Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Universe Turned My Day Around


(long, and one heck of a read...)

I went to Atlanta this weekend to see my parents, brothers, and grandma. (Atlanta Peeps, I didn't tell anyone I was coming. I will be back during Spring Break with the boys.) I had an awesome time with my family. I didn't get enough sleep, ate too much of my mama's food, played massive rounds of Scrabble, saw the movie Sisters (super raunchy, btw, like the female version of The Hangover), saw my grandmother (extraordinarily difficult) and went trap shooting with my dad.

And then I was stuck in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport from 1:30pm to 10:10pm on Sunday. Was greeted in Baltimore by a car frozen in ice at 12:30am. Made it home safely by a) rolling down the windows to allow twenty degree cold air to hit my face, and b) singing Eagles and Glenn Frey songs at the top of my lungs since every radio station except the R&B and Country ones were memorializing Glenn, who had passed way that morning. Got to bed at 2:15 am and was up at 5:07 am. That should be the end of the story, right?

Oh, no...this is Ms. Mocha Angel so read on for a magical mystery tour....

I flew standby. My mother worked for an airline so I can fly deeply discounted. Cheap? Yes. Is the flip side of cheap possibly not making it onto a flight? Yes.

I was bumped of the following flights:
-the 3:10pm - gate B12
-the 5:55pm - gate B4
-the 7:15pm - gate B19

By 7:15pm I was tired, grumpy, restless, and fairly bitchy. Like, don't nobody talk to me. I just want to get home. The one person I did talk to was Quincy, a brother who works customer service for the airline. When I walked up to him AGAIN around 7:20, he was like, "Really?" "Really..." I said. The last direct flight to Baltimore was 10:10pm. Because of the three hour wait until the next flight, Quincy told me the gate may change. All of the previous flights were on Concourse B. The gate listed for the 10:10 flight was A19. (This is important to the story.) So I dragged my grumpy, tired behind to Concourse A.

I walk to the escalator, step on, and not five seconds later, I look to my left and I see someone I recognize. Under my breath I said in sheer shock, "Mike Dooley?" I said it again, this time to get his attention, "MIKE DOOLEY??!!"


Me and Mike

He looked at me and I almost passed out. This man is on the escalator to my immediate left. Not my diagonal left. Not behind me to the left. My IMMEDIATE LEFT. I said, "Mr. Notes from the Universe is standing right next to me?" Still on the escalator I am having a total groupie moment. Goodness only knows how loud my voice went. I said, "Do you remember me? I met you at Kripalu in August. You signed my books. You looked at my Mocha Angels manuscript and we talked about publishing." He says, "Yes, I remember you. You looked familiar."

By this point, we are off the escalator. The next words out of my mouth were. "Do you know what a shitty day I have had?"

Pause. 

If you don't know why I was having a total "Holy Gratitude, Batman!" moment, allow me to explain. Mike Dooley is the founder of TUT (The Universe Speaks). He is the Beyonce of manifestation. He is the Barack Obama of co-creation. He is the Oprah of inspiration. He is the author of Infinite Possibilities, Manifesting Change, Top 10 Things Dead People Want to Tell You, Leveraging The Universe, and more. He is the guy behind the daily Notes from the Universe. He is the man, who, back in August, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "You are going to publish books. You going to do the exact same thing I do and be super successful at it." Five months later he is standing right next to me at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Do ya'll see why I was having a "standing at the microphone holding an Oscar, deer-in-the-headlights, I have to catch my breath before I speak so I sound fairly intelligent like I got some home training" moment?

Back to the story...

We walked to Concourse A together. I explained my day. He said he was headed home from Texas from a Train the Trainer conference that TUT offers. His flight was at gate A9. Mine was at A19. That picture above was taken at my gate. He was sooooooo nice. He even asked me the status of my manuscript. We talked about other personal stuff that was supremely helpful. I hope that my half of the conversation made sense because the whole thing was surreal. If we hadn't taken a photo, I might not have believed it actually happened. My other hope is that I was as helpful to him, in some way, as he was to me. We talked for about 15-20 minutes.

Once he left, I sat down at my gate in complete disbelief. I looked at the counter and saw that the flight listed is not to Baltimore, but to West Palm Beach at 10:31pm. I walked to the Departures board. My flight was now at gate B18. I nearly passed out again. If the gate for my 10:10pm flight had remained on Concourse B, I never would have ran into Mike Dooley.  I would not have had a reason to leave Concourse B. Remember: Mike's flight was at gate A9. Mine was at A19. Now it had changed. Quincy had told me it was likely my gate location would change. And it did.


