Category: Life Lessons (page 1 of 6)

Lesson 12: Sometimes Sleep is the Best Medicine

Sleep. A daily event…

I look forward to each night when my eyes get heavy. Hands down my go-to daily medicine. With the time falling back this week, I have found myself yearning for more sleep.

I have always been a good sleeper. In fact, I could be sleepin’ now. Instead, I choose to write. After a full day of mama-ing (yes, I’m using my status of a mama as a verb!), it’s time for my own soul medicine—writing.

As I shared in Lesson 11: You are the Mama (Guardian) of Your Soul, we each experience what feeds our “soul to be present with our essence and inner knowing” differently. This is what I call Soul Medicine.

While sleep has been a lifelong friend, I’m curious…

When Do You Know It’s Time to Do Less & Rest?

Whether it seems like a choice or not, we do get to choose: how much sleep will we get each night?

My sweet spot is 8-9 hours. Before having a kiddo, I’d say it was more like 10-12 hours. While I’d rarely get the latter, I do remember thinking that catching up on sleep during the weekends was actually a thing.

Now with a kiddo that sleeps through the night more often than less, my sweet spot is beginning to happen more and more. With this new reality, I’m often left pondering on the nights I’m not on bedtime duty…

Is what I want to do more important than a good night of sleep?

Often, the answer is “no” because at 35 I’ve learned the powerful and counter-intuitive lesson that it’s better to start fresh than push through.

Which is why…

Sleep is My Never-Fail Invitation to Reset

While I can own that each day is not promised, what is promised is that each day is a new beginning, a fresh start. Easier said than done when you don’t go to bed mad or sad. The latter has historically been harder for I because sadness shows up in many forms.

On the worst days, when it feels hopeless and everything is out of my control, sleep saves the day. Because on these days, sleep feels like the only solution. And, in doing so, when you wake up it’s like an automatic do-over.

Then the invitation feels like the lottery when we Fall back gaining an hour versus an evil trick when we Spring forward and loss an hour. Which has been wondering yet again…

Why do we still have Daylight Savings?

At the heart of the matter, it’s about maximizing daylight in an effort to conserve energy. After a quick google search, I learned that “Today, about 40% of countries worldwide use it to make better use of daylight and to conserve energy” (courtesy of TimeandDate.com’s History of Daylight Savings Time),

As I write the first draft of this post, it’s the eve of returning to Standard Time. One of my favorite nights of the year. The evening when time literally stops and falls back an hour. When we are graced with an extra hour if we live in a state that recognizes this tradition of bending time.

Then, my daughter woke up at 5:30 am. And, I was reminded that I’m the mama of a toddler who wakes up based on her internal clock and when it’s ready to rise not the new time on some clock. In Jaylin’s case, that meant waking up at 5:30 am.

Hmm…maybe my love for this day will return when Jaylin’s a teenager? Until then, I’ll hold onto the Truth that no matter what the clock says, sleep is the best medicine.

Not Convinced Sleep is the Best Free Gift You Can Give Yourself

Don’t just take it from me…

Listen to the above podcast interview with Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, in which she likens our society glamorizing sleep-deprivation to that of smoking in the 1950s and 60s. Arianna proclaims that,

“We need to get to the point where parading your sleep deprivation like a badge of honor is stigmatized.”

As one who unintentionally lived life without sleep for a full 24 hours (thanks la luna) last week, let me be the first say, no badge of honor here. Instead, a yearning for what was missed. In fact, since the time changed, sleep and early to bed sleep has called my name. While I still don’t believe you can “catch-up” on sleep, I do believe that sleep has been my friend.

And, this week my friend has kindly ask that I ease up on the late-night writing and instead simply sleep 😴

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

Now, it’s your turn. I invite YOU to consider:

  • How much sleep do you need each night?
  • What do you love about the daily act of sleeping?
  • Does sleep feel like a dose of medicine to you? Why or why not?

👇Please share your thoughts below in the comments 👇

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

In lovelution 💕

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Lesson 11: You are the Mama (Guardian) of Your Soul

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

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

♥   ♥   ♥

Have you ever considered that you are your soul’s keeper?

The holder of your essence, the magic composition that is you.

The one who can open you up to your uniquely you inner knowing.

The one you can depend on, who will hold your heart on the darkest nights.

The one who can teach you, how to walk your own path.

The guardian of your soul.

♥   ♥   ♥

As I shared in Lesson 10: Identity is Nurtured, it has taken the first half of my 30s to learn that we/I am the guardian of my soul. To learn this lesson, it was my job and mine alone. In fact, it’s each of our jobs to learn how to love ourselves. No one else’s.

While most of us can say, or at least we hope, came into the world loved, we often spend a lifetime journeying home to what’s been inside of us all along. This is to say regardless of our experience with love as a child, it’s our job to uncover for ourselves what makes us tick, what makes us whole, and how we can love, nurture, and accept who we are from the inside out.

