Category: Life Lessons (page 2 of 7)

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 🌊

@mamajlove1

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?! ⇓

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 💕

⇓  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?! ⇓

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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