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Surrender to the Flow

November 25, 2020

I spend a lot of time following inspirational, vegan and social justice stuff on social media. Yesterday I bumped into a quote from author Gail Sheehy, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” I couldn’t agree more. As I look back on my own life, the growth is undeniable. I’ve become all the things I wanted to be. However, when I look at the world, I see how even the idea of change can cause intense pain for people. In his brilliant book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, Resmaa Menakem describes “clean” and “dirty” pain. Clean pain is the result of growth and healing. Dirty pain comes from avoidance, blame and denial. Growth may be painful, but the decision to remain stagnant is even more difficult to endure.


Even when we work hard at avoiding change, it’s inevitable. We may work the same job, maintain a long marriage, live in the same house, follow strict holiday traditions, ascribe to conservative politics, keep our elementary school friends, and never change our hairstyle. Despite our efforts change will come, whether it manifests through technology, politics and pop culture or through the illness and death of friends and family members. We all must change. If we don’t change we don’t grow. Death can be seen as another type of growth in much the same way trees shed their leaves in fall only to be renewed in spring. Our spirit moves beyond the physical plane. It’s an ending, but also a beginning.


There was a time in my life when death seemed like nothing more than a sad contemplation. When I was new in my Buddhist journey, I purchased a book called, Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. I couldn’t even fathom this concept of dying joyfully, but I found the title fascinating. Was it possible to die joyfully? A life cut short is always sad and suffering is always terrible, but the conclusion of a full and meaningful life hints at beauty – a closure to the mysterious and magical cycle of birth and rebirth.


Sometimes we need to look at life with an open heart and mind and surrender to the flow.


As we enter this Thanksgiving week, I encourage you to consider the role change plays in your life. Is it a friend or an enemy?


I grew up in a family where we ate a traditional Thanksgiving turkey each year, along with ham, rice and peas, candied sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, and pumpkin and pecan pies. For some, if you try to change their Thanksgiving meal it’s a punishable offense. This year is my seventh vegan Thanksgiving. My daughter asked me to cook “Thanksgiving” as she says. Here’s our menu:


Gardein™ holiday roast

Homemade “unbeef” patties

Baked mac n’ cheeze with spinach

Black Vegan Life™ Kale Salad

Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy

Cauliflower stuffing with Lightlife™ sausage

Canned cranberry sauce

Cherry pie

Pumpkin pie


Follow me at Instagram.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz for recipes.


Change is a good thing, all the way to the end of our lives.


Embrace it.



I with you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. I surrendered to the flow when I wrote, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. I'm so excited to share it with you. It’s now available for purchase on Amazon. Find out more at mindblowinghappiness.com

Unearthing Potential

November 18, 2020

I remember when my mother used to tell me she had shoes older than me. Now my mother is no longer here. I remember giving birth to my daughter like it was yesterday. Next month we will celebrate her 20th birthday. They say time waits for no one. I can certainly attest to that. The question then becomes, what are we doing with our time? Are we living each day going through the motions and waiting for our real life to begin? Waiting for a better job, a bigger house, a baby, a partner, or for the kids to grow up? Are we living in gratitude or in angst? Are we thankful for the present, worried about the future, or both? Are we taking care of our bodies and our minds?


Yesterday two of my friends made a point of telling me how proud they are of me. It’s such a sweet feeling to get encouragement. I’ve based my business on inspiring and encouraging others, and it never gets old, yet I know there are grown adults who’ve never heard their parents say, “I’m proud of you.” There are children showing up in school every day who’ve never felt supported at home. While I always knew my parents loved me, I also had the dubious position as “black sheep” in my family. My mom called me “blasé” which always seemed to me to be a bad thing, I later learned it wasn't. It was her way to say I seemed unphased or unbothered by life. It reminds me of the Prince lyric in Raspberry Beret when his boss said he was a bit "too leisurely." 


We are all different, whether or not we venture to color outside the lines in a way others can see like the great purple genius. Or any genius. Or little old me.


We are all uniquely talented if we take the time to unearth our potential.


One thing we have in common is our humanity. We need love and support. We need encouragement. We need to feel part of something larger than ourselves, whether it’s family, community or nation. We need to care for our bodies and minds.


As we approach Thanksgiving week, think about who you encourage and who encourages you. A word of support can have a profound impact on people in your life. Whether it’s a quick text message, email or old-school note in the snail mail. They matter.


