Category: Mama J’s Story (page 1 of 8)

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⇓

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Using Love & Intention As Tools For Activism

Everyday Activism: Love & Intention

I had the pleasure joining Mercedes Samudio, LCSW on her virtual couch as we talk about family, parenting and Intentional Justice™

We dive right in to discuss what it means to be an activist today….and what it means to bring this activism into the family.

⇓ Watch the episode below ⇓

Resources Mentioned:

Transcript Courtesy of Shame Proof Parenting

Roth believes work begins with one’s self and expands outward.  It’s a continuous process.  She explains that in her journey to becoming a mother, and being a queer family, she had to go a nontraditional route.  Her identity was central to that.  She and her wife chose an anonymous donor whose identity will be released to their daughter when she turns 18.  This was important to them because they didn’t want to take away that part of who she is.  They have had conversations with their daughter about being a two-mom family and discussed what the difference looks like compared to other families so she can discuss it herself.  Roth feels that the best way we can love and honor ourselves is knowing who we are.   We next discuss how one can be an activist in her community on top of the demands of being being a parent. Roth explains that if it feels like a struggle, you can make it a long-term goal, and suggests tapping into what your heart is telling you-you want to do at this time.  Creativity flourishes in despair, and we can choose how we want to show up.  She suggests thinking about what it is you want for your family.  If you want more intentional conversations about culture and community, bring it into the home.  Roth suggests books as a way to do this.

For over a decade, Roth has been engaged in social justice work, and she reached a point where it felt like a grind and wondered at what point she would get to celebrate something that felt like justice.  She feels that there is justice in setting a goal or intention and moving toward it.  Her background is in sports psychology, so she really relates to setting a goal.  Roth defines Intentional Justice™ as bite-size  +deliberate daily action.  This means you take baby steps to get closer to your goal.

We shift into discussing how privilege can be a barrier to  Intentional Justice™.  Privilege can help or hinder attempts for  Intentional Justice™.  Roth advises that there doesn’t need to be shame around it–-own your story and know where you stand.  It doesn’t make you a bad person.  She poses the question of if you raise your consciousness and you know something can be different, will you choose to be different or settle and let it serve you?

Next, we talked about how you can model Intentional Justice™  for children.  Roth suggests going through an exercise that you can sign up for through her website called the  Intentional Justice™ Identity Table. She recommends having the parent or professional do it themselves first, and then as you get comfortable with your own identity, you can expand into a family identity.  It is appropriate for approximately fifth grade and up.  She feels that by this age you have a sense of who you are and how you want to show up to your classmates.

Finally, we discuss how to maintain  Intentional Justice™ when people in your support circle don’t understand your viewpoints or how to accept or respect your perspective.  Roth doesn’t feel like an expert.  She has had to make difficult choices and is currently not speaking to a few family members as a result of having to claim where she stands.  Roth gets support from a couple’s therapist, a support network of mentors, “besties”, and her tribe.  She explains that she can’t expect her wife, bestie, or other parents to show up at drop of a hat, though, and advises that you have to also love yourself like a mother.  It’s important to have a community but there are moments you’re by yourself, which can be empowering.  Intentional Justice™ doesn’t always mean you have to agree and stay around people who only agree with you and respect you.  Going through your own journey helps you turn the injustices into moments that are opportunities for learning, healing and growing.  It’s an upward spiral–as you get to know yourself, you may have some breakthroughs but the work does not end.

Thank Mercedes for the opportunity to chat with you!

Now let me share more about Shame Proof Parenting…

What is Shame-Proof Parenting?

When you’re led by shame-proof parenting, your family will understand each other enough that when people come against you, you won’t buckle under the pressure and you won’t turn on each other. You and your family can feel confident in saying, “This is our journey, this is where we are right now,” without worrying about others’ judgments.

~ Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

Mercedes is on a mission to #EndParentShaming and I accept! Will you join me?

In the Award-Winning, Amazon Bestselling book, Shame-Proof Parenting: Find your unique parenting voice, feel empowered, and raise whole, healthy children, Mercedes bravely and vulnerably shares opens the book by sharing her story to highlight the impact intergenerational shame has on our lives both as children and parents. Then with compassionate bite-sized + deliberate action, you are walked through 5 Ways Parents Recreate Shame for Their Children, which since has provided this mama with a powerful lens for Intentional Justice™ in my own life.

In an easy to read format, Mercedes guides us in unraveling the parenting style gimmick and the trap of the Dr. Parenting Expert with a first-class permission slip to choose our own adventure as parents by creating our own elusive parenting manual. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to talk about the underlying issues that stop the process of shame-proofing. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to talk about the underlying issues that stop the process of shame-proofing before diving into the how-to of bringing shame-proof parenting into our lives. Plus, there’s an entire chapter on the Shame-Proof Emergency Kit and our need for Shame-Proof Village. I love, love, love that Mercedes doesn’t shy away from addressing the gender divide with this inclusive intro…

For the purposes of this book, we are looking at gender as both biological gender classifications and how you identify your own gender.

The book wrap with a chapter on “Bursting The Shame-Proof Parenting Bubble,” which further highlights cultural influences as the most important aspect of shame-proofing parenting and protecting families from shame. In this section, I appreciate the simple yet practical paragraph on Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation. All this is to say that I felt included and seen in this book as a queer mama.

As I wrap my review of this book, I’ll share that my favorite part was the timely quotes sprinkled throughout. My favorite is how the book ends with Mercedes own words of wisdom…

Being wholly, authentically human is a lifelong journey that no one ever truly masters. Give yourself space to be imperfect, and make a commitment to shame-proof your parenting identity so that you can give that same space to your children.

Intentional Justice™ in Your Life

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

  • Where could you give yourself to be imperfect?
  • Will you join me to #EndParentShaming ?
  • How has shame had an impact on your life?

👇Please share your thoughts below in the comments 👇

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

In lovelution 💕

⇓ 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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