Category Archives: health

HAPPY 2021! What’s Been Working for you?

I was just in the bathroom attending to my skincare routine, which consists of daily cleansing and serum treatment application both morning and at night, when I noticed that the fingers on my right hand have been eczema free for months now. If you saw them, you would never know that I even suffer from random eczema breakouts or that the dry cracked skin that once lined the web of the two middle fingers sometimes hurt so much I had to distract my thoughts so that I could focus on other things. Treating eczema is a process. It doesn’t go away overnight the way a pimple sometimes does. 

Several months ago I dedicated myself to drinking water with a splash of ACV every morning before anything else and rubbing castor oil on the parts of my skin where eczema was raging every single night before bed. I did that for a couple of months. And I saw changes. I kept seeing changes until one day I nearly forgot why I was following this regimen.

When the things I do to treat my issues, physically, mentally or emotionally actually work, I sometimes forget to celebrate that. There is so much that is broken in our world right now that it can be overwhelming, not to mention depressing and useless to take stock of it all.  I look at myself in the mirror each day and try to be gentle and positive with myself in my varying degrees of progress. I try not to be upset when fall back, eat too much sugar, oversleep or lose my temper over something small because underneath it all I’m actually anxious and pent up and not addressing those root causes. 

Instead, I try to focus on doing things I know what will make a difference. I have to remember how powerful that is. It’s proactive and loving and self-affirming to care for yourself. And I’m all about using social media and online resources to find those people who have similar challenges and see chat has worked for them and then intuitively gauge my capacity and or willingness to try it myself. I’m not saying the ACV and castor oil will work for everyone’s eczema. That’s not even what this post it about. But I learned about it online and I tried it because I just knew I had to try something. I had to tune in to what my body was telling me.

 Drinking water everyday when my skin is starting feel inflamed and acne starts popping up works for me. Going for walks in nature to get my blood flowing and clear head works for me. Dancing as a form of exercise and going to therapy works for me.  I actually made a video for my YT Channel last week on the theme of surviving 2021. I’m certain I’ll be carrying a lot of those things over into 2021 and adding more along the way.

A focus on what works and also showing gratitude for having anything in your life that you can rely on to work for you when you need it is a bigger priority these days than it ever was. So when I look at the fingers on my right hand, I have to remind myself to be grateful that they are smooth, blemish free and pain free because I committed to healing myself. I was vigilant, patient, consistent and determined.

Being forced to shelter in place has also forced many of to learn about how to care for ourselves in a whole new way. Take stock of what works, what’s been serving you, and honor it.

And I Stare at My Cat a lot: A Gratitude List

I can’t say that I prefer working from home because the nature of what I do is hard to translate over this format. But I do like that any minute I need to step away, my surroundings are immediately calming for me. I’ve have moments of tight chestedness and stomach flipping anxiety since this all began a week ago. Unexpected things have been revealed as a result of this situation and I have had to initiate things I never thought I would have perviously. It really helped me when these things were happening to know that I could just go into my room for a moment and close my eyes or cry or laugh, or laugh and cry at the same time which has happened as well.

Today I got on a Facebook live hosted by my dear friend Cecelia Falls who shared tips, exercises and resources for people dealing with anxiety at this unprecedented, scary, and deeply destabilizing time. It was so wonderful just to see Cece’s face and I’ve always found her voice to be very calming.  I came away feeling inspired to write short gratitude list of things that made me feel good and smile today.

Face-Timing with a co-worker who is not on my team

Just shooting the shit with a co-worker pal who is marginally involved in my work was such a relief! It was so good to see her face in real time. I’ve only been in contact with the people on my immediate team for the past two weeks and that’s been a lot. As laid back as you would think working from home would be, I’m still very aware of the the way tension shapes my body when I’m talking with people I have to have my guard up around, people I don’t feel I can fully trust. When I talked with this co-worker, someone I haven’t even know for very long, I just felt like I could let down about two layers. It was just refreshing to let myself breath in a conversation that wasn’t about updates and data entry and trouble shooting and…you get the drift.

My Husband

My husband, already quite the germaphobe is on really high alert right now. I have resist the urge not to shout “OKAAAAY DAD!” at him on the daily. I have to keep reminding myself that even if I sometimes feel like he’s doing the most he’s just trying to protect me and everyone he loves in the best way he can. And at a time like this, too much is never enough. He loves me. He’s not trying to control me. The difference can sometimes be hard to discern for many of us, for a myriad of reasons that we need to unlearn immediately.