To choose to lead with our identity front and center. Yet, first, this needed to happen (or least it did for I)…

Step 1: Name Your Inner Critic

The very first business workshop I attended was when I learned of the concept that we each have an inner critic. The voice (or choir, which is often the case) that calls for perfection to meeting others expectations, as well as our own and pushes our buttons like only someone who knows you best can.

That’s why I think it’s essential that to love ourselves the way we dream and deserve that we must first name the voice of perfection that’s being that gossipy group of critics. Your personal panel of pundits. A representative caucus of all the commentators, backseat drivers, and judges that tap into your fear and countless rejection you’ve experienced in your lifetime.

Yolanda was my first named critic, Yo-Yo for short because that’s how she makes me feel. There’s a lot I could say about her, like any dear friend in terms of the good, bad and ugly. I’ll focus on the good, right now. Yo-Yo is currently on vacay. Yep, you read that right. Her antics got so out of control that I informed her that I would buy her a one-way airplane ticket to anywhere in the world. This permission slip for my soul made it easy to then move to…

Step 2: Self-Compassion is an Act of Self-Love

In my own journey of learning to love myself, I can recall countless times when I allowed my inner critic, Yo-Yo to be my decision-maker. As Adichie shares in her new book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, “‘Allow’ is a troubling word. ‘Allow’ is about power.” That said, I can clearly see now because hindsight is 20/20, right?

I had given Yo-Yo permission to take the wheel. With Yo-Yo in the driver’s seat, I then found myself striving for perfection, someone else’s way, or being harder on myself than those who love me most would EVER be. In January 2013, when I began exploring how I wanted to feel instead of creating more lists of what I wanted to accomplish, compassion was one of the many words that I explored.

What began as an experience of feeling “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it,” which makes sense I am an ENFJ, “The Giver,” soon became a dance of doing so for myself, for my heart, for the 3-year-old inside of me as I watch my own almost 3-year-old daughter. This is why I believe self-compassion is an act of love. Because I needed to learn how to give this to myself like I have for all those I love.

Step 3: Self-Care is a MUST (especially when healing)

In my early 20s, I believed self-care was pampering. A massage, mani/pedi, or facial. You know, a spa day?

My relationship to self-care began when my wife and I marked the beginning of our family conception journey. It began with acupuncture to aid with my intense periods with 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. This simple act to try something new led to my first commitment to my own personal dose of…

Soul Medicine:   an act or experience that feeds your soul to be present with your essence and inner knowing

Because as Audre Lorde reminds us…

Radical Self-Care is Justice

When I was reminded of this quote for one of my favorite writers, I exclaimed a big Hell YES! This!

Just a reminder I needed that a daily dose of self-preservation is a MUST!  radical Act is no more than bite-sized + deliberate daily action towards the life you dream and deserve.

Now, I recognize that “It’s a Journey, Not a Race” that “Identity is Nurtured” as I’ve embraced the reality that “Coming Out is Not a One Time Event.” As a result of my own journey to Love Myself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice™ this is why I have created this…

Mama J’s Top 5 Restorative Practices: In 5 Minutes or Less…

This is the type of soul medicine that gives YOU permission to be the mama of your soul in our ever-changing 24-hour news and notification cycle. I invite you to try 1 or all 5 in the week ahead to restore andLove Myself like a Mother! with Intentional Justice

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

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

  • What wave are you riding on your journey of self-love?
  • How do you practice radical self-care?
  • Which 5 minute or less restorative practice will you try?

👇 Share your intention for today or the week ahead 👇

It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY 👣✨🌈

In lovelution 💕

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Wanna Join the Lovelution?!

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

Lesson 10: Identity is Nurtured

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

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


Simply put, my identity has felt under attack.

Not in the personal struggle, owning my Truth kind of way. Instead by the very leaders who took an oath to protect my freedoms and uphold our vision of democracy as we respond to ever-changing culture. On Monday I shared this on social…

Today’s Truth 💔😶I am feeling worn down.Every day it seems there’s an attack.On my identity…On my body…On my mental health…These are the narratives currently circulating:I can be shot while Black.can be harassed, assaulted, or violated as a woman. ➡️Then add the reality that I am raising a girl who can trust her inner knowing, set boundaries, and own that she’s the only one to give consent over her body.And now, 45 and Mr. VP thinks hanging me for who I love is a joke. This Black Queer Mama + Wife is not laughing 🤷🏽‍♀️

While I refuse to play the game of self-doubt, I’m just owning how raw and vulnerable I feel today…how about you?! I’d love to know, so please do share 

In lovelution 💕

Via @mamajlove1

As I am writing this post, it’s first Friday as I draft and craft this chapter, (and then, Sunday as I finalize + edit) all in the same week. What’s clear as look in the rearview mirror of this past week and feel into the rawness and vulnerability I felt, it’s with the clarity of working through the muck and owning my experience with resistance, inner critic mixed a dose of holding myself back while simultaneously taking bite-sized + deliberate action to uplevel out of a scarcity model with my biz and how I show up to be of service in the world. It’s with this lens that I lead into a fresh perspective on nurturing identity.

Nurturing Identity: What do I mean?

