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The Lizard

August 4, 2020

I went to hot yoga today. My left leg was pushed forward into a pose called lizard. My right leg extended back on the floor. My elbows reached precariously for the mat beneath me. Every part of my hips felt resistance. It’s a difficult posture, but one that I love because it works deep into the foundation of my body. It’s a Yin pose, designed to be held longer than traditional yoga asanas. While pressing into the position, I found grit. Determination. Strength. Any true yogi will tell you yoga parallels life. We discover the forgotten corners of our bodies. We connect with the spaciousness of our minds. We move quickly through Yang practices with heavy breaths and sweat. It feels like life in America. Rushing through sun salutations and warrior postures in a nation that is in a constant battle with itself. In Yin, we slow down. We pause and notice things: our breath, the four corners of our feet, the way we feel when we rest our middle forehead on the yoga mat. It feels like the cultures America forgot – indigenous and wise. When our gears come to a halt, there is depth.


Sometimes my thoughts go deep. I may remember something I forgot, have an aha! moment or find a solution to something that’s been on my mind. Sometimes the depth is in my body. I may feel a physical release or uncover a new knowing about the mechanics of this body I’ve been inhabiting for over fifty years.


It’s always that way. When we slow down, we can go deeper.

We can see more, whether we are looking outward or inward.


I led a hike through a lush forest a few weeks ago. When we reached the summit, I led the group in meditation. I explained it’s possible to walk or run through the entire trail system without ever noticing the trees or the way the sun peeks through the space between leaves. Without hearing the song of the birds or the cicadas. Without feeling the gentle caress of the breeze as it whispers past your cheek. We can hike an entire mountain without noticing the rocks. We can sail an entire ocean without acknowledging the fish. We can trek across a foreign land without respecting its people.


It takes work to be open and present, so why should we bother? Why not live our lives in a rush, running toward what's good, better or best? On a quest for the most prestigious job, devoted relationship, lavish house, or brilliant children. Perhaps what we’re looking for is with us all the time like the red shoes at the end of The Wizard of Oz that so easily brought Dorothy home. It’s in every dewy blade of grass. Every ripe apple or slice of watermelon. Every sunrise and wisp of cloud. Every gentle gaze and caress. Perhaps if we slowed down long enough to recognize the miracle of the moment, we would find that we already have what we seek.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is me in lizard pose on my patio. If you’re interested in finding depth in your own body or mind, check out my Fall Retreat Series. Details at https://honeybutterflyz.com/events. If you're interested in easily accessible ways to slow down and expand upon your moments, try my meditation or yoga nidra practices. You can access here: https://honeybutterflyz.com/free-downloads

Chinese Slippers

July 28, 2020

A few days ago, my bestie looked at one of my recent vlogs and said she had feedback for me. I bristled a bit. I’m a big girl, but I still don’t really like criticism. I know I have to accept constructive feedback to get better, and I welcome it, but my body still tenses up. Like, uh-oh, what did I do. Then she dropped it on me, “You’ve got to stop saying ‘shameless plug’ when you’re talking about your book.” As soon as she said it, I felt the earth shift inside of me. It was as if a tectonic plate was out of position and a seismic event realigned me. I knew I felt awkward smiling and presenting my book to my viewers in that way. It seemed cute the same way wearing Chinese slippers felt cute when I was dating my first boyfriend in middle school. I was taller than him, and I was literally trying to make myself smaller. It didn’t feel right. Out of the two of us, I won the height lottery, but attempting to be shorter wasn’t actually helping him in any way. It definitely wasn't helping me. But, it wasn’t until my friend spoke those words that I realized I was in Chinese slippers all over again.  Damn, I thought I got rid of that habit years ago. I’m a grown-ass woman standing in my truth. Meanwhile, I was dimming my own light and I didn’t even realize it.


I wrote my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings to help other women. I wrote it to share what I’ve learned over many years so others might have an easier journey. I put love into it. I put my whole heart into it. I believe it is Divinely inspired. I’ve worked tirelessly on it. How could I flippantly refer to it as a shameless plug? It makes me wonder when girls learn to dumb ourselves down. When do we learn to make ourselves small so others can be more comfortable?  I don't have an answer to that, but what I do know is this:  I WON’T BE DOING THAT SHIT AGAIN.


And, if I do, I hope to have another good friend call me out. It’s remarkable how certain behaviors can be ingrained in us. 


Staying humble is important, but so is shining our light and tooting our horn. 


There’s a Muhammad Ali quote that I love, “I am the greatest. I said that before I even knew I was.” 


Words have power. We can’t become what we’re unwilling to say out loud.


If you’re on a path toward growth and evolution, be wary of the slippery rocks. There will always be old habits ready to set you back, whether mental like dumbing yourself down or physical like skipping your workout. The greatest blessing you can hope for is a friend to grab your hand and pull you up and say something brilliant like, “What the fuck?!”


I wrote my book to change the world, one beautiful Black woman at a time. I will never apologize for that to make other people comfortable.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. If you’ve never heard of Chinese slippers, they are super-flat, fabric Mary Janes. If you’ve never heard of Mary Janes, you’re probably too young to be reading this with all the bad words I dropped this week. The photo is a meme I found online. It expresses 2020 perfectly, as well as how I felt when I realized what I had done. I swear, I could stare at this picture for hours. If you want to check out my Vlog on YouTube, click the link here.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ax2RUOiL-EU6aMQxQyQQA?view_as=subscriber

Spoiler Alert

July 21, 2020

Last month I was saddened to see that Jas Waters took her own life. I didn’t know her name until she died, but I’ve been a fan of This Is Us since the show began. For me, it is one of the few places I can see a Black woman rock her natural hair, be loved deeply by a Black man, and raise her children with pride. I googled her then. She was only thirty-nine. On Friday, I learned that Tamar Braxton threatened to kill herself more than once before being found unresponsive in a hotel room. That word ‘unresponsive’ gives me chills. The same word used for both Whitney and Bobbi Kristina. Tamar is only forty-three.  Thankfully, she survived and is getting professional care. Because we live In a capitalist nation in a love affair with money, we are often confused when the rich or well-off are suicidal. For most of us, suicide is beyond a last resort. Why aren’t wealthy people guaranteed happiness? Shouldn’t they have everything? And, if they don’t, can’t they buy it? Medical care, mental health experts, personal chefs, the best homes, schools and conveniences. If money is the panacea we’ve been taught, why aren’t all the rich people happy?


I understand that some celebrities end up bankrupt, but even financially strapped stars seem to have a platform for reemergence most of us could only dream of. I imagine they have a network of influential friends and access to resources. So, what makes them just as vulnerable to depression as the rest of us regular folks? Is it possible they are even more at risk?


The Mayo Clinic defines depression as “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” It can interfere with day-to-day activities and even cause physical pain.¹ According to Mental Health America, approximately 17% of the Black population in the U.S. reported having a mental health issue in the past year. While suicidal thoughts and attempts are lower for African-Americans than for the general population they are continuing to rise.²


I got a long-overdue massage today. My shoulder has been doing all kinds of things lately, and I was chatting with my massage therapist about how I’ve learned that emotions can be stored in the body, so it makes sense that depression can cause physical pain. It’s always interesting to me when what I’ve learned about holistic health is confirmed by the traditional medical community.


If depression is so common, what can we do to decrease our risk? I believe the keys are self-awareness, authenticity, self-love and connection. As I said in my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, “Trying to cultivate self-love without self-awareness is like slicing bread before it’s baked.” My book or any other rich and resourceful self-help book is a good place to sow the seeds of positive mental health. Here are a few tips you can use today:


1. Set aside time for yourself. Even if you’re a mother of four, you need a few minutes in the day before the kids wake up or after they go to sleep for alone time. Whether you choose to watch a funny movie or engage in meditation or yoga, alone time and personal space are important for mental health.


2. Know your boundaries. “No.” is a full sentence. Period. Full stop. Adults have a lot of responsibilities. One of the many pleasures of adulthood is a sense of autonomy. You do not have to explain why you don’t want to go to a party, why you don’t want to date someone, or why you don’t want to volunteer for a project. If you want to be extra sweet, say “No, thank you.”


3. Stay connected. Anyone who’s studied or experienced domestic violence or depression knows there is often a sense of disconnection. You may feel that your family doesn’t support you. Or, in the case of domestic violence, you may have a partner actively trying to disconnect you from your support system. Humans are social creatures. We need support. In the wake of COVID, in-person connection is more difficult, and for some computers can be challenging. There is no excuse for not making a phone call. 


We are all aware that physical health is important. I would like to see a world where there is as much awareness around mental, emotional and spiritual health as there is around rock-hard abs. Spoiler alert: the abs don’t actually bring joy.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is a picture I took during my run this morning. Noticing the beauty around you is another great way to improve your mental health. I noticed this tree at a gas station near my home. f you want to learn more about depression and mental health, check out my sources: 

1- https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

2- https://www.mhanational.org/issues/black-and-african-american-communities-and-mental-health

If you want to learn more about my self-help memoir, click here: https://honeybutterflyz.com/books


Wisdom Woke Me

July 14, 2020

Last night I raffled off my second “Read & Relax” spa basket live on Instagram. I’ve been having so much fun with video recordings lately. While waiting for folks to log on, I took the time to talk about the twelve drops of nectar in my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings. The name, “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis,” started as the title of a wellness retreat that I had planned for the spring, before COVID changed all of our plans. The book came to me as an idea to gift to retreat participants. Ten of the drops came to me in the middle of the night, around 3:00am. They are a Divine gift from a place far more expansive than my own mind.


I share them with you today so you can have a little taste of the wisdom that woke me up one night. The term “woke” has become so fundamental in our popular culture. It signifies an awakening to knowledge and awareness – stepping out of our slumber. Perhaps if we paid more attention to what keeps us up at night and what wakes us from our sleep, we would all be a bit more woke.


The first drop in my book, “Heal the Past First,” discusses the importance of healing our past traumas and issues in order to rightfully walk into our best life. The second drop, “Get a (Spiritual) Life,” talks about my own spiritual journey from Catholic to Atheist, to Christian and finally to Buddhist. It’s not important if you belong to any religion, but it’s important to recognize and nurture the spiritual being inside of you. The third drop, “It Takes a Village (to Support an Adult),” addresses the importance of connection. Solitary confinement for more than fifteen days is considered torture by international agencies. Connection is paramount for mental and physical health.


The fourth drop, “Get REAL with Someone,” is serious. Our nation has a crisis of authenticity. We are told to love ourselves when we don’t even know who we are. This drop addresses self-awareness, authenticity and self-love. The fifth drop, “Anger is a Lie,” is one of the most controversial. We live in a culture that romanticizes war, brutality and toxic masculinity. This drop addresses the lies we’ve been told about the usefulness of anger. The sixth drop, “Give it Away for Free,” speaks to sharing our talents with the world without an expectation of remuneration. It allows us to open our hearts and our generosity and enjoy giving and sharing as a way to benefit ourselves and the world around us.


The seventh drop, “No More Bag Lady,” goes deeper. It's a discussion about releasing our attachment to people and things with the understanding that there will be a day when we must separate from every person and thing we love. When we operate from this place of knowing, we can treasure every moment and prioritize appropriately. The eighth drop, “Lay Your Weapons Down,” explores the magic of setting intentions and surrendering to a higher power. It’s an opportunity to give up the struggle and live in peace with the world. The ninth drop, “Patience is the Truth,” talks about the benefit of the space between wanting something and receiving it. This gap is full of lessons and preparation. It should be enjoyed and explored, not rushed.


The tenth drop, “Don’t Eat the Dead,” delves deeply into the realization that we can’t find true happiness when we benefit from the exploitation or oppression of others. The eleventh drop, “Work Equals Play,” explores the beauty and meaning of working in "the zone," and how to add more passion to your life, no matter what you do for a living. The twelfth drop, “Float Like a Butterfly,” touches on the delight of freedom and how to support yourself with a lifelong self-care and self-love practice.


It seems weird but, even though I wrote my book, I still learn from reading it over and over. The wisdom isn’t really my own. It simply channeled through me. Much like how affirmations gain power through repetition, my book is the same. Every time I read it, I’m encouraged all over again.


You may have lucid dreams, traditional dreams, or you may not be aware of any dreams at all. Wherever you find yourself on the dream spectrum, I encourage you to keep pen and paper at the side of your bed or invest in a dream journal. You might be surprised what wisdom becomes available in the middle of the night if only you were ready to catch it. Stay woke.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the “Read & Relax” spa basket. It contains twelve items, one for each of the twelve drops and is valued at $250. I’ve raffled off two so far. I have three more to give away. To enter, simply follow me at Instagram.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz and tag as many friends as you want in a "Read & Relax" post this week. Each tag is an entry. The next drawing is Monday, July 20th @ 7pm on Instagram Live. To find out more or purchase my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, visit honeybutterflyz.com/books


Unstoppable

July 7, 2020

“I want to see a self-actualized world,

 beginning with Black women.” 

- Trish Ahjel Roberts


I just uploaded that quote onto my Amazon author profile today. I’ve been saying it for the past few months because that’s how I feel in my heart. Zora Neale Hurston famously said, “Black women are the mules of the earth.” Not a particularly encouraging quote, but in our global caste system, it still seems pretty accurate sixty years after her death. I was not raised to believe I was less than anyone else. I grew up in a family that was both educated and comfortably middle class. Over the years that have taken me from young adult to G.A.W. (grown-ass woman), I’ve been startled by men who thought they were inherently smarter than me or white folks who tilted their heads to look at me as if I were an exotic bird. News flash for anyone who needs it - we are more alike than unalike. We may have different physical characteristics and cultures, but at the end of the day, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We all want to be happy and find an end to our own suffering. 


Black women are known for our status as “double minorities,” an affirmative action twofer. Despite the awkward titles that have been attributed to us, we have risen to some of the highest ranks in science, business, sports, politics and the arts, with names like Mae Jemison, Ann Fudge, Serena Williams, Susan Rice, and Misty Copeland. Even with our successes, we are deeply marginalized and exploited. We exist in the periphery of the mainstream while rooted in the center of our own communities. 


I used to volunteer with a microfinance charity. I learned that women in developing countries were targeted for loans because creditors were more confident that women would invest in family and community. They were less likely to squander assets on sex or alcohol the way men sometimes did. 


I believe when Black women soar, everyone will glide in the shelter of our wings. 


Black children will want for nothing. Black men will exhale. White women will continue to thrive with renewed understanding. White men will expand emotionally. Brown and indigenous people will sigh in relief. All ethnicities will follow in healing.


Zora Neale Hurston is one of my favorite authors and a trailblazer for female writers. Her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a breakthrough in 1937 when it was written and is still a profound story of personal growth and self-love. Even with her talent, she recognized herself as a beast of burden in the eyes of the world. Imagine all the lights that have been turned on inside of people from the work of this one woman. 


When the most oppressed among us break free, we are all unstoppable.


I want to see a self-actualized world, beginning with Black women. Close your eyes. Can you see it now too?


Self-actualization is a big goal that happens one impassioned soul at a time. Consider moving in that direction with a few clear steps:

  • Start a journal and take note of the activities throughout the day that make you smile most. How can you expand on them?
  • Recall the most joyful moments in your childhood. Where were you? What were you doing? Consider revisiting activities that brought you happiness in your youth.
  • Create a self-care routine that includes some stillness while awake. You might consider soaking in the tub, seated affirmations, meditation, yoga nidra, restorative yoga or simply a few minutes of stillness, what I call an "adult timeout."

Know that when you set your mind on a path of love, beauty and service, you are unstoppable.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. My self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings is Now Available on Amazon. Get your copy for more juicy tips on living a self-actualized life at HoneyButterflyz.com/books And check out my new Amazon Author’s Page at Amazon.com/author/trishahjelroberts The photo is me in my photoshoot last week. I don't know what made me combine a yogi squat with a chair pose. I suppose I felt unstoppable!

S.A.F.E.

July 1, 2020

It’s officially the second half of the year. 2020 has been a wild ride so far. Images of the constant harassment and murder of Black people by the police is deeply painful and exhausting. I haven’t watched the video of Elijah McClain yet. I want to bear witness, but first I must find a corner of my heart that isn’t already shattered. I feel like a turtle peeking out of my shell to see if this world is safe to re-enter. Racist cops and an invisible predator seem to lurk in the shadows and around every corner. From the ashes, and because of the fire, I gave birth to my first memoir and have a title for my second. I’ve walked through many fires in my life and assessed rolling hills of ashes in their wake.


When I was about twelve years old, I visited Canada with my family. Toronto struck me as beautiful and surprisingly clean to my Brooklyn-weary eyes. I asked my father if they had crime there. He told me there was crime everywhere. It was disappointing news. I had already been a victim of assault, and I was hoping to find a place where I could feel safe. In that moment, I came to understand that in this world of beauty and pain, we have to take the good with the bad.


It’s into this world of profound majesty and brutal injustice that I release my most precious creation of all, my daughter. Parenting has as much to do with protecting and teaching as it does with letting go. My sweet Kayla is in Florida for the next couple of weeks on vacation with another family. I know Florida is fast becoming the coronavirus epicenter. I know she’ll be riding motorcycles. I know I’m more than six hours away. A part of me wishes I had told her to stay home in her room where I know she’s safer. I wish I could lock her in a tower like Rapunzel. Another part of me wants her to pick wildflowers, take long walks, feel the wind on her neck and the motion in her belly as she lets loose on a motorcycle, fall in love, survive heartache and dance with complete abandon. I want her to LIVE! Wildly, abundantly and joyfully. 


Safe is a four-letter word. First because it’s not real. Trayvon Martin should have been safe going to the corner store to get Skittles. Ahmaud Arbery should have been safe going for a jog in his neighborhood. Brianna Taylor should have been safe sleeping in her bed. Tamir Rice should have been safe playing in the park. Sandra Bland should have been safe driving in her car. We can’t let the quest for the illusion of safety keep us from living. We can take precautions: wash our hands, wear a mask, wear a helmet, etc. But we can’t give up or give in. We can’t allow ourselves to be paralyzed. One of my former fitness center clients permanently injured herself falling off her living room sofa. Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina both died in a bathtub. With all the money in the world, while in their own homes or hotel rooms, they couldn’t guarantee their own safety because none of us can.


This week, with everything happening in the world right now, I encourage you to LIVE! Make calculated decisions, Google statistics, take precautions and step boldly into the future of your dreams. And remember, S.A.F.E. is a four-letter word.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The image is from yoga class on Saturday. It was in a beautiful outdoor space. Stellar-poweryoga.com offers outdoor yoga every other Saturday, virtual classes and in-studio hot yoga. So many yoga studios have closed, including the one where I did my yoga teacher certification. I’m so grateful to still have my home studio available to me. My virtual book launch for my memoir is on Friday. Click the link to register.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIvdeygrD8sG92xfBO4sJkeuHWjai7sR7YY


What Whispers

June 23, 2020

This past weekend I hiked for the first time in six months. Being on the trails is therapy for me, and I really missed it. Hiking is more than just walking around outside. It’s immersive with striking visual beauty as well as its own smell, taste, feel and sound. It’s an orchestra led by chatty birds and backed up with the whistle of insects, the crunch of deer hooves, the caress of the wind and the rustle of petals.


This morning I went to hot yoga for the first time in 2020. Another immersive experience. The instructor leads the chorus this time with a confident baritone, backed up with the sounds of soft music, deep sighs and exhalations. We breathe together as if we are one body. It’s sweat and incense. Intensity and smiles. Deep release, exhaustion and renewal.


I’ve longed for them both. I’m so grateful to be back. I know that many people live in concrete jungles and war zones, whether literal or figurative. Sometimes the war is within our own minds. Every morning when I wake up I remind myself to be grateful. It’s the least I can do for myself. It’s the least I can offer the sun that so confidently and consistently rises every morning.


Back in October, I wrote an affirmation:


Wake up with gratitude.

