Tag Archives: love

Dropping into my Heart

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Let go of all sense of not being in your heart. The thought of a problem can become the problem. Ask yourself “If I knew what I might notice were I to listen to my heart, regardless of what anyone else might suggest, what methods of dropping into my heart might I discover?

I get emotional plenty. I cry in reaction to movies, books, babies, people I care about…orgasms. But I’m not always comfortable about all that. In a culture where intellect and smarts and thought processes are basically taught to us as the thing that will get us more money, power, position, attention and love, the heart is really only focused upon as a marketing tool, particularly on Valentines Day. But actually using our hearts is pretty foreign and largely marginalized  and looked down upon in our society, in much the same way as being feminine, soft, yielding, giving and vulnerable is attributed to weakness.

It’s hard to let go of primarily brain centered living when the whole of society tells you, you have to use your head to get ahead and people will take advantage of you if you “wear you heart on your sleeve.” However when it’s convenient, who are the people we turn to first when we are wounded and need to be held and loved and soothed and made to feel better? Usually some pretty heart centered people. Not the cold, distant, detached, aloof people. And I’m not ashamed to say that on occasion I have appeared to be or behaved as if I was one of those cold people but not because it’s who I really am. No one is really like that. We learn to be that way. We learn a lot of incorrect behavior on our journey towards becoming who are.

Thinking only when it’s necessary and feeling or dropping into my heart the rest of the time hasn’t been easy. This is going to sound weird but the kitten has really helped me with that. He’s all action. He likes to hunt, play, eat, sleep and be held. Simple. The moment I first picked him up out of his cage I also experienced something very simple, the joy of being needed in a way that for the first time did not feel like a burden. In fact the more I take care of the kitten, the fuller I feel. I’m really fighting the urge to say ewwww right now. Or I guess I should say, my ego is.

But honestly, my husband and I have the most fun watching him do really simple stuff, like dive at and chase cat toys, discover new ways to get to high pieces of furniture and sleep with the kind of abandon that we can only assume means he feels safe. I can only imangine that if we all felt that safe, not so much in our surroundings but in our own hearts and souls, life might not seem so scary. There’s no way to really be safe in your head because its meant to fluctuate to your detriment by design. So much of what goes on there is just the ego’s way of asserting it’s identification as you. And we are easily conditioned to believe that intuitive heart space is misleading, unreal, risky and unsafe instead of the other way around. There’s no balance, no cooperation. The head has been oppressively manipulative and monopolizing for so long. As a result we have faster, slicker, high functioning, specialized toys, degrees, positions, corporations and more with which to create and share information, to control and to commodify but not nearly enough regard for the feelings we have about our successes or lack thereof in order to address the accompanying emptiness.

All I’ve been doing after work for the past week and an a half is coming home, hanging out with my husband, cleaning, taking care of the cat and generally taking it easy. No lofty ambitious goals there. Very little anxiety either. Domestic contentment. It’s one of my new definitions of success.

Stay tuned for more. : )

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One Year Anniversary (Tending to Intimacy)

Last week on Monday, June 15th I celebrated one year of marriage to my sweetheart, my best friend, my “Wonderwall”, my “Love Button” my magic man. We’ve been married a year but have been together for over ten years now.

I have to say that no matter how long we’ve been together I’m always amazed when I hear the numbers. Time goes by so quickly these days and the year of marriage literally flew! I feel like we just got married. How could it be a year already? But it has been. And I’ve been learning a lot about the value of marriage, of husbands, and of relationships in general in that period of time.

But the most important thing for me which I will share is being vigilant about sharing quality time, which is one of my top five love languages. Spending time with people I love and care about is one way that I understand and receive love. Last week we went to 67 Orange Street for dinner on our anniversary, had drinks, great food and conversation plus free shots of Hennessy from our kind and generous waiter who made kick ass drinks. The week after that we met up at B-Side, a Pizza Bar which I fully intend on returning to. It’s designer pizza and refreshing drinks in the afternoon! It’s a really chill, laid back spot in Hell’s kitchen with long open landscape windows. I just loved it. This week we went for a walk to the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park which is one of the major parks in our neighborhood. Spending time with my husband keeps me connected to the energy which brought us together all those years ago. Laughing, dancing, sharing our thoughts, being close and still discovering new things together reminds me that it doesn’t really matter what we do together as long as we actively seek to be together, share time and make space for intimacy.

