while the big storm rolled past, destroying all of what was left, a month ago, the gap in my chest was overwhelming. i was scared. tired. anxious and honestly confused.
after the storm hit, things settled. it still consistenly rained. there was little sun, mostly partly cloudy.
thrice, since the big storm has hit, i’ve felt the sun. the first time, i wrote in a note to myself “yesterday was the first day i have felt happiness since…” i felt geniunely good. and had geniunely laughed. it was amazing.
the second time i felt the sun, i was leading a private yoga class. it was warm and i was excited. i was determined to let the sunshine.
today, was the third time. i’ve been getting up and walking about three miles and doing meditation and yoga for the past five days. and today, after eating breakfast and showering, i felt the sunshine.
the sunshine reminds me that emotions are fleting and to continue embracing the rain. because one cannot exist without the other, not in a balanced state at least.
i’ve been learning to sit with my grief. while walking, i’ve started listening to alex elle’s “hey girl” podcast. one that really shifted my perspective was her talk with jamila reddy, about greeting grief at the door.
after the storm, i spent a couple weeks just wishing the storm would’ve never happened. living in this interesting state of midn where i was in denial that the storm had happened, because the damage was so bad. it felt like i was living in a nightmare, just waiting and waiting to wake up.
after the third week, i had a moment where i was like “mayah, this is reality.” and being like i need to do what’s best for me to heal and clean up this mess.
now, four weeks later, i’ve felt the sunshine and i know that with due time, i will keep feeling the sunshine.
life after loss is complicated. and the best thing i can truly be patient with myself, knowing that i am trying. i’m learning that it’s okay to not be okay. to go with the ebbs and flows of emotions while knowing that they just are ebbs and flows and that the pain will pass.
so to wherever you are in your clean up, just please know that there will be sunshine. eventually.
I come to You today asking You to breathe peace into myself and the Earth. Lord, I know that you anticipate and will meet all of my needs. Lord, I need a little bit more help. I’ve been dealing with a lot Lord, as You know, and I need You to take it from me. I give it all to You Lord.
Lord, please calm my spirit when it is restless. Give me gentle reminders to breathe. Help me breathe. Give me space to breathe. Surround me with a strong support system, filled with like minded beings who love and support me. Give me gentle guidance. Continue to send me reminders that I am okay. I am so thankful for them.
Lord, please calm the world. Give us healing, support and love, so we can transition to a more positive space. Lord, I have realized that the space we are in, as a world, is to reconfigure us. So that we can grow closer to You. I know that all of the experiences that are happening are to reveal Your truth- that all beings deserve to be protected and respected, which is the only truth. Let us learn these lessons as swiftly and as deeply as possible, so we can move forward in Your grace. Give extra support to those who are struggling with this change. Let them see the truth.
Lord, let all I do and speak be for Your honor.
“ Lord when I am confused guide me. When I am weary energize me Lord. When I am burned out infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit. May the work that I do in the way that I do it bring hope, life and courage to all that come in contact with me today. And, oh Lord, even in the days more stressful moments may rest in You.”
Lord hear my prayers.
In the matchless name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
i originally started this post on june 20th. i wrote the following, in a state of confusion and unsure of what i would really do:
idon’t really have a title for this post. because if i titled it, i would probably say, i think i might be moving, but it seems to early to say that.
in eight days, it’ll be six months since i moved to georgia. i was excited, nervous, and ready to start this next chapter of my life. i got into a great graduate school program. it definitely took some adjusting, getting used to being in georgia, but by march, i would say i was well on my way.
for the past three months, i’ve been sheltering in place, over 600 miles away from my family. it’s been a challenge to say the least. and as things are changing, it seems to be getting safer to go places, i finally made plans to go home. i think i’ve slowly, but steadily pushed past my fear of leaving the house.
i was asked yesterday why i don’t just stay at home, and it’s like well why don’t i?
if i’m being honest, it’s because that makes me feel like i would be giving up.
today, i have moved back home. sunday it was a week. we drove back 6 months, to the DAY, from when we drove down to georgia. i don’t know how long i’ll be here. i don’t know what the future holds. if i think too far it’s confusing and i’m unsure. i’m making decisions everyday to try to make myself feel good.
but what i do know is i’ve smiled more in the last week being at home than i have in months. i do know i missed the michigan sun in the summer time. i do know i’m in a safe space to work through my anxiety. and i do know, i’ve felt MUCH better. my screen time has decreased. i walked 2.4 miles yesterday.
it’s almost like i feel like a person again. like a real person.
i’ve been thinking alot about love and what it means to me. and how it feels to be surrounded by love. and how i want to be surrounded by love.
i don’t know what that will look like. i’m hoping it includes a puppy. so we shall see.
i’ve been learning that it’s okay for me to let people love me. and that while i was alone i learned to fill my bucket up all by myself (which i will say was MUCH harder when you’re stuck indoors). and i’m grateful. because i appreciate the yawn my mother makes when she wakes up, just a little bit more.
if you would have asked me five years ago, i would have probably told you love is a feeling. you know love is there because you can feel it.