Nourish your mind, body and spirit.

Work with passion.

Rest completely.

Repeat daily.


It whispers in my ear every morning and nudges me to start my day with a smile. It inspired me to write my very first e-book, Black Vegan Life™ Guide to Self-Care, where I delve deeper into the meaning behind each verse.


We are nourished not only by the food we consume 

but by the words, music, images and energy we allow into our world. 

Affirmations are powerful. 

They remind us who we want to be.


I wonder what kind of police we would have if they woke up grateful for the communities they protect? How might our military recover from trauma if they nourished their minds with healthy affirmations? Would our elderly population be more nimble and resilient if they had more opportunities for movement and stretching? Would our leaders think before they acted if they made time for meditation, wise prayers and spiritual study? Would our children be more joyful and confident if they were given a recipe for identifying their passions instead of choosing their favorite cog in the wheel? And what would our nation look like if everyone got a full night's rest, free from stress and guilt?


I love horror movies, hip-hop and corny reality TV as well as yoga, meditation and nature hikes. I do my best to maintain an awareness of the messages I consume. Partly because I’ve been fortunate enough to receive an education about the impact of media as early as in elementary school, and again in college. 


Human beings are not just fancy machines. 

We are complicated spiritual beings. 

We need nourishment from the inside out.


Even though I wrote the affirmation, sometimes I have to remind myself to wake up with joy for a new day. I have to remind myself that the present is a gift. Rashard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and so many others didn’t wake up this morning. However, you did. You woke up to this glorious new day with the option to smile or frown. To sing or dance. To play or study. To exercise or rest. Congratulations! You are the grand recipient of a new day. There will be a day when you don’t wake up. Make sure the whispers you listen to are the ones you really want to hear.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the recommended movie list from the ninth chapter of my upcoming self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings coming to Amazon NEXT WEEK!!! It was not easy to find movies that addressed the topic of patience. Read book testimonials and get more info here: HTTP://honeybutterflyz.com/books 

If you haven’t downloaded my self-care e-book yet, you can access it here: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/BUFWCXR/honeybutterflyz. 

If you’d like to upgrade the whispers in your ear, check out my SoundCloud account for FREE affirmations, meditations, and yoga nidra:

https://honeybutterflyz.com/free-downloads  

Or follow me on Spotify for an uplifting playlist:

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4O99fMCQE9XIsFzIeTsZD9?si=mMqLd6JJQkmgSHQZd_HvCw

The Look

June 17, 2020

Yesterday I was sick to my stomach. I wasn’t sure if it was pent-up energy around my book launch or my broken heart over the death of another black man, here in Georgia. The death of Ahmaud Arbery left me stunned; George Floyd left me traumatized, but Rashard Brooks felt too familiar. I was triggered in a different way. I watched a long video showing his conversation with one of the officers on the last day of his life. He reminded me of myself - friendly, chatty, respectful. He was bending over backwards to be accommodating and let the officers know he wasn’t going to be a problem. Then, without warning, the same officer who’d been chatting with him for at least twenty minutes slid Rashard’s hand behind his back and started handcuffing him. He was NOT told he was under arrest to mentally prepare himself. It was if they thought they could slide handcuffs on him, and he would be too drunk to notice. I think anyone would resist someone suddenly slipping handcuffs on them, particularly if they were impaired by alcohol. What happened to being told the charges against you? What happened to being read your rights?


It reminded me of my car accident back in 2018. After waiting on the highway for an hour for police, the officer that arrived interviewed the driver of the 18-wheeler that hit the back of my car first. Of course, the driver was wearing a confederate flag cap – classic southern fashion. I showed the officer where the truck hit the back of my car. He said, “I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t here.” I had a brush with death, and I was met was sarcasm. I know you weren’t here. I kept my cool because I know as a black woman, the last thing I want is to argue with a white cop. They have the power to do anything they want with my life. They can write me a ticket for anything they dream up, and plant anything they feel like in my vehicle. I’m also grown. Who knows how my police encounters would go if I were only twenty-seven, like Rashard was?


The video reminded me of the look on that cop’s face after my accident. It reminded me of the look my racist boss used to give me. It triggered me. I know that look. It says, “I don’t see you as a person.” It’s the way we might look at a piece of furniture or a copy machine that we’ve had for ten years. 


It’s the way we look at something we’re not even considering. It shouldn’t be the way we look at other human beings.


Rashard Brooks deferred to the officer as well. He agreed to a breathalyzer after saying more than once he didn’t know what it was. He told the officer twice that he’d been drinking margaritas celebrating his daughter’s birthday. He said he could walk to his sister’s house from where he was. He didn’t have to say a word, but he was trying to be friendly and forthcoming.


His kindness was met with venom. 

He got the look that didn’t see him at all.


I remember telling a friend many years ago that I don’t have any enemies. She told me, I do, I just don’t know who they are.


Some people will hate your kindness, your beauty and your sweetness. Don’t let them turn you into someone you don’t want to be. Continue to be amazing and let them be jealous, even if it means your life.


Rashard Brooks died like a man with humanity. He will be remembered for that. The people who killed him will only be remembered for their ignorance and hatred.


If police officers cannot show humanity to the community they are paid to protect, they should look for work elsewhere. I’ve seen what community policing looks like, and this was not it. It was an abomination. Anyone who cannot see that needs to look in the mirror and make sure you don’t have “the look” too.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is one of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa. We can't live our lives defined by how others "see" us. If you haven't seen When They See Us on Netflix, open your eyes and take a look.

The Butterfly Effect

June 9, 2020

My daughter voted for the first time this morning! We got in line at 6:50am with our masks and our Starbucks. We knew we had a wait ahead of us. It took two hours. If we hadn’t resisted the urge to sleep in, it would have taken even longer. I know voting shouldn’t take this long, and I know there are people who would have preferred we stayed home. For a nation that prides itself on being “by the people and for the people,” the United States has a long, messy history with voting and who counts as “people.”


The Civil Rights Bill of 1866, penned three years after the Emancipation Proclamation, gave newly freed African-American men the express right to vote. That didn’t mean it was even reasonably easy, and it didn’t include women. Because of strict state rules known as the “black codes,” Jim Crow laws and white terror, often at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, many black people couldn’t exercise that right. It was nearly another hundred years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which banned literacy tests, legal exams, poll taxes and other methods used to disenfranchise black voters.


Women’s rights were a long road as well, culminating in the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920 which gave women the vote. It would be another fifty-four years before the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 gave women the right to open bank accounts. I would have been six years old. Every time I see that date it shocks me. Freedom is slow and fragile.


In 2013 the Supreme Court struck down an important provision in the Voting Rights Act, making it possible for states to change their election laws without federal approval. The results of this have played out in Georgia where 560,000 voters were removed from the rosters for a variety of reasons, making it harder for qualified citizens to vote. This disenfranchisement caused Stacey Abrams to "lose" the governor's race in 2018. https://www.apmreports.org/story/2019/10/29/georgia-voting-registration-records-removed


All of our progress came from protests, and the back-pedaling happened when we took our eyes off the prize with a false sense of security. The path forward has always been paved with street protests demanding government do what is right “for the people and by the people.” The past few years I've wondered what would make people pour into the streets. I'm glad I've lived to see the day.


I’m proud of my country this week. I’m proud of everyone young and old who stepped up and stepped in - to march, donate and spread the word to end police brutality and institutional racism in this nation.


George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis created a unique and perfect storm in a world on pause from quarantine. His death was so egregious it sparked empathy and outrage from people who would traditionally offer explanations instead of compassion. Perhaps, because the world had paused, we were able to clearly see the need for global justice.


The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the “butterfly effect” as “the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, from the notion in chaos theory that a butterfly fluttering in Rio de Janeiro could change the weather in Chicago.” George Floyd’s death created a butterfly effect. Global outrage has ricocheted around the world. 


We are all butterflies with the capacity to create massive change through small contributions. Voting is a perfect example of this. One vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 just might change the world. 


Watching the world protest injustice and rally around a cause makes me glad to be a global citizen. Today, as George Floyd is laid to rest, I wonder what else we can accomplish if we stay focused. The planet needs us. Our fellow earthlings need us. 


March, volunteer, donate, vote. 


Stay the course.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This photo is me and my mini-me this morning at the polls. I will be interviewing her and a friend on Thursday for my first edition of “The Butterfly Effect: Conversations for Black Women to Soar.” It will be my first YouTube post and I can't wait! If you’d like to see my latest interview about my upcoming self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, check out the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNtGBpJZK6c

Heal or Fail

June 3, 2020

I know I have a lot of good to share, but this past week has put me to the test. Old pain rose like bile in my stomach. I've been sickened and devastated, hopeless and hopeful. Outraged and vociferous one moment, and thoughtful and speechless the next. I was born in 1968, the same year Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. My generation was the first born after the civil rights movement. We had an expectation of freedom and justice. We became doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers and businesspeople. We got union jobs and started our own businesses. We became poets, artists, musicians, singers and dancers. We became scientists, astronauts, senators and even a president. We created rap music and hip-hop culture. We opened restaurants serving Soul, Caribbean and African food. Black people have given so much to the landscape of this country. In many ways we have made the United States the envy of the world for our diversity and our perceived freedoms.


As a black woman, I’ve always known America’s dirty little secret. Whether it was quietly tucked in a closet, or clearly displayed in the middle of our national living room. For most of my life I’ve been able to shield myself: living in a black neighborhood, opting out of online groups when the conversation turned racist, not renting or driving in certain communities, avoiding racist websites, and ignoring racist comments and confederate flags. I have not been able to shield myself from egregious corporate racism. I first learned to suck it up, then I learned to walk away. Corporate America is not for me.


Lately, I’ve had white people ask what they can do to help the current civil unrest. Racism is a white problem. Black people can bring attention to it, but we cannot fix it. It's in the hearts and minds of white people, who make up 60% of the population and own more than 98% of the land. https://inequality.org/research/owns-land It’s so pervasive it infiltrates the spirits of little black girls and boys everywhere who think there’s something wrong with their skin or their hair. We are beautiful. Our skin absorbs light and our hair defies gravity. We are magic. If you are white and you want to help, you can begin by telling black children they are beautiful.


Black people do all kinds of things, good and bad, but we are not oppressing white folks. Perhaps we spark occasional jealousy because we age really well and excel whenever given the opportunity. But, we never got our chance at reparations - our 40 acres and a mule. https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/the-truth-behind-40-acres-and-a-mule/ We have more crime because we have more poverty. We have more poverty because we’ve been subjugated to sub-standard education, employment and housing. We didn’t create these problems ourselves – they were created for us. I'm not a proponent of crime, but I don’t think America cares until someone blocks a highway or burns down a building. 


Our men, women and children have been murdered over and over again without a shred of remorse. Even people I know who would swear on a stack of bibles that they "don't see color," expressed zero concern when Trayvon Martin was murdered and his killer was exonerated. The problem with racism is that it's based in greed and ignorance, and seeks to divide us. Black mothers love our children just as much as any other mothers do. We have enough resources for everyone, if only we could share.


I hope that we don’t lose this moment in history. 

This is our opportunity to heal or fail. 


Here are five things we all can do:

  • Stay centered – Take care of yourself in the days and weeks ahead. We won’t be good to anyone if we’re falling apart. Get rest. Journal these historic days. Eat well. Say a prayer or meditate.

  • Get educated – The U.S. education system has NOT taught you black history, or even an honest American history. If you want to understand more you’ll have to do it on your own. Netflix has become a great resource. Time: the Kalief Browder Story, Thirteenth, When They See Us, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X are all available there. The 1619 Project podcast is also a good place to start. Nikole Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer prize for her work this year. We are in the information age. There’s no excuse for ignorance. If you want to go for a more honest history book, try A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.
  • Get involved – Not everyone has the desire or ability to attend rallies. However, all civil rights organizations need money to function. Become a monthly donor to any organization(s) you choose. I’m particularly impressed with Tamika Mallory and untilfreedom.com. There are many others: The Bail Project, NAACP, Poor People’s Campaign, Color of Change, ACLU. If you can’t donate, volunteer some time. All of these organizations rely on volunteers.
  • Spread the word – Take a stand on social media and with family and friends. "Like" Facebook pages of activist sites. Sign petitions. Share online. If you're white, stop laughing at racist jokes or complaining about reverse racism or "quotas." Just stop it. If there are no black people in your office or in your company, that’s not okay. We are 14% of the population. We shouldn't be invisible. We need you. Black people are not in a position to speak up when we are the only one at the office, and our job is on the line. We need anti-racist allies.
  • Grow your compassion – I don't care about your religion; I care about your compassion. The colonizers who enslaved black people were predominantly  Christian. Slavery was legal. You will need more than a bible to develop compassion. Set aside a few minutes each day to imagine being born into a black family or another type of home. Give yourself an affirmation: “I am not better than anyone else.” Search out stories of compassion. I love Beloved by Toni Morrison and Freedom Road by Howard Fast. My meditation center offers virtual classes in compassion. Check them out at meditationingeorgia.org.

I think one of the hardest things we can do is look at ourselves. I’ll never forget when I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. He said “evil doesn’t like to see itself.” (I’m paraphrasing.) He wasn’t talking about a demon, just our own bad behavior. We don’t like to admit when we are cruel, greedy, selfish, prejudice or racist. This country needs healing. We are all imperfect no matter our race. However, I pray that white people can stop stepping on our necks.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The picture is a meme I found online. I noticed Breonna Taylor was not included. She was a 26-year-old EMT who was killed while sleeping in her home, shot over eight times. The police were supposedly executing a warrant, but they were at the wrong address. Her boyfriend was arrested for shooting at the officers that suddenly entered their home without warning. I listened to the 911 call from her boyfriend and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. According to civil rights activist, Shaun King, the police killed her and left – they didn’t even provide an ambulance. Shaun King’s organization also needs donors grassrootslaw.org

Dying of Passion

May 26, 2020

Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of summer. Most of my life it’s been a weekend for family barbecuing, drinking rum and cokes and listening to music. This year I barely noticed its passing. Yesterday I was sitting on my patio writing and listening to the sound of kids splashing in the pool. I thought about #rona and coming out of quarantine, but it didn’t even occur to me that it was Memorial Day. I know part of my disconnection is from the mental muddiness of quarantine life, but part is just from being in “the zone.”


Most of my adult life has been planned around national holidays and vacation days. Even when I worked autonomously at  jobs I enjoyed, I had to follow a schedule and promote a dream that wasn't my own. When I worked jobs that had me sick with the Sunday flu, Mondays were like re-entry from the frying pan back into the fire. Tuesdays were even worse after a long weekend, as if having a glimpse of freedom only intensified the pain.


I worked for about twelve hours yesterday. Many of my days are like this now. Working from when I first pad into my kitchen to make my green tea latte until after midnight on my laptop in my bed. I love it. I get lost in it. Creating beautiful content to share with you guys brings me so much joy. I’m writing, branding, researching, posting on social media, submitting content to publications, working with my team of supporters, and for my current project, I’m creating music, movie and podcast playlists. I am completely immersed in my dream of global self-actualization beginning with black women.


I remember when I first whispered my dream in my blog, “The Secret Weapon,” on October 8th. A few weeks later, I spoke the words to a friend from my book club. Finally, instead of deciding the dream was too big to come true, I gave it wings. As Nelson Mandela said, “it all seems impossible until it’s done.” Who am I to say what is and isn’t possible? Babies are created from a single cell. The sun is 94 million miles from the earth. The oceans follow the call of the moon. My body is capable of fighting infection, writing this blog and following its circadian rhythm simultaneously. I’m not convinced anything is impossible.


From this place of dreaming, of doing good and wanting better I more often than not find myself working in “the zone”. According to Huffpost.com, being in the zone or “flow” is a state of heightened focus and blissful immersion. Cambridge dictionary defines "in the zone" as “happy or excited because you are doing something very skillfully and easily.” I agree with both. The only pain in the zone is the inability to stop, or the trouble of getting back in the zone after a disruption. (In my case the disruption is a 19-year-old in quarantine.)


I used to give people the serious side-eye if they confessed to working 12-hour days. Were they crazy? I know I can’t work this much every day. I need to workout and have downtime, but with the impending release of my self-help memoir, I’m basking in the delicious frenzy of it all.


I’m doing work that I don’t want to take a vacation from. Is this how Spike Lee feels when he’s wrapped up in a new film? Or Missy Elliot working on a new track? Serena delivering a backhand? Misty Copeland in pirouette? I think this is what Van Gogh meant when he said, “I’d rather die of passion than of boredom.” We all have to die, what better reason than passion?


I have to admit, I’m exhausted, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you’re spending some time in the zone. If you’re not, here are a few tips:


- Think of the last time you were really enjoying yourself without alcohol or any other intoxicants, what were you doing? (Sex doesn’t count. Lol. Although, I’m all for the sex zone.)


- Think about the items on your bucket list that you haven’t checked off yet. (If you don’t have a bucket list, consider making one.)


- Think about your dream job if you didn’t have to make a living. What would you do? (Don’t be cautious, really dream!)


- Think about trauma or difficulty from your past that you can use for something positive. (Who are you uniquely qualified to help?)


Now take this list and give it legs. Even if it’s only a couple of hours a week, set aside some time to research your bucket list, pursue those joy-inducing activities, your dream job or helping someone learn from your past hurts. That’s zone material. Once you play in that sandbox you’ll never want to leave.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is a recent meme I posted. I'm still giving my dream wings. My self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings is available on Amazon July 4th. Each chapter is a drop of nectar with its own message and playlist. Drop One is “Heal the Past First.” Music can be profoundly inspirational and therapeutic. Access the playlist here: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/mlaEV0k/drop1

Look out for the playlist for Drop Two, “Get a (Spiritual) Life” later this week on my social media. 

Growing While Sleeping

May 19, 2020

Spring is a season for new life after a sequestered winter. In spring 2019 my thoughts were wrapped up in my daughter’s graduation from both high school and dance company, and my impending graduation from Yoga Teacher Training. At that time, my brain tingled with the germination of my sprouting new business.


I can’t believe it’s almost a year since I established HoneyButterflyz and eight months since I quit my job as a Financial Advisor. COVID-19 made this winter feel longer than usual. Now I feel the tingle of spring again with all its beauty and potential. Our extended winter, even though uncomfortable, gave us an opportunity for even more growth and rest during our hibernation.


Even children grow when they’re sleeping. 


All growth causes some pain.


I’ve always been an 8-hour sleeper from when I was a kid. Now, sleep and stillness have become an even more integral part of my life – that’s when my mind clears and I get my best ideas and solutions. My self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, came from a note I jotted in my iPhone at about 3am last August. I was planning a retreat of the same name and it popped into my head that I should offer a self-help book to my retreat participants. From there, I realized a lot of my advice would come from my own journey, so I later decided it would be a self-help memoir.


I go into pre-sales next month for a July 4th book launch. I couldn’t think of a more fitting launch date than Independence Day, for a book that I believe will free millions of black women to live their most joyful and abundant lives.


I don't usually offer new businesses or books in the spring. Most of us don't, but we do come alive in other ways. In many ways we are reborn about every 30 days: our skin regenerates, we digest new books, films, activities and ideas. During spring we have the additional inspiration of the budding flowers and the buzzing bees, all sending messages of new life and rebirth if we take the time to listen.


If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know our final resting posture is savasana, or “corpse pose.” That’s when we rest and allow the body to process the work that we’ve done. It’s also a time of stillness and contemplation. Before we come out of that posture, we roll into a fetal position for a few seconds. This position symbolized the rebirth we experience every time we participate in a yoga session. It’s a comforting position before we reemerge in a seated posture ready to enter the world again in our usual way, but perhaps subtly different.


I encourage you to consider what’s rising in you this spring. Has there been a subtle shift, like a sprouting seed or a baby repositioning in the womb?


What did you plant this past winter? Was it intensity, focus, hope or fear?