For years I thought I had a full understanding of what intimacy was but I think that I’ve been lending a definition that fell along the lines of the sexual connection between consenting adults. I was “intimate” with that person usually meant to me that you’ve had carnal knowledge of that person. But intimacy is so much more than that. You can share an intimate moment with a complete stranger and never exchange words with them. You can share and intimate moment with a baby in a stroller on the Subway. The relationship I have with nature is intimate. The relationship my husband has with every four legged mammal (he loves animals) he sees in the street is intimate.  Listening is intimate. Paying attention and being aware of the other person is intimate. Being vulnerable, surrendering letting down your accumulated routine defenses in order to allow the kind of connection that can occur when mutual trust is present.

I’m not always the best at it. But I am a good listener and when I experience the kind of intimacy I seek with my husband, I never question it. I’m just thankful. I’m thankful to be able to celebrate that bond in our marriage whenever and wherever we please.

As much as I hate to admit it, it does becomes necessary for you to keep a fire burning after the spark has been ignited. Love is everywhere but if you don’t pay attention and create space for it, you can become disconnected from it’s warmth and inspiration and start to believe in a lot of popular illusions  about love such as the one which states that love doesn’t last. Not only does love last. It has never absent from existence.

When I first met my husband I was in a very jaded place with regard to relationships. I was dating a little but not really connecting to anyone. The moment I sensed the unique and unavoidable spark between us, it was as if I was waking from a long sleep, one if which I had forgotten that I had the capacity to love deeply. And the biggest issue I had with that was that it happened so quickly, so easily, so drama free! Yeah! That was one of my biggest problems! The ease! LOL!

I was raised in a family that was openly expressive and affectionate with one another, both verbally and demonstratively and I’ve never really believed that love has to be hard but these negative messages about love can get into places inside the mind unconsciously, particularly for women, with all the televised romantic melodramas and films we consume. I myself am shamelessly hooked on “Mistresses” but am fully aware of the formula behind marketing involved in engaging a predominantly female viewership and real life. I am blessed to share my real life with someone who brings me peace, laughter, inspiration, joy, excitement and just a sense of being that I recognize is in blissful alignment with what I seek to reflect to the world. It’s a huge part of who I truly am.

Yours,

Urban Eve

Team Urban Eve

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I was out and about this weekend running errands and attending to my regular self care when it occurred to me that the women who provide indispensable services to me on a regular basis are some amazing women. And I have selected them especially not only because of excellence with which they provide these services but because of the love, warmth, support, and receptivity that come with it.

You know what I mean.

We pay for services all the time but if we have a pleasant experience, a deeply beneficial exchange with the person who delivers those services, we go as much for that loving, supportive inspiring energy as for the service itself.

My therapist is a woman who just rocks. Like, I love her! She challenges me, makes me feel safe, helps me to be more accountable for the goals I set and much more.  Her role in helping me in my journey towards helping me peel away the layers of my own psyche to reveal my purpose in this life has been indispensable.

There’s my brow technician in Chelsea. Unless I am really desperate, there is only one woman I want to do my brows. She’s the only one who makes my sparsely growing non-thick brows work. She just makes it work. And she is always, warm and sweet and hospitable and just makes me feel dope. I took my mom to see her the last time she visited me and if you knew me well enough, you would know how huge that is. If I’m taking mom to meet my brow tech, I love my brow tech. And mom approved. Mom approved.

There’s my weekly yoga instructor, an independent contractor who has been coming to my workplace to give staff yoga classes since 2009! I’m not saying I will never take yoga with anyone else and I certainly have before. But I have never in my life taken yoga consistently the way I have with Sara. It’s more than just the yoga. It’s Sara. It’s her energy. It’s her way of explaining and executing moves, of moving with us, of challenging us, correcting us, making us laugh, keeping it light but also as she says, respecting the divine in all of us and calling attention to the ways in which yoga is not just about moving the body but also the spirit, about accessing the infinite within. I need that. So I show up as often as I can.

