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Nature is the New “Church”

Since living in New York, I have come across many different spiritual ideologies. Some of them I’ve sought out, some of them have found me. I have explored everything from Christianity (which is the religion I grew up in) to Gnostic Christianity, to Nation of Islam to Orthodox Islam, to Atheism to Buddhism, from New Ageism to Kemeticism, even looking up the virtues of Satanism and Black Magick.

It’s funny, I believe everything, every event, every thought, every whim has a spiritual root or is somehow divine, and so I have to say that even me arriving to live in NYC was a sort of divine synchronicity. I went to school here for one year and studied Theater, or at least, that was my major (I didn’t study much theater, I was too busy experiencing my life as one big performance). Then at the end of the school year I realized that I didn’t do anything during the year to secure my stay in the city. But boy, did I want to stay. I made friends that I didn’t wanna lose contact with, and I was building my dreams in the best place in the world. I tried to get a job at a restaurant as a hostess, and I totally blew the interview: I went out the night before and didn’t arrive until about an hour after it was supposed to start. It didn’t matter much though, an older guy who I was talking to at the time reassured me that he had made many mistakes as a younger man, I was only 18, and he told me if I really wanted to be here, I could still make it happen. I ended up going home anyway, because my parents couldn’t afford any summer classes, and I had a great aunt who wouldn’t let me stay with her either. Strangely enough (and this is why I stress patience and allowing in my life more than ever), God had a plan for me. All I could think about was living in New York permanently (although now I know nothing is permanent in this life) and soon I got my chance to see if I could really survive here on my own.

One day I went to a party with my sister, and a girl started to talk to me. I exchanged numbers with her, (even though I wasn’t into women at the time and I STILL am not into masculine women today) and over the next few days proceeded to talk her ear off on the phone. Somehow, my sister ended up talking to her. It just made more sense. One day, on the way to the girl’s house to hang out, my sister and I got into a car accident, in which someone rear ended her. We settled and our award was $1300. We split the money and went to a little physical therapy at a chiropractor’s office 3 times a week for the whiplash. It took a while for us to get our money, and in the meantime, I began talking on the phone with a guy who I went to college with. We always meant to hang out while we were in school but we never did. We talked for hours on the phone several times a week, and he told me a lot about his tumultuous childhood. He had been abandoned as a young boy in Nigeria, blah blah blah. He hated his Mom and believed all women who cheat should die. He called his last female roommate many names and labeled her a crackhead. He even called me one night to confess to me that he had thrown her up against the wall. When I was less than supportive, not judgmental but not particularly understanding why he would call me, he got upset and hung up on me. All red flags, I know now, but back then, nothing would stop me from living my dream. He and the girl were on bad terms, she moved out, they had a sexual relationship, me and him were more like brother and sister. I took my half of the settlement money, $650, and moved in the 2 bedroom apt with him. I moved out by the end of the month, but the events that transpired there is another story. (I’m writing a book.)

It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. During my pee break just now, I realized that I didn’t become a woman until about the age of 27 (now). I know that it’s a gradual process, and there are several epiphanies along the way to becoming a full blown woman or man or transgender person. But I really had been thinking like a girl even up until a few months ago. Over the years I have been initiated into new information that has helped me open my eyes in so many ways and has helped me see that I have so much power and responsibility over creating my life. They say a man defines his growth by his work life, and a woman defines the different periods in her life by the relationships she has. In my evolution, I have found this to be true. The most important relationship through all of this has been the one with myself, and I’ve been working on the one with God. (Is there a difference? Hmmmm…)

When I prayed about moving back to NYC, I made a deal with God. I promised that I would go to church if “he” could make this move happen. For about 8 years I didn’t step foot inside of one. I joined one in 2010 and I go a few times a year, when I get inspired. But lately, as a result of me seeking the truth about life and love, and following the path beaten centuries ago, I came across some rituals and ceremonies that totally align with where I’m at right now, to integrate my spirit self with my human, and to be more connected to the Earth. This is what led me to write this on the night of the last eclipse. Nature and I are really getting cozy.