Next week we will have probably have conversations about being thankful. Take a moment and consider who is thankful for you. Who are you encouraging? Who are you inspiring? Who comes to you when they need love and support, knowing you provide a soft place to rest a weary mind?


Be that person.


Send that note.


Check on folks.


We all need someone to unearth our potential.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is taken from a video I made to share the latest update on my trip to Ghana. It's postponed, and I took the video upside down. With the magic of technology, I created some "unearthing." If you are looking for ways to encourage yourself or your loved ones this holiday season, visit honeybutterflyz.com/books.


The Ultimate Win

November 12, 2020

This week I launched my third book for this year. 2020’s been harsh. I’ve lost family members, canceled trips and events and worried about illness, riots, and even civil war. And yet, it’s the best year of my life. I’m doing the work of my dreams and following my calling. This is my first full year working for myself since 2006, and this time I don’t have a staff of employees to worry about. I’m not promoting someone else’s creative vision like I was when I owned a franchise fitness center. I can be creative on a daily basis, and that gives me a lot of joy.


I was interviewed for a podcast on Saturday, and the interviewer and I talked about the false sense of empowerment that anger sometimes gives us. Instead of gaining power, anger makes us lose control. We can no longer trust ourselves to make good decisions. It’s so easy to become a victim of the long claws of anger. Sometimes it’s just circumstance that gets under our skin – a relationship, job or home situation falls apart. Sometimes people just know how to push our buttons – they might be hateful and ignorant or relish in chaos and violence. Before we know it, we can slide down the slippery slope with them, almost enjoying each insult that’s hurled like a dagger.

At least we’re not bored, right?  If we stop paying attention we can become immobilized by its grip. We might forget how it feels to be joyful.


Joy is the ultimate win. 


As the holidays approach, you’ll be hearing the word Joy more frequently. Peace and Joy. Joy and Peace. They will be tossed about like toys, with hardly any thought. They are powerful words if you give them a moment.


Are you peaceful? Are you joyful?

Is your family peaceful? Is your family joyful?

Is our nation peaceful? Is our nation joyful?


There’s a line in my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings that reads, “Our ancestors sang in the cotton fields even under threat of the whip. Sometimes our joy is the only thing that can’t be stolen from us.” 


In a year marked by the obvious attempt to steal the presidential election, Joy wins. Love wins. Justice wins. It wins because it must.


When I started, I said 2020 was the best year of my life. In reality, every year that I’m alive and well is the best year of my life. Sometimes we just need to change our perspective.



I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is of Shakra Blu, my logo superstar, from my latest book cover. If you’re looking for ways to increase the level of Joy in your life, check out my new book, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. It will be available for purchase soon. Learn more at mindblowinghappiness.com If you want to enjoy a great conversation and listen in on a lot of giggling, check out my recent podcast interview with Audra Russell of betweenthereads.com, CLICK HERE 

Cloaked in Love

November 5, 2020

The past couple of days have been chaotic, stressful, nerve-wracking and hopeful all at the same time. We are a country on the verge of collapse being nudged carefully toward brighter days. We’ve endured a very rude awakening to the power of false information spread rapidly by powerful global technology. There are so many emotional responses to manage. Many of us have clung to community, spirituality, libations or a puff on the cannabis peace pipe. Addiction relapses have increased dramatically with this backdrop of false information, deep civil unrest and a global pandemic which has become synonymous with 2020. The National Institute of Health calls COVID-19 and addiction “two pandemics.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7282772/


Yesterday, the day after the election, I got a long and nasty text from a family member. I had to read the text more than once. Who was she talking to? Then it occurred to me, if I didn’t have a good sense of self, if I wasn’t self-aware, if I didn’t know who I was, if I allowed others to define me, those words could cut deep. When we don’t know who we are, we give other people the power to tell us who we are. This made me think of the current narcissist in office. Spewing lies doesn’t make them true even if you have the biggest soapbox in the world. However, others may believe it. The good news for me is I’ve never been particularly interested in the opinions of others. My DNA is just structured that way. I’m busy figuring out how to live the best life that I can, and I want everyone else to join me on the journey. I will encourage you. I will share what I’ve learned with you. I will share myself with you. However, I cannot control what you think of me. That is something that happens inside of you, and it’s none of my business.


