Lesson 15: Busy & Balance is Bullshit—A Binary Breakthrough

You clicked and read the article giving you five steps to balance, outlines the benefits of achieving balance or how to manifest balance in your life. You’re craving it now more than ever that we’re amidst the “busiest time of year!” Yet, here’s my question…

When is it not a busy time of year?

Stick with me here. As an educator and one who has never left the field of education, there’s the Back-2-School craze, the Holidaze, then the countdown to Spring Break and state testing, and the big crescendo into the long-awaited break—Summer. Now imagine for a minute, the ease of long summer nights, pool or beach time, and family adventure. Aww…

Now, back to the reality of the next series of holidays: Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and then the New Year. Let’s just say, it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of busy, especially since our society has a narrative around “busy” as social status. But let me let you in on a little secret…

It’s all bullshit. And, here’s why…

Reason #1: You get to choose.

Each of us has a choice. We get to choose. You have the power to say, “no.”

Did you notice an internal reaction when you read that last line? You’re not alone, I did too.

Here’s the thing to establish life-affirming boundaries requires a commitment to affirming what’s best for you and your family, especially during the holiday season. And often, the result of saying, “no” is not without the consequences of guilt and shame that then lead to the fear of inadequacy or worse FOMO.

For example, when you get that holiday invite, there’s no written rule that says you have to respond immediately. That’s your younger self-experiencing FOMO. You have a kid now, maybe, and even if you don’t, think about it, weigh out your options. By doing so, doesn’t mean you don’t love the person, doesn’t mean you don’t want to go,

just means you’re taking care of yourself and what you need. See it has an invitation, to be honest with yourself and look big picture look at your schedule.

I will say from recent experience that the kiddo gives us a lot of good reasons to say no because so much is out of our control: changes in naptime, not sleeping that the night before, or the unexpected sickness that hit us last week and is now spreading through the family.

As a parent, I have quickly become open to the idea that the plan is going to change at some point in the day. So, scheduling things make it somewhat challenging for changing plans. And of course, there’s always the events you’re good at scheduling like family vacations. In fact, we already have a tentative plan for our travels in Summer 2018. I digress…

The point is that in these intentional moments of wanting to see your community in the hustle and bustle you still get to choose. Yes, YOU get to choose! You get to choose to instead experience the JOMO (joy of missing out). So, what are you waiting for ‍♀️

Reason #2: Life is rarely equal.

When I think of balance, especially when in opposition to busy, equal measure is what first comes to mind. Being able to put both feet (or wheels) on the ground. So, is balance simply being grounded? Or is it more liken to the scales of justice and the desire to make them equal.

Since becoming a parent, I don’t often feel the scales are even in this life area. There are some weeks where it’s more of a juggle and that’s okay because I know it’s not always going to be that way because just like mama ocean, it’s an ebb and flow. As such, I see balance as more of a juggle. And, sometimes the juggle feels like you’re at the circus and things are going perfectly and other times, it falls flat and you drop a ball and it feels more like a struggle.

I think that juggle is the reality of balance. A reminder of a central thread of my work—intersectionality. At the intersection of our lives is the juggling of our choices. It’s in these moments that illuminate our superpowers.  

We all have cultural superpowers. It’s in examining our identity and exploring the assets that come together at the intersection that make us uniquely us to change the world and bring a bit more equanimity to our lives.

Want to discover your cultural superpowers?

Click here for the Intentional Justice™ Identity Activity to reveal yours!

Reason #3: Redefining Balance

As this post came to life and I pondered my relationship to balance, I shared this image and post on my @mamajlove1 IG feed…

I’m not a huge fan of the word balance either @katenorthrup because quite frankly it feels like bullshit. One’s life is rarely like the scales of justice ⚖️

That’s where Intentional Justice™ comes in as we take bite-sized + deliberate daily action today, tomorrow and EVERY (damn) day!



But this definition that @sadielincoln @barre3 founder + mamapreneur shares on the Kate & Mike Show podcast this week really resonated and made me feel like maybe I could welcome the word back into my life. (Ditto 💕)

Because some nights “balance” (based on the definition above) looks like falling asleep with JJ and watchin’ my new guilty TV pleasure, Queen Sugar. Other nights, it’s staying up when the rest of the house is asleep to keep fueling my writing dreams.

As I began to embrace this new definition of balance, I also came across my own attempt to redefine the term 7 years ago as I mapped out my New Year’s Goals. Balance is what I aimed to achieve. While no notes were written on its general definition, the acronym—B.A.L.A.N.C.E.—gave me permission is embrace my own dose of balance on my own terms. Here’s the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. mantra: 


  • Breathe
  • Awareness
  • Love
  • Acceptance
  • Notice
  • Compassionate
  • Energy

I invite you to try it on and see how it works for you!

