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Wednesday Wind Down: Self-care

Good Morning, Sweethearts.

Serendipity entitled this post because that is what happened unexpectedly last Wednesday evening. I’m convinced that I fell asleep in nanoseconds.

After an insightful yet sensitive roundtable about race relations and current events, my social self smiled and exhaled in another healthy example of communication. It went well but unbeknownst to me, my introverted self was on a timer and she didn’t power down.

She plummeted.

God kept my drowsy eyes open until I made it home. As soon as I clumsily unlocked the door, I immediately pulled my shoes off like I was allergic to their soles and I fell face first into the couch. I remember this moment. I remember my body sinking into the cushions. Then, I remember waking up… without talking to you. I told myself “They’ll understand” and I went back to sleep. It was by far the best sleep I had experienced in weeks.

So, where does that leave you? It made me want to share four personal tips I use to keep myself grounded. Mind you, it doesn’t mean I am oblivious to what is going on (you can tell that from my other posts). It means that I’ve learned how to ground myself so I am not easily tossed to and fro in the tsunami of social media, industry standards, personal relationships, health issues, and anything else that can throw a dodgeball at me. Check out these four things I do on a regular basis.

My Self-Care Regulars

1) I massage my feet before bed every night. As a teaching/performing artist, my feet are my carriers. Not only are my pedicures non-negotiable, but my feet take so much impact in a day that showing them some love is not an option. Peppermint oil lotion or epsom salt lotion have been my besties before bed. It is also a reminder to be grateful to God for body to do such wonderful things.

2) When weather permits, I comb my fro outside. There’s nothing like a breeze channeling through my scalp. It’s like Moses and the children of Israel walking on dry land after the parting of the Red Sea (only my “land” is moisturized). Liberation meets my comb with every stroke of the wrist. I love smiling at the sky and taking deep breaths until all sections are untangled. I meditate and soak in the beauty of nature.

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

3) I treat myself to a solo lunch/dinner/treat every 2 weeks. I started this tradition as a collegiate intern and it stuck with me. Actually, it was how I deepened my relationship with Christ. Nowadays, I don’t have as much expendable income of course, but the self-love gesture continues. While eating alone can be debilitating for some people, I cherish it. I can journal if I feel like it, enjoy a nice view, or listen to some tunes and dance in my seat while waiting for my meal — all without talking to anyone (which can be refreshing for someone who has to talk for a living).

4) I allow myself to daydream for 5 minutes when I’ve had a difficult day. Yep, you heard me. I daydream. It’s pretty healthy for the brain and it was the only pin in my sanity on many o’ days. What do I daydream about? Well, aside from fairytale romances, I love to watch myself at the beach enjoying the warm ocean water or snuggling in clean crisp sheets at an exceptional hotel. I’ve even daydreamed about being home in bed. Do whatever works to make it therapeutic just be sure to set an alarm in case you fall asleep.

I hope this helps, Sweethearts. If not, here’s a bonus — turn off the television for a bit. It’s OK to give your senses a break. There’s a lot going on in the world and we’re going to be here for a while. It would be wise to find something that works for you and make it a habit. Your interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions depend on it.

Peace & Thanks for listening. What is one of your self-care regulars?

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #27

Prayer: “God, I just want to breathe. That’s all. I’m not asking to do a somersault or get a million dollars tomorrow… I just want to breathe and go to sleep. I’m so tired.”

Health challenges cause me not to breathe well sometimes. While I wear an “S” on my chest in the streets, I’m all “W” at home. This means that there are restless nights and early mornings still required of me. That also means sometimes I am aggravated with my respiratory issues to the point where I pray that prayer above. I wish I could just get a peaceful night’s rest and wake up energized. Most mornings come with fatigue in tow because I have wrestled all night and that prayer wasn’t far from the nightstand. Every time I prayed (sometimes in tears and screams), I woke up without knowledge of how I went to sleep. What a lovely gift to know He hears me when I call.

I encourage you to pray when you’re frustrated and watch Him work it out. It’s OK. He can take it.

Peace and Sweet Dreams out there. Thanks for listening.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #21

Prayer: “God, you gotta help me get rid of this. It’s eating me alive.”

Bitterness is such a tricky thing. First, it seduces you like a delectable dessert. With every bite, it becomes part of your spiritual DNA… infecting the entrails of your common sense. You become infused with anger as it dilutes your happiness. Its roots take hold of every good thing that has happened to you and you become a hostage in your own skin. The bars seemed passion-retardant and kindness-resistant. On the outside, you’re doing fine but on the inside, you’re a caged phoenix.

That’s what a particular season of bitterness had done to me and I had finally reached the point where I could admit it. And I was bitter for a good reason if you ask me. A viable reason. One-hundred-percent-not-my-fault reason… but I was only one harboring the storm in my spirit while the offender seemed to frolic in a sea of Dutch tulips.

