“Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26

Reflecting back over the past few years of my life, I clearly see my two hands do work, align, gather, and reach. I clearly see my two feet grounded, walk, run, and when I’ve fallen down, my two knees bend, kneel, crawl — onward.

I am one with two hands, feet, knees. 10,000 always roll with me.

Looking back I also see the imprint of 20,000 hands working within mine. 20,000 feet running inside my shoes. 20,000 bending with me. God and Ancestors are my 10,000. My 20,000 hands, feet, knees.

And they ain’t never failed me.
They school me tho. When I want something and am not willing to engage the process or put forth deep honest effort, God and nem have called me out and said to me “beloved, my child, you take two steps, I’ll step with you. You lift two hands, I’ll reach you.”

My faith requires me to both trust and engage process. Requires me to plan, prepare, pray, and participate- not one over the other.

Requires committed effort and that has looked like working two {almost} full times jobs to prepare to leave them both and do what I felt called to, teaching classes, times, places, and a frequency that challenged me (this was finite tho and a route to now), laboring long and over days and nights (to bring my son earthside), paying myself less than $500 a month the first 14 months of owning a studio (to set us up for sustainability, growth, and any sort of chance in this unequally stacked “market”) – the list goes on.

 

For all of that, for every ounce of sweat, tears, and blood I have put in, I’ve tasted God’s nectar poured into me at least 10,000 fold. And I know. I know a single drop is not wasted.

Toddlerland

May 21, 2018

The landscape within me changed. The geography around me shifted. I at once knew this path and my feet were at home. Yet I was also lost.

I looked at the deep lines on my belly, were they directions? Were my expanded hips and breasts there to point me in the right way as I navigated this wild territory?

New mama.

I did not know at the time, how to travel, with child, through my house, to the store. Let alone, the world. Getting in the car required at least three trips to and from door.

Two years and now my son and I can walk together. The path is not easier.

I am. We are. I am more at ease with the wild of this. Better at stumbling and even falling.

Falling.

My two year old likes to fall down and giggle. fall down and whine. fall down and crawl under the couch to get the balls that he repeatedly rolls under there😂 We fall together, and there is so much to see when we are that low to the round.
I don’t always rush to get up, dust off, and pull me and him and us “together”, not now.

Falling is landing, sometimes. An offering of perspective from a truly humble and grounded space.

Many of my fallings in mamahood have been just that. Necessary “slow downs”, pull backs, full stops. Essential opportunities to really really see who I am, now. Where I am, now. What matters, now.

To be sure, there’s something radiant, powerful, freeing about rising, expansion, speed, getting there fast. There’s comfort and esteem in seeming “together.”
There’s also something so honest, so real, so deep, rich, and profound in the sometimes unreasonable, seemingly detoured space of toddler land where things go to fall apart. 😂

That’s were I am at today and apparently for at least the next year, at least.

Who else is in toddlerland with me? How y’all doing?

Guide my feet

May 7, 2018

“Guide my feet, while I run this race.” The first year of mothering and studio ownership revealed my dark- deeper. My underbelly. My fears. My messiness. My grit. My shame. My pride. My place of grace. My resilience. My strength. My softness. My naivete. My wisdom.

I wouldn’t trade nothing for year one right now, and I ain’t turning around either- though.

I have to do this work. This work has to work.
I want to do this work. I feel called, inspired, loved, challenged, and sometimes on edge with this work. It is, in fact, actually, work.
.
I share the “full” studio pictures, and there are still days where there’s one, two, three students in class. Real life is this AND that. Not this or that. .
I share from an open hand often, and there are moments when I am gripping, tightened fist, closed.

Some days feel like walking through thick and unrelenting bush. Some days I am dancing in an open field, twirling forward.

All of the while, I sense my feet are being guide.

Sometimes it’s a fire walk to get to stream. Sometimes we crawl to what we think is the finish line, only to realize it’s the start. Sometimes the directions are wrong, and we get lost in order to find our way home. Many times we are standing, in front of the sign we are praying for, but can’t see it because the message isn’t often packaged or in shiny papers.

My feet have been guided to this place of knowing: It ain’t “this or that”. It’s this AND that.

Who Carries Mamas?

May 6, 2018

Who carries mamas?

