Why Everyone Should Unplug

Get out and take a ride or even a walk. Once you do so what is something you notice? Everyone including ourselves is consumed by our electronic devices. When having a conversation what is the topic at hand? What is happening on social media and the news. We are heavily plugged in and if we are not careful we will become consumed. In The Art of Detachment I mention the importance of detaching from the outcome of things as well as disconnecting from things that do not serve our highest good. Well, do we know what that really means? Disconnecting from what does not serve us means releasing the things that do not make us a better person; that do not elevate us. One important practice to develop to discover what serves our highest purpose is unplugging. The practice of tuning out to tune in is a powerful way to connect with ourselves on a deeper level. Today we have so much access to other peoples lives that we feel unenriched by our own. Because of these we can either spend hours tuned in to social media or feel the need to constantly feel that void by being around what is happening. In short we feel as though we are missing something or something is missing. On the other hand we are overwhelmed by what is happening in the media. We are engulfed by the scandal, politics, murders, and so much more that we are overwhelmed or even desensitized. In someway, shape, or form we are constantly tuned in to everything and everyone but ourselves.

Unplugging looks a lot like being unapologetic about making time for yourself. Detaching from the world and people around you everyday for a short amount of time does a great deal for us in the long run. Taking the time to unplug from society allows us to recharge. No one can pour from an empty cup and many of us are doing this daily. The idea of recharging ourselves combats burnout one the driving forces behind feeling uninspired, fatigued, and overwhelmed. All of these feelings come up when we pour from an empty cup and affects everything around us like a domino effect. Whether we realize it or not what we see in the media drains us in an emotional and spiritual way. The media has the power to morph our reality and how we perceive things. This is due to the fact that the brain does not know the difference between reality and fiction; we will have the same reactions. We are constantly giving our energy away without enough time to pour back into ourselves. While we see scrolling through social media as a soothing hobby it is quite the opposite. Research has shown that social media is one of many causes of anxiety. We base our self worth on the quantity of likes; causing us to go through the loop hole from hell of comparing ourselves. Social Media has become a gate way for more and more people to become highly self critical. However, that is not the only thing. Outside of become more self critical and anxious, we have become more reactionary. While we can healthy debates about politics, religion, culture, and more we have more access to share and respond to anything. The smallest thing can set us off and at the touch of a finger we can react. Social Media is another way we are giving away our energy. We become anxious when we are waiting for likes and responses to a comment. We become self critical when someone appears to be doing something we are not. We debate even when the topic may not impact us.  Where is the time to recharge and gather ourselves?

Each day does not have to look the same. Recharging ourselves as a routine that looks the same everyday may not work for everyone. However, setting aside time to do something for self that allows us to decompress in a healthy way is a major key. Self-care does not have to be an Instagramable moment this is for self and self alone. It is about what feels good to the soul. Unplugging is a moment to get to know yourself on a deeper level and to hear from The Most High. When we tune out we are tuning in to things that matter to us; our interest, fears, desires, trauma, values, and morals. This is time to give ourselves permission to be selfish and still. And it is very simple.

Ways To Tune Out To Tune In:

  • Turn off your phone for an hour a day.
    •  Some may choose to have a quiet lunch, take a yoga break, or read a book. Others may decide to take that time in the morning or after work. This may look different for everyone and you can change it up daily. We have a habit of checking our phone frequently without a notification and some of us check the phone as soon as we wake up. Taking an hour without our phones will carve out time to get a lot of things done. We can feel that space with something we have been meaning to do for a while or even with family time. This a perfect opportunity to shut the outside people out and bring the focus back to parts of our life we have been neglecting.
  • Turn off all media and news outlets for a week.
    • Sometimes we need a media fast. We consuming a lot of toxic news everyday and we carry that with us throughout the day and often times in our dreams. The news is the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see before we get rest. This alone is emotional baggage packed on top of our personal baggage. It is okay to give ourselves a break to refocus our thoughts without an outside influence.
  • Avoid checking phone when you first wake up.
    • While many of us our phone as our alarm clock perhaps we only use it as an alarm and then start our day. Yes, this is a toughie. However, we may find that we will free up a lot more of our morning time without scrolling through our notifications. For many of us our mornings shape the energy of the whole day. Creating space for a smooth morning will trickle down into other parts of our day enhancing our mood, energy, focus, and productivity
  • Allow your home to be silent for at least 20min a day.
    • Maybe turning off your phone for an hour isn’t a reality do to work. Perhaps taking 20 minutes to embrace silence. Many of us are uncomfortable with silence and that is okay. Maybe start with 5-10 minutes and go from there. This time can be used to meditate, do yoga, pray, read a book, cleaning, etc. Silence introduces to our thoughts and fears.
  • Take a nature walk with phone on do not disturb and notifications off.
    • Nature walks are free and a great opportunity to get back to nature. The Sun recharges the body as well as fresh air and physical touching the earth. In place of binge watching episodes of your favorite perhaps taking a hour of your day to go to a park and soak up to sun. Sometimes it helps to change up the scenery to clear the mind and get inspired or motivated.
  • Yoga for at least 10min (YouTube), Book a Private Session, or Take at least a 45min class
    • Yoga is a physical practices designed to connect the body back to breathe. Practicing yoga reduces stress and anxiety. And you can start in the comfort of your own home. Carving our time for yoga will leave you feeling refreshed and energized to take on the rest of your; or relaxed and at peace ready to settle into the night
  • Meditation for at least 5min a day.
    • Meditation give you a since of well-being. Those who meditate report feeling more relaxed and at peace. Meditation improves memory and focus allowing you to have a more productive day. The art of meditation is great for shifting perspectives and becoming more open minded. Meditation helps send oxygen to the cells within the body rejuvenated us from the inside out.
  • Shower immediately once you arrive home.
    • Take a shower immediately once when get home is a great practice for leaving everything at the door. We give ourselves a moment to cleanse the mind and body of the toxic experiences we may have had that day. Also we do not want to bring anything from the outside into our home. Just as we do not want to track anything in with our outside shoes; we do not want to track anything from our clothes or the emotional and spiritual baggage. This is the perfect opportunity for shower meditation and prayer. We let everything wash away and walk out refreshed.

Sage Smudging

Do you Sage Smudge?

Have you ever heard of Sage Smudging?

There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of burning sage and drinking sage tea (which we will get into). And with much talk comes a lot of backlash about why we shouldn’t partake. The backlash and skepticism is because many argue that it’s witchcraft. Well as much as I would like to go into a Ted Talk about why I personally dislike the word witch or witchcraft I’ll leave that segment to someone else. A lot of the backlash stems from our ignorance of the culture significance and history of Sage Smudging. While many feel we should refrain because of religious beliefs, some of us also feel as though sage smudging is an over saturated practice and seek other ways to cleanse and protect our space. However, the truth is it is always best to seek the cultural spiritual practices that resonate with you personally as well as the practices of your bloodline that are of good and pure intent. Seeking practices that are of a less crowded following may only cause more confusion if we do not do the proper research. Sage Smudging was and is still used by many tribes far and wide because of the cultural and spiritual. If we decide to ace the practice because of over saturation; how connected spiritually were we really?

