Dash

Life isn’t about the day you’re born….or even the day you die.  It’s the dash.  The line inbetween is what matters most.   – Mayor Marion Barry

 

Source: abcnews.go.com
Source: abcnews.go.com

Two things you should know really quickly:  I’m from DC and this is the only mayor I’ve ever cared to know.   If you’re really from the District of Columbia, then you know Mayor Barry because you’ve met him.  Several times.  He genuinely loved Washington, DC.  Washington, DC loved him.  Even in the midst of the scandal and the infamous “This bitch set me up!”, we still embraced him as ours.  He cared about us.  He fought for us.  He created jobs for us.  He was just a larger than life man.  So his passing yesterday really hit home for me.  Funny, I’m beginning to cry over people’s passing that aren’t my immediate family or close friends.  When I heard of his passing, I immediately remembered his quote about the dash between the day you’re born and the day you die.  “What do you do with the dash?  What’s in that dash is what defines you” is what I remember hearing him say, and it has stuck with me to this very day.  So, in memory of Mayor Marion Barry, I’m going to add to my dash.  Hopefully, you’ll add to yours, too.

The Devil. . . Is A Liar? (Conclusion)

Three-part blog.  Crazy, right?  But I didn’t want it to be too lengthy, so thank you for letting me get this off my proverbial chest.  And if you haven’t read Part One or Two, I suggest you do.  It’s not necessary or anything, but it would be nice! 

Source: miista.com
Source: miista.com

I had prayed and set my intention on one thing for a while: to meet and be a part of a sisterhood.  I’ve always wanted more female friends and felt like I’ve missed out on what women did around each other.  I had always befriended men easily and became “just one of the guys” but I wanted a group of women that I could laugh with, cry with, heal with, drink wine (if that was their thing) with.  So I looked to Twitter as that unofficial sisterhood.  I learned a lot about holistic medicine and natural care practices.  We share recipes and concoctions from green smoothies to whipped shea butter mixtures.  My astrology sisterfriend gave me a reading on my birthday and she told me that this year, to pay attention to my desires, especially when it comes to the occult.   That my interest and creativity would come from this exploration.  So is it a coincidence that through my Twitter timeline that I came across two modern witches?  Not necessarily.  It was my intent all along.  So here is where I am today; a novice in the occult.  Being swept away in healing crystals and cleansing baths.  Lighting incense for the first time since college and using candles during my meditation.  Just recently, I purchased thee most beautiful tarot cards and have found myself wanting to get to “know” my deck by using a card a day.  In fact, it was today’s card that caused this blog.

Don't be scared.
Don’t be scared.

After my meditation, I now incorporate a card from my new deck.  This is how I will familiarize myself with the deck and possibly start doing readings (on myself, for starters) next year.  So this morning, this is the card I pulled.  My heart froze.  For the past few days, I’ve been getting the pentacles; which represents harvest, generosity, prosperity.  Why would The Devil show up today?  Then I thought about what my friend told me over a month ago: that I was going down a dangerous path and further away from God, but I didn’t understand it.  My cards, like everything else I’ve been doing, was my way to communicate with God.  I invite Him into my practice all the time.  I still pray daily, but even that was beginning to feel empty.  Was she right?  Was this card right?  My mind was all over the place and I felt like crying.  This whole time, I felt I was on the right path.  Hell, I felt like I never got off it but here I was; derailed like hell.  I stared at this card for the longest time and then took a deep breath.  Usually with cards like these, they have a particular meaning that you have to dig deep to find.  This card?  It deals with addiction, negativity, toxic relationships, materialism.  Whatever has its claws (or hooves…thanks, goat!) sunk into you has to be addressed.  So what was it for me?  I sat silently and let the answer come from within.  From God.  The Source.  The Source I never left.  The Source that never left me.

Guilt.