What has rejuvenated in the past 30 days? Are you caring for your body, mind and spirit?


Where can you forgive and encourage yourself? Do you speak gently in your self-talk like you are sharing secrets with a friend?


What can you do to support yourself with love and kindness so the next 30 days are full of personal joy and growth?


I know this global quarantine that we’re all experiencing is difficult. I hope that somewhere in the disconnection, you’ve found some stillness. I hope in the quiet, you've found some peace.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish

P.S. The photo is the book cover for my self-help memoir. Pre-sales begin June 4th. If you’d like to join the community in my new Facebook group, “Black Girl Butterflyz” click the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackgirlbutterflyz/


A Murky Tunnel

May 12, 2020

This morning I finished the 7th chapter of my upcoming self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, and sent it off for it’s first round of edits. I made myself a delicious sea moss drink like I used to have as a kid in Brooklyn. I recently learned how to make it at home, so I’ve been having fun with that. I sat down at my kitchen table/office to write today’s blog, and I felt like I was dying inside. My eyes were glazed over. I had no energy. My mind felt foggy and empty. For a brief moment I considered getting back in my bed. I had already showered which normally rejuvenates me, but I realized I had to get out of the house. Except for walking my very sweet puppy, I’ve been home the past two days.


I’ve been writing a lot, which for me is like a little slice of heaven, but I also really, really like going out. I pause before calling myself an extrovert because I also really, really like my alone time. I went to make myself a green tea latte (my delicious addiction) and realized I let my milk frother dry out. (I leave water in it to make it easy to clean for the next use.) OK universe, I see you. I grabbed my keys for a Starbucks run, and here I am - sitting on a park lawn writing today’s blog, feeling absolutely amazing.


I once read that people are just plants with complicated emotions – we need fresh water, sunlight and clean air. Asking people who live in small apartments not to come outside during this pandemic is really a different type of death sentence. I might long for nature more than other folks, but we are all hard-wired to spend time outdoors. So much so, that the inclination to spend too much time indoors is deemed agoraphobia – a mental disorder.


If you are struggling with stay-at-home orders during this unusual situation we find ourselves in, know you’re not alone. If you’ve put on a few pounds, you have great company. If you’re having moments of sadness, emptiness or confusion, lean into the reality that we’re all in this mess together. I have moments when I think I’ve got this thing figured out – my new normal, then one too many news articles or video clips has me sliding through a murky tunnel.


Forgive yourself. Take naps. Read books. Binge watch TV. Learn new recipes. Write in your journal.


And when you have a chance to stick your head out the window, drink up the sun on your patio, or take a stroll in your neighborhood, just remember, you’re just a plant with complicated emotions. You need that shit. We all do.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This pic is my happy place – putting words to page while out in nature. I didn’t do this sooner because I thought I’d have too much glare on my PC, but I’m under a tree and it’s perfect. If you want to keep up to date on my book launch, sign up at honeybutterflyz.com/contact.

Mind Travel

May 5, 2020

Happy Cinco de Mayo! According to Wikipedia, today generates beer sales on par with the super bowl, and it’s not a celebration of Mexican independence. It celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over the French empire on May 5, 1862, long after Mexican independence in 1810 and years before the French withdrew in 1867. According to history.com, the U.S. gave military and political support to Mexico to help rid it of the French invaders. The French, led by Napoleon III, initially arrived for repayment of debt and from there decided to take Mexico for themselves. It’s an interesting history in a week when the U.S. government borrowed $3 trillion. I’m not expecting our creditors to muscle over here in fighter jets and submarines, but I have to admit history is telling. It’s interesting. And, as we all have heard before, it repeats itself.


When I was a kid, I was never very interested in history. Every story I heard sounded old and boring. I couldn’t relate. I think part of the problem was that the history I was taught in school wasn’t honest, and it definitely wasn’t inclusive of me as a black woman of Caribbean descent. Nothing beats authentic, intense drama for keeping folks engaged. Unfortunately, our history books told the stories that our government wanted us to believe with cavernous gaps between fact and fact-like statements. What John Colbert coined as “truthiness” at its finest. And yes, that word is now in the official lexicon. I love the way language morphs and changes. Oxford defines it as “the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.” From where I sit, truthiness is everywhere.


Now that I’ve lived through so much history of my own, from 9/11 to COVID-19, reading history has so much more context for me. I find myself wondering about the Spanish Flu and the Great Depression. I have a broader perspective and know better than to depend on a single source for just about anything, even if it is a textbook. I’ve often heard stories about how people in other countries teach their citizens what they want them to know. It’s accurate for other countries and also for the U.S. Of course we’re taught what the government wants us to know. If you want to know more, you’re on your own.


As a writer, I know language matters. Subtle word changes shift meaning. You make a choice when you call someone a “settler,” “pilgrim,” “colonist," or "conqueror" instead of “war-monger,” “land-thief” or “murderer.” It matters when you call someone a “slave” or “savage,” rather than “enslaved person” or “culturally different.” (The use of the word “slave” is one of my pet peeves. When someone is raped, murdered or maimed we call them a victim. We don’t call them a rapee, murderee or maimee. The violence against them doesn’t become their identity.)


I bought the book, A People’s History of the United States after it was recommended by John Leguizamo during his stand-up comedy film, Latin History for Morons. (It’s hilarious and available on Netflix.) It’s been sitting comfortably on my bookshelf for at least two years.  At the time I wanted my daughter to read it. I was tired of hearing her tell me she was studying the Civil War for the eighth time. The reality is, I need to read it, children model what they see, and there’s no better time than the present.


What are you reading lately? I just finished Deepak Chopra’s, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I’m in the middle of Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza and just started Universal Compassion by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso with my study group. Next up in my book club, “Cocoa Risers Reading,” is Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m adding A People’s History of the United States to my list. I’d like to learn a more honest and inclusive history.


While we can’t travel too far nowadays, I encourage you to travel with your mind. There are so many doors out there waiting to be opened. My book list may not be your thing, but I’m a firm believer that we should all be reading or listening to something that broadens our horizons and opens our awareness. 


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is my copy of A People’s History of the United States. If you want to discuss a book with me, check out my book club: https://www.meetup.com/Cocoa-Risers-Reading/ We’re discussing Who Fears Death on Zoom on Sunday, May 17th @ 1pm. It’s available on Amazon and Audible.

Blurred Lines

April 28, 2020

When I was a kid we used to say “a picture doesn’t lie.” Well, times sure have changed. At first it was senior photos and magazine models that were airbrushed. Now every image that we see has to be viewed with raised eyebrows. Before the term “fake news” was co-opted by the current president to refer to legitimate press coverage, it was used to refer to fabricated stories created by sites dedicated to intentionally misinforming for the benefit of creating website traffic. I have to admit I just learned this today. I always thought of fake news as false memes that circulate in social media. I realize that there are also stories from shady sources, but I never thought about the strategic manipulation that was involved for profit. Website traffic equals dollars, and by disseminating sensational and false stories people are getting rich. Just like the nefarious stock trader or the doctor who writes negligent oxycodone prescriptions, this is a white collar crime and the perpetrators don’t care who gets hurt, even if it’s their own family.


According to snopes.com there are approximately 300 websites that operate this way. Some operate under names designed to look like reputable news sources like CNBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN or NBC. I found a long list of sites at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fake_news_websitesApparently sites pop up and may be quickly shut down or moved to a new domain name. People sometimes complain Wikipedia has a similar problem of misinformation because it is an open platform and users can update data. Generally speaking, users don’t benefit from adding false information to Wikipedia, and the information is controlled by an open group, not an individual. With this said, even news from reputable sites have to be read thoughtfully and critically. All news services make occasional mistakes and public retractions. Tabloids have always straddled the fence between truth and unsubstantiated gossip.


Since the advent of coronavirus I’ve seen all kinds of wildly misinformed stories swirling in social media. Partly because the world legitimately doesn’t have all the answers on this new virus. And partly because global governments won’t share all their private information any more than your Tinder date will. However, I’m 100% certain COVID-19 isn’t part of a carefully orchestrated international plan to make people stay home and collapse the global economy. Even the wealthiest and most powerful don't benefit from that kind of mess. The biggest current debate is the ethical dilemma of when businesses should reopen - do we place more value on human lives or on the quality of human lives as many families slide rapidly into poverty with no help in sight?


I’ve been black my whole life. I understand why we don’t trust the government or law enforcement. Cases like the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on black men and the KKK infiltration of the police department are widely known. I also understand why folks don’t trust the media. Stories are often subjective and sensational. I’ll never forget the portrayal of the Central Park Five in the 80’s. But, wasn’t it the images of people being sprayed with fire hoses and children marching that brought victory to the civil rights movement? Wasn’t it pictures of hundreds of coffins that brought an end to the Vietnam war? Freedom of the press is one of the major markers of a democracy. If it fails, we all fail.


I pointed out recently that a photo shared on a friend’s Facebook seemed to be photoshopped. My friend replied that the sentiment is still there even if the photo is false. Shouldn’t we care about facts at least as much as perceived opinions? We used to say “a picture tells a thousand words.” Now pictures lie, and people don’t seem to care.


Today I made a contribution to snopes.com. I’ve relied on them for years to help me determine fact from fiction in a world where technology continues to blur lines. When we meditate we learn to find the space between thought and response. In this space lies peace and discernment. 


I encourage you to find that same pause with information - the space between seeing and believing. "Don't believe everything you read," was told to me as a child. I tell my daughter, "don't believe everything the professor says." Now we have to add what Eddie Murphy quipped long ago, "don't believe your lying eyes!"


I’m sometimes guilty of clicking the share button before I confirm information to be true. Then, just like coronavirus, I become part of a rapidly spreading pandemic of false information. Let's do our best not to spread the coronavirus or the virus of false information. Much like some folks don't worry about COVID-19 because they don't think they're at risk, many of us don't care about spreading false information unless the lies that are spread are about us.


Be vigilant. 

Take care of yourself. 

Be kind. 

Stop the spread.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The image shown has gone viral on the web. It was taken this month in Jacksonville, FL as people returned to the beaches. While it is an accurate depiction of the beach, there have been plenty of Facebook posts disputing its validity. Here's Snopes' perspective: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/jacksonville-beaches-photos/ If you're curious about how Wikipedia works, I found an interesting article here: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/03/why-wikipedia-works.html

 


Illegal to Essential

April 21, 2020

At the beginning of 2020 I announced a blend of kombucha and prosecco, that I named the “Kombuchecco,” as my drink for the New Year. People who know me well know that I quit drinking, smoking and went vegan all at the same time in 2014. After four years without alcohol and a daughter in high school who was beginning to encounter alcohol at parties, I thought it was time for a comeback. How could I guide my daughter when I couldn’t even remember the taste or the tipsy?


When I stopped smoking people congratulated me. When I stopped drinking they were upset. "Why aren’t you drinking? Just have one!" I couldn’t understand it and used to quip, “It’s not a vitamin.” Why were other people so concerned if I decided not to consume alcohol? I remember my own mother many years ago asking me to have a sip of champagne at New Year’s even when I didn’t want any. “You can have a little sip.” Well, yes, I can, but if I don’t want to why should I? When I stopped drinking soda nobody cared. Why was alcohol any different?


Alcohol is ubiquitous in the U.S., much like meat. In the current COVID-19 national emergency people have flocked to grocery stores for meat, alcohol and toilet paper. I stopped eating animals because of my compassion toward them. I remember when I first stopped I had a little affirmation that I sang to myself, “being vegan makes me happy!” I had to remind myself that I chose a life without consuming animals or their secretions because I felt better about myself intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I was no longer a hypocrite – saving a bug, petting my dog and eating a chicken.


I stopped drinking because of my compassion for myself. I was tired of the way it was making me feel, although I didn’t really even understand all of its effects. After four years alcohol-free and two years of imbibing after such a long break, I’ve come to realize I’m happier when I don’t drink, the same way I’m happier when I don’t eat sentient beings. Life is the ultimate dope – it will remain my drug of choice.


I was in a Facebook group last week where someone asked about cutting back on wine, because they felt it was keeping them from losing weight. A member of the group recommended The Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I downloaded on Audible and have been listening during the long walks I’ve been taking lately. The book is really eye-opening in the same way my eyes were opened when I watched Food, Inc. back in 2008. Of course I know there’s a marketing machine peddling alcohol, and I know it’s not healthy. However, I’ve never been presented with so much information on the topic before. Whether you drink or not, I found the book fascinating in many ways, and many of the concepts can be applied to other addictive substances – whether nicotine, cannabis or sugar.


As we grapple with coronavirus and capitalism, it really has me wondering how a substance could go from illegal during prohibition (1920-1933) to becoming so profitable and so necessary that it’s considered “essential” in only 87 years. Along with food and medicine, alcohol is an essential product in our country. How is that possible?


When I was younger I never heard of anyone who didn’t drink alcohol (unless they were pregnant or alcoholic.) I never heard of anyone who didn’t drink the milk from cows (unless they were lactose intolerant.) I never heard of anyone who didn’t eat a hamburger or a hot dog (unless they were un-American.) Basically, something had to be wrong with them. In a capitalist culture, if you can profit from it you win. It doesn’t matter what human or animal lives are lost or destroyed in the process. We see this over and over again with the destruction of our environment and our bodies by corporations who care only for the bottom line. 


It seems the most insidious way to "win" is to make the poisons so deeply embedded in our culture, we don't know who we are without them. What's more American than beer and hot dogs at a football game? What's more elegant than wine and cheese? What's more masculine than grilling a steak outdoors?


This same topic is part of our current national debate in light of coronavirus. When should states re-open? How much is a life worth?


I hosted a virtual brunch on Sunday and I asked each person to say something weird about themselves as an icebreaker. One young lady said she didn’t smoke or drink. Isn’t it a shame that that’s considered weird in our culture? I hope that fifty years from now, someone might say, “I’ve never done yoga” or “I’ve never had a green smoothie” as their weird thing, and we can all gasp in disbelief.


I encourage you to notice what brings you genuine joy versus what our culture dictates.


For me it’s

  Being outside and connecting with the natural world,

    Spending time with family, friends and my sweet puppy,

      Learning and trying new things,

        Expressing myself creatively,

            Speaking up for others,

              Helping others heal, grow and connect.


We often hear talk about our love language. What’s your happy language?


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is just me in my happy place with my canine assistant, Cooper. I formally begin Buddhist Teacher Training today. One of our agreements is to avoid intoxicants. (It’s funny how the word “toxic” is right in there and our nation still considers it essential.) If you’re interested in the topic, Addict Nation by Jane Velez-Mitchell is an excellent read. She looks, not only, at the national addiction to meat and alcohol, but also wars, pharmaceuticals and violence. Very provocative.

Expansive Intentions

April 14, 2020

I was supposed to have been in New York with my Dad for Easter. I’m not Christian anymore, so the holiday itself doesn’t hold any real significance to me, but it’s a time for my family to gather. This year we got together over Zoom like a lot of other folks. People are connecting across states and continents in ways we hadn’t imagined only a month ago. Parties, spiritual services, yoga classes, seminars and just about anything you can imagine are available online now.


When this crisis first started one of my best friends kept saying things would be forever changed after this. It sounded like doom and gloom, but I shrugged my shoulders. Things don’t ever stay the same. If we busy ourselves trying to make things stay the same, we will end up disappointed. Time marches on with or without #Rona. I pray we see a lot of positive change going forward:


- The global community united behind a single cause

- Americans finally awakened to the grim reality of the current administration

- Universal healthcare sooner rather than later

- Belief in science and climate change

- New compassion for those who are shut-in

- Realization of the need to reduce social and economic inequality

- Resurrection of our unions and middle class

- Increased access to telecommuting for students and workers

- Outrage at the atrocity of animal cruelty, “wet markets” and factory farms

- New understanding that the mistreatment of animals can kill us


We can forget a lot of things, but the pandemic of 2020 won’t be one of them – it has the potential to break through our collective clutter and have a huge positive impact on our future.


When I was in school, I remember one of my teachers writing on the blackboard, “no man is an island.” Today, the phrase is a little sexist. No person is an island. We all impact each other. We all need each other. Sometimes people ask me why vegans care what other people eat. We don’t care what others eat, we care about the implications on animals and the environment, and perhaps even the healthcare system. If we dreamed a vegan planet there would be no coronavirus – it would resemble the Garden of Eden, God’s paradise for humankind.


When I traveled to Costa Rica in February, the U.S. Health Dept. led me to believe I’d be fighting off mosquitoes. When I got there, I stayed at an ecolodge and barely saw any bugs. Our guide explained that insects don’t overpopulate unless the ecosystem is out of balance. Apparently, the biblical plagues of mosquitoes, locusts or African killer bees don’t happen unless our earth has been sorely disrespected. Whatever your belief system, it makes sense when you realize that plagues are actually brought on by human interactions with the natural world. Change will only come from national and international environmental policies as a result of public pressure. We are who we've been waiting for. The task force created by Sanders and Biden give me hope. I look forward to hearing the tempered voice of Obama again soon.


While there’s plenty to look forward to, and every day I’m thankful that my family is okay, I realize #Rona stole our collective dreams for 2020 and we deserve to mourn our losses. Many of us will lose people. All of us have lost our innocence. We have all had to change our plans.


As families everywhere are grieving for loved ones, I’m thinking about what my family can do to mourn our lost dreams and our shifting reality. I think just acknowledging the year that could have been is enough. Whether you light a candle, write a letter to 2020 or take a moment of silence, the process of mourning lends closure and opens a path to healing. Let's mourn what we’ve lost and set expansive, hopeful intentions for our collective future.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This morning I opened a package with a Bernie Sanders mug and bumper sticker. The timing couldn’t be more ironic. I can mourn the end of his campaign and still be grateful for all the good that his candidacy has done. If you want to understand more about the connection between animal abuse and the environment, check out Cowspiracy on Netflix. If you want to learn more about the Chinese wet markets that seem to have given rise to coronavirus, check out https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-what-is-a-wet-market/

Curiosity is the Antidote

April 7, 2020

When I was a kid my father used to like to say, "you have to know who you are." It sounded wise, but most of the time I didn't know what he was talking about, probably because I had no idea who I was. I knew the biggest limbs of my family tree and the sequence of my resume. I knew what I did for fun and the religion I was taught. I knew the gender, race and nationality that was ascribed to me. Was I the manifestation of that data? 


Since much of the world is on some level of quarantine, we have an unusual opportunity to spend more time alone and get to know ourselves. The New Oxford dictionary defines self-awareness as “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires.” I encounter many articles and memes about self-love and self-care, but I can’t recall any about self-awareness. I would argue that you can’t love yourself if you don’t really know yourself. And, if you become more self-aware and don’t like what you find, now’s a great time to work on improving yourself.


I post inspirational words every Friday on my social media. This past Valentine’s Day I posted, “Cultivate courage, kindness, strength, patience, compassion and resilience. You won’t have to search for self-love. It will reside in you effortlessly.” It was really a response to all the information that I see encouraging people to love themselves without even necessarily taking the time to know themselves. It’s like when you were a kid and your mom made you hug Aunt Bunny with the moustache. Sometimes we are our own Aunt Bunnys. We may be so busy working and providing for others, or hiding from painful experiences that we don’t ultimately know ourselves. Trying to cultivate self-love without self-awareness is like slicing bread before its baked.


Perhaps it’s possible to love ourselves without knowing ourselves well. Maybe we can experience a perfunctory form of self-love steeped in duty, the same way abused children still love their parents and Aunt Bunny still gets her “sugar.” We might love ourselves because we feel we have no choice. If we had a discourse on the meaning of love, we would need at least a few different classifications: romantic, maternal, platonic, etc., as well as a multitude of definitions.


For the purpose of today, let’s agree to assume you have to know someone pretty well to love them. Most of us wouldn’t get married without feeling we knew our spouse well. Parents often have such a deep love for their children because we’ve known them since birth. Strong friendships are often born from shared experiences and knowledge of each other over time.


