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

Give Me Strength to See

“A mind that is stretched by new experience will never go back to its old dimensions.”–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 

I am aware that my blog life has been a “You betta do it” and “I will” task listed for the last 6 months. The last half of 2018 exploded in gratuitous blessings. My eldest son married in September, I became fully employed as a licensed therapist in September as well. Transitions are phenomenal, overwhelming and hard work.

Acculturation is difficult—in spite of degrees, education, life experiences and anticipation. I want to tell you that it has been without difficulty. I would love to tell that serving each population has its rewards. In addition, I would like to say that therapy and being a #therapist give way to a functionality of balance. I would love to tell you that working within my purpose my calling, my gift is not painful. What I feel that I need to tell you, what I am required to address is that I hurt …am hurting; that oftentimes I lose my way …that most times I am unable to see the good and that at times I am unable to see the good in the fight.

Although, therapy is Life—my heart. There are most times I knowingly need to be pulled away from it. How ever my heart may break especially when “The System” wins and even with the knowledge of how it works, I will allow it all to eat at me. I ask God to give me strength to see, to comprehend, to think differently, and to continue to affect change, to impact to empower all the while healing and progressing in the field of therapy. I am currently watching a marathon of #LivingSingle. The episode filmed in 1996 –when Khadijah’s (Queen Latifah) character starts to feel a great deal of pressure and her mother tells her to seek therapy. Treating Black Women as a Black Therapist is not easy. Honestly, we are the most difficult population to reach, help, teach, and to carry an expectation that I am being a good therapist or merely a buffer —a sounding board for their pain creates an unyielding wound inside me.

I believe teaching people a different way to think, a different way to be that leads them away from toxic beliefs, toxic patterns and toxic behaviors is soul consuming. What I am learning: I still have to prioritize the middle, rationalize the murky parts and learn how to evacuate the Me-isms and keep an open heart. It is all difficult. God give me the strength to see…when its dark and when its uncertain and when its all not within my balance. Our current experiences are not where we finish. Keep the resolve. Keep the love in mind.

Yet the sweet moments come…sweet moments come that are unobtrusive, that are delicate; that coincide with God’s, “This is why.”  When sweet moments come, I advise you to breathe and breathe some more. At times, it is not about continuing the work yet more about “seeing” the work. Do your work.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Being Michelle

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

When it all hurts…

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#SaturdayReveal…yesterday I allowed the whole world to rest in my heart, all of it at once in one frail moment. That’s painful. And it was okay although I felt vulnerable, weak and so disappointed in self. (I was leaving my second job and en route to my intern site.) I am learning that the part of me that I keep hidden from the world is what this world needs the most. It’s also the part of me I neglect the most.

Everyone is seeking approval in different forms, in ways from you that you are not aware of. At times what they seek from you is their hope of the love you will have for them. They want you to okay them in their stuff…I’ve never been able to do that. I can’t right your wrong. I can’t make you feel good about what will eventually break you. People chip at your greatest gift in an attempt to make it theirs. As I am blubbering to my friend and apologizing for taking up his time (there is no way I am coherent) he reminds me of my Selfcare, he reminds me of my good and he reminds me that I have been pushing so hard for the last 10 years and all of it alone. One thing he didn’t say was to quit. I encourage you to keep going. I remind you that your Selfcare is paramount. I tell you that I know God is in control and that none of this stuff goes unnoticed. {Greater is He that is in me.} I also know that there are more of the good people in your corner than you have the audacity to believe. The Ones who believe in you…you keep going for them. Continue to do your best work while carrying out your Selfcare. At times your Selfcare has to adjust with your growth and your purpose.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-10: “7 Our bodies are made of clay, yet we have the treasure of the Good News in them. This shows that the superior power of this treasure belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up. We’re persecuted, but we’re not abandoned. We’re captured, but we’re not killed. 10 We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus is also shown in our bodies.” and  2 Corinthians 4: 16-18: 16 That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day. 17 Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. 18 We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.”

I’m not quite sure if I am  thriving in this new environment. What I am realizing is that vulnerability is one of the greatest stretches of trust one has to survive in.