History of Sage Smudging
While many have deemed Sage Smudging a new age spiritual practice the truth is quite the opposite. Smudging is an ancient ceremonial practice that dates back thousands of years. Many Indigenous Tribes referred to the practice as Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. The smoke from the herbs used during the smudge is symbolic of prayers, blessings, grievances being sent to The Most High. There is no distinct time period where smudging can be traced unless you have access to a chief, medicine man, or someone who keeps the tribe history on a reservation to share the history of their tribe. Indigenous history has been hidden from the public eye for centuries. It is believed that smudging evolved from the practice of lighting fires outside of many caves and tribal camps to keep insects away. As well as the practice of using certain herbs to smoke along with preserving food and hides. However, smudging is not only exclusive to Native American tribes. All Aboriginal/ Indigenous Peoples have a history of smudging (yes people African Descent as well). Across cultures we see a history of smudging being practiced with Frankincense and sometimes accompanied by Myrrh; which is not only a biblical practice. The burning of Frankincense has been practiced for years in the Ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church as well as in the Middle Eastern Bazaar. The use of incense for prayer, meditation, cleansing, and blessing a space is seen in Asian and Indian cultures. It is a practice that has been seen in individual homes and temples. Another common practice we see today is the burning of Palo Santo Wood (Sacred Wood). While this seems like a new option in place of Sage, the people of the Amazon have used Sacred Wood in ceremonies for a very long time and still use it today. Though the term smudging is arguably exclusive to the Native American culture the use of smoke and aroma of dried herbs has been used for centuries as a sacred practice to connect to The Most High.
Benefits of Sage Smudging
If you meditate and/or do yoga, you may be aware that everything around us and within us is energy. And energy can be changed, shifted, or transferred but never destroyed. In short energy can be manipulated and that can and will affect us physically, mentally, and spiritually. Because of this it is important to cleanse your space and body as often as you clean your home and workspace if not more. Sage Smudging serves that purpose. Sage by definition means healer. In Latin the plants name is Salvia officinalis, which comes from the Latin word “salveo,” meaning “to save or heal. ” Research has proven that Sage Smudging purifies the air of 94% of toxic bacteria for up to 24 hours. Sage Smudging reduces anxiety promoting a sense calmness within a space and person. Traditionally it has always been understood sage is a powerful botanical that can be used as medicine to heal; and a tool to pray with to welcome in blessings and warn off evil and harm. As we remember everything around us is energy. Sage Smudging clears the energy in us and around us just it cleanses the air. In Native American culture it is taught that only the good spirits like the smell of sage and all things negative reject the smell. Depending on the herbs used smudging be can beneficial for asthma, respiratory problems, and common colds. Sage Tea is one way to use Sage for medical purposes. Many tribes have blended herbs such as Sage, Chamomile, Tobacco(pure), and other herbs to heal wounds, burn and/or smoke during ceremonies, cure sickness and disease, and much more. Sage has been shown to be effective for:

• Digestive Problems
• Alzheimer’s Disease
• Menopause Symptoms
• Sore Throat
• Preventing Certain Cancers
• Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
• Lowers Cholesterol
Many people have been returning to traditional medicine to treat their ailments. Because of this there has been more talk about how effective traditional medicine is. It is key to keep in mind that all medicine takes time to heal and we must be willing to do the work as well. When taking any medication lifestyle change is important. Abstaining from toxicity is important when making room for healing. Today we see more and more Americans not just people of color returning to traditional practices not matter the religion, culture, or faith. Every culture has a sacred practice of similar to that of smudging amongst other spiritual practice. Many of these things are still practiced today within tribes, temples, and orthodox churches. When trying to decide if traditional practices are for you it is always advised to do research on the history and depending on the culture being guided and/or trained by an ELDER. Research on your families lineage, beliefs, and practices before and during slavery if obtainable is a great way to find out what truly resonates with you.

 

Why Essential Oils??!!

Essential Oils are one of many newish crazes that have hit the scene; along with goat yoga, cat yoga, ninja gyms, and Uber Scooters. While essential oils have been around for years it seems like more and more people are getting hip to benefits and the multi-purposes of essential oils. You can now buy them at your local Whole Foods or HEB. Even on Amazon people have been able to source their lavender oil. However, even though it may seem as though everyone on our timeline is woke to the benefits Essential Oils many of us truly aren’t. And honestly that’s okay it’s never to late to learn something super beneficial and new.

Essential Oil History

Essential Oils have been a pivotal party of society predating biblical times and is referenced in the bible not only as use for embalming the body; but for prayer purposes, perfume use, gifts, ceremonial use, healing, and anointing  as well. To name a small few below we have:

  • “The priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the person to be cleansed” (Leviticus 14:4).
  • “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you’” (Exodus 30:34-36).
  • “Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics” (Esther 2:12).

However, the bible also mentions Aloes ( Yes!! Aloe Vera), Cinnamon (Cassia), and Cypress. The Egyptians used essential oils as an important part of their Spirituality and Medical Practices. Not to mention essential oils have always been used for skin care. I have to mention that Egypt was not the only culture using Essential Oils. See, essential oils is a extraction and distillation process. Many African Cultures from the beginning of time have been using herbs and plants healing, antibacterial, cooking, medication, and much more. Let’s remember Kemet (Ancient Egypt) was founded by Ancient Nubians and Sudanese Ancestors. Meaning they developed this process from them. Essential Oils was way to preserve these herbs and plants. They would last longer, be kept easier, and you get more use out of them. Beyond Africa India and China developed their own yet similar use for Essentials Oils in Ayurvedic Medicine. This is the use of Plants and Herbs as Essential Oils you can take as medicine along with the crushing and drying process of the herbs, spices, and plants; again much like the African Culture. During the reign of Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor around 2697 to 2597BC in China the first Essential Oil was recorded. Huang Ti wrote a book with guidelines still used today in Western Medicine. Around this time India was also indulging in the practices as well. Creating writing and teaching with the use of 700 different substance compiled of herbs, spices, and flowers. This added in fighting of many things such as plagues that threatened the country.

Later on the wisdom of the Egyptians was absorbed by the ancient Greeks: the most well-known physician of that time, Hippocrates (c.460-377 BC) was a firm believer in treating a patient holistically and included massage in many of his therapies.  The Romans followed after and adopted the Greek’s knowledge of Essential Oils and used aromatic baths to promote health and proper hygiene. The Roman Empire did have a dark time where bathing was looked upon as a sin. However, the use of Essential Oils was used to cover the bad smell. The oils also helped to fight off bacterial and acted as a natural anti-pesticide. Thank God!

The Renaissance period pushed Essential Oils back into the forefront again reviving the use of traditional medicine. A great Physician at the time, Paracelsus (1493-1541) had great success “curing leprosy” with plant extracts. However, term “aromatherapy” as it is known today was first coined in 1937 by the French chemist and perfumer Rene Maurice Gattefosse. He was not a believer in the natural health rather, he was interested in the properties essential oils exhibited. He performed a great deal of research and later went on to publish a book in 1928 sharing the many cases where essential oils has helped cure people. Mr. Gattefosse had first hand knowledge of the healing properties because in 1910 he burnt his hand badly in his laboratory, and being the first compound available, he treated his hand with pure undiluted lavender oil. This not only immediately eased the pain, but helped heal the hand without any sign of infection or scarring. He also found that small amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the body and interact with the body’s chemistry. Once discovered this led to conducting further research where lavender oil was used in many French hospitals. In fact, during the outbreak of Spanish influenza which claimed many lives in France. Zero reported deaths of any personnel who worked in hospitals where the lavender oil was present. During the second World War, as a result of Gattefosse’s experiments, doctors went on to successfully treat many injured soldiers with essential oils.

