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Sunday, February 22, 2015

New York

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

"I believe compassion to be one of the few things we can practice that will bring immediate and long term happiness to our lives.  I'm not talking about the short-term gratification of pleasures like sex, drugs or gambling (though I'm not knocking them), but something that will bring true and lasting happiness.  The kind that sticks." ~ Dalai Lama XIV

One of my FB friends, Nessa Crescent Moon, shared a video of a man in a town square or somewhere open.  He placed a sign in front of a book bag that said, "I trust you.  Do you trust me?  Hug me.", he then blindfolded himself and stood waiting with outstretched arms.  Many ignored him, many hugged him and many more took pictures.  It moved me to tears.  I find that I am moved to tears more readily now than I used to be.  I cried over sentimental movies and sad songs like most people; those things that are supposed to invoke those emotions.  However, instead of smiling and saying that's nice about other types of somewhat emotional situations, I now cry.

It's not a bad thing to feel compassion toward other beings which include animals too, as far as I'm concerned.  Watching infomercials about the mistreatment of animals will also have me crying.  I believe when I was younger that my heart was more closed because I was afraid of rejection.  As I've grown older in age, wisdom and the knowledge of God/Goddess/All That Is, my heart has become more opened.  I have learned that even rejection is a learning experience that can bring healing, if we allow it to do so.  Sometimes it has nothing whatsoever to do with us but the other person.  Either way we can become healed if we understand that, this too, is a gift.  Spirit healed me from feeling rejection from my father and my mother in her womb.  Rejection helps me to understand and help others.

Each day, week, month and year, we grow and learn more about ourselves.  I have learned more about me in the last four years but even more in this last year.  I feel as if I am becoming more of the person Spirit intended before my birth.  And, of course, we have to grow into that person.  I'm becoming more comfortable in my skin.  I'm leaning toward a more natural, holistic way of living and expressing the ancient ways.  I'm discovering more about the type of area in which I'd like to live, how I wish to dress and show up in this world.  I love the energy of New York and I always have but I want a little less of the energy and cold that comes with it.  I like quaintness and being able to walk to the places I frequent.  I like being able to open the front door and step outside.  As a younger woman I dreamed of living in NY in a condo, unmarried, no children and a career woman.  Now I want to plant and grow my own food within in a city. Who knew?  Certainly, not I.

On Thursday I went to Brooklyn to see my friend and fellow OSIS graduate, Rev. Iliana Delgardo.  We were going out for brunch.  It takes about an hour on the train.  When I got off the train and walked to her house, the wind was fierce!  When I arrived she asked if I would rather get a manicure, her treat.  I needed one, so of course I said yes.  She then told me she had an organic meal prepared: whole grain pasta with tomatoes, spinach, nuts and cheese and a raspberry chocolate gelato for dessert.  Yum!  We took the bus to the nail shop and walked back.  I stopped in the organic store to pick up a few items then took the train back to Manhattan.  My fingers, with gloves, felt frostbitten.  It was extremely cold.  It was just beginning to get dark when I returned to Manhattan.  I can not see at night.  I think I may have to see if I have cataracts and if so have them removed. 

On Saturday NY was expecting snow around 2pm.  Jason and I went to brunch on the upper West Side at Sarabeth's.  The ambience is nice and the food was delicious.  I don't eat eggs unless they're organic, cage free and vegetarian fed, if I have a choice.  The eggs at Sarabeth's are all natural from a farm in Pennsylvania so I felt fine having the crabcake benedict.  Then Jason and I went to the upper East Side to a few stores.  We were about to head back to his apartment when he remembered he needed to go downtown to his job.  It started to snow on the way, well before 2pm.  By the time we arrived at the apartment, the snow was sticking.  Later that night I could hear the freezing rain against window.  We were warm and cozy though.  Today it is somewhat cloudy and sunny at times.  The temperature is supposed to be around 40 degrees so it may melt the snow.

Later this week I will try to meet another friend and fellow OSIS graduate, Rev. Sonya Brown.  We were going to meet last night at the New York Open Center for an event but the weather prevented that from happening.  I look forward to meeting with Sonya.  She, as are most of the graduates from both seminaries, is very intuitive.  I love to hear her insights and revelations.  I am sure wherever we meet, the place will probably close and we may be asked to leave.  Ministers tend to have quite a lot to say.  The joke is, never give a minister a mic if you wish to speak again.  There are others here that I wish to see before I leave.  I'm leaving soon but I am returning shortly thereafter.  My first year dean, Rev. Sandra Bargman, is not too far away from Jason. I will walk to see her when the weather gets a little warmer and there is no forecast of snow.