I called my mother and my ex-husband to tell them what happened. I ran back to Concourse B, found Quincy, and said, "You are not going to believe what just happened!" I didn't know this brother from Adam, but he was the only person, outside of Mike, I had spoken to in the airport. Turns out Quincy himself had met Dick Gregory that same day. Then he said he was interested in yoga and meditation and is a vegan. I said, "You know I got this blog, right?...." We wind up talking until 8:45pm when he got off from work.

These were my takeaways/reminders from a stunningly remarkable day:
- I was reminded in stunning fashion that I am a Creator. Everything in my life, good, bad, and ugly, led me to that moment.
- Prayers are answered. They don't come in the way we expect. They do come in a way we can understand.
- Love (God) is everywhere. Love is in the worst of situations. There is nowhere Love cannot be because Love is what we are made from and made of.
- Keep your heart open. The older we get, the harder it is to do because of life's disappointments. Believe me, the past six months have been brutal and extremely challenging. I have fought to keep fear at bay and keep my heart chakra open to love, in all of its forms.
- Keeping your heart open allows you to walk in the magic and miracle of life.

The Universe manifested itself into physical form (Mike was wearing an Infinite Possibilities sweatshirt... I mean, come on!), talked to me, hugged me, took three selfies with me, and said, "Your life is going to be AWESOMER, BIGGER and GRANDER than you can imagine!"

The Universe didn't just change my day. It changed my life.

Love,
Althea ◦
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Perspective


As I mentioned before, me and the kids went to my friend Kristine's house for Thanksgiving. Our celebratory holiday was two weeks after the terror attacks in Paris. After dinner, the adults talked as adults do: about world news. The Paris attacks came up, as well as the 24/7 news coverage. Paul, Kristine's husband, who works for a branch of the American military, gave an interesting perspective. He said, "We live in a 24/7 news cycle which makes it seem like the world is on fire. Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. But you are not going to see that on the news. That would be boring."

I liked Paul's thinking.

Then San Bernadino happened.

I did watch the coverage because I wanted to know what was going on. Somewhere in the midst of watching the news, I had a realization. I said to myself, "Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. And I was one of them."

Our planet houses 7,386,188,920 people, and counting, according to the World Population Clock. Perhaps four or five billion people lived in domestic tranquility last night. That would leave two billion people, plus or minus a few hundred million, caught up in war, famine, civil unrest, corrupt governments, shootings, both police and domestic, incarceration, gang/territorial turf wars, domestic/physical/sexual abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, family arguments over insert your disagreements here, flood, fire, foreclosure, natural and environmental disasters, racism, sexism, any-ism that disregards a person's humanity, drug/alcohol addiction, injustice, poverty, homelessness, debt, bankruptcy, accidents, hunger, disability, divorce, and/or grief and anguish over any of these things, including natural causes of death.

We all have personally lived through some of these things, and may live through worse before our lives come to an end. (And the fact that we did survive trauma is a testament to the human spirit.)

A 24/7 news cycle bombards the world with bad news. (Anyone remember when TV used to go OFF?? Ya'll remember the static? Can we return to that?) Folks thinking the world is worse than ever. No, it's not. We are now privy to all that badness, all day and all night.

I say:

-Choose Oneness. The ego enjoys separating us into groups. Everyone is most comfortable around their family and their "tribe:" the people who share your values. I am most comfortable around Black holistic intuitive women. They speak my language. However, I've learned the most from people who look nothing like me.
-Choose Peace. If you want peace, be peaceful. Handle your childhood shit and your grown-up baggage so you can radiate peace. Chaos within radiates fear, creates chaos, and ruins relationships.
And I am all for speaking truth to power (i.e., Black Lives Matter, etc.). Activism works. Societies evolve because of social movements. I am talking about handling your own personal stuff so you stand inside your power with peace and confidence.
-Choose Love. We are made from Love. Love is what we are born into (hopefully), and love is the last thing on our minds when we leave. In San Bernadino, one of the victims who did survive, called her sister to say she loved her, and asked her to tell their family the same. Same thing happened during 9/11. People on the planes, in the Twin Towers, and in the Pentagon called their loved ones to say, "I love you." When time is short, you realize love is what matters. Love yourself, and love others.

So the next time fear permeates the airwaves, turn off the TV. Do not read social media comments that spread fear and hate. Remember: "Three billion people lived in domestic tranquility last nightAnd I was one of them." Then go do something that brings you joy. The world is full of glorious laughter, passion, bliss, creativity, service, and joy.