From this period the modern use of Essential Oils has been making a slow but grand comeback since then. Today we see Essential Oils as well as other forms of herbs, spices, and flowers used in many traditional ways. From perfume, medical, cooking, and much more Traditional( not alternative) medicine in the form of herbs is on its way to become the norm again within society.

Essential Oil Benefits

A you can see above essential oils are beneficial in a wide variety of ways considering the fact that majority of all plants whether herbs or spices; even flowers have many healing components and more.  Essential Oils have been linked to having a considerable amount of benefits for hair, skin, and all around health. The benefits of essential oils all depends on you health needs and the oils used.  Essential Oils can be used for:

  • Skin irritation and Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Upset Stomach
  • Common Colds
  • Sore Throat
  • Anxiety
  • Fever
  • Inflammation
  • Pain Reduction

A few Essential Oils that can be used are:

Bergamot: skin healing components such as eczema and anxiety-reducing
Chamomile: improves mood, cold, fevers and nausea
Clove: dental and pain-relieving
Eucalyptus: topical pain-reliever and decongestant
Frankincense: mood-enhancer and stress-reducer
Lavender: reduces stress and sleep-inducing
Lemon: a natural household cleaner and disinfectant
Oregano: skin-healing
Peppermint: cold and flu prevention, aids in digestion, and energy-booster
Rosemary: skin and hair health and joint pain

Doing you own personal research for your essential oil uses is always suggested. Today the FDA and Doctors are still doing research on Essential Oils and there benefits and risk. While using Essential Oils are beneficial in many ways, the high demand for them cause many businesses to produce Essential Oils that do more harm than good. If you desire to use Essential Oils for more than Topical and Aroma use please seek out a 100% pure food grade Essential Oil company.

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The Great Divide(Toxic Masculinity)

Toxic Masculinity: The concept of toxic masculinity is used in psychology and media discussions of masculinity to refer to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves.

is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially-constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.

Toxic Feminism: refers to women who are hostile to nurturance and cooperation, opting instead for aggression and backstabbing to get ahead.

 

     Would you believe me if I told you we needed one another? Or that Masculinity and Femininity exist in both male and female? For many years now there has been a power struggle between the man and woman that has caused much confusion; which is arguably by design. Many women have been pointing the blame at men; challenging them to make a change in their actions, ways, and verbiage. Women of color across the globe engage in debates about men of color and their many problems. This power struggle has caused a great divided between the opposite sex so much so that opposing opinions are enough to bring tension to a happy home. Well, women have we ever stopped to think that we could also be toxic and part of the problem as well?
Today Donald Trump has been used as the poster child of Toxic Masculinity. Being perceived as someone who abuses power/aggressive, belittles women, says whatever comes to mind, and is a complete asshole all around. Another example many like to use is men fighting or having a dispute in a public area. However, no one yells Toxic Femininity when 2 women are acting out of character. One can only ask, Why the bias?” When we look at the description above and compare it to how we use the term in our everyday lives; it almost seems as though we are using the term out of context. Toxic Masculinity in hindsight is when men are unable to connect emotionally on a deep and/or genuine level. This may lead to men expressing themselves in an aggressive way due to the inability to process or express how they feel. An extreme version of this case would be the Will LeClair from the Netflix Original ” The Society” or every mail character from ” 13 Reason”. Each of these characters had a dose of what it truly means to use masculinity in a toxic way.

Let’s peel back some layers, shall we???

toxic-masculinity
Will LeClair (Toby Wallace) may be considered an extreme case because of his inability to connect. In The Society, LeClair could not truly feel emotions however could mimic the actions perfectly. Using this tool for his personal gain he preyed on someone who we can arguably perceive to be naïve, fragile, and malleable. As his character developed, we learned LeClair was plagued with jealousy from a young age which triggered abusive behavior which often lead to murder. In the society, we see other way in which toxic masculinity is portrayed in subtle ways. In Season 2, the youth have begun their own town with established rules. The result is a makeshift jail in a family home wine cellar. The jocks assume the role as police of the town. Lexi (Grace Victoria Cox); while the jail is not real, and the jocks are not cops some begin to take their job seriously. As Lexi serves her time in jail the jocks keep watch tirelessly and continually interrogate her. While serving her time and answering questions Lexi realizes she has started her period and request a change of clothes. Expecting to change in private the jocks insist she change in front of them. While some may not see this as a big deal; the power trip is real and starting your period without any change of clothes and products is uncomfortable especially around clueless teenage boys with a new sense of authority and freedom. However, this is not the first time the jocks have overused their authority. Toxic Masculinity reared its head when the young men interrogated and beat up another in of their inmates who refused to eat.

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      13 Reasons is another great show to look at when talking about toxic masculinity. Many if not all the men in 13 Reasons have slight traits of potential toxic masculinity. While we can all agree Bryce Walker is the Toxic Masculine energy in the show. With his history of rapping his high school classmates and being the ringleader amongst his friends, Bryce Walker was a toxic character over all who tried to turn around his actions. If we look at other characters such as Clay Jensen, we can pinpoint traits that indeed were toxic. Although Clay was a good friend who took on more than he could handle; his inability to rationally think things through often made things worse. We see this when Clay decided to visit Bryce Walker in his home as well as when he makes the conscious decision to visit the residence multiple times after Bryce was killed. While this may be a courageous act to get revenge for the death of a friend and to protect others, the decisions were not thought out. An arguably toxic male trait is the idea that mean are unable to think rationally and/or juggle multitask at once; men can compartmentalize and handle one think at a time resulting in tunnel vision. 13 Reasons gives a great peek into how some forms of Toxic Masculinity are formed as well highlight the toxic relationships inside the home can affect everyone around you. De la Cruz (Timothy) is a football jock who is known for being a bully. He exerts his power making everyone afraid of him. The epitome of Toxic Masculinity. However, we later learn he doesn’t live as great as the other kids, his father is an alcoholic, abusive, and forced to hide his truth. Because of this he has displaced anger that is geared towards the other guys at school. We are also able to see the outcome of the men who are on the receiving end of this displaced anger. Characters Alex and Tyler are 2 of many targets for De la Cruz and his crew. Both men decide a one point they want to man up and teach their bullies a lesson. Assuming a real man is boxer who goes around challenging their fellow men or someone who tots around guns with the intention of killing someone that has wronged them; they both attempt to take matters into their own hands leaving themselves in a huge situation.