So, what can we do when people insult us? Or when they lie to others about us? Self-love is the ultimate armor. If you don’t have a strong sense of self, start working on it TODAY. Find a quiet space where you can relax, grab a notebook and try these journaling prompts:

  • List 100 things you love to do. (This was an assignment in my first year of college. If you get stuck, just keep going. You can love simple things like the smell of a rose or the sound of the ocean.)
  • Write a list of 50 things you love about yourself. (Again, push through. You can love physical characteristics, elements of your personality or anything else that pops into your head. This is your time to love on yourself.)
  • Name 10 causes that are important to you. (What gets you fired up? Saving the environment? Social justice? Animal liberation? List them all.)
  • What, if anything, are you willing to die for? (Go deep. This will open you up to your deepest passions. Even if your answer is “nothing,” you will still benefit from the mental exercise.)
  • Write a list of 10 qualities you’d like to develop or improve in yourself. (Now that you know what you’re working with, where would you like to go from here? Getting better will make you love yourself more, and that’s a gift that just keeps on giving.)
  • Now write a timeline for your personal self-improvement. (They say goals without deadlines are just dreams. Establish some steps and deadlines. Perhaps you’ll read a book by a particular date, sign up for a workshop or watch a self-help movie. 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey is a great place to start. It will be available on Amazon next week.)

Developing self-awareness and deepening self-love provides armor against the attacks of anyone looking to hurt you, whether they are haters, dream-killers, or any other types of jealous or mean-spirited people. I hope you will take some time to strengthen your armor. Anyone who’s been in battle knows if you wait until you’re on the battlefield to put on your armor, it’s too late. Stay ready, cloaked in self-love, the greatest protection of all.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is of one of my favorite Malcolm X quotes. If you’ve never read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, I encourage you to pick up a copy. It’s definitely on my list of all-time favorite books. And while you’re at it, grab a copy of my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings available at Honeybutterflyz.com/books and on Amazon. It's an amazing resource for developing self-love. 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness launches on 11/11/2020. Click here to register for the virtual launch party: 

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qcOCtqj8tGNN7uM3YLL0FDdHohRF_XQ0U


Heart on Edge

October 27, 2020

For many of us, this week leading up to the election is full of stress and anticipation. I know my heart is on edge. I hope the Biden/Harris ticket wins by a landslide and the democrats take over the senate. I started reading a book for my upcoming yoga teacher training in Ghana that talks about trauma. This has become an area of increased interest for me, not just because of my personal experiences, but because of the profound trauma our nation is currently experiencing. We have a new supreme court justice, the third appointed by a president who never won the popular vote. Out of the nine sitting justices, only four were appointed by presidents who won the popular vote, and “45” has more justices on the court than any other president, although he is undoubtedly the most damaging president in recent history. This is unjust, and injustice is trauma. Racism is trauma. Sexism is trauma. Violence is trauma. Hate is trauma. There is more than enough trauma to go around.


In the book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, Resmaa Menakem makes the point that trauma is experienced in the body, not in the mind. In yoga we often say emotions are stored in the body. When I’ve been asked about the impact my yoga practice has had on my life, I often say, “Changing the position of my body changes my emotions.” Menakem’s work shines light on my words. It’s not just a feeling I had. It’s physical, mechanical, scientific. Changing the position of the body alters feelings. If you’ve ever been in extended child’s pose with your knees wide on the floor, hips pressed back to your heels, forehead against the ground and arms extended overhead, you know it is also a position of worship. You know that in this position you may feel rested and engaged, but you may also feel intense gratitude and release.


In Tuning in to New Potentials, Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “Thoughts are the language of the brain and feelings are the language of the body… Thoughts are electric, and feelings are magnetic… When you change how you think and how you feel, you broadcast a whole new electromagnetic signature.” If this is all true, the practice of yoga has the potential to change our electromagnetic signature, impacting not only how we feel, but how the world responds to us.


It seems everywhere I turn, I’m faced with this reality. Our bodies are not just the sum of their parts. Trauma affects our thoughts and feelings and is stored in the body. We emit an electromagnetic frequency based on thoughts and feelings, and we can change both through the practice of yoga. It can help to heal trauma in all its many forms.


As we approach the upcoming election week, I encourage you to find ways to move your body into healing postures, whether you actually attend a yoga class, follow along with a free class on YouTube, or simply find your way into a grounding posture like child’s pose.