My entire life, I had been made to feel guilty about being interested in the occult.  It started with my aspirations of being a medium (and a gypsy, which I’ve talked about before).  With wanting to look into crystal balls and read tarot cards.  People that have identified as Christians have told me that these things are wrong; that even the curiosity of it would allow the Devil to come in and destroy your faith.  Don’t even think about doing any rituals, because doing so just solidified your reservation in Hell.  Wanting to learn more was met with judgment and shame.  My friend constantly telling me that I need “deliverance” comes from a critical and judgmental place; she has spotted something within me that is “wrong” and it has to be made “right”.  But…there isn’t anything wrong with me.  Just like there’s nothing inherently wrong with her.  My mom, either.  This is what they were taught, so this is what they know.  What do I know?  I know that we’re all on this journey together.  Your path may not look like my path, but it doesn’t mean we’re not on it together.   This year, I’ve been feeling guilty about reading the spiritual texts that I have been reading; they contradict everything I was taught in the church, but they made more sense to me.  I felt bad for not seeing the elitism in Christianity anymore; that we were just like everybody else.  Spiritual beings having a human experience.  I stopped seeing our differences and started connecting to strangers.  Even pointing out that at our core we’re the same seemed to agitate my friend, who quickly dismissed my revelation by bringing up extreme examples of rapist and murderers (I wanted to challenge that, but I learned a long time ago that you let people like her just talk.  You simply nod your head in agreement).

 

Maybe my friend is right; I could be doing this all wrong.  Maybe I’m right; this is all a part of re-defining who I am.  What I do know is that I’m done feeling guilty about it.  The desire is in my heart and so help me God, I’m going with it.

 

 

 

The Devil. . . Is A Liar? (Part 2)

If you missed part 1 to this, feel free to catch up here. 

I started to go to church on my own as the years went on, but during church services, I would start having visions.  Strong visions of events that hadn’t occurred yet with people I’d never seen before.  When I would tell the people in church, they called it my “discernment” but never went further than that.  That had become my frustration with church at that time: a lot of broad answers to questions I felt were really direct.   This continued all throughout college when the guys I would date.  If we found ourselves alone, a vision would come up.  I’d feel like I was in a trance; watching this movie play out and the guys ultimately freaking out because they don’t know why I’m staring so intensely.  Still, I considered myself a Christian woman who was just blessed by God with a strong spirit of discernment.  So time passed and I continued on my Christian walk, but that’s not to say I didn’t have distractions, which included me flirting with the idea of becoming a Buddhist on and off throughout my 20s.  College was the time that I really had no idea of who I was, so I stuck to what I knew and what I knew is that God was the answer.  So I started trying to find a church home and became increasingly frustrated.  I even went to a few non-denominational services with my college friends (all of whom identified as Christian) but nothing ever felt too right with me.  The guy I dated throughout college, which I found was a lot of people’s mentality, was “spiritual, but not religious”.  I never truly knew what that meant, except that people felt connected to God or Source, but didn’t necessarily care for the corruption of organized religion.  I started leaning that way, but never allowed myself to go fully there.  It felt like a betrayal; that I was turning my back on God.  It was during this time that yoga became a real force in my life.

bliss

Yoga introduced me to a world of stillness and Sanskrit.  I learned to trust my body, quiet my mind, and be focused.   It was truly an oasis for me to just go within and find that calm and peace that I was looking for in church and scriptures.  They did help; I would use my meditation time to really talk to God and listen.  I still practice that to this day, honestly.  Each mantra that I learned and recited felt like vibrations in my heart and soul.  I ended up watching church services online, but something had awaken in me.  Soon, that led me to reading other religious texts, like the Qu’ran.  One thing I started noticing was the similarities in a lot of beliefs, values and even their creation stories were sounding the same.  But I was young and arrogant; Christianity was the only way and those who didn’t choose it were inherently wrong.  Then life came at me fast where I was humbled in the only way I could; by starting from scratch.  I leaned on God more than I felt like I ever did in my life; I was lost and needed guidance.  But I was also finding my way.  I knew that by losing everything that I thought I was, I was on this journey of becoming the woman I’m suppose to be. I was finding my place in this world again.  The biggest helper in that. . . was Twitter.

 

Source: 3qdigital.com
Source: 3qdigital.com

 

This was a platform that I used to escape my bleak existence when I first tweeted in 2008.  I was depressed.  I also didn’t know how it worked and for the first few months of being on this platform, I mostly talked to myself.  Which felt no different than a prayer, except I felt that God was listening to me.   The joy and beauty of Twitter for me has always been that this was a community of my choosing.  Yes, the app can “suggest” who you should be friends with, and for a while I let them do just that.  But as time went on and I started to really do some work on myself, my interest began to change.  Soon, it was less about following Diddy and more about following Denise, the quirky artist.  My timeline became a source of information as well as laughter.  I was re-shaping the way I thought about a variety of subject.   This app, and the people who used it, helped me to grow up.  To become more confident and comfortable with myself.  Even in isolation, I never truly felt alone.  As my followers grew, I started to see women that mirrored what I thought and wanted to accomplish.  Some of them were entrepreneurs.  Others were writers.  A few of them were bohemians and health gurus that I instantly connected to; two in particular.  The more I read their tweets, the more interested I became.  My book library expanded to Osho and Ekhart Tolle.  I began to exchange church for Super Soul Sunday on OWN; learning from women and men just like me.   But then I started to notice something with the two women I had particularly grown found to.  They weren’t bohemians.

