I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 7

Yoga Pose

Yoga Pose

The new yoga week began on a high note. Our niece Sandra came into H-town. This is her second home, when you consider this is her fifth visit in three years, since my family moved back from London.

There’s a nice surprise lurking around every corner, if you open your eyes wide enough. Yep…we saw this alright. Sandra took Kimmy’s spot in our yoga class, softening the blow of Kimmy’s absence. Like Kimmy, she was no stranger to yoga, and our Raquel instantly took to her. Her first class with us was hilarious, she could not contain her laughter seeing us contort into such amazing postures, and she like Raquel, had youth on her side.

We had a good session and after class, we properly introduced them to each other. Fran was unusually quiet. We discovered she was feeling quite uncomfortable from mild to intense pain around her abdominal regions, which had made yoga difficult to do. We all expressed concern, urging her to make sure she schedules an appointment with her doctor.

Later during that weekend was a party to celebrate Cassie’s birthday. Cassie is Fran’s youngest child and we both share the same month, so it was a double celebration. Our entire family, bar those out of the country, all congregated at Fran’s for the celebration and it was a fantastic party. There was lots of delicious food and drinks. Everyone, young and old, had a blast. We started preparing to head home around 10pm, when Fran complained of more pain. We thought it was gas this time and asked her to take some antacids.

The teenagers, my son and his cousin, opted to spend the night. Ordinarily, we would have objected to them spending Saturday night away from home, as it would mean missing out on Sunday service. We had no idea the universe was once again, taking over our affairs. It turned out that much later, around 3 am, Fran’s pain had become unbearable and she needed to visit the ER. Her husband was still out with his friends. So the responsibility fell on one of the teenagers. One of them had to drive her to the ER, while the other stayed behind with the little ones.

We were not aware of these developments until about 8am, when her husband called to tell us Fran was about to undergo emergency surgery. We were panicked, but our mom was the worst culprit. Surgery! Who was the surgeon? Was he a good doctor? We went on Google to check him out. As it turned out, the husband of a former employee of ours, and friend to Fran, worked in the hospital. Gert got on the phone to Debra, who in turn gave her husband a call, to make inquiries on our behalf. Nothing prepared us for the next surprise. It turned out Debra’s husband works with this surgeon, and in his own words, said, “If I had to have this particular procedure, no other surgeon would be my choice.” Talk about finding favor from the universe, huh!

Gert and I went to the surgeon and he explained that Fran was the luckiest woman alive. Owing to triple cesarean deliveries, she had developed too many scar tissues which in turn twisted her lower intestines so badly, it obstructed blood flow. Consequently, owing to nature being ever so adaptive, the intestines starved of life, twisted around in an attempt to find an alternate means of bypassing the blocking tissues, and as a result, left her a twisted mess. More importantly, if she had come into to the ER any later than she had, a rupture would unfortunately have occurred. To the end that she would have carried a colostomy pouch about for quite a long while.

To say goodness and mercy followed would be an understatement, a great abundance of favor has been showered on my family, and with much humility and grace, we accept and still thank the almighty being for his grace.

Considering recent occurrences, it would easy to assume that there were forces somewhere out there, determined to distract us from our new-found path, but thanks to the positive energy constantly surrounding us, we thankfully did not give in to this line of thinking.

In the aftermath of Fran’s operation, she had to be off yoga for about six weeks. Luckily, all this coincided with Sandra’s visit. Our class would have whittled down from four to two, after the unexpected exit of Fran and Kimmy. However, Sandra’s presence helped us maintain high spirits, while motivating her to reacquaint herself with yoga once more.

Later that weekend during a chat with Su’, he told me he and Bubb had a surprise for me; a belated Birthday present. I was moved by their gesture, but was not prepared for the gift they had in mind. They collaborated to write a poem in my honor: Upon The Aging Sands, and Su’ wrote a beautiful narrative about me: Smiles, Sighs and Groans: A birthday tale. Every word and every phrase oozed candor and love. I could feel the essence of both of them, seeping through every line. This was sheer love. Proof, that when you do open your heart to the unknown, abundance will always make its back way to you.

After reading these, the rest of that week was simply blissful. I virtually floated about.

As for Sandra, her stay was as expected, filled with laughter and fun, as she’s freakishly addicted to my little kids. In between cupcakes, devil food cakes and major spoiling, the children were delirious from too much love and attention. Whenever she was done doting over the kids, we did our adult things: clubs and a few parties here and there, until it was that time for goodbyes again.

At Bush Intercontinental, she hugged me that evening, taking my mind back to all we had been through together over the years, and yet again, I swelled with appreciation and joy. This journey certainly has opened up a whole lot of roads, as far as thinking and state of mind is concerned; it was not just the chants and affirmations, but being tested as we went along and each test bearing a lesson we somehow manage to grasp at the end.

My kids in Naijaland Su’ and Bubb are each an inspiration to me. They don’t think or contemplate issues; they go ahead and do what they need to do. I love the bravery with which they face life, never worrying about failure or obstacles. These last few weeks has seen little communication between us. However, this has a lot to do with end of year hustles and deadlines etc. If all we end up doing is a quick “Hey” on Whatsapp, this goes down well with me and always hits the right spot. What more could a gal possibly want?

In the New Year, the next segment of my diary will continue. Then, perhaps I could acquaint you a little more with my immediate family…hubby and the wonderful seven. This should make for some really interesting read, trust me. We are a fun-loving lot, lol.

It’s nearing Thanksgiving and Christmas, a lot of emotions run haywire around this time and a lot of memories are dragged up. It’s a period of extreme pressure, usually for me, personally. Though a little nervous, I’m confident that my new way of life will hold up and my heart and soul will not fail. I hope you have enjoyed and gained a thing or two, maybe even three from all my banter, and I wish you and yours the very best of this holiday season.

See you back here in January, when I will continue with our wonderful adventure with life. May God bless us all.

I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 6

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ReAlign Yoga 4

Traffic was so bad today, Raquel came in late. We almost gave up on seeing her. Considering the time, we didn’t want to do yoga; we wanted to talk more about her boyfriend Cavanagh. The previous day was his birthday and earlier that day, we saw him on Facebook: TED recognized his work and he gave a speech at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference.

 You could see the pride written all over her face. As we talked, I went on FB to show Gert, the Facebook posts on him. Fran and I had already seen it. Looking at the pictures a second time, Fran now noticed the woman standing beside Raquel and her man, and she screamed.

“I know that woman! Renée! OMG! How do you know Renée?” She asked excitedly, like she had just won a small fortune. Raquel was all smiles.

“This is too much! This can’t be real Ms. Frances! That is Renée, Cavanagh’s mom!”

What are the odds of such coincidences? Remember similar connections made in earlier entries?

Fran told the story about how she went to college with Renée in the eighties and she remembers her having a little boy back then.

“That was Cavanagh!” Raquel blurted.

Fran described Renée’s home and places they used to hangout back then and Raquel confirmed that she still lives there and those places were still in business. Renée and Fran majored in political science and attended the same classes for three years at Texas Southern University.

We all marveled at how our paths had interwoven, further reaffirming that our meeting was ordained by the universe itself. Raquel gave Fran, Renée’s cell number, and I can happily tell you that two old friends are now joyfully reunited.

If we had any misconception that we would not be having class today, we were totally wrong. With thirty minutes left on the clock, Raquel managed to squeeze in thirty minutes of yoga. However, before we began, Kimmy shared some sad news. Okay…not so sad news. Kimmy got a job.

After almost a year of unemployment and unrivaled bliss, the wheels of employment decided to rotate for Kimmy, and she could no longer continue yoga with us. It was a bitter-sweet day for us. Class was low-key and mellow and at the end of it, Raquel thanked her for allowing her share the journey toward peace with her.

All that now remained was three sisters determined to snatch happiness by the balls. Losing Kimmy was a blow we hadn’t expected, least of all the effect it would have on us. So in a somewhat semi depressed state, we all said goodbye that day, hoping nothing happens to take anyone else away.

Once again, I suppose we were missing the point of this happiness thing. The whole idea was to claim happiness, regardless of whom or what accompanies or in this instance, who no longer accompanies us. Fran wasted no time to reminding us of this fact and we were thankful she did.

As we journeyed home that day, I realized that ever since we started yoga, my physical health was improving and not just in relation to my weight. My ailments and preexisting conditions were getting better and somehow, my coping mechanism was also improved. My biggest area of improvement was my mental state.

All the affirmations and mantra Raquel taught us, was not only working, but working well. The old me, was no longer dominant anymore. We were evolving creatures and definitely for better.

Later at home, I chatted with Bubb over the net and she reconfirmed my new predisposition all over again. On the note of loss and losing Kimmy, she joked about Fox River days… that was what private university was to her. She used to wonder why she was wasting her time studying Pharmacy, when all she ever really wanted was to write poems and stories. I laughed, joking that it was a fall back plan for when writing doesn’t pay the bills. Bubb laughed, and said writing will always pay the bills Dotta, I do this to make the parents happy.

Her response was so poignant, I did not say anything for a while, then I smiled and replied, true Bubb, very true. She was a typical example of being strong in weakness. In doing something she did not really want to do, she not only made her parents happy as she said, but proved to me the real meaning of confidence and worth. She knew writing would always pay the bills, and I knew then exactly what she meant by that. It did not really matter what material gratification she would attain by following her passion, the greater reward was in the following. That was after all the rationale behind the affirmation in the first place.

 As I said goodbye, I nodded in agreement to words, here I was again, learning from a babe.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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sister-hood-awardOnce again, Vic, you make me blush 🙂

I am honored that you consider me an exceptional blogger, even though I would not call myself one. All I try to do is my best, in comparison to the many wonderful, more exceptional bloggers I have come to know on WordPress, of which Vic Briggs is one.

Ten questions and my answers ~

  1. Your favourite colour: Green (any shade)
  2. Your favourite animal: Butterflies
  3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink: Water
  4. Facebook or Twitter: I still don’t get Twitter, lol
  5. Your favourite pattern: Does monochrome count?
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? Definitely giving
  7. Your favourite number:  7
  8. Your favourite day of the week: Thursday
  9. Your favourite flower: Orchids
  10. What is your passion? I would say LIFE…Recently discovered a whole new way of following and I’m loving it!

~ My nominees ~

Vic Briggs

Susan Irene Fox

Susan Lattewein

scottishmomus

Owls and Orchids

Petals Unfolding

Idiot Writing

Helen Midgley

Readingpleasure

Hacker. Ninja. Hooker, Spy

~The Rules ~

  1. Provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer ten questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.sister-hood-award

Featuring Vic Briggs: (Winner of nine consecutive awards!)

She tackles the both big and little issues, then throws in some humour every now and then. Seriously, you have got to be brave to talk vaginal bleaching with a straight face. Viki IMO epitomizes the quintessential writer.

Spartacus2030

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I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 5

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A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yoga has been great and we have been training a lot, for the marathon: each of us working to improve on our previous record. Did I mention my mom also lives in the same city as we do? Yes, she’s five minutes away from me and ten from Gert.

The only one who lives far off is Fran and our baby sis Jacki. Jacki lives with her two-year old Parker and his dad Micheal…they live two miles away from Fran. It’s an even distribution in a way and the family is happy with this. So on the home front, we are all able to work together, family members helping pick up little ones from daycare if need be, and grandma always delighted to have her babies on the days we have yoga. Since traffic never allows us to pick them up in time.

A new week began and we were geared up and ready. At this time I had lost about 10 pounds, and never looked this lean. All my old health hiccups had gradually disappeared.

Raquel’s affirmation, for this new week was I am strong. Class started on time with meditation. But on this day I’m a bit down; the situation about my book was depressing me—the amount of money required to fund it. I did my best to put it temporarily out of my mind, after all I was in yoga class.

One of the nicest things about yoga is the fact your competition is against no one but yourself. You only need go as far as your body allows, if you listen to it. As her voice tries to bring calm to my raging pulses, I phased out reality and focused on my wants and aspirations. We went through several poses, we sat against the wall. At this point we had become uncomfortable. To help us, Raquel suggested we pretend its Shavasana. Shavasana is the most important yoga movement. It involves the body being motionless for the duration of the pose: a very difficult feat, considering our body and mind is always in constant motion or activity.  To further motivate us, Raquel informed us, that if we succeed in sitting still for three minutes or so, it would be a great accomplishment.

I marveled at her words and yes of course, almost immediately, the greatest urge we all had, was to move. And as if on cue, we all burst out in laughter…we all moved!

Gracefully we went through our routine, learning that weakness is strength. It was okay to be vulnerable and okay to seek and want help in one form or the other. The, I am strong is not of a physical nature, it’s more an acknowledgement of flaw and the ability to get past it and draw strength from it.

Needless to say we had a fantastic workout. As we sat after class, each sharing what we have achieved so far, Raquel listens intently…our comments and observations will decide her focus and theme for our next meeting. I gave thanks for my book and bestsellers, Gert does same for her Beast and the healing she got, Fran for my little niece Cassie starting potty training and Kimmy for not losing her ass because hubby specifically demanded she dared not. Oh dear…men and behinds!

Raquel laughs out loud and thanks us for our time, and asks if anyone wanted some callalou. I said yeah, I would love some. The gals ranted and suggested I had no idea what this was and I gladly explained what callalou was and they soon realized it was a vegetable they both relished, but simply didn’t know its name. We were curious how she got to have so much, until she said her boyfriend ran a community garden in the south side.

This rang a bell for Fran, who not too long ago had spoken to a guy who was supposed to help fix her dying lawn and yard, and he also ran a community garden. Folks, it turned out to be the same guy!

We marveled at the coincidence and began to talk about those. It was then it also became clear that the woman we initially wanted to sign up with, Mitzi of Namitzi Yoga was one of Raquel’s mentors. It was an Aha! Moment, what are the odds of all these coincidences. We all agreed nature took its course and assigned whom it wanted us to work with. Raquel was most excited about these revelations. Personally, I was happy, but not surprised. We have always believed there were no coincidences; the universe aligns to give you your due. Raquel was chosen for us, and in the aftermath of getting to know her, she suited us quite well. Her style of yoga was acceptable to our spirits and aura.

Seeing we now know her and were adapting rather well with her, Raquel was our chosen and her style of yoga was acceptable to our spirits and aura.

Saying goodbye that day, we all soon found our way home. Sitting later beside Gert as I drove, I thought about all that happened in class and my mind went immediately to Su’. My last communication with him ended on a weird note…I sensed he was a little off and not in the mood for banter. I had sent him two chapters of an erotic novella and asked if it was something he would consider editing and publishing. I knew it was a bit of a stretch, another story, lol.

He responded and it was not very positive, but not because of the subject matter, his concerns were more on editing matters, which was fine with me. I teased him about lighting up…accept his forty-five year old sis was a sexual being and could write about sex too.

He was reserved and unresponsive when I tried to reach out, I suppose he was dealing with issues in his world. I tried to relate this to our affirmation of the week, consider how I could be weak in order to allow him grow and be strong: soon enough I knew he would come out of whatever was troubling him.

I dropped Gert off and went home. The family was fine, fed everyone and settled to check on emails and blog, then saw a message from Su’.

As always he asked after big bros and the little ones. He was just checking in and hoped Aondo’s light was bright for the day. A smile lit up my face, he never deviates from character, our Su’

I replied and said all was well, also asked after his family. As he worries for me, so he does for Bubb. It’s funny how we forged this family of ours. As with me, they both met online and have since developed a loving relationship. He dotes on her and she’s overprotective of him.

As we chat, he reminds me it’s my birthday that weekend and I say yep! He laughs. I ask why, he says what do you give to a lady who has everything? I smile and say aww…

“I tried calling Bubb twice today Su’, no joy! Be sure to call her and say hey for me will you.”

“okay sis.” He replies as we say goodnight for real now and I sign off.

I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 4

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ReAlign Yoga 3

Training for the run and Yoga is killing me; I’m beginning to think I must be insane to think I can do this. Fran got us training four days a week. We do three miles, then four miles on alternate days. This is Houston folks! It’s oven hot and humid and my skin is cooking in the sun.

I start complaining about my skin becoming dehydrated and not getting any better with extra moisturizer. Gert looked at me as if I was from outer space, pointing to my belly, she exclaimed.

“Don’t you see the effect of everything on you, Dotta? Look, your belly is actually going down!”

No way, I thought, but she was right. I took a quick look at myself in the passenger window of my parked car, as we waited for Kimmy and Fran to join us at Eldridge Park. Again, I took a longer, closer look.

She is right! OMG! She’s right! It usually takes me a year to notice or agree that I’m losing weight. I say a year because by the following year when I’m looking at the previous years’ photographs of myself, it becomes glaring and irrefutable to me—this moment being an exception.

It was only three weeks into yoga and my body was already changing. Feeling excited, a new burst of energy took over me. I moved over to Gert and asked her to feel the tummy.

“It’s getting taut! Can you believe it?” I blurted out.

At that moment, Kimmy and Fran pulled up beside us. They joined us and soon found out the reason for the excitement. We all confirmed that our bodies were toning better. It was unanimous that the yoga and training for the race, was not a bad idea after all. Better still, if we could achieve excellent results in a short space of time, come the period for the race, we would be smoking hot.

Spurred on, we ran for an hour and five minutes. Afterwards we gathered by our parked cars and said goodbye until we met for yoga later in the day.

Much later, on our way to the office, we are in Gert’s car cruising down Beechnut until her 450GL started bouncing and jerking like those low-rider cars on MTV that hop and bounce. I was more alarmed than Gert. All I could think of was the cost of trying to fix this, and why God had to allow this happen now. It doesn’t take much before I open the book of lamentations. I guess with my level of worrying, Gert had nothing left to worry about. We headed straight to Mercedes-Benz of Sugarland to see if they could fit her in, and of course get a loaner.

I sat in the lobby of the dealership, while Gert sorted out things. I was hoping the loaner would be as comfortable as her Beast, and my mind went to the class we are about to have in a little while. I wondered what surprises our ever colorful teacher would have for us…I was really looking forward to the class.

Gert joins me some twenty minutes later and we went out to an ML. This was lower than her car. The complaints started free-flowing once again. Sue me for enjoying being high up and loving luxury. It did not take long before my big sis commands my Toyota owning ass to get in the car and shut up, lol. You really can’t blame a girl for having good taste can you?

The drive was quick and we were soon in the office about to begin another glorious day in the home health industry. Work here is good…we are among friends and family. Our office manager Penny was already in and after our usual banter, we all headed into our different offices to tackle what the day had in store for us. Today being Tuesday, my workload is routine. I tackle paper work and try to respond to correspondence from the State and case workers.

My line of work exposes me to the many heart wrenching situations, Many of which are almost impossible to deal with, but I still have to get the job done. Penny often has to give me a reality check, to help me keep things moving along. She says I’m a bleeding heart, which is no good in this line of work.

“You gonna let these cases drown you Dotta…you ain’t any good to anybody dead or in hospital!” Penny is a realist; always the voice of reason when I find myself overly embracing the liberal side of life.

Today is like any other: files piled up and in trying to contact the State, like most times, I’m put on hold for ten to twenty minutes, only for their automated system to eventually hang up on me and I start the call over again. Nothing new…or so I thought, until Fran arrived, heralded by her cheery greetings. She just got back from the accountants and announced that we are being audited by Uncle Sam.
“Oh no! Why?”

I shrieked and ran out to the main reception, as did Gert and we both stopped dead in our tracks. Fran was grinning like an idiot!
Penny just smiled and shook her head as Fran began to speak. “And why not? It’s not the end of the world ladies, come on! Just like the year before last, they’ll do their thing and see we got no beef with them, and they’ll move on. Why act like it’s the end of life?”

Gert and I looked at each other and resigned to agree. Fran was right. Two years ago, Uncle Sam came calling, and after four long weeks of agonizing terror, the accountant announced they had departed as they came, empty-handed.

This woman, our sister was really showing us in so many ways how much her perception of life had changed. I felt shame like I did with Joe’s incident. When would I learn? Where was this new-found calm and faith I claimed to have found?

We all returned to work and later ordered Mexican for lunch. Before I had the chance to finish my meal, my phone started ringing and my personal privacy is lost. It’s the kids. After fielding a few questions about what else they can have for lunch, instead of what’s available and can someone go to the mall, I put my cell on silent and begin to wish Raquel would get here a little earlier.

The calls gave me a little headache, and as a migraine sufferer, I begin to feel an aura. Meditation would help right now. It was five minutes past four. Raquel would not be here till four thirty. I went ahead and changed anyway. Stretched out on my mat in the darkened room, I began to meditate. Five minutes into it, my breathing was relaxed and I began the visualizing techniques Raquel taught us last week. It was working …almost like magic.

Okay, meditation is great. It’s beyond great, it’s fantastic. There’s only one problem here folks; these meditation and relaxation techniques do more than relax me…the positioning amplifies every bit of pain, because the source or location of the pain becomes more apparent. This is a good and bad thing all at once. The bad bit is if like me, you are still meandering your way through this stream of consciousness, concentration becomes problematic.

Raquel’s voice soon pierced through my mind, returning me back to the reality of my surroundings. Kimmy walked in shortly afterwards and class began.

“Today’s focus is on breathing ladies…so let’s start on our backs!” Raquel announced, as she lit some candles and quietly played an instrumental of Sade’s Sweetest Taboo from her HTC.

She explained one of the proper ways to breathe in yoga: this time, we had to take in from the nostrils and open our mouths to puff it all out. We repeated this for another minute, until she instructed us to find a wall and sit with legs out. Slowly, her gentle voice led us through another two minutes of Fire breaths, before we assumed the table top position—that’s on all fours: hands and knees.

We inhaled as we dipped our backs in, and looked up, holding for a breath, this is known as the cow. Next, we arched our backs upwards, as we looked down and exhale, this is called the Cat. We repeated this several times, until we came to Downward dog. Here, we stretch the legs, twist from left to right, lifting on alternate toes and finally standing full to the salutations again.

Today Raquel is a little faster, and more intense. But like the beauty it is, yoga makes no demand on anyone. You simply follow the speed of your heart and go at your personal pace. This is important to observe, making sure the breathing always leads you. During the salutations, I still felt the pains I acknowledged earlier, and find myself struggling to keep up. Raquel noticed and came to me. She put some oil on her palms and massaged my temple and encouraged me in a low tone to breathe into my pain. It’s your body talking to you Ms. Dotta, she said, listen and move on.

It’s easier said than done, I thought sarcastically, but still adhere to her bidding. We each continued on our individual quest to gaining freedom and class flowed. Salutations done and all now back on our backs, Raquel decided we needed some core work, so we began with the bridge. This is where my personal challenge comes in, because my right knee is out of its socket. I can swear to that!

At this point, I gave up and took a child’s pose. I waited out the rest of the class. In the Vanasanah, Raquel reflected on the week ahead and talked about strength. We are only as strong as we believe in our minds. The strength she referred to is not the physical, but mental and spiritual strength; the type of strength that would cripple a two-hundred and fifty pound sumo wrestler, against a ninety pound Yogi, with a free and accommodating spirit.

“Pain remains if we give it room to live”, she declared beckoning on me and I sit down facing her. “This is a poignant moment for all of us. We are women of faith, believers in the brotherhood of life and it’s ever evolving pace to those willing to embrace change.”

Raquel’s Yogi Philosophy is no mystery to us, she speaks a different language but we share similar thoughts and understanding. I know her talk is not of pretending my pain does not exists, but one of acknowledging it, then rising towards finding a healing for myself, rather than dwelling on the sorrow of pain.

As she said goodbye, I smiled and responded to her bidding, “As we acknowledge the pain of today, let’s remember tomorrow will bring a different wind our way, Namaste.”
“Namate.” we echo.

Through Tears, Snot, and love: A Letter to My Father

And yet we wait.
A new time and a new people,who will see love, know love,and practice the same love in it’s entirety.

Dark, Handsome, and Defiant

I sat crossed legged on my bed one night and wrote this through tears and anguish. I had one of the largest scares of my entire life. I was not sure how long I had left on this planet because of a foolish impulsive act.  I took my body for granted; I told myself I was invincible.  I stole my innocence away because I was sick of being patient.  Instead of turning to my family for support, I turned to my impoverished emotions. 

**This is my first time reading it since it was written. I like it just the way it is.**

 

Through Tears, Snot, and love: A Letter to My Father

~Will you love me forever knowing that I sinned? Will you love me knowing that your boy is not a boy? Will you love me tomorrow knowing that I am sick? Will you love me when they…

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THE PRICE OF EXCELLENCE

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This is not a long post, just a comment to my fellow bloggers on WordPress.

A little over four months ago, I came across a blogger on HARSH REALITY also known as OM. He liked one of my posts and followed me, and I reciprocated, after visiting his blog. I discovered a rather interesting person, filled with drive to be excellent in what he does. I admire him and I have benefited from his generous nature through his poetry and blogging. OM is willing to help in any way he can as far as this internet thing and blogging goes.

Over the months, I have also observed the many criticisms and unwarranted attacks he has receives and I always admire how he brushes himself off and continues on his path. As we all are, OM has today shown his human side and sensitivity. Regardless as we may often claim, everybody does hurt sometime.

It’s a damn shame when in a community like this, folks resort to harassment and back talk, simply because I can only assume, they fear failure and are threatened by the brilliance of another. I believe a lot of us here have learnt a thing or two from this young man, and it really saddens me to read such a sad sour post from him. In his words, I feel the disappointment and sadness he feels and as a friend and perhaps big sis from afar, I also ache.

Come on folks, whoever you are, you know yourselves, please stop! Hard work yields positive rewards and this young man does work hard at his game here. It behooves us all to rally and stop this sort of bullying in our WordPress family.

Even though there are two sides to every story, Opinionated Man has shown himself to be anything but opinionated. He allows everyone have their say and engages in healthy interactions.

He disagrees when he wants and expresses his take without shoving his opinions down anyone’s throat, neither has he the intention to change anyone’s view. In my book, that is healthy.

You disabled your comments OM, I understand your rationale, so I use this medium to let you know that if you allow these people get to you, then you’ll never fulfill your potential.  Success and excellence come at a price, dear, so chin up.

I wish you laughter in your head and heart, and I pray you rise above this.

I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 3

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Later that night, after the visit of Joe’s mom, the sound of laughter filled our

Happy Home: Photo Credit- freedigitalphotos.net

Happy Home: Photo Credit- freedigitalphotos.net

living room. I was the butt of everyone’s joke. Hubby, the kids and my sisters, all joined in to make fun of me.

Everybody thinks I’m pathetic and a wimp, because my tears flow freely without much prompt or provocation. Lies! All it takes is for anything or something to go wrong and I become a whimpering mess. Okay, I do turn on the water works, rather too quickly, but what is a woman to do if she is made this way? Everyone, including Su’ and Bubb, when we spoke, all had a good laugh at my expense.

Yoga Pose

Yoga Pose

I don’t blame any of them. I’m too busy being glad. Numerous incidents have taught me that the man upstairs has my back, but alas, I’m a doubting Thomas. It does not take much for me to revert to type. But for Grace and Mercy—loving friends of mine—I would have driven myself with wild abandon into hypertension, many times over. This time around, I was obsessing over what reactions may come out of this terrible accident, my mind conjuring a thousand and one ugly scenarios, all ending with me being at the receiving end.

While I was busy worrying and driving myself insane, Joe’s mom was overwhelmed with gratitude and goodwill towards me. Her reaction about the incident threw me off-balance. She believes the way I was concerned for her son; I very well might have been his mother. But I am thankful for two things: Joe was able to communicate the love and concern shown to him by me, and my fear and tears is what saved me from facing a lawsuit, so you see, my excessive fretting and crying has helped, ha!

How was I to know this little boy felt love from all my fussing? Don’t mind me. I had to take my little glory; after all, I was the butt of everyone’s jokes. Gert, oh Gert was brilliant that day, I saw a real pro at work, the way she distracted him and made it all about doing it right. She kept telling Joe how great he was doing that day.

This is another mystery about motherhood we’ll never solve: the manner in which senseless things just make all the sense in the world, to us. Only a mother would know what it feels like, to feel like she let her child down. Joe’s mom was just glad a mother was there for her son, when she could not be. I marvel thinking about it all, anyway, not to deviate from the main subject of my story, Yoga.

The time for yoga came.  It was 4pm on Thursday and the usual suspect turned up. Kimmy made a confession before class began: she had taken yoga classes in the past—no wonder, she maneuvered just a little better than the rest of us.
The beauty of this lifestyle is the repetitious nature of it; you simply relive stuff until it becomes second nature. So as with our first day, we began with the basics; stretches and Sun Salutations, repeated over until our bodies warmed up, then the real fun began.
Raquel tells us our class is a quick learn, we don’t get what she means, but she’s smiling, so we all smile too. We began to learn the names of movements and poses, and surprisingly discover that each yoga movement is geared towards healing or enhancing an internal organ. Hard to believe, but trust me, the moment we went into those sideways deep twists and fire-breathes, the colon got the message and the toilet called for some! Gert in this instance was the victim…she poops like a puppy, lol.

sunsalutationfinal
The very start is the Salutations; we began with Hatasana, a pose where you clasp both hands together to your chest standing still. The core thing here is breathing, remember to fully breathe in and expel all air when you breathe out.

Then we do the Flat back, bending down until your hands almost touch your toes, while keeping a flat back, then up again. Next, we do the Lunge…a deep split with one leg bent in front, while the other is fully extended to the back and both hands on either side of the bent legs: then you rotate the other leg as well.

From the Lunge, we go into the Plank, where the body is fully extended in a push-up position, but the core strength lies in the arms and toe. This is leads into a Chaturanga: a final descent, where the butt is pointed up and the body slowly lowered to a rest or you take the optional Cobra or Baby Cobra pose— another great strengthener for the arms and spine.

Folks, these moves are killers! Bear in mind, you repeat these movements about three times during each session. The entire Salutation takes about 9 poses. When you finish, you take the much deserved Child’s pose, and this involves, kneeling with legs apart and resting the belly in the middle; a very comforting and relaxing pose, after the torture of Salutation.

Raquel is kind. She encourages us to take as many Child poses as we want. You can bet I took as many Child poses as possible; after all, I am a mere beginner, lol. Class finally ends after an hour and as we rest for the last meditation, she encourages you to cleanse yourself at this point. I used to wonder how this was possible, but believe me, after a rigorous work out like this, you will need no bidding to find your zone. Your body naturally gravitates towards calm and comfort. The combination of her soothing voice—thanking us for allowing her share our spiritual and physical space, coupled with subtle background music—definitely helps us find nirvana sooner than later.

The Child poses saved my life on this day, I think I prefer child poses, lol. We tidied up after class, which takes place in our office. We now close the office an hour earlier on yoga days, to accommodate the classes, which are held in my part of the office. I had the most open space available.

“Y’all know ReAlign Yoga has a Facebook page right? Please can everyone go and like us there” Raquel announces, which evoked another topic for conversation among us. Another twenty minutes went by as we got to know a little more about our teacher on a personal level. She’s real…warm and wholesome in that earth mother sort of way.

She talks a little about how she got into Yoga and who her mentors were, it turned out we know one of her mentors, Mitzi. We met Mitzi about two months before, at a seminar in a downtown club. Fran pointed out she wanted to sign us up with Mitzi, but after leaving several messages without any response, this led to her finding out about our Raquel through a friend of a friend. It turned out Mitzi never got the messages, so she was not able to respond, this we found out later. So like everything else in all our lives, we came to accept there were no coincidences, we were all meant to be here as we were.

We agreed to be friends on FB, those of us who did FB that is; Gert is not a fan.

I Choose Happiness: Diary Entry 2

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Simplicity - Is just that simple.

Simplicity – Is just that simple.

My last diary entry ended on a note about learning from babes…

Joe’s incident left me breathless. I found it difficult to navigate my mind away from the disaster that could have been. One of my biggest fears, living is the US, is the speed at which lawsuits and counter lawsuits are filed. The possible repercussions of this incident mortified me. In a nutshell, I managed to deprive myself of sleep that night, and ended up texting Gert. Her reply filled my soul with shame. I read her reply at least a dozen times.

“Our father will never allow sorrow consume us!”

This was the moment I knew I had to truly focus on this path, of choosing happiness. Dwelling on negative thoughts was not the way to go under any circumstance.

This same week I began writing a post I published a while ago, ‘I am because of love.’

This idea of choosing happiness or being conscious of happiness was new to me. It was somewhat foreign to my psyche—how can I choose or stay happy, when events surrounding me conspire to ensure my unhappiness?

Determined to somehow soldier on, I turned unwittingly to two young people for succor. These are my adopted kids Su’ and Bubb.

How do I best describe these two?

Su’ is twenty-five going on sixty, absolutely gorgeous with a beautiful mind. He’s a cross between Denzel Washington and Spencer, the clever one from Criminal Minds, and Colombo, the old detective from back in the day. I say Denzel ,because I’m a black woman in my forties, who else is there to choose? Hello! Okay, back to Su’, he’s all this rolled into one. Yeah…Su is a combination of smarts, looks and a wicked sense of humor. He calls me big sis and hubby, he calls, big bros. Their relationship is somewhat different, another chapter, but he is our son, period.

We met online, and the last two years feels like I birthed this young man. The unique thing about him is we interact on the same intellectual level. He knows the right thing to say when I fume, rant, panic or rage. 

