This Peace That I Have

shallow focus photography of gray asphalt floor

Well, hey! How are ya! I know, I know… I’ve been on quite the hiatus pursuing peace in my personal life. It got pretty rough here for a bit, but thankfully, my circle of sister-friends, husband, and prayer partners helped filter out the garbage I allowed myself to accumulate. That was the hard part.

Have you ever noticed when you plan to organize and categorize the clutter that you pick up from engaging in other people’s stuff, you find yourself anxious? Almost like their issues are now your issues, too?

Yeah, I was there. I sat amongst a group of educated women of color and was wholly engaged in their mess. It was horrible, and to make matters worse, I allowed them to cross boundaries that I cherished and designed to maintain my own peace. Imagine that. I took my own advice and removed myself from the mess but not nearly as soon as I should have.

The fallout from removing myself has resulted in more time for self-reflection, more family time, more time to do the things that I absolutely love, more time to grieve the people I lost, and more time to celebrate the people I love. How about that for gains! We’ve learned to live in this new normal for the past few years. We have all been impacted by the coronavirus COVID19 in some way. Whether we’re better for it or not is still being determined. Through the mess of my acquaintances and the mess of the pandemic, I’ve learned that maintaining peace is difficult. Being peaceful is sometimes tricky.

And you know what, that is okay!

We will have heavy days! We will have great days and some that are just meh! This is important to remember in your quest for inner peace. It is also possible to have absolute chaos around you while maintaining your inner peace. Here’s the thing, your peace is yours and yours alone! If you have it, keep it. If you’ve lost it, find it.

If you need help finding it, start with a list. First, list all the things you love… and do more of that! Second, release anything that prevents you from doing the things you love.

This peace that I have, it’s mine! I’m choosing to keep it.

Now, Go get you some peace!!

More later!

Peaceful Disconnections

I’ve been struggling with some emotional stuff for several months so forgive me because it’s been a while since my last post. Apart from an ongoing pandemic, adjusting and readjusting to the ever-changing new normal, community, and social engagement, I’ve had to make some necessary evaluations to maintain my peace. Candidly, I’ve been in a funk. The heaviness of the racially intense political environment impacts me in ways that I’ve never experienced. Consequently, I wasn’t sleeping. I was eating emotionally and then getting upset about my weight gain. I was more snappy than usual towards my husband and our children. Moreover, I was highly irritated by every thing and every one. With all that was going on in my personal life coupled with the daily load of my professional life, I felt whooped. I wanted to separate myself from faux smiles and small talk, neither of which I do well, while grieving and mourning. I had to disconnect to find a small glimmer of peace.

Now, before you unplug your computer and power down your cell phone, let me explain what I mean when I say disconnect. (Obviously, I could not do either of the things I’ve mentioned because I still work a day job.)

By disconnect, I mean I had to remove myself from the noise of others (similar to being in a crowded room and zoning out). I felt like I couldn’t hear myself anymore. Everything I thought or felt was explicitly related to something I saw on the news or read on the internet and had not fully processed the information to determine what emotion to assign to what I was hearing. The numbers of death increasing, or the infection rates increasing, or the uncertainty of consumer confidence, or the debate of science versus conspiracy theory, was just too much for my peaceful soul to absorb. Contrary to what you may think, it wasn’t as easy as just turning off the television or not answering the phone. It was an exercise of mental agility and intentional, perpetual self-reflection.

It is not always easy, when wearing multiple hats, to go to a quiet space. I’m sure all parents would agree. Disconnecting allowed me to be in a room full of other people’s energy {and noise} and deflect it. I do this with my children but had never thought to do it for anything else. (I call it mom magic.) It’s the ability to be in a room full of people and quiet their voices so that you can focus. I know teachers have this ability as well. It takes a lot of practice but even practicing is calming. It requires you to find a seat and a focal point. Measure your breathing (example: inhale 1, 2, 3 – exhale 1, 2, 3) and give your entire focus to the selected focal point. Continue to breathe until you hear the voice in your head clearly and only a murmur of everything else. Be sure when you start practicing that you tell yourself something calming to hear and only things that will uplift you. And, don’t be bothered that you needed to take some time because it’s yours to take.

I encourage you to disconnect as often as you need! I’ve found it to be most helpful. Let me know if this works for you.

Now, get you some peace!

More later.

