Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you are celebrating love even if you don’t have a someone special. Actually you do. You have you! And you are the most important person in your life! How about you doing a little self care and lavish yourself in raw chocolate? And guess what? IT’S GOOD FOR YOU!!!! Continue reading
It was a year ago today, I was working the evening shift at a job I absolutely hated. At about 6:00 p.m. I became violently ill and had to leave. Before leaving work I returned to my desk, and saw I had 2 missed messages from Jason, but I didn’t response to them until I got to my vehicle. That’s when I got the frantic message from Jason to “GET HOME NOW!”
I tried calling his cell phone a couple of times, but he didn’t pick up. So I called the house, where my oldest son answered the phone. He said Jason was on his was to his parent’s house and had left the baby at home with him. At that point I knew something bad had happened. Jason’s step father, Joe had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 2 months prior and he had been traveling to Boston for treatments and doing well. I was 15 minutes into my 40 minute drive home, when Jason finally called me and told me that Joe had passed away. I was in shock. How could this amazing man so full of life, be gone? We had just been at their house 2 days before putting up the Christmas tree. We had family plans, he had grandchildren to play with and spoil, golf games to play, and so much more life to live.
This year has been a struggle and a blessing. So many things have changed, I have experienced so much growth and Joe’s passing taught me some important lessons. Most importantly :
1.) Life is truly a gift. In our every day life, there are so many struggles, from juggling work, home, kids, bills, and so many other responsibilities. We forget how precious it is and the abundance of magic that surrounds us. I now treasure the chaos and craziness of it all. I love that my house is messy and there are dishes in the sink, laundry piling up, when before I would stress about it all. Now a feel blessed that we have toys all over the floor which means I have a healthy active 2 year old using his imagination. The dishes in the sink means I have the money to fill the belly’s of my family, and the 10 loads of laundry means the ability to be able to provide clothes for all of us. And also that I have 13 year old daughter who needs a new outfit for every hour.
2.)The present moment is where life occurs. I use to spend so much time, thinking of the past, the mistakes I had made, how or what I would do to fix them, and being full of regrets. The reality is, I could never go back or do anything to fix them. This would only leave me feeling inadequate and depressed. When I began living in the moment, I enjoyed being a mom even more, I felt connected to Jason, life was sweeter and less stressful. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, loose my temper, or get sad. That is what living in the moment is all about. Just allowing the experience to happen and be with your feelings, good or bad. This is what makes you grow as a person.
3.) Allowing yourself to feel. We live in a society where we are so quick to take a pill to numb the pain, or throw ourselves into work or other vices to distract from what we really feel. No one can ever heal this way. We need to accept that it’s ok to feel sad, angry and alone when someone we love passes. And that 3 day of bereavement time is NOT enough time to “get over” a loss. I admit that it is scary to sit with your emotions and just allow yourself to feel the loss of someone you love. Sometimes the pain can be so overwhelming. But if you just sit with it and breathe through it, that’s when the real healing begins and you can release the pain. I don’t think that feeling of loss ever goes away, but it becomes bearable. Instead of being overcome with the pain, a shift takes place and your are able to honor their memory by remembering the wonderful times you shared and what they offered the world.
4.) Being Fearless. No one is promised tomorrow! You can make excuses of why you can’t or don’t want to do things you KNOW will make you happy, or continue to not to participate in life, but where does that lead you? To an unhappy, unfulfilled, lonely space and full of regret. I wouldn’t do a lot of things by myself, because I was afraid to put myself out there. I became very isolated and shut off from the world. This year I began making myself attend workshops and events that I found interesting. It was uncomfortable for me at first, but it changed my life. I have created some magical friendships, I am now excited to go places and do things I have never done before, and my confidence has grown. Life is too short to be unhappy, and to beautiful not to experience it. Don’t let fear take it away from you.
So tonight I honor Joseph “Popo” Graham and thank him for touching my life and accepting me as part of your family. Thank you for sharing your light and kindness with the world and with me. I love and miss you…
Update on my Surrogacy Journey and life…. Looking forward to 2016!!!
For more information on the Manifestation through Vision Boards
Vlog update on becoming a surrogate and preparing for pregnancy.
