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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Richmond, VA

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

"Life is not a spectator sport.  If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life."  ~ Jackie Robinson

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~ Mary Oliver, The Summer Day


Last evening I attended The Afrikana film Festival featuring poet and activist, Sonia Sanchez.  What a spit fire of a woman!  I had heard of her and knew some of her work; (growing up in the 60's, who hadn't) but I wasn't that familiar with her life.  As I watched the documentary, reliving the events of the decades, I asked myself, "Where were you and what were you doing?".  I wore the first female "afro" at Armstrong High School, was into Black Power and sang James Brown's , "Say it Loud!, I'm Black and I'm Proud!, louder than most.  I was a rebel and non conformist, so what happened to me?  

I'm well aware that everyone will not walk the same path in the same way.  I'm still a non conformist but what happened to that fire I had in the 60's and early 70's?  What became of me?  As I pondered this last night I decided the change came when I married the first time. He was an abuser and didn't like me being who I am.  It's funny, that. We become interested in a person and what makes that person who they are, but in some instances with some people, they hate the things as well.  I believe that was my first husband's issue.  So, in order not to be hit, the non conformist, conformed, denying my true self.

I'm not trying to be Sonia Sanchez, or anyone else for that matter, but I do want to be the best me that I was born to be.  Rabbi Zusya, a Chasidic master who lived in the 1700's, said, "When I get to the heavenly court, God will not ask me, 'Why weren't you Moses?' Rather he will ask me, 'Why were you not Zusya?"  We say we can only be who we are, but in many instances, we are not "who we are" but who society, family, friends, etc., have made us become or created us in their imaginings to be.  How many of us are our true selves?  How many of us know who that is?  "It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core." said Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Many people don't like the quiet of solitude, the being alone with one's thoughts.  I agree with Anne, for it is there that I find me.

The wonderful thing (one of them) about having adult children, is that they are living their lives and it frees you to live yours.  Of course no one wants to embarrass their children or families but not living authentically is unhealthy.  The call to be your "self" will come again and again.  So, what do I want to do "with this one wild and precious life"?  I certainly don't want to be a spectator any longer, that's no fun.  There are many things in which I am interested and some may become hobbies but I would like, I think, to become more focused on my writing.  Sonia said she asked one of her teachers if she had talent.  The teacher answered, "Of course you have talent.  What are you going to do with it?"  That hit home for me.  I can do many things but what have I done with any of it?

Perhaps I am pondering this more now than before, even though I always have, (that true self calling again), because of my age and because it's soon to be Spring.  The season of death and darkness is leaving and the season of birth and light is on the horizon.  Whatever the reason, I want to answer the call of my "self" and be "all that I can be".  It's never too late.  The time will pass whether one does anything or not.  One of my biggest fears has been that of being rejected and misunderstood.  I've decide not to concern myself with that any longer.  There will always be someone who will reject you and misunderstand.  That's life; look at Jesus, probably the most misunderstood person that lived; one of, at least.   I leave with these thoughts: The first step towards getting somewhere is deciding that you are not going to stay where you are." ~ anonymous
"Look in the mirror...that's your competition."  ~ anonymous

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Richmond, VA

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

"Progress is rarely a straight line.  There are always bumps in the road, but you can make the choice to keep looking ahead." ~ Kara Goucher

"Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey." ~ anonymous

"There will always be bumps in the road...but if you stay positive and believe that you can get through it, you will." ~ Savannah Rose Neveux

"There are no mistakes; everything- even bumps in the road - provides a lesson that's necessary for us to evolve, and to get wherever it is we need to be." ~anonymous

As I was preparing for work on yesterday, I decided to wrap my hair as I will often do.  One side was smooth and exactly as I wanted it, the other was twisted and crooked.  As I worked with the twisted side, pulling, tugging and tucking, it looked better than the smooth side.  I laughed to myself and thought, "Isn't life just like this?  We go along with things running smoothly (seemingly) and then we hit some bumps, twists and turns which, in the end, are for the betterment of our lives."  I could have taken it down and started again, which is sometimes necessary, but in this instance, I would have missed this lesson.  The lesson: work with the bumps and twists of life that challenge us.