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If we can point out toxic traits in men outside of the stereotypical hyper sensationalized Toxic Masculinity traits; we can surely point out Toxic Femininity traits. There seems to be a double standard in terms of what a woman can do and what men cannot do. Which is hypocritical if we would like to be honest. When looking at todays’ choice of trash TV we like to watch our nightly reality shows. And reality shows are one of the outlets where toxic femininity manifest. While watching reality tv shows such as Basketball Wives, Real Housewives, Love & Hip-Hop, and more it is hard to ignore the backstabbing and fighting. However, this acceptable behavior was brought in slowly by The Hills, College Hills, and Flavor of Loves. When watching TV Shows such as these there are many instances where we are cursing each other out and throwing things. Oftentimes we will see the mothers acting in the same manner against their children, significant other, or another mother. There are occasions where cast members who do not get along are purposely around one another to entice more drama. Women are portrayed as aggressive, mean, loud, backstabbing, hyper-sexualized in the way that they dress and/or act towards each other and men, and messy. It comes off at times as though we enjoy drama. While these are Hyper sensationalized examples, as we welcome in our new female rappers, we can see a toxic persona many are trying to portray for the sake of sales. Today, many young girls and women alike mimic not only the female rappers of today but the women of reality tv shows on a sub conscious and subconscious level. On and off Television we as women carry toxic traits that involve “pocking a sleeping bear” or being cruel for the sake of being “real” and proving a point. In retrospect the way we are portrayed and interact with each other goes against the divine femininity of what it is it to be the essence of a woman.

While we may be able to point out what are toxic traits and what isn’t, the elephant in the room is where, who, how these toxic traits are developed. The truth is no matter how old we get in some way we as human race will always be malleable in some way. Starting from an early age we learn habits from our parents. As child we mimic our parents in one way or another; we pick up everything from their self-care to how they interact with people. If our parents were toxic as an adult, we are challenged with the task of unlearning those toxic traits. However, we must first ask ourselves, “Are my parents toxic?” or ” Have my parents ever been toxic?” This is because we grow up with the assumption that some of our parent’s traits are normal; brushing it off as, “That’s just Mom/Dad being who they are.” not realizing these things may affect us as we grow older. On the other hand, some toxic traits are born out of toxic situations, such as relationship romantic and platonic as a coping mechanism that later may turn into our protective guard. For example, every relationship has its ups and downs. When 2 significant others are in an argument, we tend to “ghost” them. We may not hear from that person in a day or 2 perhaps more. Overtime we are teaching the other person how to live without them. In turn we may carry that same habit into other relationships, or we will build a tough layer of skin unable to build a meaningful relationship. However, in order to assess our toxic traits this requires going into your own psyche to realize where certain thought patterns and physical habits derived.

By no means are women perfect and because of that our male counterparts cannot be expected to be perfect. As humans we all have toxic traits that we develop as we grow into adults. No matter the age we remain sponges soaking up the things around us the only difference is we have a choice as we grow in consciousness. As we turn to point fingers at an entire energetic frequency of Masculinity, we as women must be willing to pick up our mirror to evaluate what about ourselves are indeed toxic as well.

My thoughts,
My views,
Share with me,
Vibe with me.

Characteristics-of-Yin-and-Yang

Positive Vibes Only!!| What They Don’t Tell You

Positive Vibes Only!

A phrase like many others that is often times used in the wrong context and simply put over used.

 

While I may not believe there can be “Toxic Positive” no more than there can be a “Toxic Masculinity” or ” Toxic Femininity “. I do believe that there is this false idea that Self Care and Health is always an Instagramible or perfect moment. Today the term “Positive Vibes Only” has created a standard that no one can live up too. Many use the term as an excuse to dismiss responsibility and cut ties with those who call us out on our Bullshit. However, the term also gives many of us a reason to suppress emotions that we need to let out. In short Toxic Positivity can be explained as, “Encourages ignoring negative emotions.” In the wake of Self Care and embracing positivity it is still hard to turn a blind eye to the up’s and down’s that we all go through.  And because of this some ay use a Self-Care or Mental Healthy to avoid confronting situations and responsibility. Toxic Positivity is not to be confused with someone who is optimistic; those who encourage us to keeping going and to see the brighter side or bigger picture are doing so from a place of healthy perspective shifting.

Toxic Positive is a new word the was created to bring some checks and balance to Positive Vibes Only because let’s face it depression, escapism, and anxiety is real. However, the term brings neither help, clarity, nor comfort to our society. What many of us lack today is Duality.

Duality: being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses.

(geometry) the interchangeability of the roles of points and planes in the theorems of projective geometry.

If there are two sides to a coin, metaphorically speaking, there’s a duality. Peace and war, love and hate, up and down, and black and white are dualities. Another term for a duality is a dichotomy. Duality has technical meanings in geometry and physics. In geometry, duality refers to how points and planes have interchangeable roles in projective geometry. In physics, duality is the property of matter and electromagnetic radiation to be understood best through wave theory or particle theory.

Dichotomy: A dichotomy is an idea or classification split in two. When you point out a dichotomy, you draw a clear distinction between two things.

A dichotomy is a contrast between two things. When there are two ideas, especially two opposed ideas — like war and peace, or love and hate — you have a dichotomy. You often hear about a “false dichotomy,” which occurs when a situation is unfairly represented as an “either/or” scenario. For example, the statement “All cars are either small and efficient or large and polluting” creates a false dichotomy because there are some cars that don’t fit into either category.

Oftentimes we are tempted to block out one aspect of ourselves or life for the sake of portraying an image to others to hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want anyone else to see. Because of this we lake duality which is a major aspect of life. Duality isn’t  solely about just embracing the good and/or the bad in life but to rather bring awareness to both aspects. Duality teaches us the importance of catering to the positive all while challenging us to ask ourselves, “What can I learn or take away from the negative?” In the definitions offered above we notice language such, ” Being Twofold and Interchangeability of Roles”; drawing out the idea that duality is also about how roles and situations can work together towards a bigger picture as well as take on both sides of the coin. When working with duality we realize things are never one sided and may also be more complex than what we would like to accept. This concept also keeps us mindful of trying to box ourselves as well as others in. The Yin and Yang Philosophy is arguably where we first see dualism. The philosophy teaches us two opposites which positive-negative, good-bad, light-dark, etc exist in an inseparable way. As the two may contradict one another the ultimate goal is to reach order and achieve harmony.

  In Duality Yin and Yang attract and complement each other and, as their symbol illustrates, each side has at its core an element of the other (represented by the small dots). Neither pole is superior to the other and, as an increase in one brings a corresponding decrease in the other, a correct balance between the two poles must be reached in order to achieve harmony. Ancient Encyclopedia

 

Where the advocates for the term Toxic Positivity drop the ball is by failing to realize where the real problem lies. The problem is not the positivity; it is the intent behind the statements being made at that time. Not everyone is meant to give advice and many can not handle when others vent to them. Because of this encouraging ourselves and others to use discernment when confiding in other. Everyone deserves a sounding board. Someone who gives constructive criticism as well as offers a different perspective on a series of unfortunate events. Positivity can not toxic nor can optimism, hopefulness, or any other synonyms for positivity. However, intentions, behavior, and words can be toxic. The different in positivity and negativity is in the mindset the person has at that time. Mindset is often fueled by the persons intention. The problem also lies in the lack of duality we have in society. We are continuously asked to chose sides. Today within the self care and love movement it may seem as though self love is all things positive when is actuality it is all about balancing the good and the bad. Many of us may be under the impression that self love is about embracing everything and being completely happy with the good, the bad, and the ugly. With this way of thinking it is easy to have anxiety and depression because we beat ourselves up because we honestly can’t.