Breaking Down the Binary: Busy & Balance

Our world is filled with binaries, especially as it relates to social identity.

Black and white. Male and female. Boy and girl. Gay and straight.

Our world is set up as a system of binaries.

We get to choose. See Reason #1. Because it’s the bite-size and deliberate action we take everyday that matters. It matters because this is how we find Justice in our life. By making the small choices and knowing they add-up to something bigger.

Will you choose to get caught in the binary? Or choose to break free?

Good versus evil or do we see the beauty in the continuum. Do we see the magic in the mundane choices? Although mundane, those important moments. The moments that matter. The magical moments that matter.

So, yeah, part of breaking down the binary is breaking through the binary to build bridges.

What if time turns out to be our most valuable resource to bridge our dreams and desires as women?

While our relationship with time and sleep (see Lesson 13: Sleep is the Best Medicine) are doses of soul medicine (see Lesson 14: Find Your Soul Medicine)—an act of experience of connecting to our inner knowing. With this preface of time and sleep, I share a quote from a poignant Ted Talk from TEDWomen 2016: It’s Time

None of us has time to sleep — we need to be woke as hell.” ~Mia Birdsong.

Can I get a heck yes! And here’s the link to the entire talk…


Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now I turn it back to you as I invite you to ponder:

  • What has been keeping YOU woke at night?
  • Do you believe busy is a mindset?
  • Is balance possible or “attainable”? Or who cares?

🗣 Sound off in the comments below👇🏽

Now Choose Your Own Adventure

I want to give you the opportunity to Choose Your Own Adventure…

I am currently working on two paths of content around my core concept of Intentional Justice™—bite-size and deliberate daily action today tomorrow and every day. You can choose to receive Mama J’

Intentional Justice Identity Activities & Guide


Get on the “First to Know List” for

The Soul-Medicine Sisterhood Collective

launching April 2018

Wanna know if this is for YOU?! Keep reading…


The virtual collective (with in-person options throughout the year) is intended to feed your soul for the Lovelution. This space is for the incredibly passionate female and mama* warriors who are fighting for love, liberation, and freedom at the intersections of our very own front porch/door.

Giving ourselves permission to change the narrative through bite-sized and deliberate daily action.

Doing so is about revolutionary love during the injustice that we currently live while raising our voices to break open the white supremacist capitalist imperialist narrative. Thanks bell hooks for this framing! 

The Soul-Medicine Sisterhood is about tapping into what self-care means for you and ultimately how you want to feed your soul. It’s about how you want to feel—mentally, physically, and spiritually.  

Does this sound like your cup of tea or joe? 

⇓ Add your name and email to the First to Know List” ⇓


Lesson 14: Find Your Soul-Medicine ✨

♥ Part of the Series 35 Lessons at 35 Years of Life

With a commitment for bite-sized + deliberate action today, tomorrow, and every day, I keep putting one foot in front of the other to create what I believe in—Intentional Justice

Soul Medicine (v.)

 ✨ an experience or action to be present with your essence or inner knowing ✨


As I shared in Lesson 11: You are the Mama (Guardian) of Your Soul, the “simple act to try something new led to my first commitment to my own personal dose of soul medicine.”

Acupuncture :: my first dose of soul medicine

A mind, body, and soul connection similar to that of being on the basketball court, my first love and physical soul medicine. Unlike basketball, acupuncture is an opportunity to lie still and simply listen. Listen to the swirling wonder in my thoughts, a curiosity to hone-in on the themes rising up and asking to have a seat at the table. Then a stillness that comes from simply noticing. Scanning the mind and body for what’s asking to be heard.

This is how I experience acupuncture—a tool to my inner knowing. Now let me be clear when I began this journey, this was not what I imagined experiencing. Instead, I had a goal for a specific outcome—”a dream to slowly and methodically decrease my bipolar medication because one thing was for certain–I did not want that medicine in my body when I conceived.” (shared in Lesson 11)

That’s the “quality of consciousness” I brought to this action. As shared in Oprah’s new book, The Wisdom of Sundays,

An intention is a quality of consciousness that you bring to an action. ~Gary Zukav

While I have unconsciously lived this wisdom for years, it wasn’t until I began noticing a theme being reflected back to me—the intentionality I bring to everything I do—that my goals shifted to intentions.

Intentional Justice™ IS…

…Your Personal Soul Medicine

Intention is everything. Goals are attainable.

Only YOU know the quality of your consciousness.

This, the heart of Intentional Justice™—bite-sized + deliberate daily action today, tomorrow, every day!