Changing the position of your body can change your emotions for the better.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is me in child’s pose. I’ll be hosting Mental Nectar: Current Conversations & Magic Meditations on Wednesday, November 4. I’m sure there will be plenty to discuss. Follow my YouTube page for my most recent episodes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ax2RUOiL-EU6aMQxQyQQA And, stay tuned for my new book, releasing on November 11, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. Learn more at http://mindblowinghappiness.com

An Inside Job

October 20, 2020

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch, and she said I was glowing. Even though I’ve been feeling joyful from the inside out for the past few days, I was surprised that she noticed. I’m excited about my new book launch scheduled for next month. I did a 3-day water fast that really seemed to reset my energy and cravings (even though I ate a little). During my fast, I did 3 days of manifestation work that prompted me to create my new website, mindblowinghappiness.com. And, I had a downright magical experience listening to the Tuning Into New Potentials meditation from Dr. Joe Dispenza. I’ve been running, hitting the weights and getting my yoga in on a daily basis. I feel like a goddamn goddess.


In contrast, another friend who just started reading my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, sent me an all-too-familiar apology text. “Sorry you had to go through tough experiences in your life.” My reply was something like, “Don’t worry. I’m grateful for all of my experiences.” I appreciate the text, but it makes me realize how some people who seem to have an easy path can be miserable, while little old me, who’s endured plenty, can be filled with joy.


Why is that? What makes people happy?


First off, there are genetics. I know I am a natural optimist. According to an article on the topic in Psychology Today, about 40% of our happiness is determined by our genes. So how do we increase our joy with the 60% we have some control over? Here are a few of my tips:


1. Get to know yourself – It’s hard to make someone happy if we don’t know what they like or dislike, and what’s important to them. When we’re born, we don’t receive this information. We need to learn who we are over time. This is very different than who our parents, our bosses, or our society thinks we should be.


2. Prioritize yourself – Can you be happy if you put yourself last? I don’t think so. Even if you have a spouse and children, you have to take care of yourself consistently in order to show up for your family and the world in a meaningful way. When your running on empty, your aura exudes that deficiency. That doesn’t benefit anyone.


3. Do the work – Like everything else in this world, happiness requires work. The good news is that misery requires work too. Instead of berating yourself with negative self-talk, caging yourself with limiting beliefs, or alienating others and the Universe with constant complaining, do the opposite. Use affirmations to create positive self-talk, adjust your language to show that your potential is limitless, and express gratitude instead of complaints. Work toward your happiness instead of your misery.


4. Be kind – Being nice to others will make you feel good. So, donate time or money to your favorite charity, hold the door for someone you don't find attractive, take some items to Goodwill, smile at strangers, chat with the cashier when you’re shopping, and give a few dollars when people ask. Find ways to spread kindness throughout your day.


Of course, this is over-simplified, but it’s a good place to start. If you really want to dig into your personal joy and fulfillment, I encourage you to watch the 2011 film, Happy or grab a copy of Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings. You do NOT have to be a Black woman to benefit from the guidance and inspiration nestled in my book.


Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, an optimist or a pessimist, we could all use a dose of happy. I hope you set aside time to find yours. Happiness is an inside job.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is the cover for my new book, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey, launching 11:11:2020. Learn more at mindblowinghappiness.com. If you want to watch the film Happy, you can find it on Amazon Prime or use this link https://tubitv.com/movies/157792/happy?utm_source=google-feed&tracking=google-feed

If you want to check out the Psychology Today article that I referenced, here it is https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-cultures/201911/how-genes-influence-happiness

Village of One

October 14, 2020

Lately, I’ve been thinking about greed. It is one of the seven deadly sins in Christian theology along with pride, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth. I think it’s safe to say they all sound like behavior we should avoid: the hunger of greed, self-importance of pride, weakness of lust, pain of envy, physical turmoil of gluttony, blindness of anger, and wastefulness of sloth.


I’ve never found myself drawn to greed. I prefer collaboration to competition. I’ve been known to throw my whole head back when I laugh and enjoy the indulgences of good food or wine, but if I have a dollar, nothing makes me happier than giving away fifty cents. Some people might think that’s foolish, but it makes me feel great. It feeds my spirit.