I have realized my church now is nature. I was determined to see this eclipse tonight, but where I live you can’t see any stars, nor the moon. So I proceeded to go to the river. This is what I felt; my interpretation. I feel the need to make that very clear disclaimer, even though I shouldn’t have to.

At first I looked for the moon and it wasn’t there so I just walked and prayed to the water, thanking her, thanking God, acknowledging that it’s all one, and I got into that space. I was full of gratitude. After I prayed I kind of went into a trance for a minute and felt a strong pressure in my third eye. I didn’t quite leave my body or anything, but I felt more aware after that.

Then I felt led to go to the place where I buried my list of 10 things I wanted to manifest in the ground. I prayed that it would grow like a tree as I laid hands over it and spoke my intentions into it. I went to the trees and I acknowledged their beauty and all they give and the fact that they are living creatures. They DO have feelings and they CAN communicate with us. They feel nurturing to us, in a service kind of way, kind of like maternal. Trees, plants shrubs are very feminine creatures. They said they do not feel pain like we do, yet when someone scratches their name into them, they take it as a loss. They see us as children who do not know what to do with them, or do not know how smart they are. They said they are rarely violent, but do we think they don’t fall on houses on purpose during hurricanes? Hmmm (smile). They also have different “personalities.” I feel like different shrubs and trees’ temperaments match how they look. They also expressed to me that they like for us to touch them, caress them, just like a pet, but not peel their bark haphazardly and break branches as such. If we are using their wood or other parts for use, it’s not like they’re like “Yay!” but they see it as a sacrifice for the common good. Like I said, trees are very maternal in that way.

So that’s what I came away with. And I felt so connected with nature after that. Nature is my new “church.”

P.S.: Long ago when I considered getting inked, I thought of getting “nature girl” tatooed on my ass, with a nude picture of me laying in grass or something. It’s still an option.

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Celebrities, Culture, Events, Life, New York City, Nonprofit

Join the 40/40 Club

…Maybe 40 is a good number for me. I always thought that would be an age where I would really buckle down and focus on my music. I felt that by then I would be fully in my womanhood, settled in my career, maybe be divorced, have a kid who adored me, and be fiercely independent.

This week I attended two events that were 40th Anniversaries. One was the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program‘s 40th Anniversary-Celebrity Pro-Am and Dinner Gala. It was held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. It was a pretty snazzy venue as dazzling faces of all shades filled the room. Katrina Adams, Executive Director of HJTEP is beautiful, down to earth, and about the mission of the organization. She inspired this young Black Female to be as dedicated to my purpose as she is to bringing tennis to youth from inner-city neighborhoods while offering them opportunities for education and self growth. Some of the youth stood at the podium to receive recognition and give honor to various leadership in the organization, one of which is my best friend, Mekellah Matthias, who is the Executive Assistant at HJTEP, who is set to be the next generation of leadership at the program. Everyone glowed with satisfaction as the night went on, and as the tables were cleared, a glass of champagne was toasted as the stress of the weeks leading up to the event was finally released. If you know anything about non-profit,  you know that the staff of HJTEP had to do a ton of work to make this happen even with hired help. The funds raised that evening will go on to support such bright and dynamic young people such as Vashni Belleste, now an alum, who will be attending college in New Orleans in the fall. To all of the staff at HJTEP I say “Job well done, now let’s pop champagne.”

The second  event I attended I literally had to drag myself to, but I’m so glad I did. I was invited to sing at The 40th Annual Spring Poetry Festival at City College held by  the University’s Poetry Outreach Center. I was sick as a dog that morning, but was able to visualize doing one of my favorite things (performing) in the Great Hall that evening. It worked. Writer, professor and Director of Poetry Outreach Pam Laskin, whom I met through JP Howard, founder of the Woman Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon (WWBPS), invited me to sing at this event after she heard me sing at WWBPS’s anniversary (but it was only their first!). I gladly accepted but had no idea I’d be sick that day. Still I arrived.  They honored Barry Wellenstein, who founded the Poetry Outreach Center which services public school children and the writing community as a whole. The Great Hall, where the event was held, was mighty and massive in its architecture. The acoustics make you sound like you’re in a cathedral in the late 18th century. I was called up by Pam to sing my one or two songs a capella, and I was seemingly shy, because I was confident in my skills yet nervous because I was so congested. I sang a snippet of a standard, “Body and Soul” and then an original, “You Told Me You Loved Me” and then it was over. The gracious audience continued to thank me the whole evening, and I felt  my sense of gratitude  for sharing my gift grow.  (And a sense of missed opportunity, because so many great people, so little energy and so little cards! Oh how I need a business card. That’s gotta be on my to-do list before 40!) The conn
ections you can make through people are amazing. I met JP Howard through a long time friend of mine, Akinfe Fatou, who’s new book of poetry Swoon is out now. The Universe is something, ain’t it?

