Keeper of My Soul

Photo of a nearby trail I frequent.

#Friendships: I am so grateful that Fall Season is approaching. I love Nature; I move forward within my peace when I am in nature. I grew up with my family and my first cousins being my best friends. Later, my intimate relationships would be the focal part of bonding and establishing friendships. During and after my divorce my circle became even smaller. Reflecting back, I was dropped out of friendships due to my singleness. Funny, that’s when you need the most support from friends and family. 

Divorce is not only devastatingly personal, it will hit children, family members and truly affects your financial status and inner circle. I focused on my children, went to grad school, changed careers, tried to build and be in serious relationships…I’ve never truly dated. I do not know how. What I know: life may get complicated and heavy yet having true friends that encourage and support you is needed. 

My friends’ differences are great and they love me in their way; oftentimes their way of love benefits me. Friendships should. Lately, I’m struggling with the singleness, the generational changes I see, the lack of community and unhealthy connections. I find it paniful the loss of humanness, of being kind, the old love that touched communities, that reached further than what was in front of you.

I work a lot—it has kept me out of trouble and out of the way of those that are troubled. I love what I do for a living. I had to sacrifice and grow a great deal—my independence shows. I think people who have a peek into my life would think it is all I do, work. I have purposed my life with my children…I did and do what I have to do for them and for myself. Recently, I was asked what I do for fun after catching this person up with the latest transitions of my life. The question hit me wrong. I’m telling her details about my work life because she asked. Fun? Am I unfun? #LongBlink #DeepBreath

Another friend, as we were discussing relationships and I was told what I’m looking for (healthy relationships) doesn’t exist. Well, I stopped arguing with others many moons ago. I don’t think friends truly understand the impact of their words and what potential damage those words could carry. That question and statement came from friends, colleagues. I find myself searching my past, my pain, those wounds, that is tedious and undoing. With ever growing resolve, I believe God has been better than good and has done better than He promised with my life. #Freewill is not about compromise. I’m learning it is about showing up even when we’re unsure how. It is hard, healing work.

What I was revealing to her —was the fun parts for me. I love my grand girl’s visits. She’s so funny and quite loving at 6. I support my teens, we have a great time together when they are not closed up in their rooms. I love writing and reading. I love a good movie. I love home. I love solitude. I love mommy-ing my two older adult sons. I enjoy how the tables are turning and they “watch over me” now—making sure I’m okay. My Mater and my Bear. I love continuous education on the impact of trauma. I am learning to love my work-outs…I’m happy. I’m productive not just busy. I truly laugh more than I cry. 

Are there times I feel invisible, alone? Do I want to be in loving relationship with a good man? Yes, but I know enough to not monkeypox my way through anything that affects my being, my wellness negatively. I know this life journey better than most because it is mine. I know that grace leads and follows me in every millisecond of my days. I’m better. I’m whole and I’m healing. I’ve gotten this far because of love and how I love. I’m reminding myself, “I’m not perfect. I haven’t done everything that right right nor am I without mistakes yet I’m faithful.”  I’m faithfully trusting if I take one step God will take a thousand. I’m not walled up and nor was the last love of my life the last love of my life.  

What I know: Love is recovering. Love is healing. Love is change. Love transitions. Love is honoring your journey. Love is sacred. Keep going for what grabs you when you’re good and doing good. Trust your soul for the future. Keep healing. I support you. I see you. I love you.

Psalm 121: “…..the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Intimately worded,

Michelle

“There is something there…”

Vulnerability: November 2021

Prelude: I am flowing not forcing. I reflect, smile and I asked God for more writing days.

My days, my months, this year has been divine, purposed, productive, exhausting and loving days of hallelujahs. I am living to “do no harm” to anyone and thriving in my authenticity to be my truly different unique self.

I purchased a gym membership and I show up 2x a week at 5:00 am. I am loving it and finally seeing results after 2 months. I’m closer to entrepreneurship: professional headshots, website. My Tribe is flourishing. As an employee: I’m excelling, scheduled months out and there are bonuses that I forgot about. I witness the healing that will benefit individuals as well as generations and I am in awe of God’s purpose in my life.