Now that greed has reared its head in my family, it’s made me wonder. If people can have gambling, sex, porn, and hoarding addictions, can greed also be a mental illness? In my work as a self-actualization coach, I often say, “There is no pie.” The Universe is abundant. There are more than enough resources to support the planet’s population. For example, if I reach my goal of selling a million books this year, it doesn’t prevent other authors from also selling a million books. Perhaps the market for books will expand so that ALL authors can sell a million books if they want to. It’s not impossible, especially with the advent of e-books.


I know, despite the world's abundance, many people live in poverty, especially in developing countries. I realize some of us are working with limited resources in our local environments. However, greed tends to be a quality of the haves, not the have-nots. Statistically speaking, people with less are known to give more. Psychology Today published a lovely story of a woman living in deep poverty in the Indian countryside who shares a meal with a stranger. It’s anecdotal but relays a real truth.


According to the Psychology Today article, greedy people are more likely to be well-to-do, lacking in compassion, and focused on future-planning. According to an article in whywesuffer.com, “Both narcissism and greed have their roots in profound self-doubt. Narcissism is self-aggrandizement of the emotional kind, while greed is self-aggrandizement of the materialistic kind. Narcissism (when it occurs as pervasive grandiosity) is listed as a mental disorder in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual. Why not greed? It should also be listed in the manual. Narcissists and the greedy compensate for their self-doubt by giving themselves an inflated sense of importance, while they project on to others their own repressed feelings of unworthiness.”


Bam! Whaaattt?!


The remarkable (and sad) thing is that greed leads to loneliness. All that clamoring for stuff, all that manipulation to get what you want alienates the people around you. You find yourself the queen in a village of one. For those of us with spiritual beliefs, you create the cause for terrible future actions, what some call negative Karma. 


I’m working on my compassion for those who intentionally harm me. 


It’s not easy work.


I encourage you to spend your energy working with integrity, living with joy and practicing kindness and compassion. Some say “Nice guys finish last,” but at least we finish. Greed devours everything around it, and, in doing so, eats itself from the inside out. I’ll have to take a pass on that.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo outlines the spiritual principles of reiki. It's a wonderful daily reminder of a well-lived life. If you want to read the full referenced articles, click here https://whywesuffer.com/greed-as-a-mental-health-disorder/ 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201711/why-people-who-have-less-give-more If you want to maintain your mental health and minimize your risk for narcissism, greed, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, check out my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings. I nestled so much wisdom into that little book. And, get ready for my new release coming in November, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes and Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. Learn more at https://honeybutterflyz.com/books

Peaceful Warrior

October 6, 2020

I haven’t been sleeping well. I keep dreaming about the house I grew up in. I dreamt I was sweeping the sidewalk in front and the wind blew the doors open. It became a wide-open space and the breeze flowed through the windows. Gauzy curtains flapped like waves beneath the filtered sunlight. My father was inviting me in. It reminded me of my aunt’s home in St. Lucia that I visited when I was a teenager. It feels like a prophecy of my upcoming trip to Ghana.


My sister stole that house. I don’t know when I’ll ever go back there. Stole seems like such a harsh word, but I don’t know how else to say it when you take something that was meant for you to share. I saw it coming. My parents added her to the deed ten years ago. She’s the oldest and like many of my financial advisory clients, I believe they thought she would do the “right thing.” I’ve advised clients against this so many times, but parents love their children, and often can’t see their faults. How many times have we heard the words, “Not my baby,” released from a mother’s mouth in opposition to a crime or infraction?


This is the 'hood version of white-collar crime. It happens so often, it’s not actually newsworthy.


I've experienced plenty of trauma in my life: sexual assault, domestic violence, ongoing institutional racism, horrific car accidents. I realize this feels the same. It’s violence, theft, injustice. It’s not only perpetrated against me. It harms my disabled younger sister, my nephew and my daughter. I am already suffering the loss of both my parents. Now I’m suffering from the loss of what little remained of my strained relationship with my older sister. I’ve lost the comfort of believing if shit hit the fan, I could always go home. Family dynamics can be so challenging. I want to walk away. I’m tired of playing the role of black sheep in a family so deeply affected by both mental and physical illness.


I can’t control the things that happen to me in this world. I can only control my response. For a moment, I felt hatred rising in my belly, but I’m not about that life. From when I was a teenager, I had an expression, “Don’t become the thing you hate.” Sometimes people hurt us, and, if we’re not paying attention, we can become like them – miserable, greedy, lonely, angry. I thought about fighting in the courts, but I can’t fight alone. And, honestly, I don’t like to waste my time. Life is precious and I want to live mine with joy and freedom.