Then there’s Bubb, oh Bubb…she’s a cynic and optimist all at once, having a wicked sense of humor, she also has that unassuming innocence, and just when you think you have her figured out, she flips on you. Freakishly stylish, she’s a walking fashion encyclopedia; she is Vogue and Cosmo all at once. It amazes me a how twenty-two year old would do the classic Channel one day, and the next, she’s channeling Victoria Beckham. She’s a seriously talented writer—both of them are, actually. Bubb loves poetry, and  writes the most erotic poetry you ever read. Wise beyond her years, with a rather high intellect and good sense of humor to match. I would not wish her to be any other way.

Friends

Friends

Of late, I began to see life through the eyes of these two. They both reside in my home country, Nigeria. Bubb, a new graduate of pharmacy and Su’ is threatening to finally get his MBA. Su’ can be found shuttling between New Karu, a small suburb in Abuja, the federal capital, and Markurdi, where he runs his rising publishing firm.


The contrast in our living environments could not be more glaring, as when we communicate—thank God for the Internet and technology, we communicate frequently—I moan about traffic from road construction, basketball practice and tutorials for the kids, and they tell me of school strikes: universities shutting down, leaving young people idle, without much to do—staying at home for months, accidents on murderous roads, which the government refuses to repair, neither are they bothered about it causing the loss of lives. I amuse them with my trivial moans. Su’ with a smile in his voice, would thank Aondo (God in his native Tiv dialect), for yet another sunrise.

Despite many reasons to be despondent, these two are an inspiration to me. Bubb lives through her writing, and makes the world better through it, by the realism she weaves and the mesmerizing prose forges with her words.

I learn from them, while also being a mother hen…yes, stuff like they must eat properly and Su’ letting up and allowing some girl into his life. He’s going to kill me for this. I know he gets into stuff; he just hides them from big sis, lol.

The big worry for Bubb, at the moment is her internship. Her parents are doing their best to help sort this out but have an extra burden, imposed by the ongoing university lecturers’ strike. For close to three months, two of her younger siblings have been stuck at home.

“Mom gets worried a lot, just like you, Dotta, but Dad hardly worries. If he does, he never shows it.” Bubb was luckier: she attended a private university— frightfully expensive. Understandably, it would be more difficult to have two more students go down this same route, considering the cost of living in Nigeria is outrageously high, even for two successful professionals. Bubb’s mom has every reason to worry: the trials of parenthood weigh on her and justifiably so.

If Bubb’s worries centers around her internship, Su’ biggest problem is time! There is not enough time in a day for Su’s schedule.  A giver…of his time, money, food…you name it. If he could borrow time, just to help you, he’ll do it! How do you encourage one to stop giving? Well, sometimes I do try: especially when I know he has gone over and beyond the norm of what many would consider acceptable. I almost sound evil when I do, but that’s exactly what I tell him almost every conversation.

Returning to my worries about Joe’s accident, Su’, Bubb and Gert, each had a nugget of wisdom to share with me. Aondo’s grace was abundant, and boy did it shine through. The day after the accident was a Wednesday, and yoga class takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays. At this time, I was not an emotional mess, so yoga was still on the cards.

I went to work as usual. Later that day back home, my daughter Ken, bursts into my room grinning.

 “Oh, Mom! Mom! Joe’s okay, he came to school today! 

In comparison to yesterday, and feeling quite sad—coupled with the fear of being arrested—today, my Ken was ecstatic. Her news was sweet to my ears! She told me how worried Joe had been worried about her, seeing she cried so much yesterday. Joe told her his mom wanted to see me. She barely finished her story before the doorbell rang. It was Joe with a happy face.

“Hey Mrs. R, my mom’s here to see you!”

He looked perfect! I pulled him closer and gave him a hug. I asked about his mom and how was he doing. Poor kid, I think I almost smothered him, because he gasped and wriggled out of my hug, laughing. He pointed to a jeep parked across the road.

“Mom’s on the phone in the car, she’s coming.”

The jeep door opened and a woman probably in her late thirties walked across and I moved towards her. She hugged me tightly and kept whispering, thank you, thank you so much, in my ears. I was shocked. What was she thanking me for? I should be the one to thank her for coming over and for being so gracious.

After the introductions, she told me how grateful she was, for everything I did for her son. I had to stop her. I pointed out I should be thanking her, but she would not hear of it.

“Joe told me how you held his hands and cried all through. He said a nice lady held him and put pressure on the wound, and kept talking to him, preventing him from falling asleep. The doctor said the gash was quite bad and if proper care had not been taken, he would have lost consciousness and most likely needed a transfusion. They said he lost a lot of blood.”

She began to cry at this point and we both cried and hugged. Gert’s words came rushing back to me…God never allows sorrow consume his own. After they left, I called Gert recounting all that had occurred. We both thanked the Father for much grace and mercy.

Joe’s incident touched all of us, in different ways. I found it refreshing and reassuring that not everyone in America is eager to file lawsuits, or see it as the solution to every accident. Ken and Joe, displayed true courage and strength of character: Ken in admitting the truth, despite incriminating herself, and Joe, in his defense of Ken to his dad, when he was attempting to establish the events which led to his son being hurt.