Mamas carry people. Our bones expand. Our organs move. From the inside, and in the most intimate places, we make room for others to grow. We share blood, breath, and pulse. Create cords, new ecosystems called placentas.
We carry people in our bodies, completely.We take people in.

We pick people up and literally carry them across rooms, scary places, and real or make believe rivers. We carry lives. Whole lives on our hips and often walk long distances without pausing. There is no short cut to here. There is no break. No matter where we are in the room or world, we are listening for our child’s breath.

I looked at my mama yesterday, and I wondered. Who, who has carried this mama. Ever?
My God.

Restorative yoga is a practice of being held…
{Perhaps I’ll write about that in the context of mothering —soon} For today, mamas, who or what has carried you from the start of your mama-ing journey to now?

There’s a lot of overcoming and triumph in this single picture here.
Within it, my answer to this question:
“What would you do if you knew you would not fail?”

It was 10 years ago that this question stopped me in my tracks, and slowly, deliberately began to change my course.

My heart began to whisper in a steady rhythm- “not this, not this, not this, not this.” If not this, then what?

I was only halfway loving.
Halfway loving my life. myself. and so that amounted to only quarter loving him or anyone else.

I was afraid of loving my whole self, including the pieces and flaws. and so I kept myself fragmented. split between a job that did not fuel me and my true path. living in my head, over thinking everything and decision, vs. feeling into my body, listening from my heart, and trusting that I deserved my own love. that I deserved a life I loved.

If not this, then what?

Love.

Love. full on, no holding back, free, honest, strong, soft, transforming, radical, ride all the out for… love.

It’s a practice. loving myself- whole. and opening to the depth of love around me.

What about you? What would you do if you knew you would not fail or be turned away?

you don’t have to do it all at once. just start. moment by moment. choice by choice. the only real way to fail is to never begin.

Our work matters

April 19, 2018

Three cops showed up when this woman asked to use the bathroom at a local yoga studio.

Yesterday I met a sister who was demoing how to make fresh juice at a wellness fair I attended.
We started talking and I told her that I owned a yoga studio.
That led her to share her experience at local Atlanta studios with me.

She told me that her most recent experience at a studio ended with her son and self being profiled… Like cops called on- profiled -because they “fit” the description of a couple that was going around the city stealing from studios.

What she didn’t know is that I knew the “description” of the couple because I had been forwarded several disturbing emails (that I’ve yet to be able to process or respond to) with “descriptions” earlier this year when the thefts started happening in our yoga community.

I memorized the description because it could easily be me and my husband or some day, me and my son.

I looked at this woman and her son. I seen, really seen her. Not just her profile.

Just like me and my family, they didn’t fit the description in any way, except they were Black.

I know that we will comment that this is terrible and shouldn’t happen. We will be sorry. We will ask, what to do.
Some might ask where and who did this. (My answer for that is everywhere… in our institutions, minds, and hearts.) Some in community who have heard about this may DM me and tell me the “version” of this they heard…

I don’t share this because I have any particular answer or need any of that today.

I share this story to ask us to reflect on our bias and how it continues to show up and be fortified in our yoga spaces vs. exposed, challenged, and dismantled.
I share it to invite yoga studio owners to pause and think about who and what greets people from the moment they walk through the door-
How are we prepared and trained to “guide” people that we don’t “really” interact with beyond screens and “descriptions”.
I share it to invite yoga teachers to keep looking around their classes and see who is and isn’t there and ask why and what it means. What does it say about you, not the other?

I share it to remind every Black and Brown Yoga studio owner and teacher that we have a particular call and journey to rise to. It is 1000 times more challenging, and yet 100000 times necessary.

The mountain is growing as we walk it. So does my faith, strength, and clarity.
So does my why.

As heavy as my sister’s story was/is, it served as a passage for me. The gaping wound affirmed this:

My work matters.

Dr. Gail Parker your work matters. Jana your work matters. Maya your work matters. Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts your work matters. Vanya your work matters. Rachelle your work matters. Ona Hawk your work matters. Ka Rissa your work matters. Kemiko your work matters. Jasmine your work matters. Kiesha your work matters. Kelley your work matters. Robin your work matters. Marla your work matters. Crystal your work matters. Arturo your work matters.

This is an uncharted path for us and our owning it. our defining it. our being “bout it”. our work matters.

We are each other’s breath.

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