It’s remarkable that you can live an entire lifetime without self-awareness. My guess is many people who’ve experienced trauma either physically or emotionally may not want to know themselves too well, because of the pain inherent in unearthing the realities of the past. It takes courage to heal. Ironically, I often recommend the book, The Courage to Heal, to trauma survivors, because it was a profound help to me. I’m so grateful it was gifted to me by my sister when I was in my early thirties. I sometimes wonder how my life might have been if I encountered helpful therapy sooner. I make the distinction because I’ve experienced a number of really terrible therapists over the years. I would liken it to dating. Some experiences were useless and others were profound. The Courage to Heal was one of the profound ones.


A friend texted me about being bored yesterday. Mirriam-Webster defines boredom as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” They define curiosity as “marked by desire to investigate and learn.” It seems to me curiosity is the antidote. It can cure boredom and open the door to self-awareness, self-love and genuine self-care.


These days have been scary and weary, but they’ve also been quiet, precious and ripe with potential. As we all spend time with more stillness than usual, what a wonderful time to cultivate curiosity and self-awareness. We can work on our reading or movie lists, choosing content that expands our perspective. We can write in our journals. (I have four.) We can try an online course. There’s a ton of free yoga and meditation resources online, some are my own. I published my resource list today as a companion to my e-book, Black Vegan Life ™ Guide to Self-Care. There's a link in there for the Live in Wonder Journal by Eric Saperston. It's a wonderful step in the direction of self-awareness.


I encourage you tap into your curiosity. Cultivate your courage to explore and to dream. It’s never too late to begin or deepen a journey of self-awareness. My dad used to quip, “you have to know who you are.” Turns out he was right.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is a quote that showed up in my Instagram this morning. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of my favorite books, and the quote really resonates with me. I write because I have a story to tell. We all have our stories. Not everyone wants to share with the world, but we should at least be able to share with a few understanding souls. Here’s the link to my Black Vegan Life Guide to Self-Care and resource list https://honeybutterflyz.com/e-books

Going Deep

March 31, 2020

A couple of days ago I watched a move with my daughter called “The Platform.” It was graphic and it shook me to my core much like coronavirus. One person might see that movie and see nothing but an entertaining thriller, but, for me, it was a powerful social metaphor. When I wrote my first novel, “Chocolate Souffle,” it could easily be enjoyed as romantic drama, but I wrote it with an underlying social commentary. Many works of art are like that. They have more than one level of meaning. From my perspective, life is the same way. We can live on the surface or we can go deep.


When I first started studying Buddhism back in 2010, I came to the realization that even animals care about their families. You might notice that birds follow the flock, bees work toward the goal of the hive, ants build communities, and even stray dogs will roam in packs. The term “mother bear” is used by moms everywhere to describe how we “go hard” for our kids. Just writing those words make the hair on the back of my neck stand up – mothering is so profoundly instinctual for me. I've learned we have a lot in common with animals when it comes to the instinct for survival and the desire for posterity.


If we have so much in common with animals, what makes humans different? We all have instincts, feel pain, desire community and have some expression of love. Most of us have seen domestic animals express affection. Cats and dogs may nuzzle their human guardians or each other. They may groom, lick and play together. If you’ve observed documentaries of wild animals the same behaviors are apparent. If you’ve seen footage of animals in factory farms, cows will wail for days when their calves are taken from them so that their milk can be made into cheese and their babies can be made into veal.


So what’s different about people? We all can agree humans have a higher level of intellectual capacity. Pigs are known to have the intelligence of an average 3-year-old child. Chimpanzees share 99% of human DNA and have sometimes outperformed humans in memory tests. Dolphins, dogs and even bees all receive high marks for intelligence. Elephants seem to be credited with a significant level of self-awareness, but not near the level of humans. And this is where I believe the true differences arise. Humans have a self-awareness and spiritual capacity that animals simply don’t have.


When we live our lives on the surface we get jobs, entertain ourselves, have friends and have families – essentially, the same things that animals do. Our version might be more complicated, but the end result is the same. When we live our lives with depth, we live in the spirit. We wonder about infinity, life and death, sleep and dreams, right and wrong. We consider the unseen world of the spirit within us and of the ether beyond us. We consider how our actions impact us and our families, but also others we don’t know and places we’ve never seen.


I encourage you to make some time to be in spirit, whether through prayer, meditation, restorative yoga, yoga nidra or some other stillness practice. If you always pray, try meditation. If you meditate regularly, try yoga nidra. One thing #rona has provided is abundant opportunity to access online services for free. Find something new and give it a shot – there’s nothing to lose but the contraction of your mind.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the image for a 5-minute meditation that I uploaded today. Access it and other love offerings for FREE at soundcloud.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz. Check out “The Platform” if you can stomach it. It’s a Spanish thriller available on Netfllix. You may want to watch some scenes through covered eyes, but if you stay the course, it can be eye-opening. 

Layers that Shroud

March 24, 2020

Last night I had a dream that I was with a male friend, perhaps a budding love interest. He was driving me to a creative writing event where I would be presenting. I was really excited and confident about my impending performance. On the way, he stopped at a liquor store to buy sugar to cut with his cocaine. (I know it doesn’t make sense. Why was he getting sugar at the liquor store? If you’re a therapist, give me a call.) In my dream, I shrugged my shoulders - if he wants to have a little recreational cocaine habit, who am I to get in his way? When I woke up this morning I questioned my sanity as it relates to men, but it also made me think about what it means to be judgmental or “judgy” as folks say.


I don’t think I’m a judgmental person. I believe in personal freedoms and find myself on a lifelong quest to reach higher levels of freedom for myself. I started my company, HoneyButterflyz Wellness & Transformation, to help others achieve the same. I used to sing Prince’s song, “Free” at the top of my lungs when I was in high school. I wanted to be “free to change my mind - free to go most anywhere anytime!” I still do. And, I want others to be free too – to live with passion, and have satisfying relationships, lifestyles and work. I also want people to be free from guilt, shame, regret and hypocrisy. Just writing about it has my mind in the ether, soaring high above the clouds.


If you want to smoke weed or do cocaine or meth or be a nudist or have three husbands, go for it. Your choices may not be for me, except maybe the nudist thing LOL, but if they don’t harm me or others, knock yourself out. If you have an illegal habit that’s between you and the po-po. The problem begins when your choices harm me or others. So if your three husbands are actually someone else’s husbands, that’s a concern. If you’re driving down 285 nude, that’s an issue. If you’re robbing people to buy cocaine, that’s a definite cause for alarm. And, if you’re hiring butchers to kill sweet innocent animals so you can eat them, then ugh!


I’m certainly not judge and jury on anything, but I know right from wrong even when I break my own rules. I know the first commandment is “though shalt not kill,” and I know the first tenet in yoga is “ahimsa” or non-violence. I know Jesus gave us the golden rule, “do unto others and you would have them do unto you.” I know Buddha said not to believe what he taught unless it made sense in my own heart. I stopped eating animals because once I awakened to the truth, I felt guilty when I sat down to eat. I felt like a hypocrite saving bugs, rescuing dogs and eating chicken. (And, yes, I used to foster dogs in my home.) Ultimately, I stopped eating animals to save myself – my heart, my joy and my freedom.


As coronavirus knocks us all for a loop, I’ve been thinking more about this concept of judginess. I saw a meme that says, now that you’re hoarding toilet paper, stop judging refugees. Wait, were people judging refugees before? I guess I live in my liberal, freewheeling bubble. Apparently people are out here judging rape victims, the #metoo movement, lifestyles, hairstyles, the car you drive, the clothes you wear and the house you live in. New Oxford describes “judgy” as “overly critical.” Why are we so quick to criticize others and yet nobody likes to be criticized? We harm others yet nobody wants to be harmed? What do we gain by being overly critical to others? By lacking compassion? By not even attempting to understand the plights of others?


I’m no psychiatrist, but I know our brains like to simplify stories, that’s why stereotyping and profiling are so appealing. I also know we have an instinct to protect ourselves from both physical and psychological harm. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, sometimes criticizing others is the only way we know to makes ourselves feel better. The problem is that it comes from a place of ignorance. We don’t know enough about anyone to know what we would do if we were in their shoes. We’ve never even seen their metaphorical shoes, even if we think we’re really close to that person. Our goodness doesn’t come from rising higher than the short-comings of others. Our sweet beauty and worthiness comes from accessing our divine spirit, if only we could peel off the layers that shroud it.


Our very busy frenemy, #Rona, has given a lot of us more time away from our normal activities. I encourage you to take a break from Netflix and check out your layers. Getting to know other people is fun, but getting to know yourself is even more amazing!


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the meme that I mentioned. If you’re curious about ways to “check out your layers,” take a peek at my “Black Vegan Life ™ Guide to Self-Care.” It’s free, it’s short, and there’s a section on nourishing your spirit that you might enjoy. Https://HoneyButterflyz.com/e-books Also, look out for my email and social media for an e-book discussion date coming soon! Oh, and I'll be posting a new meditation this week at soundcloud.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz

#Rona

March 17, 2020

Corona virus aka #rona is on a 24-hour news cycle now. I’ve never seen anything like it. I keep telling my daughter that it feels like we’re living out a movie. Really, we are. We’ve all seen this show. Whether it was Contagion, The Walking Dead or the documentary series, Pandemic. Even Bill Gates has a TED Talk from 2015 called The Next Outbreak? We're Not Ready. Despite the fact that the world seems surprised, this virus is no accident. It is apparently the inevitable result of globalism, animal cruelty, climate change and inhumanity. It's not the first pandemic, and it won't be the last. As troubling as these days are, I hope that they will inspire positive change around the world.


I remember when I was working on my master’s degree in the 1990’s and amazon.com was just a baby. We were using the word globalism as a new term. Companies were outsourcing work to Asian countries. Everything was manufactured in China. The internet was young. Information and ideas were beginning to spread at rapid pace. The term “climate change” was not yet a part of the U.S. vernacular. Back then, I thought fur coats and leather handbags were beautiful, and seafood was delicious. I used to love going to my favorite Italian restaurant on Montague Street in Brooklyn and ordering chardonnay, flounder francese and tiramisu. I guess I was a little fancy. Lol. Still am. :-)


I didn’t know anything about animal cruelty back then. I may have heard the term animal testing and it sounded pretty harmless, like rabbits were being lined up to take the SAT or GMAT. It wasn’t until the film Food Inc. was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008 that I began to slowly arise from my slumber. I saw chickens with breasts swollen from hormones trying to walk ankle-deep in feces in a huge, dark barn. They kept falling into piles of communal shit because their little bodies couldn’t support their enormous breasts. My mind immediately went to the Perdue oven-stuffer roasters my mom liked to buy. Is this where they came from?


That was 2008. I didn’t stop eating meat until 2012. I finally went vegan in 2014.


Some people stop eating meat because they don’t like the taste of it, or they want a healthier lifestyle. That’s wasn’t me. I stopped because I woke up to the cruelty that I was financing. Sometimes when people ask why I don’t consume animal products I say, “It’s cruel and it’s filthy.” It’s the filthy part that leads to the spread of disease and climate change. It’s so disgusting, most people will not watch the film Earthlings or Google factory farming images. It’s so revolting our sensibilities tell us not to look at it. And, yet, if it’s hidden from us we will gladly eat it.


This crisis also brings to the forefront the ongoing disparity between the haves and the have-nots. I believe health care is a human right. However, people suffer every day in the U.S. because of lack of mental health, dental and basic medical care. When we’re presented with a presidential candidate that vows vehemently to change that, we shrug our shoulders and say it’s naïve and impractical. As long as the problems stay in the so-called ghettos, it’s fine with the status quo.


When I was a kid the baby boomer generation was also called the “me” generation because of a perception of self-fulfillment being prioritized over social responsibility. The minimalism movement has helped me realize we’re a country of hoarders. We stockpile cash and an assortment of things while our neighbors go without. We compete with our peers for who has the most stuff while other folks have nothing. We don’t realize when one of us suffers, all of us suffer. When our neighbor is desperate, we are no longer safe in our homes.


I encourage you to take some time for quiet self-care during this global crisis.


See what wisdom rises to the surface.


Stew in your gratitude.


Be kinder than usual to yourself and others.


FaceTime or Skype with your friends and family.


And try out a new home-cooked plant-based recipe. Breaking bread is always sweet, even if it's virtual.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This photo is the cover of my new e-book, “Black Vegan Life ™ Guide to Self-Care.” You can download at honeybutterflyz.com/e-books. I’ve also uploaded a guided meditation and yoga nidra at soundcloud.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz. I hope you have a chance to listen. You can watch Earthlings on YouTube and Minimalism on Netflix. Full disclosure: I have never watched Earthlings but I understand it’s graphic. Netflix has a wide variety of films dealing with veganism that are not as graphic. A couple of favorites are Vegucated and Cowspiracy.

The Door Knob

March 10, 2020

Last month when I was in Costa Rica I got locked on my hotel balcony after dark. Thankfully I had my cell phone on me so I was able to call the front desk. If I didn’t have my phone, who knows how long I would have been trapped out there yelling “ayuda me” to tired groundskeepers that I hoped might see me. This was my first time traveling completely alone, and this was a powerful lesson for me - never trust a balcony. I will never again walk out on a balcony and close the door behind me, without at least checking the lock.


The funny thing is I was certain that the balcony door didn’t lock. It was a fact. I had tried to lock it from the inside more than once the night before, and it DID NOT LOCK. I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that the door didn’t lock. Until it locked me out. My understanding shifted then - the door locks in a way that cannot be tested from turning the knob inside the room. A new fact. Turning the knob from the inside was the wrong test. Another fact.


Then I started thinking how many times we have preconceived notions. Things we believe to be absolutely true, only later to find our facts are not really facts at all. For me, it’s been things like: The justice system is fair. People in jail are criminals. Police uphold the law. All white people have money. Teachers have the best interest of students at heart. Doctors are concerned about patient health. The food supply is safe. Eating meat is healthy. It could also be things like: Walmart is cheaper. Bill Cosby is a family man. Michael Jackson is just a little misunderstood. The list goes on and on. 


Do we make wrong assertions because, like the door knob, the test is wrong? As a child I thought there was fairness in the justice system because I was taught that in school. I thought white people had money because it appeared that way on TV. As an adult I know the educational system perpetuates a wide variety of lies and partial truths as does the media and entertainment.


This realization requires more from us - more critical thinking and more analysis. Simply put, more work. That’s why stereotypes are so appealing. Once we believe something to be true, it’s easier to ride it out than reconsider. Who has time for that? We’ve got work to do and bills to pay.


The balcony was a blaring reminder. I can't assume I know what I think I know. I must always be open with the heart of a student and question the door knob.


I encourage you to question what you’re sure you already know.

Journey with an open heart.

Speak kindly to yourself.


And, keep your cell phone charged. You never know when you’ll need it.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the view from my balcony in Costa Rica. I’m glad I didn’t have to spend the night out there. :-) If you’re looking for a chance to recharge, my next Vegan Sister’s Day Retreat, “Soaring into Summer,” is June 6 at the I Am Ascension Temple above Tassili’s Raw Reality here in Atlanta. Check out the details here https://honeybutterflyz.com/spring-day-retreat. Black Vegan Life ™ Fall Retreat for Women Only is December 11-13, 2020 at Elohee Retreat Center. Details and sign up at https://honeybutterflyz.com/fall-retreat.

Catching Our Past

March 3, 2020

The ongoing coverage of the coronavirus is ubiquitous, yet while we were sleeping, 22 unsuspecting people died in a tornado in Tennessee. Did they die in a tornado while worrying about a disease? It makes me think about all the things I’ve worried about that have never transpired, and all the things that caught me off guard, that I didn’t know enough to anticipate.


I learned years ago that worrying is pointless. It’s like meditating on what you don’t want. If you believe at all in the law of attraction or power of positive thinking, you know that worrying is not only a waste of your precious time, it’s actually harmful. According to WebMD, worry can graduate to anxiety, panic and suicidal thoughts. Activating the body’s stress response can cause a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, headaches, short-term memory loss, muscle aches, shortness of breath and twitching. These symptoms can create other disorders like coronary artery disease, immune system suppression and digestive disorders. In a cosmic joke, worrying about the coronavirus can lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to infection.


Aside from the negative effects on the physical body created by the stress response, I believe worry sends a harmful message to the energetic body. Walking in worry changes your aura – the electromagnetic field that science recognizes combined with the unexplainable energy we exchange with others.


Ironically the lead character in my first novel, Chocolate Souffle, was named Aura. When I wrote the book in 1995, I didn’t know what an aura was scientifically, but I knew that people carry an energy around them that is palpable.


I started watching a documentary series today that suggests ancient civilizations were more advanced than our modern culture, and we are catching up to our past. In Yoga Nidra training over the weekend the same suggestion was made when we discussed brain waves. We pride ourselves on being state-of-the-art, despite the fact that many times science is only beginning to catch up to traditions that are thousands of years old. Auras, energy and the use of foods and herbs to heal are part of this ancient wisdom.


As the 24-hour news cycle blasts you with a detailed description of every soul who has been infected with COVID-19, I encourage you to walk in awareness, not in fear. Take some time to follow the ancient wisdom of our ancestors and maintain health through quality rest, nutrition, intentional meditation, connection with others and physical exercise.


Walk in love, light and awareness. 

Rise above your fears. 

Be kind to yourself.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the ancient Egyptian pyramids. Scientists still don’t understand how a supposedly primitive civilization erected such complicated structures. Likewise, science is catching up to the various levels of consciousness in the human body. If you’d like to explore relaxation and yogic sleep, join me on Saturday for my “Courage to Dream” Mini-Retreat and Ghana fundraiser. Details at honeybutterflyz.com/about If you want to check out the documentary series I mentioned, it's called "Secret Life of Symbols" and is available on Gaia.

The Devil's Dance

February 25, 2020

I’ve built a business based on the ideals of wellness and transformation. I did this knowing that, generally speaking, people are uncomfortable with change. Today I’m thinking about the upcoming election and the need for change juxtaposed against the comfort of status quo. One of my long-time friends said to me, “If you know the devil you’re dealing with you can dance.” So true. But at what point do we venture out to the unknown, recognizing the potential for the devil we don’t know and the possible brimstone and fury? When is revolution worth the risk?


When I flew to Costa Rica a couple of weeks ago, I was on my way to a country I’d never visited to meet a group of strangers. There was trepidation but also excitement. I often tell my daughter that the feeling of fear in the pit of your stomach should be embraced. It means that you’re doing something new. You will never have that feeling sitting at home watching Netflix. It’s the feeling you get when you walk into unexplored territory: public speaking, stage performance, meeting different people, doing new things or going to foreign places. The documentary film "Happy," asserts that doing new things is part of what gives people a sense of joy. Fear and trepidation often turn into euphoria and accomplishment. Consistently choosing the illusion of safety may lead to missed opportunities and the tragedy of regret.


In the upcoming democratic primaries there seems to be a fight between the comfort of status quo and the hope of real change with its inherent potential for failure. Recently a friend suggested that if enslaved revolutionaries knew that their attempt at revolt would end in their own death, they would alter their plans. I don’t believe that to be true. I think each of us has something or someone we’re willing to die for. If we don’t, I think we should.


Harriet Tubman was willing to die for freedom. Ghandi gave his life for independence. Malcolm X succumbed to his quest for dignity. MLK lost his life for civil rights. Some of the world’s greatest leaders were just that because they put the importance of an ideal – freedom, humanity, equality, etc. before their own lives. Understandably, most people are not willing to do that. However, we might have a child, parent, pet or other loved one that we would sacrifice our lives for. We might be part of a vision or nation who’s dream is so important, we would protect it with our lives.