In yoga, there is a pose called “peaceful warrior.” In it we move from a traditional warrior stance, ready for righteous battle with our “spears” forward, to reversing our weapons and leaning away from the battle. There are many spoils of war: property, jewels, even bodies. There is also plenty of trauma: mental, spiritual and physical. It’s wise to lean away when you can.


When I was younger, trauma tore me apart. Now that I’m smarter, I ask for the lesson. This one is clear: release my attachments and surrender. Ok Universe. Let’s do this.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,


Trish


P.S. The photo is the house that I grew up in. If you want to learn more about being happy no matter what life sends your way, check out my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings available on Amazon. More information at HoneyButterflyz.com/books

Warrior Spirit

September 30, 2020

I’ve lost three members of my family this year. First my aunt in April, then my uncle in July, and finally my father in September. One died of COVID. Two died from heart disease. Last night I watched an abomination, that could loosely be called a presidential debate, display the fragility of our “democracy.” Today I sat in a hearing for my second class-action racial discrimination lawsuit, reliving a trauma I’d rather forget. I know I’m not the only one experiencing a difficult year. There are times in life when the earth seems to shift. I felt it in 1993 when my sister died of sickle-cell anemia. I felt it in 2006 when I shut the doors to the fitness center that I owned back in Brooklyn. I felt it in 2011 when I lost my mother to cancer. I feel it now losing my dad. If you live long enough, life will give you the business. No matter how perfect life may feel at times, we will all experience sickness, aging, death, and loss.


I was interviewed this week for my friend’s podcast. In it, I referred to myself as “old.” I laughed and corrected myself by saying I’m “older.” The two ladies in conversation with me admonished me, “Don’t say that! You’re not old!” I countered, “Who made old a bad word?” I’m proud and grateful to be fifty-two. I remember things, like the NYC blackout of 1977, the Challenger explosion in 1986, the AIDS epidemic, life without technology, the Rodney King riots in 1991, and the way our country rallied together after 9/11. Every time I state my age I gasp a little inside. I know I’m breaking a societal rule. Growing up I often heard, “A lady doesn’t tell her age.” I never wanted to be a lady. Ladies sounded oppressed to me, always crossing legs, watching their language, and keeping quiet. I’m a woman standing in my truth. 


When I turned fifty I felt pressure to start lying about my age. I could easily tell folks I’m forty-two. Y’all wouldn’t know the difference. When we lie about our age we shrink. When we lie about our age we succumb to society’s desire to control us. We have to forget who we are. We have to make our stories smaller. We have to giggle and pretend not to remember things, like entire decades. Why?


Our nation is obsessed with youth, particularly for women. Fashion models are often notably young when they begin their careers. Often as young as fourteen. (Does anyone remember Brooke Shields?) Many women believe they have more romantic opportunities when they lie about their age. Some feel they won’t be discriminated against in the workplace. Some think they will be stereotyped if they tell their age. As women, we have the choice to “pass” for younger or stand in the truth of our lived experiences. It’s similar to the way some Black people “pass” for white or stand in the truth of their racial identity. I’m not here to judge anyone. Everyone’s circumstances are different. We do what we must to survive. Just don’t miss your opportunity to thrive.


There is joy in not having to remember what year I was supposed to have been born. There is freedom in being able to be myself without apology. Every time I say my age I’m grateful. I’m an author, a marathoner, a trail runner, a yogi, a business owner, a life coach, a reiki practitioner, a meditation instructor, a mom, and a world traveler. More than anything I’m a survivor. Today I was told I’m a warrior. I like that.


We are all warriors in this world. Every insult we survive. Every injury we heal. Every trauma we overcome. They deepen our warrior spirit.


I’ve known plenty of love and loss in my life. If we’re lucky we’ll know plenty of love. If we’re human and we live long enough, we’ll know plenty of loss.


What will you do with the gift of life that you’re holding in your hand today?


I hope you stand in your truth, ignite your warrior spirit and reach for your dreams.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The image is a sculpture I bought thirty years ago when I visited the Bahamas. I removed the little sword, replaced it with a pen, and named him “Warrior with a Pen.” It has always been my intention to use my words to educate and uplift. If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a copy of my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, find out more at honeybutterflyz.com/books.