Love,
Althea


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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Body Ecology Month 2

The boys holding mason jars full of fermented vegetables.

Here is what I know for sure: food combining works. In short, for proper digestion combine:
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with animal protein
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with starchy veggies
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with grain-like seeds (millet, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat)
- ocean veggies and/or non-starchy veggies with protein fat

In other words, steak (animal protein) and potatoes (starchy vegetable) do not mix. Think fish and rice, or a shrimp pasta - bad combination. The original Body Ecology book goes into great depth about this. There is plenty of other books about it too. How do I know this is true? My kids turned back into Gassy Fart Machines when they violated this rule. Raymond had chicken noodle soup when he was briefly sick (I think he and I successfully fought off the flu with energy work, sleep, and essential oils). All he did was fart. He did not with the vegetable soup. 

Thanksgiving was another one. We went to my friend Kristine's house. (I am sorry there are no pictures. I made a chocolate ganache pie and kale salad. I accidentally spilled almond milk on my cell phone, which hurts for more than one reason. It's acting up, as you can imagine. I have to get a new one. Taking photos or anything else is tricky). I let them eat what they wanted. Yikes...Return to Fartland. I have realized this about myself too, so I have been food combining as well. 

I also added homemade fermented vegetables to their program. I use cabbage, carrots, garlic, and ginger along with Body Ecology Culture Starter and Kefir Starter. Raymond actually gave me a compliment when he said, "These fermented vegetables are good. I like them." 

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? A compliment in the midst of  "I hate this diet! It's making me cranky!" I'll take it! I also added beef broth to Raymond's diet. He drinks it without a problem. What's also clear is sugar does not work for them, especially Raymond.


The biggest news I have is that Jona did something so nice for a girl at his school. His class was walking around the track, when a girl named Lindsey fell down. Jona ran up to her to comfort her. He asked her if she was hurt. Then he said, "It's okay. You are going to be fine. We are going to get you some help." Apparently the girl was appreciative. Jona's teacher gave him a sticker. It's the one in the photo above.

EMPATHY!!! Yes! My baby showed empathy for someone outside of his family. On to Month 3 for them.

Their mom has made changes for herself too. If I can photograph my food, that will be next.

Love,
Althea ◦
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

8 year blog-anniversary :-)

Eight years ago today, I wrote my first post. Thank you to the 310 people who subscribe to my blog for your love, patience, kindness, and feedback. And thank you to anyone who has ever loved me.

Last night, I talked on the phone with Steven Barnes, writer and teacher extraordinaire. Mr. Barnes took time out of his schedule to answer a question I had about his Ancient Child meditation, which is the most powerful meditation I've ever done. He was open, kind, patient, funny, and charming. Emphasis on patient. This guy is one of my gurus. And he talked to me like we went way back. I am still processing the conversation, but I realized that I've had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting, in person, on the phone, or emailed/messaged directly, one-on-one, people I admire.

I have met:
Toni Morrison
Tananarive Due
Steve Barnes
Queen Afua
Danny Dreyer (ChiRunning creator)
Victoria Boutenko
Mike Dooley
Mimi Kirk
Matthew Kenney
Sarma Melngailis

For my anniversary, I want to dedicate my blog to the my most influential teachers in the areas of raw food, fiction, fitness, yoga, and metaphysics.

Raw Food Teachers:
Ann Wigmore
The Boutenko Family
Matthew Kenney
Tonya Zavasta

Fiction Teachers:
Langston Hughes
Toni Morrison
Maya Angelou
James Baldwin
Steve Barnes
Tananarive Due
Alice Walker
Every female novelist in the African Diaspora
with a special shoutout to:
Leslie Esdaile Banks
Bebe Moore Campbell
J. California Cooper
Toni Cade Bambara
Brenda Wilkinson
Virginia Hamilton
Mildred D. Taylor
Gloria Naylor
Sheree Thomas

Fitness Teachers:
Jamie Eason
Hollis Leibman

Yoga Teachers:
K. Pattabhi Jois
Betsey Downing
Doug Keller
Shakta Kaur Khalsa
Darshan Kaur Khalsa

Metaphysical Teachers:
Mocha Angels
Queen Afua
Mike Dooley
Louise Hay
Catherine Ponder

Uber shoutout to: Oprah, Angela Davis, Harriet Tubman, Phyllis Wheatley, Diahann Carroll, Rosalind Cash, Elaine Rice-Fells, Janet Sloane Alexander, Amaadi Coleman, Lori Savko Perdue, Monica Utsey and the entire Southern DC Mocha Moms chapter, Cindy Tawiah, Radhia Jaaber, Shanna Bulluck, and my mama, Ardilia Wesley, for being supremely influential and amazingly fabulous beyond words.