When Barack Obama won the presidency I never thought he would survive office. There was so much hate. The powers that benefit from the status quo were able to rile up the insecurity of the masses, spewing hatred and fear against every class of person that wasn't a natural-born, heterosexual, cisgender white male. I didn’t think the secret service would be able to protect him. Now I worry about Bernie Sanders. Here is a man who has been fighting for civil rights for his entire life. His campaign is based on equality and human rights and he is vilified as unrealistic and crazy. Is it crazy to proactively work for progress or is it crazy to complain about the status quo while fearing any movement toward change? Perhaps our greatest visionaries are always deemed unrealistic, ideological and insane.


Any time you take a leap into uncharted waters there will be fear. The question then becomes, is a new direction worth fighting for? Is the fear an opening to euphoria and accomplishment? Will taking the path of comfort lead us to regret? Are we willing to cha-cha with the devil?


I support Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Just like when I supported Barack Obama, I will send him money. I will make calls for him. I will put stickers on my car and I will talk about it publicly. Whoever you choose as your candidate, I encourage you to vote. There is no guarantee that we will always have this right.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. I love the attached photo. I took it on my last morning in Costa Rica. When I decided to quit my job to work for myself I had to determine what I was willing to sacrifice. I decided to lay it all on the line. This photo represents writing and freedom for me. If you want to support or learn more about Bernie Sanders, check out his website at https://berniesanders.com. If you are looking for an opportunity to get still and figure out what you’re most passionate about, check out my upcoming “Courage to Dream” mini-retreat on March 7. Details at honeybutterflyz.com/about

The Lemon Tree

February 18, 2020

In the wake of Valentine's Day and the glorification of romantic love, I've been thinking about friendships. Romantic relationships are wonderful, but I believe loving friendships are profoundly important for emotional and physical well-being. I think I make friends pretty easily. I don't typically roll with a group, opting more for one-on-one connections, even if we are part of a larger group. Since I’ve made the decision to break from the status quo, I’ve noticed changes in some of my friendships. I’m sure I’ve changed, and some of my friends have too. Perhaps they see me differently. It has me thinking about the pieces of a friendship. What’s the perfect mix? How do you find new friends when you want them? How do you elevate your circle when you need to?


My mother used to say “birds of a feather flock together.” Our friendships reflect us and we reflect them back. I saw an old interview with Maya Angelou where she talks about Malcolm and Martin like they were her homeboys. James Baldwin was friends with Medgar Evers. Toni Morrison and Angela Davis were friends for over forty years. In my imagination the whole Harlem Renaissance was a crew. Heck, even Cardi B was dating Offset long before she blew up. Basically, my mother was right. Mothers usually are. It matters who you spend your time with. You exchange not only words, jokes and information, you exchange energy.


I’ve had conversations with friends that have left me drained and upset, and others that have left me inspired and uplifted. I know nobody’s perfect, but I choose the latter when I can.


I spent the past week on a retreat with eight other women. We planted small seeds. But what takes a friendship beyond a mere acquaintance? Are we too old for new friendships in our 30's, 40's or 50's? Are we stuck with the friends we already have? I found a few articles on the topic. One narrowed friendship to four key elements: reliability, deep listening/nonjudgment, optimism and service. I would add mutual trust, authenticity and vulnerability to the mix. We trust our close friends with our hearts. We show up with them as our true and flawed selves. Without those components you don’t have a friend you just have “someone you know.”


People sometimes think I have a lot of friends. What I have is a long list of acquaintances. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every sweet seed of a friendship, including the eight that were planted last week and all the future seeds to come. However, I am most in awe of my true friendships that have grown over years of nurturing.


I know people who have lost friends to death.

I know most relationships don’t last forever.

I know some friendships are only for a season.


With this knowledge of endings, I wonder about beginnings. How do you start a new friendship or relationship? What are the ingredients? I’ve decided friendship is a lemon tree because they smell great, they’re delicious when you add a little sweetness, and lemons can help with just about anything. So how do you make your lemon tree grow?


- Common interests and bonding experiences are the seeds that bring us together. I think that’s why most friendships are born in work, school, neighborhood, military, camp, etc.

- Trust and vulnerability grow our roots. That’s where you go from acquaintance to the potential for friendship. I read once that being a teetotaler hinders work relationships. I think this is why. Many people only let their guard down when they’re under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunate, but probably true.

- Time and interest nurtures us to bloom. Just like any relationship you have to want it and make time for it. I remember the day one of my workaholic friends told me she decided she was going to make time for our friendship. We’ve grown an amazing friendship since then.

- Humility spreads our branches far and wide. Sometimes we hurt each other. We’re human - it’s unavoidable. Long friendships last when you can say, “Sorry I hurt you. I didn’t mean to. It won’t happen again because I’ve made a change in me.” That doesn’t mean you have to become a new person, but you commit to change the offending behavior, or at least to try.


I know there are a lot of us who would like more friends, whether it’s because we’ve relocated to a new city, we’ve lost friends along the way, we've outgrown our existing crew, or we just have room in our lives for more connection. Wherever you are, I wish you beautiful relationships that blossom, fill your spirit and inspire you to your highest most authentic self. You deserve all of that and more.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is a quote on friendship from Michelle Obama. I thought a lot about whether to post it. It seems a bit harsh. The reality is we have limited hours in our day. She hit the nail right on the head. Make space for those who inspire and support you. Retreats are a wonderful way to plant an initial seed in common interests and bonding. I still have 2 spots left for my “Courage to Dream” mini-retreat on March 7. Sign up at honeybutterflyz.com/about Mark your calendars for my "Black Vegan Life Fall Retreat - for Women Only" December 11-13, 2020 at elohee.org I’ll be posting details soon.

Waiting to Unfold

February 11, 2020

I went to my very first writing workshop a little over two weeks ago. The instructor said something that really stayed with me, “when it comes to our ability to get things done, we are fighting the three P’s: procrastination, perfection and paralysis.” This comment was exceptionally relevant to a room full of writers gazing starry-eyed at blank pages, but I think it resonates with most all of us.


Webster defines procrastination as “to put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness; to postpone or delay needlessly.” The tendency to procrastinate can be wrapped up in the other P’s – the desire for perfection or the inability to start because of over-analysis, hence, paralysis. Procrastination could be caused by indecisiveness about the task itself, lack of enthusiasm to get started, or a miscalculation of the time required to complete a task. No matter the reason, most would say procrastination is not a stellar quality of great thinkers and doers. It can make you late for work, fail an exam or miss an opportunity. Procrastination can turn goals into never-ending daydreams. You imagine one day you’ll write your memoir, travel overseas, learn a foreign language or master a musical instrument. We tell ourselves we’ll start working on that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. First you must binge watch the latest season of Handmaid’s Tale, or do additional research, or ask your friends their opinions, or catastrophize the endless list of things that could go wrong. Procrastination falsely convinces you that you have more time than you do and there’s no loss in waiting. In business we call that loss "opportunity cost," and it's quantifiable. 


Time is our biggest natural resource and we should cherish it more than even our most prized possessions – home, car, heirlooms or wedding rings. Procrastination manages to devalue our time into a limitless commodity which is easily replaced. The reality is even if we live to 103, like Kirk Douglas, would we be in condition to achieve our dreams at that age? We have years, and we have our best years. All years are not the same.


My Virgo zodiac sign is often considered the sign of the perfectionist, although I don’t think that trait manifests in me in a traditional way. I am certainly detail-oriented, and will make adjustments until a project is to my liking. However, the perfectionist trait can present itself as a barrier when the quest for perfection either keeps you from starting a task or stops you from finishing. The essay is never good enough. The painting is eternally incomplete. Or, conversely, where is the perfect place to start a task? The perfect time? The perfect first word? Perfectionism convinces us that she’s real – that there is or ever was a perfect thing, place or time, when in reality there never has been and never will be. Perfection is subjective so the search for it is futile and leaves us in a fruitless spiral like a dog chasing it’s own tail.


When I worked in sales we used to talk about different client types. The analytical clients were the most likely to fall into the mode of what we called “analysis paralysis.” They were the harborers of the third P, often never making decisions because their analysis of details, variables and options was so in-depth a decision became time-consuming and impractical, or contained unknown variables and therefore became impossible. For example, a client might want to know exactly how a product would work in their lives. Well, that’s impossible to know, whether it’s a mutual fund or a tube of toothpaste, that much detail about the future is simply unknowable. For that client the money may stay in savings for ten years earning 1% when it could have earned 5%, and they may continue brushing with their grandfather’s Colgate instead of upgrading to Tom's with the fresh peppermint. 


While perfectionism is the search for an unattainable holy grail, and procrastination lies to you about all the time you have, paralysis is oddly real in comparison. Anyone who’s experienced sleep paralysis, a panic attack or has even tried getting up from a position and quickly realized their leg was asleep knows the deeply physical feeling of paralysis. When the block is psychological, that inability to move can last a week, months or years. You may watch people, time and situations change around you, creating the illusion of change, when you are actually stuck doing the same things, making the same promises or dreaming the same dreams.


As my writing instructor told me, the three P’s are always there, so don’t let your guard down. Time is a treasure waiting to unfold. I plan to be there loosening the ribbon and watching the beautiful wrapping release to the earth as my life unfolds with confidence, joy and intention.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is from our farm tour yesterday at the Eco-Lodge where I’m staying for my writer’s retreat this week in Costa Rica. I still have 3 spots remaining for my upcoming “Courage to Dream” mini-retreat on March 7. Check out the details at https://honeybutterflyz.com/about. We’ll be doing deeply relaxing and inspiring restorative yoga, meditation and yoga nidra. I firmly believe we have to get still to break past the things that keep us from reaching our dreams.

Beauty in the Detours

February 5, 2020

It’s the first week of February. Just enough time has passed for most New Year’s resolutions to have been conveniently forgotten until next year. It's a fitting time to move our thoughts past the Super Bowl Half-Time Show to Love, Chocolate, Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, President’s Day and the potential of spring. It’s as if a machine pulls our collective strings like puppets in a play. I’ve always been a girl that likes to party and celebrate, and I’m definitely a fan of any distraction to get me through the winter. However, there are times when (if I sit still long enough) I wonder if these activities are genuine entertainment and celebration or just a way to distract from the realities of life. Remember the Wizard of Oz? “Don’t look behind the curtain.”


I think most people are on a quest for purpose. I know I am. The book, The Purpose-Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren has sold over 30 million copies, and people have purchased more than 10 million copies of the purpose-focused job-hunting guide, What Color is Your Parachute? The search for meaning seems just about as old as civilization. Perhaps the first purpose-focused text was the ancient holy scriptures. Religion is definitely one of the ways we answer this yearning – for some we don’t need a purpose aside from the love of God.


On New Year’s Eve I was full of hope as so many of us are. I set a one word intention for 2020: FIRE, and created the acronym – Fierce Inspired Raw Energy – to capture my joy and enthusiasm for my work as a writer, self-actualization coach and yogi in 2020 and beyond. My skin gets a tingle just putting the words on paper, but the reality is I had to search my notes to find my acronym again. Ugh! As much as my intention began with power, in the 36 days since the start of the year I’ve dealt with more sickness in my family than I care to admit, two emergency trips and a host of text messages and phone calls. In other words, life happened. Again.


Life happens to all us. We make plans in a straight line from point A to point B, but the reality is most journeys are not point-to-point. There are bathroom breaks and detours. We may try a short-cut only to end up on a more winding road. We may take a wrong turn and find we have to backtrack. Sometimes we find ourselves far off course and only a saving grace sets us straight. While efficiency has its place, I think the beauty is in the detours. Those “wrong” turns often open our eyes to what would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Perhaps we grow our resilience bending with the winding road, foster our patience and stir up our motivation to get back on course. We learn to start over.


This is a great time of year to reassess those January goals. Were they realistic? Are you making progress? Are you being kind to yourself? Have you learned at the detour? Have you leaned into the bend in the road? Do you need to start over?


Wherever you are in your journey, know that it’s okay. Life happens. There’s beauty in the detours, it’s never too late to start over, and I’m still here bringing fierce, inspired, raw energy!


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This blog is a day late because I am on an unexpected trip. In other words, life happened. The photo is the amazing sunset from Monday. Mother Nature was putting on a show. It seemed like the perfect backdrop for my FIRE acronym – Fierce, Inspired, Raw Energy. Yes, please. If you’d like to join me to soak up some deep dreaming and goal-setting, meet me at Tassili’s on March 7th for my “Courage to Dream” Mini-Retreat and Ghana fundraiser. Only $99. Details at  https://honeybutterflyz.com/about


Daring You to Live

January 28, 2020

Intellectually we all know we will die one day. We don’t know how or when. Even today is a possibility. Most of us don’t want to die. Not one day. Definitely not today.


If you’re anything like me, when you hear about a death you ask questions: Were they sick? For how long? Was it an accident? Where? What hospital? Did they smoke? Were they drunk? How old were they? Once I gather all the data I can, I feel the motor of my mind spinning and calculating, even bargaining with the grim reaper. Well, I don’t drive on that road…at that speed…in the dark… I don’t eat meat…I don’t smoke…I work out… I meditate… My brain makes a quick calculation of the likelihood of my impending demise in the wake of another’s. Nope, not me. That won’t happen to me. 


Of course the calculation is always off because at the end, I come back to the reality – I could die TODAY. My daughter could die TODAY. Any of us can. People slip in bathtubs and die in their homes, so staying home all day doesn’t guarantee a death-free life. It will, however, guarantee a fearful one.


It’s almost as if Fear hangs out at corners, smoking cigarettes and looking shady, daring you to live. She dares you to step outside into the sun, to run in the breeze, to drive fast or kiss slow, to take a leap of faith or passion. Some of us tiptoe, making sure not to incite Fear’s wrath. Others run around corners laughing as Fear chases us. We run, stumble, fall, get up again. Try again. Work harder. Take long naps. Start over.


People who have never smoked die of lung cancer. Women with no history of breast cancer in their family succumb to the disease. Rich celebrities who seem to have every advantage die of terrible accidents (like Kobe and Aaliyah), drugs (like Prince and Whitney), violence (like Tupac and Biggie), and run-of-the-mill old age (like we all quietly dream of). Young people die all the time (like Gigi and Bobbi) - it just hurts more.


Before my daughter started her freshman year of high school, she went to a funeral for a boy she didn’t know who had committed suicide. Shortly after that there were three more: one accidental shooting by a friend, one drowning on a field trip and one hit by a car while riding his bicycle.


My daughter and I have always had conversations about death. What happens if I die? What happens if she does? These conversations don’t make us sad – they’ve made us closer and more alive in the knowledge that life is precious for everyone, even the young and healthy.


People die and new people are born every day - that's how this whole thing works. We know that in our heads but not in our hearts, so when we hear tragic news our heart breaks. We’re shocked. Over and over again. We all know the informal definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, so how can we live each day as if we will never die when death is our only guarantee?


I choose to live each day knowing it could be my last. I cultivate joy and love. I intentionally release anger and fear. I choose self-care and self-work so that when my final moment comes I have no regrets and I’m not surprised. I’m dipping around corners, giggling and running in the breeze with Fear at my heels. I won't let her catch me. For those that have lived well, death is just the opening of another chapter.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is from a TED Talk I watched yesterday featuring Dr. Bert Herring. In his talk on intermittent fasting and life balance, he encouraged us to think “Did I enrich today?” when we see the word "diet" as a reminder to live a richer life. I am traveling to Ghana in March to enrich my life and others by sharing my yoga practice. I’m hosting a mini yoga retreat and fundraiser here in Atlanta on March 7th. Why not enrich your life and sign up? Details at honeybutterflyz.com/about

Body and Voice

January 21, 2020

In a society that prides itself for openness, it fascinates me that in 2020 people are often surprised when I tell them my age, political affiliation, salary, religion or rent. The ubiquitous rule not to discuss religion, politics or money became a social norm for acquaintances supposedly as a way to allow new friendships to blossom before taking on heavier topics. I'm not sure exactly when people started lying about their ages, but it may be as old as time. For me, lying about my age feels like shrinking. I want to stand, legs wide and hands on hips in my superwoman pose, grateful for every hour of my life.


I absolutely believe in appropriateness – it’s part of my parenting soapbox. However, I also believe in authenticity. Some of the most substantive conversations take place around these topics. These are core, existential principles and I wonder who zipped our collective lips? Who benefits from the silence?


I’m not talking about screaming matches. Anger has no place in thoughtful, intelligent conversations. I’m talking about the discussion of ideas. I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Are we embarrassed by our perspectives on religion, money, or politics? Are we scared to let folks know where we stand? Have we stopped caring? Or have we just been brainwashed into not speaking up? When I was a child I was taught good little girls didn’t make a lot of noise. Are we trying to get along and be “good?”


The internet has done a great job creating bubbles of like-minded people, often squeezing out debate and discourse.


But conversation matters.


Even more than that, the ability to discuss beliefs and values without anger or violence is a critical skill.


Societies and governments are not static. The good ones move and change with the voice of the people. But what if the people have busied their voices with discussions of food, sports and entertainment? What if the people have been socialized to a type of “politeness” that renders them impotent?


Yesterday we celebrated the MLK holiday. This was a man who used his body and voice to challenge political beliefs and values and was imprisoned and ultimately murdered because of it. He challenged capitalism, racism and the status quo. He wore his spiritual beliefs with pride. He stood with power in his own authenticity and ultimately changed the world. I wonder what our country would be like had he chosen to be “polite.”


If you follow my social media, you may have seen my 2020 E-vision board. On it, the symbol for the throat chakra is prominently featured. My goal for this year and forever is to throw my heart, soul and voice into writing my truth, and to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves. Especially animals. Animals are so voiceless, even after five years as a vegan it still feels strange to advocate for them. Most people think of animals as inanimate objects like shoes, purses or meat. Or, they don’t think of them at all.


Many civil rights proponents ultimately make the connection between human rights and animal liberation. As King famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


Intersectionality is a term used when social justice goals overlap. I’m a feminist, animal activist and I support human rights across all races, sexual preferences and gender identities. It seems to me that injustice across any group affects all the groups. No matter where you fall, I think you would agree we all want freedom.


I encourage you to speak up for your own freedom, and perhaps the freedom of others, whatever that looks like for you.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The beautiful image is the first draft of my book cover art. “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings,” will launch this year! 

Falling Into Place

January 14, 2020

It feels like the past few days have been a whirlwind of emotions for me. My dad’s been sick for awhile now and I’m heading back to NYC to see him tomorrow. My daughter’s away in school and she was sick too. I’ve been working hard to get attendees for my events and not always feeling successful. My spring retreat is now only a season away, sneaking up on me like a little squirrel. And, through all of that I know there is a power greater than me at work, so I move with the flow, releasing my expectations and relinquishing to divine order. I’ve learned many times that no matter how hard I try to control things, it is ultimately an illusion – unanticipated events can happen at any moment, good or bad.


For years I thought about my life from a position of lack. In some ways that mindset is part of popular culture. I used to joke about the struggle bus, the plantation and the grind. I wondered where Mr. Right was hiding, thinking that a successful relationship was an existential goal. Recently, I’ve released most of that. I had a long conversation at the hair salon about going from “the struggle bus” to “on the bus.” Anyone who’s spoken to me lately has heard me talk about being “on the bus.” It’s me surrendering to life. I no longer purport to know what the correct next step is for me. I’m willing to go with the flow.


Whew!


I always thought of myself as ambitious. I had all the degrees, all the jobs and all the plans. I’ve owned a business, had employees and been a landlord. I thought I had the right equation for success and happiness: MBA + house + husband = HAPPY or 100k job + business + child = SUCCESS. As I’ve gotten wiser, I’ve realized that there is no simple formula for genuine joy. It’s like 1 + 1 = 10. It’s inexplicable.


If I have to choose, I prefer surrender.


I realize sometimes people see my joy and they think things are always falling into place for me. The reality is I am falling into place around the things.


That’s surrender.


That’s being “on the bus.”