What Brings Me Peace

By Ellyn McNamara Owner of Mama’s Kitchen Body Care

I have been thinking on this subject for a while since I was first approached about writing on the subject. Today during the start of my meditation it came to me. There are three basic things that bring me peace and they are; Meditation, Service to others, and praying deeply for others.

I started practicing meditation as a teenager. I have had fits and starts of periods where I wasn’t as consistent at my practice, but this practice has been a part of my life for 25 years now. As a person who has also suffered from depression for more than 25 years, this practice is invaluable in my efforts to keep depression in check. There are many different types of meditation. I practice a system of Kriya Yoga meditation which has been my sole type of meditation for 19 years. It is my daily practice. At times when anxiety is too intense and I am not able to practice meditation, I practice affirmations and devotion, or repetition of the names of God. Which name, does not matter so much as my own personal connection to the name and practice. I highly recommend finding a system of meditation that works for you and practice it. Don’t mix it with multiple practices, that’s like going to five doctors to get five medicines to cure one ailment. Work with one for a good amount of time to give it a chance to be effective. As you can see I have been practicing the same one for 19 years so my seeking of something that gave me peace beyond anything I’d experienced before ceased when I found Kriya Yoga.

The second thing that gives me peace is service to others. That can take many forms. For me it is as simple as doing things for others in a silent way without fanfare. Since I’m sure they won’t be reading this I will share something that I do for my mom and sister. I’ve borrowed or ridden in my little sister’s truck from time to time and I notice that her tire pressure is almost always uneven. Years ago our father taught me that this will affect the gas mileage and front end alignment so always keep the pressure balanced. Consequently, if I borrow her car I put air in her tires so that they are properly balanced. I don’t mention it, I just do it. For my mom I clean her stove. From time to time we cook together and I spend a night or weekend at her house. When I notice that the stove has splashes of oil or little bits of beans or greens left around it I wait until she’s gone for a time or asleep at night and I clean the stove. Again, I don’t mention it. I don’t even know if she notices it. I have done this for years. It doesn’t matter if she knows or not. I just do a little something to help. One other way to be of service to others is that I keep cash on me whenever I get paid, when there is a person in need of money at a store, gas station or whereever I give the person money no questions asked. Usually $10 or $20 each depending on what comes out of the ATM.

The final thing that gives me peace is praying deeply for others. Prayer is a way of focusing the attention to demand the highest good for others, for their healing, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even financially or to send good will to their spirit after they have left this earth. Prayer is a way of remembering others in their time of need. I sometimes post on social media asking if anyone needs prayers. If so, I add them or their loved ones to my prayer book and at the end of my meditations I pray for them.

I hope that this gives you some ideas on how you can bring more peace into your own life and the lives of others.

Peace and Blessings

I don’t know about you, but I am getting excited about what 2021 has to offer. As I navigate through any difficult season, I take time to reflect on lessons learned. Here are a few of my learning highlights:

Self-care is essential – COVID19 took the world by storm, to say the least. We’ve all had to make some adjustments. PreCovid19, my self-care regimen consisted of a few hours a month at the nail salon or getting a massage. Now, self-care has a more holistic approach. I’ve learned to sit with myself and sort my feelings. I’ve learned to really process how I feel and own it. I’ve even learned how to be more expressive with my feelings to others, as well.

Mental health matters – The stigma around mental health has been discussed more frequently in recent months. I’ve heard mental health professional reference COVID19 anxiety or Coronavirus Fatigue. There is something about people being isolated for extended periods of time that makes us crazy. People need people. I’ve learned that even something as simple as a walk in the park as people pass by or a phone call to an old friend can remedy some of that isolation.

Honor your boundaries – This one is a big deal. Honoring your boundaries allows you to stay in your happy place. Know when to say no and when to walk away. People who love you will still love you and respect your decisions.

Be patient with yourself – Nothing magnificent was built in a day. Allow yourself the same patience you give to others. You are designing this life. Edit it. Change it. Reevaluate it as often as is necessary for the outcome you want.

Let that thing go – Letting go of people, places, and things that add to your proverbial baggage is the new sexy. Let’s normalize forgiveness. It will certainly improve your outlook on life. You don’t need to make any public declarations. It’s not for public consumption. You can’t open new doors with 2 hand fulls of heavy old baggage.

Life is beautiful, but living is far better. Live your life with intentionality and in the place of peace that you deserve. There are only blessings in that place.

Now, get you some peace!

More Later!

Six Peaceful Feelings

Holiday Season is over, and although at the moment, I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it is, my heart is full of joy. I thought that this day would make me sad, remembering all the people in my life that are no longer here to celebrate with me. Instead, as I catalog my thoughts, I’ve redefined peace once again and wanted to share. I hope that by doing so, you, too. Reflect on what peace feels like to you.

At this moment, peace feels like children laughing. My sons are out of school, and normally that would be enough to drive me bananas, but not today. They have done a tremendous job staying in their respective spaces since my eldest son was confirmed positive for Covid19. (Thankfully, he’s asymptomatic.) They’ve been chatting it up about silly big brother/little brother things, one from upstairs and the other downstairs. To hear them sharing laughter is indeed a gift.

Peace feels like the quietness of breathing. The evening was full of bangs and booms as my neighbors included fireworks in their celebration. And while my fur-baby, Shadow, could not appreciate the noise, I am positive that the extra treats and attention didn’t bother her one bit. Now, as the boys and my husband are asleep, to hear them inhale and exhale without issue sounds amazing.

Peace also feels like the briskness of fresh air in the fall. We have spent the majority of this year in our home. And because we were uncertain of the virus being airborne, we never considered opening the window. In part because of the gulf’s humidity and partly because the boys are allergic to grass and trees. However, the temperature dropped below 50, and the cool, dry air is exactly what we needed.

Peace feels like hot lemon ginger tea with honey. You know that feeling you get when you first savor the warmth of the aroma teasing your taste buds? It causes you to slow down and anticipate that first sip. You taste each flavor and appreciate the collective and the individual contributions of the ingredients. You notice the warmth of the tea as it passes down your throat and into your belly!

Peace feels like fuzzy socks’ softness after a salt scrubbed pedicure with an extended hot stone massage. It’s such a pleasure to wiggle your pampered toes in those socks that are protecting your feet from losing the moisture infusion from the water, body butter, and oil.

Finally, peace feels like the coolness of your favorite pillow. It allows you to rest comfortably through the night. It provides the support you need to complete a joyful mission in your dreams and causes you to wake refreshed and ready to face the day!

On this night, I wish you peace that surpasses all understanding in all of your endeavors and continued goodwill. I wish for you all of these peaceful feelings.

Now, get you some peace!

More later.

Supporting Others to Find Peace

It’s December 1, 2020. We’re nearing the end of a contested presidential election. Millions of people are under-employed or unemployed. Thousands have died due to the mishandling of the coronavirus. Wearing a mask to protect one’s self and or others have become a constitutional debate. The political atmosphere has heightened our attention to both social and racial injustices. Militia groups are spreading threatening messages of civil unrest if the election outcome isn’t for their selected candidate. Several men have even been arrested for a plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

The confirmation hearing for the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement happened, although we were literally in the middle of an election. Some children are still not able to return to school. The second and third waves of the uptick in coronavirus cases is upon us. The stock market is struggling to rebound. Businesses are closing permanently. Climate change is happening right before our eyes. We’ve had an aggressive Hurricane season, and there are still areas that are battling wildfires. What a year! Right???

With all that is going on, it’s hard to find peace, even for those of us who are intentional in our pursuit. I understand now that we have to reinvent what peace means daily. My husband and I have been blessed to be able to keep our primary income. Our children can eat. They are back to in-person instruction for school. Our home and our health are intact despite a rough patch earlier in the year. Of course, we are taking the necessary precautions as provided by the CDC and will continue to do so. I recognize how very fortunate we are and have been doing what I can to support those who are not as fortunate as we’ve been.

It’s hard to find peace when you’re worried about feeding your children or having enough money to pay bills. And even harder when your loved ones are suffering. It’s most difficult to have peace when you don’t have the support you need in many areas of your life. I am learning how to navigate life in a new way, be more appreciative of what I have, and share what I have with those in need. I’ve come to realize that as much as I want to stay in the comfort of my own home and avoid people outside of my immediate circle, we must be present for others. We must give energy, time, and effort to ensuring that others are okay. So today, what gives me peace is supporting others who are in need.

I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to help someone when you – yourself need something. But please trust me on this, and do it.

Until next time, do all you can to keep your peace.

Now get you some peace!

More later!

