On the Other Side

On the Other Side

As I drove to work this morning, I listened to the first part of a sermon about patience.

And it made me wonder, after all of these years, why it is something I still struggle with.

I am in a hurry, in my current situation, for a loved one to heal.

I am in a hurry for my body to fully recover and recognize that it is going to be alright. Instead, it rebelled and robbed me of breath and sleep this past weekend.

I am in a hurry to figure out how our lives are “supposed to look” next.

I realized that being in a hurry, fraught with fear, can mean many things:

I am human.

I don’t know what is next and that is no different from other parts of my life. Sometimes failing, falling, crawling, careening into ambiguity is the only way to move forward.

It also can mean I am not completely trusting God to carry me through every moment. I believe He is not surprised by it either. God knew what He was getting when I was created. It doesn’t mean I don’t work on strengthening my trust.

It means I give myself grace.

I give myself space for the trust to develop, to heal, to write, to read, to pray, to forgo blame and the weight of trying to understand “why.”

I give myself space to rest, breathe, listen to wise counsel and pour my love into others.

On the other side of this, I hope patience finds me a bit sooner and not in a hurry.

Revelations

Revelations

Last night I had my first belly dancing class in many years.

After introductions were made and class rules explained, we got down to learning a few basic foundational steps. I definitely started getting excited when she talked about learning to shimmy which has always been a favorite of mine. I was already moving my knees as she began to explain what to do. Within a few seconds, the instructor advised me to slow down. She said she wants all of us to slow down to get the moves right.

Now, I know good and well I will not look like my belly dancing idols, Veena and Neena, but for some reason, a part of me is in a rush to get there.

So now it’s hit me in two places in under a week.

With my writing and my workout.

I am in a hurry to get to a place which requires slowing down or I will NEVER get there. At least not where I really want to be. I won’t develop strong technique in dance nor will I describe scenes well enough to not leave my readers with lingering questions.

I will do with belly dance the same thing I am doing with writing: Appreciate and even enjoy the time it will take to get exactly where I need to go especially when it gets challenging.

It’s not a novel concept but it’s one I need to cling to because to tell the truth, I have never pushed myself to master anything. Learn, absolutely yes. Master, no.

There are a plethora of reasons why but now is the time for some reflection but more action.

I am already looking forward to next week’s class. Our teacher has already talked about femininity, trying and failing and best of all, developing our confidence. I can’t say now I will ever perform publicly. But I can say I look forward to reading this post months from now and recognize a change.

 

Slowing Down to Give More

Slowing Down to Give More

Yesterday, I had pages critiqued I sent to my classmates on Sunday evening. I chose to rework what I had written in response to the prompt “I lied when I said.” The critiques opened me up to a multitude of ways to address how I want to proceed with my novel. One of which was to try to turn it into a short story about 25 pages in length.

Even though I recognized it before, when I write I want to rush. Racing to get to the end I was envisioning as I begin to write is the culprit. The result is leaving my readers wanting more, more setting, more background information, what was he/she wearing?

More questions.

I don’t know why I have been in a rush to materialize an ending.

So that is what I will be working on using this week’s prompt. Slowing down to craft a more complete piece. To leave readers needing less when it’s all said and done.

Process

Process

Over the past few weeks, I have thought a lot about what I need to do to feel better, to be a better writer, wife and self-care practitioner. I have gotten massages, journaled, spent less time on the phone, gone to church, a yoga class, went to an awesome lecture about laughter yoga, prayed, walked many miles, spoke to a counselor, stepped back on the scale without fear, showed up to doctor’s appointments and lunch with a friend, reached out to friends, listened to inspiring podcasts and powerhouse sermons  and even started to accept the reality that it may take all of that to feel completely like myself or who I am growing to be.

Something else was brought to my attention. While I am doing all of these things to reclaim Kristina, I might also need to let up on pressuring myself to do everything right now, as if I am trying to hurry up and solve “anxiety.”

I speak and write and try with varying success to think positively but I also have to do all of that with more patience. There is no snap of the fingers when it comes to “process.” There is forwards and backwards, trial and error and an understanding that it never really ends.