That’s riding the roller coaster with your hands waving high up in the air with the confidence that you are supported by the machine of divine consciousness.


I wish you surrender.


I wish you courage.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,



Trish


P.S. The image is of my 2020 digital vision board on my laptop monitor. I’m surrendering to ALL of it.

Guided by Heart

January 7, 2020

My daughter looked at me about a week ago in a moment of unanticipated empathy and said, “mom you’ve been through a lot this past year.” I was startled. We all go through a lot, and my story’s not any different than anyone else’s, but some years pack more punch than others. I had to take in a breath of acknowledgement. In the past year my father nearly died more than once, I flew back and forth to New York more than ten times, my daughter went off to college, I dramatically changed careers, reluctantly sold my home, and, in the process, became disconnected from those I thought were good friends.


Recently I did one of those therapeutic assessments where they ask how many major life events you’ve had in the past year – it seemed I had nearly all of them. I’m not complaining. I’m embracing all of the change – good and bad. I lost my mom almost nine years ago. I know parents don’t last forever, and I’ve done my best to love my father and say all the things I’ve wanted to say to him. I’ve done my best to be physically present as much as I can when he’s in New York and I’m here in Atlanta. I’ve dropped what I’m doing many times to run to him, and I’ve taken responsibility for the things I let fall to the side.


Changing careers was painful but I couldn’t be happier. Selling my house was disruptive but part of the dream. And losing or misplacing friends is par for the course. Most relationships don’t last forever, and not everyone is ready to support you as you grow and change. My cousin posted a quote this past week that said, “Evolve so hard that they have to get to know you again.” Every time I see it I can’t help but chuckle. Sometimes the evolution is DEEP.


Today was the first day of my “Courage to Dream” workshop series. In the upstairs temple at Tassili’s Raw Reality, here in Atlanta, we took deep cleansing breaths together. We got quiet. We wrote down what bubbled up to the surface in our stillness. We inhaled courage into our hearts and let go of anything holding us back.


The series name came from one of the first affirmations that I wrote:


“You deserve freedom, alignment and effortless abundance.

You deserve self-care.

You deserve the courage to dream.

These are your birthright.”


I was taught as a child to go to school, get an education and get a good job. I thought I would work some place for 30 years and then retire and get a pension. One of my first memories as a child is my mom trying to wake me up for kindergarten. I told her I didn’t feel well. She told me it was art day and I jumped out of bed! Even as children, perhaps especially as children, we know where our passions lie.


What wakes you up in the morning?


What keeps you up at night?


What would you do if you couldn’t fail?


Some say courage is doing things in spite of fear. I know that to be true. I also believe courage is living a life guided by an open heart. Raw. Powerful. Vulnerable.


I never pursued my passions as a child. I loved art and science and ended up studying business. My breakthrough, funny enough, is memorialized in my Instagram feed on August 20. Something inside me told me I could dream a different life for myself. I don’t know if it was the Live in Wonder journal that I’d been working through since 2016, or all the yoga classes where I set my intentions, or all the sweat lodges where I burned my fear in the fire, or all the meditation classes and Dharma lessons. My guess is it was a culmination. I was able to examine my life to a point where I had the courage to dream.


I was moved by a quote I heard in a yoga retreat on New Year’s Eve. I’m paraphrasing but it said “It’s better to pursue your passion and fail than be really successful at something you were not made to do.” It made me pause.


Since I’ve moved into living more from my heart, I believe the universe continuously gives me signs I’m on the right path. It’s terrifying and fantastic at the same time. I can’t say I wish I had done it sooner, because I believe all things happen in divine time.


The New Oxford American Dictionary's definition of "encourage" is to "to give support, confidence or hope." It sounds to me that to "encourage" is really to "give courage" as much as it is possible for one to "give courage" to another.


As we enter this new decade together, I want to give you courage to explore your dreams and lead with an open heart. 


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is from the beautiful “I Am Ascension” Temple upstairs from Tassili’s where we had our yoga and meditation tonight. If you've never been there, you're missing out. Visit tassilisrawreality.com to learn more. I'm using the Live in Wonder journal at my spring retreat in April. It's available on Amazon. For more information about spring retreat, visit honeybutterflyz.com/spring-retreat-2020



Love Your Corners

December 31, 2019

When I was growing up my family used to call me Tricia. In elementary school the kids called me Patricia. By the start of high school I was Trish. I was defining myself in those days and I decided that I liked the one syllable, straight-to-the-point, feminine and definitive version of my name. With Trish there was nothing left for interpretation.


I married for the first time a month before my 19th birthday. I was just about the same age as my daughter is today. I became Trish Watson for nearly ten years, even though the marriage only lasted nine months. As a child sex abuse survivor, I was happy to disconnect from the name I carried as a child and instead thought of Watson as my “grown-up” name. I went straight from Trish Watson to Trish George when I married my daughter’s father in 1997.


I often tell my daughter I wore a lot of black when I was in high school. I partied, drank and smoked a lot. I was working my way through trauma that I didn’t understand. 


I started working full-time when I was 17 and was employed by major corporations in NYC in my teens and twenties: Revlon, American Express and Verizon. I would put on my business suit, go to work and play the role of “corporate Trish.” I liked knowing that people wouldn’t be able to connect my last name to my family in Brooklyn and somehow figure out who I really was. I was embarrassed, not so much by the assault I had experienced, but by the years of acting out which followed. 


When I was 28 I finished my novel, “Chocolate Souffle,” under the pen name Trish Ahjel to keep my legal name separate from some of the content I wanted to address as a writer, and “Ahjel” is just a spelling variation of my middle name. Using a pen name allowed me to compartmentalize even further. Society teaches us that we have to have a particular image for some roles and a different image for others. We are not taught to be our whole and complete selves as we enter in and out of various spaces. We struggle to figure out what box we should fit into, and why we need a box anyway. I think that’s why so many of us struggle with authenticity. Is it okay to be ourselves with all of our flaws, or do we need to meet other’s perceptions of who we should be?


When I divorced in 2002, I raced back to my family name Roberts. With some self-help therapy I was able to understand that I had been running from myself. (I highly recommend The Courage to Heal books by Laura Davis, available on Amazon. I'm so grateful my sister gifted them to me. It was many more years before I found a competent therapist.)


In 2003 I had the pleasure of taking a photography class while working for Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. One of the students put a photo of his lover’s heavily blemished back on display. He said, “our beauty is in our imperfection.” That was one of the most striking bits of wisdom I’d ever heard, and I’ll never forget it. Our beauty is in our imperfection – it’s what makes us Real. Relatable. Authentic. Human.


I encourage you to love yourself. Not just the pretty, shiny parts of you, but also the dark, painful corners. 


I encourage you to let air into places that you’ve kept closed and dusty for too long.


I encourage you to breathe deeply into your pain and into your healing.


And if you’re healed, or when you heal, I encourage you to create a soft place for others.


As we approach this next decade together, let’s dedicate ourselves to opening the closed doors in our minds and living our most honest and authentic life. It’s not easy to admit mistakes, flaws and imperfections. It’s not easy to work through trauma, past or present. But it does make us real, and real is beautiful.


Here’s to your realest, bravest, most authentic YOU in 2020!


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. This photo is just me feeling myself and my new starter locs. Watching them grow and change will be part of my journey in 2020. Definitely an exercise in acceptance, patience and transformation. If you’re looking for an opportunity to deepen your own authenticity, I have two offerings in January: “The Courage to Dream” workshop series at Tassili’s on Tuesdays @ 6:30pm https://honeybutterflyz.com/about and “Electronic Visionboarding Lunch” at Herban Fix on 1/11 @ 11:30am https://honeybutterflyz.com/e-visionboarding-lunch. I hope to see you soon!

The Final Opportunity

December 24, 2019

Today is Christmas Eve. There are very few occasions that are considered so significant that the day before is nearly as revered as the holiday itself. On the Eve we prepare ourselves for the big event. With Christmas it might be cooking, shopping, decorating, worshiping or traveling to family or friends. With New Year’s it could be preparing black-eyed peas, purchasing champagne, laying out our most festive clothes, arranging noisemakers or traveling to a ball-drop.


I’ve been thinking of other significant Eves: J’ouvert before Carnival, Halloween before All Saint’s Day, Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the bachelorette party before a wedding. The ways we prepare for significant events all seem to have one thing in common – the party. In a world that is often painful, we seek relief through friends, family, community, costume, dance, food and libations. We lay our burdens down with sequined dresses and simple sheaths; fully adorned in costume or cloaked in jubilant mud; sipping on champagne or gulping rum punch, all the while feasting like kings and dancing to rhythmic beats. These become the foundations of our culture – what we wear, how we dance, what we eat and drink, and how we express ourselves through art and music.


We’ve all experienced the feelings we have the day before a big event – perhaps a major job interview, first day of work in a new career, family member’s funeral, a big presentation, final exam or your own wedding. For some it could be the precursor to adopting or fostering a child, relocating to another town or country, going off to college or military or even bringing a new pet into your home. When the big event is too uncertain or serious for an advance celebration, we release our joy or grief with the after-party, either in celebration or solemn acknowledgement of the outcome.


The day before is critical. It’s in the Eve that we realize we’ve nearly run out of time. It’s here that we recognize whether or not we’re actually READY. Now’s the time to call off the wedding, buy the last gift or light the fireworks. The Eve is the final opportunity.


This Eve is the culmination of my desire to be home with family, as complicated as that can be. There is bated breath with any Eve – an anticipation of things to come – that is part of its beauty.


In this life every day is pregnant with potential, but the Eves are extra juicy because they hold not only the hope of great joy but also all the wisdom of profound planning and effort. 


Wherever you are on this Christmas Eve, take a moment to dedicate yourself to the holiday that you planned. If you don't like your own creation, today is the last chance to reinvent it, if not for this year, then for 2020.


Merry Christmas Eve!


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,



Trish


P.S. This photo is from my morning walk yesterday in my hometown, Brooklyn, NY.

Unloved Offerings

December 17, 2019

I’ve been a bit of a Grinch at Christmas for a few years now. Although I’ve spent most of my life as a Christian, Christmas has always been a mostly-secular holiday for me. I used to read the bible from cover to cover and never found December 25, a winter birth, a Christmas tree, Santa or an elf. Of course, I loved all the pretty lights, gifts and festivities in my youth. However, when I was a single mom with a young child, without much time, money or help, the pressure to decorate and buy gifts could be oppressive.


While the holiday always felt festive to me, it fell short of spiritual even when I attended church. Lavish Christmas performances, charity drives and dinners felt more like a production or culmination of a year's activities - more festive, than spiritual. And, the churches I attended didn't address Jesus’s spring birth or the history of the holiday juxtaposed against the Roman pagan festival. We celebrated as if December 25 was really Jesus’s birthday with no acknowledgement of history or truth. 


Beyond my dilemma of faith, was my daughter’s mid-December birthday chaos. I spent the first half of the month planning a birthday party to make her feel cherished. The second half was spent getting the house, tree, kitchen and  wallet ready for “the season of giving.”


Selecting gifts for others is not a talent of mine. I also don’t really like receiving them. If I want something I can buy it myself. If you want to give me something, I prefer if you ask what I want, know what I want or treat me to an experience. If you’re not sure, cash is always king. Even in writing this, I know it sounds terribly unappreciative, but I'm confident I'm not the only one who feels this way. Holiday gift-giving is a quietly kept season of discomfort.  


I still don’t know what to do with gifts that I don’t like. Should I give them to someone else in the hopes that they might like it? A grab bag or white elephant seems like the perfect burial plot for these unloved offerings. Today, someone suggested I donate them. Instead, they usually just contribute to my clutter struggle. In 2020 I vow to do better.


Trying to figure out what to give people fills me with angst. Giving gifts that people don’t want or don’t use and contributing to their clutter seems unkind. Receiving unwanted offerings with a smile to protect the giver’s feelings is awkward. Creating piles of trash for future recycling or transport to less-developed countries seems inevitable. The whole process feels crazy! It's even crazier when it's based on a Christian tradition that was never taught by Christ.


Then there are the holiday parties where people bring their spouses or significant others. It’s great if you have one of those, but if you’re like me and you don’t, it can be uncomfortable. What about people who don’t have families at all. How must the holidays feel for them? Well, enough about my Grinchy tendencies, what do the holidays mean to you?


Is it a time to practice your faith?


To connect with friends and family?


Or a time to volunteer for others in need?


People say families get together for weddings and funerals – the holiday season is another ideal time for gatherings.


If all these wonderful things CAN happen during the holiday season, why stop there?


I encourage to you to enjoy the qualities of a good holiday season year-round: connection with friends, family and community; expression of spirituality and generous giving.


I also encourage you to give up the least attractive aspects of the season: judging others (for their religion, decorations, family, lifestyle, traditions, gifts, etc.), mindless shopping and clutter-building, overspending to impress others and reinforcement of a white savior Jesus or Santa. (Yes, I just said that.)


Today I bought a kinara for the first time and I’m sending out Kwanzaa cards. I’ve acknowledged Kwanzaa over the years; I even wrote about it in my book, Chocolate Souffle, but I’ve never gone all out. If you’re not familiar with the holiday, it is a week-long secular African-American holiday founded by Maulana Karenga in 1966. Over the course of seven days between Christmas and New Year’s we celebrate Umoja (Unity), Kujichaguilia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). Hand-made or educational gifts may be exchanged. This year it truly resonates with my soul and captures the essence of what I want to manifest in this next decade.


However you spend your holidays, I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. This photo is of the kinara I purchased today from Afrocentric Network here in Atlanta. I picked up a bunch of other Afrocentric goodies while I was there. Check them out at iamafrocentric.com. The symbol is "Nyame Biribi Wo Soro" which translates to "God is in the Heavens," and is a symbol of Hope. If you want to give a creative gift, check out my new client special. For only $49 you can give the gift of wellness in the form of yoga, meditation, reiki or self-actualization coaching. The gift recipient gets to chose. Use this link to purchase.

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Recipe for Awakenings

December 10, 2019

It occurred to me today that the upcoming new year is not only a new decade but also a repeater. The last repeaters would have been 1818 and 1919, and by the time 2121 rolls around no one reading this will be here. Not only is it a repeater, 2020 has a colloquial definition from its roots in ophthalmology – it represents perfect vision.


You may not believe in numerology, astrology, crystal healing or climate change, but you probably believe in some things you can’t see or understand, whether its god, spirits, atoms or viruses. In numerology it’s considered a message from the universe when you see repeating numbers. I’ve noticed repeating 1’s for the past couple of years without giving it any thought. I only learned recently that repeating 1’s, particularly 11:11 is considered an indication that the Law of Attraction is working in your life. Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the idea that what you focus on will manifest in your life.


So, how do you control what you focus on when most of us are busy going from work to errands to home? This is where meditation, affirmations, vision boards and visualization come into play. If we focus on negativity, we will draw negativity into our lives. By channeling our focus purposefully to positive intentions, we can manifest the things we desire. This doesn’t mean if you blink your eyes like a genie you will instantly become rich and famous. However, whether you believe in the “Law of Attraction” or not, with time and patience we all become the result of our mental and physical focus. That is indisputable.


According to numerologists, the number 2020 is significant for relationships and harmony because of the duality of repeating 2’s. It also indicates infinite potential because of the repeating 0’s. A new decade, with a touch of perfect vision, spiced with infinite potential and a side of harmony sounds like a recipe for profound awakenings.


Anyone who knows me knows New Year’s and my birthday are my favorite holidays. Like the transformation or “rebirth” of the caterpillar turned butterfly, New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past year’s lessons and prepare for the next year’s growth. My birthday serves as my personal new year, so I go through the same process of evaluation and intention-setting.


However you process the movements of the universe, both seen and unseen, I encourage you to reflect on the emergence of this new decade with perfect vision. Set aside time to focus on your own vision for 2020. That could be by seeing a therapist, finding a spiritual guide, working with a life coach, attending a retreat, creating a vision board or participating in yoga and meditation classes. If money is tight, there are plenty of free and reasonably priced options. 


I’m working on my own vision board in preparation for the Electronic Vision Boarding Luncheon that I’m hosting on January 11. (See those numbers? 1-11!) My vision board has my favorite Toni Morrison quote, “You are your own best thing.”


Remember YOU are YOUR own BEST thing. If you don’t take time for yourself, no one else will make you a priority. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will know how to love you well.


Make space for your own self-care.


Set positive intentions.


Open your heart to harmony and infinite potential.


Get ready for the shift.



I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is of Chef Beee and me after my first time as a guest on her cooking show. I made Sweet Potato Pie Juice and Black Vegan Life Kale Salad. We  had a great time! Two literal recipes for awakenings! :-) Here's the link so you can check it out: https://youtu.be/avpBSDlmiI4 This image is also from the last weekend in my home of the past twelve years. Let the transformation continue!

The Fullness of YOU

December 3, 2019

I can’t believe December is here and we’re facing the turn of not just another year, but another decade. It’s so cliché, but where does the time go? Last night I had a dream where I looked at my daughter and said, you’re five now right? She said, no, I’m turning ten. Then I did the math in my mind. I was 32 when I had you, and I’m 51 now, so you’re turning 19 this month! I’ve been paying more attention to my dreams lately and the hidden wisdom they contain. I’m not sure what my subconscious was telling me, but I do feel particularly in awe of the passage of time.


When I was growing up my mom used to quip, “I have shoes older than you!” when she wanted to exert her authority and remind me of her wisdom. And, now, I too, have many possessions that were obtained before my daughter ever entered this world. The passing of years feels like a long continuum - a sacred thread, twirling and twisting through seasons and decades, with continuous opportunities for growth, purpose and actualization. My mother is no longer with us. I have to remind myself that the ability to experience the passage of time is a privilege.


There seems to be some consensus that the ancient Egyptians were the first to record time using sundials and shadow clocks long before modern technology. I sometimes wonder what life was like in ancient times when everything was new – even the concept of time. Back then, adults were essentially like babies seeking to understand the world around them in the most basic ways. That’s part of the beauty and wonder of childhood – Everything is new and fascinating. If you’re not careful, you can become bored and jaded with age. Not because you know everything, but because you stop seeking new information, so you start thinking you do. It can happen not just on the individual level, but also on the cultural level. Is our culture so mature, so know-it-all that we’re bored with ourselves?


Children have a very effective way of marking time for us. With adults, we might see a change in a picture from ten years ago, but it’s subtle. With children it’s dramatic. Ten years is a lifetime. From infant to 5th grade graduation, from pre-school to high school, from high school to adult. Ten years in the life of a child is monumental.

Ten years in the life of an adult, although more subtle, can also be profound. The “me” that existed in this world at 30 and 40 is very different from the “me” now.


As we approach the dawn of a new decade, I encourage you to take some time to imagine how you want to change in the next ten years.


Who do you want to be when 2030 rolls around?


Will you be more patient or more compassionate?


Will you be more courageous or more vocal?


Will you break out of a self-made shell or someone else’s chrysalis?


Will you stand up for what you believe in even when it’s inconvenient?


And when you flesh out some of your goals, ask yourself:


Do you have a support team in place to foster your growth?


Do you have a daily routine that nurtures you and your aspirations?


Life can become small without intention, goals and dreams. Fill up the space that you’re in with the fullness of YOU. There is no competition. Nobody else can fulfill your purpose but YOU.



I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,



Trish


P.S. The photo is of a holiday ornament that I created at The Kenekt Holiday Market. My crafting skills aren't very good, but I loved the photo of the women in their church hats. To me it breathed wisdom. I’m working on a few offerings to celebrate the dawn of 2020. I’m hosting the “Courage to Dream” series at Tassili’s on Thursday evenings in January. This series is designed to help you identify your path for the upcoming decade. I’m also working on an electronic vision-boarding event and special pricing for self-actualization coaching. Keep an eye on honeybutterflyz.com and social media for details.