if you asked me today, i would have a much longer, complex response. hence, this post.
i want to start off with how i feel about love. i love love. i am learning how to love myself, how to love others and (most importantly) how to allow myself to receive love. to be honest, i had to make a choice- either to let the hardships i’ve encountered make me more or less open to love. with daily effort and intention, i am opening myself to receiving unconditional love from others. it’s a process.
okay so what is love?
bell hooks, in her novel All About Love, which you can find a free pdf of here (under resources), gives a defintion of love that when i read it, it literally changed my world.
so at this point, i was like alright, bet. love is an action. i have to do actionable things to love myself and others.
i started paying more attention to actions. (i eventually am now at the point, where i pay attention to how people’s actions make me feel and value that feeling as an indicator of what i should do next (most times LOL, it’s a process)).
i’m studying right now to be a yoga teacher, and as part of the training (as many courses do) we have spent a lot of time on yogic philosophy, much of which is rooted in eastern cultures (including religion). so we reviewed the 4 Aspects of True Love, which is given to us from Buddhism. (these are my summaries from my notes below)
maitri kindness: through being present and paying attention, learning how to love someone and doing it
karuna compassion: understanding the suffering of others and actively finding ways to alleviate their burdens (and actually alleviating them)
mudita joy: love is only love if it includes joy and brings happiness. with joy, love grows stronger.
upeksha freedom: includes external freedom, to have time/space, and internal freedom, space to be yoruself. practices must be implemented to create the sensation of freedom.
first, you must learn to love yourself like this. then others.
true love (which mind you, including familial and platonic relationships, as well as partnerships) requires action. it requires doing it right.
reading this, changed everything again. it was like i finally had a blueprint. i could combine the idea that love is an action and figure out in which ways i could be actionable.
this also made me think a lot about love languages. if you’re not familiar, gary chapman came up with this quiz, to see which of the five love languages you prefer: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, or acts of service. i read recently online, that the best thing to do with these love languages, is to figure out WHEN and HOW to meet all of them. i may have scored highest for gifts (which i LOVE, to me they’re a representation of thought and action), but there are times when i need actions that fall under acts of service. learning how to support others in the way that they want to be supported, falls underkaruna.
if i had to give you a short answer, love is a commitment to supportings oneself (first and foremost) and others. it takes time to learn how to love yourself. how i loved myself before quarantine looked a LOT different than during quarantine. i’m sure that as i grow older, it will change. my commitment to myself will stay the safe. checkins with myself will help me learn how to love myself the most.
as far as loving others, that changes as well. depending on where they are in life. i feel that checkins and honest discussions with your loved ones (may they be a family member, partner, friend, etc) about ways that you can be supportive are helping.
so what does this have to do with social justice? hate, which is the opposite of love, is hurtful. therefore the person that has received hate, has to heal. through loving yourself, you can find healing for you.
“love heals no matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts to love again, live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing in a new way, we go forward with the fresh insight- that the past can no longer hurt us. mindful remembering let’s us put the broken bits and pieces of our hearts together again that is the way healing begins.”- bell hooks
bell hooks, in her novel, talks a lot about creating a beloved community, where everyone is being loved by one another and giving love. this space is successful. this place, in my opinion, is the goal of social justice work. to create a space where everyones needs are met (also known as equity).
i’ll let you with one last quote, from bell hooks-
the moment we choose to love we begin to move against oppression, domination. the moment we choose to love, we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.
today marks three months, of “quarantine”. on march 12th, i was told i no longer needed to report at the site i was student teaching at, that classes would go online, and everything suddenly, quickly, swiftly changed.
i opted to stay in georgia instead of going home. honestly, i didn’t have much of an option. there was no way that i could have made a 10, almost 11 hour drive alone. the plan was, always, for me to fly home.
we briefly thought about me driving half way, meeting my mom, aunt and sister, and them driving me the rest of the way. but then it became well how would i get back to georgia? what if stuff was closed along the highway- like gas stations? there seemed to be no clear way for me to go home. so i stayed.
i made goals for myself. i thought about what i wanted to be like when i came out on the other side. i wanted to be more grateful. improve my confidence. get into yoga and meditation even deeper. strengthen my already steadfast faith in God. eat better. be happier. and then like outward appearance things like longer hair (which is going QUITE well if i do say so myself).
i’ve learned a lot being in this space.
the quality of relationships outweighs the quantity. every time
i’ve gotten to think about who i REALLY want to talk to. and how often i really want to talk
i made a list and divided in into three parts: non-negotiables (have to have), preferences (really wanted), wants (i would like, but i could go without). it was two sections- work and personal. i tried to remain true to my desires- and focused on what i truly wanted instead of what was “reasonable”. i made decisions on the relationships i had based on these.
the desire for human contact is innate
we all just want to be loved. love transcends hugs though. it’s a complex feeling of security, based on action. more on lovehere
i’ve also learned that i’m really a hugger.
breaks for technology are important
breaks allow you to recharge and recenter. it’s important.
all of your emotional issues get stored in your body until you release them