40 Where?

Hello everyone. I hope that this message finds you well. I recently celebrated my 40th trip around the sun. 40. I don’t know when I arrived here but, here I am nonetheless- still youthful, joyful, silly, some may some immature in some ways but, definitely wiser, stronger, and more grateful than I have ever been in this life. I don’t know how my mother or grandmother felt in their body at 40, but I honestly feel amazing most days.

The point of this blog though is not even a reflection back but, more of taking a seat in the present. I realize how much I have missed in the past because of my eternal curiosity and intuitive knowing of that which is to come. In the present moment, I am focused on showing up every single day as my full self , focusing on my own plate and what is on it, and striving to be a better me than I was on the previous day.

I have taken more definitive steps to improve my near future than I ever have in the past. I have done things in the name of preserving myself and my children. And I am extremely pleased with myself. This is what growth looks like- it looks like admitting our missteps, correcting the things that I am able to, and still loving on me, showing self-compassion, and allowing myself to feel pleasure because I deserve it.

That’s the thing about growing older- you realize just how human you truly are but that you are also allowed the same level of grace that you allow others. You also realize that there really is no certain “age” requirements for accomplishing goals, reaching for desires, pursuing a new life.

I am rewriting my story. In the meantime, cheers to Chapter 40! I will be celebrating for the remainder of 2021!\

Peace,

Ashaki

2 Decades

20 years ago today, I stood in front of family and friends and eulogized my beloved grandmother, Lillie Ann DeBerry. I will never forget the anxiety that overtook me as I clutched the already written devotion and the feeling of relief when I decided to freestyle it and just speak from my heart. The look on my grandfather’s face, the smiles, but also the emptiness that I felt- the feeling of being gut punched as I braved my way through those moments. Unforgettable.

My mind has a hard time believing that 20 years has passed but another part of self is settled in it. I am such a different person then than I am now. I have been twice divorced, engaged twice, had 5 more children, left organized religion, cut off all my hair, regrew it, grew locs, moved, and yet I still miss my grandma Lillie with the same intensity.

I will tell you that I find great solace and peace in my spiritual practices of ancestral recognition, veneration, and honor. I know that she is ever with me, speaking, guiding, protecting, even chastising at times. Her spirit remains a strong presence in my life and the lives of my children.

Her death was tragic but it was her living that I am more concerned with. Once my mother transitioned last year, they both have shown up in multiple dreams. I giggle at the shenanigans that have occurred in the dream realm with those two. I have often felt a burning anger at how my grandmother lost her life, all of the pain she endured throughout the years. But, just as quickly I recall the joy that she expressed so freely, the tears with each laugh, the warmth of her hugs, and the love in each pot of food that she prepared. And I feel ease. ]

May my life be a testament to the power, strength, tenacity, and pure love of that woman. May my ancestral mothers be honored evermore.

I miss you Grandma Lillie. I love you. Until we meet again,

-Your Girl

The Legacy of Coffee

The other day I was thinking how much my mornings look like my mom’s when she was in her twenties. She always had fresh coffee, made her breakfast, read the newspaper, and prepared herself for the day–savoring the few hours early before anyone else was awake. I am much the same. I am up early on purpose. I love having time to rise slowly, be with myself, and pamper me for a bit before I have to face the world.

I began to reminisce about how all of my family- especially the women who raised me enjoyed coffee. My mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother all shared laughs, memories, debates, and so much more over a hot cup of coffee. It was a necessary staple in all of their households and I continue the legacy.

I remember Grandma Lillie putting on the percolator, brewing coffee early in the morning. I loved the smell ( I still do ) and I would beg for a little bit. My great-grandmother would say “You can’t have any coffee, it’ll make you black” and I would say “Well, I’m already black so give me mine!”. The women would swat me away but, I would hang around listening, being careful not to be too much of a nuisance so that they would allow me to hang.

I still vividly remember how they took their coffee too- Momma had 2 teaspoons of sugar and a little cream, Grandma liked her coffee black, and Great-grandma liked her with just a little cream. Coffee. I also realize that even in having just a cup of coffee, my foremothers were giving themselves of some well-deserved pleasure. Even in its simplicity, just the mere act of them sitting , drinking, and enjoying it brings me so much joy.

How hard they all had worked over the years, how much they had toiled. They deserved every ounce they savored. And so, as I sit early in the mornings, sipping on my coffee, I am honoring their memory by keeping the legacy alive.

Supreme gratitude of coffee.

Peace,

Ashaki

Peace 2020

I cannot lie and say that this year went by quickly for me, because it certainly didn’t . It actually feels like more than a year has gone by since my end of year blog for 2019. But, I also realize that this year has given me much in relation to the person that is currently sitting at her workstation putting her thoughts onto virtual paper.

I want to share 5 important lessons that I learned this year. This list is definitely not an all-inclusive list for all I have learned in 2020, but they certainly are high on the totem pole.

  1. Goodbyes come quickly- So many people lost so many loved ones this year. I lost my mother, sister, and 3 other family members. Spend time talking to your folks, let them know that you love them, and cherish your time together because time is a commodity that cannot be replaced.
  2. Allow space for your feelings- I was confronted by a reoccurrence of PTSD in 2020. I was functioning but, not living. I was working myself ragged and thinking that I was ok until I was pulled on the side of a road, thoughts racing, unable to move. I had to allow myself to feel, acknowledge my feelings, and deal with them. I knew it was real when I broke down in her office.
  3. Stop doing things you don’t want to do and actually pursue your passions. I had to decide for myself to choose what I wanted to do and stop saying yes to everything I know I had no passion for. I found myself immersed in painting, divination, yoga, and meditation. Although I love Afrikan art and accessories, I stopped selling and promoting those products. I stopped joining Zoom calls and groups with promises of profit just because it was working for others. That ain’t my ministry and I am good with it.
  4. Set boundaries and keep them there! If I learned anything from my last relationship, it was for me to set healthy boundaries and maintain them. I can no longer allow myself to be caught up in unhealthy relationships, push myself to the limits, and not advocate for myself. I set the bar high because I know I deserve better than I have accepted. And I have gladly said goodbye to a few folks who refused to honor my boundaries.
  5. I am worthy of the best- For so many years, I have denied myself certain luxuries because I truly did not see how valuable I am. Well, I learned my value and although it is a continual process to keep myself from going back into accepting less than, I know that the best of life is my destiny and I want it! So, I have set a standard of only accepting that which is truly pleasing to me and nothing less. And subsequently I have been attracting better by doing so. So, I shall continue.

I hope that this new year brings you all more bliss, continued good health, abundance, joy, love, and peace. I will see you on the other side.

Peace,

Ashaki

The Beauty of Letting Go

Peace beloveds! As always, it is my hope that this message finds you well. I have been doing so much shadow work, diving deep, working on being a better, more authentic me.

Recently, I have discovered the power of letting go- whether it be a relationship, an idea, a project…in whatever form “it” comes. I have determined that if a project, person, mindset, or action is not leading me to bliss, joy, and the creation of the life that I want to lead most, then it is not worth my time, energy, or attention and I must release it.

Recently, I reconnected with an old friend, who like me had decided to make some hard decisions and walk away from a few things. Talk about confirmation!

So, no it is not often easy releasing. It can be heartbreaking, bring up feelings of remorse, make you feel as though you are a failure because things did not pan out the way that you planned. But, beloved! Think of how freeing it is to disengage and loosen attachment to what is not serving the greater purpose.

Once I released, I was able to see how the situations and connections had hindered me in so many ways and I made the decision to choose better for me. I have struggled with setting healthy boundaries in the past and am honestly still a work in progress. But, I have made huge strides as of late.

Releasing requires taking inventory, reviewing where we are, who we are and determining who and where we want to be. Remember, life is all about choices. Are you making your chooses from a place of wholeness or from a place of trauma and codependency?

It is my hope that make the decision to release all that is not serving any purpose in your life. Scorpio season highlights the energy of letting go. Take inventory, remove, and move forward. You got this!

Until we meet again,

Ashaki

A Journey Home

Peace fam,

I am working on this as I prepare to return to Charlotte from Palm Beach after attending my sister’s funeral. Life is so hard sometimes. I have felt extremely tested and not very enthused lately. It is hard when you are dealing with compounded grief; you cannot come to terms with one loss before you are hit with another.

This year has been one of extreme tests, ups and downs, trials, and so many losses.  I have truly been tested and I know I am not alone in this. I strive to apply what I have done in the past to current situations to keep myself balanced, but that doesn’t seem to be as effective.

I am having to sit with my shit, like literally sit and feel all the feels, and it is not at all easy. Some days, I work too much because I do not want to deal with my pain. Some things hurt so badly that I feel like I cannot breathe. I have to talk myself through most days- “get up Ashaki” , “it is okay to feel the way that you feel”, “today is a new day”.

I utilize each and every toolkit I have in my box in order to maintain my sanity. Yoga, meditation, journaling, eating healthily, painting, praying, giving offerings and talking to my ancestors, all have a place in my kit. I am having to access every single source that I have to keep going. Most people see me as “strong” not knowing how much I have to do each day in order to function.

