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.

Mamas, I’m sorry

September 6, 2016

I owe some mamas an apology.
To that one mama:
who returned my text every three months
who called all the time cause she needed to hear real words
who suddenly couldn’t make a lunch date, ever
who brought her kids everywhere
who took her kid nowhere
who left her fancy gig to stay at home
who started a business the year her daughter was born
who left my yoga class before the final mmm of OM every other time
who bought the 10 class card and only used like 1.5 of the sessions
who only talked about baby body functions, nap schedules, and milk production every time I saw her
who didn’t want to mention “kid” or “baby” when she was away from hers
who didn’t want anyone to hold her baby
who wanted everyone to hold her baby
who had on the same pants every time I saw her
who stayed with her because she was afraid to face it alone.
who had a 2nd one coming… 3 months after her first was born
who left him as soon as she could walk straight, after her 2nd was born
who had all the successes, yet said she her life had no purpose until she held her baby in her arms.


Mama hood is a rare open field and wilderness all the same: Uncontrollable, exposed, and exposing.
It is at once a shared and sacred journey. At the same time a lone and mundane one.
The walk is a weighted one. We carry generations on our hips and often times, the future on our backs. While holding close, the present: tiny and growing hands.
The weight is constantly being added to. When you’ve shifted enough to have a handle on it, it changes. Just when your skin toughens from trooping, uncovered through flat plains, the terrain changes.
It gets wild and muddy again. your skin starts to peel, maybe it sheds, now you hella exposed, again.
and see, before I set a foot on this path, I thought I knew something about how your way was going and why it looked a lil cray from my pretty sitting place.


Sounds silly.
But It’s true.


I didn’t have a pedicured toe on the ground you’d been stomping through, yet I thought I knew something of your walk.


I’m finally crawling along now, and big enough to say.
Mama(s) I’m sorry.

No shortcut.

July 26, 2016

Those of you who live in Atlanta know that highway 285 allows us to bypass traveling through the center of our city to get just about anywhere we want to go.
You also know that there are times when 285 is painfully congested. The other option takes us straight into the heart of our city.

Transformation and change require us to get right into the center. To bypass the challenges is to skip over the rich experience derived from the feeling of every single track we lay down as we tread our path to a new ground.

As a new mother, I could not bypass the critical and profoundly demanding first two weeks of me and Oye’s life together. There was no way around the sleepless nights, cluster feedings, and painfully tender wrists from holding, lifting, and carrying him.

Returning to the work I passionately love, there is no way for me to bypass feeling both the fulfillment of being exactly where I am when I am teaching a class, private session, or CHILLshop AND the intense longing to return to my son.
The access I gain when I take a route directly into the truth of my experience drops me at the front door of humanity. There is so much strength and softness, pain and healing, misunderstanding and knowing there. I do not want to pass over any of it.

And it is intense.

The world right now is intense for many of us.
We cannot bypass this moment of feeling all of the potholes, ditches, obstructions, and debris spread out in all directions around us.

We must not take our eyes off of the road as we make our way forward.

Let us not use our yoga to bypass hard realities being re-exposed from the well-worn highways of our history, no-not this time.

What road will you take? Will you take the path that will not allow you to miss the pulsing, churning truth of the diversity of our oneness?

Is it education? Is it reading books that challenge your view about an “other”? Is it listening and feeling someone share his or her experience of being Black, Woman, Muslim, Gay, or any “other” beyond your own experience without guilt or the need to interrupt? Is admitting that you don’t know how it is for her, him, them, or even simply me? Is it signaling, like a flashing red light, to a family member, friend, or co-worker who keeps telling that same “joke” about those people? Is it investigating how and where systemic and institutional privilege exists for you more than others? It it then using that very privilege to hold our institutions more accountable to our most marginalized citizens? Is it praying for your heart to be cracked open so that you might have space for “the other” without judgment, fear, or condemnation?

As yogis, we cannot bypass our reality by simplifying oneness to a singular experience.

We can no longer stay in our prescribed and “safe” lanes based off party lines, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Not challenging injustice, bigotry, hate, and untruths- even if it does not affect people “like” us will wreck us all.

In all of this though, we must pull over and rest before we get weary.

We need our energy to stay “woke “and present within the vessel of life- as we ride toward tomorrow, together.

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