Life doesn't always proceed exactly in the way we have planned and even if it does, it doesn't proceed without some obstacles. "The beautiful thing about setbacks is, they introduce us to our strengths." said Robin Shanna.  But that will only happen if we don't allow the setbacks to paralyze us.  Ed and Deb Shapiro expressed it this way: "When you hit that unexpected bump in the road, remember that it is only a bump, not a mountain.  Go over it or around it but make sure you keep going."  Perseverance is defined as steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  If we plod on we will reach our goals.  

It is easier to give up than to keep going.  There is such satisfaction in completion though, isn't it?  When I was jogging, my daughter advised me to start with the amount of time I could and every other day increase by one or two minutes.  That advice was extremely helpful to me.  I started with four minutes and little by little increased my time to fifty minutes.  It didn't take as long as I imagined it would have.  Continuing increased my capacity to continue.  Working through obstacles when encountered will do the same.  Each time one works through something, one will find it not so difficult the next time and may actually look forward to the challenge.

When I was growing up my grandfather, when met with an obstacle, would always say, "Carry them before the board.".  "Them" being whoever stopped the process of getting the desired outcome. Perhaps this is where my perseverance originated.  When my oldest daughter was soon to graduate high school, Howard University, which was her first choice, had not offered any scholarship.  She was number 5 in her class.  I called Howard's finance department and I was told there was no money.  I asked to speak to whomever was over that person.  I was told it wouldn't matter because, again, there was no money.  I insisted and was given a supervisor who told me the same thing.  I persisted until I was given a director who sent essay questions for Zakiya to choose.  Long story short: Zakiya was given a scholarship that included tuition and room and board as long as she maintained a "B" average, which she did.

I told that story to other mothers whose children needed money and was told there was none.  Our lessons are not only for us but for others we can help.  Bumps in the road that allowed me to see and use my strengths that I wasn't aware I had, all because I kept going. No one wants to have hiccups along the path that we travel.  We probably all prefer smooth roads and we do get them at times.  But it is in the heat that change occurs.  "The glassblower knows: while in the heat of beginning, any shape is possible.  Once hardened, the only way to change is to break." ~ Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening; meditation for February !9th.  Sometimes we may have to be broken in order for change to happen but we don't stay broken, we become whole.  Allow the bumps in the road to get you where you need to be and and to let you see of what you're made.  The bumps are only temporary but, oh so necessary.

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





Sunday, February 14, 2016

Richmond, VA Valentine Day

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

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~ Rumi

"Set your life on fire.  Seek those who fan your flames." ~ Rumi

"Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love." ~ Rumi

"What is required is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it.  In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

"Close your eyes.  Fall in love.  Stay there. ~ Rumi


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY Lovelies!!!  


On yesterday, I went to DC with my sister in law and her daughter, to help my daughter Tiffany select her wedding gown.  We went to three bridal shoppes in Northern Virginia.  In order for my daughter Zakiya, who lives in Los Angeles, to participate, I Face-timed her.  I was so tired because I had worked until 12am, stayed awake until 2:30am, woke at 3:30am, fell asleep again at 5:30am and woke at 7am to prepare to leave.  When we arrived we picked uTiffany and her friend Liz, who is also a bridesmaid in the wedding.  Our first stop was the wedding venue.  I had gone before with Tiffany to see it but couldn't get the tour due to an event that day.  This time we had full access. 

The place is beautiful!  She can have the ceremony inside or out. She was adamant about it not being outside because of the humidity in July but she is reconsidering.  It is an evening wedding and it would be beautiful outside.  We shall see.  She has her own mind, that one does, and always has.  Everything will be held there, which makes it so much easier on everyone.  From there we went to the bridal shoppes.  Tiffany looked so beautiful in every gown.  Of course she looked better in some than others.  When she tried on the fourth gown, she looked up and said, "I'm getting married!".  She then started to cry..happy tears to be sure, but tears, none the less. Well that started it for all of us.  It became a reality to her, I think. Phone calls, and internet searches are not quite the same as seeing one's self in the actual gown.  In the last shoppe, the owner offered jewelry to try on.  With the veil added, we had the full effect and there were tears again.  This time it was Zakiya who started.  Tiffany looked like a princess. The gowns accentuated her hour glass figure.

