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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Washington, DC ~ Twists and Turns

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Life is full of surprises and serendipity.  Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success.  If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns.  Just find your next adventure-do it well, enjoy it- and then, not now, think about what comes next." ~ Condoleezza Rice

"Life is never a straight line, it is full of twists and turns.  The way to lead a happy life is not to avoid them but to embrace them; to find the happiness in them." ~ Warren T.VanderVen

Last weekend some unexpected events happened on many levels.  Those events led to some unexpected decisions.  However life, and not just a gypsy life, is full of the unexpected.  It's the unexpected that can keep life interesting.  Sometimes we wish to know everything ahead of time in order to not be caught unaware or off guard.  Knowing something ahead of time will still cause us to develop our thinking skills but it definitely will not teach us how to think on our feet, as it were.  Embracing the twists and turns as stated above can lead us to our next unplanned adventure, which isn't always physical.  In my case though, the twists and turns have led to an unexpected physical adventure.

I'm in DC with my youngest daughter and I plan to be in NY next with my youngest son, and then in Ohio with a friend.  The word plan is in italics because even though Spirit led me to DC and is leading me to NY next, I must remain open to the turns in the road.  I was planning to visit Ohio but I was not planning to visit DC or NY, it was planned for me, so here I am.  I love spending time with my children when they are together but I enjoy one on one time as well.  So far, Tiffany has treated me to a mani-pedi, and her friend took us to a wonderful restaurant for seafood.  Tiffany had to almost force me to go out to dinner.  Today we're  going to see Into the Woods with Meryl Streep.  For the most part I've been in the apartment using this time to meditate.  In NY, I will be out more because I have friends there so I'm valuing the alone time now. 

We never know where life will take us.  I'm sure many of us have found ourselves in places and situations that we never expected;  illnesses, deaths of loved ones, loss of jobs, divorces, marriages, pregnancies, promotions, travelling, taking care of parents, love affairs, lost of relationships, starting relationships, ups, downs, twists and turns.  We have learned to handle, hopefully, whatever has happened and become stronger in the process.  Read these words and let them permeate:
That's Life
That's life, that's what all the people say
You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune
When I'm back on top, back on top in June

I said that's life and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks stompin' on a dream
But I don't let it, let it get me down
Cause this fine old world, it keeps spinnin' around

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

That's life (that's life), I tell you I can't deny it
I thought of quitting, baby, but my heart just ain't gonna buy it
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

That's life (that's life), that's life and I can't deny it
Many times I thought of cuttin' out but my heart won't buy it
But if there's nothin' shakin' come this here July
I'm gonna roll myself up in a big ball a-and die
My, my!

"Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race." - I think that the entire song can be summed up in those words.  We fall down, but we get back up.  It doesn't matter whether we caused the particular thing that shot us down or not.  What matters is that we learn from it and get back up to start again.  I have survived sexual and domestic violence, breast cancer, loss of jobs, an apartment, a car and belongings, and sometimes I think the loss of my mind; BUT through it all, I've learned to trust that Spirit is preparing me to be "back on top in June."  If not June, I most certainly will not "roll myself up in a big ball a-and die."  Frank Sinatra and I differ there.  No, I will "keep on truckin' baby" as Eddie Kendricks sang. 

The wonderful thing about these unexpected events is that I am back to my gypsy traveling, albeit by bus or train.  I'm on a journey regardless and will always be, even when I'm stationary.  It has always been about the inward journey even as I move from place to place.  I see different places and new sights, hear new sounds, discover something new, all within ME!  I am so grateful for this journey and all of the discoveries that are to come.  I don't want to miss the wonderful twists and turns.  I'm finding the next adventure and then, after doing it well and enjoying it, I will think about what will come next as Condoleeza Rice stated in the above quote.
"Your journey has molded you for the greater good.  It was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time.  It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now.  And now is right on time. ~ Asha Tyson

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Bad things happen. How I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life.  I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - Life itself." - Walter Anderson

