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

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

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

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.

 

 

Reimagining My Life

Life after becoming an Aborisha has been phenomenally beautiful and extremely challenging to say the least. I realize that the narratives of my life are being completely dismantled and I am forced out of the comforts of my old ways of coping. 

I am no longer able to do what I used to do when triggered by things from my past. I am having to feel all the feels, cry the tears that I typically hold in, speak my truth, even sleep now. My spirit was tired of living a lie. I am not invincible- I am human.

My daily prayers and connection to my ancestors as well as my Ori is causing me to also express my worth in a way that I never thought I would before. I am saying no to people I never would have before, declining dates if it doesn’t resonate with me, even restructuring my business to charge what I know I am worth. The standards that I am setting for myself and others are foreign to me- but, so very necessary. 

I am seeing how so many of the connections that I held so dear before, that I fought so hard for, were never healthy for me. But, there is comfort in familiarity. Familiarity almost got away with the last remnants of me. Not anymore. 

I am seeing how all things have been aligning for such a time as this. I have desires that surpass the mundane, passions that I had put down because of obligations, and a cultivation of practices that I must work on right now. Time is of the essence.

I am resolving to live this life fully, on my own terms, in full pursuit of my destiny. I have waited and ran away long enough. There is so much that awaits me on the other side of this reimagination period. This is the first time that I am living in a space with so much peace, feeling so much ease, being able to be totally and completely A. 

I am having to sit with my emotions, cut the cords from all the dysfunction, function as the diving being as I am. Besides the ramblings and disagreements of my children, the only other sound is of my own growth- the uncomfortable quiet of being with myself. It is scary this new existence- but I am also so grateful. 

So grateful

 

Ashaki

Creating Our Own Traditions

My children and I have gotten into the practice of creating and cultivating our own traditions over the years. We have our annual fall feast, our summer trips, our weekly movie nights, and the sometimes dreaded family meetings.

One new tradition that I am happy to be able to share with my daughters is being adorned with waistbeads. In my family, being adorned with Afrikan waistbeads is not for fashion- it is highly spiritual and sacred. In ancient times, young women of a certain age were adorned as she matured into pubescence and beyond. My family and I follow a similar tradition.

I had the honor of creating and adorning my oldest daughter today. Each bead color was carefully selected and threaded- white for purity, blue for protection, pink and rose quartz for love. She was so happy to receive her first strand today.

As I tied them on her tiny waist, I felt I had somehow done this before- as if every action I  had taken was a repeat of those from long past. I do sincerely believe that we are our ancestors- that we follow similar ways of being once we have tuned into the frequency of those who came and lived before.

As I gave offerings of food at my ancestor altar this evening, I felt my inner self beam with pride because I know the ancestral mothers see me and all that I am doing to keep my Tribe connected to the old ways. It is so important that as we move forward in our lives, that we pay reverence to those who are responsible for us being here now.

Ase’ to the ancestors always!

 

Peace,

Ashaki

Ancestors Watching Over Me

Today, I decided to do some cleaning. I am not working and felt the need to just clean. I began in the bathroom, which is my usual practice, wiping down the sink, toilet, shower, sweeping, rearranging, and reorganizing. Then I moved on to the bedroom, folding clothes and gathering laundry that needed to be washed and so on and so forth.
Then I decided that my altar cloths needed to be washed and the altars needed to be cleansed as well. After the laundry was done and I began to sage the space of my ancestor altar and place everything back in order, I had an urge to change the position and dig up more pictures to add.
I went through my albums and found a picture of my great-grandmother and my uncle Otha Jr. I began to remember a flood of things- from Mama’s laugh to Uncle Otha Jr’s cool stride, to the stories, the meals, riding in his ’64 Impala convertible. I couldn’t help but to also begin to feel sad and overcome with emotions.
There are so many stories that should be shared but the family that once was is not anymore. My mother and I are estranged and have not seen or spoken in a year and a half or longer. Her brother and I were practically raised together, yet he has chosen to not have anything to do with me either. Other family members have passed away or we simply just do not communicate.
I remember my grandmother calling family meetings of sorts for members to hash out their disagreements. Whether they agreed in the end or agreed to disagree, it was always decided that we were still family- through good, bad, or ugly- no matter what. But, once she transcended this earthly life, that fell apart.
I often wonder if there was something else that I could or should have done differently but, I always come back to “Is being who they want serving my highest good?” And the answer, in short, is a resounding no. I cannot be Andre’a Danielle DeBerry, the little girl who endured much, who was a perfectionist, fighting to be herself yet, also fighting to fit in and be someone that the family was proud of. I cannot sit in church and pretend. I cannot be in a loveless marriage just for the sake of saying that I am married to my children’s father. I cannot endure toxicity from my mother or my uncle.
Stepping away from it all, moving away, and choosing to live a life so far removed has not been easy but, it absolutely has been necessary. I had to find me and ultimately choose me. I was not perfect but, I definitely was not walking a true path and had no peace because of it.
Ancestral reverence is a huge part of my life and sometimes I struggle with wondering if my ancestors are upset because of the path that I chose. But, when I hear my great-grandmother’s laugh, or my grandma Lillie comes in a dream and hugs me, I know that I am not a disappointment at all. I am my ancestor’s wildest dream. And all because I chose to live the radical concept of defining and being exactly who the hell I want to be.
May my ancestors forever guide and protect me and may I continue to be brave and make them proud.

Ase,
Ashaki