Practice

It has become difficult for me to imagine. Surrounded by the million of sound bites, the eyes only resting when I am asleep. It is difficult for my mind to get clear, to create new ideas. Set in a world that demands of you an indoctrination that is the only way, the only way, so that one does not get any ideas to create a world that might just be better than theirs.

As I laid my body to rest, I practiced my imagination. I practiced visioning new stories to create, building upon the old stories that have embraced me for so long. I laid practicing, over and over, realizing that I could not imagine creating new stories in a world that tells me to hold on to the old ones, because it forces stagnation, yelling at me to remember, to hold on and to take pride in all that the ancestors have done.

I’m holding, I’m remembering, but I wish could remember how to imagine. I wish I could remember the feeling as a child when my imagination seemed so real and the adults in my life took joy in seeing my playful dance, celebrating as I twirled in the open air, with the sun putting a happy glow on my face, being free and accepted, allowing to create, making mud pies, and hearing, “that’s good baby.”

I am remembering how to imagine, I am remembering how to create, trusting to move from the “hold on” to the sound of “that’s good baby.”

Be Well My Friends

Rev JacquiP

2023

The last day of the year. I can find all the things I didn’t do and wanted to do in 2022. But I choose not to. Instead I choose to remember the “unplanned” accomplishments, ones that just happened without me stressing.

Watching a great movie and enjoying it with my husband.

Chomping down the best chicken cacciatore I’ve ever had at a restaurant called Tony’s in NYC.

Seeing the best Broadway play, “Death of A Salesman.”

Talking to my daughter on a phone call that lasted more an hour.

Becoming the pastor of an historic Black church in Pennsylvania.

Finding great deals on good bottles of wines!

I am sure there are much more “unplanned” accomplishments that I allowed myself to be present for. The ones that need no strategies, no time limits, no approval, the ones that create memories to treasure for a lifetime.

The older I become, the less of things I need to make me feel I need to prove myself to the world. Here I come, 2023, with more “unplanned” stuff in my basket, embracing whatever the year has for me, feeling grateful just for the opportunity to be alive.

Happy New Year My Friends,

Rev. JacquiP

This time….

Trust. I hear my breath which is rather loud. Anxiety comes. I am trusting that I can do what I set out to accomplish. I am trusting myself. Some days though, it’s hard. I trust myself to move in spaces that don’t want me there. I trust myself to speak when I know there are some who really would rather not hear me. I trust myself to dress in a way that is creative and fly, knowing someone will definitely stare, and point, and laugh.

Breathing hard again, closing my eyes, hearing that voice in my head.

Trust.

A Good Friend

I am constantly trying to better myself. This gets really frustrating and quite honestly, I am really tired of trying to do all of the hoopla around self-care. Ok, yes I need to take care of all of me, I get that! Lately self-care has become a chore. Am I using the healthy powder I pour in my smoothie correctly? In my downward dog position, is my feet suppose to be flat on the floor? Because that won’t happen! Am I breathing in on the count of 2 and breathing out of the count of 10? Is my smartwatch keeping adequate data on my sleeping patterns? Because according to this, my sleeping patterns are not so great. Now, something else to worry about!

Should self-care really be this hard?!! I’m pretty sure I am not suppose to be figuring out if I am loving myself enough to the point of loving myself enough where it is getting a little chaotic? It’s like having an obsessive relationship with a person who laughs at your jokes, but is with a person you wish you could be, so you desperately find yourself putting on airs to get their attention and they just treat you like a good friend. (sigh)

Maybe that’s just it. Just be a good friend to yourself, one that is true and honest and accepts every flaw, and every decision that did not go well. A good friend is always there to share in disappointments and glory. Now about that three day retreat I can’t afford…hmmm?

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Hey You! Yeah! You!

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

Hello! Just for a moment. I know the chaos of the world is on your shoulder. I know you are wondering what happens next, thinking silently or screaming into your pillow, “Can I move forward?” “Does my dream still have a chance?” “Will tomorrow be any different?”

Yes! You are more powerful and capable than you imagine. You rode the waves through storms that you thought would take you out! Look at you! Wanting to pull the bed cover over your head, you still get up and you make your way, sometimes with a little spark and sometime with a gigantic spark, but you make your way. Yes! Tomorrow will be different, because you are determined to keeping moving, in spite of what this crazy world looks like. Whew!! You are one badass!

Now go show them what you got! Be Blessed My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

God Is a Black Woman (Book Review)

God Is a Black Woman, written by Christina Cleveland, PhD., is witty, courageous and empowering to Black women who are searching for the image of God that is within herself. Dr. Cleveland is a social psychologist, activist and theologian who has provided to us permission to experience God on our own terms. In her memoir she shares her stories of her struggle growing up in a Christian culture dominated white male patriarchy system, “whitemalegod,” that refuses to comfort her and love her unconditionally but soon discovers the Sacred Black Feminine that identifies with all of her being.

God Is a Black Woman is real and raw, setting you on a spiritual journey, to walk along with Dr. Cleveland, experiencing sometimes discomfort but making your way to a place of wholeness. Dr. Cleveland’s ability to express her childhood memories growing up in a faith riddle with an oppressive theology that is controlling, unkind and unloving, and then as an adult working with white organizations, seeking to eradicate racism, but instead reverting to status quo, Dr. Cleveland finds a way to break free, with no apologies, through the power of several Black Madonnas.

God Is a Black Woman is brave and bold, speaking up against the power and authority of established patriarchal systems and institutions. Dr. Cleveland invites Black women, and all women, to find their liberation and I am here for all of it! God Is a Black Woman is a must read that will have you crying, rejoicing and hugging the very essence of your Sacred Black Feminine.

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

What Do You See?