As I adjust to my new life in Inwood I have seen several cute nail places in the neighborhood but in my mind I know there is still only one nail salon that gets my money. Bed of Nails Harlem is not just a nail salon to me. I go there as much to chit chat with my nail tech and other ladies in the shop while sipping a complimentary tea or Bellini as to get a set of amazing color changing gel done on my fingers. The women there do amazing nails as well as provide a warm, and comfortable space where you are encouraged to linger, sit, talk and converse while music plays. It’s a class act. And I am a person who is slow to warm up to people, but once I feel like I can let down my guard, I’m inquisitive, quick to laugh, learn, talk, teach, and take mental notes. I knew from the day I walked through those doors that I would return again and again.

Because, as women of color we often struggle to find spaces in which to engage with images of themselves that are not marginalized, destructive and stereotypical it is extremely important for us to carefully select other women who care for us in ways that are particular to serving our needs based on the goals we have set and the ways in which we wish to meet, influence and engage with the world.

Gathering in spaces regularly to get  pampered, fed, educated, mentally and spiritually stimulated, all the while learning and discovering things you never would have anywhere else is an absolute necessity.  My girl at SoulSistah4real always reminds me that in ancient times it was our divine right as women to make time for ourselves in this way, for self care, for emotional, mental and spiritual care.

It still is. And it is up to us to make that happen not only for ourselves but for each other.

 

The Dream of My Life

When you are making love all the time, everything is wonderful and beautiful, and you can grasp heaven.

-Miguel Ruiz

I know it’s not a concept that all of us can grasp immediately. But I know that even those of us who have allowed negativity to seize our true nature, have something in our lives that we define as happiness or a way to make love. Perhaps it was only when we were babies and barely “conscious” that we connected to it. Just because we cannot remember them, doesn’t mean those experiences are not there to tap into.

When I read the passage above, it made me think how amazing it would be to be making love all the time. And I don’t just mean the kind of love that can be made through the physical union of two or more human beings. I don’t believe this was the only type of love Miguel was referring to either.

I mean the kind of love you feel when you are experiencing something that allows you to forget that time exists, or that you exist in some instances, the kind of love that gives you a glimpse into the possibility of an end to suffering, fear, guilt and shame. This kind of love can be found nowhere but in your own ability to allow it within yourself.

I was in a meeting at work yesterday, the kind of retreat/strategic planning/lets talk about our problems and break into groups with post-its meeting that I’ve been in more times than I care to mention there. I’ve been sick with a cold and a cough but I sat there listening to presenters, friends and co-workers whom I believe all have a genuine intention to make our workplace better for everyone, ourselves and therefore those we serve. We always come up against the same issues though. burocracy, hierarchy, poor compensation, lack of support, poor communication, low-tech applications and more. But we’re changing. Things are better and worse at the same time, mostly due to the fact that we have new staffs, who are less tolerant of work models that don’t in fact work at all. But there is a tension, always a tension, which mainly goes unsaid in meeting like these about whose work is more important and should be prioritized, invested in, supported or re-classified.

It’s a conversation that never ends. And somewhere in it, there am I, listening and scribbling notes and wondering why we keep doing this over and over again, with no significant follow up. And then, as always, my mind starts to wander. My mind seizes on something more pleasurable, light, safer, a place that makes me feel…love. I start to scribble some words to try and describe the feeling. I write in tiny letters because the director is sitting right next to me. But for me the words fail to capture this place my mind wanders to. I end up crumbling the sheet and tossing it in my wastebasket when I get back to my desk after the meeting adjourns.

This morning I called out sick from work and finished reading “The Voice of Knowledge” in bed. The last chapter is called “The Tree of Life” and it was all about things like how we create our own Heaven. We know plenty about how we create our own Hells, but it’s never as obvious to us that we’re the ones doing the creating. I spent a lot of time in the meeting yesterday thinking about how this was never going to work, how these attempts were reductive and pointless. Not to mention the fact that I was sick and coughing every few minutes, blowing my nose and sitting in a freezing room. But in that moment where my mind wandered which is does often, because I’m a consummate daydreamer, there was only a sense of, a glimpse of a different state of being, which had nothing to do with all the day to day tension and misery that are commonplace for so many of us. We’re conditioned to think of daydreaming as escape, as not being in the present. But I think that daydreaming is just our mind’s way of retreating to a place more desirable than the one we are in because we feel incapable of experiencing Heaven where we are. How many times have teachers, parents and various other authority figures enforced the need for us to stop letting our minds wander and keep our feet on the ground?

As if the ground was the same for us all.