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller

One Saturday in July of 1973, my first husband, Milton, received a call to come to Boston and try out as the trumpet player for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes.  The call came from a friend of his who played the saxophone and had recently started with Harold.  If the audition was to everyone's liking, then Milton would become the new trumpet player for the group: if not he would be back later that night or the next day.  Milton flew out and although I was glad to see him leave, I was anxious.  As night approached I became more anxious and I wasn't sure why.  I called my grandmother to see if I could spend the night.  She was on a day trip to the beach with her church and hadn't returned.  My grandfather didn't want to say yes without her.  When she arrived home, she called and said it was ok.  I didn't drive at the time and tried relentlessly to hire a cab.  After a certain time of night cabs didn't want to travel to Churchill, which was where my grandmother lived. Where was Uber then?  I couldn't get a taxi and so I stayed home.

Later that night, I woke up and felt something on my back.  I was on my stomach, which I didn't think that I slept that way.  After repeated attempts of trying to raise my head and failing, a male voice spoke.  He said, "If you scream I will kill you."  I begged him not to because I had a son.  He asked where was my son and I told him that Donnie was in New York for the summer.  He placed a pillowcase over my head and tied it.  Then he turned me over and tied my hands to the headboard.  He left the room and went into my son's room.  When he returned, he cut off my night gown and raped me.  When he was done, he asked if he had hurt me in any way.  "What an odd question, of course you have.", I thought to myself.  I answered no though, out of fear of reprisal.  He untied my hands from the headboard and asked me to count to 100 before I did anything.  All I could think was that it was a cruel joke and he was going to kill me.  I thought of my grandmother calling me in the morning and receiving no answer, coming to my apartment and finding me nude, covered in blood and dead. 

I fearfully counted to 100.  I never heard him leave so I didn't know what to expect.  When I untied the rope from around my neck and took off the pillowcase, he was gone.  I put on a dress from my closet and ran out of the apartment to a friend's apartment in the building next door.  I asked to use her phone and explained what happened.  She said her phone was off but that a policeman lived upstairs.  She then slammed her door shut!  Maybe she was afraid, I don't know.  I ran upstairs and knocked on the door to no avail.  As I ran down the stairs, the policeman was entering the building with his dog.  He said, "Whoa, what's the matter?"  I told him what had happened.  He said that his wife was deaf and couldn't hear the bell.  He took  me to his apartment, asked my address and left to check out the crime scene.  When he returned he called the police.  The rapist had cut my phone cord but I didn't know it, I was too afraid to stay there.

A male detective and some officers came and escorted me back to the my apartment.  The rapist had entered through the sliding glass door.  The lock was loose and had been reported to maintenance but never repaired.  The detective saw the cut rope on the headboard, my torn night gown and blood on the pillowcase.  I didn't know that I had cuts on my neck from the knife that had been pressed against my neck.  The detective asked me if the nightgown on the bed was the one I had been wearing.  When I answered yes, he asked if I had walked in front of my windows, because maybe that's why the man had broken into the apartment.  The detective went on to ask if I were sure that this wasn't a boyfriend.  Had I thought I heard my husband returning and cried rape?  (Where was the compassion, where was Olivia Benson from SVU?)  Finally I was taken to the hospital and then driven to my grandmother's house.

The next day a detective who handles rape came by the house. I told him about the detective.  He explained that the detective from the previous night was not a rape detective and didn't know how to handle sexual violence.  You think?  We went back to the apartment in order for me to explain what happened at the scene.  I talked to Milton (remember him, the first husband?) and he wanted me to come to Boston.  I took the bus there and he met me.  Milton was staying with an aunt and uncle and not in the hotel with the group.  When we arrived at his aunt's house, he questioned me about the rape.  He then hit me.  He said that the detective from the night of the rape called him to be sure that he was still in Boston.  He wanted to be sure that Milton hadn't come home because he (the detective) thought that it was a boyfriend.  Milton was an abuser and the slightest thing would set him off.  I was in the car with him once and waved to a male friend walking down North Ave.  Milton started punching while driving.  Should that be a law? Don't punch and drive?  A policeman stopped the car because he apparently could see that something was wrong.  Out of fear, I said everything was fine.  The rapist was never caught and I never saw his face anyway.  Before the pillowcase was placed over my head, I saw hair swinging so my assumption is that he was Caucasian. 