IT’S A FALSE NARRATIVE

Self Love is about compassion which is another tool of positivity. It is okay to be out of shape, it is okay to be depressed, it is okay to get off track. What isn’t okay is continuing toxic behavior that feeds all of things you are unhappy with. When we feed the negative things we want to change it makes positivity and change seem further and further in the distance. A major factor of Self Love is getting to the root of the problem by asking why, jotting down triggers and cycles, and most of all not running/escaping. When we run we constantly feel like we are being haunted by our own shadow. The secrete to growing in positivity and self love is: 1. Speaking up and confronting the things that are weighing you down. That means realizing sometimes we are the culprit. Sometimes we have to come to terms with we are how we got here. It may also mean making sacrifices. 2. It is continuous process. Being positive is a daily commitment. No one is in control of our mindset but us. We choose what we focus on daily; do we choose to let 1 bad moment ruin our day or do we decide to tack on something we know will make our even more bomb? There always be a bad day however each day is a chance hit restart.

 

validation-and-hope-versus-toxic-positivity-1549221571

 

The chart above illustrates the verbiage used by someone who is portraying Toxic Positivity and Validation and Hope. In the right column Toxic Positivity can arguably be described as insensitive to the persons emotions. While the left column displays someone who is encouraging. The flaw within this chart is the failure to offer scenarios. The right column offers a vague range of phrases and slogan society loosely uses without going in-depth.  When looking at the left column we can see there is a fine line between holding space for someone to experience their emotions and enabling them to give up or become consumed by their emotions. Statements such as, “It’s okay to give up.” may send a message to someone who has a history of always giving up that it is okay never finishing anything I start. While instead trying the question, ” Have you tried a different approach?” or ” Do you know anyone with experience who could possible be of some assistance?” Reminding someone it is okay to take a step back to let something breathe is always an option; however, exhausting your options gives room for your ideal outcome. A we look a little further we can find the statement, ” We make sense of is all later.” When life is happening the situation will probably never make sense. The one thing that we can offer is perspective; a moment to really sit back and reflect. Reminding someone there is always a lesson to be learned no matter how stupid or inconvenient the situation gives the person seed of awareness. Awareness is one of many things we lack today. We become so consumed in our problems and others we never have time to remove our emotions, expectations, and wants. When we are mindful enough to step back we can see things for what they really are and sift through the bullshit and things we brought upon ourselves.

Today more than ever we need good friends and family who can hold space for us to let everything out. And we also need people on our lives to help us unpack it all for us to make sense. Most importantly we need people who are non-bias, objective, reflective, who can constructive criticism. All of this requires someone who is positive that will hold you accountable. If we are not careful we will find ourselves down another rabbit hole that causes even more division .

My Perspective,

My Views,

Share With Me,

Vibe With Me,

Rose 

 

 

Love and Ego

When we enter into a serious relationship it seems as though everyone wants to offer us  a word of advice. We often hear the word Sacrifice and Compromise over and over again; leading us to believe that relationships are nothing short of doom and gloom. But, does it have to be that way? Is there nothing more to relationships than losing yourself and always compromising?! Well, I am here to tell you there is more. Relationships are not about compromise and sacrifice. This is common when we haven’t done the work to truly get to know ourselves on a deep level. When we are in a serious committed relationship 2 words come to mind; Understanding and Blending. When we have done the work to heal and get to know ourselves we will attract someone who is welling  to do the same or has done the same. Because of this sacrifice and compromise will not be a necessity. This is because when we are both striving to provide better for ourselves and one another we are able to map out a bigger picture. When we blend we acquire all of our needs and lack nothing. However, blending can only happen after we have an understand of one another and our needs. In blending 2 parties are working together; complimenting each others strengths and weaknesses. This requires communication and maybe even reflecting depending on the topic, but above all understanding.

When we talk about relationships that last the one thing nobody ever tells us is that the Ego has no room in relationships. Our ego has the potential power to break up a powerful relationship. No one mentions this because we simply do not think about our ego or we consider it an important part of our identity. Yes, the ego is a part of our identity however the ego is fragile; meaning the slightest thing can potentially shatter our ego. In relationships we often have expectations for every level of a committed relationship from dating to marriage. When these expectations are not met the ego is bruised causing our feelings to become hurt. The ego impacts our emotions more than we like to think. Our ego does not like compromising and sacrificing. The ego wants what is wants by any means necessary and knows no boundaries; because of this many relationships do not last. This means there is no consideration. The ego is only about self which means there is zero capacity for anyone else. The ego, while it can be a helpful trait to have is detrimental when trying to build a strong relationship. Many arguments start and fester due to the ego. This is because the ego wants to be right and win every conversation. Because of this alone things are said that we truly don’t mean and should never say to one another. Oftentimes ego wants us to hold things over our loved ones head to keep score. Knowing that the ego is fragile means it is important to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. When we listen to understand this allows time to take everything in without assuming it is a challenge of ones knowledge, understanding, or wisdom.

Have you ever dated someone who is insecure?

Have you ever dated someone who is a complete nut job?

We all have!!!!!

And we have all been that person to an existent.

When ego is leading the relationship our judgement is a little foggy. Ego has no room in a relationship because we can push the people we love away and hurt them. The ego fears the potential of humiliation; in relationships we are most vulnerable. In a vulnerable state we are not in control of what happens. When we allow our ego to lead being in control is important. Because of this some of us may come off as clingy due to the fact that we want attention and time always. When we do not have it we may assume that attention and time is going to someone else. Perhaps we are a little controlling? We may want things to go our way or there is no way. Oftentimes we call this a power trip or egotistical. Allowing the ego to drive the relationship oftentimes creates a toxic relationship or a relationship where everyone is walking on egg shells. The important thing to remember is that we can not change one another in a relationship. All too often we want our partner to be the version of what we want or we walk into a relationship with the intent of “fix” or changing a person. When we do this we are manipulating that person. This too is the ego leading the relationship. Ego likes to be in control of every aspect of our lives and the truth of the matter we only have so much control here.

This is not a blog to tell you to kill the ego. This is to help you be aware when going into a serious relationship or even before considering marriage. The ego is a part of what keeps us motivated and hungry. It is also apart of what helps us to create boundaries . The idea is to put the ego in the passenger seat and get to know yourself outside the relationship. When we do these things the ego will be fed automatically. When you love yourself actively we will not need validation or an excessive amount of attention from our spouse. Also in doing so we become a better person and spouse overall.

 

My thoughts, My views,

Share with me,

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-Rose

 

 

 

Black Like Me By John Howard Griffin

The country seemed to be awakening to the depth of injustices suffered by black people. Hundreds of college students white and black, poured into black areas to register black citizens for the vote. In areas outside of the south, students on campuses were deeply concerned and picketed local businesses that continued to practice discrimination.- John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me)

If you’re a quick read you may haven’t thought this was talking about today’s current climate. However, in actuality this quote was taken from John Howard Griffins’ first book ” Black Like Me”. This book is a timeless gem that details his experience as he navigates the south as black man. Before the strange now norm of bleaching, tanning, and realistic mask Mr. Griffin took it upon himself to become a part of the struggle to get a better understanding of racism. Black Like Me is written in 1959 before the late great Martin Luther King and Malcom X became neighborhood and household names.