During my prayer, the words didn’t sound right to me and I’m so glad it didn’t matter. I let them out anyway. All I knew was I felt like I was choking in the vomit of my pain and I couldn’t take it anymore… and He heard me. I would be lying if I said I only dealt with bitterness once in my life. The cool difference about now and then is that I recognize it before that bite. I see it for what it is and I ask God for help much sooner than I used to.

I pray that you do the same. Don’t let it reel you in.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart.

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #12

Prayer: “Thank you for my life. It may not be everything I thought it would be, but it’s not as bad as it could be. I appreciate where I am. Thank you for being here with me.”

I’ve had my fair share of close calls and downfalls. I could have lost my life due to car accidents alone (before I started driving) not to mention the other unfortunate situations that could have taken me out of the game. If you ask me, I believe I’ve had a spiritual hit on me for quite some time, but I’m still here.

Outside sentiments usually include “You’re so busy!” “What can’t you do?” “How do you make time for all of that? and “When do you get to rest?” If you only knew how often I thought my time was up and that I wouldn’t get the chance to realize my visions, you’d understand why my grind-rest balance is so strong. I also had seasons of bitterness (yeah, definitely more than one) because my social clock wasn’t ticking according to everyone else’s timetable. Then that prayer became a breathing point in my spirit to re-align myself with the truth. No, I don’t have the things I thought I would at this age, but I have had some groovy things transpire so far like international travel and exhilarating performances. Amazing food experiences and friend excursions full of joy and authenticity. Moments of supernatural solitude and beautiful loving relationships. I’ve gone deep-sea diving into myself and found gems unbeknownst to words. I have a clear sense of self, reverence for God, and a refined focus on my purpose. All before the age of 40. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I thank God for my life. All that it is. All that it isn’t. Everything it has yet to become.

Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweethearts! Keep praying and I am praying for you!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #11

Prayer: “Lord, please help the homeless. Watch over them all wherever they are. Keep them safe from harm. Please protect them from the weather. Please keep them warm and let help find them soon.”

While the words transient and homeless are still debatable, the fact remains that there are people that do not have a formidable structure in which to live. My heart aches for them, but when the weather is strong, I say this prayer. Every time. The truth is that many Americans are a couple of paychecks away from losing their homes due to lopsided debt-to-income ratio, illness, or lack of income altogether. The part deux of that truth is without multiple jobs or help from friends and family, a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today.

My church collaborates with a ministry organization that meets the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless community in Birmingham, Alabama. I volunteer with them at times and one day I met a man who intrigued me (I won’t use his name with respect). He asked for prayer and was happy to do so. After we prayed, I asked the burning question… what his life was like before he lived here. He explained how successful his cleaning business was in another state and that he came to Birmingham to help a sick family member. Unfortunately, the family member abused his assistance and eventually, he lost his job and his home trying to help his loved one. That moment of humanity will forever be etched into my spirit. His smile. His “It’s OK. I’ll be fine” attitude. The warmth of his heart. I think about him often… hoping that I’ll see him again.

What I have to remember is that God is everywhere I can’t be. He is with him and my other homeless brothers and sisters. He is with the mentally ill. He is with the veterans. I don’t know the why and I can’t help everyone, so my prayer will remain where my hands can not reach.

When you get a chance, add the forgotten to your real prayer list. Who knows? You may be the answered prayer they have been waiting for.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #10

Welcome to Day 10 of #bloglikecrazy! Thanks for hanging with me! If you’re just joining in, I’m sharing real prayers I have prayed to encourage others to be honest with themselves and transparent with God.

Prayer: “Lord, thank you for my car. Thank you for my car. Just let me make it home with no problems. Lord, let it keep running.”

Vehicles are considered luxuries to some agencies, but I beg to differ. When you don’t live near public transit like me, a car is the means to acquire income. Mind you, this prayer was pre-ridesharing companies. My biggest fear at that time? Depending upon someone for continuous transportation. I didn’t want to puncture my pride and be a burden to my circle. Not that my car would stop on the side of the road. Not that I would experience a financial burden. Pride. That was the dark cloud hovering overhead. So, I prayed… out of pride, not out of fear of being stranded.

Although my words were flaw-filled, I meant them whole-heartedly and that wasn’t the last time I prayed that prayer. Every time, I just wanted to get home safely. And you know what? He heard me anyway. It may be small to someone else, but sputtering along until I made it home was the only item at the forefront of my mind. At the core of my prayer communication, I defaulted to what I knew — be grateful for what I had and pray for what I needed. Desperation will make you do that.

I pray that you’ll let desperation release from your lips whenever necessary. I’ve learned to do that often in His Presence without shame. It’s a beautiful surrender to be honest with God. Try it. Breathe. Try it again.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #9

Prayer: “I love You so much. There is no one more important than You.”