I will close as I started, with compassion.  Compassion is the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.  While I agree that compassion does produce a desire to help, I think sometimes we are just moved by what we hear or see.  I don't know if the man in the video needed a hug, felt others needed it or both.  My teary response was not so much to help but at the tenderness I saw displayed.  It's the same emotion when I see the mistreatment of any being.  However I do think that the response could motivate me to ask, what can I do, how can I help?  I would like to be an active participant in life, not a spectator.  Maya Angelou said, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."  I agree with you, Maya.

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








Sunday, February 15, 2015

New York

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

"I don't think I'd be happy if I were satisfied.  I enjoy challenge.  And I wouldn't say that I'm an ambitious person career wise or financially.  Really.  I would like to travel more comfortably.  But that's really about all I need."  ~ Jason Isbell

So I've just ended my first week in New York.  I've been helping my son by getting the apartment in order.  I have unpacked, put away, rearranged, thrown away and cleaned.  Jason sat on the new sofa last night and said how the place now felt like an apartment.  He was mainly using it to shower, change and sleep.  I think he will now be more inclined to use it as a retreat from the outside world.  The first day that I rearranged things to make room for the sofa, he came in from work and said, "Oh I see you've been decorating.  I feel a little discombobulated."  I laughed.  I love to decorate and it feels good to help him.  Before the sofa arrived on Saturday, I placed the air mattress on the wall that I thought would best fit the sofa.  Jason wanted it elsewhere.  When he saw the air mattress on the wall he liked it.  Needless to say that's where the sofa is.  Sometimes we have to let them see for themselves.

I had several outings last week.  However I didn't venture out except for the store.  I DO NOT LIKE COLD WEATHER!  I also had plenty to do here and not being that familiar with the area, I didn't want to be out after dark.  But it really was more the cold weather.  I have outings again this week but I think I will brave the weather and go out.  I do wish to see my friends and family.  Growing up in Richmond, VA, the weather never seemed to be extremely cold or hot.  Like Goldilocks, it always seemed just right.  Yes, there were cold and hot days but they weren't unbearable.  Having traveled to other places, I realized that Richmond's weather is better than some and not as good as others.  But to me, now, it is also cold; though not as cold as NY.  I like Spring like temperatures and want that always.  I don't believe that I would miss Winter.

The restlessness is overtaking me again.  I think, for me anyway, that I look forward to being in a place or starting new things but once I've learned the thing or have done what I came to do, wanderlust sets in once again.  I know how to be content in situations in which I find myself; I just adapt.  So the question becomes, why doesn't the contentment last?  What's inside of me that keeps me looking, longing, wondering, etc.?  It's not that I am always unhappy in situations; no, it's more like something calls to me and I must answer.  It is like something says, "Time's up" and I'm gone before I leave.  I tell myself that I don't want to be restless but I'm lying to myself.  Let me explain.  I don't necessarily like the feeling of restlessness but I do like wondering and wandering.  I have always been curious.  I guess curiosity wins over not liking the feeling of restlessness.  Sometimes I feel as if I didn't complete something in a past life.  (Yes, I do believe in past lives.)  Perhaps this is why I wander.  I am looking for something and I'm not sure what it is. 

Sometimes I say to myself, "Why can't I be like other people and settle down?"  But I'm not other people, I am Me!  I have to accept all of me, the good, the bad, the  ugly and the beautiful parts of me that make a whole.  When I was raising my children, I wanted to be the best mom that I knew how to be.  I was content in that role at that time.  Oh, I still would get that far away look in my eyes and hear the call of the wild but I knew that motherhood was the role I was cast in at that time.  I think I played it well.  They say so anyway.  Now I'm playing the role of the Gypsy Wanderer.  I like this  role.  The world really is a stage (thank you Shakespeare) and we are the players.  We all act out the assigned roles we have been given.  At some point in our lives, a particular play closes and we "audition" for another.  Sometimes we choose the role and sometimes it's chosen for us.  But even in the ones chosen for us, we have a choice as to whether we act it out or not.

Even now, though I plan to be here until the end of the month, I hear the call of the wild.  In my spirit I an on the next adventure, even though I don't know what or where it is.  Sometimes not knowing will get to me even though not knowing is the thrill.  It is scary but in an exciting way.  When I visited my daughter in DC and now visiting here, I sometimes think that I want to settle down and get a place.  I do love to decorate and have my things speaking to me.  But I can sense or discern that now is not the time.  I am learning though all of this to lighten my load.  I am learning that I don't need as much as I think I need.  It is hard when packing to try and think about weather in different places and how to dress.  Thank Spirit for leggings.  We can dress them up or down.  I remember when I visited my friend Cher in NY in 2004.  Cher travels a lot and told me she packed lightly in black and/or white; tops, skirts, pants and added scarfs.  One is always ready for anything.  I still do over pack, Cher.  LOL  

As I await the next "call of the wild", I will enjoy my time here knowing that it will be over all too soon.  I will arrive at the next destination wondering why I'm there and if it's not the place to settle, I will hear the call to wander again and again, until I hear it no more.

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


Monday, February 9, 2015

Washington DC/New York

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

"I'm unpredictable, I never know where I'm going until I get there, I'm so random, I'm always growing, learning, changing, I'm never the same person twice.  But one thing you can be sure of about me; is I will always do exactly what I want to do." ~ C. JoyBell C.

"Faith means living with uncertainty - feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark." ~ Dan Millman

I went back to DC for three days and then I left for NY on Saturday.  Although I traveled by Greyhound, I did not have any unusual happenings on the buses.  However I did have something to occur before I got on the bus to NY from DC.  When I left DC for VA, I didn't take my suitcase, I just carried a duffel bag because I knew I would be bringing a suitcase back.  Having no idea where I'm headed after NY, I had to be prepared for any weather and so I packed accordingly.  I transferred things from the suitcase in DC to the larger one and still had to leave some items at my daughter's house. 

My bus to NY was scheduled to leave at 2:10pm.  When the attendant weighed my bag it was over by 14lbs.  The weight limit is 50.  The clerk told me that I had time to do whatever needed to be done because the bus wasn't there.  It was 2pm.  I also found out that particular bus wasn't an express and I would have to change in Baltimore.  I caught my daughter before she left because I didn't know if I needed to leave more items.  We shifted some things into my book bag and I carried some others.  The only thing I put back into the car was a pair of booties.  My daughter went with me into the station area just in case I was still over the limit.  I was over by 5lbs but the manager said it was fine.  The clerk put the label on my bag and I went out to the bus.  BUS WAS GONE!  I went back inside very frustrated, to say the least!  The manager told the clerk to put me on the 4pm express because the 3pm was also local and would arrive later than the 4pm.  It cost more for express but I wasn't charged because it was their fault.  By the way, it would have cost $30 for the weight overage.  No thank you!

I told my daughter that I would just wait.  I didn't want to go back to the apartment and come back again.  I sent her to the car, however, to get my booties.  I also put the things back into my suitcase.  It was easier for me to carry that way.  The bus was a Peter Pan Bus.  I had a seat alone and we arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  The reason that I was concerned about getting to NY later is because I was attending a Meet, Mingle and Wine at a new friend's apartment in Harlem.  The event started at 8pm and she was giving a speech.  I had to go to my son's apartment and get the key, change and put on makeup, etc.  I felt I would arrive too late.  I called Gina and she said it was fine.  Finally, I left for her place.  My son moved and so I was not as familiar with this area.  The subway was up the street and her stop was only two stops away.  I walked about 6 blocks from the train to her place.  By the time I climbed the 5 fights of stairs, it was 10pm. 

Gina Desire is a new Haitian friend that I met on FB, along with several others.  This was an event for us to meet and get acquainted.  Everyone is Haitian or Haitian American like me.  Her home is warm and inviting.  Gina prepared dishes in the Haitian way.  She even made considerations for those of us who don't eat red meat or pork.  Gina prepared goat, chicken, fish, Haitian mac and cheese, salad and a black rice and shrimp dish.  OH MY GAWD!  My favorite was the rice and shrimp dish.  An assortment of desserts and wine rounded it out.  I did not drink any wine.  I was concerned about walking back to the train alone at a much later time in an area that I know somewhat, but is not completely familiar.  The conversation was lively.  Everyone was very accepting and welcoming.  I knew they would all be younger than I, but that didn't matter.  Once they found out that I had not been to Haiti but that I have relatives there, they encouraged me to go. 

We spoke about the way Haitians are depicted in the media.  We all know the media is slanted so that we see what they want us to see.  Haiti is beautiful and when one steps onto the island, one feels the  connection with the land.  I was told that now when you book flights from NY to Haiti, (post earthquake), the plane is full of Europeans.  Europeans are buying some of the islands and turning them into resorts.  I wish Haitians and Haitian Americans would collectively buy property there as well.  Flights at this time aren't expensive and so I will definitely look into going.  Gina told  me that in the Haitian culture when guests are invited to one's home and don't offer to help with anything, they are talked about and not invited back.  As I left, I remembered this and came back into the hall and shouted, "Gina, do you need any help?, I want to come back!"  They all laughed.  My son met me downstairs and we took a taxi back to his place.  I would have loved to stay longer but once he arrived I thought it better to not walk alone.  I do plan to see Gina again before I leave.