As a journalist Mr. Griffin is one of many whites at the time who does not support nor condone racism. However, he doesn’t know how to help nor does he understand what we and people of color go through on a daily bases. He wants to get in the mind of a negro; to feel what he feels, think what he thinks, do what he does, all to truly try to gain a deeper understanding. Initially intending it to be sort of a science experiment; as he has to receive a few injections, use certain staining cream, and take a few capsules to change and maintain his dark pigmentation.  After sharing his experience Mr. Griffin experiences backlash and a series of threats from his community causing his family to relocate to Mexico. Over the years many people wanted his story to be told along with the insight he gained during his experience; leading to Mr.Griffin working closes with Dick Gregory, Stockley Carmichael, Martin Luther King, and many other prominent Black figures.

Black Like Me shares insight on the 1968 Miami Republican Convention were a riot unfolded as Nixon became president; revealing the secrete push of the government as well as media to entice a race war (doesn’t that sound familiar). Throughout the book you can find many present day parallels in regards to what defines a true Black Community Leader as well as tips given in ways white business men and leaders could help solve the many issues in the Ghettos. Black Like Me offers much insight in regards to history they may have never been told; giving you a true account of from the inside of Civil Rights progression.

This perhaps was the most terrible time in modern history insofar as civil rights were concerned in this land. Black people began to believe in greater numbers that this country was really moving toward genocide, and from the point of view of Black America, the evidence  was alarming. – John Howard Griffin ( Black Like Me)

Foundation of Love

LOVE…..

The 4 letter word we spend our entire lives learning and relearning. We tend to go through phases of feeling as though we have it all figured out; until we reach a new level along out journey. Many say we experience love when we first burn. This is because children are pure. When we are born we love everyone and everything; or just about. Others may say we never truly know what love is until we meet our first love or one true love. But the question is, ” Do we really know what love is?” We spend most of our lives being coached on the do’s and don’ts of love as well as what to look for when it happens. The truth is love looks and feels different for all of us. However, the foundations of love are all the same. Why!!! How!!!! Think about a house. Each house may look different yet the foundation of each house structurally the same. We need a blue print, carved out dimensions, frame, insolation. The look and strength of the house is dependent upon the individuals within the relationship. When it comes to a relationship we oftentimes hear, ” love is the foundation of any relationship”. If a relationship is looked at as a home  and love being the foundation; everyone needs to be solid. So, what make a solid foundation?

I’M GLADE YOU ASKED.

When we hear the word  RELATIONSHIP  or LOVE we tend to instantly think of intimate relationships of any kind. But, the truth is relationships are everywhere; we ourselves in relationships with our parents, siblings, extended family, co-workers, children, friends, etc. Each of these relationships has the potential to display an example of love.  However, our foundation of love is built at a very early age. From the moment we are born we begin to observe and learn what is it to be a human being. As a child we watch and mimic our parents or caregivers. It is within this very moment we learn about relationships and what love looks, sounds, and feels like. When it comes to Early Childhood Development love is at the center. Our foundation of love is built within the early developmental stages of our children. How we nurture our children as well as the type of environments they are in influences their development. When we talk about nurturing we are shining a light on the relationship between child and parent. Some may argue, “The first and most important relationship a child experiences in their lifetime is with their mother and father.” or “A child’s first love is their mother or father.”.  This is due to the fact that children learn by way of mimicking what is they see as well as what is they hear. Everything is mimicry for children all the way down to a child’s first laugh. This is only if a child’s brain is being stimulated. Human interaction is important from birth and our parents are who we interact with the most during the “prime years” of our life.

“It is important to keep in mind Brain Stimulations and Human Interaction is about more than words and sounds; this consist of touch, smells, sounds, words, as well as personal actions.”

The first thing a child experiences on this earth is human touch. It is here we gain an understand of what love feels like. Human touch to this day has proven to be a very important factor for mental health; as well as deemed sacred to some across the world. This is because we as humans need affection. Affection is something every living organism needs; and can be something as simple as a hug , kind words, or a pat on the back. Affection is one if not the only way someone truly feels loved and secure. Researchers show that a child who grows up without affection from parents lacks a significant amount of confidence in their adulthood. Because affection and human touch plays such a heavy roll with our emotions especially human interaction children that grow up without these things in their life tend to become socially awkward; not really knowing what it is to truly have a positive relationship. Because of this many researchers believe child that lack these things will not be as successful as they progress and transition in to adulthood and the working class.

Our foundation of love starts with our parents. It is our mother and father who teaches us how to lay the foundation. Because of this parents are expected to lead by example; this is the corner stone of effective parenting. It has been said that children not only learn how to treat others from their parents but also how to treat themselves in the process. Researchers also argue that children who are raised by parents who practice self-care, take breaks, and problem solving effectively with spouses tend to be less anxious and “better off” in their adulthood. Let’s explore this  a little more in-depth shall we?!  When it comes to positive rearing many parents will tell their children, “Act like you have home training.” or ” Act like you have some manners.” However, these are things a child can only learn from watching, listening, learning, and practicing; when given the opportunity.  Children learn communication skills from their parents and environment. As a child observes their surroundings they learn what is socially acceptable and unacceptable. This is also how the concept of respect is learned. Communication is all about respect or the lack there of. How we talk to one another says a lot about how we feel about them; it displays how much we care for them and how much respect we have for them. As a child grows up this is how the child will not only act towards their parents but towards just about everyone they interact with. This will also be the bases of what a child believes a healthy relationship looks like all the way into adulthood.

At the core of relationships is Self Love and Self Care. If we do not give ourselves the respect and love we deserves we cannot hold anyone else to that standard. However, this is again something that is learned with our parents. When a daughter watches her mother she learns what is means to take care of herself. She learns the important of hygiene, pampering, and much more. Much like sons learn similar core self care routines from their father. These things can be expounded upon in terms of how we treat ourselves and how we allow others to treat us. If a child sees their parent talking badly about or to themselves, working none stop, not taking care of their mental or physical health; a child will think that is normal for all adults. However, if a child sees their parents taking care of themselves by working out, doing yoga, meditating, or simply setting out time to laugh, be happy, and healthy; the child will mimic this as they grow. It is here a child learns the do’s and don’ts of relationships as a whole. Too many adults are going through life learning what it is to have a healthy relationship while trying to heal from childhood traumas and unlearning the toxic norms of their past. The foundation of love is something we begin building from the moment we are born with the assistance and guidance of our parents. Because of this we must have the goal of learning a from our parents yet aspire to be better for the next generation. If we rear our children in a positive way and help build a solid foundation there would be less trauma children would have to heal from as they grow up. And because of this we as adults would know how to heal ourselves without depending because we were equipped as a child. Broken children come from broken homes and create broken relationships.

Peace and Blessing,
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Art Of Detachment

Take A Deep Breath In Through The Nose.

Let It All Go. 

