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Breathe. Release. Repeat.

There was a time when I held on to everyone and everything

for dear life. Periods when life was defined by the people I craved
relationship with, things I strove to acquire, and status I worked hard to achieve. All these were cultivated by family and societal culture.

This current stage of transition and transformation doesn’t accommodate such baggage well. It’s taken away my appetite and done away with most of my desire.

Over time, relationships have disintegrated, things have
lost value, status no longer has meaning. Contentment has come with releasing them all.

Learning to simply be is a joy. Embracing my breath. Learning its pattern. Knowing without it, I am nothing. Breathe. Release. Repeat.

Today I choose to release yesterday’s hopes, plans, and disappointments.

Right now, I focus on my breath. It’s softness and it’s power.

In this chain of moments, I honor my cycle of inhaling and exhaling. The pleasure of simply being.

Wherever I am is where I choose
to be present, so there I be.


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Making a home in hostile places

In early November I returned to Arizona for a couple of days. On my drive from Phoenix to Tucson I had some revelatory moments. I share them here.

There are no safe places. True peace is never of the world. I’m learning that my life has been about escaping all the ties that bind my heart, mind and spirit while freely and ecstatically seeking God/my Creator. The bonus is coming into a fuller understanding of being in the world, not of it.

Hard times may come but times aren’t hard for always. Keep moving forward. The only person who can stop your progress is you.

Much love. Happy New Year.

Remember each new day arrives with new mercies. 😘

~ Shawnda

#life #spirit #journey #lessons #keepgoing #keepmovingforward #arizona #theworld #creator #godisgood #newyear #newmercies #space #grace #opportunity #nosafeplace #home #hostileplaces

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Looking back to move forward

August is a month of reflection and celebration. All this year I’ve been looking back. Mostly at the history of America as it relates to descendents of the American slave trade, including legacy systems, and Black Women. I’ve returned to old homes and old jobs. I’ve committed to finishing unfinished work. Now my mind and heart are on the loved ones who have left already.It seems I’m in a whole season of looking back, but in the sense of a rock being pulled back in a slingshot. I’m not sure if my future is ready for me, but I know I’m ready for the trajectory I’m being prepared for.

#life #change #death #growth #lovedones #rip #onward #grief #newlife #newhope #keepmovingforward #realestate #milwaukee #wisconsinbadgers #chicagobulls #represent #familytime #memorylane

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SONG & VERSE: You Give Good Love

While having a late brunch at Melba’s, one of my favorite spots on NYC and this song came on. Three other women were in the restaurant with their men and we all seemed to burst out at the first note: “I found out what I’ve been missing / Always on the run…”

This was a hair brush song for me when it came out in the mid-80’s, but the self-reflection it brought about today would make you think it was attached to someone in my life. Unfortunately, I can’t recall anyone who has given me good love. Perhaps that’s why the self-reflection lead to sadness…that along with the fact that the other women singing along were looking at their men and smiling the words into their eyes.

During a conversation with a friend earlier today, manipulators and controllers became a topic. I call it a spirit of manipulation and control since I know people from every area of my life who have submitted to it. It’s a destructive spirit that has been prevalent in many people whose wills have collided with mine.

I shared with my friend the story of a young man I met in my early twenties shortly after my mother died. His personality and desire for a relationship with me were more than I was equipped to handle during that period in my life, so he ended up overwhelming me emotionally. He was ready for marriage and children and spoke of taking me to Africa to meet his mother. I was focused on surviving moment to moment, trying to cope with the reality that losing my mother gained me legal guardianship of my teenage sister. I asked him repeatedly to give me time…just give me time and we can explore this – I can’t handle a relationship right now. But he pressured me until I shut down….and disappeared. I have often said he set me back in my dating life. I avoided men for a long time because he represented a vice-like grip men seemed to use on me when allowed in my space; holding on with a determination to change my life to suit theirs.

Where would I be… who would I be, had I allowed him to consume me then?

I know I wouldn’t resemble the woman I am today.

My friend made this profound observation, “Had he worked with you as a partner instead of trying to dominate you, he could have won you and I’m sure you would have followed him anywhere in the world – simply because he was your man and he had worked to make you comfortable with his manhood.”

Very true.

The type of man he was then would be wonderful for me now – attentive, present, direct, decisive, focused, determined, demanding. I’m not concerned with losing myself in another’s personality anymore. Mostly because I demand to be seen and accepted for who I am. And in being who I am, I too have become a forceful personality – attentive, alert, direct, no nonsense, independent with a true desire for a mutually dependent and respectful relationship. In embracing and nurturing all of me, I have become the best lover of me. I’ve learned to give good love to myself and that has become the greatest possible love a person can have.

YOU GIVE GOOD LOVE by Whitney Houston

I found out what I’ve been missing
Always on the run
I’ve been looking for someone

Now you’re here like you’ve been before
And you know just what I need
It took some time for me to see

That you give good love to me baby
So good take this heart of mine into your hands
You give good love to me baby
Never too much
Baby you give good love

Never stopping I was always searching
For that perfect love
The kind that girls like me dream of

Now you’re here like you’ve been before
And you know just what I need
It took some time for me to see

That you give good love to me baby
So good take this heart of mine into your hands
You give good love to me baby
Never too much
Baby you give good love

Now I’ve stopped looking around
Each night what this life’s all about
Our love is here to stay
Baby you give good love

…and a bonus…


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This week I saw an amazing collection of cinemagraphic photography set to a beautiful soundtrack of music from around the world in the film  Samsara.

Samsāra, literally meaning “continuous flow”, is the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth (reincarnation) within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, Yoga and Sikhism. In popular use, Samsara may refer to the world (in the sense of the various worldly activities which occupy ordinary human beings), the various sufferings thereof; or the unsettled and agitated mind through which reality is perceived. [Wikipedia:

Though the word used for the title of the film is loaded with the beliefs of Eastern religions, the film itself speaks to and of all humanity. No words are spoken in the film. However the film is full of  images and sound. The sound of nature. The sound of environment. The sound of music. The sound of life.

The first two scenes are of beauty and savagery. Man-choreographed beauty followed by natural savagery. The rest of the film is a study of how man and nature collide and co-exist as well as the ebb and flow of the beauty and dominance of each.

Treat yourself to a buffet for  your senses. Link to the film’s website here to find out where it’s playing:

Filming locations featured in the film: