Welcome back to Whew Chile, it’s a Journey. This week we are tackling 7. of our self-care series 10 Ways to Self-Care with K. Cole.
When I first attempted to write this blog, it looked like a How to Meditate, in my head. After playing around with ideas in my head for awhile, I quickly ditched that idea. I chose not to write the blog in that format because I wanted to connect with y'all a little more. After all, I started this blog to be transparent and to share my life experiences. So here's a dive into some soul searching, mental clarity and self-acceptance.
Meditation and journaling are something that I took to a few years ago. I was going through a transition in life, and strongly desired a sense of balance. So just like anything else that I take an interest in, I turned to the internet to educate myself. During my research the first thing that I came across was Chakras and chakra healing. To learn more about chakra healing I purchased this book, Chakra Healing: A beginners guide to self-healing techniques that balance the chakras. Reading this book, I learned about the body’s energy and that when all chakras are in balance, one’s life can be at peace. I also learned about yoga, crystals, essential oils, behavioral changes, healing remedies, and a ton of other stuff.
I chose to start with self-reflection to implement these practices into my life. I purchased a journal and wrote a list of things that I like about myself; good qualities. On a separate sheet of paper, I wrote a list of areas that needed improvement; bad qualities, trauma and repressed anger. Child, that list of improvements was long lol. But there was a consistent issue that showed up in multiple forms. This issue belonged only on one line instead of 7. So, I took another sheet of paper and made a new list of improvements, this time I condensed those 7 lines into one and came out with a much shorter list. Honestly, the second list of improvements made me feel better about myself and also relieved to let all that bullshit out. I soon felt that it was not enough to say those things on paper. I felt like everything on that paper was sitting on my chest as an attempt to suffocate me. This release that I had just put on paper needed a sound, it needed a voice. So, I cried. I cried my fuckin’ heart out. I cried like I had never cried before. I filled the room with my voice, a big voice that I did not know that I had. After that I wrote another thing on the list of improvements, this one I’ll share. The new line said, “You’re just like dad and grandma”. I wrote this line because these two people inadvertently taught me to be emotionless. Neither of them showed emotions unless it was happiness or anger. Sadness is not an emotion that I ever saw or heard them experience. I had never seen them cry out of pain or sadness. And previously, I had only cried out of anger and rage for as far back as I could remember. I do have childhood memories of crying because my feelings were hurt, but it was the experience of being hurt and things that I heard my dad say to others about them crying that built this wall within me. This wall was tough and didn’t take anyone’s shit.
After my outpour, I proceeded to do my work; as Iyanla would say. I contacted my Employment Assistance Program (EAP) through my employer to see about my options for therapy. I found that I could get 5 therapy sessions covered under this insurance. I sought out therapy because, after writing those lists, I inadvertently brought a lot of repressed feelings, emotions and anger to the surface.
So next, I went to therapy.
I went to therapy and talked about everything on my 3 sheets of paper. Each week layer by layer, I felt each of my issues climb off of my chest. And with this, each week I was able to breathe a little more. During this time, I looked to meditation and journaling to clear my mind and also develop a sense of emotional intelligence within myself. Initially, I found it very hard to focus my mind and to concentrate. After a little reflection I realized that I did not know what the hell I was doing lol. Being black, and yes, I am going to blame my culture. I didn’t know what any of this stuff really looked like and I had actually never known a person of color to do any of this; or so I thought.
I had really categorized it as “white people shit” in my head.
To introduce myself to meditation, outside of just reading the chakra book, I looked to YouTube for visuals. Being a Visual Learner, I wanted to see physical examples of meditation as well as the space that people practice their meditation in. All of the stars must have been aligning that day because my search brought me to the YouTube channel of Shelah Marie. At first glance, I felt that she looked like me. A beautiful black woman in her twenties, with thick wild hair, milk chocolate skin and curves. These physical aspects of her jogged my memory and I felt that I had seen her before. So of course, I hopped on Instagram to find her. Once I located her IG, I found that she was in a relationship with a rapper that had posted her dancing to a song that he remade. And at that moment it all clicked, I remembered where I had seen her before.
I chose to watch her YouTube videos, because of the way she looked (like me) and that she is a representation of the culture. Basically, I found a black woman doing the “white people shit” that I was trying to do lol. I started watching her channel and using her tips on self-care, self-love and self-healing to help myself. Through following her on Instagram, I saw that she had a Meditation Mixtape. Now, I did not know what a meditation mixtape was initially, but after further reading of her post I found that it was a Mixtape of guided meditations. So, I downloaded the mixtape and used it almost daily, especially after my therapy sessions. I started out slow. I would go to therapy once a week and after therapy I would use the mixtape to guide me through my mediation. After meditating, I would journal about my sessions and use that moment for clarity.
During this time, the track titled Acceptance helped me the most. It helped me to get past what I told myself should be or could have been and to live in what is. It also helped me to understand how to change things.
“You cannot change something that you don’t accept.”
– Shelah Marie
So, I did the work. I accepted the past and what was. I accepted everything that I had written down on those papers. As time went on, I found it easier to breathe. The rise and fall of my chest again felt like a gift instead of a burden. And goddamn-it, I felt free. I felt PEACE!!! Once that peace was obtained, I found it easier to journal. I would journal about my day, my frustrations with people, and how I handled situations. I used it all as daily reflections. As time went on, I began to see growth in myself. I was a much nicer person. I also found that, being kind to others made me feel good about myself. It made me like the person that I presented to the world and made me feel complete. I think that I was able to feel complete because I was honestly being my Authentic Self with little influence from the outside world.
