Sunday, December 21, 2008

Work space before and during

For years I have had this huge work desk / bookshelf combo that I have wanted to get rid of...I kept it because the guy that put it together for me had passed (r.i.p. Major Kokayi). But I finally realized, after reading and watching decluttering experts, that holding on to objects simply because of memories was not a good thing. Its funny how you can hear the same thing over and over and never apply it to your life, then one day it just clicks....this has happened to me in so many aspects of my have to be at a place where you are ready to internalize the lesson....

Anyway, back to the work area. I don't have any good before pics except for the ones that I took for my hair shots....where here is one with my son in the foreground...

Okay, let me just say, the pots and pans are on the floor cause I was getting ready to give those away....the shoes are always at the door, as is the bike.... student apartment living, gotta love it!

Here you can see the top part of the work was actually pretty nice looking, just not right for the small space. My tastes have changed, as have my needs, and I found that the more shelves and flat area I had, the more I felt that I had to keep. And I had nowhere to spread out my books, articles, and the like when writing papers (unless I used the dining room table). I just needed to rework that area so....

I took the credenza off of the desk part (well, I guess it was more of an armoire / cabinent). So now the desk part looks like this:

I moved the dining room table back to the dining area (not next to the t.v.) and it looks like...

Z. and I have actually been eating there! It's fun, you should try it! Oh, and the cabinet? Well, I got it as far as outside the door, but I can't get it down the stairs. And we had two winter storms, so now....

Now if I can dig my way out of my front door....

I might try to throw some more stuff in the trash/ recycling / give away bins....the ones not covered in snow, that is....
Viva na paz!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

For real though, enough is enough!

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-Anais Nin
So the end of the semester and the year is upon me. I have renewed my effort to get things in order and I feel that I am well on my way. I have commited myself to documenting the various aspects of my journey...a way of keeping myself honest, I suppose. Now I know I said that I would start doing all of this homemade cleaning and beauty stuff, and I have actually done a few things. But I have not gone full force ahead, because of one simple thing. I live in a mess of an apartment, and I have lived in messy apartments most of my adult life. It pains me to say that, but it is true. They say admitting a problem is the first step. Well, for many years I would not admit that it was a problem...for many years I did not see it as a problem. I mean, didn't everyone tell their guests to just sit on the books covering the couch? Why wouldn't I have 10 sets of bedding for a household of two? 60 pairs of shoes for a woman who isn't even "into" shoes (I am, however, a bag lady); what is the problem with that?

I did not feel that the amount of stuff I have was too big of a problem, but now it has become stifling, stressful, overwhelming, and it impacts not just my life, but my son's life. Like most major changes I have made in my life, seeing how things impact Z. is what is pushing me into action. I want to live a simpler, more fufilling life, and that starts with letting go of the things that keep us down. Below are some "before" pics of various rooms in our apartment, and I will be adding pics as we work through our space....stay tuned! Oh, and please don't be shocked by what you looks bad, like a before on Clean House, but some of this is after I started pulling things out of the closets for sorting.....for real though!!!

This is my living room area.

The "dining area" where noone but me sits and eats...while watching tv and surfing the Internet.

Another view of my living room area...has potential, right?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Checking In

I have been thinking a lot about this blog and wanting to write, but just not doing it. I have so much in my head that I just need to get out and then elaborate on later. I need to write that essay "Who are My People?" That weekend was an eye opener, and needs to be chronicled. I also need to write about what happens to me when I read about colorism and beauty ideals...something is going on those will be revisted.

Disipline is the word of the day. I am ready to embark upon some new practices, and my goal (if I am supposed to have one) is to be disiplined. I have to be careful about what I eat now since I have to stop running for a while. My knees are acting up, and while I know this too shall pass, it has been frustrating...I get runner's high, not walker's high! But it is okay, cause my long term goal is a healthy body that functions well....and to no longer be overweight. I only have to lose 10 lbs. to get out of the "overweight" by year's end, most def!

The vegetarian transition is going well. I have had some chicken this week, but for the most part, all veggie! I do eat eggs, cheese, and I am not that picky about things seasoned with meat....this is a transition after all!