During this time of grief, I have been driven deeper into myself, made to confront my shadow, and truly work on me. I have cried so many tears, felt loss, and seemingly am experiencing an entire dismantling of my entire life. Some days I wonder why I chose a life such as this- other days I am so determined that I can hardly believe how strong I am . I am not sharing this for pity– I know there is a greater purpose.

I have lost 5 family members this year- including my mother and sister. I have had to deal with being so triggered in a job that I began to have panic attacks. I had a major health scare with one of my children and then turned around and contracted Coronavirus myself. A lot of days, I feel extremely overwhelmed but, there exists within me something greater than my physical reality.

It overwhelms and disrupts my despair, lifts me when I am weak, and helps me to continue to not only bring smiles to others, but to smile myself. It helps me to create and to bend but, not break.

I am tired, and yet strangely inspired. Life is tough, but there is so much to be grateful for, so much beauty to behold. I find myself seeking out beauty in nature and in life. Who knew that a child’s laughter could hold such magickal, soothing powers? Who knew that plants could soothe the soul? I had no idea the true depth of their energy until this year.

IAnd make no mistake- I still have hope for the future. I still am encouraged by what is possible. I am still striving for better tomorrows.

Today, as I prepared to return home this weekend after my sister’s funeral, I heard Spirit call me to the ocean. So, my sister and I went down to the water. I had a few hours left before I needed to get to the airport. I had already packed. But, she was calling. So, I put on my whites and purchased an offering.

My mother, Yemoja beckoned to me. The water was beautiful and warm. As I placed an offering of  flowers into her, I felt the force of Mother chastising me, reminding me that the nurturing and extreme strength that I desire, I also encompass. I felt the lift of burden be removed with each crash of the waves. After we returned from the water, I felt tired. I left something at the waterfront. I released something heavy.

I am grateful for healing. I am grateful for new beginnings. I am grateful for life. I shall live.

Life is unfolding. I am here for it all.

Until we meet again,

-A

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

My Social Media Hiatus

Peace everyone! I hope this message finds you well. I have been away from my main social media outlets (FB & IG) for the past 21 days. It has been enlightening and extremely peaceful. I wanted to share a few lessons and observances that I learned/experienced over this hiatus with you guys.

  1. I Didn’t Miss It- Before you say anything, hear me out. I engage with people, I have friends from different countries on there, I have things that I thoroughly enjoy about social media. I have learned things, interacted with people, been introduced to new schools of thought, etc. But, my peace had been disturbed. I was feeling interrupted in pursuit of my most authentic life. I found myself comparing my journey to others (though I did not want to admit it). I found myself feeling bitter because of my assumed stagnation. And let’ s not even talk about the constant barrage of negative news that is shared. I was not in a good space emotionally.. Each day I went deeper into true introspection and felt so much ease. I did not have the urge to log in, be seen, or interact online in those spaces.
  2. I Have Not Been Fair to Myself- I made a few realizations during my time with myself. I judge myself harshly at times. I hold myself to such high standards and I NEVER celebrate my victories. WHY? Am I not worthy of being treated well? Am I not talented, intelligent, sweet, sensitive, HUMAN? I realized that I had not been providing myself the same level of grace that I so easily provide to others. The madness of it all.
  3. I Have Been Seeking Validation. Shocking right? No matter how much I tried to deny it, I saw how much those reactions to my posts, comments, and honestly, lack thereof had been affecting me, my actions, my overall mood. I was seeking to be a part of something that I was not even in agreement with most of the time. Did the like button make my painting more dope? Did the love on my post mean I am actually gifted? Did the lack of reaction invalidate the work I had done?
  4. True Shadow Work is tough but so necessary.- I had a few epiphanies about actions and attitudes I had held over the years. I saw myself in a different light–and it was not pretty. I cried like a damn baby honestly as the visions replayed like a movie on the big screen. How could I have been so insensitive and scornful? I have made some hurtful statements, done some screwed up things, but I forgave myself. I love myself for diving deep into the abyss of my ish.
  5. Naps, good food, chilling is a whole ass vibe!- I cannot believe that I neglected myself in the way that I had by denying myself the luxury of taking a nap, relaxing (and I do mean kicking back), and consuming delicious foods consistently for so many years. Hello? I want to know why no one told me that these things are so damn blissful! I feel cheated lol….

This is not an exhaustive list of all of the things that I experienced or observed but, hopefully you get the picture. Journaling, painting, creating, BE-ING has been so therapeutic and these are actions that I will continue. I have also been seeing 3 doctors regularly- Sun, Fresh Air, and Water- absolutely life-altering!

As the world has changed, so have we all. We can choose to be better in these times, more of who we came to be. It is a continual process. But, I am learning to smile, acknowledge, and enjoy the journey.

See You On the Flipside,

-Ashaki

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