We then went to dinner.  While there Tiffany admitted that she hadn't expected to find anything she liked.  She was pleasantly surprised.  She has narrowed it down to two at the first shoppe, one at the second and two at the third.  There is one gown that stood out for most us.  It was...amazing!  That gown was the one that moved Zakiya to tears.  Whatever she chooses, however, will undo us all, I'm sure.  We dropped off Liz at her apartment and Tiffany at hers and headed back to Richmond.  It was a full day ending around 9pm by the time I returned home.  How exciting that it was the day before Valentine Day, the celebrated day of love!

There are so many ways, things, people and places to love, aren't there?  I, for one, think it's best to start with self love.  In loving ourselves, we learn how to love...everything!  Even the difficult in our lives have been placed there for our learning.  This world is a school, is it not?  We learn to re-member what we have forgotten.  I am in the process of re-minding myself...making my mind new again.  What I mean, is that we have been conditioned to think a certain way from birth.  It's the collective consciousness...when the majority thinks a certain way, usually everyone follows suit.  We forget that we have come to earth with incredible abilities and we have forgotten how to use them.  Learning to love ourselves and by extension others, is a wonderful way to remember.

We do need to, as Rumi suggests, find the barriers within ourselves that keep us from loving and, I might add, living fully.  For how can we fully live if we don't fully love?  It all begins with us.  Love yourself today and every day.  Think good thoughts, speak good things to yourself and nurture, nurture, nurture YOU!

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





Sunday, February 7, 2016

Richmond, VA

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

"I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going.  And I have trained myself to love it.  Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight.  And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to.  But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings.  You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you."  ~ C. JoyBell C.

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it."  ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


I've been thinking quite a lot about believing and knowing.  A belief is an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists, according to the dictionary.  To know is to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty.The two are very close in definition but I came to the conclusion that belief comes before knowing.  I can accept (believe) that something is true but when I know that I know that I know, that knowledge can not be shaken by anything.

I have been rereading Richard Bach's book, Illusions which is why I began to ponder belief and knowledge.  As we continue to believe a thing, it becomes embedded in us and the thing becomes a knowing. In several paragraphs, it says "and as he believed, so it was".  This is referring to the thing becoming a reality because of the belief.  But I asked myself, "Isn't that because it was known without any shadow of doubt?"  In my own life I have had many instances of believing and knowing. Things have happened for which I have had no explanation other than I knew it would and so it was.  

While the book may have prompted my thoughts, there are incidents happening which are causing a "not knowing" or uncertainty about my job.  I'm not anxious about income because I trust Spirit, but I am wondering what's next for me.  I do want to spread my wings and let the winds carry me.  Where would that be...what would that be?  In our lives we become so accustomed to the way things are, we can't always see what they can be or how they can be.  Plato's Allegory of the Cave comes to mind.  There are prisoners who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall.  Shadows are projected on the wall from things passing in front of a fire behind them.  They give names to these shadows as they become as close to viewing reality as they can get.  The point is, the shadows are not the reality but a perception, they would see that if they broke free from the illusion.

Richard Bach speaks about creatures who live along the bottom of a crystal river with the current sweeping over them all.  The creatures cling to twigs and rocks and as Bach says "for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth".  But there was one who tired of clinging and decided to break free.  Yes, he was tumbled and smashed but refused to cling again and eventually the current lifted him free and he was no longer bruised.  As he went downstream other creatures saw him and thought him a savior because he was free.  He explained he was the same but had broken free of clinging.  They didn't believe they could do the same and as he went his way, they made up legends about him.  They knew no other life and did not believe enough to know another way of life is possible.

Aren't we the same?  We see someone doing great (in our minds) things and think they have something that we do not.  In reality we are all capable of doing anything we wish to do.  We don't want the uncertainty of not knowing and we don't believe we can.  But we can!  We need to believe we can, so much so that it becomes a reality for us.  We don't need to know the outcome, we just need to trust Spirit to guide us.  It's human nature to wonder about the outcome or what's next but it shouldn't paralyze us into non action. We all, I believe, have dreams.  Some fulfill them and some don't. Most people believe that it's money that stops them from living their dreams but if we just take a step and move forward, everything will be provided at the time it's needed.  Peter walked on water until he realized what he was doing and thought about it; therefore he began to sink.  "The moment you doubt.." as it says in the above quote.

Let's begin to believe and then know of what we are capable, for it is beyond our wildest imagination.  Everything was a thought first before it became a reality, even us.  Words become flesh, amen?Flesh is anything that we can conceive in our thoughts...telephones, computers, airplanes.  And so it is!

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