December 21st marked the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. It also happened to be my mom’s birthday. While I have never quite been an astrology or zodiac buff, I did find it interesting all the conversation this event generated. People were supposed to get super powers and a shift was to be felt around the world. In retrospect, I am unsure if I felt anything, really. I have been more aware of my surroundings and I had a few vivid dreams this week, but nothing major. What super power did you get, if any?
I told myself that rather than acquiring a power that I had never had, the powers I already possessed would be magnified. That I have found to be quite true, especially after enduring this whirlwind of a year. I have deepened my sense of self-love and stood by the notion that I come first. I have ceased pouring into situations that do not replenish me the same. It can be draining to care, but a happy medium must be found between caring and the absence of such. Sometimes, not caring becomes a defense mechanism that can do more hard than good.
My favorite aspect about this year has been giving myself permission to exist as I am without trying to please others. I thought I had done so in the past, but I realized that there was still so much I was hiding in terms of what I thought and what I could do. I especially love the epiphany I had about allocating my energy more wisely when it comes to certain situations.
So what intentions am I setting for next year? Quite frankly, I want to be more intentional about everything that I do. I want to understand and stand by the ends to the means, and surround myself with people who support those efforts.
In contemplating my year, I realize that I spent a lot of my favorite moments in a virtual space. And surprisingly this resulted in the creation of one of the largest friend groups I have ever had. I am super grateful for the ability to turn this year into something positive. So while we might be quick to scoff at the year 2020 has been, let’s also relish in the good times that we surely had. Because there were so many!
Bonding over the love of music in safe spaces created by DJs online. Taking that first step in creating a business or showcasing an idea because we had a little more time to do so. And more importantly, being even more grateful for the human connection that, while it was limited physically, was transferred to kind gestures online.
That is how I would like to remember 2020. A time when gratitude won.
I woke up with Coldplay’s “In My Place” stuck in my head. Next I played “Dreams” by The Cranberries. Can I tell you how much music has saved the day? It fills a sonic void. Literally. More importantly, it always finds a way to enter the soul and mend the pieces that don’t make sense. Then it moves to the tongue and becomes a language of unification that transcends age, gender, cultural backgrounds.
I love the way that music just IS. It has been super therapeutic; these past few months, especially. I don’t know what it is, but 2020 has given me the audacity to dream harder. Not only do I dream harder, but I also go more fervently after what I want. I am re-claiming my destiny with a force that I can feel growing each day. A flame of resolve to get it done. A mindset that is a cranked-up version of my prior spontaneity.
And I am grateful that God blessed me with a love of music. Where would I be without it? I remember one day during clinicals, a classmate of mine told my attending that I used to sing the national anthem for the school’s white coat ceremony. He then asked if I would like to sing for my colleagues in the break room of the hospital.
Never one to back down from an opportunity to sing, I put down my clipboard and sang the first verse of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. It felt odd amidst of the gray walls and beeping medical appliances that are native to the hospital setting. But after singing, I could feel some color creeping out from my mouth and flowing into the room in which we stood. It was HEALING, to say the least. I miss singing in church and having people tell me that they had been in a rough place but my voice helped them have hope. And while it’s as easy as uploading a video online, it just doesn’t feel the same. The atmosphere, the echo of your voice hitting the walls of a church that was built over a century ago. Playing with volume and singing over sore throats during the winter.
I probably could sing before I could talk. And I went on to do choir, musicals, talent shows. I really miss singing Handel’s “The Messiah” and “O Holy Night” during Christmas concerts at school. Blending my soprano with the altos, tenors and basses. I always love a good harmony, even though I was always required to do melody or descant.
I want to re-capture that essence, so I am making it a point to not only let my voice be heard more, but also to come up with creative ways to do so during these times. I can’t wait to see what results from this! In addition, I picked up the acoustic guitar and thinking of electric all during this pandemic. My mind is on Jimmi Hendrix but my fingers are still catching up 😂 In due time!