We need to pay more attention to our intuition.  There is a knower inside of us that lets us know when something is off.   I could have tried to get a cab to my grandmother's house before nightfall.  I could have not listened to my grandfather's voice and listened to my own.  How many times have we said, "something told me this or that"?  How many times have we paid attention to our own voice no matter how foolish we may look?  It took years for me to be able to sleep in a house alone and without a knife under my bed or pillow.  Fear is crippling.  I could have stayed in that place of fear forever.  As it was, I stayed too long, giving someone else power over me.  It has also taken years for me to find my voice and speak my truth.  Ralph Marston said, "There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path.  Don't allow yourself to become one of them."  I had to get out of my own way so that I could live fully and freely.  People say as we age that we become more ourselves and don't take any gruff from anyone.  I think that can be true but I also think that adversity and finding one's voice plays a large part as well. 

I'm not content to sit on the sidelines and watch the game of life, I want to play as well.  I know that there are rules in the world.  I know that there are standards to uphold and all that entails.  In order for me to be me, I must continuously listen to that still, small voice inside for direction for my life.  Sometimes we need to listen to other's intuition as well.  Had I listened to my mother, I would not have married Milton.  When she met him she said, "There's something with that boy's eyes.  I don't like him,"  A mother knows, at least mine did.  However, marrying him and living with the abuse has played a part in my becoming.  Of course, it's not over.  "I've been motivated by overcoming challenge and overcoming the hurdles and obstacles that face me.  There still is plenty out there to get motivated by." - Andre Agassi.  In the early 90's I attended a Charismatic church.  We went to a conference in Fredericksburg to hear a Prophetess, Jan Painter.  She prophesied over me and said this, " Let them ring, let them ring, let the bells ring.  It's celebration time, saith the LORD.  'You're going to see a miracle take place that they said couldn't happen', saith the LORD.  You're going to see it, you're going to walk in it and you're going to give testimony of it.  And then daughter, you're going to preach; overcoming, the overcomer.  Do it and do it well." 

I haven't seen the "miracle that they said couldn't happen", yet.  I have seen, walked in and given testimony of various trials, tribulations and adversities.  So have numerous people.  If the prophetess is to be believed, I don't know what this will be.  But there is one thing I Do know:  I WILL overcome this and anything that comes my way. Why, because God/Goddess/All That Is said it, and, I am strong in the LORD (law) and the power of its might!

P.S.  My sister reminded me that when I went to Boston to see Milton and explained what happened, before hitting me he said, and I quote, "So he really fucked you, huh?"  Enough said about his character.

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Say yes to all of life. Say it loudly. Say it fully. Say it with the faith that winter cannot last forever and that spring comes in strange and sudden guise." - Joan Chittister, The Sacred In-Between

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where-"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go." - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; conversation between Alice and The Cheshire Cat

On my birthday, my daughter Zakiya, wrote the above Alice in Wonderland quote for me, except she put it in her own words.  She said: "If you don't know where you're going, then any road will take you there."  Same thing really but I like "any road will take you there".  I've been in a quandary about where to go next because I didn't have the car and it didn't feel like Spirit if I purchased a bus or train ticket.  The truth is, "it doesn't matter which way you go.", because "any road will take you there." 

A few nights ago I made a decision that I would rent a Rent-A-Wreck van, pack my possessions and go off into the wild blue yonder.  I have no idea where I'm going but Spirit knows.  The scary thing about it is, is that it will be a rental with my belongings in it; which means there needs to be a destination to unload and return the van.  However if I'm going to operate in faith then I need to operate in it totally.  Many people go off on adventures but they usually know where they're headed and they have the money to sustain for the duration of the trip.  But, either I will operate in faith or I will not. 