What do you see? I see Beauty as she rises from the ashes of chaos. I see her dancing and hugging all that were covered with the soot of hopelessness and she provides shoes that sparkles when one walks which turns into stars at dust.

What do you see? I see Happy as he wipes the frowns from one’s face and makes one laugh with his jokes being careful not to offend anyone because there is one who is still fragile. One who still does not believe and cries turning tears into rain which turns into the sea.

What do you see? I see Love as they call names, one after the other, pronouncing each syllable perfectly, giving each one life, setting each one free and praying that one day, one will see what they see.

One will see that it is the very essence of their Being that makes this world go round.

What do you see?

My Hat

There is something about wearing a hat that makes me happy. When I want to feel funky and sexy, I have this wide brim black hat that I put on and just like that, I become that woman who can walk in a room and every one stops to notice that I have arrived! At least this is what happens in my mine and that’s all that really matters. All of a sudden I am fierce and confident. I went to a play wearing this amazing hat and some woman just started talking to me and said she knew me from somewhere, then her friends came over and I became the center of attention! I was so classy, smiling from ear to ear, talking with a flair of a valley girl leftover in an old black woman’s body. Yeah, this hat brings out some weird stuff!

Look, have some fun! Step out in something that makes you feel like you are invincible. For me, its that wide brim hat! If one night you’re out on the town and you see this woman flailing her arms and acting like she’s the bomb, well that will be me! Come over and hang with me! I promise you my hat will not disappoint!

Move Forward

There is no way you can be alive today in this nation in which we live and not be overwhelmed, bruised, hurt, tired, tearful, frustrated, angry, fearful and so much more painful feelings and thoughts caused by the evil ones.   We become stagnant.  Everything around us stop and all we can do is stand in one spot looking hopeless.

We.Can’t.Stay.Here.

Move Forward.  One step at a time.
Move Forward.  The issues won’t magically disappear.
Move Forward.  The children must stop crying.
Move Forward.  Police brutality must end.
Move Forward.  White Supremacy must be destroyed.
Move Forward.  Nationalism cannot be the order of the day.
Move Forward.  Hunger must be wiped out.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves a home.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves an opportunity.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves a good education.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves freedom.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves love.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves to see God.

Move forward and let your light shine so bright that it will cast out darkness so that others will see they too have a path to move forward.

Rev. J

 

 

 

 

You have permission.

Writing can be scary, at least for me.  I’m usually nervous about what people think…yep, still trying to get through that awful feeling.  I’m really learning how to put out in black and white how my mind works.  I know that itself may be dangerous.  I mean once you open yourself up to the world, you never know what kind of response the universe will throw back your way.  And to tell you the truth, that can be quite frightening when you expect the worse response.  Case in point, I started writing a small piece a month ago. I wanted to stop after typing the words , “I’m struggling.”  Fearful on what someone would say or fearful that someone thought I may need saving which the only thing I wanted to do was just write and have a fist fight with my thoughts.  So I stopped typing because what you think (not you really) of me was unfortunately winning.  Then  I received a note from a friend telling me she had not seen anything I wrote lately, like what happened??! Where did you go?  I just got scared to share.   But hearing the news of the suicide of Kate Spade (I have these adorable Kate Spade eyewear) and Anthony Bourdain (love this guy) I really should not care what response the universe gives me.  This is my healing, not yours (of course I’m not talking to you in an embarrassing voice) so here goes.  This is what I started to type a month and 6 days ago.

“I’m struggling.  No.  Not with an illness.  Not in my marriage. Not with finances. Not in a way that I need for friends and family to drop whatever they are doing to come see about me.  I’m just struggling.  It’s not a serious matter, of course, though what is serious to one person can be detrimental to another.  But I assure you, I’m just struggling.  Can’t really explain it.   Things don’t come as clear to me as they do for other people, I’m guessing.   I exist.  I  get up.  I try. I know I’ve been called to do more than just exist.  And there lies the issue.  That’s it!  I’m not struggling!  I’m not living!”

I was in a funk. I found so many reasons to pick an argument with myself.  Why did I gain so much weight?  I was doing so well!  Why is my hair still thinning, I’m taking my Vitamin D!  Damn!!!  Why am I still at this freaking job for 36 years?? You know the feeling sorry for yourself that you can’t even see your worth.  But I just realized something in vomiting my mess and insecurities.   I was living!  I was actually living!

Doing life involves all of this, days when the sunshine is so bright you don’t ever want it to end and days when the clouds consume you, you scratch to get out.  I was scratching to  get out from under the clouds…if I didn’t scratch to get out, then life, living does not happen. Experiencing the pain was living!  Getting out from under dark clouds mean that I scream, kick, pray and sometimes even curse.  Those actions and sounds are visible and loud.  I didn’t need to hide getting out in fear or others, I scratch to get out because of others!  My husband, my children, my friends, myself.  Because I’m worth living, even when life can be painful. I’m worth living all of it.  I’m worth living the happiness and I’m worth living the pain.

If you find yourself in a funk and someone tells you not to be there, don’t listen!  If you’re struggling and afraid to even say the words, “I’m struggling”, say it anyway.  And say it proudly!  It is not a moment to be prideful on what people will think, or how people will assume that you are not grateful that God is blessing you and you should be continuously happy!  There is a scripture that comes to mind, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 NRSV).  You have permission to scratch through the dark clouds, permission to cry, permission to scream, permission to live.

I’ve learned that I never stay in the struggle.  I go through, but I don’t stay!  Tomorrow is a new day!  You have a new day!  But if you want to scream today…. go ahead!!!

Mental illness is not a crime!  Mental illness is not a sin!!!  If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  1-800-273-8255.

Rev. Jacqui