I spoke these words during a tumultuous season in my life. So much chaos was going on and I felt like I was holding my ground on a piece of 12″ x 12″ floor tile. It was inevitable that I could lose my mind at any moment as I kept getting pelted by unexpected life blows.

In my tears and in the effort to clutch some grains of sanity, I shared my heart with my Father. I kept repeating those words until my humanity believed it; my spirit had a head start. Everything was stressing me out, so nothing seemed to be more important than my relationship with Him. Money, Career, Relationships, Ambitions… they all seemed frivolous in comparison to receiving His strength at that time. I felt His Love envelop me as I wept and I will never forget the overwhelming infusion I experienced. No one can make me deny that moment.

Tonight, I pray that you realize nothing is more important than your relationship with your Creator. When you have Him, you have everything. For real.

Peace & Thanks for listening! #prayrealprayers

#bloglikecrazy: Peep My Prayers #2

Prayer: “Lord, I just want to be free… and not just free for a moment. I want to be free for a lifetime.”

I was sick of a cycle that I didn’t sign up for. In one hand, I held receipts to my anger, fears, and insecurities. In the other one, I held receipts that were shoved into my hands. I didn’t ask to be mistreated or molested, but there I was — holding shredded remnants of pain and wondering when the rollercoaster would stop.

I never wanted to repeat the rides of my anger, fears, insecurities but the horror happened anyway. Altar calls didn’t seem to do it and Christian music couldn’t end the free-bound-free dysfunction I experienced. I thought something was wrong with me. I was tired of being enslaved over and over again by the same chains. Chains I thought had been eradicated but seemed to resurrect themselves without my permission. I couldn’t understand how it could happen so quickly. It wasn’t for lack of desire and fight. It wasn’t for lack of prayer and effort. Finally, in desperation, the words exhaled from my soul during a nighttime walk. Freedom kept ringing in my ears and I looked up at the starry sky for a hint of hope.

Did I instantly feel free? No.
Did I feel finally heard? Absolutely.

There was something about that night I will never forget. Being sick and tired of being sick and tired met the opportunity to speak from the depths of my darkness. I had finally reached that point where I was ready to release it all instead of a few shreds. The problem? Those chains were uncomfortable but familiar. I had the desire to be free, but I was struggling within my own strength. Exhaustion and frustration were the end result. I realized that it would always be a losing battle as long as I fought without the desire to surrender to God first.

So, I did. Then, the healing journey again.

I pray that you’re able to do the same, Sweetheart. Here’s one of my favorite verses to start the conversation. I leaned on this one and it still gives me great peace when I need it. I love you all and pray those real prayers. Peace & Thanks for listening!

He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas. – Psalm 102:17

Wednesday Wind Down: Regroup You

In The Valve, I described what it felt like to reach a pressure point. Tonight, Sweetheart, I’m going to give you some practical tips to regroup after you’ve emptied out. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but the more you do it, the easier you can reach for it when you need it.

  1. Remember who you are, not what you feel. I read Bible verses that remind me of whom I belong. I may feel like crap or be treated like it in a situation, but how I feel doesn’t reprogram the Truth of who I am. What I feel is valid; however, I have to live like I’m still wearing a crown. If you need suggestions, here are a few.jeremiah 31-3
    Song of Solomon 4-7
  2. Write it out. If you’re like me, sometimes (who am I kidding… most times) I don’t feel like talking when I need to do so. On most occasions, instead of venting to a friend, I’ll release it on the page. I have cheap notebooks and fancy journals — it doesn’t matter. A page is a page. The beauty of writing is that it’s between you and you. Sometimes I talk to God through the pen and by the end of the sequence, His spirit has answered my questions.
  3. Be still. When was the last time you paid attention to your breath and heartbeat? One of the most valuable lessons I learned in college was how to stop for a few minutes to check-in with myself. Each heartbeat is a blessing. Each breath is a beauty. If you have a high-energy personality, set a timer for 15 seconds. Put your hand over your heart and focus on it. Tune everything else out. After a few days, try 30 seconds. Work your way up to 5 minutes. You can say truthful sayings or Bible verses between exhales or stay silent. This practice saved me on many lunch breaks so I could return to work in a calmer state of mind.
  4. Solo jam. – If you know me personally, you know that music runs through my veins. Another way I fill up is to jam to some favorite songs. I could be driving, standing in a check-out line, walking, or in my kitchen. The location is irrelevant. If you have a friend that can jam it out with you — even better.

beautiful-cellphone-cute-761963
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

So, if you see me out and about and I’m bobbin’ my head and snapping my fingers, you know what’s up. Ask me what I’m listening to and join in. lol

Peace & Thanks for listening! Regroup you!

Featured Photo by Steve Johnson from Pexels

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