The day before I  made the decision to just wander, a friend of mine in MA posted that she needed a roommate.  I spoke to her about renting it the morning of my decision.  I told her that I was thinking about the end of the month.  I also told her that if someone came along with money in hand, to rent to that person.  The next morning I realized that it was the adventure I really wanted.  I was trying to figure out how to tell my friend.  Later that day she called me to say she had rented the room and the person was moving in the next day.  Spirit worked it out for us both and immediately.  That situation let me know that Spirit has my back in this decision. 

When I was a first year seminary student at The New Seminary, my dean, Rev. Sandra Bargman, sang her song written by Mel White, with the title, "God Had My Back".  The song moved me so much that Sandra sent me a recording of her singing it.  These are the words:

"And so the wait finally ends
In a waking dream it took awhile to enter
Surrounded by my family and friends
I can feel a healing peace at my center
I look back in amazement at each stepping stone
And I know I didn't take these steps alone

With God all things are possible
I can do what I thought I could not do
Faith, love and courage helped me make the climb
And God had my back all the time

I had my moments of doubt
When the thought that I'd succeed was hard believing
Bone tired with more work to carry out
I could sometimes feel my optimism leaving
But those times when I struggled didn't last too long
And today I know the truth that made me strong

With God all things are possible
I can do what I thought I could not do
Faith, love and courage helped me make the climb
And God had my back all the time

God had my back every step of the way
And one by one I could climb today
Love and support kept me willing to go
And what can stop me now
When I know

With God all things are possible
I can do what I thought I could not do
Faith, love and courage helped me make the climb
And God had my back all the time

God had my back all the time
I know that God had my back all the time" -
written by Mel White and sung by Sandra Bargman

This song makes me feel so empowered and to hear her sing it, Oh my!  To hear it, go to her website: sandrabargman.com. I can't listen without crying.  God does have our backs, always and forever.  If I keep that in my consciousness, I know that I will and can do what Spirit has ordained for me to do.  It is definitely scary and I do have doubts at times, especially when I consider what's before me.  It's not just this adventure, it's the purpose for my life that I feel Spirit is whispering to me.  We all have a purpose, sometimes we know what it is and sometimes we don't.  Either way fear, which is not of God, can creep into our thoughts.  The definition of fear that I like is false evidence appearing real.  It is false because if God/Goddess/All That Is says to do something, then we can do it.  God doesn't call the qualified, God qualifies the call. 

Last night I heard this scripture in my spirit: "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." -Romans 8:19, NIV  One translation says that creation is standing on tiptoe waiting.  For what is creation waiting?  It is waiting for us to come into the knowledge of who we really are and to help set creation free.  Since my call from Spirit in 1986 is to "set the captives free", I am also standing on tip toe waiting for us to show up and show out.  But the wait for me to do my part is over.  I am listening, Spirit, I am.  In addition to the verse I heard these words from Fly Like An Eagle, as well, by the Steve Miller Band:
"I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Til I'm free
Oh, Lord, through the revolution"

Eagles fly high above the storm and let the wind carry them where they need to go.  They exert no effort as they relax into the wind.  They also have the ability to see far ahead.  As I did a journey with eagle, I heard Spirit say to rise above my circumstances (the storm), let Spirit (wind) carry me to my destination and to use my gift of intuition to see ahead.  No fear as I embark upon this next physical journey.  Why?, because God Had My Back All The Time and still does.

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be!,
Gypsi Mama Michelle




Sunday, January 4, 2015

Richmond, VA

Merry meet friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings." - Meister Eckhart

Welcome to the New Year!  Intuitively I have been feeling that 2015 will be/is an extremely powerful year; full of mystery, wonder, manifestation and fulfillment.  Maybe it's because it is an 8 year; 8 being the number of new beginnings.  Whatever the reason I feel this way, I feel this way.  That's why the above quote from the One Spirit Interfaith Seminary daily affirmations resonated with me.  Something magical is taking place!  It's in the air and it's definitely in me.  From what I've read and heard, I am not the only one to feel this way.  It seems to be what the Collective Consciousness is feeling also.