The ironic thing is that I did not set out intending to embark on my own personal journey of seeking justice. It simply began with love, leadership, and trusting my vision for becoming a mama. In doing so, I found the ideal dose of soul medicine to Love Myself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice

My Current Soul Medicine

Let me count all the ways I love to feed by heart and soul. Here are just a handful of my favs…

  • Writing
  • Walking the dog
  • QT with my daughter and wife (together and 1-on-1)
  • Scandal or Empire
  • Laughter
  • Dancing
  • The sun
  • Organic + whole-as-possible yummy food with libation as a bonus!
  • Family adventures

The later, family adventure is what resets me for The Lovelution as I continue to seek Intentional Justice™ (bite-sized + deliberate action) in my daily life when things can feel like a struggle in the juggle. 

From our recent November adventures…


This family adventure candid sums up my “sol” medicine

Day of Gratitude

Thanksgiving 2017

Family Tradition: Hiking

Family Tradition: Hiking

Listening to Your Heart

We all need a reason to come home…

A place to be our authentic self or at the very least to put our best foot forward as we take bite-sized + deliberate action to feed our souls.

  • What if, all you needed was space to listen to your heart?
  • What if, you were your own fuel?
  • What if, you committed to improving the quality of your consciousness by investing in YOU?

There’s no need to keep wondering because I’m answering the call I felt nearly 5 years ago when I set a powerful intention to listen to my heart about how I wanted to feel.

I’m thrilled to share that I’m in the process of creating The Soul-Medicine Sisterhood. A virtual collective that feeds your soul for The Lovelution—a journey to self to lead with love + revolution in your life + career + community. This is how we achieve justice in our lives, or better yet Intentional Justice™ Because…

We all need a reason to come home…

A place to love ourselves the way we dream and deserve.

This collective will invite you on a monthly journey to tap into your soul medicine by listening and tapping into your own cycle cypher: an invitation to name your Truth, claim your power through the intersectionality of your identity, and accountability to take action in releasing, living, and relearning.

This activates your inner knowing allowing yourself to G R O W as you…

Listen, Love, and Live your Call to Action.

 ✨ Igniting your Own Intentional Justice 

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Does the Soul-Medicine Sisterhood sound like your cup of tea or brew or cocktail?

Click here to have your name added to the list of “First to Know” as I share details about this new offering in 2018.

Now it’s your turn, I now invite YOU to consider…

  • What feeds your soul?
  • How does this Soul Medicine assist you in tapping into your inner knowing?
  • What resonates with you when you consider the “Soul Medicine” in your life?

👇Please share your thoughts below in the comments 👇

It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY!

In lovelution 💕


Join the Soul-Medicine Sisterhood…

⇓“First to Know” List⇓  

Mama J’s monthly Lovegram, which includes insights, a roundup of these posts,  and ways to take bite-sized + deliberate daily action directly to your inbox!

⇓Ready for Intentional Justice™ in Your Life?! ⇓


Lesson 13: Riding the Wave—Trust & Surrender 🌊✨🌊

Riding the wave…

As I flow with mama ocean

It’s an invitation to reset

There’s nothing like it

She calls to let go…


As I emerge from the undertow of my third rotation around the sun as a mama celebrating my rebirth and the birth of my daughter, Jaylin, the surge of downloads feels familiar. My creative juices as I birth what I dreamed of 3 years ago, when the stage was truly being set. While I can recount the baby steps before, all changed in an insist when my water broke on our living room floor. When hours before we were at an Oprah & Friends weekend manifesting our vision of the “Life You Want.”

img_1947In the first installment of my birth story, Live The Life You Want Series || Part 1: Our Then ❤ Nearing our Due Date, I shared the inspiring and transformational 48-hours leading up to the start of my daughter and me’s birth story. Sadly, I got caught in the undertow of being a new mama and dropped the ball on sharing the rest of the series as I envision despite the pieces drafted. All this is to say that I continue to work on a version of my daughter and me’s birth story to capture the beauty of its unfolding. As I do, what remains my unwavering Truth is the dance to trust and surrender because this life and journey of Intentional Justice is truly about riding the wave 🌊

The Birth of 3 Essential Qs

  1. How do you ride the wave?
  2. Where does trust come in?
  3. When are you able to surrender to the rhythm that is both within and outside of your control?

These are the essential questions I have been unintentionally exploring during the last 3-5 years. Or at the very least, “Riding the Wave” is the metaphor of how I have experienced the last 3-5 years in many ways. Every time I think the starting point for my personal Lovelution journey was the day Jaylin arrived earthside on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. The reality is that it began much earlier than that Fall day.

The day we conceived? No. Earlier than that. The day you decided to start trying to conceive. No. Earlier than that. So, when did it begin?