GPS Method for Peace

My children returned to in-person instruction yesterday, and since I have a few minutes, I wanted to update you all on some things that I’ve been doing to manage this montage of stress that has been accruing since mid-March!

Since that time, I’ve been mom, wife, teacher, CEO, CIO, the maid, project manager, sourcing professional, secretary, parliamentarian, Zoom SME, nurse, back-office support, consulting, student… You know, being every woman. Initially, it seemed a bit hectic, but I’ve been using some strategies that have helped me out immensely. This is my GPS method.

Gratitude, Patience, Support

The first being, practicing gratitude. Practicing gratitude might seem like a kind of small thing until you understand that it’s bigger than an instinctive thank you! The instinctive thank you is what we learned as children to do when someone gives you something or performs an act of service, either paid or unpaid. But practicing gratitude is being intentional and vulnerable for the energy, effort, and thoughtfulness behind the gift or services provided. It is receiving the blessing and the intent behind the gift.

The second and probably the most difficult is being patient with yourself. Let’s be real, both men and women are very hard themselves. We are our own best critic. And who better than you to tell you about you? Right? We need to give ourselves the level of patience that we provide our customers, our children, our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our close circle of friends, and our employers…times ten! Allowing yourself patience means that you don’t rush your process, your growth, or your healing, but instead, you give yourself the kind of latitude that you would for someone you care for deeply.

The last and most important thing that I offer is that you design rock-solid support systems. You are not an island, and despite your superhero status, you are still human! You need a circle of friends with whom you can discuss everyday stressors. Sometimes life is weighty, and no one should have to carry their load alone. I am fortunate enough to have a rock-solid sister circle. We laugh together. We cry together. We hold each other accountable.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t have peace in a stressful environment. What I can do is be grateful for the little things, the people in my life, the space that I call home, family, and friends. If you find yourself in a stressful environment, try using the GPS method to get you en route to peace! I will meet you there.

Now get you some peace!

More Later…

Peace for Times of Panic

My goodness, this pandemic is still on-going, and we are all adjusting and adapting to our new normal. We are now 90+ days away from the next general election. The protests for equality and justice are still making headlines. The second economic relief stimulus is currently actively being negotiated and atop all of that Texas had it’s first active hurricane. The most recent debate is whether it is safe for our children to return to school. Agreeing to return our children to school while the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases is a looming decision, and each family should do what is best for their household.  I received a notice from my children’s school saying that they would be returning in August. My husband and I are quite apprehensive about sending our children back because they are both asthmatic. My youngest son has expressed some concerns about returning to school. This past month Harris County moved to the highest threat level due to hospitals nearing capacity for ER beds, my husband was sent to the ER from the urgent care clinic, and I had a full-on panic attack.

There are no shortages in things going on, and with added stressors, things can become overwhelming quickly. I consider myself to be of a healthy mind, most of the time. Having a panic attack this weekend was my queue that I had been dealing with a great deal and that I needed to offload things that were not serving me.

(I would like to add this disclaimer; I am not a medical professional. This information is not being shared as medical guidance and should not be deemed as such. Please seek medical attention should you find yourself experiencing symptoms of a panic attack.)

I was a little anxious after learning that I would have to attend an in-person workshop but felt better knowing that the safety guidelines would be enforced. I arrived at my meeting, the organizer took my temperature, and I sat at the back of the room nearest the exit door. I was fine until the others attending the conference started moving around the room. But when they began removing their masks to speak, I became utterly distracted. I stepped into the hallway to calm my nerves but was concerned that I’d miss the information that I needed for testing, so I returned to the room quickly. Upon returning, I noticed that there was still too much movement in the room for my comfort. I stepped out again. For the life of me, I could not remember my strategies. I decided that I should probably sit in my car to be away from people. That’s when I remembered what I needed to do.

1.  Run for cover! I did not expect the other people in attendance to understand what I was experiencing. How could they? I had never shared my concerns with them.  Moving to a space that felt safe to me was the only way to calm my anxiety immediately.

2. Get my bearings! Whenever I find myself in situations like this, I don’t recognize any of my surroundings. It was almost like I didn’t drive myself to the event. To get my bearings, I rely on all my other senses because my eyes deceive me. I start by closing my eyes and counting to 10. I ask myself the following:

a. What can you smell?

b. What can you hear?

c. What can you feel?

These questions help me gather focus for the next step.