Friday, day after Thanksgiving, I show up for my second imaging mammogram. I’m nervously strong, I think. Of course I’m completely turned around due to nerves. I’m in the Breast Cancer Center not Imaging. Mentally cuss the lady that left a voicemail without an address. Now I think I’ve completed a faux pau of predicting my future. Nice lady gave me directions to the Imaging Center.. I walk, yes walk, to the other building. My day off…no coffee, full of lostness and anxiety. #Michelle #DeepSigh #EarlyMornings

Second imaging is the worst. Painfully so.

Her: “Breathe. Stop breathing. Move to the left. Face me. Breathe. Stop breathing. Look forward. Look out the window.” Pain. Pain. I gasp.

Me: “Is it suppose to hurt like this?

Her: “Breathe. Stop breathing.”

My thoughts: “What have I done? Why am I here?”

She sits me in a quiet area. She comes back.

Her: “Your left breast is clear. We need to do an ultrasound on the right.” I’m still confused. Really confused but I say okay. She does the ultrasound. I realize she taking the longest time. Her: “I’ll go get the doctor.” I stop breathing. He comes in, black framed glasses and white coat. He’s real. He starts examining, searching. I don’t think I’m breathing. There’s nothing in my head. No sound. No words. He speaks: “There’s something there.”

I disassociate. I hear him. My tears fall silently as I listen. My voice whispers, “What now Jesus?”
She places back in the room. I cry. I cry for awhile. She places me in another room. I do not breathe as we discuss procedures. Her: “Do you have insurance?” My thoughts: ”What if I did not? What happens if you do not have insurance? Does it just remain there? Growing?”

I’ve never had the greatest relationship with my breast. I was a 36C at 16 and my mother was a Southern Baptist Mom to her heart; everything was covered. My breasts drew attention: Middle school boys, older men…they eventually became strangers to me. The alienation continued through childbirth and breastfeeding. I did the self-exams, my annuals they were always healthy, heavy, covered (no pretty lace bras for me) …yet they defined my femininity. They are purposeful, necessary, required. They are mine.

I ask for your healing prayers as I go in for a biopsy 12/23. Currently, I’m crying a lot. Thinking a lot. Putting their future ( my Tribe) in perspective. Trying to think…unsure of how to process any and all of this. My Tribe knows. The youngest walks away as I am telling my older two sons. I question him later. He responds: “I heard December 23rd. You’re not dying from cancer. That’s it. We’re not losing you to breast cancer.”

My sleepless nights….strange. I feel strange. Unfamiliar. I wake up crying throughout the night. I now sleep with a security blanket…I wake up holding it. I’m 51. I feel doubtful. Hopeful. Worried. My breasts —alienated. The right one seems more dominant….it never has been…they are disproportionately different in size yet it feels the heaviest. I’m scared. Prayerful.

Life has taught me and taught me well. I stopped believing in my fairytales a long time ago, without bitterness. Nowadays, I see how God places me in the center of my unbeliefs and strengthens me to wait and see, to heal. I am trusting Him for that yet wondering what if it is too big of an ask. Healing?

A few months ago, I silently asked for more writing days, for more “Me” days, for the ability to take more moments to do other things I love: soft launch of private practice, creating a woman’s support group, certification as a group psychotherapist, seemingly my goals, my wants are coming to fruition….all of this I am working on. Trusting Him for those things.; the tangibles. What I know, He answers our prayers His way.

Intimately worded,

Michelle

Persistent: December 2021

#Mammograms #Breasts #MyBreasts #BlackWomenHealth #Mass #Growth #Treatment #Biopsy #Healing #BlackWomen #Therapy #SpiritualHealth

​Take Your Moments

Happy Merry Tuesday! This is not a Christmas Post.

