Posts In: personal truth

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.

Beginning again

June 6, 2016

Yesterday I taught my first CHILLshop yoga session since Oye’s birth.

A month ago I believed no one would come to yesterday’s session because no one would be interested, because who wants to rest and be still, because I needed to work on my visibility and messaging, because I’d been gone on maternity leave—-because because (I was on a maddening hamster wheel)

Two weeks ago I was anxious and convinced that I should forget the whole CHILL thing. It can’t be photographed, ain’t fancy, and will not get my or your abs together.

One week ago I didn’t know if I could show up and hold space for others because generally my heart, head, and hands are over flowing with baby rolls, spit, and mini human stuff these days.

The Saturday before I reviewed the plans and sequences I’d created and felt surprisingly unprepared.

The morning of I felt sick.

The hour before, I was sweating in an air-conditioned room as me, Jemar, and Oye set up the practice space at evolation yoga atlanta.

15 minutes before I lost my voice and started silently praying.

10 minutes before I sat outside staring at my notes and plans.

5 minutes before I carefully tucked my notes away and continued to pray.

1 minute before I scrapped my well-made plans and pushed my notes aside. They were a distraction.

And so I began. I opened my mouth and really, nothing came out.

I paused. Inhaled. the room exhaled.
Grace.

Grace tiptoed in and sat herself right up on my mat . She held me+my doubt. She brought with her a humble knowing- all of that became my voice.

so I began again with the next breath.

13 years into practicing yoga, 9 years into teaching and— 3 months away from all of that.

I am not who I was. She cannot return. So I begin, again. building- from the mud up again.

Thank you. to every single person who showed up yesterday.
As I held space for you, you held space for me to be muddy and sit with doubt, knowing, reverence and humility for this- a new beginning.

Yesterday, your presence whispered Amazing Grace to me.

Giving birth

April 7, 2016

He’s here! Me and Jemar’s son, Oyetunde Nasir Raheem arrived Saturday April 2, 2016 at 5:37am.

Our birthing time/labor was yoga in the most profound sense. Lots of yin and yang. Lots of fire and water. Sound and silence. Some CHILL. Plenty FIERCE.

Clearly every birth experience is different. For me, the newness that is my son’s life, that is my life, that is NOW, would not emerge until I went all the way IN.

I had to go IN to doors, crawl through barred windows, and scrape against deep caverned walls within my body, mind, heart, and soul to bring NOW about.

I had to go IN
dark crevices (contract /down)
expansive light (open/up)

For me to get to NOW and rest in it, I had to go through.

Going in, I came out with a tangible being, my son, Oye.

AND with this truth sewn into the red clay fabric of my cells:
No matter what task is before you. No matter what course – murky or luminous- must be traversed. no matter what valley must be staggered under. no matter what mountaintop stares you down. no matter the power of the wind battering against your face. the messy kiss of sun against your head. Or the howl of trees bending against your back. No matter if you are barefoot or well heeled on your path,

Own it. Walk it. It belongs to you. You belong to it.
No matter how dusky the morning or bright the night, no matter how strange the landscape becomes as you travel
You cannot just quit. You cannot just leave.

The only exit is to fully enter the passageway of NOW, be with one small contraction/expansion- one wild, feeble, loud, or silent step at a time.

Because THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

Nothing is something

March 20, 2016

I have a space on my retreat registration form where those registering can write additional comments, thoughts, or things they want me to know.

One of the registrants wrote this:
“I’m so glad you listened to your calling and bless others every day with what you do! You have no idea how much your classes have helped me through one of the most difficult and transitional times in my life! I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. But most of all, I’ve changed in your classes. For that, I am truly grateful.”

I deeply appreciate this student’s message and her acknowledgement of my work as “listening to the call.”

Listening is challenging. The longer I listen, the more subtle nuisances I discern in the call. Listening to “the call” continually asks me to go against the grain, to measure the grain, to soften the grain, to refine. Refinement is not big. It’s attuning. It’s inner alignment.

It’s not something I can whip out and show you on here. It’s not “insta”, though it is happening now. Sometimes, it even looks like nothing.

Like in restorative yoga… I look like I am doing nothing, but I am tuning in. I am listening. Is that something?

I don’t practice asana every day any more.
Lately meditation has been me staring at the dark brown lines that have traced their way across my belly to my heart over the last 9.5 months.
I lost my mala beads a long time ago.
I chant and I cuss. (Sometimes at the same time) I am not vegan. I haven’t attempted headstand in two years, though I practice tadasana, standing firmly on my own two feet everyday.

