. but this is temporary and i know i should push through it because my wrists will feel better.
this is a lesson i am currently working on in my life. when do i let go? when do i ask for more support? when do i strengthen myself? is something really harmful or is it just uncomfortable? what are the benefits of me doing this? what are the possible effects?
these questions and many more are some of the ones i use when i’m pondering on what to do next. it can be hard to make decisions. but the most important thing (to me at least) is to take time and think about what you’re doing and why. it helps things make more sense in the long run.