      In today’s’ climate we are all plugged in; including myself. We can’t help but tune into the latest scandal at the White House. The injustice that seems to be hitting us from every aspect. Not to mention we love our daily dose of Tea. When do we every have time to decompress? Many of us use our daily dose of Tea as a way to decompress because let’s face it, “Our lives aren’t filled with this much drama so we have watch it somewhere…… Right?” Wrong. Now listen it is totally fine to indulge. However, we haven’t mastered the concept of balance just yet. In most cases our tea only adds to the excessive doses of negativity we invite into our home. Sometimes we need to unplug and find a way to detach from the world around us.

Detach: to separate from something else or from others especially for a purpose.

To separate especially from a larger mass and usually without violence or damage.

Detachment: the state of being objective or aloof.  Lack of interest in worldly concerns.

Freedom from the favoring of one side over another.

Why is it so important to Detach?!

          Some of us may assume that being detached means being careless, withdrawn, and emotionless. Well, that would mean being extremely cold and in some cases out of touch. The Art of Detachment is about self-care; being able reconnect with self and what we truly care about in regard to values, morals, and interest. We are also able to have the luxury of viewing things from a birds eye view.  Detachment is about taking a step back to gain clarity above all things. With some much of our information controlled by media we do not have the time nor space to gather information and understanding for ourselves. It oftentimes feels as though negativity is thrown at us a mile a minute; as well as constant reminders of how people in society should be living with zero signs of letting up. Because of this we often times feel overwhelmed and drained. Because of this we seek coping mechanisms or outlets.

      As a people it is important for us to detach from negative people, thoughts, and tangible things. Within the spiritual and/or conscience community we often hear people say, ” Let go of everything that no longer serves you.” Well what does that even mean?! Letting go of what no longer serves you means to let go of things that do not make you a better person in the long run. It also means letting go of what may be holding you back from advancing along in your spiritual journey. Letting go is a very hard thing to do. However, the hardest part is always getting started. The idea of letting go is oftentimes hard for us to fathom because when we are emotional invested into anything we tend to cling.  Even if that thing doesn’t align with our beliefs and values we will hold on to it because it is something that has been with us for so long. It is simply because the things we hold on to make us feel comfortable; it is something we have grown used to. However, holding on often times does more harm than good. Letting go is in many cases the best thing we can do to preserve our mental and spiritual state above all.

What Is Holding You Back?

What Is Holding You Down?

What Cause Harm or Dis-Ease Within Your Life?

What Are You Constantly Consuming?

     Many of us do not know what it means to unplug. Unplugging is essentially detaching  from everything. Media, Phones, TV, People outside of your loved ones. Often times when we hear the word unplug  we think that we have to completely go off the grid. Well sometimes we can’t do that unless we are on a vacation. Perhaps, turn off your phone for a day or 2 over the weekend. Delete your social media apps, go without TV for while, visit a park, or drive to the beach.  Maybe you simply spend a day inside and begin a self-care routine. Detaching begins and looks differently for everyone. However, within today’s’ society social media or our phone rules. And because of that one of the first steps is to ditch the phone and reconnect; getting back to self as well as nature. Ultimately this is because we have to be mindful of what we put into our bodies in every way. It is good to ask yourself every once in a while, ” What am I consuming?” The Art of Detachment is about acknowledging that we may be in this world however we are not of this world. In unplugging from the world this allows us a chance to reconnect with who we are and what truly matters to you. Oftentimes we are told or directed in how to feel and view things. When we are able to detach we begin to make judgments of our own. Just because we are told how we should feel and view things does not mean we have to subscribe to it. Not everything that is fed to us we have to eat. As we gain a little perspective, over time we may come to the realization that certain things truly don’t affect us anymore. We may also begin to notice how a large sum of things do not hold any value within our lives and simply do not matter. This is okay; we are not meant to be engulfed in worldly matters that are not of serves to our highest good or the highest good of others. Today it is easy for us to get distracted however there no situation that is new under the sun. However, we have a habit of blurring the lines of what is beneficial and what is self sabotage. We have the capacity to be aware of everything that is taking place without giving our energy away.

      The Art of Detachment also teaches us a lesson that many of us are uncomfortable with. All too often we become obsessed with the vision we have in regards to how our life should be; it has to be on our terms on our time. We as people like to have a hand in every aspect of our lives. Because of this it seems that fear of the unknown is almost second nature to us. However, we shy away from this conversation because no one wants to be labeled a “Control Freak”. And those that do consider themselves a control freak tend to glorify the name without acknowledging the high anxiety and anger associated with the habit. When wanting to have a hand in every aspect of our life we run the risk of being too attached. To What?!! We tend to be attached to the expectations we set for our self. We “hold the vision” without leaving room for growth perhaps even mistakes. Mistakes and failure are both opportunities for growth. Detachment teaches us that no one is perfect and it isn’t our fault. While we do have control; there are somethings that just aren’t in our power because we are apart of something bigger than ourselves. Detachment allows us to be okay with letting go. Being “too” attached and worried is saying we do not trust the Universe The Most High. Leave room for magic.

Have you ever read the 4 Agreements? The 4 Agreements are agreements we make with ourselves each day. The 4 Agreements are:

  1. Always Do Your Best
  2. Be Impeccable With Your Words
  3. Take Nothing Personally
  4. Don’t Make Assumptions

     The 4 Agreements teach us the basics of the Art of Detachment. These 4 agreements act as a mindfulness kit; our coat of armor. When all 4 are put into practice we are able to defuse a situation and calm our anxiety before it come up to surface level. This is because we are protected within on a spiritual and mental level. Each agreement acts as mindfulness check for the soul. Giving us the power to detach from situations, habits, and more that may not matter to us in years to come. Unplugging is also a great tool to have whenever we feel we are losing touch with self. It is something that can be viewed as spring cleaning for the soul. However, it should be done more than once a year because it is a healing process. And each time may be and look different. The beauty is each time we unplug the more we learn about ourselves.

     The Art of Detachment brings about balance that overflows into our personal lives in a positive way. We gain a sense of duality  within our daily life by being able to decipher how to distribute time between what we need and what we want. By doing so we are less likely to experience burnout, anxiety, or irritability because we are satisfied. This feeling shows up in the way we approach situations and how carry ourselves. Find balance within the Art of Detachment is the true essence of being unbothered in a society that is designed to hit our emotional triggers.

 

Peace and Blessing,

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Jamaica No Problem!! Negril For The Thrills

When you think of Jamaica what is the first thing that comes to mind? Shottas or Bob Marley?Is it the beautiful resorts and white sand? I recently heard someone say, ” People Think That Jamaica is Beautiful But It Isn’t Some Real Bad Things Happen There.”

The truth is bad things happen in our own backyard often times on  our doorstep. However that doesn’t stop us from going out every week. There are “bad” areas in every city; places you should not go if you don’t know anyone in that area. For that reason alone Jamaica was a wonderful way to break in my passport. Honestly, I was excited yet nervous about being in Jamaica because I went with zero expectations and reservations. I just knew I had a list of to do’s that needed to be checked off; everything else was a bonus. We stayed in a town named Negril, Jamaica that had so much to offer. Unlike Montego Bay things are a little cheaper and less touristy. Many people stay here to get away from the shenanigans of the city. Of course people still on their hustle but after a while you either ignore it, shake your head, or they leave you alone all together.