I am forever grateful for this experience because with this experience I gained MYSELF.
The book provided me with knowledge, understanding, techniques, and practices to use towards my healing. The therapy provided a release for the anger and an answer as to why. The mixtape provided a balance between both as a way to tie it all together and allow me to accept the past and welcome the future.
Now, I am able to speak freely to my loved ones about the way that negative energy clouds my spirit, about how the things that they do hurt me, and how I would like them to interact with me different moving forward. Just because a person is a certain way, does not mean that you have to allow them to treat you that way.
I am also able to acknowledge that I am hurt and to deal with those emotions right away instead of repressing them until they turn into rage. Being able to acknowledge my own hurt is the biggest lesson that I have learned in life to date. The heart cannot heal if it does not acknowledge the hurt that has been done to it. And, you cannot breathe with all of that shit just sitting on your chest. There has to be a HEALTHY form of release.
I encourage everyone to cry, scream, hell you can even say to someone “that shit hurt my feelings.” But whatever you do ACKNOWLEGE, RELEASE, REFLECT, ACCEPT AND MOVE ON. Do not hold onto your pain because it can and will eat your soul alive. It will eat away until there is nothing left for you to feel and you are numb. With numbness, comes anger and an “I don’t care” attitude. I think, I thought, that if I did not care about something then it could not affect me. WRONG!!!
I hope that this blog can encourage other black women to tap into your inner self and to find a release. On this journey of finding balance, I found the true meaning PEACE and SELF-LOVE.
It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to have feelings, it’s ok to change things that you do not like about yourself AND it’s ok to go to therapy to sort all of that shit out.
it’s ok to meditate, accept and become at peace with those feelings AND release them from your soul.
Lastly, it’s ok to do “white people shit”. Culturally, most of us are broken before we even reach the world due to unresolved generational trauma. Think to yourself how crazy does it sound to allow someone, that maybe broken themselves to tell you, that you should not do a form of self-care because it is not for your race. Sounds crazy right, and a huge contradiction to everything that we have fought for since coming to this country.
We want equality, right? Start within. Heal yourself, then you can heal others and maybe even the world.
If this blog moves you to start a self-healing journey, please keep in mind that this is only a summary of my journey. A very short summary. Not everything that I experienced happened in this exact order, and I often read pieces of the book, practiced, then continued to read. Additionally, I have read some parts of this book multiple times on different occasions.
I wrote my list at the end of 2016. It was not until the 3rd quarter of 2017 that I started going to therapy and meditating regularly. And, I did not feel complete until the first quarter of 2018. It's a real Journey. Below is a picture that I took in 2017 after I started meditating daily.
I am still a work in progress and I sometimes get distracted from that work. Just like it took me years to build the wall, it will take me years to tear it down completely. But I now know HOW. Knowing HOW is the first step for actually DOING.
Thanks for reading.
Now you know I'm not going to let you leave, without giving you the tools mentioned. See below for a local Black Female Owned Business that has some of the meditation tools that I use.
If you are in need of a how to guide, I recommend buying the book.
What works for me, may not work for you so, read the book to be properly informed and to develop your own healing journey.
Self Luv- Owned by Colleen Hill
Self Luv is a Health and Wellness website centered around self-love and self-healing. They provide self care tools such as Sage, Palo Santo, Shampoo Bars and waistbands. I recently purchased some Sage + Eucalyptus, Palo Santo, and an Abalone Shell. I use these items to help me with each meditation as I use them to Smudge/Cleanse Energy of the space that I am doing my meditation in.
(Self Luv will have to forgive the fact that I have the bag backwards, so sorry. But here is the logo from the front of the bag.)
Here is a photo of what I usually have sitting in front of me when I Meditate. I have been telling myself that I am going to create a proper Alter for myself one day for awhile now. During the making of this blog, I realized that I have now reached the 4 year mark of my self healing journey. So as a gift to myself for all that I have accomplished with myself, I am going to make good on that promise. In a later blog, I will share a picture of my new alter, once I actually buy it, of course lol.
All of my crystals were purchased from Soulful Vibes Co. (which I started following on instagram, after following Shelah Marie) and locally at Eye of Horus. Please be careful in Eye of Horus and only enter this location with the best intentions. Theres a lot of other spiritual things happening in this space.
Shelah Marie: I don't know her personally but, homegirl is so dope to me. Look at her IG, her movement, her YouTube, and just take it all in. You'll find that there are spaces made just for black women to practice.
Instagram: @theshelahmarie & @curvycurlyconscious
Meditation Mixtape available on Apple Music
I hope you all find the proper space for you and enjoy it.
Do you meditate? What brought you to meditation?
Answer in the comments. Thank you
Have Recommendations for companies that I should add to this series?
Comment below places and things that I should try, that will pair well with the Self Care list. Click here to see the self care list: 10 Ways to Self Care with K. Cole
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Disclaimer: While this is what works for me, I cannot guarantee that any of this will work personally for any individual. Please use caution when trying any new recommendations. K. Cole Xtensions, K. Cole Swimwear and Jamecia Smith have NO affiliation with any of the companies or individuals mentioned in this blog. This blog is not in collaboration with any of the mentioned businesses, but a review of PAID services rendered.