I say this to say that if you have a passion that has been shelved, dust it off and rekindle that flame. Don’t worry about timing or having everything you think should be in place. You can’t start until you get started. All it takes is that first step of action. You never know who might need to hear it. Maybe it’s you.
It appears we blinked and it was mid-November. Where did the time go? They say time flies when you’re having fun, but 2020 (for many) has been anything but. You know what 2020 primarily did for me (thus far)? It sent me into somewhat of a survival mode. Living below my means in many ways. Being okay with not having the things I previously called necessities, like fresh nails and eyebrows 24/7. It was more of a response to the circumstances at hand than a premeditated choice. The naileries and beauty supplies were closed for months. Everyone would see each other outside, men looking scruffier than usual, women with outgrown acrylic nails. But real recognized real. We each recognized “the struggle” in our eyes, even though we could not see the expressions of each other’s mouths past the mandatory masks.
I became far more than self-sufficient or resourceful. I became adaptive to a degree unknown to myself. And I reached a point where my creativity became a gateway to what was previously impossible. I opened doors that were once closed and embarked on journey’s I had wanted to start years ago. Imagine me, at 29, thinking it made sense to start playing acoustic guitar? Or submitting my poem to a pediatric medical publication for the first time? I stepped outside of my comfort zone the way a shadow leaves our bodies in the sun.
But I was not the only one who embraced this new call to self-reinvention. I noticed this attribute in so many, especially in the online community I became a part of during the pandemic. I was so impressed that I decided to give them a platform to voice their life journeys via my new interview series “Testimony Tuesdays”. It’s something I had planned on executing as a podcast years ago. In retrospect, it seems I have used my creativity to make something amazing out of the abyss that was a somewhat murky 2020.
So here I am, pretty much reflecting on a year that is not quite over but just about, typing through the odd sensation of the calluses I have developed over the past few weeks from practicing guitar. The road to 2021 does not appear to be around the corner, over the river and through the woods, or along some winding path. It feels as though it is just down the street but in an updated version of technicolor. And I think that is pretty exciting!
Do you ever wonder how much of our lives angels can see? Specifically, angels we once knew? Sometimes I find myself alone in my room with my thoughts. And then I wonder if there is an angel looking over my shoulder at what I am typing, reading, watching. Or maybe accessing my innermost thoughts without my awareness. I wonder if there are different ranks of access to our lives that God gives the angels. I get a vision of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come showing Scrooge all the families he offended. Perhaps that is the extent to which they can observe but not interact. And there are times when I lose something and am frantically searching for it, and it turns up in one of the places I could have sworn I’d already looked. And I think to myself, maybe an angel felt bad for me and placed it there.
As I gain more angels over the years, I try to hold myself to a higher standard. I know that God sees everything and knows my thoughts. But there is something different about an angel you once knew, someone who was once here on earth now with an aerial view of your life they were once unaware of. It puts pressure on you to try harder, to be better.
Maybe the angels don’t hold us up to a higher standard. Maybe they don’t have it all figured out yet, either. Maybe they just yearn to give us the clues that they can to make our lives a bit easier. Especially the guardian angels. The ones that salvage my phone and myself when my klutzy side takes advantage of my coordination. The ones that whisper consoling words in my moments of worry and doubt. The ones that celebrate the little victories with me when no one else does.
What about the angels on earth in physical form? The ones who enter our lives unexpectedly and bless us abundantly? If we are angels on earth, how do we know?
I am thankful for the bliss found in ignorance at times, because perhaps knowing the answers to all these questions could be frightening, intimidating, even. Until I get another clue or nudge in the right direction, I will keep living the best way I know how. And thank God for the angels.
Last year, I declared 2019 as a year of sowing seeds; the fruit of which I would harvest in 2020. There was so much anticipation for the new decade on December 31st, 2019! The decade of practicing as a board-certified physician, the decade of perhaps staying in once city for more than a few months! The decade of stability. For the most part, everything has come to fruition. It really felt ALMOST like smooth sailing until those first few news reports about COVID-19.