I’m trying to do my best in re-entering my blogging world. Life is throwing us about swiftly and profoundly in so many different ways. I continue to pull my hopeful heart together with slippery fingers. Working from home is a good thing; truly a heart’s desire. I’ve always wanted to be home with my kids. This CoVid Year allowed for that. At the end of October, I transitioned from two year employment to a new corporation. I experienced and continue to experience therapy-patient separation; a month in and there is less guilt and more certainty of my choices. You haven’t seen less of me due to life, there’s less writing when my heart overflows. Truthfully, it is a bit of fragility and intimacy— 2020 has been more than enough and then some.

I am a professional working entrepreneur. I smile as I write this, not putting myself in a box. I think as we visualize we’re more apt to find our way. I love how this new corporation gives a weekly analysis of my work habits. The analysis generates a live video and statistics of where my time is effective, productive and self-care could use more input. I love that I don’t have to have a meeting to be told to pull back. I’ve always wanted a career role or life status as to where I can be home with my children. I have that now, I’m settling within my transitions. I’m entering the kitchen more. Cooking has always been a comfort for me…it grounds me in so many different ways. Most days, I prepare lunch during my lunch hours. I love pulling vegetables out, chopping and sautéing. I love spices. Lately, I’m craving cilantro. I’m unsure of why. I think for how green it is, it’s difference among the herb family. I’ve always moved away from it until now. This link gives great insight as to why cilantro has my palette’s interest: https://tastybite.com/2016/04/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-cilantro/

When I cook, I normally cook with the home quiet. I like the chopping and the sizzling that happens. Most recently, I’m listening to music…good music, soulful music…it gives breath and breadth for me make room for thoughts o goodness and grace. Jon McReynolds has become a great favorite of my #PlayList. This song, “God is Good”—- the lyrics grab me up each time: “May your struggles keep you near the cross. And may your troubles show that you need God. And may your battles end the way they should. And may your bad days prove that God is good. And may your whole life prove that God is good.” When you make time, take a listen.

I encourage you to take your moments and to stay present within your moments. Work through what is working you. We’re graced for more. Life’s a lot more different than this new normal. Go further in love. You deserve every good thing. #BeAWholeMovement

Intimately Worded, 

Michelle 

Post Thanksgiving: Gratefulness

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. They were huge for me; I have a huge family and love was indicated, felt whether it was what you needed or not. I laugh now, isolation was never an issue. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters. I am a middle child. Our parents are now deceased and as the years go by their physical presence …the want to hear and be with them on this day in particular intensifies. Life has a way of giving us what we need the most and lovingly reminds us why we were in need of that something or someone.

The days after #Thanksgiving, I believe should be of recovery time; moments of healing. I pray your time after is that of gratefulness, without guilt. I pray that the tinge of loneliness, if any encourages you to create a new tradition or make that call to a friend. Do not dismiss the power of extending grace. #MoveForward

http://borninprovidence.com Please check out her “Friends-Giving” post. Working w/E on our Self-Care Strategies for the Holidays was and continues to be an exemplary example of two therapists’ heart. What I learned while working with her— listening to her is that she is an unproblematic enthusiasts and a genius in her field. She loves what she does and oh what a giving heart. Here are a few personal takeaways from our Zoom collaboration:

  • Life is better shared, yet when we’re not open to sharing its more than okay to self-advocate what you need with grace.
  • Intimacy is to be treasured not out of self-created responsibilities. We don’t have to feel less than to not be a part of something that’s become so difficult.
  • When the opportunity arises Choose Yourself More. Trust when the need for implementing healthy boundaries is necessary. Learn and continue to learn what that looks like for you. Consistency is often underrated.

As December storms itself into our lives, I am certain there will be more storms that will impede on my pathway of gratefulness. E and I will have another Holiday Zoom Live December 21. We will discuss wellness for those facing Transitions. Please reach out to either one of us if you have a topic of transition or change you would like us to touch on. We enjoy you!