3. Affirm the moment! The German philosopher, Frederich Nietzsche, wrote:

“ If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all exisitence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event- and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified and affirmed.”  

I interpreted the quote to mean to be present in your current state of mind and is the best step. Unlike a positive affirmation, which I also use frequently, affirming the moment is when one acknowledges that everything we can see and feel can be used to assist you in finding your way back to peace.  

Think about that! 

Now, get you some peace.

More Later!

Disturbing The Peace

It is a political season, and the gloves are off for banter, slander, and posturing. I’ve seen and heard advertisements of people speaking to the values and moral aptitude of voters. I am equally amused and drained. What this season of political awareness has caused me to do is pay more attention to my circle. Not, my immediate circle but rather the circle of associates that may sometimes influence my decisions. It’s caused me to pause, assess, and redirect.

The Pause

I had to pause because sometimes I become so engaged in what is being said and by whom that I don’t hear the message or its intended purpose. I also had to pause to watch how the actions of others impacted what I thought about myself.

Very recently, someone in my circle of associates said to me that my tone was sharp in an email. She’d eluded to this in times the previous discussion, but I gave it no attention because it was an opinion and her right to have that opinion. This time, when she said it, I thought about it. I re-read the email I sent. I sent it to others to get feedback. Then finally, I sent her a message asking her to show me where in my written text that my tone was too sharp. Instead of providing the solicited feedback, she gave me the excuse that she was otherwise occupied. What perplexed me about the situation was that she’d taken time to note my tone and offer criticism, but she did not have any proposals for corrections.

The Assessment

I had to assess my relationship and interactions with my associate. But more significant than that, I had to deep dive into her statement and her inability to provide more insight to help me grow.

  • Was the statement harmful or helpful?
  • How could this statement be beneficial to my professional or personal life?
  • Did I value this person’s opinion enough to engage any further?

After I carefully analyzed these questions, answering each of them with specific details, I determined that if her message were intended to be helpful, it would have come with something that I could have used to change. Instead, it seemed that it was purposed to disturb my peace.

The Redirect

After reviewing all my correspondences to and from my associate, I decided that I would do my best to keep things very formal with her. Being formal with her, in my opinion, would limit her desire to share her personal views with me. Sometimes we have to redirect people who might be on the verge of becoming apart of the inner-circle to a seat more appropriately situated right outside of the circle to guard our peace.  Your inner-circle should be reserved for people with whom you can share your authentic self, without fear or reservation. They are the people cheering you on when you’re not in the room to hear. They don’t question your tone or intent because they’ve invested time in getting to know you.     

Be cautious of people disturbing your peace. Think about their actions and try to understand their intent, when expressed. Accept the things about yourself that are true and discard the things about you that are not. You determine if what others say is worth the effort of your energy.

More later!

Now, get you some peace.

Peace Be With You

A letter to Black Fathers and Their Son’s

Dear Antoine, Zion and Czarien,

After twenty-six days of protests, political posturing, and praying, I felt it necessary to be a beacon of light for you. You bear the mark of richly sun-kissed skin. And although I find it to be absolutely and unquestionably beautiful, I know others may not share my sentiments. That saddens me. I won’t pretend to know the fear that is present with you when you see the images of black men lying lifeless in the street. Seeing this happens far too often for there to be any justifiable reason. Nor will I assume to know the thoughts you might have when you’re determining your route to work or school, respectively. I will, however, tell you that your life and every ounce of air you all breathe, matters to me.

I write these words knowing that someone is prepared to challenge the value of your lives without ever having met you. People may even speculate how you were raised, your level of education, or your temperament based solely on the pigment with which you were blessed. It is unfortunate that they don’t see what I see. Regardless of any of that, my aspiration is that peace be with you, for you and upon you. I hope that it consumes you and exudes from you so much that it changes the hearts of others around you.

While I cannot carry the weight of your life’s journey, I can walk beside you if you allow. I can support your dreams, aspirations, and endeavors. I can give you opportunities as they are available to me. I can promote you, encourage you, and push you to greatness. I can listen to you and learn from you and with you. I can respect you, defend you, and honor you. I can value you. I can do these things while the rest of the world is learning to see you or hear you.

When you make mistakes, I can and will forgive you. I will not judge or condemn you to die. I can do these things because I love you and your lives matter. They always have mattered. They always will matter.


Wife and Mom to amazing individuals

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