Ready or Not

September 23, 2020

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week. She was a champion for women’s rights. Two days after her death, I learned she could have retired during the Obama administration to guarantee her supreme court seat would be given to a democratic appointee. I have to admit, it tarnished her legacy for me. So much is riding on each of only nine supreme court seats, and everyone knows it. Talk of repealing Roe v. Wade has been going on for decades. Implementing a public health care system is a Herculean effort begun by the Clintons in the ‘90s and still not achieved. With so much at stake for the country, why not retire at eighty and take the final years of life to consult, pen your memoir, cruise the globe or try holistic health care? Why would a woman as intelligent, powerful and respected as Ginsburg choose to throw the future of our nation to chance? Did she believe in her own immortality? Was she addicted to power? Was she simply selfish?


I’ve never experienced the upper echelons of society where supreme court justices reside. I’ve never been around that kind of power. I can only imagine it must be intoxicating. People defer to you, laugh at your jokes, and ask for your opinion. Famous reporters hang on to your every word. You have the ear of the president and a passport that is fully stamped. You dine at all the finest restaurants and stay in all the best hotels. When you sleep, you hear the words “Your Honor” as your lullaby. Maybe being an ex-justice wouldn’t be as exciting. Or maybe, like many people, she wasn’t ready to “retire.” Maybe she feared it meant she was old and washed up. Maybe after over twenty years in the position, she didn’t know who she was if she wasn’t a supreme court justice.


If you know me at all you know I love horror movies, especially psychological thrillers. I watched You Should Have Left today starring Kevin Bacon. It could have been about Justice Ginsburg or any of us who stay in situations longer than we should. Sometimes staying does more damage than leaving, whether it’s a marriage, a job, a relationship or a neighborhood. Why do we stay? I think it’s because we’re scared to leave. Scared of the unknown. Scared of not fulfilling an obligation we created in our minds. Scared of being judged. Scared of being alone.


There are a lot of quotes that wrestle with the reality of fear. Perhaps you’ve heard, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Or seen, “F.E.A.R. is false evidence appearing real.” Maybe someone’s told you, “There are only two emotions, love and fear.” In my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, I reference my favorite lyric from an old Dramatics song, “The strong give up and move on while the weak give up and stay.” Sometimes we forget, leaving may take more courage than staying the course.


Even my beloved father had to make the decision to let go of this life and move on to the next. At some point we all leave the familiar behind us, whether it’s moving off to college, getting married, taking an out-of-state job or moving overseas. Even if we do our best to change nothing, to hide, be quiet and remain completely still, change will come for us whether we’re ready or not.


I wish Justice Ginsburg had made a decision to retire instead of holding on and having circumstances make the decision for her. I hope we can all learn a lesson from her and release things in our lives when it’s time to let them go.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance,



Trish


P.S. The photo is from my visit to Brooklyn this past weekend for my dad’s funeral services. It had been a while since I’d been downtown Brooklyn, and I was surprised to see how much my NYC borough now looks like Manhattan. It made me think about how Manhattan must have looked a hundred years ago. Change happens whether you want it to or not. If you’re looking for ways to manage the change in your life to achieve your goals, contact me for a free coaching consultation at honeybutterflyz.com/contact




A Beautiful Mark

September 17, 2020

“There is no truth, only perception.” I used to say that a lot in my teens and twenties. I remember cutting class to read Plato at Stuyvesant Park in Manhattan in the '80s with my other wild and philosophical friends. I’ve always loved looking for the truths in life. Last week I was caught up in the orbit of my personal world – my business, my birthday, my goals. Then the ball dropped, a complete change in perspective. My father passed away after a year and a half bedridden and on hospice care. My thoughts about him were in the background of everything I did or said. Would that be my fate one day? What kind of mental integrity might I need to manage that type of situation? What type of decisions did my dad face day after day while unable to sit up or move his own legs? They say “once a man and twice a child.” For us Buddhists, we believe we go on to our next life like a train that leaves one station only to stop at the next. After watching my mom in her final days and then my dad, I’m struck by how similar the end of life resembles the beginning: We need people to take care of us.


So often when we are in the prime of our lives, we’re busy reaching for money and other worldly goals. At the end of the day, all we really have are the people who know us and care about us. The ones who pray for us without even telling us. We have them and we have our own spirits – that subtle bit of consciousness that will travel into our next life. We can’t take our new Mercedes, our Netflix subscription, or our mother’s jewelry. We can’t even take the people we love. We can’t take our collection of books, handbags or shoes. Not our spices, herbs, essential oils, or precious roots. We can’t even take our soft, moist bodies. We take nothing but the work we’ve done on our own minds and spirits.