I have no idea where I'm headed after NY, I'm leaving that to Spirit.  Spirit ordained DC and NY due to some unfortunate incidents in VA.  But I like the unpredictable way of being and living by faith.  I wish I had the money to go along with this lifestyle.  Perhaps with faith an abundance of money is not needed; maybe all that's needed is faith that what one needs, one will have when needed.  I also like Spring weather and NY has freezing rain now and snow later today.  But this is the Gypsy life, we go with the flow.  While here, in addition to seeing my friends from Seminary and family, I will put my son's apartment in order.  He's been so busy with work and church, he hasn't had time.  So since I love to decorate, I will.  Spirit knew what needed to be done.

When I visit people in their homes I sometimes feel the pull to settle and get a place because as stated, I do like to decorate.  The thing is that I haven't found anywhere that feels like home yet.  Well, I guess it's because I have yet to travel many places.  As long as I am able to travel I will do so, knowing home is where my heart is.  So many people say to me they wish they could chuck everything and just be free.  I didn't choose this though, it chose me.  But, like Rosa Parks said, "I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free...so other people would be also free."  I am about this life!  Happy Black History Month!

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

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Washington, DC/Richmomd, VA

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

"When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm.  Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring." ~ Madeleine M. Kunin

Tomorrow February 2, is Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere.  Imbolc is the midway point between Winter and Spring or the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.  It is one of the four Celtic "Fire Festivals", commemorating the changing of the Goddess from the Crone to the Maiden.  Usually, it is when the first signs of Spring are noted.  Yes, even with frost on the ground or snow, the first signs of Spring are here if we take notice; longer light, some budding, etc.  Imbolc reminds us of the passing of Winter and the entrance into Spring.  This is a good time for initiations.

One of the definitions of initiation is: the action of beginning something.  Typically initiations are done with some sort of ritual.  Rituals can be as simple or as complex as one wishes.  Simply lighting a candle and stating or writing down your intentions for whatever is beginning, is a ritual.  When Spring enters, our thoughts often turn to newness so it seems appropriate to begin something.  I've been asking myself, what would I like to initiate in my life?  What has been stirring within me that I want to see blossom into fullness?  I'm not content with the mundane.  I want my life to be lived with conscious purpose and significance.   

The beginning of one thing is sometimes the ending of another.  If we decide to eat healthy nutritious foods and exercise, we are ending a lifestyle of unhealthy eating and being sedentary, for example.  Endings beget beginnings.  At the moment, we find ourselves in a transitional state.  Winter is not over and Spring has not begun, but we are midway there.  For those who are prone to dally with starting something new, this is an excellent time to begin the thought process; to initiate one's self into the adventure of beginning.  I am sure everyone has thought about making changes in life.  Take the time and begin to begin.  Contemplate what would have to happen to make you your best self for now.

This past week was spent in Washington, DC with my youngest daughter, Tiffany.  I had to return to Richmond for a visit with my oncologist.  I now only have to see him once a year instead of every six months.  Grateful!  Having to see him every six months made it more difficult to travel further than the East Coast.  I'm headed back to DC than I'm off to NY to spend some time with my youngest son, Jason.  I have many friends in NY and plan to visit with them while there.  Through Facebook, I have met some Haitian sisters and brothers.  Some live in NY and I plan to visit them as well.  I am half Haitian but I don't know the culture or foods because my father and mother divorced when I was younger.  I only know what I've read, so it will be a wonderful experience for me to discover more of my roots.  Learning about my ancestry is an initiation of sorts for me.  Who knows what I might discover?

In the month that Spring officially begins, I will head off to parts unknown.  I am inviting new adventures into my life and I'm looking forward to them.  I've been feeling very alone lately.  I know that I am not but it's what I've been feeling.  I pay attention to my feelings and sit with them.  I'm not a fan of stuffing them beneath the surface.  They always resurface anyway and sometimes at the most inopportune times.  And so, as I sit and reflect and participate in Nessa Crescent Moon's Sacred Hearth Experiential, many feelings have surfaced.  This may be a great time for me to write poetry.  That has always been a way for me to get in touch with my feelings. 

Mercury is in retrograde until February 11th, I believe.  Hurray when it leaves!   This retrograde prompts one to re-evaluate, renovate, re-form, and re-invent.  We feel extra sensitive, sometimes psychic.  We notice everything now!  It is easy to make mistakes  and misread another's communications.  Mercury retrograde can have us second guessing ourselves, so be careful in business deals.  Wherever Mercury resides in our natal chart will cause us to question everything.  I am sure I'm feeling what I'm feeling due to this retrograde.  Mercury is in Capricorn in my natal chart.  Some of the attributes of that: notices everything, reflective, deep thinker, undertakes lengthy studies.  I'm in overload!  It helps to know this because it won't allow me to get too caught up in my feelings.  Thank God/Goddess/All That Is for giving us the sun, moon and planets to aid us. 

I'm looking forward to Spring and new growth, in the earth in general and the earth which is me, in particular.  Keep evolving, keep growing, keep being.

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