This year is the year of manifestation for me. I have been discovering my own power of being able to manifest the things I want and desire. Back in January I created a vision board to help me focus and work towards the things I want to accomplish this year. I’m happy to report that most of my vision board has been completed or being actively worked on. I have a new job that I love. I have completed all three levels of Reiki training and now am a Reiki Master. I have improved my spiritual practice and continue to work at it constantly; I practice mediation everyday, and have even obtained my certification in meditation. I am currently working on another certification. I’m attending an extremely intense holistic health coaching and nutrition program, which will take me a year to complete. And the last thing on my vision board to complete is finally coming to fruition.
Last year I began researching and exploring the possibility of become a surrogate. This is something I have been wanting to do for the past 15 years. On September 18, 2014 I applied to become a surrogate. It was my youngest son’s first birthday. I went through all the paper work application, the interview, background check, psychological exam, medical reviews and after many, many months I was finally matched with a gentleman 2 hours away from where I live.
Today I begin the first physical part of the process by starting birth control pills. I am not looking forward to taking this or the hormone injections I need to do because of the synthetic chemicals and side effects that my body will encounter. But it will only be for a short time and it will be all worth it in the end.
At the end of the month I will travel to Connecticut to see a fertility specialist and have an internal exam. If everything checks out ok, I will begin hormone injections. I have spent the last few months cleansing, praying, meditating, and getting my body ready to undergo this miracle of life, so that I can share my body to help create a family.
Jason and I will be documenting this experience through blogs and vlogging. I am so excited to take this journey, and will go into this experience with no expectation and will allow things to unfold as they are intended too. I look at my beautiful boys and can’t imagine not being able to have them in my life. Not to be able to hold them when they cry, see their sweet little faces when they wake up, not to see them develop and grow into the people they are meant to become, and all the other wonderful and not so wonderful things that come with being a parent. I am honored and humbled that I can provide this for a family or someone that has not been able to conceive a child. And I am looking forward to this beautiful experience.
Yesterday I stopped to get an ice coffee at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Warren Ave in Portland. I don’t usually drink coffee or go to Dunkin’ Donuts, but it was on my way home and it was long hot day, so it was a great treat. The young lady taking my order through the intercom at the drive thru was super friendly. I go to the pick-up window to pay for my order, and the gentleman that took my money, (I suspected the store manger) was a little bit of a grump, not rude but not very friendly. The girl that took my order was making my coffee. She confirmed again what I had ordered to be sure she got it right. She gave me my coffee and asked if there was anything else she could get me. She then proceeded to wish me a “good afternoon” and to “peace out, Chica” giving me the peace sign. It completely made my day!!! For the next 4-5 miles of driving, I was giggling over the interaction with her. I suspected that a lot of experiences with great customer service go unreported to supervisors, especially in the fast food industry. I felt compelled to call that grumpy supervisor and tell him what a gem he had there. He thanked me for my call and said that they usually don’t hear the positive feedback about their business and employees. I think it made his day too!!!
So in honor of the wonderful customer service Ms. Desiree provided, I want to do a challenge for the next 2 weeks. If you receive great customer service, please call that person’s supervisor and let them know. Let’s put some positivity into the world!!!! Come join our Facebook Events at the: Customer Service Positivity Challenge. When you do this, please post on the page, the name of the business and the person that provided the great customer service and what it was that made it such a great experience for you. On July 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm EST, I will randomly draw a post and send that person a great prize!!!!! Let’s give a little love and positivity back to those that work hard, have a smile on their face after long hours and busy day!
Recently my family suffered the tragic loss of my father-in-law. Although he was sick, we were expecting more time with him. His death not only opened a huge hole in my heart, but it also made unresolved losses and trauma from the past resurface. This left me in a severe depression and with the most uncontrollable anxiety I had ever experienced.
My life began to unravel and spin out of control. But I had a baby to take care of, a child in college, one in middle school, a partner that needed my attention, a house to clean, pets to care for, a job to go to, a best friend with breast cancer, and bills to pay. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I tried to hold on as tight as I could to maintain a sense of control. When you’re in the middle of chaos, sometimes you don’t know where to begin to regain that control. It’s times like this, when one is in crisis, you stop and just meet your most basic needs and… JUST BREATHE
As a culture we have forgotten how to breathe. In our fast-paced life full of soccer practice, smart phones, laundry, groceries, vet appoints, work, and other odds and ends we jam into our calendars; we tend to treat life as a marathon, rather than enjoying the beautiful gift it is.
