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.

Motherhood both reveals superpowers that I didn’t know I had as well as soft and tender places that I hadn’t felt in to.

Watching folk come for Cardi B and her pregnancy announcement gave me pause and I have to say I rarely comment on whatever “pop” culture is, but listen, I am here for Cardio B y’all! AND I rebuke the narrative that becoming a mama inherently stunts “career” growth. Does it change the way one navigates? Yes. Do I feel like it somehow shrank my options and opportunities? Nah.

Some notes:
✔️An external eye can’t gauge the internal growth that mamahood demands OR predict what else giving birth will open a person up to giving birth to.

✔️My personal experience is that becoming a mama raised the stakes in a way that unleashed a kind of efficiency, creativity, and radical “take no bullshit” that nothing in my life had. So I rocked with it.

✔️My boundary game leveled up after the birth of my son. Ways I used to leak energy or allow it to be drained have been plugged up by the beautiful and challenging fullness of #momlife because I literally ain’t got the time for that extra.

✔️I’ve gotten more clear on what I want to do. Because of that I make moves and ask for guidance that honor and support my direction.

✔️Motherhood revealed inner, familial, and other resources that I wasn’t aware of. I’m much better at gathering support and asking for what I need when I need it.

Radical growth, deep creativity, resourcefulness, fierceness, and self-advocacy are some of the {super} powers that mother hood amplified and unleashed in me.

What superpower(s) has becoming a mama revealed to you?

Deep in my marrow, I knew it would change everything. It had to.

I labored 2.5 days. Traversed through physical, emotional, spiritual issues I thought I had moved through 1000 times before. I burned sage and I prayed. I played Outkast and I danced. I made offerings and I cried. I called on my Ancestors and I listened. I crawled up to the helm of God’s dress and I pulled and pulled until an opening was revealed.

Through the opening and beyond, this mama walked across water and blood to go get my baby. (I passed so many mamas who have been and will be- along the way.)

Reaching down into the river of both time and myself to touch Oyetunde for the first time, I reached down to catch all of the dreams, fears, doubts, and longings I’d never whispered to anyone before.

He was born just before dawn, and though my labor was an epic quest and rite, in the final stage I did not push. I did not need to.

The work had been done. I got quiet enough so I could hear the breath and pulse of God. I followed that sound toward my baby’s heart. In tune, I breathed the fullest breathes of my life until we both made it to the other side.

My mind was full, and not crowded. My body had ripened soft, yet not been swallowed whole in the consuming process of giving birth.

My heart was cracked open, but not broken.

I had done the hardest thing I had ever done.

Today, my son turns two years old.

Because of him and the power, freedom, and healing of his birth, I know anything is possible.

Of Grief

March 20, 2017

Of Grief

Isn’t it an ocean?
Full. Expansive. Mysterious. Breathing.

This feeling.

Rushing and slow

Older and longer than
all of our lives linked
and added together.

I sit at its edge. It swells and I can’t move.
How it drags me under. There is no fighting back,
It’s hands are relentless and reach far.

I am pushed from old shores to new land searching for who I lost.

(Have they become sea grass, shells, salt, sand
The blanket of sky that covers me?
The ants marching along? The silent crab eyeing me?
The light against my skin?)

Have they found the other side of home?

Isn’t this an ocean, friends?
How it crashes into everything we trust and “know”.
How it overflows and proves that our hearts don’t know boundaries of body, space, and time.

How it reminds us of how big and small we each are.

In a single day I may wade through, surf, tread, swim, float.
In a minute, I may drown.
The next, I may be lifted up.

Isn’t it an ocean?
How it engulfs us, pulls us under, and at the same time through.

How we are carried back from the edge, layed out on the ground, and washed.

Covered in scrapes and grit. And washed over.

How we are pulled through the cycles of Life again and again?

 

“extra” weight

September 13, 2016

page-header_almost-flying

I didn’t start where I am in that picture above. And I’m not there now.

That picture was 4 years ago. I gave birth to my son 5 months ago.

I am beginning again.

I went to my 2nd nonrestorative or yin class in almost 7 months yesterday.

My intention for the practice was this: to love up on all my “extra.”

In yesterday’s class I put my knees down for every plank.
Rested in child’s pose 5 times in one hour, and made room for my “extra” : skin, scars, pounds, and props.

Some days it’s easy. Some days it’s not. But I have to fight to love my “extra” and guard my eyes and mind against all the “21 day yoga shred plans and meditate your way toward a mini dress (and away from biscuits) madness” because I need my practice to be a safe and exploratory place as I feel my way through this new place called mother –hood- land.

And I’m fighting and working, y’all.
Not to get “back” in that pose or body.

But to move from feeling “extra” to this:

This is not extra.

This is me, whole.

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