Right now, my personal practice is holding space for myself to be broken and whole, raw and undone, to feel the constraints and expansiveness of my being human in the most simple shapes and ways- on and off the mat. Sometimes my practice is to do nothing but notice.

Since that is my personal practice, this has shown up powerfully in my teaching over the past year.

I’ve been known to say less than 100 words… almost nothing in a yin or restorative class. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I am listening and hear that my students’ voices, experiences, and truths are rising up in the form of laughter, tears, and prayers. I trust that their listening into those moments communicates beyond anything I might say.

This student’s message affirmed what I’ve been hearing on this side of the call these days:

I do not have to fill up every single space and gap for myself or students with words, philosophy, music, “challenging” poses etc (I love all that for sure, sometimes I know it’s just filler though)

Holding space can be plenty.

AND a quiet seat in the class is an asana that I MUST practice as a teacher, because what seems like nothing can lead to so much of something.

the look

March 11, 2016

Being with child I have become ACUTELY aware of how often people comment on my looks and women’s looks/bodies in general. I even had to ask my husband do people comment on his looks/body multiple times a day. He said “uh, no, hardly ever.”

Being a yoga teacher and engaging with people’s bodies as my own body has been rapidly growing is interesting to say the least. (more on that later later)

My new look has been described as huge, fluffy, “wowzers”, “increasingly heavy”, and some other funny- side ways- “are you really talking to me right now” type things.

It has also been described as Glowing. Radiant. Pretty. Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful.
Beautiful is so beautiful, right?

Just now, I came across these words that moved close to my heart and captures some of what I think “gets” me with the constant commentary on my\women’s looks/bodies even when it’s something as beautiful as beautiful:

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that” – rupi kaur

Being with child is beautiful. the kind deeper than looks. true.

It is also courageous. powerful. untaming. soulful.transforming.liberating.

a ritual.a passage.

It is REAL.

Womenfolk- mamas-to-be and such.

we don’t need anyone’s commentary on our bodies (not even our own)
but if one must go there and say anything.

Real.

REAL. is the word.
It’s the look.

Mother- Enuffness

March 3, 2016

Being big-bellied makes me sensitive.
or perhaps the word is (hyper) aware.

Whoa. Lately.

How I feel the subtle nuisanced ways that folk try to convince women that if we can’t do it all, we aren’t valuable. And that we should want to do it ALL. And we should want to have it ALL.
ALL being defined by some intangible, yet evident mob like force that has a clever PR person, maybe has written books, hosts a popular podcast or blog
Or sits like a poorly selected jury- just waiting- to convict us of not trying enough or being enough of a woman if we:
Can have children or not
Choose to have kids or not

If we do then the propagators of ALL begin to furiously gather evidence to determine our
“ MOTHER ENUFF-ness” based off whether or not we:
Work and hustle until the very minute our birthing time comes
Take time off or scale back on work before our birthing day
Admit to having aches and pains, new ones daily or not
Get big anywhere other than our bellies
Gain less than 25 pounds
Gain more than 40 pounds
Voice how powerful we feel in our “growing a human state”
Voice how vulnerable we feel in our “growing a human state”
The answer to any question is “I don’t know”
Show up like… we know it all
Trust the process/ doubt the process
Have “natural” birth/ Schedule a C-section for emergent or personal reasons
Take our big-bellied selves out and dance like no one is watching/ Become homebodies because we feel like everyone is watching
Answer the phone/ don’t answer the phone

Breast-feed/Don’t breast-feed
Want/ need to stay at home after baby comes
Want to/ or need to go back to work immediately after baby comes
Don’t return to a “snatched” up waist and face and hair… like yesterday
Look “too good” to have just popped one out like… today.
Cosleep/ don’t cosleep
Don’t ask for help/ do ask for help
Hire help/ can’t afford to hire help
Use pampers/ Use clothe diapers
Eat frozen foods for weeks on end
Conjure up gourmet meals (somehow) daily
Work out before the 6-week “wait” period is up
Don’t work out…or even consider it for …um…16 months post birth
Don’t turn on the “out of office” messenger
Forget to return the email while we are on “leave”

From what I am gathering what defines ALL-ness “out there” goes on and on and is quite contradicting. Womenfolk, this “jury” ain’t our peers anyway. (if they are, they’ve internalized some madness)

In here and today I “middle finger mudra” ALL in the name of bowing to some.
I will clean some. I will make some messes.
I will laugh some. I will cry some.
I will respond to some emails.
I will decide to let go of some work.
I will hold on to some work.
I will rest some.
I will disappoint someone
I will inspire someone.

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