Intimately Wrded,

Michelle

Promises, Hope and my Heart

Counselors picI accepted a job offer last week! I have yet to share it with the world. I have been trying for consistent employment in counseling for the last two years. I am excited and I feel extremely blessed. This morning as I was looking at the beautiful autumn leaves I realized that I am manifesting, yet afraid of His promises of hope.

The dream opportunity to work as counselor—to be in this role before graduation, waiting on licensure scores—terrifies me. Manifestation: an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea. I am walking in what God has placed in my heart, a work that He knew of before my acceptance, a purpose He gifted me without giving details of how to achieve.

I tell you, do not push away from the painful things, the disappointments. Remember, that God is within those things, those interruptions as well, right there with you. This Counselor’s path has been not easy —very difficult. Becoming a counselor is not a stagnant career choice. You will grow whether you want to or not. Your heart will change, stop, beat, ache, break, melt, heal and then do it all over again. Your friendships, the ones you cherish will hurt. Oftentimes your alone time will be your healing time. This is an unquit for me.

This is my unequivocal purpose that is coming true! Although the promises of Hope move me in unfamiliar territory, I am in a territory of harvesting—working within my spiritual divine role. The moments that do not hurt: receiving authentic affirmations from a 15 year old recovering within her eating disorder: “I am beautiful. I am so beautiful! I am disappointed that I treated myself this mean.”

I received a beautiful hand-created scarf (pictured above) —this client did not use a knitting nor crochet needle. She used her fingers! She saw my joy and I put it on immediately, and said, “I will rock this!” She responds so unsure: “Ms. Michelle I can make you another, a better one.”  Me: “I don’t want you to. This is perfect!”

I have learned to love the unexpected hugs! (In the beginning, this was a problem for me.)  They are the greatest especially when I know my clients battle with touch, intimacy and trust. With all that comes with gaining a trauma victim’s trust it has been my intimacy with God that carries me through each session. At times, the science and the spiritual do not mesh and then there are times you cannot have one without the other. There are different paths that lead to healing. I marvel at these concepts and therapeutic techniques. I love Counseling! I do.

My life has by far been a complete God-experience; He has kept me when I did not recognize how He keeps. I could not have identified my professional identity without my spiritual journey. My first day begins after Thanksgiving.

Remain grateful, hopeful and I beg you to, choose the larger life.

“The beginning is most important part of the work.” –Plato

Intimately worded,

Michelle

{Song of Solomon 8:5}

Seeking Intimacy, Living Intimately

Sunset 2As I watch the sunset and see the different colors of the upcoming dusk of the evening I pause…God is everlasting. With all we go through, Life has this way of negotiating our emotions with perseverance, new rules, implementing boundaries, regulations, uncertainties, skeptical faith, insecurities, dismal hope in our beliefs and mind-boggling blows. Our spiritual can become weaken, reaching the bar seem inevitable, defeating almost.

Intimacy… knowing whom you are, learning who you are, as well as being able to live within those learning moments are rare. Yet, somehow, it all comes together. God’s wisdom.

We have the greatest benefits to this life when we believe in the grander and recognizing the opportunities of living life wide open. Counting the different colors of the sky, vivid colors unlike those of crayons…why is it that we can see God’s work in the sky, with the stars and feel Him in the breeze of the wind yet we blindly believe He is unable to complete the same work in our lives. Take a moment to think about how we tend to resolve things in disappointment, how we pause in believing in the possible and turn them into impossible. Our way.

We do not know the future, we never will. I believe we should hold onto the hope that the allowance of intimacy leads us to. The intimacy that friendship, respect and communication incorporates into bonding, and often times in letting go. Allowing another into your thoughts, your actions and your past gives them an initiative to enter and remain in your life. Do not withdraw from where you are…you have grown, you are growing, remain focused on living life to the best of your abilities. You are worth it. Remember in all you do in letting go that you give yourself permission to heal; it is a required gain into loving, living deeper than you imagined. {Ephesians 3:20}

I hope you live your life in peace…spending time and with great efforts to seek your peace. Take ownership in living your best life, with intimate hope. Stop shortchanging your life by giving so much and expecting so little in return. You deserve the best, believe in You. #Hiswork

Intimately worded,

Michelle