I bought some Castille soap for the house as well as some apple cider vinegar and some lemon juice. So now, if I ever decide to clean, I have natural products to use, lol!!! I also intend to make some olive oil concoction for my hair. Right now I just use the coconut oil that I have.

I am reading way too many books, so I have to be disiplined and focus on a few (outside of my dissertation work and my teaching load). Thich Nhat Hanh's Miracle of Mindfullness will be read daily to help me with my sitting practice. Being Black will be read to read about Zen from a sista's perspective ( I have three books by black female Buddhists). I also will look at Buddha Mom, and I am making my way through the hip hop feminism anthology Home Girls Make Some Noise just cause....

I have to say that in the future I need to write about Jessica Care Moore, whose newest book comes out in November....I will check in later....

Viva na paz!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Universe is Speaking

Ever since returning from Brazil I have been feeling overwhelmed and cramped in my apartment. My home looks like a library and a clothing store threw up...seriously. I know that I consume way too much and that this consumption addiction has impacted my emotional, physical, spiritual, and emotional well just has. So for the upteenth time I have been cleaning a purging. Eac time I do so I get a little better, so I am not discouraged...I just knew it was time to act. This next school year is critical for me, and I need to bring my "A" game. SO does my son. So cleaning house is crucial.

I want to commit to living the lifestyle that I see as ideal for me; one that is serene, wholistic, natural, balanced, yada yada yada....the funny thing is, I saw this lifestyle as the ideal many years ago when Sarah Jessica Parker played a woman with real breasts dating Steve Martin (I don't remember the name of the movie) I just remember her saying that they were real and that she had this "nature girl" type of mentality. I saw her and said to myself "that is how I want my life to be when I grow up". Even now, when I envision my life, that is what I see. The funny thing is, in my own urban, black America, hood way, that is how I grew up. My family was all about simple living, healthy foods, exercise, appreciating nature, and saving money (daddy is a miser when it comes to most things). I am just trying to get back to that for myself and my son.

Which brings me to the universe speaking to me this morning. Well, it started last night. As I was cleaning, I came across a package that I had ordered months ago from an animal rights group. It was free, so I ordered it; that is what I do (did). I opened it, and out pops all these pro vegan stickers and pics and a cd. My son comes to look, and begs me to let him watch the cd on his computer. I didn't want to, cause I was worried that the documentary would frighten him. My eleven year old exasperatingly assured me that he would be fine, and sat down to watch it. It disgusted him for a bit, but you know the attention span of kids in this era....after a while, it was just playing while he watched t.v., fiddled with my old pda (another thing I bought and never used) and organized his room (show off). But the movie stayed on my mind....

So again, this morning. I opened my inbox and saw a weekly newsletter from yogajournal (no I have not been consistent with my yoga practice) and a monthly newsletter from vegmichigan (yes, I do eat meat). I opened yogajournal and read an article about veganism. Then I opened vegmichigan and read an article by Saul Williams (whose books I rediscovered while cleaning....see the universe at work???) You can read his words on veganism here:

They really got to me in a way that cries to go vegan have not really reached me before. I feel like I am being called to revist this path....well at least being vegetarian. I have lived that lifestyle on an off since birth (my parents remain vegetarians to this day...I told you we were hood rebels). I don't like labels, so I don't want to claim that I am now going to go vegan on vegetarian, but I am going to continue to make conscious choices about my diet and perhaps slowly move into that direction. I need to watch that movie too...I think I am afraid that Iwill have nightmares....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why Do What I Do?

I started this blog to give myself a space to discuss things that I am doing in my life, outside of my academic work. I am a busy graduate student, and my research and teaching takes up a lot of my time. But I am also becoming more and more green, leading a healthier lifestyle, training (sort of) for a triathalon, starting to do more yoga, and developing my spirituality. Here I will blog about my experiences in each of these areas. Doing it here will allow me to collect my thoughts and things in a central location, instead of writing things on jibbity pieces of paper that I lose throughout my house. I know a lot of the things I am doing are very trendy right now, but I don't care. I have been playing around in each of these areas for over a decade, and I just want to focus now. I don't really plan on sharing this with folk, but if someone happens to come across it, great. I will be out of the country for a number of weeks this summer, and probably will not be incorporating many of these things into my day to day until August. But I will start, and I may share my overseas experiences here in the interim...we will see.