Triumph in Your Harvest

November 26, 2019

I have four journals at the side of my bed. I don’t write in them every day but they all have a story. As a child I remember having a diary with a lock on it. It seems all little girls wanted those back then. As a teenager, the reading of my diary became an act of war in my home. In my first marriage I kept a diary in short-hand that drove my husband into a wild-eyed fury. It’s so interesting how my private thoughts as a child and an adult were cause for such upheaval.


The four journals I have now are much different than the meandering thoughts of my youth. I stopped journaling for years, because it seemed my written words were never safe from the inspection of others.


In 2015, one of my girlfriend’s gave me the “Live in Wonder” journal. It absolutely took my breath away and has become part of my journey to finding my passions. Then, in 2016, I attended a workshop at a juice fast retreat where we were encouraged to start a gratitude journal. We were told that each day we should write three things we’re thankful for, and three things we want to manifest (as if it had already happened.) After launching my company this year, I realized that this is a special time in my life, so I started a third journal to document my experiences. Finally, after my life coaching certification weekend, I purchased a 2-minute journal from my instructor which helps me tap into my intuition by recording and interpreting my dreams. I thought about my journals today because I am thinking about being thankful.


Thanksgiving is only two days away, and it’s a holiday that is supposed to be about giving thanks. It always struck me as odd because I know gratitude is a spiritual practice that is meant for every day. Even the idea that you can have a gratitude holiday seems a bit strange. When I googled “Thanksgiving” the first things that popped up were football, desserts and side dishes, in that order.


Most folks know the holiday originated as a celebration of a successful harvest brought about with the help of Native Americans. There are differing opinions on the first Thanksgiving, but all stories seem to lead to the idea of European colonists being helped by Native Americans, and together celebrating a plentiful autumn harvest.


Perhaps instead of focusing on what we’re thankful for this holiday, we should focus on our harvest. Of course, we are thankful for our food, home, family, friends and accomplishments. What about going a little deeper? Every year’s harvest is the result of the particular seeds that were planted in spring and the way those seeds were nourished and tended to, as well as divine intervention from sun and rain. For me, I’m thankful for my home, family and friends, but I harvested my business, my yoga and coaching certifications, an adult relationship with my daughter and a peaceful mind. Every year hasn’t been quite as fruitful as this past one, but they were all the result of seeds planted.


So my question is, where have you planted your seeds this year?


How have you spent your time?


Do you see the results in your harvest?


Your harvest may not be physically visible – perhaps a softer heart, a focused mind, a more loving soul.


You certainly don’t need four journals, but I encourage you to have at least one. If you only write one thing between now and next Thanksgiving, write the seeds you’re planting, and next Thanksgiving triumph in your harvest.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is one of the beautiful trees in my neighborhood here in Atlanta.

The Sound of Freedom

November 19, 2019

A few days ago I reached for something in my laundry room and a purple candle tray fell to the floor and shattered. First off, I was selling my home, so I hid things in different places to move them out of site. (I don’t normally have candle trays in my laundry room.) I held my breath for a second when I heard the tray shatter, and when I looked down I sighed with relief, one more thing I didn’t have to figure out what to do with. I felt a glimmer of delight – the candle tray was dead. I had to pause. What a strange feeling.


I know I struggle with clutter. If I throw away an old pair of running shoes, I wonder if I should have given them to a homeless shelter. I stare at the soles and try to figure out if my old shoes would be more of a curse than a cure to another person. I sort through old clothes to make sure I don’t send anything to Goodwill with stains on it. I throw away old yoga pants with holes, but not before I make a decision about whether it would be worthwhile to sew them instead. Sometimes I throw things out without going through all of these paces of psychological and physical sorting. I give myself permission to just throw things away without guilt. At least, I try.


It was a perfectly good tray - unchipped and functional. As lovely as the day I bought it, probably twenty years ago. I could place a candle on it and it would protect my furniture. I used to like it. Perhaps I even thought it was beautiful. When did I stop loving it and wanting it? The tray didn’t change. I did. I suppose I used to like pillar candles. Now I like glass cylinders. Like an old toy forgotten as a child, I grew out of my candle tray.


I wonder how often we wait to be “saved.” To have someone or something come into our lives and break our candle tray so we don’t have to feel guilty about our own desire to break it ourselves.


That crash on the floor was the sound of freedom.


One of my good friends and fellow yogis recently spoke to me about minimalism and the work of Marie Kondo. Marie says you should only keep things in your home that “spark joy.” I’ve been rolling those words around in my mind for weeks. What a lovely ideal.


For me, the question then becomes, should we only keep people in our lives that spark joy too? I know, we all have difficult family members and relationships, but it seems to be a reasonable question. Have you ever had someone break up with you and you sighed with relief? Ever have a business acquaintance or friend cancel a lunch date and you smiled? Perhaps a family member stopped speaking to you and you were grateful?


I love the pursuit of self-actualization - identifying passions and living to your fullest potential. So much so, my life coaching business is built on it. Miriam Webster defines actualizing as making actual, or real. Through self-actualization we identify and elevate our authentic self. But, what about actualizing not only our self, but our environment as well – can we make our relationships with people and our physical space authentic and real too?


Imagine living your life at your highest level of potential surrounded by people and things that ignite your joy.


I can’t think of anything more beautiful.


And you absolutely deserve it.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the shattered pieces of my candle tray. It’s so interesting to me how it can be simultaneously broken and beautiful. I’m teaching meditation on Sunday, November 24 at Giving Tree Yoga in Smyrna. Come out and say hello!

Spitting in the Wind

November 12, 2019

I saw a meme on social media the other day that said, “You can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar people.” I reposted the meme and was a little surprised by the amount of engagement it got. Apparently there are a lot of “butterflies” out there trying to steer clear of “caterpillars.” If you know anything about me at all, you know I’m absolutely obsessed with the butterfly’s story of courage, growth and transformation. I even wrote my first “Lesson from the Butterfly” which I’ll be dropping on social media on Friday.


So who are these caterpillars? To me they are the haters, dream-killers, discouragers and worrywarts - the anxious, defeated, unhappy, bottom-hugging crabs. Perhaps they’re so entrenched in caterpillar life that they simply refuse to become butterflies. They don’t want to take the risk to see what’s on the other side of the chrysalis. This doesn't mean they're not your family and friends. This doesn't mean you don't love them, but you should protect yourself from them.


There is an old adage, “behind every great man is a great woman.” While the expression is a bit outdated, it’s also full of truth: we all need a support team. We simply can’t live our most amazing authentic lives by ourselves. And, it can’t be just any scrappy bunch, it has to be a group of folks who inspire, encourage, affirm and provide feedback for our wildest dreams. This is not a head-nodding "yes" team, but rather a carefully constructed squad of all-stars in our life: the folks that care about us the most combined with our most committed and accessible community resources.


When I first moved to Atlanta in 2007 I was heartbroken, both my relationship and my business endeavor ultimately didn’t work out. I was young and I had never weathered such a storm before - I was shaken to my core. Thankfully some internal wisdom made me realize that the same way children need a village, adults do too. I found a new career path, a church, a fitness center, a therapist, a masseuse and joined social organizations. I leaned on my family and friends. I recognized that I needed to care for my mind, body and soul. Because of this, I was able to work through my loss, parent my daughter effectively and create an amazing life for myself in Atlanta. But, I couldn’t have done it without a team of support – my butterfly people.


Have you ever had a conversation with someone that leaves you so drained you need a day to recover from it? Have you ever felt excited and confident only to speak to a dream-snatcher and walk away feeling anxious and uncertain?

I’m not saying constructive criticism isn’t warranted and extremely helpful. However the operative word is constructive. Criticism without conscience is like spitting in the wind - useless, messy, and it probably has a lot more to do with you than the object of your criticism.


My father used to always say, “It’s easy to criticize.” Then he would say, “If you think you can do better, then do it.” So true. Instead of criticizing the temperature of your food at a restaurant, open your own restaurant with perfectly hot food all the time. Instead of criticizing the venue for your favorite festival, launch your own festival. Instead of complaining about the teachings of the church, start your own church. This is actually what my dad said to me, which seemed crazy until I realize people open churches all the time. You chose to be either a complainer or a doer.


This life waits for no one.


Explore your desires.


Pursue your dreams and help others pursue theirs.


Be a counselor to your friends and family.


Give advice when you're asked, but never ever kill someone’s dream.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. One of my dreams is to host a SOLD-OUT 2020 Spring Retreat, “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis” at Callaway Gardens, April 17-20. I’m hosting a FaceBook LIVE on Thursday, November 14th at 8pm to answer any questions you may have. Here’s the link: facebook.com/veganhoneybutterflyz You can also get retreat details at honeybutterflyz.com/spring-retreat-2020

From Scattered to Focused

November 5, 2019

I’ve been thinking about what it means to be and have enough. For the past month, I’ve been writing affirmations and sharing them on social media. One of my good friends gave me the idea to print them on products, so I created affirmation candles, magnets and note cards. I’ve even begun reading them to my yoga and meditation students. I know that setting intentions and speaking affirmations can create profound shifts inside of us, because I’ve experienced it. I began setting intentions through my yoga practice in 2015 and when I experienced sweat lodge for the first time in 2016. Prior to that, I had created a luke-warm vision board after watching the film about the Law of Attraction called, The Secret. My vision board ended up filled mostly with money, cars and other people’s dreams. I was trying to set an intention for what I thought I was supposed to want, NOT for what I actually wanted. It wasn’t until I recreated a vision board in 2016 with my true vision that my intentions began to materialize.


We all have a chatterbox in our mind that never really shuts up. Many times that self parrots what our parents, church, teachers or media told us growing up. But what if we don’t like what the chatterbox is saying? Perhaps it says you’re not enough, or you don’t have enough, you’re too fat or too skinny, too lazy or too busy, too good for anyone or unlovable. Maybe it says you’ve done something wrong or should have done something differently. Affirmations help reprogram the chatterbox. Like meditation, it’s a way of redirecting the mind from scattered to focused. And not just focused on anything, focused on your highest dreams and desires.


I still follow the “Being Mary Jane” school of affirmations by writing on post-its and sticking them on my bathroom mirror. (If you’ve never seen Gabrielle Union’s show, you can find it on Netflix. Her autobiography, We’re Going to Need More Wine, is a great read too! Honest and raw.)


When I first started working as a financial advisor back in 2007, I remember trying to figure out how much money was enough. I met people with many millions of dollars of net worth, and they weren’t any happier than me, with my moderate income and single parent shuffle. I remember thinking $5 million was enough, beyond that I’d give it all away. Then, I thought, no, maybe $10 million was enough. Maybe $20 million is enough, or $30 million. What number buys security, happiness or love? The answer, of course, is none of them. We all have heard the cliché, “money can’t buy happiness.” Of course, at the same time we know we need money to meet our basic needs. Once basic needs are met, money doesn’t add to the equation. You can be just as unhappy in a mansion driving a Lamborghini, as you can be in a small home driving a modest car. We live in a country with billionaires, so it seems there is no number that is enough. If that’s the case, once basic needs are met, then every number is enough, because it’s not the number that actually matters.


In Sunday’s yoga session I offered this:

“Abundance is always yours.

Your cup overflows when your heart is full.

Grow compassion.

Be generous.

Serve others.

You have more than enough.”

I encourage you to place that on a post-it note on your bathroom mirror and attach it to your heart. You are enough and you have enough.



I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,



Trish


P.S. The photo is of one of my affirmation candles, “Freedom.” I went to see the film, Harriet, on Friday, so the candle feels extra-relevant. If you're wondering what Freedom smells like, it's Himalayan bamboo, grapefruit, lemongrass, sage and green tea. Check it out in my online store honeybutterflyz.com/online-store. Abundance candles are coming soon!

The Beast Within

October 29, 2019

I had the opportunity to teach yoga over the weekend at a fundraiser for a local farm animal sanctuary. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I had my toes nibbled on by a pig. I pet a horse named Rebel who follows people around like a dog. I did the yoga "table-top" pose while being watched by a chicken with no fear of slaughter – like, he was seriously just enjoying life with the feeling of safety we all desire. We all long to live our lives freely if not faced with “others” who think our lives are meaningless.


I stopped eating animals over seven years ago after attending a half-day compassion retreat at my Buddhist meditation center here in Atlanta. I had gone back and forth about eating animals after doing a case study on the “meatpacking” industry in 1999 when I was working on my MBA. It took a really long time for me to change. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find delicious vegetarian food if I looked for it. Changing my food wasn’t the challenge. Changing my mind was the beast.


I realize that throughout my entire life a multi-billion dollar conglomerate had been working on my mind, telling me what was healthy and what to believe. Milk does a body good. The incredible edible egg. A chicken in every pot. In my Brooklyn elementary school luke-warm cartons of milk were handed out like leftover candy. A Happy Meal showed love. I wanted to find the toys at the bottom of the sugary cereal box and splash cow’s milk all over it while watching Saturday morning cartoons with commercials telling me to get more. These messages were received in my formative years. It took a long time for me to understand it wasn’t by accident - It was a meticulously calculated strategy.


I worked in marketing in my twenties and learned that commercials are designed to bypass our conscious mind. We find ourselves wanting things without even realizing that we’ve been sold. I remember thinking commercials didn’t influence me even as I purchased what they had programmed within me.


Media is intensely powerful.


Remember The Matrix?


I don’t feel responsible for being brainwashed. We all have been. I just want to fall short of Stockholm Syndrome. Don’t fall in love with the perpetrator of the crime.


When I first went vegetarian I became acutely aware of our meat-laden culture. And, honestly, I hate the word “meat.” A cow or pig or chicken isn’t any more meat than me, you or my sweet pup, Cooper. (You can follow him on Instagram at vegan_cavachon.) Virtually every eatery is pushing death – the burger joint, the chicken place, the steakhouse, the seafood restaurant. I know for me, growing up, if there wasn't a dead animal on my plate it wasn’t a meal. Now, after 51 years on this 3rd planet from the sun, I wonder about the word.  Who decided what is "meat?"


How do we take a sentient, living, breathing person and convert them into an inanimate object? Meat, bacon, pork, sausage and beef are all inanimate “foods.” Animals, people, you and I are REAL. We all MATTER, even if some folks don’t think so. 


Human beings have been objectified countless times throughout history. Women and men are still reduced to our body parts when an oppressor believes it's fitting. Nobody wants to be oppressed. But how can you ask for FREEDOM if you are also an oppressor? This question was a part of the dichotomy of the civil rights movement of the sixties when black women wanted freedom from their men while still supporting the efforts of emancipation from the white establishment.


I remember working up my compassion to the point where, instead of killing a bug, I would slide a paper under it, put a cup over it and take it outside. One day I did this, then I sat down next to my beloved miniature Schnauzer, Digby, and ate a chicken dinner. Thankfully, I had a breakthrough, and this stopped making sense to me. I saved the bug, loved the dog and ate the chicken. Cognitive dissonance at its finest. I could have ignored it, but it was years in the making - I felt ridiculous.


Even when I gave birth to my own daughter at the age of 32, I had to fight to make sure she got milk from me and not the mother of an abused, unknown calf. I didn’t care about the calf then, but I had a glimpse of the health benefits of babies drinking the milk of their own mothers, of their own species.


My thought today is, who has programmed you? Do you like the Matrix? Do you have Stockholm Syndrome? Do you even care? And, of course, are you happy? Is your head in the sand? It’s really hard to be self-actualized, that level of profound personal happiness and self-realization when you’re oppressing others, even a chicken.


I’m going to see the film, “Harriet,” on Friday. I wonder who are the abolitionists of our times?


When I go to sleep at night, I believe I’m on the right side of history, and I still don't always sleep well. Pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars on our restless minds, poor health and cognitive dissonance. Are you an enabler?


You are separate from the machine. You are thoughtful and beautiful. Let your inner light shine on others, even the least of us.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. If you’re curious about a vegan lifestyle, I highly recommend, “The GameChangers,” available on NetFlix. It highlights world-class athletes who subscribe to a plant-based lifestyle. If you want to visit a really fun animal sanctuary and experience the incredibly grounding power of connecting with other species, visit freedomacresrescue.com. It's called "animal therapy" for a reason. You have to experience it to believe it. The photo is from my yogis at Freedom Acres on Saturday. Namaste folks!


The Art of Guilt

October 22, 2019

I had a client many years ago who told me that every morning when she woke up she would repeat in the mirror, “I haven’t done anything wrong.” I was startled by the admission. She explained that she had problems with feeling guilty. I was working as a financial advisor then and wasn’t equipped to help my clients work through personal and emotional journeys. Even then I dreamt of life coaching. I thought I would create a niche for myself as a financial and life coach. That’s about ten years ago, and I realize now, I wasn’t ready then. I needed to change and grow in my own life and gain my own wisdom before attempting to help others change theirs. It’s funny how all of these things have come full circle. Now I know I’m profoundly capable of helping others move through their life journey.


When I was a Freshman in college I read a book called, "The Art of Thinking" by Vincent Ruggiero for a Critical Thinking course. Prior to reading the book, I thought other people's thought process was similar to my own. I was fascinated by the idea that all individuals process information differently based on the context of their lives and their own unique personalities. Thinking is a distinctive process for each of us.


Yesterday the topic of guilt came up with one of my current life coaching clients. It’s fascinating that some people can commit horrific crimes and justify them to the point they feel absolutely no guilt. Typically we call these people sociopaths. On the other hand, if you were raised Catholic, like me, you know that guilt is the potato in the stew – the main ingredient. (Vegan stew of course – lol!) All jokes aside, many of us have feelings of guilt when we haven’t done anything wrong. It may be part of religious or family conditioning as a child, or as a result of some trauma. Or, most likely, a combination of a number of factors.


It seems to me guilt is a form of anger directed at yourself, much like depression. (I've experienced depression, so I know it's real. It doesn't mean its not also a thought process around anger.) With guilt, we see a perceived character flaw or obligation and we become angry with ourselves. (I don’t want to go to dinner with my coworkers because I’d rather stay home and rest.) The punishment? Internal self-flagellation. (The internal voice repeats: you know you SHOULD. People are DEPENDING on you. What right do you have to self-care, rest, etc.? You're being LAZY.) What is the benefit to these feelings of guilt? Much like anger, there are none, it's just a deeply entrenched habit.  (I’ll talk about anger and depression in future blogs – they definitely need their own spotlight.)


Anyone who knows me knows I love going to sweat lodge out here in Atlanta. The next one is November 9. Here’s the link to my meetup group if you want to check it out: https://www.meetup.com/Black-Vegan-Life/ The lodge guru always gives us the affirmation, “I deserve the best of everything.” I struggled with this mantra. Who am I to deserve the best? Maybe I just deserve enough, or mediocrity or maybe I don’t actually deserve anything. Who am I to say I’m out here deserving things? After a while, it occurred to me, who am I to say I don’t deserve the best? If not me, then who? I’m a human being on the planet doing the best that I can each day. Why shouldn't I DESERVE the best? I may not always ATTAIN what I want, but it’s fair to say I deserve it.


So today, I leave you with this – anger and guilt are not your friends. You can never feel joy and guilt simultaneously - The same is true for anger. They are also not productive. All kinds of positive changes have been and will be made in this world through love, compassion and focus – NOT through anger and guilt. 


Let that wash over you like a gentle rain. 


You can accomplish ALL you want and more through positive energy and emotions. 


You don't have to feel bad to do good.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. Attached is a link to a good article on releasing unwarranted guilt from your life. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201506/9-ways-talk-yourself-out-unnecessary-guilt The photo is a sneak-peek at my weekly inspirational meme. I think it’s a good affirmation for releasing guilt. Look out for affirmation candles and other personal growth products in my online store this week and schedule a FREE consultation if you think life coaching might make sense for you! 