Flash-forward to April 1st and it truly feels like a sick joke. If someone had told me that within the first half of the year, a pandemic would ensue, claiming the lives of so many, and practically shutting down the world as we know it, I would have laughed hysterically. And yet here we are. So where do we go from here?
I think it is really important for us not to lose sense of who we were prior to all this chaos. I, for one, had several rules and regulations for how I was going to conduct my daily business. And with the present circumstances it has been extremely tempting to backtrack. The fact of the matter is this can be toxic and detrimental to the success you have already made. Take, for instance, the undeniable isolation that many of us feel at this moment. It feels almost obligatory to reach out to any and everyone and let bygones be bygones. But during one of my usual musings, I realized that I do not owe anyone who I would not have spoken to prior to COVID-19 a conversation. Because once all this is over, and hopefully that will be very soon, there is THAT to deal with.
It is a time that has made me go back-and-forth about my duty as a Christian and my duty to my sanity, which I truly hope go hand-in-hand. None of us have all the answers. But we tend to do what makes life work.
And then I realized that all those great things I planned for myself ARE still happening. Just not with the ability to be outside as much or celebrate the way we would have before all of this madness.
So in case my words become a time vault of times long gone to a future reader, I will say this. Aside from the barren grocery store shelves that were once stocked bountifully with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, all is not lost. We still have humanity. We still have love. We still have life. We have the ability, duty, and right to express ourselves the best way we know how. All it takes is courage, wherever that may be at this present time. Find it, value it, and never let it go. Because when we can hug each other and be closer than 6 feet apart from our neighbors, I pray it will be a different world. One that has changed for the better.
As I write this, I am drinking a homemade green smoothie and listening to a new school neo soul playlist I made on Spotify. My, what a whirlwind the past few months have been. And April is closing out. I wanted to write this post about being at peace with yourself. It is truly the only way you can be at peace with anyone else or anything else in life.
Not only should you learn to be at peace with yourself, but you should also learn to be at peace with what brings others peace. Once we start trying to change that or judge that, we garner resentment over something we cannot control.
Learn to enjoy taking in the air around you, the sun above you, the grass below you. If you live in the city, appreciate the hustle and bustle. If you live in the country, admire the open space around you. Every day you get the privilege to see it, so take it all in gratefully.
Also, listen to music! I am a huge music buff. I get caught in these phases of what I call “genre seasons” in which I won’t play anything but the genre I am feeling at the moment. Sometimes it’s Vivaldi, sometimes Lion Babe, sometimes Mr. Eazi, or Pat Benatar! Every morning I start off with Gospel or Contemporary Christian. I mean it’s just nice to carry a song in your heart and soul for the day. It gives you hope and joy.
Just some random musings. I do hope you enjoyed and I look forward to writing more content soon!
This past Sunday, I took some much-needed alone time to go on a boat tour of the Miami islands. It was my second time; the first was back in 2017. I love being on the water with just my thoughts, the breeze, and of course the tour guide’s voice occasionally interrupting my train of thought.
I looked out at the mansions and the residents on their jet skis, the abyss extending out for miles, and took note of how carefree they were. Meanwhile I had a million things on my mind! Wondering where I’d be living for the next few years, thinking about my petty anger towards people who had wronged me but wouldn’t give a care in the world if I told them so. And how much I’d love to just RELAX without a care in the world like the people I was observing. That is my ultimate goal. To literally relax without a care in the world. Not worrying about getting up at 4:30 am to get somewhere on time, or so much about the consequences to my actions, just being free.
Of course there has to be a balance, but it’s nice to think about being on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. And then I remembered something my reverend father said in church at the beginning of Lent. You can sacrifice everything tangible, but if your heart is not pure and light, and free of grudges, it will all be in vain. And I really had to check myself and ask if this was the case. What was I holding onto, out here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? And why?
I have gotten better at resetting, and telling myself to let go every now and then. It is not a constant flow of release, but the flow is there nonetheless. It just feels better not holding on to preconceived notions or expectations so tightly, and going with the flow. Just like the waves of the ocean.