The 2 main things that I loved about Jamaica is the food and you get Alkaline everywhere. Because the island has many natural fresh water falls the alkaline water comes straight from the source to the people. Making the process more eco and people friendly. Each day we made it a point to try out local foods away from the resort and we were successful. The entire trip I was mindful about eating strictly sea food and ital  dishes; which is not hard in Jamaica. Majority of the people are vegan which made it easy to find Ital food. Also everyone has access to different types of fish daily due to the fisherman on the island. Needless to say everything was fresh and everything we ate was made to order. A place by the name of Rasta Lemonade made a huge impression on us. The restaurant was right down the beach from us so we ate there a couple of times. Rasta Lemonade is a strictly Ital restaurant that makes your food to order; along side daily freshly made juice. The portions they give you for each platter is massive. The 2 days we ate there we were full for at least half of the day. However you can honestly find good food on accident anywhere that you go on the island. Also since everything is made fresh it is best to never be in a rush to get anywhere. On average the food can take anywhere between 5-20 minutes to make. But, you’re on vacation what’s the rush anyway RIGHT!?

While in Negril, Jamaica we blended in fairly well. It was clear we weren’t raised up on the island itself. However, many people assumed we were American Jamaican which made our stay a little less nerve wrecking. Meaning we weren’t a target for shenanigans most tourist find themselves in. Because of this we made friends with some of the locals. In Negril many people are on their hustle in a good way. Two of the people that we became acquainted with were our personal drivers. In Jamaica there are a lot of tour companies that own buses that strictly take a group of tourist around the country.  This may sound cool until you look at the prices they are charging and how crowded the buses are. Also the tour bus is often in a rush to get you to all the places people want to see. So it’s not worth it. On the other hand locals in Negril made their own Uber or Lyft system. They wait for tourist to come out of the resort and ask if they need a taxi. Having a taxi is much like having a personal driver. The cost is cheaper because it is calculated by the distance of the drive. Also because they are using their personal cars to drive you around. The drivers willingly act as your tour guide and wait for you at each stop you make.  Some may even enjoy the day with you if each part feels comfortable. Each day you are there you will most likely have the same driver. If the driver is not available they send someone else in their place for that day. The drivers we had while in Negril were Roger and Chris (yes we made it a point to know their names). They really made an impression on us because of how laid back, kindhearted and open they were. The entire time in Negril Roger was our main driver and we had the pleasure of meeting his father which was such a treat. We made it a point to genuinely ask questions about the history and culture of Jamaica; which they willingly answered. This made the trip an educational experience as well. While with Roger he went to every site with us and often times gave us a little tour of his own. He also didn’t mind having fun with us along the way; which made each of us comfortable . Chris was a little different; he was more of a talker than a hanging out type of guy. As he drove us around we made frequent historical stops; such as Columbus Landing. Turns out Columbus actually landed in Jamaica before redirecting himself to America. He also shared with us his experience growing up in the country side and how things have changed over the years. Each of the drivers really knew how to maneuver through the jungle and rain forest. Yes we went on some adventures willingly.

This may seem scary right? To just go an adventures with some men who claim they’re taxi drivers?!!

Well we also made friends with the security at the resort as well as some of the staff women. Because of this we knew where to go and who to talk to while in Negril by our second night their. So each day and night people did look out for not only us but other tourist as well. What really made the trip magical is that everyone we encountered we made a connection with. We bridged a gap that some people are too afraid to do or so self righteous. We did witness times where people were very rude to the those who are simply doing their job. It is something special when you see someones face light up because you actually came back to speak with them or to even buy something that they may have. Often times to get something free or a little extra just because of that simple moment of kindness.

Now I am not going to lie by the 6th day I was tired and ready to go back home. Only because each day we got into something. We would wake up and hit the beach running. if we weren’t on the beach all day we were in the hills going on adventures. I will say that it would be awesome to spend a week in Negril or Jamaica period then got to another island for another week. We did meet a family who spent 3 weeks in Negril. I was amazed because in a week and a half you can pretty much see the whole island if you moved around like we did. We purposely left some things untouched to have a reason to go back. However, we did everything we set out to do and a little more. Of course we had our iffy and scary moments while there. But it only lasted a few minutes because we realized we were okay. Luckily we ran across some genuine people; yet at the same time we didn’t linger long enough to get taken advantage of as well. We developed a fine line between being nice and being gullible because at the end of the day it is am island that has been raped and taken advantage for so long. Because of this everyone is trying to make it the best they know how.

Tips for Jamaica:

  1. Convert some of your currency and spend before reverting back to your cash.
  2. Bring a small bottle of mosquito spray. Try to find a natural brand because the smell is string.
  3. Do not stay on the resorts the whole time. The resort is not Jamaica; there is so much the island has to offer. It helps you throw away the stereotypes.
  4.  It is okay to say NO!!
  5. Do not fall for the tricks. Sometimes people will try to talk you into buying them food or drinks.
  6. Let nothing ruin your trip.

 

Places To Visit:

  1. Ricks Cafe: The world famous Ricks Cafe is known for their cliff divers. The cafe opens around 1pm and closes around 8pm or 9pm. There is a live DJ who is really good who is accompanied by dancers who convince tourist to dance and have a good time. The drinks are really good and very strong. The food isn’t the best on the island however it is good. There is a live bad that places everyday at 7:00 but they aren’t a good act. All in all Ricks Cafe is a great places to relax and enjoy the end of your day.
  2. Pelicans Bar: If you are up for an adventure and a good time Pelican Bar is right up your alley. Pelicans Bar is a bar that sits in the middle of the ocean right off of the Black River. You have to take a boat to get there which isn’t a problem because there are many boats that go back and forth to the bar. At Pelicans Bar they serve food and drinks all day. The food is freshly caught around the hour to serve the guest. And there is great music to set the mood. Sounds crazy?! Not at all. The Bar is completely solid made of bamboo and real solid wood. It offers seating inside as well as outside. If you pay close enough attention you may even be able to met the amazingly talented Rasta who built the bar himself not once but twice. As a really bad hurricane did come a few years back. Definitely a place I will always return to.
  3.  Mayfield  Falls: The beautiful Mayfield Falls is a place like no other. You have to go a little ways up the forest to get there however it is worth it. The Mayfield Falls is a tour through the falls and the rain forest. You are accompanied by a tour guide who is well experienced through the rivers and water falls. The tour guide is hands on and helps you along the path and takes pictures for you. When in the falls you are free to swim and sit in the water falls. After taking the tour you are welcome to order from their kitchen and have a bite to eat. The food at Mayfield is amazing and they give you really big portions.
  4. Bob Marley Mausoleum: If you are a Bob Marley fan the museum doesn’t do his justice. The Bob Marley Mausoleum resides in Nine Mile where he was raised and grew up. The Mausoleum is on the land where his family lived. There lays the tombs of his Mother, Brother, and Bob Marley himself. When you arrive you are appointed a tour guide. While on the tour you sea the home if his grandmother as well as his mother. There are areas where you are not allowed to take pictures. When walking through the mausoleums you are directed to take you shows and to not take pictures. Bob Marleys mother made her own jerk and dipping sauces while living. They are only sold at the mausoleum;during the tour you are given time to rest and listen to music while taking her sauces. There are gift shops and a restaurant where you are able to eat,drink, and indulge.

 

See pictures of more adventures below