In the past three-ish years I have experienced many new beginnings and starts:

Becoming a mama

Opening a yoga studio

Buying a new home

Co-Designing and writing a Yoga Teacher Training

Leading a first Yoga Teacher Training

Launched Starshine & Clay Yoga Retreats for Women of Color

Led six sold out yoga retreats

Launched Held Mentor Program

Cultivated a continuing education program at SCW

I have experienced endings and losses:

The death of my father

The loss of my brother and friend Richard

Walking with a loved one through an aggressive cancer

A business breakup and leadership restructuring at Sacred Chill

Selling my first home

Rookie business mistakes that costs thousands that I didn’t have at the time

And there’s more.

I know that I am the one that experienced all of these beginnings and endings, and yet- in the mothering and creating, I hadn’t fully registered the ALLness of it.

In my mind I was like… whew… yeah. It’s been a lot. It’s real life and adulting though? Right?

And then a friend said to me “Octavia—it hasn’t been one ending or one new beginning in a short amount of time— it’s been SEVERAL. You have the physical rest thing down. You rest your body. And now, what about your heart and emotions?”

My inner response- “ What about my heart and emotions? Girl, we good.”

I literally come from a woman, my mama, who could be in the darkest moments of her life and still be walking, working, creating, singing, praising God, and making a way for all of us.

And she’d often do ALL of that without mumbling a word to anyone about any of it.

I Inherited that capacity to keep on keepin’ on. To not skip a beat, even when the music takes a drastic turn.

What did that capacity cost my mama in her own humanity? And what does it cost me?

Yet and still, could I exist in my wholeness right now, if she’d been broken under the lash of poverty, patriarchy, and racism? Would I exist right now, without that inheritance?

I don’t know that anyone ever asked my mama, “What about your heart and emotions?”

To the warrior woman I come from. To the priestess within her that refused to die. To the survivor, I kneel at a new altar. 

At this altar, it is her strength that allows me the reckoning with my own softness. Now.

It is the memory of her daily grand rise up and grit that affords me the possibility of laying down and listening to amazing grace slowly, now.

I kneel in front of a new altar in honor of my heart, emotions, and my mamas and her mamas.

In that place I lay down, and I don’t sleep. I awaken. I  lay there and listen to the river of all time running through me. I listen to tears. Ancient mourning songs. I pray. I feel.  I open to another possibility. One that allows me and her to be hurricane strong and soft like june rain at the same time.

I can be soft and strong at the same time.

Mama, you can too.