So, there you have it. Two 40th’s in one week and here I am. I survived. I’m intuiting that the events of this week are only going to mirror, in a grander way, what’s in store for me when I get to 40. I hope you’ll stay along for the journey.


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Friendship, International Relations, Life, New York City, Relationships, Sex

Vulnerability=Love-Ability=Being Loveable Pt. 2

It’s OK to cry. Trust me.

What’s my love-ability quotient? Can this be quantified? Can you really measure how well someone can love?

I’m a fan of tooting my own horn and saying how good my lovin is, in more ways than one. But what does this really mean?

I think your capacity to love is somewhat influenced by your ability to be vulnerable, and let all of the layers of guilt, doubt, ego, and shame fall away.

I’ve experienced the truth of this throughout the past couple of months when I proclaimed that I wanted to find true love, or better yet, allow it come to me.

I’m very big on the law of attraction, and it seems that everyone is these days. I think it makes sense that in order for you to find someone real, and connect with them through the layers of their personality and ego to get to the core of them, the Love, you would have to relate to them in a way that is totally authentic. A concept called Progressive Love created by the founders of Jujumama, LLC has been helping me through this process in the past month or so.

The Universe keeps bringing things and people to me who are helping me to fulfill my deepest desires. I’m learning secrets to things that I felt somewhere in my spirit, but I just couldn’t put a name to. I, being in my left brain alot, need to assign names to things and have things make sense in a scientific way, appreciate the language and culture that Jujumama is creating around this topic of “open relating”, which, throughout my life I have been simply calling “Just keepin it real.”

It hurts and it’s scary as hell to be open. But I’ve gotten only good results. I feel that most people are craving for the people in their lives to CONFESS that they love them, miss them, need them, want them around, are sad when they go, feel afraid of losing them, think they aren’t good enough, are carrying pain around from the past that causes them to fuck everything up in the here and now…people want to hear this because it allows them to now be open as well. Creating a safe space for communicating your true fears and desires while not blaming, is something I have learned is so necessary if you want to build a strong foundation for a relationship.

I’ve never been this way before. Remember when I stopped blogging for a few months? If you read my last post you’ll see why. I met someone who is exactly who I need to learn how to be open and just real. He’s wonderful, honest, and supportive. And guess what? We’ve “broken up.” But guess what else? Our “relationship” or simply “how we are with each other” has been more satisfying than when we were “together.” (I’m putting quotes around all of these terms and phrases because I’m asking myself what do they really mean?)

I still want him. I’m going to love him as long as I need to for me to learn the lesson I need from him. I still want to know he’s OK, and I’ll always want him to be  happy, even if it’s NOT with me. I’ve heard that if you love someone you have to let them go. But I have a spin on that: If you love someone you have to let yourself go. Meaning let go of all of those layers of: expectations of how a perfect relationship is supposed to be, (which then puts pressure on yourself and the person you’re relating to), shame about your past, guilt about how you’ve hurt others, doubts about whether or not you’re good enough, and finally fear that nothing is going to work out for your good. Expecting the worst is like a vicious cycle, and we can break it by embodying the type of brokenness that is born of vulnerability.

While I’d like to think that I’m perfect, I know I have a sludge of stuff I need to work through, but I’m meeting people who bring this out of me. I’m grateful for it. I’d say if you could measure my ability to Love right now, it’d be pretty high on the scale. I’m finally getting it: Your life is a reflection of what you expect it to be, and who you love is a reflection of you. If you want someone to drop all facades and be real and from the heart, you’ve got to start with number one.

See the first part of this article here

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