So here I am. Embracing process, trying not to be in a hurry and forgiving myself for the times I have and inevitably will, not treat myself with Grace and Love.

 

 

Worthy

Worthy

I was reflecting on a time when a lot was happening but if you asked me back then, I would have told you it was a slow crawl to nowhere. I somehow knew I wouldn’t stay there but I didn’t know exactly how to get where I needed to be.. I was around 19.

During that time, one of my jobs was at a credit card company where I did data entry and scanning from 1pm to midnight. There were a lot of students or people like me who were taking time away from school.

One of the women I worked with seemed sad, anxious and then surprisingly bubbly at times. Let’s call her Pam. She was a full-figured bespectacled woman in her mid-30s with an 80’s pageboy haircut who only wore high-waisted tight stonewash jeans with plain, tucked in T-shirts. She seemed afraid of her own body, her own shadow and her curves.

I tried to befriend her. We bonded over books.  I offered to help her shop and clean her apartment. It was littered with used snotty tissues and empty soda cans. One day, I was driving back to her place after a shopping trip. She took the opportunity to tell me something she believed.

Pam told me that she believed some people never get better. Some people never recover from depression and there is no amount of therapy, medication, diet or lifestyle change that will ever help them.

Then she told me she believed she was one of those people. I told her I hoped she wasn’t but I pretty much left the subject alone. Soon afterwards, I left the job and a couple of years later, I got my act together and went a couple hours away to finish college.

I was walking out of the library one afternoon and ran right into her! It was surreal. I was 23, about 75 pounds smaller living in the mountains but there she was, a random person from my past. She looked the same but there was something different about her. I approached her, reintroduced myself and she told me she was there on a tour for prospective freshmen.

Our reunion was short-lived but I walked away with hope. Maybe she believed she wasn’t one of those people anymore. Pam was clearly open to starting over or at least believed herself worthy of it.

I haven’t thought about her in years but this afternoon she crossed my mind. Maybe it’s because of my college visit this past weekend or because of this new trial Hubby and I are going through.

I want to remain open to fresh starts, rewrites, unexplored paths no matter where they may take me or where I am beginning from.

After all, aren’t I worthy enough?

So much more…

So much more…

While I was at Whole Foods today, I ran into an old co-worker. There were the regular pleasantries but then the inevitable question came: “Where are you now?”

And I had to think about it. I knew what he meant and I mumbled something about trying to freelance and we soon parted ways. Not that I had to pour the whole and complete truth out with all the details but after I left, I realize I am probably not sharing enough with my closest friends and family about the doubt I do feel along this journey.

I don’t doubt whether I want to write or that if I continue to write, at some point in time successes will come. I have moments where I let the frustration take over or the uncertainty of the “when” consume me. I know better but in those moments when I am asked what I am up to now, I want to be able to say so much more.

After I think that, I realize it’s up to me to make “so much more” happen. It’s up to me to approach vendors for partnerships with my E-book, pitch more publications and devote more time consistently to the completion of my novel. None of this is news. Just because more effort doesn’t guarantee more success immediately doesn’t mean I should stop being as aggressive with my other goals outside of blogging.

I believe our psyches crave instant gratification especially in our social media age. Patience is a discipline I struggle with the most. I have to remember to revel in the journey and look forward to the time when I can look back and ask “Remember when?…”

Maybe I should take comfort that I am in the same boat with millions of other creatives.

We are all working and waiting for our moment in the sun.

Sometimes we are impatient, insecure petulant children and at others, we are hardworking, giving people who are humbly anticipating the chance to let our art be seen, for the message we are communicating to the world to be heard.

Until then, I will write and wait.

Write and Wait.

Teaching

Teaching

During this wellness journey, each week I feel like I am learning something new about myself. It probably helps that I am starting to write about it, too. I lost 1.6 lbs this week, which is fine because ultimately its about going in the right direction but I would be lying if  I said there isn’t some frustration.

If I don’t have a higher number, my first thoughts lean towards what I’m doing wrong  instead of trying to do more of what I am obviously doing right. So this week, I aim to begin doing that.

Focus more on what I’m doing right instead of what I’m doing wrong.