The day that set me on my path was 14 years ago on Thursday, October 9, 2003, I had left IAD for BHM heading to the then AAHPERD Student Leadership Conference. The kindling for the lovelution that was to ignite. It was at a high ropes course in Jackson’s Gap, AL that my now wife and I would become trust-building partners. While this was the kindling for our love story, for the brevity of this post, I’ll simply say, “And, the rest is history!” 😉

However, what’s SO clear now is this experience in which love and leadership would collide creating a revolution in my life. I still pinch myself that this is how I / we found one another and the spark of our love. At the heart of this journey to find revolutionary love that would then ignite our dreams to become moms is a story all about trusting (myself and then my wife) and surrendering to a process.

It’s only now that after years of inner personal development work for which I can name and claim the identity of a love leader riding the waves of this beautiful, messy life. And with each day, I get clearer on what change and uncertainty mean in the everyday. This reality of riding the wave of Justice is also at the heart of Intentional Justice™—bite-sized + deliberate daily action—a term I conceptualized when it was reflected back to I the intentionality I put towards my life.

Ride the Wave 🌊 A Contraction Mantra

Ride the Wave. This was the simple and powerful mantra my midwife-in-training provided as she rocked her Angela Davis T and the rest of the team slept in anticipation of what would later unfold over the next 24+ hours (the power of not knowing the end result).

As I began to move into the depth of my animal state, it made perfect sense. Ride the wave.

Letting what I was feeling wash over and through me as I gave myself permission to open up. Ride the wave.

I swaying and rolling my hips on a birth ball. Ride the wave.

It was here that I first considered what it truly meant to sit on top of a wave. To experience crescendo, reaching the climax of the contraction that felt more intense than the one before. Far from pleasurable, in fact, taking my breath away and inviting I to trust + surrender. Ride the wave.

This climax signaled that I had reached the apex of the opening and that my body was inviting me to ride the wave down to then rest. This is when I learned to fall asleep during contractions. A skill I perfected by births end. Another opportunity to trust + surrender to what was to come. Ride the wave.

3 Years Later: Here’s what I know…

The stories we tell ourselves are our perceptions of our subjective reality.

Add another person, another character, another human being, and your perception can shift like a wave with the added perspective.


Here’ the perspective I shared on the day after celebrating our BIRTH-day…

3 Years of Motherhood ‼️

It’s feels like I’m crossing a threshold…

Out of the fog and back into the light 🌟

My baby is no longer such…

Now a courageously BOLD 3 year old 👧🏽

I no longer a new mama…

Confident in the dance to trust + surrender…

I’ve got this! It’s all about riding the wave 🌊


This is what I know about riding the wave: when you make love infused choices, it leads to powerful intentions.

Recently, I found myself navigating the swell of gratitude for restorative sleep and waking up to how I wanted to feel on this particular day. I had met my ideal amount, 10-10.5 hours, and I could feel the difference. It felt good considering the night before I had only gotten 4.5 hours at best and I knew the hard Truth that I had just shared in Lesson 12: Sleep is the Best Medicine that I had chosen to push through instead of letting go. However, I was unable to fight the fire I felt inside to share over taking care of myself, which is at the heart of my personal and biz mantra to Love Yourself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice

Does that make me a failure? Or a hypocrite? I chose to think, “No way!” I am simply human.

This is a layer of the wave. Owning that you can hold a belief or idea and know that you’re off the mark from achieving or fully living that ideal reality. The wave is a reminder of the transition. That it takes repetition to understand the rhythm around you and most importantly, the rhythm of your soul.

This is the clarity I gained when I embraced my own personal Lovelution: A Mindset Shift. As I shared 3 years ago,

What began as the traditional tasks of “nesting” (e.g. reorganizing closets and space to make room for the newest member of our family) has become clearing out the emotional and psychological “clutter” that are associated with the various dimensions of both my personal and social identity. This is where the raw emotions of self-doubt, hurt, resistance, abandonment, and pain have surfaced leaving me to wonder if I’m truly cut out for motherhood and/or entrepreneurship.

Fast forward to now, I can unequivocally say that this mindset shift along with the groundwork that came before was the mental preparation I needed to ground me in riding the various waves I’ve risen during the last 36 months and beyond.

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now it’s your turn, as I now invite YOU to consider 3 Essential Qs of Riding the Wave:

  • How do you ride the wave?
  • Where does trust come in?
  • When are you able to surrender to the rhythm that is both within and outside of your control?

👇Please share your thoughts below in the comments 👇

It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY!

In lovelution 💕

⇓ Join the Lovelution & Receive⇓

Mama J’s monthly Lovegram, which includes insights, a roundup of these posts, and ways to take bite-sized + deliberate daily action directly to your inbox!

⇓Ready for Intentional Justice™ in Your Life?! ⇓

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