Let’s begin with a definition of nurture…

(verb): care for and encourage the growth or development of

In Identity: Why the Focus? I define identity as

Who we are (how we show up in the world to ourselves and others) and how we are seen (who the world perceives us to be), as well as the experiences that result have an impact, often defining us.As an individual who has been on a journey of personal growth and discovery,

Identity is the lens that has helped me make sense of who I am and how I view the world. While I came to understand this more philosophically in college and more poignantly in graduate school, my lived reality exposed me to it much earlier. It’s a toss-up of which dimension I experienced first—race or gender; yet what is now clear is how I am seen in the world has greatly influenced my experience.In other words, identity is also a tool to reveal and unravel the stories we tell ourselves and one another.

Black Queer Mama + Wife Igniting Intentional Justice

First and foremost, this is how I see myself showing up to myself and the individuals and community I show up to and for, with and among, playing the dance of authenticity and mystery, public and private. Amongst all the ways this is how I define myself for to the world and to me.

How I experience the world within and around the playful intersection of being a Black queer woman, who is a mama to a nearly 3-year-old mixed-race girl co-parented with my wife who identifies as a white gender non-conforming queer mommy + wife.

While my wife and I have done the self-awareness work for various social justice, diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural responsive efforts and initiatives, this is simply one lens of how we show up in the world. Amidst the dominant narrative that many of us are being called to help shift. This is where my professional identity statement comes in…

I am a Love Leader

It has taken the first half of my 30s to learn that we are the guardians of our soul, which I’ll be marinating on this week as I move into a full week of giving, supporting, loving, and leading. Walking the talk, resetting for the lovelution.

> hot tub + steam room: how is it that I’ve been a member on/off for nearly 12 years, and this was my first time being loved by the steamy haze 💨
✨🌈🙏All made possible with Tiny Waves swim time with Mommy

Via @mamajlove1

While this Sunday of rest for the lovelution is not always possible with our love for Sunday adventures. I was reminded that loving yourself the way you deserve looks like finding a family rhythm for practicing radical self-care as it was just what our individual + collectives souls needed 💕This is one example of bite-sized + deliberate action. One way I bring Justice into my daily life with Intentional. This is Mama J Soul Medicine in Full EFFECT! Leading with love in my life.

I Am Mamapreneur

I am also the leader of a biz. A mom boss. Turning passions into a dream that becomes a sustainable reality to meet the intersecting needs of my family, wife + daughter, and self. For me it also means juggling tuning my dream into a reality alongside working as a Data Goddess (aka Instructional Data Manager) from 9am – 4:30 pm M-Th with Fridays to focus on household needs/errands, biz tasks (planning, writing, promoting), and self-care.

Resetting for the Lovelution in the Everyday

Reflecting on how identity is and has been nurtured within myself over the last week, 3 years since becoming a mama, and in my lifetime boils down to finding ways to practice care, encouragement, and growth for myself. As a multi-passionate human, caring for ourselves (aka self-care) can often be the last thing I check off my endless list, despite there being plenty of 5minute or less restorative practices I do throughout the day. The Truth is what it takes is bite-sized + deliberate restorative practices that prioritizes caring for ourselves without the guilt or shame of the endless to-do list.

For this Love Leader, I am choosing to lead with my identity front and center. This means nurturing all the ways I show up and want to be seen because identity is nurtured. And, it’s taken 35 years to name this as so.  This includes falling silent on some days or what I am framing as the practice of…

💕 Resetting for the Lovelution 💕Turning in…

Integrating the week’s lessons + breakthroughs…

Staying in your pjs until 1pm…

Giving love to yourself, your family, and the house that’s become your sanctuary 🏡While in hindsight it can feel like magic, I find that it can often feel like a struggle in the moment. An tug ‘o’war that’s calling for doing more when doing less is what’s needed to progress 👣This said, consider this my heartfelt reminder to us all that just like our phones and computers, we too need a weekly reset at the very least.

And, I invite you to do the same 💕Nurturing My Identity

It’s time that I name and claim it. Nurturing my identity as I continue to stand in my Truth to do so.

So, who I am?

I am a girl loves the water, it calls me (Yes, I’m taking the opportunity to reference Moana! and share a previous lesson). In all seriousness though…

I am a 35 year old Black Queer Mama + Wife Igniting Intentional Justice

I am a Love Leader + Mamperneur embracing the juggle of Data Goodess & Organizational Leader while building a life of Intentional Justice as a strategist, coach, and writer.

I am also much more…

This is what’s unfolding as I write the book of my dreams with weekly posts that act as chapter of book: Lovelution–A Journey to Self: One Seeker’s Guide to Intentional JusticeIntentional Justice™ in Your Life

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

What bite-sized + deliberate action will YOU take in your life today or the week ahead to reset for the Lovelution?

How are you + your loved ones practicing radical self-care?!

👇 Share your intention for today or the week ahead 👇It’s one way YOU can take bite-size + deliberate action TODAY 👣✨🌈In lovelution 💕Wanna Join the Lovelution?!

⇓  Sign-up below to receive Mama J’s monthly Lovegram ⇓  

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

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