Anyway, reading this chapter made me want to retrieve my scribbled notes again. It made me wish I hadn’t listened to the “authority” in my head and gave some more regard to my own seeking to give shape to something evasive and yet indelible.

Having been home schooled and receiving the message that my playtime as valuable as my education, I can remember what it felt like to be “making love” more often than anything else. My mind was allowed to wander, to imagine, and to make believe, to create. In fact, it was encouraged. Maybe I thought that the whole world was always going to be one big toy for me to play with and enjoy. I was in parks, museums, gardens, doing crafts, and no matter where my bother and I were, be it Subway, bus or airplane, we always found a way to play, to make believe, to tell a story or read one. That was my reality for a long time. And I think this is why toys still figure so resiliently in my life and in my creativity. That part of me that likes to play is still there, though in a different way.  It’s the same feeling I get when I’m walking alone through Central Park in the Spring or with my husband at home just hanging out, the feeling of sheer defenseless, messy, hilarious play, of love, of trust. I think it’s easy for me to access creativity and inspiration and spirit through play, writing, story and music. For others it could be cooking, painting, dancing, balancing a checkbook or cleaning the space around you. Whatever it is, it’s the dream of your life that you create.

Imagine being in that place all the time, feeling that way all the time, playing, creating, sharing, making love all the time! Is it possible?

From an early age, the importance of our dreams are often diminished by the lies we begin to believe or they’re supported, encouraged and valued as more important than others. The truth is, they are all important, all beautiful, all valuable, as long as they come from a place of love. Often the people who act from a loving place sound illogical, naive, unrealistic or “crazy.” These are usually the kind of people who usually catch my attention, the attention of the daydreamer, the infinitely playing, infinitely creating love maker who never dies in any of us. In some of us that spirit still waits patiently to be addressed like a child waiting for it’s parents to stop working so that they can watch it discover life and remember…

Room for Another?

Where does the craving to care for something or someone come from?

When I was around ten or so I remember specifically playing with one of my many baby dolls and being struck suddenly with the feeling that this whole situation was not a coincidence. I suddenly thought to myself that this whole baby doll rocking thing was preparation for the real thing. My reaction was nausea. The idea that a baby might be 100% reliant on me made me a bit sick. It was a short and fleeting moment but I remember it very well. My mind made the connection between play and a possible reality and I was a momentarily panicked little girl.

I’m always ready for play. Taking care of another person or thing besides myself? Not so much. But recently, I’ll say in the last two or three years, the need to love, to care for someone other than me has surfaced in my odd, aloof, anti-clingy sensibility. And it’s weird for me.

When I was a girl we had a cat that mostly my parents took care of and my brother and I played with. When she died as the result of a freak accident, my reaction was complete denial. My brother was way more emotional than I was. I kind of just couldn’t handle my feelings and sort of chose not to express them. When I think about it, that cat’s death was the first death I ever experienced in my family. I know a lot of people don’t take pets seriously or take them too seriously or hate people who take them too seriously or not seriously enough. We all have different feelings about it. But the fact is all pets are forms of life you take care of. Plants are forms of life you take care of. You benefit or don’t benefit from their being around in one way or another. But if you care you have to make room. You have to pay attention.You have to make time.

I have a plant, a plant I inherited from a co-worker who passed away years ago. And I was worried I wouldn’t be able to take care of it. I don’t even know what kind of plant it is, but I liked the look of it and it absolutely flourishes in my care. I water it once a week as directed, play music around it and occasionally talk to it and always take notice of its progress. I don’t have a green thumb. I don’t know if I would have this kind of patience with any other plant, just this one. I just happened to bond with it. There’s a plant someone dumped on me at work many years ago which I neglect shamelessly all the time. It’s sitting on my counter now as I write this.

Okay, I’ll water you today. Jeez.

All this is to say that yesterday, when my supervisor told me about a cat she took in to her home over the weekend, something about the way she described her just got me all emotional and choked up and not just because I’m a cat person. Apparently this is a domesticated cat that the owner or owners abandoned in the street. That broke my heart.  UGH! Just thinking about it now bothers me. My husband and I have also both been wanting a pet for ages. He loves animals! But like the prospect of having a baby, we’re both are in agreement that we need way more space first. But what if space isn’t really as necessary as we think for a pet or a baby? What if a pet is just a starter baby?

Sigh…

I want a cat.

I want a baby.

I want a cat baby. LOL!