A Letter to Myself. An Ode to Self-care.

 Dear Jamal,
First of all, calm down. What are you doing getting yourself all worked up about nothing? When things are out of your control, remember, they’re out of your control. Do your best in the moment to ground yourself, dig deep into self, and use that energy as fuel. If you don’t like something, change it. If a certain environment or group of people aren’t good for you, or helping you achieve your goals, cut them out!
You’re a stubborn Scorpio, so you think you have all the answers. There’s something you’re forgetting to do, though, in all this misery and darkness you’ve been hiding from the world… Take your own advice. MAKE A CHANGE. I mean, seriously, bro. What are you waiting for?! Be responsible in your decisions, of course, but you’re too young and full of inspiration to waste away in your current state. Go for it.
In the end, you have to remind yourself that you have a beyond supportive husband, family, and friends who would slay anyone who got in your way. Spend too much time pondering on the “what ifs” if you want, but you’ll only have yourself to blame if you stay here. You have a tendency to put others before yourself, but it is to your detriment most of the time.
You can’t be a man of the people if you’re not taking care of yourself. I charge you to make a change and to fight through these dark clouds you’ve been surfing. Look forward to brighter days, greater love, and more adventure than you can ever imagine. The time is now, Jamal. It’s your time.
With love,
Jamal
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Labor Day Meditation

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about how busy S and I have been. Okay, that’s still true, but I’m over it. Let’s talk a little bit about rising above stress and maintaining healthy zen levels.

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In the past weeks, I’ve been really focusing on working meditation back into my daily routine – and encouraging S to do the same. Most hear “meditation” and immediately think they have to sit on a mat and do hours of breathing exercises. That method is used by many – and a session can go as long or short as you wish – but isn’t the sole way to regain a calm sense of self.

 

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My morning started with some coffee and taking care of my houseplants. I have a collection of succulents and a couple bamboo clones that I’m slowly building up, and a couple of them needed repotting. Stepping away from my laptop and phone always gives me an instant boost of clarity and lightness – a moment to process whatever is on my mind at that moment – so getting my hands dirty really breathed life into my morning.

 

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Cleaning is a great opportunity to put on some music – or one of your favorite YouTubers, shout-out to Shameless Maya – and adds a visual aspect to the cleaning you’re processing in your mind. I decided to continue riding my zen wave with sweeping and cleaning our bamboo floors. Jimi Hendrix knows they needed a good cleaning and I felt as if a ton of weight had been lifted after I’d polished the dark surface.

 

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I ran out of incense to burn, but I never run out of candles. This maple hazelnut candle has the loft smelling so delicious. There’s one of my jet bead succulents in its new home on the coffee table.

 

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Having a clean space enhances your ability to maintain a clear head. The last thing you want when you’re coming home from work is a dirty bathroom, cluttered living room, and a gross kitchen. Today after I’d done a huge chunk of our regular chores, the sense of accomplishment amplified my relaxation to a point. When we cook on the grill tonight, the kitchen will be clean – there’d be no mound of lazy-dirty-dish-skeletons. When I come home from work tomorrow, the space will feel open and light; we’ll be able to breathe.

Now, it is high time for some wine…

Warm Vibes & Summer Nights <3

So, I’ve been on my Mother Earth kick for the past year or so. Let’s face it, some of the changes I’ve made in my daily skincare and mental health regimen are in LARGE part to YouTube influencer/Podcaster Hey Fran Hey. From oil cleansing, meditation, and other forms of natural remedies, I continue to experience the benefits of an improved daily life.

I was excited when she announced her collaboration with Spotify – on her podcast, The Friend Zone. Just listening to their conversation about music on that podcast is enough to know this playlist was going to be something serious. A big fan of supporting indie artists, Fran has loaded the 39-track playlist with a healthy dose of artist I had yet to experience. A new personal favorite artist of mine is Iman Omari, thanks to @HeyFrayHey.

If you have a Spotify account, please give this playlist a listen! It’s perfect for some mellow vibes right before bed, background music at a house party or cookout, and even better for a romantic dinner with that special someone. Fun, light, filled with spirit and emotion, Warm Vibes & Summer Nights is what you’re looking for.

Soul and light,

Our Father’s Anger, Our Lessons.

The men in our lives can shape us in ways we never realize. The recognition, and understanding, of the lessons their most honest energy projects, can strike as sharp as a burn to the finger. As a child you’re too young to recognize any damage adulthood has inflicted upon your father. As a teenager, you’re not allowed to comment on anything that is said between two adults. “Be seen, and not heard… Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to…” were regular instructions throughout my upbringing, and little did I know the effects of these instructions would only sharpen my understanding of my father’s unshared emotions.

In the world of adulthood, you tend to catch comments, expressions, and reactions of older members within the family; especially those of fathers.  My dad was an Army man with a tough exterior, social superpowers, and a strict confidence that ruled our household. He knew how to have fun, and we felt his love, even though we never really used the “love” word growing up. At the age of sixteen I watched him morph into another being. Divorce had blackened his insides, and bitterness flowed infinitely. Not knowing how to fully process this new man – a poisoned shadow that danced inside my father’s body – or his reasoning, I was forced to grow up and assumed that he was just setting a negative example for my siblings and I. We’re on good terms now, but it took us a while to get back to a settled place where we could begin to understand each other; although I still don’t get him all the time.

S’s father is a warm, honest, and gentle soul. I tried to offer him some of my hippy-dippy zen advice – after hearing enough complaints about something he and my mother-in-law had been left out of by his family – only to receive a sharp, and deeply planted response. “I don’t care to get over it.” My advice was to find a way to get over the issues he had with the family, for his own health. “Well, everyone handles things differently, I suppose. It definitely doesn’t help if no one is communicating” was my exit from the conversation. I know my boundaries, respect my S’s parents, and realize that you can’t help everyone, so I stopped responding to any opportunity to share my little bit of wisdom.  I still don’t have full details about what happened, but what was it that was causing him to hold on to that dark energy?

My dad is fifty years old, and S’s father is in his sixties. What I’ve learned from these two, completely different men, is more than I can fit into any closing paragraph. I’m only twenty-eight years old, and I know there are people out there that will say that I’m too young, and that I haven’t truly experienced life. Everyone has dark days, grey moments, and pitch-black thoughts in life at some point, and in mine, I’ve learned to let go. I search for the lesson in all of life’s curveballs and strikes, and try to move forward as positive as possible. Harnessing anger only turned me into someone I didn’t want to accept lived inside of me. The feeling was that of being stuck in quicksand with a speeding semi truck seconds away from barreling right through me; fear, uncertainty, and uncomfortable welcome. These gentlemen are a reminder to try. Try to accept, grow, and move forward. If happiness is faint, reward yourself in that happiness, and challenge yourself to gain more.