What I am sure of…grief gets complex and there are different aspects to every transition. I think that gratitude is a state of mind, a divine guide towards our more. I am grateful, knowing that when I accept my blessings and when I am receptive of grace has brought me exactly where I am—at peace. You’re not wrong when you choose yourself with grace.

“Most decisions don’t require extensive research…It takes a considerable amount of self-awareness and self-control to resist the temptation.” ~Gretchen Rubin

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Attention: What Sustains?

I am currently on vacation. I purposely took a week off from work and planned a 5 day stay at the Beach. My two teens are with me and as teenish as they are, I am often left alone. The Ocean wore them out and I find myself drawn to check my phone and emails—wanting someone to want me, need me. I have never had a problem being alone. I prefer it…I prefer quiet. My levels of growth and healed segments of my life are increased and reveled in when I am alone. Yet, last night as all was quiet except the therapeutic roaring of the ocean, I was unable to write, unable to read. I surmised that it has only been 24 hours in which the phone did not have my attention. In all honesty, I worked yesterday, remotely. So, in not writing, nor reading I am focusing on the best way to help all patients… I am strategically casing while on vacation. Seriously.

        An Undeniable Bond
#myBrutus and #PrincessMonster
An Undeniable Bond
#myTeens

Okay, let’s talk: Attention, what does it mean to you and why has it become a phenome to accept deeper connections through social media and not human contact? We text more than we call. We scroll more than we touch. We deviate more than we plan and grow. I sit here and I people watch…rarely does anyone make direct eye contact. One female is walking for exercise while on her phone. A model is having her pics taken by a photographer…I digress. My plan for vacationing was to write, to read and to relax. I was only able to do that for a full 24 hours before my attention was diverted to everything but my personal goals.

I think with each phase of life our desire for attention levels out and begins differently. I ask not to be self-critical nor to minimize the affect how Life and why God has impacted my journey just so. I analyze, I overthink, I reflect…I ponder, as I become this great individual that I’ve pursued for the longest time.

  • What type of attention are you seeking?
  • What parts of you need that type of validation and why?
  • Why aren’t you able to write, Writer?
  • What are those fears that keep you searching?

I think my own diversion to attention seeking is due to my having to work all the time for any and everything I’ve wanted. I’ve been placed in Life-Roles when I had no clue, no voice in how things should be, yet I continue to do right by those that are in my life. I know that the way my life is set up I am required to go, do and be. Rarely, am I given the opportunity to focus on myself…to breathe –to understand where I am. At times, restoration is scary, fearful and quite intimidating. I love how my phase is unfolding as I am writing this…. God does exactly what He wants for His love is greater for us than any plans we’ve wished and prayed for. He never stops listening. Cosmically, this is the calmest the Ocean has been since we arrived.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” ~Doe Zantamata

Therapeutic Reflections
#NoObstacles

I encourage you to re-evaluate your actions and analyze your why…soon the reveal or revelation you seek will hit you in the most deserving way possible…your needs not theirs. Keep with what sustains you…even if it seems to have blurred. I am a therapist’s therapist and an awesome mother. I believe the remainder will fall into place; its impossible to thrive in lack.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

©

Graced For More

Committing to writing has always been an adventurous discipline for me. Forgive me for not posting as quickly as my experiences occur. I am ever so grateful for the way Life is treating me and faithfully attuned to how God stands in the gaps of my unknowing.

August, my birthday month has been revolutionary! My 49th year began with decisions, doubts and quiet fear. Those things I kept to myself, internalizing the eternal. My last post I detailed my journey in participating in #31DaysOfPrayer; which generated a great deal of evolving. The Spiritual growth process is unusual and unique, rather intimate. My spiritual life has been enlightening, very different than assumed. We’re all given foundations, taught standards and one or several events will set us on a meta trajectory with our own beliefs changing and/or becoming more.

I gifted myself a spa treatment. I’ve never had one before and expected service like that of a standard massage treatment. My time there was/is unequivocally a required life-essential. The care I received increased my strength in becoming better in my love of self—acknowledging the existence of how I’ve allowed abuse, sadness and humanness cause a permanence of take-aways.