 

They were mystics.  Modern day witches.  That spoke directly to my spirit.

The Devil. . . Is A Liar? (Part 1)

To be receptive to what the universe brings to us, we need to have an open, fluid, and infinitely adaptable awareness.  This flexibility of awareness is the third component of the art of desiring.  Having full awareness does not get stuck on preconceptions about how the desire is suppose to manifest.  By remaining receptive and free, awareness can move and adapt to whatever the intention needs in its development. – excerpt from Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation: Day 11- Flexible Consciousness

 

About a month ago, my best friend and devout Christian, called me; needing to speak with me urgently.  She had a dream about several people, myself included.  Now, her dreams are something of a folklore among our circle of friends.  According to her, God speaks to her in dreams at times and usually what the dream is about is a window into what’s going on in someone’s lives.  In other words: if she dreams about you, you should pay attention.  Anyway, as I’m speaking to her on the phone, she gets to the part of the dream about me and she sounded particularly hesitant; as if she’s looking for the right words to say to me about what she saw me doing in the dream.   According to her, in the dream, I was moving further and further away from God.  That the path I was taking and the message I was spreading was “dangerous”.  I sat and listened to her talk about how she felt I needed to be “delivered” and she doesn’t know my “spiritual walk” anymore, but in the back of my mind, I was upset.  Angry.  But not at my friend.  I got angry with myself and with God.  Before I continue, I have to explain my spiritual journey up until now.

 

Growing up, I lived in a dual household.  My mother gave her life to Christ a few years before I was born, so she is your classic textbook Christian.  My dad, by contrast, is an Atheist.  I remember my mom trying to pass my dad off as Agnostic to family friends and acquaintances in church who would question her why her husband never seemed to accompany her to Sunday church services. I just assumed my dad enjoyed the extra sleep.  But me?  Going to church was something I had to do, otherwise I couldn’t go outside and play with my friends.  So I was raised as a Christian because my mom was one and her way trumped my dad’s way of Atheism.  But as a kid, I was fascinated by the unknown; the supernatural world.  I wanted to be a clairvoyant and a medium; someone who was able to not only see into the future (or past), but communicate with the people there.  I would beg my mother each year for a Ouija board to no avail; that was “black magic” and discouraged me from even having such thoughts.  But it never went away.  As a kid, I would have dreams where I was “outside” my body and visited spiritual realms that terrified me so much that I slept with the lights on until I was 12.  So I told my mom, who in turn told me to pray.  So I did.  For years, I prayed to not be strayed by the devil for the desire to tap into the unknown.  Then, my senior year, in Deliah’s clothing store, I saw this:

the-fortune-telling-book

The book literally grabbed my attention, and with the money I made from my part-time job, I bought it.  Of course, I couldn’t let my parents know, so I did crystal ball readings in secret.  It was this book that sparked my love for tarot cards.  I loved finding out the meaning to what I was doing. I was becoming an alchemist and for a girl who hated Science (no really, that was my least favorite subject in school), this felt completely right.   I felt not just in control, but I felt connected to a higher source.   But like anything when you live in a religious house with a parent who go through your things, my mother found the book.  She was livid.  She accused me of doing witchcraft and she would not have someone inviting evil spirits into her house and if I decided I was keeping the book, then she would throw me out.  I was scared.  My mother had been angry before, but not like this.  I was just trying to see what I should do next week via tarot cards, not casting some spell.  I wasn’t doing anything evil; I was tapping into my spiritual side.  But I felt defeated in that moment.  So with a lowered head, I told my mom she could get rid of it.  I was hurt that my mom saw me as some evil spirit conjurer.  My best friend didn’t make it any better, when she told me that what I was doing was “demonic”.  I felt stuck: how did something that I enjoy be so terrible?

 

 

 

Chapter Three: WYD

Six Months Earlier. . . . . 

