Let the rain wash over you.

One of my favourite childhood memories and pleasures was being allowed to bathe in the rain. Man, we would wait for a nice, heavy shower and eagerly look to mummy for the approval to change into swimsuits and have a nice frolic. It got so that we could tell by the force of the rain how long it would last, if we could get a nice bath/game going or if it was what we called “sick” rain. You know…the rain that no matter how much hot cocoa you drink afterward, you’re still gonna get sick. Yep, I’m a rain…dare I say it…I’m a rainWOman when it comes to rain.

This is a pleasure I still enjoy even in adulthood. It feels so invigorating just standing in the rain. Feeling each drop coolly merging with your skin. Face towards the sky, there is something so zen about feeling the water on your skin. Pores raised. Cool rain on warm skin. Just so fresh and new. And I can hear the tsk tsks now but for me there is something so naughty about being in the rain and of course the memories of my childhood always bring me a special joy. I will definitely need a secluded backyard one day, so that when I have kids, I can share this simple pleasure with them. And well, when I say there is something naughty about rain, just think wet kisses…cold rain…warm bodies. But I digress.

The very cycle of how rain is formed is powerful and a true testament to the power of creation. Nothing good can happen without rain. Water is life, without it we cannot grow or evolve. Just as the earth accepts rain, so that it can be fruitful, it’s the same for us. There will be rain in our lives, but I choose to see it as a blessing, come to wash us, to nourish us and to give life. Yes it may cause a flood, which might clear some old paths and create new ones. Yes, the water might be muddy but in its wake, nothing is the same. Rain changes everything.

On my little island in the sun, rain is a fact of life, especially now as we are in the thick of Hurricane season. Ernesto is moving his way through the Caribbean and he leaves in his wake thunder showers aplenty. Rain, is in fact, a fact of every life. After all tears must fall. That’s why Standing in the RAIN is such a powerful metaphor for standing in our feelings. Letting them wash over us. The only way to heal it, is to feel it. We have to sit with our emotions or stand in them, so that we can push through them and move forward.

And after the rain has subsided and the clouds have parted, the sun always comes out, sometimes even with a rainbow. All the more reason to enjoy it.

I must apologize for not being up-to-date with my 29 gifts posts, I was busy at work and this was also my birthday week. My 29-Gift journey ended yesterday and I will post the last few days before the weekend is over.

“What will I do without a best friend?” – Beaches (one of my all time favourite movies)

Today’s affirmation:

Today I’m grateful for my real friends.

In the movie Friends With Benefits Jamie’s mother advises her to “update her fairytale” pretty much saying that your prince charming or soul mate doesn’t necessarily mean an actual Prince on a white steed, come to rescue you from a life without love.

This rang home to me, because I’ve known for a long time that this romanticized version of a soul mate may exist somewhere out there but for me and my reality, I have been blessed to have more than one soul mate and they have nothing to do with romance.

The only way to have a friend is to be one. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever met someone and just clicked? It’s like you’ve known each other all your lives. A kinda love at first sight thing? Have you had that happen with someone you had absolutely no romantic interest in whatsoever? This is how it was for me when I met my friend Laquetha. It was love at first sight, the first day of our 6th form orientation. We just clicked. And have been clicking for more than 15 years. Wow 15 years. 15 years of loving, caring, growing and strengthening a bond that time and distance has not shaken.

My gift today was calling and wishing Laquetha a happy birthday and reminiscing a bit about the years. We’ve been through a lot together. We survived 6th Form in a Boy’s School, the birth or her son and my godson who by the way was born on my birthday (yaay me!), her move to the US, my mother’s death and the various heart-breaks in between. The good times, the great times, the sad times, she’s been there.

Laquetha is my ride-or-die-sister-from-another-mother-will-always-love-and-cherish-her soul mate. I feel blessed to have her in my life. She inspires me to continue to move in the direction of my dreams no matter what. She’s a single mom and recently graduated from University. So proud of her and all she has accomplished. Happy Birthday, love.

Today’s prayer and affirmation:

Today I surrender to my heart. Teach me to be patient. I trust that I am right where I am supposed to be.

My friend Narisa is fasting for the month of Ramadan. I decided to join her in her fast today. This is my gift solidarity with my friend during this solemn time.

Fasting, generally speaking is the voluntary avoidance of something that you deem as good. Usually it means restricting what you eat and drink. In my own Roman Catholic tradition, fasting is prayer of the body. It is a spiritual discipline that takes you on a journey to tame the body so you can focus on God. Fasting is also a way of doing penance for past excesses. Lent is the most popular period of fasting for Catholics; it is the 40 days before Easter Sunday. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving go hand in hand.

Reading up on Ramadan I realized that it teaches you patience. My friend Narisa further explained that patience and perseverance are fundamental teachings in the Qu’ran. You are called to restrict food and drink, this includes water. You eat before the sun rises and break fast when it sets.

I chose to do this fast for three reasons: My friend is doing this great thing, which after doing it for a day, I have a new respect for her; I wanted to reflect on my own lack of patience and to focus my thoughts inward and meditate on my path and to break this thraldom to my body and get in touch with my spirit. I got up early like I planned and had what I call an “Ultimate Green Smoothie” because I put oatmeal, flax seeds and lots of other good stuff in it. I had 2 glasses of water. Then I said some prayers and started today’s posts.

I was fine until I got to work. The coffee smells were playing with my mind. By 10 I was thinking to myself, why, oh why did I agree to do this? In my Catholic tradition, I could have some water at least. But in this tradition, you have nothing to eat or drink during the fast. I was sleepy all day, probably because of the early morning. But I made it through with prayer and mindfulness and lots of encouragement from Narisa. Needless to say, when I had that first sip of ice-cold water when I broke fast it never tasted so good.

I will do this fast again. My birthday is coming up and I’ve decided that this year I will be giving instead of waiting to receive. I want to prepare my mind and body as I enter a new year of life and a new phase of loving.

The Path is sometimes precarious

Today’s affirmation:

Today everything is happening perfectly. Today whatever I give, will be just right.

I spent today in a funk mostly. Just reflecting on my life, my mother, my job, my goals, hopes and dreams and what I’m doing to further them. I’m getting more and more frustrated at the office and it’s manifesting itself in my punctuality and general disinterest. I have good days and bad and I’m bored. Very, very, very bored.

Sometimes, fear and doubt consume me and I feel like if I truly express what is in my heart, it will be wrong somehow. Starting this blog was one of my steps in the direction of my dreams. Today’s gift is the renewal of my covenant to myself to always live my truth, to walk in light and to not be afraid to express myself even if it makes other people uncomfortable.

All I have is this one life, this one chance to be who I truly am. And that’s what today was about, re-affirming that I am on the right path. The only path! There is no right or wrong decision, only experiences that bring us closer to our authentic selves.

Go to your fears, sit with them, stare at them. Your fears are your friend; their only job is to show you undeveloped parts of yourself that you need to cultivate to live a happy life. The more you do the things you’re most afraid of doing the more life opens up. Embrace your fears and your fears will embrace you. – Jackson Kiddard

Today’s affirmation:

Today I give from the heart.

Lately, I’ve been chronically late for work. I know it’s because there is a lot going on inside of me. My birthday is coming up, that usually brings reflections on where I am and where I’m going and why I’m not further along. My mother’s 2 year anniversary is a week away. I think about her all the time. I miss her so much. My lateness is a combination of all that coupled with insomnia and a general I-don’t-feel-like-going-to-work-today-ness.

Today was no different. I got to work a few minutes late. As I was walking through the doors of my building, I felt a pang of guilt for not putting the needs of the company for which I am paid just enough to keep me coming back, before my own. I decided that today, I was going to view my work and my co-workers through eyes of love and compassion. This is hard most times because my department is a melting pot of personalities, mine included. Usually I slip into a let’s just get this over with mode. But the more I thought about it, is the more I realized that life is in the details. And work was part of those details. I was still coming off the high of the Nariva Hike and it really got me thinking about work in the context of my life. The time I spent at the office with these people I barely know or care to know, made up a third of my day. I needed to be more present to this experience that affords me the opportunity to experience things like Nariva and Jamaica and Green Smoothies.

So I set about being more mindful as the day progressed. There is a report outstanding, which our IT department is working on delivering. In the meantime, my unit still had to present something to Senior Management. Over the weekend a solution occurred to me and when I got to work I decided to test it and it worked. Sharing this bit of information with my supervisor would mean working overtime to get this interim report done.

I shared it with him anyway, because I wanted to clear the bad energy from my lateness, my disdain for my co-workers and my general apathy of late during time I spend in my office building. I wanted to complete this project and I wanted to do something positive for my unit. Yes, technically it wasn’t my “job”, but I felt so much better when the report was completed and presented, despite having to work late to complete it. There was a certain satisfaction and pride when I did; I think my intention was accomplished.