The outside doesn’t appear as much to look at yet the facility is tranquil once you enter. How do you treat yourself? Is the first question prompted within the waiting area. I was greeted with warmth, kindness and served Watermelon Basil Water. #fancy I chose the Summer Scrub Treatment followed by a facial treatment. Yes, I still have acne!! Which blows my mind for I never had acne issues as a teen or during pregnancy.

I’m directed to this beautiful room where water is running slowly in a copper tin tub. The room is soft, full of earthy colors: browns, creamy white and greenery. I’ve yet to relax. There’s a great deal of anxiety even with expecting this type of care.

The process was gentle. The care exceptional. I’ve never been cared for in such a manner. #Sisters, we serve everyone. We are nurturers. It’s what we do, how we are. As I explained to my eldest: “My first 7 years I cannot remember but no one has ever washed me. Ever. I’ve taken care of others, washed and massaged them. No one has ever cared for me in such a way. It solidified that I want to be wealthy with life. I want to be able to do those type things for myself.”

Him: “It must be hard for you. To know that you were never loved in that manner. I mean I can’t remember but I know that I was cared for in that way because you tell me. Grandma told me. I know I was loved, am loved. But to know that you were not. Man, Momma. You should be able to do that at least 2x a year.”


My attendant requested permission to wash my stomach…4 babies, 6 surgeries, numerous stretch marks, c-sect scar, weight gain…I cried, silently. Every negative thing, thought, image was lifted away from me. How shameful I’ve treated myself. It’s all connected—our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Soul-neglecting has to be our greatest betrayal of self. How unknowingly cruel we are, can be.

As I returned back into my work week, I experienced some soreness, tenderness when I moved. Not painful but just enough to remember the experience as it transpired. We’re not here to just touch others’ lives, to serve others. Be mindful of how you’re representing your soul. We’re not created to take in everything and hold on to it. How are you treating yourself?

Don’t confuse self-care with maintenance, those things we do to maintain a “finished” look. I am uncomfortable yet grounded…forging and purged…leveling up. I’m unsettled in settling. That makes my soul smile. {Ecclesiastes 3}

#BeAWholeMovement

“Trust me when I say, You’re capable of anything imaginable.” ~Anonymous

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

#31DaysOfPrayer ♥️

Continue reading “#31DaysOfPrayer ♥️”

siSTARS on Motherhood

A new platform! I am so excited about this collaboration. I wanted my intro to this Trio– I am a part of to be grander and greater. Yet, I cannot think of gifting you our #Us in such a phenomenol way. Take time to watch the video….we are authentic and so raw in our love. Totally unbiased. I think it is a very powerful introduction to my SiStars and a great way to reflect and be encouraged this Mother’s Day weekend. Also follow Doc @kwoted.wordpress.com and Lady G @seekthebestblog.com.

For She Loved Much

This weekend I am off (this is so rare) and I sat on my patio…felt the breeze of the wind on my skin, I did not have to rush anywhere. No counseling, no assignments. The weather was unexpected– cooler than it has been. I noticed the blue of the sky, the green of the leaves on the trees…my recently planted peppers are starting to bloom, my flowers not so much. I breathe. I smile. Daily I commit to reading my Bible, as well as some different devotional books. In reading the excerpt in the Bible of Jesus raising a Dead Girl and healing a Sick Woman, Matthew 9:18-25, a couple of things placed me in a thoughtful mode. Women are powerful and oftentimes how we are is marginalized or interpreted less than positive. During my reading, I tend to analyze and associate my life with the lives of the women in the Bible. Not perfect but faithful. I am far from a Biblical Scholar; however, I am forever a student.

Nowhere in the Bible was a woman isolated –left alone. Even when Hagar ran—ready to give up, desperate to get away, to die even with her child: God sent her back. He promised her better yet He did not explain how it was going to get better.  He was sending her back to what she was running from. She went back; she obeyed…blows my mind each time I read it.

Of my experiences, I know abuse of any kind left unchecked will affect different levels of our lives within different phases. Our childhood despite great parenting may and will dissipate; melt into an intangible, become creased with pain, often sadness will occur, coupled with unworthiness and suspicion. What we learn and what we know due to our experiences will become a part of us –it all keeps us—often we use “it” as a protective barrier.

We, women, we isolate a lot. We pull away. I know I keep the broken pieces hidden well. Through the years and yes it has been years I am learning that transitioning from the emotions of girl-like deadness to continuous healing, to vowing to live and love complete is work. #soulwork I am learning that I have learned to accept rejection –my way, with my own definition. It is difficult to re-frame, remove and grow in your healing. There are different aspects, camouflages we self-incorporate in order to mask what we know, what we will not acknowledge as well as to what we hold on to. #heartwork

“Don’t be so loyal to your suffering that healing doesn’t stand a chance.” ~ginamoffia.com

In the times of our deepest pain, the assurance of God’s presence can provide comfort, a comfort that without our knowing commensurate with current and past pain. He is All-Knowing. The great thing is even in our moments of desperation, we tend to develop a genuine confidence in our Higher Power, certain of His power to heal, to make things better. Within my desperation, my faith is undeniable; faith is my driving force regardless of my circumstances. I was told once that my faith was wonderful…this weekend I am leaning towards believing that.

Back to the strength of women, we are nurtures, we love: the woman with the issue of blood, her condition is desperate both for medical reasons and because of its social consequences; her ostracism would extend even to her private life, she was alone, isolated in her being, within her illness.  Yet, her faith trusted her to not make herself known, not to call for Him but to press forward within a crowd of people to touch,  just touch the hem of His garment. Her faith, her belief in the possible was her healing.

I encourage you to push pass any significant pain that causes insecurity, anything that is less befitting of your future. All may not go as we plan or how we hope—do not allow confusion to outweigh your perhaps. Press forward, hope for greater and above all keep going. Pursue your healing, evolve with His promises…allow healing to persist and remain present. Be better in getting better, for we love much. {Luke 7:47}

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Fractured, yet Healing

Intimately Wrded_picDecember 31…the last date of every year. I believe it to be more. It has become the date in which we tend to count our blessings, regret our mistakes, total up the losses. A date in which we ruminate over in regret…decide to regret or make executed decisions to do better while hoping for a grander life than previous. #2017

What if December 31, symbolizes other than “more”? What if December 31 meant to pause, that we actually live within the momentary time of gratitude. No adjustments, no planning, no goal setting.

My December 31: I am fractured, yet healing. From here, I will continue to grow in my healing. I will continue to let God have His will, His way regardless of how I feel, how dramatic I may get. Regardless of my hurt, my guilt, my disappointments. I will let Him win this for me…this life, these expectations.

What if? I know that God’s love for us is bigger than we realize. What if, I just take this date, this last day of the year to let Him love me with His thoughts, His plans for me…for they are never to harm me.

This thought process has not been easy to achieve. My hurts this year have been gargantuan and not because I am wrong or off path but because He has more in store. Tonight, I will see my life from His perspective—fractured, yet healing. #perfectlyimperfect

Vulnerability is not an easy path. At times, the vulnerability is to get you where He wants you to be…His best work is when we are open, wounded while processing. I have learned that there are connections I cannot be without; spiritual connections do not break. {bfk}

I have learned that God’s opportunities look very different from ours. I am learning that getting closer to God does not necessarily mean that I know Him in the depth and realms He knows me. It will hurt, remaining on your path. Yet, you must remain however fractured your soul is. We are forever healing, forever growing in Life processes.

December 31, you are on the right track. Trust me. #Trust Him Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. May this New Year bring you face to face with God’s purposed plans for your life. I wish you prosperity, grand fortune in love, happiness and peace. #continuedblessings

Intimately wrded,

Michelle