So what new something am I starting?  Even though I'm not clear on all of the details, I know that I am stepping into my destiny this year.  I'm not waiting for anything to fall into my lap.  "If it's to be, it's up to me."  Through prayer and meditation, I am listening intently to what Spirit is saying.  One way that has aided me in becoming more grounded is Dana Baily's, Earth Medicine Online Experiential.  I created my working altar due to this group and I sit before it each morning to listen for Spirit's guidance.  This group works at its own pace.  I am happy for that, because with the holidays and children visiting, it became a little difficult to do some of the meditations.  I am all over it now!

God/Goddess/All That Is has a plan for each of us.  We are all called, in our own unique way, to aid in the awakening of humanity.  In the natural, we awaken differently; some awaken slowly, some jump out of bed quickly, some have to be coaxed, some go back to sleep, some need an alarm, some awaken naturally.  It is the same spiritually.  We wake up when we wake up.  Sometimes, we know what it is we are to do when we awaken, but we choose, for whatever reason, not to do it.  I believe most of the time it's fear that keeps us from "doing".  Fear of failure, fear of succeeding, fear of looking foolish, are all fears that keep us bound.  Look at Noah, I am sure he felt foolish building that ark amid all the taunts, but he kept doing what he believed he heard to do.  It doesn't matter if the story is an allegory or actually happened, there is a lesson.

Fear has kept me from being the person I was born to be.  Fear of thinking that I wasn't enough or that I had nothing new to say.  We are all always enough!  Whether the content of what we say has been heard before or not, it has not been heard with our voices.  My reason for being, is to empower women; perhaps because I needed to be empowered.  I know the false insecurities and inadequacies that plaque women, especially when there is someone constantly reminding us of them.  Sometimes that someone is our own voice.  Sometimes the "devil" (ego) sits on the throne (mind) in the temple (You) calling itself GOD.  It tells you that you can't do anything and that is a lie!  We can do ALL things through the Christ consciousness that resides in us. 

I have written poetry for years, and for years I have been afraid to attempt to have them published.  I was afraid of the rejection.  I have learned that a rejection does not mean that I or my work is unworthy.  It means it was not for that time or that person.  If Spirit has given you a gift, please use it. please!  Don't waste it being afraid.  Take a chance on life and LIVE!  So I have shared some of my poems on this blog and whether they were received or not, I shared them.  Sharing one's work is akin to allowing someone to see into your soul.  That's scary to say the least, but if you see into me, it's ok.  Intimacy, openness, authenticity and vulnerability are key words for my life. 

After Thanksgiving I started a Facebook page called Wild Women Gypsies.  I would not have published that page if my daughter, Zakiya, had not encouraged me to do so.  Even then I was in a little fear about inviting people to like it, but I felt the fear and did it anyway, as the book with the title says.  It received a few likes and I was grateful for them.  The night before New Year's Eve, I asked Spirit if publishing the page was really what I was supposed to do.  On NYE I looked at my page and had almost 100 likes!  It now has over 300 and growing.  I was in awe and tears at the way Spirit confirmed.  I wish for this to truly be a community of like minded women who wish to share their "wild" experiences with one another.  I am open to suggestions.

My desire is to teach, inspire and motivate women who are abused, who are homeless, who have had or are fighting illnesses and who are afraid.  I am not afraid to share my story if it helps someone to stop existing and to start living.  I am stepping out in faith to what I believe God/Goddess/All That Is, is saying to me in 2015.  My new "something" is to make this happen.  If I am ridiculed or persecuted for being who I am, then so be it.  I would rather be myself and do what I believe to do, then to be what I am not.  I thank OSIS for this quote on yesterday:
"It is never too late to begin anew.  We must allow our self to be forever recreated.  In fact, this is the only way to live a spiritual life.  Every day, every moment is a doorway into a new possibility.  A deeper communion with the Divine unfolds when we choose to open that door.  It is one thing to know this to be true, it is quite another to experience that ever-deepening communion.  Fall in love with the Mystery. - Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle