Discovering Joy

Peace fam! It has been a bit since my last post but, true to form, your girl has been busy. As you all know, I have had my share of losses this year, changes trials but, I have also been blessed with growth, abundance in ways that I never could have perceived before, and with opportunity for more , including expansion.

I am seeing more of how alignment plays a huge part in how much joy one can experience and how abundance is so much more than what we typically see.

Since returning home from my sister’s funeral, I have chosen to work harder towards my goals . One of my goals is to grow my business so that I can quit working part time. I realize that I haven’t taken the time to relish the fact that I have been able to maintain my lifestyle while only working part time. In my 20 year career, I NEVER worked less than 40 hours a week–I often worked much more! If my current life is not a shining example of unrecognized abundance, I don’t know what is.

I have been able to express my talents and actually be paid for it. This is absolutely amazing. I had to have a sit down with my damn self. It went like this “Girl you are making huge strides!” “You are making money from your business, making connections, celebrate your small wins”.

We often push ourselves to the point of exhaustion and never take time to reflect on how far we have come in our journey. And it is shameful! You and I are worthy of praise. If you are still pursuing your dreams, I believe you will achieve them. Never give up, never give in! And stop once in a while to smell the roses, watch the birds, admire a flower…

See You All Soon,

Ashaki

I Am

Peace everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am having lunch at my j.o.b. and felt inclined to write a bit today. I am kinda random that way. Anyway, these days it seems that I am more inclined to write or paint my thoughts than sharing via video. Emotions can be a lot.

I had to say goodbye to yet another family member this past weekend. One thing that death has done for me is to help me clear the clutter from my eyes and get to the meat of my why.

Why do I do the things that I do or have done? What mark do I want to leave once I transition from the physical? Who am I? Coincidentally (or not), the theme of one of my favorite shows “LoveCraft Country” showcased a theme similar to my query this past Sunday.

The character, Hippolyta, was confronted with her action of shrinking and forced to name herself and essentially define herself. How many of us are walking around being shadows of who we could be if we only allowed ourselves space to do so? How many of us have shrank ourselves for the comfort of others? And why did we allow ourselves to step into the background of everyone else’s foreground?

I have had several realizations over the past week about my own journey. I have been playing small potatoes, choosing to play the underdog knowing full well I am the lead. I have chosen the supporting character when I should be in a leading role.

Who am I?

Life is calling out to me- to do more, to allow myself to be more, to be seen and celebrated. I do question how I can do these things and what I am seeing is that I must just allow as the universe introduces the opportunity.

I have often leaned on the “I will”. But, now I know I AM.

See you all soon!

-A

Thinking of Mother Caroline

Today would have been my great-grandmother Caroline DeBerry’s 109th bEarthday. She is one of my most prominent ancestors, always quiet but strongly assisting me along.
I was thinking of her today as I went about my day. She was such a sweet person, always gently nudging me to be my best self and to push myself to higher heights. She also encouraged me to stand in my femininity, to embrace my womanhood.

I have discovered some new things about her over this past year. She lived until I was 18 years old. I never knew how much she gave, how wholeheartedly she loved, how generous she was with her love. This woman raised 2 generations of children who were not biologically hers, and helped to raise me as well. Discovering how she came into my grandmother’s life has truly deepened the love and reinforced the respect I already had for her.

I miss a few things about Momma- her giggle, her sitting in her rocking chair, being at her house, her stories, and really just being in her presence. I hope that she is pleased with me and the work that I have done. I still am a work in progress but thanks to her guidance, I am still a masterpiece.

I love you Momma!

Ashaki

Day 2 Revelations

Today is my 2nd day of a 21 reset challenge that I initiated for myself. Although I am still watching Youtube videos, I am not posting, engaging, or spending time of Facebook or Instagram.

I have already noticed how much time I spent on social media and how much of my life has been framed by it. For example, yesterday I painted a new piece. My first instinct once it neared completion (it still isn’t quite done yet), was to post it on social media. But, for what? I love how it is coming along but who’s approval am I seeking and for what reason? Have I become one of those people who constantly seeks outside validation for what I am doing?

Short answer- yes. I have become somewhat addicted to the likes, the responses, to the engagement, even if it is shallow. I am proud to be able to even acknowledge this at this point in my life. I am nearing 40 and still have so many dreams for my life.

This morning, my two youngest children shared with me that Chadwick Boseman had transitioned. He was 43….43. I remember seeing him a few months ago, looking very frail and thin and thinking that he did not look well. It didn’t take long before people on social media began to speak negatively about him. People can be so unkind.

His transition is yet another reminder to me for me to stop participating in things that are not serving any purpose and are not bringing me joy. I had been exploring the principle of living intentionally for the past few weeks and now I am seeing that the actions that I am taking right now are just that- determining to live each day pursuing my purpose, doing the things that bring me joy, challenging myself to truly live on my own terms. I am choosing new dreams as well. And I am so excited about it.

May we all choose to actually live and stop existing.

Peace,

Ashaki

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

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 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.

Lessons from a Decade of Living

Peace all! I hope this post finds you well. I was sitting here this morning scrolling through Facebook looking at all of the 10 year reflective posts. I even posted my own- a picture from late 2009 when I was pregnant with my son Bryson and a picture of me taken recently.

On the surface, you can see how much I have changed in my appearance. I look younger now than I did then. But, on a deeper level, I am vastly different than I was then. In 2009, I was in a loveless marriage. I constantly felt that I had to prove something, be perfect (whatever the hell perfect means), and fit into some image that I felt would help my life improve.

I was in undergraduate school working on obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. I was working full time as a nurse in a nursing home. I was a wife and mother of 4.5 children. And I was miserable. I wanted so much more of life and more for myself.

I wanted to not water myself down for folks- to be my amazingly intelligent, wild, magickal self but, I was in denial. I allowed church to dictate my manners, my marriage to isolate me from enjoying things, my children to be an excuse as to why I couldn’t be free.

I thought nothing would change until one day 3 years later when my now ex -husband was taken away to federal prison. Then, it was just my children and I . I made a decision to leave familiar and dive head first into something new. I began to run every day and my figure slimmed. No coincidence that my hair journey began shortly before December 24th, 2010 when I cut all the chemicals out revealing curls and expanding my energy.

It was like a domino effect really. I chopped the hair, got pregnant again 2010, gave birth in 2011, husband gone and marriage over in 2012, started taking control of my life and taking risks in 2012, moved away in 2013….and now in 2019….I am me!

I began to do what I wanted and how I wanted. There were times when I would revert back– my crazy ass wound up in a terrible relationship with a narcissist after my marriage ended. However, even through that, I continued to pursue myself. I allowed myself to breathe, to enjoy myself, travel, eat , cry, move my body, make new friends, let some go, connect to spirit, heal, and most of all-BE!

May 2020 bring more of me to me- more joy, more experiences, more love, more passion, more authenticity, more connection, just more. I am so, so ready!

 

Peace,

Ashaki A.

 

 

Going Back to Move Forward

This past weekend I felt inclined to visit my family’s old neighborhood and old farm. As I drove down old Skillet Road, it was as if I was being guided to go back, to understand who they were, to stand on the earth they had farmed, to reconnect with the past.

Initially, I visited my great-grandmother’s old house that also stands right beside the house I grew up in. A dilapidated shack now, but still the remnants of the house that once held so much joy very much visible. I remember sitting on the porch in the summer, shelling peas with my great-grandmother and Grandma Lillie, listening to them talk, feeling the heat of the Southern heat. I remember sitting on her porch, my barefeet touching the stone steps, feeling the coolness of the concrete on my skin in the evenings.

On the other side of our old lot , there used to stand another house that I literally grew up in. My godmother lived there with her daughter and her grandparents. How many days did I spend swinging on the swing, sipping “red” Kool-aid, imagining life far away?

I left Henry Street and drove down to the Skillet. I see so much has changed in town but, not much out in what we call the “country”. I drove and turned onto Skillet Road. I see the old burnt farmhouse is still there but, now there is land for sale. I parked and stood on the land, listened for the elders to tell me what I already know and felt. This land belonged to us and we must reclaim it.

I stood in reverence for once. My people farmed this land, raised livestock, lived a life. Children were born and reared here, traditions were created here, our ways were cultivated here. I left the Skillet and still seemed to hunger for more. These past months as I have continued to research of our family, I have discovered that we moved quite a bit- from Minturn, Clio, other parts of Marlboro County and Dillon county as well, so I drove. And I felt myself churn inside because of my neglect of my own rich history.

I would not exist without these farmers, seamstresses, maids, ex slaves, and such. Would I be as driven, as resilient, as proud, as intelligent, as kind – without these folks? This journey of self-discovery continually drives me back to the ancestors- the ones that I have not properly paid homage to. I will do better. I promise.

 

Ashaki