Peace

Photo of artwork from my visit to the Van Gogh Experience, Fall 2021.

In this season I have found solace in silence. With this technologically-inclined world that we live in, we can reach a point where the absence of noise is daunting. We are constantly surrounded by our cell phones, computers, televisions, and more. But when was the last time you took an hour or more to just sit with yourself and think about everything around you? Oddly enough, you will be surprised how your thoughts overflow the silent space you have created in that moment. Thoughts you buried years ago without the intention of digging them up again tend to resurface. Emotions that have become intertwined with the fibers of your subconscious, beckoning their interpretation. 

I recently went through the motions of this process for a day, then I increased the frequency of my practice. With some journaling and indulging in my hobbies such as singing and playing guitar, it was such a joy to create my own noise rather than being bombarded by external frequencies. You start to prioritize things differently, and to your benefit if I might add. Trivial, unresolved nothings exit your mental space, leaving room for more meaningful energy. 

I highly recommend trying this, especially as we reach the end of the year. This time of year is always a reflective one for me (then again, when am I not reflecting, self-proclaimed philosopher and all). Wishing you a peaceful journey as you declutter and reconnect with yourself!

Space and Time

I entered my thrities on Saturday, January 30, 2021. I will admit, I thought that a major shift would take place, maybe a tingling sensation or a “ah-ha” moment of gaining this milestone year. And yet, nothing really occurred. I tried to go to bed before midnight, and after pretending to be asleep until about 12:20 am, I was awakened by a DM from a friend on Instagram. She was DJing and wanted to shout me out during her set, so I said what the heck and watched for a bit.

Without getting into too much detail about how I actually celebrated (and am still celebrating) my thirtieth year on this earth, I will say that I have been adulting long before legally being considered an adult. I guess that is why I feel no differently than I have for many years. The excitement wore off pretty quickly because the responsibilities are still looming. But it feels good to have another year to accomplish new things and, more importantly, LIVE.

One principal that I am trying to live by is not to take life too seriously. Sometimes we dwell on the worst-case scenario and eventually it becomes our reality. I am an advocate of visualization and the “you are as you think” approach. When we realize that we can actually choose to direct our thoughts to be more positive, we unlock powers previously unknown to us.

I am picturing myself as being at the end of a river waiting for the natural flow of life but occasionally shaking things up. There has to be a balance between passivity and aggression. I pick up on vibes very easily, but I am learning that vibes change and are certainly not a constant. And I am okay with that. Vibes can be fleeting, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In any case, knowing what we want secures our sanity.

It’s a shame that so many of us are guarded. We have perfected the thickest barricades due to our past experiences. And for good reason. The trick is knowing when to let the guard down. I think that growth comes from being uncomfortable (take that with a grain of salt). When we let down our guards and open ourselves up to the possibility of getting hurt, to the likelihood that someone with a different opinion could challenge our own line of thinking, we GROW. We might get broken, we might hurt a bit, but we take something away from these experiences every time. The hope is that each time you open up, your mind does, too. Being ready for these experiences takes growth, healing, and introspection.

I say all this to say that I think I will be doing more of that this decade. Opening up and not letting fear get in the way of my growth. There is always room for improvement, and I am really enjoying being a first-hand witness to this process called life. The answer to our deepest questions is on the other side of doubt. All it takes is space and time.

A Time When Gratitude Won

Photo retrieved from: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-importance-of-practicing-gratitude/

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.

Something Amazing Out of the Abyss

Rittenhouse Square Park, Philadelphia, PA. Photo taken by Doctor Beauty using iPhone.

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!