Love,
Althea


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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Loving Yourself to Great Health Includes.....

,
me, Thursday, November 12, 2015

....lifting weights!!!

Cutting to the chase, before I started culinary school we were told we could gain weight. Since I was making raw food, I didn't believe it. Gain weight I did. Despite me putting up a picture of myself and, in a few paragraphs, sharing my stats, I am not ready to share how much I weigh. I still can't believe it.

I started eating cleaner because I needed to think more clearly. Food has a huge effect on mood. I let go of processed food and it did benefit me. My summer was pretty shitty. Despite going to Kripalu and blessedly, seeing my family, I had a hard time. And I ate whatever made me feel better. Despite what some people think, my goal is not to make my life or anyone else's life difficult. That has never been my intent. My goal is to learn from my mistakes and make my life and my children's lives the best it can be. I already said before that if chaos is reigning, you need to look deep inside yourself. That is exactly what I have been doing.

Along with changing my food, I decided to start strength training. I know what kind of body I want. And I want to improve my cardiovascular endurance too. Women, you need to lift weights, especially if you are over 40 years old. You are not going to get bulky like a man. You are going to get leaner. The benefits of strength training are here:
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/index.html
http://therootlife.com/benefits-of-strength-training-for-women.html



For some reason, lowering the number on the scale has never motivated me. The reason for exercising has to be deeper than that. I got my reason on August 31. That was the day I was sent to the ER from my now-former full-time job. My blood pressure was 170/100. A month ago (October 12) it was 150/100. Seeing those numbers was enough for me. I got to work.

For the past month, I have done two things: work with my friend Eric who is my personal trainer, and follow fitness model Jamie Eason's LiveFit program on Bodybuilding.com. I have completed Phase 1, which is one month. I have two more months to go.


me and Eric

On October 12, here were my stats:
Weight: aaaaargh
Measurements: 42-40-46
Blood pressure: 150/100
Body Mass Index (BMI): 35%

On November 12, my stats are:
Weight: mmmmmh
Measurements: 41-39-44 1/2
Blood pressure: 134/84
BMI: 33.2%

My blood pressure goal was 130/90. I made it to 134/84 so I felt great about it.

My goal for December 12 is 120/80 (normal), BMI: 30%, measurements: 40-37-43. 

Asking for all of your positive thoughts...
love,
Althea


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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Good News


I am a Life Wellness Coach now. Yea! Some good news!

Love,
Althea

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Body Ecology Weeks 3 and 4

My update on the Body Ecology Diet for my boys, aka The Raymond BitchFest 2015:

Wow, that boy can complain. I didn't have to do this, but I did let him know it was coming. He knew on October 1st that his diet was changing. Last night, he was hot. He let me know in no uncertain terms he hated his new diet, when was it going to end, he was mad about it, he cried, etc, etc. We came to an understanding last night.

-this is my house
-you are my son
-this is my kitchen
-I buy the food with my money
-you do what I say
-this is my decision
-this is the plan
-and we are sticking to it
-do you understand?

He understands. LOL. (Don't you love saying stuff to your kids that your parents said to you?)

Jona, on the other hand, loves writing his grocery list. (Notice I said "his.") Instead of complaining, he writes down what he wants. Today's list is:
-bread
-lemonade
-blueberry bars (NutriGrain bars)
-honeynut cheerios
-goldfish crackers, cheddar or parmesan
-pretzels
-smores

I either say, "Jona, I'm not buying any of that," "You are not getting any of those things," or I ignore the list. He does eat everything I feed him without complaint. I am happy he is open to new foods. He used to be an all-bread kind of kid. He is still a very plain eater. He doesn't like fancy food. No salad dressing, no condiments, no almond milk in his cereal, nothing. I was worried about him more than Raymond. Raymond has been an adventurous eater since he was two-years-old. Now he is the one who is unhappy about the food.

What I have noticed is processed sugar is a HUGE trigger for Raymond. He and Jona had all of ONE piece of candy for Halloween. One. I hid the bags from them. And I'll be taking them to work tomorrow. All things being the same, when I picked him up on Sunday, I saw Raymond's OCD was stronger. So that one piece of candy will stay at one piece.

All in all the kids are the same. The only other change I have noticed is sleep. Raymond is sleeping through the night, but that may be for another reason. I started something else, but I want to give it a month (it's a total of a five month protocol) before I write about it.

Love,
Althea ◦
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