Self-Care- A Family Tradition

As I was preparing my breakfast this morning, I was reminded of a family tradition that I had looked over for years- the tradition of rest on Sunday. For nearly 3 years, I have dedicated teaching, promoting, and encouraging self-care and self-love. My business, Divine Soul, though spiritual in nature, focuses on holistic health over all things.

I neglected to remember that I was raised with self-care Sunday. I remember vividly being made to chill on Sunday. There was no sweeping, no mopping, no heavy labor, not even work for my family on Sundays. The dinner meal was prepared on Saturday night. The dishes would be the only “chore” to be done that day. My family didn’t even iron!

I remember being told that Sundays are the “Lord’s day” and are meant to be a “day of rest”. As years passed, I got into the habit of the neverending work wheel- grinding away, moving away from rest for fear of failure because I had not done enough. I have carried the mantle of being workhorse for many years and began to see my overall well-being suffer as a result of it.

There is a principle in West Afrika called “Sankofa”. Sankofa may be loosely translated to means “to go back and get it”. We use this principle to describe us reaching back to traditions of our ancestors and utilize the wisdom that has been left behind. I realize that my charge on this earth to assist others in recapturing that which has been left behind.

Our ancestors have left us so many things that will assist us in living an abundant, healthy, and nurturing lifestyle–if we would only remember.

See you all soon,

Ashaki

I Finally Made It Back

Peace everyone! It has been quite some time since my last post. So much has happened!

My mother transitioned on May 24th. It has been extremely hard because of our estrangement. However, I did the best that I could by her to make sure that her final arrangements were carried out. Reconciling my emotions has been one of the hardest things in my life. She and I had not spoken in nearly 3 years. The week of her death I became ill, experiencing sharp abdominal pains that I could not understand. The day of her death hit me hard. Our estrangement does not lessen our connection.

I am still my mother’s daughter and I feel that her transition is just another chapter in our developing story. She is an ancestor and I will venerate her as such.

I have also been without a laptop—again! What is it about children and technology? Disaster always seems to strike, well in my household anyway. I was unable to have my beautiful laptop repaired so I had to settle for a less powerful model for the time being. It will get the job done.

I have been training to become a yoga instructor and honing my artistic craft. All of this has been keeping me extremely busy. I am bound and determined to free myself from the proverbial rat race! And right now work is a helpful escape.

It is my hope that I am not gone for so long again. I have several projects that I am working on. I must admit writing feels so damn good to me right now! Stay tuned loves. I will see you soon.

-Ashaki

Dealing With My Mother Wound

For the past few days,  I have been processing a lot of my emotions about my mother–the deep pain I feel about our broken relationship, the memories, the tears. I do not feel the urge to reach out to her but the lingering question of why always haunts me. Why does she feel the way that she does about me? Why did she never attempt to love me unconditionally and only seem to tolerate me?

The topic of mothers always brings me heaviness. I see people sharing loving memories of their mothers, the sweetness of it, the lessons, the joy. I learned lessons from my own mother hard-there was so sweetness or softness in my experience. And I used to cling to the rarye moments in which it seemed that she was being nice–the time she taught me to ride a bike, the time when she played dolls with me for a little while, or when she told me she was proud of me when I graduated high school.

She is a joy to almost everyone except me. There are countless people that blame me for not having a relationship with her and typically do not believe me when I tell them she has nothing to do with me.

It seems ridiculous that I can only think of a few occasions in which my mother seemed to be a mother to me. And over the years, my disdain and resentment only grew. I was never pretty enough, never calm enough, never enough like “everybody else”. I remember wishing I had been born to a different family, my “real” family, because the one I was in did not seem to fully accept me. My grandparents were the only ones who encouraged my intense curiosity and odd pursuits.

As the years have passed by, I have pondered the what ifs as well. What if I hadn’t been a teenager mother, would she love me then? What if I didn’t look like my father, would she love me then? What if this, what if that. I have come to the conclusion that none of that matters. There exists a legacy of separation between mothers and daughters in my maternal line.

For the past 10 years, I have researched and compiled family history-from maternal and paternal lineages. One major discovery is a theme of separation between mothers and daughters through death and more. Here is the breakdown–my mother and I have no relationship (I was pretty much disowned); my mother was not raised by my grandmother. My grandmother went to work and live in NYC and she was raised by her grandparents. My mother never called her mother momma/mom, she called her Lillie because her grandmother had been her mother until she was 16. My grandma Lillie was not raised by her mother. Her mother, Gracie, abandoned her and her older sister Betty when they were 3 and 5. My grandma had been raised by her step-mother, Caroline. Mother Gracie was not raised by her mother. Her mother, Bettie Alford, hemorrhaged and died after childbirth. So, as you can see, there is a theme.

I have 2 daughters, Ayanna and Aaliyah. I cannot imagine them not being in my life. I cannot imagine not being their mother. I cannot imagine not seeing or speaking to them. They are my legacy. I have sons but, those girls–those girls will continue carrying the legacy of womanhood after I am gone. The theme of separation stops with me.

My ancestral mothers have meant so much to me as I deal with all the hurts of the past. They have been showing up in my dreams, encouraging me, chastising me, guiding me. I have been given many mothers over the years, in one form or the other and I am grateful for them as well.

Maybe she did the best she could with what she had. Maybe she didn’t know how damaging she was to me. We did have a long conversation in 2016 when she pretty much laid out how much my being born had ruined her life and that she wish she hadn’t had me. That conversation almost sent me over the edge mentally. I have never recovered.

There is not much I can do about the situation between Queen and I . She used to say that we get along better when we are not around each other. I guess she got her wish. And maybe she was right. I wish no harm upon her and I do not seek anyone’s sympathy for my predicament. I chose this life. And I will flourish in spite  of being a motherless child.

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Emotional Maturity & Other Discoveries

I woke up this morning with so much on my mind after having a good conversation with  a dear sister-friend last night. I have come to the decision that I will remain single and will not entertain the idea of a relationship until I am good and ready.

During this time at home alone with my thoughts and memories, I have had a few epiphanies. I have uncovered the reason why I have attracted emotionally unavailable people, why my love language includes affirmations/attention, why I have felt so abandoned–it all ties to my childhood.

Although I had some family members who were super loving, I also had an emotionally unavailable mother and an absent father (not by his doing). I always worked myself into a frenzy to be perfect, hoping that one day she would be proud of me, think I was worthy, and finally show love and nurturing to me. I always felt like I was a burden and because I was an “outside” child, I felt the harsh reality that I didn’t fit and that my living somehow ruined their picture perfect family.

I am super sensitive. Some folks think I am super tough but, what they don’t know is that I cultivated a toughness over the years to protect myself from being hurt by those that I love. My younger brother had health problems growing up and I was healthy as a horse for the most part. My health and the fact that I was not my step-father’s child, caused a noticeable rift- while everyone else in the house was a Johnson, I was a DeBerry. I vividly remember people asking why my last name was different. Those microaggressions, the lack of love, and the feelings of neglect scarred me deeply, led me into unhealthy relationships because of my desire to be loved.

This time of digging has led me to the resolution that I need to be alone, unattached, and focused on me at this time of my life. Why would I continue to do what I have done in the past and have the same results? I somehow have felt inadequate when I wasn’t with anyone, more often that not, folks never believe me when I say that I am single.  I now know what I want and am finally beginning to be unapologetic about expressing it to whomever chooses to pursue me.

I am rediscovering things about myself that I had long forgotten as I continue on this journey of singlehood. I also realize that I too had been led to believe that being single at this age was some type of scarlet letter, a blemish on me. I am perfect just the way that I am and I am great without a relationship.

I have been unattached (officially) for nearly 2 years. I have had some of the  best times, gone on dates, been to concerts, traveled, allowed myself to be–well sometimes. There have been times that I mulled over the fact that I was becoming comfortable being unattached and surely by now, I should have a new man. But, why? Why do we feel that we are not great if we don’t have a relationship?

I am heavily involved in the study of all things metaphysical. Some of the men I have dated, I truly liked-some more than others. So, I would do the knowledge- cosmic alignment charts, natal chart, and more; trying to see if he and I could become “we”. And each time, I found that there was little to nothing there and for good reason. Why would I want to be with anyone who could not even text me back, keep their word, or show a little consistency?

Societal trends and social programming from childhood will have you messed up! I had dreams of being married, raising my family, enjoying nights cuddling with my person by this age. I was married, I am still raising my family, and often I cuddle a pillow. I won’t lie and say that I don’t get lonely- sure I do. The last relationship that I was in ended badly and left me so hurt. But, I still want to love again. However, I know what I want.

So, I am choosing to forge a new path. I will never be anyone but, myself. I will never not be magickal, a little crazy, a nerd, super sexual, fun-loving, sometimes spicy….And maybe somewhere along the way of me reimagining my life, choosing to do what brings me joy, raising the Tribe, and allowing Ashaki to be her full and total self–a person will come along and fit right in and we will add to each other’s lives.

Until then, I feel like a dread-headed, yoga-loving, tea-drinking, artsy bad ass version of Carrie Bradshaw. Mr. Big I am waiting for you-but, there is no rush!

 

Peace,

Ashaki

The Inherent Value of Life

This morning I learned of the passing of an old friend. It struck me hard in the center of my chest. He was young and yet succumbed to cancer- pancreatic to be exact. All I keep replaying is the last exchange that we had when he asked for me to send him some Reiki, and all of the subsequent messages I sent him after I hadn’t heard from him in a while.

I distinctly remember sending the last message and feeling anxious when he hadn’t responded. He always responded when we messaged each other. As I sit here today, reviewing the last few years of correspondence between him and I, I feel numb. The collection of conversation, seemed somewhat insignificant at the time, but now it has changed.

Why do we as humans not always see the inherent value in our exchanges with others? I realize that he gave me things over the years- an honest opinion, laughter, a different perspective. He is a part of my evolution and he always, always told me how proud he was to know me. But, make no mistake, he would call me on my bullshit, he would challenge my decisions, he would push me to face myself. I will forever be grateful for him.

It is a pity that most of us do not truly see how important our connections are, how much people really mean to us until they have gone on to another chapter. He mattered to me and to so many other people. I will never forget how much our conversations added to my life, how he always checked on me and my family, how he never forgot my birthday. Ase’ and love to his spirit and my sincerest condolences to his family, especially his beautiful young daughter.

May we all cherish our friendships more, express our gratitude more, love harder, live more fully. Life is fleeting, hard, at times unfair but, in my words from my memoir, life is still good.

 

Until the next time, take care,

Ashaki

I Remember Love

I remember Love. It happened quickly…beginning with harmless online flirtation then proceeding to hours long conversations. Love was a tad bit younger but the fire that existed between the two of us was undeniable. His intelligence was attractive and he was handsome but that is not what captured me.

It was the way that Love spoke my name. It was the way he said “babe”. And the first time he told me that he loved me, I knew it was real. He was rugged to everyone it seemed but, he was tender towards me. He handled me gently, always was interested in how I was doing, super supportive, and just open. It was a vibe between us. He just got me it seemed. I needed to see him in person to see if the vibe would intensify.

So, one night, I drove 5 hours just on a whim. In retrospect, I know it may sound crazy but, I had to know for myself and I am that way. I am sometimes a person that “flies by the seat of their pants”. I will take risks, I will try anything once. And I am famously curious (blame it on my Gemini rising or my Mercury in Aquarius). I needed to look Love in the face.

The closer I got to my destination, the more fearful I became. What if he was a creep? What if he saw me in person and didn’t feel the same? But, I had gone to far to go turn back. I pulled up to where he told me to meet him and once he walked up to my vehicle and spoke, I felt my insides melt. The voice. That voice still rings in my ears–just sweet to my senses.

When we finally got where we could stop (it was dark and I was exhausted), we embraced and I felt him trembling. I think he was afraid as I was. We kissed and I felt my heart flip. I was in love and it was not a lustful thing, it was like an innocent, puppy dog love.  And it felt natural, nothing was forced. It just flowed.

Months went by and our bond seemed to grow stronger but, my life was complicated. I had an ex who still lingered around and would not leave me alone. And I was weak for him still. In all honesty, I was still very codependent and could not see my way away from still depending on him with helping with my children day to day. Love lived so far away and could not be there to help me in that way. We would argue about nothing. And it got to be too much. So, I went back to the ex and left Love alone.

But, I never forgot him. Ever. In November of 2015, a dear friend, an elder passed away unexpectedly. Love had introduced us and we were instant friends. I also became friends with her husband and I wanted to offer my condolences. So, I reached out to Love. I knew he had their contact information. He was livid with me and for good reason. But, he gave me the information. We began to chat again and I let him know that I still loved him so very much. So, we agreed to meet up.

I went to him and poured my heart and soul out to him. He captured every tear that fell that night. We made sweet love that winter weekend but made no promises that we would try again. But deep down, we both knew that we wanted to be together. I left him feeling relieved but unsure of what was to come.

We tried to stay away from each other but we just couldn’t help it. That February of 2016, we decided we would be together again. I was so happy. We wanted to get married. He met my children. I was with him every chance that I got.

But, this time, I was in danger. My ex threatened harm to me if I didn’t leave Love alone. Between complicated situations with the ex and my mother, Love and I fell apart. By April, it was all over again- and I knew this time it was for good.

I lost so much in 2016. I lost one of the greatest loves I have ever known. I lost a best friend. I lost family members I learned the true definition of family and relatives. I almost lost me.

I gathered up what was left of my spirit and began to rebuild my life in Charlotte in June of 2017.  I lost almost everything that I had toiled for so many years in that one year-including Love. So,  I placed Love in a folder in the recesses of my mind. I tried to forget him and the times that we shared, but it impossible to do when it is real.

I think of Love from time to time, hoping he is safe, happy, well. I reached out to him once. He never responded to me. I hurt him and I know I did. I ruined that entire relationship. I cried and cried about it from time to time; tried to figure out why I did what I did. It still honestly doesn’t make sense to me.

Recently, Love has been on my mind more. They say that if you are thinking of someone a lot, they are also thinking of you. I do hope that his thoughts of me are not all bad. Sometimes I wish I could speak to him just one more time, allow him to see how much I have matured, hear how he is, just reconnect.

My life is so different now. I am free to be who I want to be, see who I want to see, love who I want to love. I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if he and I would have married, especially with the current state of the world. I also am no fool. If it were meant to be, it would have happened. And who knows, maybe Love will show himself to me again. Only time will tell.

 

One last thing, if Love ever reads this- please know that I truly never intended to hurt you. I truly did love you and probably always will. I was wrong and have suffered because of it. During the time when things fell apart, my whole world fell apart as well and I didn’t feel that you understood what was happening at all. I should have communicated that but, I did not know how. I hope you are doing well. I hope that you have the love that you deserve. I wish nothing but the best for you always.

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Where There is Ruin

Peace to you all from my goddess queendom. I hope this post finds you all safe, healthy, and in peace. Who could have known that the world be so vastly different since my last time writing here?

I have realized so much about myself and my children during this time of being mostly separate from the external world. And coincidentally or not, I transitioned from my full-time job right before all of the shifts occurred here in my city of Charlotte.

This morning, the quote by Rumi “where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure” came to my spirit. I always loved the quote as it speaks to the life I have lived- so much adversity, so much strife, and yet so much joy and love.

I know that lots of people can only see ruin, the devastation and uncertainty of tomorrow and moving forward. I feel inclined to remind you that there is still so much to be grateful for, so much to look forward to, so much that can bring us all more joy if we only choose to look a little deeper.

All across the world, we see people being just a little more patient, a little more kind, a little more grateful. The true unsung heroes are finally being seen for who they are and the outstanding work that they do. There have been reports that global warming has calmed a bit, animals that have not been seen in a long time in certain areas have returned, and Earth Mother Onile is breathing again.

I am sending you all love today and moving forward. We will get through this transformative time–together. If you find yourself struggling with your emotions, reach out to a friend or a family member. You do not have to go this alone. Until the next time, take care my friends.

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Hello 39– Finally Reclaiming My Life

It has been so long since I have written but tonight I felt compelled to. Today , is my 39th birthday. It seems so crazy that I am on staring 40 down the throat to be honest. But, doing the math–I definitely am this age.

As I sit here on my bed, smelling the sandalwood incense that burns , I feel an immense feeling of gratitude, so much so that tears have come to my eyes a few times. I feel silly crying over a birthday but, it is not so much the birthday as it is how cognizant I am to the fact that I have changed so much, how life is again shifting me, how aware that more of required of my life.

I am at ease in my singleness. I am bold enough to walk away from assumed “job security”. I am finally my full self- a compilation of rugged tomboy, hip-hop/soul/jazz, spiritual sistagirl, mother of many. I am embracing my quirks, my oddness, my uniqueness. I am ok standing on my own. I am leaning in to self- and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

In the past, I admittedly tried to make others comfortable, refused to speak up for fear of repercussions, made supremely poor attempts to “fit in”. I am in a space now where that old program has completely malfunctioned and I simply cannot. And honestly, I don’t want to.

The taste of freedom has totally captivated my soul and I crave much more. More experiences, more laughs, more adventure, more love. I see life as a canvas, as a place where my creativity and magick has a place. I am currently conjuring the most magnificent masterpiece ever.

When you grow up with a poverty mindset, you fear lack so much that you accept abuses. I am at the point in my life where I loathe the feeling of being imprisoned by societal constraints much more than anything else. Who says that anyone has to accept “how things are” any longer?

I am no longer buying into the narrative that I have to live up to anyone expectations other than my own. I am fully aware of my responsibilities but, I will not operate my life based on those responsibilities. Everything is “figureoutable”!

I have cried more in these past 3 months than I have in years. But, these tears will not be in vain. I deserve more. And more I shall have. I have reclaimed this life of mine. And I will live it on my terms for the duration.

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Changing the Focus

Peace fam and Happy new year! It has been a minute since my last post and for good reason. I needed to take a short sabbatical and get my head and heart together. I am being forced to sit with some things and it has not been easy. My family and I have also been going through health issues, family death, and multiple other transitions, but I am back.

We are still feeling the vibes of the full moon in Cancer/partial lunar eclipse and whew! This energy is forcing some folks to deal with their emotional baggage, buried pains, literally all the feels! But, this post is not entirely about the full moon and other heavy astrological energies. This post is about getting our proverbial (or literal) houses in order.

I can only speak for myself but I am sure some of you can relate. At times when you have taken honest inventory of your life and you see where you could and should have different decisions, been more cautious, planned a bit more, it stings to come to the realization that some of your difficulties were due to you not making the right moves.

Once that initial sting passes and the regret sits in, it is easy to want to just give up. However, that is not the move! We must never give up on self. We all have made bad decisions at some point or another. What we should focus on now is what we can do differently to attain a different result. How can we do life better?

I feel that it is beneficial to write down the things about our lives that are not working, areas that we wish were different. Be honest and clear. Then, we should go about writing out what we truly desire- is it a new home, is it to go back and finish our degree, is it to repair a relationship?

Now, make no mistake, some things may never change in this life, especially with dealing with love and relationships. But, we can take steps to move towards creating the life we truly desire. Nothing is impossible! Break each goal down into small steps and celebrate each small win. Keep moving forward!

I hope this helps some of you resolve to transform your life because ultimately it is up to you!

 

Before I close out this post let me share something with you. I was fortunate to be interviewed by Brandon Baker from Life Coach Path last month. I never imagined that with my small following I would even be noticed but that is the thing- every small action triggers a reaction and even though I have not obtained my goals in regards to this work that I am doing, that doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future. Anyway, if any of you are interested in becoming a life coach or just want to learn more about that particular field in particular, check them out. Also, if you would like to read my interview, check it out here

http://www.nationalcoachacademy.com/coach-interview-series-ashaki-ali.

 

See You All Soon!
Ashaki

The Helplessness of Parenthood

As parents, we want to shield our children, protect them from pain and danger, sacrifice ourselves for them. But, we are not always able to do so. There are some things that will happen that will cause us to feel inadequate and guilty but, we would not be able to stop any of it if we tried.

We forget that though they are our children, they have their own path to walk and destiny to fulfill. They will experience pain, no matter how much we make it our life’s mission to circumvent or prevent it.

Yesterday, one of my children was injured badly. It hurt me to my core. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. But, someone reminded me that even if I had been standing  right beside her, I couldn’t have stopped the inevitable. I had to adjust to the fact that I could only be of support–that she had to go through this without me being able to save her from it. I felt totally helpless within the situation.

As the nurses placed her armband on my wrist, I felt my whole being quake. How could this happen? Why did it happen? I heard all of the should’ve/could’ve/would’ve’s ripple through my psyche.

I had to remember that she is her mother’s daughter- we are of the same blood. She carries within her the DNA of warriors- resilient, strong, steadfast, unyielding. She is weak. I saw her writhe in pain and yet never scream. I cried silent tears watching an extension of me but, the tears began to dry once I realized with fullness who I was actually watching- Me 2.0.

My baby girl will be fine. She may carry marks from the trauma, have an ache, and vividly remember what happened on that day. But, she will not be broken by it.

And for that, I am grateful.