That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the mistakes. It just means I acknowledge them and direct my energy towards the habits that led towards my weight loss like an increase in exercise to include lifting. There’s a part of me that wants to wake up in a couple of months and feel and look like my best self. But the truth is my physical best self will take time and patience to arrive just as my spiritual and emotional best self will. One cannot be separated from the other.

I wish I had more to say about this week. I am learning how to slowly be more of who I am and I suspect that my frustration at the lack of speed is a teacher.

Teaching me patience.

Teaching me grace.

I hope every fiber of my being is becoming the lesson.

Birthday Resolutions?

Birthday Resolutions?

Yesterday, my post was a quick note about my birthday. I know some of us treat our birthdays like New Years Day and make resolutions. I think I have been silently doing that most of my life. Sometimes, not so silently.

Even though there are things I declare I want to be free from or actively pursue in my 37th year, I am going to pray for, declare it out loud, write it down, type, quietly ponder about, daydream, meditate, send a message in a bottle Police style the request for patience.

All of the things I want to be free from: extra weight, psoriasis, old psoriasis scars, self-doubt, uncertainty, fibroids, laziness.

All of the things I want to pursue more actively: writing and speaking opportunities, consistent workouts, getting settled in with a church home  I can learn to trust, volunteerism and time with my friends.

All of these things can be accomplished but none of them will happen with any semblance of peace of mind without patience. My spirit, body and mind need to work in one accord to agree that all can be done but nothing will feel right or organic without recognizing it will take time. Not just saying something trite like “Rome wasn’t built in a day or I know I can’t just blink my eyes and it will be all done or God is not a genie.”

I have long needed to divorce myself from the lies, the side deals I strike with myself that sever me from the reality of the hard work, the rejection, the tears, the shrugging off of the “I don’t feel like it right nows.” I have always been able to daydream the results, almost making me feel like I am there without fully embracing the process. I skip over it in my mind except to conjure up a hackneyed 80’s montage of my sweat, hours planted in front of the computer screen and praying in a sea of fictitious people who I will one day call my church family.

I want 37 to be about falling in love with the process even in the moments when I am suspicious it hates me or just taking too long “to get ready.”

I am toasting to all of the hard work that went into 36 and what I will bring to 37 even if patience requires I don’t see the fruit until 38.

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge-Day 1

Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge-Day 1

After completing the 5-day Instagram greatness challenge issued by Lewis Howes, I found myself asking what’s next?  I was asked to reflect on who I am, obstacles I encounter on the way to becoming my best self, a part of my morning routine, a significant quote and finally post about someone who inspires me. After so much reflection, I found that I did not want it to end. Not that reflection should ever cease whether you share yourself with the world or not. The obstacle I chose to share was not keeping to a writing schedule. Instead of just leaving it at acknowledging the problem, I am choosing to push myself to do something about it.

And then I thought, I have been actively working on my wellness goals the last couple of months. I am still plant-based and I quit coffee (haven’t been a soda drinker in over 15 years). I should make aspects of my wellness journey a part of this, too. My lack of consistent water drinking came to the surface.

I can’t tell you why I neglect to do this because as someone with psoriasis, I should practically be hooked to a faucet. I am already working out but again I know I can do more. And if I acknowledge I can do more, why not do it?

I did not want to replicate the previous challenge by doing it for five days. By now, we have all heard it takes 21 days to establish a habit. I decided to commit to moving myself twice a day, drinking at least 100 oz. of water and writing about it every day for 21 days.

Today was my Day 1. I had a magnificent walk in the sunshine, listening to DeVon Franklin speak and Solange sing. After work and grocery shopping, I came home and did an Afrifitness video on YouTube. I love dance workouts! Besides the fact that they are fun, moving myself in this way makes me forget that I am working out. I can lose myself in the rhythm and choreography.

I know it is only Day 1 but drinking enough water will be the goal I will have to be the most diligent about checking off each day.  It might be early for a takeaway but I already have one. I must set my intentions each day or I won’t do it! This is a lesson already learned for me but apparently it did not take. But I know it’s not too late.

Mindfulness and intention are the two words I feel will resonate with me for the duration of this challenge and for the rest of my life.

Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!