Getting Off the Wheel

October 15, 2019

I did an interview a few years back for my book “Chocolate Souffle” where I was asked how my character dealt with her insecurities around having sickle cell anemia. My answer was, “the same way we all do - we all have internal struggles.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a disease no one knows about, negative self-talk, body issues, drug dependency, family issues, financial problems or any plethora of worries, fears and anxiety. The internal struggle is real. Maybe even more real than the very familiar external struggle.


In my meeting with a life coaching client last week we referenced two ancient “wheels” used to portray the stages of life. The first was the Medieval “Wheel of Life,” which looks at life as constantly going through four phases: Happiness, Loss, Suffering and Hope. Happiness is our state of normalcy when things seem to be going well. Loss is when something happens to knock us off our equilibrium. Suffering is a state of transition – we walk through the fire and deal with unpleasant emotions to get to the other side. Hope is when we can see the pathway to Happiness again. Does any of this sound familiar?


The second “wheel” is the Buddhist concept of “Samsara,” which repeats over and over again for countless lifetimes. In this scenario we experience Birth, Sickness, Aging, Death and Rebirth. While the Medieval concept happens multiple times throughout a single life, the Buddhist concept repeats over and over again for countless lifetimes.


The question then becomes, is there a way to get off the wheel?


Can we experience Happiness all the time?


The answer to this question is part of the Buddhist path to enlightenment and is a lot more than I can get into in my blog, but I will say this: Happiness is a state of mind, the same way our internal struggles are. We are as happy as we decide to be. We all know situations where people who seem to have everything are miserable, and those with very little are full of love and joy. I believe one of the differentiating factors is Gratitude. It’s very difficult to be Happy and Ungrateful at the same time.


Whether either of the “wheels” resonate with you, one thing we can all agree on is this: life has ups and downs, and none of this is permanent. The good times won’t last forever and neither will the bad. Whether you believe the end game is a permanent sleep, a visit to heaven or rebirth as a brand new baby, there is an escape. In the meantime, be grateful. Notice things. Breath the air, smell the flowers, say hello, smile more, laugh more, love harder, be kinder. This really is a bittersweet and beautiful world.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. Check out my interview here https://www.blogtalkradio.com/educatedhustle/2017/01/17/a-chocolate-souffle-on-life and take a peek at the Wheel of Life here http://lessons4living.com/wheel_of_life1.htm The photo is a depiction of the Medieval Wheel of Life from lessons4living.com.


The Secret Weapon

October 8, 2019

The first book I read with my Black Vegan Life Meetup group here in Atlanta was “Super Rich” by Russell Simmons back in 2015. He was not the flashy and shallow hip-hop mogul I feared he might be, but rather a deep, thoughtful brother, long-time vegan, animal rights advocate and yogi. In his book he talked about the early years of his career when he created mixed tapes with seminal artists like Run DMC and LL Cool J, and, instead of trying to sell them, he gave them to DJs around NYC for free in the hopes that his music would get heard. Once people experienced his talent and that of the artists he produced, they wanted more. He had a following long before the concept of a social media following existed. This initial leap of faith – giving away talent for free was the secret weapon.


When I read the book I had been offering my Meetup group for free, despite the fact that I paid a monthly fee as an organizer. When people asked why I did it, I always said I did it for love. After reading Russell’s book, I realized acting out of love was giving it away for free.


Lately I’ve been wondering how many people die with their best talents inside themselves because they refuse to give anything away for free. We live in a society that teaches us we should be paid for our efforts, that values wealth above all else, and that glorifies the misery of the grind. Someone sold us the narrative that if we work ourselves into exhaustion, cognitive dissonance, poor health and moral dilemmas, we’ll achieve Nirvana. I’ve been working full-time in corporations since I was 17. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to make an unpopular decision to keep from sliding down the ethical slippery slope, or the innumerable times I prioritized my family, my health or my joy. I’ve seen many others cave in to ethical pressures to their reward or demise. I’ve seen folks work themselves into sickness and sadness despite monetary wealth.


I wonder what the world would look like if people shared their talents freely. Imagine all the art, songs, inventions, music and ideas we’ve missed out on because someone took their talent to the grave. Now close your eyes and imagine the opposite – a world where everyone is self-actualized. Take a moment to dream a world without barriers to basic necessities like food and safe housing - a society where all children got a quality education that included an honest history of their country, ethnicity and identity. Imagine we birthed a culture of lawyers who enjoy advocacy, police who enjoy protecting, doctors who enjoy healing, janitors who enjoy cleaning, waiters who enjoy serving, politicians who enjoy representing, executives who enjoy leading and construction workers who enjoy building. You get the idea. It’s just a thought from someone who enjoys postulating. 😊


I remember working at American Express headquarters at the World Financial Center in NYC in the eighties. (The WFC and Winter Garden Atrium appear in the classic movie Boomerang if you are in the mood for a throwback. It's available on Amazon.) The mail room staff was comprised of mentally disabled people. They were so excited about their work, because the work was interesting and challenging to them. This same job given to someone with a higher mental capacity would have found it exceptionally frustrating, even demeaning. From where I sat, the Amex mail room staff was self-actualized.


I wish I could say I always had this concept wrapped up in my mind with a neat little bow. The reality is I came frighteningly close to keeping every drop of my own talent to myself. When I first wrote “Chocolate Souffle,” back in 1995, I shopped it with publishers and couldn’t find any takers. I let that rejection silence me because, if I couldn’t get PAID, why WRITE? Ironically, it was my Black Vegan Life community that encouraged me to publish my novel in 2016, and I did, not for money, but for love. We spend money on clothes and on vacations. Why not invest in our own dreams and talents? Whether you love or hate the book, it’s my creation, crafted through the lens of my own experiences. It’s available for anyone to read thanks to the magic of Amazon. I did it for love. I love that I did it. I will not die with my talents. No matter what spiritual path you’re on or not on, I can’t imagine anyone seeing a benefit to dying with unused, unshared, dusty-ass talents.


If we’re not here to share our gifts, what are we here for? It can’t possibly be to work hard for someone else’s dream, hoard cash and die without properly identifying, honing or sharing our natural abilities.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment & Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. Meetup.com seriously changed my life. If you haven’t already explored meetup in your neck of the woods, I highly recommend you give it a try. If you don’t see a group you like, CREATE ONE! Do it for love!  BTW, I took that pic while running a half-marathon this past weekend. It happens to be the 2nd installment of "The Race" here in Atlanta. I have a feeling if I reach out to the organizer, she'll tell me she gave it away for free and did it for love. Check out theraceuc.com 


Rejoice in the Rattling

October 1, 2019

I hate moving.


The first time I moved was in 1987, I was eighteen and got my first apartment with my new husband. I didn’t have much to move besides myself.


The second time was nine months later because Mr. Wonderful turned out to be Mr. Violent. I had a few pieces of furniture, but it was a simple move.


The third time was in 1997 with my second husband. I changed apartments in the same building. Easy.


The fourth time was in 2001 – I had just given birth to Kayla. I fell in love with my new home with its big back yard and wide driveway.


The fifth time was in 2007 – after 9/11, divorce, single parenting and the collapse of a business that I owned, I packed up and came to Atlanta. It was a devastating move for me. I didn’t know I’d spend two days in the south and never want to live up north again.


After twelve years, I’m moving again. Did I mention I hate moving?


My client has a magnet in her office that says “Let go or be dragged.” I was dragged in 2007.


This time I will let go.


Change and uncertainty inspire anxiety. If we lean into the uncertainty and enjoy the idea and excitement of not knowing, we stand a chance of processing major life changes better.


I had a conversation with my cousin last night about Harriet Tubman. You’ve probably heard her famous quote, “ I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” I used to think of this quote in the framework of a “slave mentality” – being a cog in the wheel of the machine or “system.” But what about simply thinking about it in the framework of change? We all think that we would have followed her out of slavery if given the chance, but realistically, how many of us would risk our lives and give up everything that’s familiar to us to follow a dream of freedom? Similarly, we like to think we would be abolitionists if given the opportunity, but most weren’t. We like to think if we were in Nazi Germany we would have spoken against genocide. Most didn’t. The reality is, people don’t like change. We don’t like rocking the boat. We are easily complacent and compliant.


Perhaps packing up and moving exercises our discontent. It rattles things. Finds things. Clears and declutters.


So then, how do we clear if we’re not moving? What rattles us out of our complacency? Is it a job loss? A breakup? An illness? An accident? A death?


When things are going smoothly, there’s no need to stop for much reflection. It’s in periods of upheaval that we unearth ourselves.


This time around I will let go, I will not be dragged and I will rejoice in the rattling. Will you rejoice in your rattling too?


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is a magnet from my client’s office.

Roots and REAL

September 24, 2019

I’ve been thinking about the physical expectations of a wellness advocate – I see many pictures of yoga instructors twisted into impressive poses, and I know that’s not me. At 51, maintaining my weight and flexibility is an ongoing process. For most of us, managing our health gets more difficult as we age. As a skinny kid who worked out all of my adult life, I never thought it would be challenging for me. I remind my daughter and all my younger friends, to relish in your youth because it doesn’t last forever. The never-ending energy, effortlessly toned thighs and ability to easily recover from pulling an all-nighter will one day become a thing of fond memories. Enjoy every second of it. If you continue to learn and grow, it will one day be replaced with wisdom, which is far more valuable than a perfectly flat stomach.


I’ve been thinking about the lifestyle expectations of a wellness advocate – I see self-proclaimed experts proposing perfect diets and I know that’s not me either. Should we eat only plant-based whole foods? No caffeine? No white sugar? No oils? Must we abstain from weekend margaritas or occasional hookah? Do we have to meditate every morning at sunrise, run a marathon a year or do our yoga every damn day, without exception? Are our affirmations always in our hip pocket ready at a moment’s notice? Is any of this really possible over the course of an entire lifetime of ups, downs and shit happening? Or does this create a quest for the unattainable and become just another stress factor to manage?


I’ve been thinking about the emotional expectations of a wellness advocate – I see less dialogue here and this is all the way me. I had a conversation with one of my favorite yoga teachers yesterday about authenticity and how important it is to have someone in your life that you can be REAL with. Like, totally REAL, like I screwed up but I’m not going to kill myself REAL. Like, this is the worse day of my life REAL. Like, I need help REAL. We talked about our country’s suicide epidemic and speculated about how people reach that point. I know that mental illness is also REAL - I have plenty in my own family and have faced my own battles, but it also has ROOTS.  My theory is that we have a national crisis of authenticity. We are so obsessed with perfection, that at the end of a day of social media and other filters, many of us feel unrecognizable to ourselves and deeply alone.


Up until about ten years ago, I used to wear foundation every day. Then one day I inadvertently skipped it and someone commented on how beautiful my skin was. Are you kidding me? I wonder how many other ways that happens to us – we put on a mask that we think is beautiful and the real beauty lies in the imperfections beneath.


I encourage you to consider your own masks. Are they physical like makeup, hair or nails? Or subtle like building emotional walls between you and your loved ones? Or profound like holding on to secrets that absolutely nobody knows? (For the record, the Catholic church still offers confession, and therapists are vowed to confidentiality if you don’t trust anyone you know.)


The process of self-reflection and unearthing can be awkward, but the reward is so deep and juicy it’s worth the effort. REAL connection, support and love is resounding and priceless. You can never have those things when you show up in the world as anything less than your most authentic, beautifully flawed and truest self.



I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is from my run on Sunday morning. I love the way it captures being on a path. FYI - Most yoga studios offer referrals to therapists. I do as well. And, there’s nothing inherently wrong with makeup, hair or nails. However, they’re definitely worthy of reflection.

Dirty Words

September 17, 2019

I hate networking. 


Elevator pitches make me queasy. 


I never want to retire.


Yesterday, I was talking to my best friend about the slew of hated terms in our grown-up vernacular. For me, networking meant I’d put on a suit, get my nails done and show up in a room full of similarly tweaked and coiffed people to talk about our corporate jobs and create a matrix of contacts who could be called on for information or insight. I’ve always been outgoing, but this was definitely awkward. Maybe it was the business suit – an uncomfortable uniform. Maybe it was all the things that seem to go unsaid – who was struggling with relationships, children, illness, addiction, the mortgage or even the rent. In many ways it felt like a show. I would speak what my mother called, “the King’s English,” and save my Brooklyn Ebonics for the after-party. Even when I embraced networking – floating from one women’s organization, to a small business owner’s event to a charity network, sipping chardonnay all the way, I never quite felt myself. I met some nice people, but I often felt like a show pony on a mission.


In sales, the elevator pitch is supposed to be a 30-second speech describing what you do and what you want, short enough for an elevator ride and interesting enough to share with a stranger. I’ve been instructed to create one so many times you’d think I’d have a bunch of great ones with words like “optimize” and “synergy” sprinkled throughout, but it's always felt contrived and rehearsed. Elevator pitch definitely made it to my list of dirty phrases.


Last night I went to a dinner at a local vegan restaurant to celebrate the release of the new film, “The Game Changers.” As luck would have it, I never saw the film. The theater I went to had a one-hour delay and I opted to get my money back rather than leave my very cute canine assistant, Cooper, home alone for an extra hour. What I can say is this, I think I may have “networked” for the first time. In a room full of like-minded people, wearing what felt comfortable and colorful to me in that moment, talking about work that I’m passionate about, I didn’t have to think about telling someone else’s story, being strategic or political. I chatted and laughed about animal rescues and meditation, yoga and city life, animal sanctuaries and life coaching.


It’s a challenge to walk through life authentically in a culture that demands you wear the suit, carry the purse and fake it till you make it. You may not always be able to choose the space you’re in. However, there are times when you CAN choose your space. You CAN choose how you spend at least SOME of your time. You CAN choose what you teach your children.


Build your team. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Set lofty goals for your spirit and your intellect. Grow your compassion and kindness. Study to improve yourself and others. Connect with people you admire. And, when you build a genuine network and give your heartfelt pitch, let it be woven with passion and love. You’ll never want to retire from that.


I wish you all freedom, alignment and effortless abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is my ID from when I worked for Verizon at 2 World Trade Center in NYC from 1995 until 9/11. That girl went to a lot of networking events, made a bunch of pitches and planned to retire at 65.

A Hard Left Turn

September 10, 2019

I had a terrible car accident last year. I was on I-75 listening to “The Wisdom of Sundays” on Audible (which is excellent, by the way.) Next thing I knew there was a loud thump. I looked out my driver’s side window and realized I was being pushed down I-75 by a large truck with a huge grill. I could hear the sound of screaming - It took a second before I realized it was me. I watched as my car went headfirst into the concrete median and came to a stop. The car was totaled, but I was fine. 


I thought about my life insurance policy and my 17-year-old daughter who was overseas. Once my nerves finally settled, I was elated. I was ALIVE. March 22, 2018 could easily have been the last day of my life.


I don’t know if you ever think like this, but I believe that the Universe speaks to us. You may call it God or Spirit. After that accident, I wracked my brain – what was the message? It was a HARD left turn. The truck hit my left bumper, caused me to spin and slam into the left median. What is the significance of a HARD left turn?


The next day my daughter called from France and said she loved it so much she wanted to go to school out there. Was moving to France the hard left turn? I took a French class and a course to teach English as a foreign language. I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training. If we were moving to France, I would need a job.


My daughter’s interest in France quickly waned. Six months later I changed jobs and thought, is this the hard left turn? I didn’t know in another three months my beloved dog, Digby, would die of prostate cancer. I didn’t know two months after that my father would be hospitalized and bedridden. 2019 was beating me down, and I still had this feeling like that accident was supposed to wake me up, to take me off one course and put me on another with a HARD LEFT TURN. But what was it?


Then on August 20, I opened my heart and gave myself permission to dream: what if I dared to do my life’s work? Work that I would do for free – Writing. Yoga. Meditation. Reiki. Retreats. Advocacy. Activism. What would my life look life if I spent my days sharing my passion and talent with the world? What would it look like if I lived my dream instead of my employer’s dream? What was I willing to sacrifice to even try? My spirit shifted. I finally had my answer. HoneyButterflyz was born from a HARD LEFT TURN, exactly three weeks before my 51st trip around the sun. This is one helluva birthday!


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is of magnets on my fridge that I bought when I was planning to move to France. When France fizzled, I wasn’t sure what the magnets meant. Now I look at them and they speak plainly to me about venturing out on my own. I'm not sure where this path leads, but I'm willing to find out.

Permission to Transform

September 3, 2019

I just got off the phone with one of my favorite clients. I was telling her that when I was growing up I was encouraged to be a doctor, lawyer or business person, definitely not  a writer or wellness advocate. She is a few years older than me and replied by telling me that when she was young her choices were limited to a teacher, nurse or secretary. She completely bucked conventional wisdom and became an actor, and that’s part of what I adore about her. I remember the collision of her perceived options and mine in the 70’s and 80’s. I specifically recall NOT wanting to be in “pink collar” positions – teacher, nurse or secretary – because I was a child of the women’s movement and we didn’t aspire to that anymore. We had “higher” aspirations. (Insert turned up nose.)


I’ve learned so much since then. First of all, I’m a natural teacher and nurturer. Those roles show up in everything I do despite my early resistance. I’ve also learned there is a deep discomfort in being in unwelcoming spaces. It’s not always obvious – it may even feel exhilarating in the moment, but the stress buries itself deep in your spirit. Going where you are not valued or wanted is difficult, whether you’re the only black woman in the board room – I’ve been there – or, the “only” in any other type of way. It hurts to feel judged because of your race, gender, culture, ethnicity, or any other way you define yourself. It hurts to feel tolerated rather than appreciated, and forced to downplay your natural self. We are all beautiful, unique and worthy of the deepest levels of fulfillment and expression. It hurts when others don’t “see” us and we reduce our light to a twinkle instead of a shine.


Today I quit my job to work for myself. I don’t entirely know what that will look like, but I know that now is the time. I turn 51 next week and I’m grateful for every day of this life. I realize that many people never make it to 51, my own sister included, who died at 31.


I know I can’t wait to do my life’s work.

I know my days are limited.

I have to write.

I have to teach.

I have to encourage.

I have to speak for the voiceless.


I have to transform, and give others permission to do the same. 


Until next time – I wish you freedom, alignment and effortless abundance!



Trish


P.S. I’m working on a book called “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis.” It will be available in time for my spring retreat of the same name. I couldn’t have made this decision if I hadn’t dared to think it first. (If you want to share your comments please click my FB link at the bottom of the page.)

How to Live Forever

August 27, 2019

My dad is dying. Arguably, we are all dying. My grandmother used to say, “the young may die, but the old must die.” I remember my first time stepping into a meditation center in 2010 for a lunchtime meditation session. I was hoping it would calm the inner rage over my racist boss and disappointing boyfriend. It turned out I was the only one who showed up for meditation that day, and the instructor said she had planned to do a meditation on death, but we didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. For some reason, I jumped at the chance. Yes, death! For me, thinking about death made me WANT to live MORE. It didn’t scare me, it made me realize my days are precious and numbered and I’d better hop to it!


It’s nearly nine years since then. In that time my mom passed away and now my dad is getting hospice care. Other family and friends have passed over the years as well, some far too young. This is nothing unique to my life. This is all of our lives. We all have an expiration date. The question is what will we do in the meantime? When I did yoga teacher training I realized how easy it would be to go through a whole lifetime without an awareness of body, breath or mind. I mean, who has time for that? We have to make a living, have fun, stay in shape and, perhaps, raise children.


I became Buddhist two years after that visit to the meditation center. In our tradition, we believe you take nothing with you at the end of your life except your subtle mind. You can think of that as your “soul” or “spirit” – that piece of yourself you get a glimpse of during deep meditation. You can’t take the money, the house, the cars or even the kids. You can only take the deep work you’ve done on your soul.


Wow.


Take some time to work on your inner self. It’s the only thing that stands the test of time.


I wish you freedom, alignment and effortless abundance!


Trish


P.S. If you're in Atlanta, check out the place I call my spiritual home https://meditationingeorgia.org/