Music/Dancing: A DJ Really Can Save Your Life

I don’t need an excuse to dance even to music I haven’t selected or curated. I dance to the music that plays during the video games my husband plays in the evening. They’re usually sports,  and they play some of the best rap, dance hip hop tracks and I’m always just bopping around to that unconsciously. The now infamous IG Live DJ set by D-Nice has been an amazing way to get loose and dance to amazingly beautifully curated set list of R&B and hip hop classics old recent. Quest Love’s IG Live afterparty was also legendary. And I’m sure many other DJs are going live for as long as it takes.  This also signals my body to relax again, that it’s okay to feel safe again.

My Cat

I stare at my cat a lot. I mean I play with my cat a lot, pick him up a lot, kiss him a lot, snuggle him and pet him a lot. But I also stare at him a lot. I watch him, watching life. I watch him engaging with life, the things he pays attention to, the way he behaves when he’s on alert, when he feels tense, what makes him feel comfortable, what makes him feel safe. I never get tired of watching him sleep at the foot of our bed throughout the day. I wonder if he has a clue of how therapeutic (though a big pain on occasion, ie every morning around 5am) he is for both me and my husband. We both go to him to hold him, pet him, scratch under his chin, ease his tension or just watch him sleep and in turn it makes us feel more calm, less tense, less angry and less self fixated in general. Here is this creature curled up in an endless series of sleep shapes, trusting and vulnerable, aware of our presence and just as tolerant of what may seem like our strange behavior to him. He’s okay. We’re taking care of him. We’re okay. We’re taking care of each other.

 

 

What I’ve learned so far from Intermittent Fasting

I was hosting my husband’s 40th birthday party last month when the gf of one of my oldest high school friends told me that said old friend was not drinking that night. He was intermittent fasting to prepare for what I think is now his third marathon.

Intermittent fasting had come across my radar recently in my search for a diet that would help me to shed pounds without feeling like I was starving myself or giving up something I love to eat forever. So I was intrigued to learn that someone I knew was already doing it. It motivated me to learn more about it. There’s quite a bit of really useful simple info about it on the internet. And simplicity is what I think has allowed me to stick with it for almost two weeks straight now.

Continue reading What I’ve learned so far from Intermittent Fasting

What I’ve been Reading

Women Code by Alisa Vitti

Woman Code

It’s lead me to have the fullest understanding so far of how my cycle works and to realize that my cycle is happening all the time in four very specific phases (Menstrual, Folicular, Ovular and Luteal) not just when I’m bleeding which is the only phase of a woman’s cycle that education usually focuses on after she begins seeing her period. The MyFlo app designed by Vitti is also like an advanced Period Tracker in that it notifies you of which phase you’re on once you enter your own period dates and of how you should be eating, exercising, loving, caring for yourself, working and planning during those times. It’s very much a game changer.

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Beautiful Struggle

A few nights ago, I got in bed and found absolutely nothing I wanted to watch on television or the internet. Nothing. So I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I pulled a book off the shelf (The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates) got under the cover and  continued reading where I left off nearly a month ago before things got really busy.  I sat and I read and I read a few beautiful paragraphs aloud to myself which I also haven’t done in ages because Coates just writes some dope beautiful shit that has to be heard aloud.  Shit like:

Ma would arrange us into a giggling pyramid , with Menelik up top. Dad would flick away until Kelly, John, or Kris–someone at the bottom–would get restless and shook the core. We’d tumble to the grass like clowns out of a rainbow colored car, then shove, stumble and laugh. Ma would step back and pull Menelik close. Dad just flicked away, until these moments were encased in Amber.

That whole scene plays in my mind as if I was there. Makes me remember why reading was first obsession.

Experience is a great Gift to ask for

On more than one occasion, my girl Khalilah has talked about how experiences are the only things she really wants as presents. The last few years or so, we’ve expressed how unaffected we are by the Holiday Madness that ensues during this commercially over developed marketing period called Christmas. As we get more mature, things are not really on our wish lists any longer. I know all I wanted this year were Sephora Gift cards! LOL!!!

Seriously. That was all.

But this year, Khalilah mentioned again that all she really wants is a vacation to someplace sunny.

I hear that!

But I never think to actually ask for it. Because…

Well who does that?

The first time I ever asked for an experience as a gift was because our wedding registry site provided it as an option. Such a thing had never occurred to me simply because I had never allowed myself to think it was something I could request.

Glass Blowing

I asked guests to fund a glass blowing workshop in Brooklyn. I have always been fascinated by the art of glass blowing. And it seemed like something extravagant and impractical that I might otherwise never get to experience. So we went! And I loved it! And I learned that glass blowing isn’t extravagant all. It’s not even cute! LOL!