 All day, I was looking for a sign about if today should even happen.  I watched the news to see the weather. Clear skies and sunny.  While I was in the limo, it seemed as if everyone went on vacation.  Or decided to not leave the comforts of their homes.  The streets were clear.  We were even getting nothing but green lights the whole way to the church.  Soon as I got in, much to my surprise, everyone was dressed and ready to go.  Even my style team– which was just my cousin who does make-up part-time at the mall– was waiting for me!  Everything was going exactly how we planned it.  Our wedding day would go off without a hitch.    Maybe it was the nerves or I was just sabotaging my own wedding, but I couldn’t keep still.  My cousin was growing frustrated by the minute.

“Relax.  I can’t put this eyeliner on you if you keep moving your eyes.”  she said.  She shot me a look that said that if she happened to stab me in the eye with this pencil, then I’d better not  say anything to her.   “What is it that you keep looking for?”

“Probably her phone.” my best friend and Maid of Honor, Patrice said over my shoulder.  “Where did you put it?”

I pointed to my purse that I had flung on the floor in frustration.  “Right over there.  I just want to see if I have any missed calls or anything.”

Patrice walked over and grabbed my cell phone.  I happen to catch that she was staring at the screen for a while with a puzzled look on her face.  “You got a text message. From ‘My Heart'”

Immediately, my whole body tingled.  I knew who that was because I had always saved his contact number as such.  He was my ex-boyfriend.  My first love.  My heart, and I was his rib.  It was a cute musing that we had decided to call ourselves after we had seen Baby Boy at the movies.  Everything about our love was young, pure, and innocent.  But we were getting older and graduation was coming sooner than later.  We had to get serious.  Everyone around us told us we should get serious.  I wanted us to get married, but he only cared about his career.  So I let him go; convinced that if he loved me the way he said he did, then he would come back to me.  We kept in touch via phone and messages and I would hint at a reconciliation since he was working at a advertising agency, his dream job.  But it never came.  I even told him about my boyfriends and it never seemed to phase him that I had moved on; in fact, he was always supportive of me.  Which drove me crazy.

“What does the message say?”  I inquired.

“It just says ‘WYD’, whatever that means.”

What are you doing?  My Heart was reaching out to me on my wedding day.  I was on his mind.  I motioned for my phone so I could see this message for myself.  Sure enough, in all caps was the three letters. This was my sign.

I hesitated on what to write to him.  Should I tell him what I’m really doing?  What will he say?  So, I sent it.

Getting married.

I instantly regretted it when I didn’t see a response back.  Then the three dots showed up, then disappeared.  Was he shocked?  Jealous?  Hurt? 

Oh!  Congrats!

My heart sank and it felt like one of my lungs collapsed.  Why wasn’t he hurt by this news?  It must’ve been written on my face because Patrice rubbed me on the back in a rather pathetic manner.  “He’s not getting cold feet, is he?”  she inquired.  I looked at the screen again.  The three dots appeared on the screen again.

Are you ready?

I felt a hesitation.  Maybe it was my mind trying to stop me from saying how I truly felt.  But then again, I didn’t win listening to my mind, anyway.  I was going to do things my way for the first time ever.  I was going to tell My Heart… my heart.

No. I’m not ready.  Truth is, I don’t even know why I’m here when my heart is somewhere else.

All of my bridesmaid were in the room, laughing and chatting amongst themselves.  It began to sound like white noise.

Damn. So…are you really ready to get married?  You shouldn’t marry anybody you don’t love.

*Sigh* You’re right.  But I can’t break his heart.  He loves me.

Do you love him?

*deep sigh* Not as much as I love another.

So don’t get married.  It might be fucked up, but it’ll be more fucked up if you trick him into thinking y’all are going to be happy together.

He was right.

You’re right.  I just wish I had the courage to do this before.

You got it now.  So use it.  Maybe you can send some to me, lol!

LOL! What do you mean?

I’m going to need some to propose to my girlfriend tonight.

All I remember is screaming; startling everyone.  “What did you say?” one of my bridesmaid asked me sheepishly.

“I SAID EVERYBODY OUT!!!”

Patrice ushered everyone out of the room and locked the door.  She rushed over to my side with a carton of tissues.  I pulled one out and wiped my eyes; smudging my make-up.  “What is wrong with you?  Are you okay?  Did he…”

“No, it’s not him.  It’s someone else.”  I said through my tears.  “But I need you to help me with something.”

Patrice looked concerned.  “Sure, anything!  What do you need.”

“I need you to help me write this letter, deliver this letter…” I wiped my eyes again. “…and tell everyone that I can’t go through with this wedding.”