Things in my life began to spin out of control over year ago. I began to notice basic everyday things becoming overwhelming. This was really evident when I had to go back to work after the birth of my youngest my son. With the overwhelming guilt of leaving my precious baby with strangers, completing an 8-10 hour shift in a job I didn’t like, spending an hour and a half commuting, caring for the rest of my family and pets, and cleaning the house; it was all too much. I felt as though I was floating in a large ocean with no life preserver. For a while I was doing ok staying afloat. Over the course of time, my body became tired and I struggled to stay above water. Every day I begged and pleaded with myself just to get through that day. Giving myself pep talks to get through the next activity or challenge that needed to be completed. But one day I went under water.
I remember lying in bed and telling myself the only thing I HAD to do in that moment was breathe. I got through 5 minutes. Those 5 minutes turned into an hour, which turned into a day, and then I made it through the night. The next day I was able to get out of bed, make breakfast, then lunch, and dinner. The days that followed got better and better. The only thing I focused on was breathing. I could not worry about getting to the grocery store, I didn’t need to cleaned the bathroom or do the dishes, I just breathed. Eventually things got easier and I used other tools, counseling, and supplements to assist in regaining my health and wellbeing.
I began meditating regularly. Throughout my life, I meditated and knew of the benefits it provided. But like so many others, I struggled to make it apart of my every day routine and found it difficult to settle my mind. I decided it was very important to me to connect to my spirit, a higher power, and myself. I made the commitment to meditate everyday for one month. I’m now 3 months into meditating every day for up to an hour or more. I took things slow and allowed my self to “mess up” and tried not rush the process. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. Find what resonates and works for you, and just simply start by breathing.
Here are some of the things I did to create a meditation routine.
- Start by taking deep breaths. Breathe in a full breath deep into your belly, filling your lungs and allow your abdomen to expand. Hold the breath for a count 3 then slowly allowed the release to count of 5. Do this 3-5 times in a row, several times throughout the day.
- For 5 minutes a day, twice a day, close your eyes and do the breathing technique in Step 1. You may want to play soft relaxing music, hold a stone or crystal in you hand, or something that helps you focus or connect to your higher power. As you practice your breathing techniques focus on that object you are holding. If you do not have an object, just focus on your breath. You may find you mind wandering, just simply bring your focus back to the object or your breath. After practicing this for a week, increase your time by 3-5 minute intervals as you progress. You can set an alarm or use an app (there are many mediation apps you can download) to keep track of your time. As you practice you will find you mind more focused and wandering less.
- Use resources to help. I found guided meditation helpful in keeping my mind focused. The more I practiced the easier it got. There are many guided meditations on Youtube, meditation apps, or you can purchase CDs online, at books or music stores. You can search by topics, so if there is something specific you want to work on; there is a guided meditation for it. I recommend using headphones for the best results.
- Practice, Practice, Practice!!!! The more you meditate and do breath work, the easier it becomes. It’s like any new skill, it takes some practice, but the more effort you put in, the more you get out.
- Create a sacred space just for you. This could be a corner of a room, a closet, a windowsill, or your favorite chair. When you are in this space, know you are safe. Put things here that make you feel connected to your spirit, your higher power, the earth, or things that make you feel loved. Use incense, candles, or essential oils to create uplifting scents.
- Keep a journal of your meditations. I have learned so much about myself from journaling, especially after I meditate. I am able to think clearly and calmly, and reflect on my circumstances. It’s in this space you are able to make the best decision and choices for yourself.
I believe that when you’re at the point where things are so out of control the only thing you can do surrender and let go, that’s when the healing can begin. Space is made for new thing to manifest. What is no longer needed is discarded, and new opportunities present themselves. That is exactly what happened to me. I began to heal and worked through old wounds. I discovered a new path in life, and remembered how important it is to take care of me! It’s not only important to take care of your physical needs, but you emotional, mental and spiritual needs as well. Take the time to do the same for yourself, now matter what your circumstances are. Do it without guilt and do it regularly. Especially if you have others that rely upon you to take care of them. Be kind to yourself, practice self-love, and just breathe….