What are you holding onto from your past? What elements of your future are you preoccupied with? Whatever it is, just know that you can find a space in this world to release that energy in a constructive way. Volunteer at a center for those in need. Donate items you no longer use that could help the next person. Patronize your friends with small businesses. Or simply take a day to bask in it all. Recognizing these anchors and being honest with yourself is the first step in living a more relaxed and fulfilled life. Sending peace and love out there to all who need it! And don’t forget to love yourself, too.
Have you ever woken up from a dream that felt so real, you thought it was happening? I have periods of time when I dream, and periods of time that I call “dry-spells”, no dreams whatsoever. I have read several articles in which the writers believe that dreams are a reflection of our subconscious. Some even go on to say that dreams can provide a window into the spiritual realm. I am a believer of both.
This post is by no means meant to be scientific, but just a collection of thoughts and summary of my feelings towards dreams and their role in our lives. In all my life, I can say that I have had a handful of dreams that I still remember. And the reason why I remember them is either because they were super weird or scary, or because they were hilariously outlandish.
Some dreams have even caused me to literally wake up and PRAY. I pray over my life, my family, my goals, my dreams. To someone who may not be spiritual, this might sound like an absurd practice. But for me I believe that dreams should be taken seriously to some extent. Especially if you are of the opinion that dreams reflect the subconscious.
During our busy lives, our subconscious picks up on nuances that our conscious minds might neglect or fail to prioritize. When we sleep, our brains can make sense of these nuances, and string together what might appear to be unrelated thoughts or feelings. In other words, our dreams can provide clarity for situations that, while awake, might be foggy. This is probably the premise for the old saying “I’ll sleep on it” when we are confronted with an issue that might not be able to have a quick solution.
How about the dreams that depict terrible circumstances? Like danger, illness, or even death? If you are not spiritual, what do you do about those? Do you just ignore them, or do you feel compelled to do something about them? Do you try to Google interpretations about key objects in your dreams, such as bicycles, certain animals, or even certain time periods? Can you talk in your dreams? Do you see color or are they void of any hues?
Personally, I like to talk to trusted friends or loved ones about dreams that concern me, or those that excite me. I don’t think it hurts to try to at least analyze the components of this mirror of your subconscious mind. I also try to take these interpretations with a grain of salt. Sometimes what you do or think prior to going to bed can influence your dreams.
One of the most memorable dreams I had was when I was studying abroad for my Basic Sciences as a first year medical student. I was fighting a snake woman, a medusa of sorts. And I had a Rosary wrapped around my wrist and started praying, and she was set ablaze. I told my mom about it, and she said that meant that I had defeated my enemies (whoever they were). That dream was so crazy, I ended up fasting and praying the whole next day. I felt that compelled! I have also had funny dreams, like the time I dreamt that I met Ellen Degeneres while having dinner at an outdoor restaurant that probably does not exist in real life. I actually chuckled at that one.
I am interested in hearing about your thoughts about dreams. Please share them below. And if you feel comfortable, what was your most poignant one?
Have you ever just had a period of back-to-back great ideas? So many that you did not know where to begin? That is currently what I am experiencing! I am an Aquarius and we are known to be very creative. But there are so many parts of me that I want to develop, and so little time, it would appear.
For example, from an artistic standpoint I typically express myself via my Instagram and YouTube accounts. I also use the aforementioned mediums to share the medical and scientific part of me. It is quite the combination of personality traits, to say the least.
Oftentimes I find myself starting several projects at once, and eventually complete just one or two of them in the time that I wanted. They will all be completed, but there is only so much time and energy I can devote to each one.
And then if that’s not enough, the sheer excitement of executing your ideas and getting the feedback you want is such an adrenaline rush! Finding joy in your potential and the potential of your dreams becoming reality is truly a life force.
I say all this to say that if you are in the same boat, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong or late. Take off some of the edge by writing out how you will start and work through each project, and give yourself an estimated date of when you can achieve that task. And try not to announce your ideas too early, because that will put pressure on your creative process. It is better when no one knows your timeline but you.
Keep dreaming and creating, my friends. Someone will be happy that you did!