You wear  clothes you’re comfortable in and not afraid to get dirty, you have to work outside because the heat from the glory hole and all the kilns would be suffocating in an enclosed space and you really have to focus to avoid losing limbs or burning the crap out of yourself. At least I did. But watching glass in a malleable state be blown and manipulated is still pretty hot to me. Pun intended.

And did you know that the craft of glass blowing has hardly changed since ancient times? What could be more practical than that?

Think about that next time you’re drinking…

from

a

glass…

 

If nothing else, America has shown me that nothing is off the table with regards to what we are allowed to demand. It’s just that we often we ask for things, not because we actually want them, but because we’ve been told what to want.

Black Spa.jpg

So far, my holiday wind down has consisted of a Winter Solstice trip to Spa Castle with Khalilah which we have managed to make for all the seasonal equinoxes this year (YAY US!) and which is something that gives me so much life, and rejuvenation. I think I slept that day at Spa Castle more than I have slept in all the times I’ve been there.

The next day, my husband drove us up to a house in Saugerties, NY that we like to rent out for deep but brief decompression and unplugging. It’s a cozy and comfortable house owned by a dear friend of mine. Every time we’re there it feels more and more like a second home. I feel that it is very much intended for simple, meditative contemplation. I mean it’s surrounded by nature, so it’s kind of hard not to be drawn inward by its energy.

Cute Cottage
Cute Cottage

A whole lot more sleep happened there. LOL! But the quality of rest when you’re away in a place that provides a unique and needed experience is just qualitatively more enhancing to your life than a material gift might be. These experiences and more are things which resonate most authentically to my spirit. Aside from glass blowing, which I would love to do again someday, spa time and time away in nature are things I return to over and over to reconnect and center because they always work for me.

So this idea of wanting experiences vs material gifts of is really onto something. It’s something I want to focus more on in 2018.

Stuff; I got. In fact, I’ve been thinking s lot about adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and I’ll come back to that another time.

But asking for experiences? Funding experiences that will enhance, educate, evolve, heal, inspire and motivate?

More of that please…

Smart Television Also Knows Sex is Important

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‘Thanks for the numbers Josh but are you getting it in at all man?”

You’re going to get sick of my “West Wing’ revelations, but watching some of the very last episodes of the last season when hot ass Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) takes office, it becomes obvious suddenly that some of our favorite characters are not having nearly enough sex. And more than that, that they should be.

Just before they call the vote count that makes Santos as the winner, he gets so stressed out that his wife tells him he should sleep. Of course he says he can’t. She takes him up their bedroom and makes sure he rests. We never see sex on West Wing really but we know when it happens because it hardly ever does. “The West Wing” is about people so maniacally dedicated to serving in the White House that they barley notice they have no life at all outside of it. It’s one of the major issues I’ve always had with the show. I need fun and sexuality in life as well as in art. But this is just a testament to how good I think “The West Wing” is. I have never watched entire seasons of any other show repeatedly that had so little demonstration of physical and emotional affection….ever.

In the last season Josh Lyman, Santos’ campaign manager and new Chief of Staff becomes so tightly wound up and stressed out that Santos asks his aid, Donna if she knows whether or not Josh is getting any at all. It’s pretty obvious that Santos has a good work, life, sex balance and you just know it will continue even after he becomes the leader of the free world. Even President Bartlett whom he will succeed has more sex than anyone else on the show.

Josh is all work all the time and though he dates and has relationships on an off, nothing ever lasts. His life is not about lasting relationships. And he is the character I love most until the last season when he stubbornly refuses to power down, take a break, let Donna love him, and let himself love. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand most people who don’t know how to be happy. It’s not a judgement but a fact. It’s hard for me to relate but I know there are many of us who find it difficult to be happy or to think of happiness as something that can last or that there are people for whom happiness is a soul purpose. I’m not going to pretend I’m an eternal optimist. But I could never live for work. I could never live without the promise of love and happiness. And I think sex is an incredibly important part of our health, emotionally, spiritually and otherwise. I think it’s wonderful when people are passionate about their work, when they love what they do for a living. I have never had the experience except for when I create so perhaps if I did I might have a different opinion. But here’s what i do know.

A kiss can save a life.

And good sex can save many lives.

Stay tuned for my next entry about being raised in a naked house like Rainbow Johnson played by Tracee Elis Ross on”Black-ish” Thank you Rainbow for validating my childhood experience. LOL!