Today is Thursday, and it’s four days since I lost my father. Three days ago I found out a good friend is suddenly ill. It makes me realize, yet again, how bittersweet this world is. If only we could love and care for each other better.


I often talk about a crisis of authenticity in this country, maybe in this world. Some of us love our own selfie pics more than we love our real selves. Or we love the pics we don’t share, calling ourselves “shy” or “cautious.” We love attending weddings, funerals, and reunions more than we love or even know our family members.


I encourage you to love yourself and this world well while you’re in it. Learn who you are. Share a little more. Help a little more. Know your boundaries. Leave a beautiful mark on this bittersweet place.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. This photo is from my visit to the White House in 2015 with my dad. He was a Jamaican immigrant, U.S. Army veteran, and loved this country and his family dearly. He was 79 at the time and needed a stool for the long line and hot sun as we waited for Secret Service clearance to enter. He never took off his suit jacket or his flag pin. He was so proud. He will be dearly missed. I’ve decided to cancel my Fall Retreat Series to focus on my healing, my family, and my writing. There are many lessons from my father in my self-help memoir, “Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings.” More info at https://honeybutterflyz.com/books.

You Are HERE

September 9, 2020

It’s a year since I quit my job and the eve of my 52nd birthday. The past week has been spent mostly dancing around the house singing the joys of another year of life, love and evolution on this third planet from the sun. However, in between the singing, I hear a familiar backdrop – anxiety. Those thoughts that swirl in my head with all the what-ifs and whatnots.


I know my self-help memoir is my signature work to date and the reviews have been incredible, but what if no one hears about it? What if, despite my best efforts, I can’t access a large enough platform to access all the millions of people for whom this book would be a godsend? What if my seed money runs out and I can’t continue to promote it? Then, it goes deeper. I’ve been single for a while because I love myself and I can’t partner up with just any random dude. But what if I never meet my special person? What if I die penniless and alone like the legendary Zora Neale Hurston? (She was married 3x, if you’re wondering.) Worse than all of that, what if I stop dreaming? The moment we give up hope is the beginning of slow death. We quietly become the old cranky neighbor who yelled at us as children. Get off my lawn! Stop playing music! Quiet the children and the dogs! Stop being so happy!


The New Oxford American Dictionary defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” It sounds pretty accurate. But when does it become “a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.” What pushes us over the edge?


According to the NIH, 19.1% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year, 23.4% for females and 14.3% for males. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml If my life is any indication, we all have moments of anxiety, especially if our life is one that includes some uncertainty. Even the most risk-averse among us would have a hard time charting a risk-free path. I imagine attempting to live a life without a hint of danger would be fraught with anxiety. It doesn’t seem like there’s any getting around it. However, it’s alarming that nearly 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience an anxiety disorder this year. That’s more than 38 million women, and it doesn’t even take into account all the additional stress 2020’s brought with it: mind-numbing politics, a global pandemic, massive business closings, innumerable illnesses and deaths, constant police brutality, endless conspiracy theories and terrifying hate groups.


2020’s packed a punch. It’s okay if you don’t always feel okay. Some days I’m right there with you. So, what to do when anxiety or sadness or a sense of simply being overwhelmed climbs out from the corners of your mind and takes an unwelcome seat at your table?


• First off, give yourself permission to be “in a mood.” You don’t have to be happy and accommodating to everyone all the time.


• Second, speak kindly to yourself. You are not perfect. Perfection isn’t even a thing. You, however, are REAL. And, that’s something to be proud of. Congratulate yourself on being an amazing real YOU, who has made it so far and has learned so much.


• Third, treat yo’self. I often speak about my self-care toolbox. Now’s the time to bring it out. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a warm bath, a nap, turning off the news and watching a comedy, reading a good book, practicing yoga, pouring a glass of prosecco, journaling or meditating. Find the things that make you feel good and allow you to reset your nervous system. You don’t need to apologize. You deserve that shit.


If every day were easy, we wouldn’t call this life. Perhaps we’d call it Heaven, the Pure Land, or Nirvana. Listen, we’re not there. We’re here. Like any map that you’ve seen that says, “You are HERE.” We never look at those maps unless we’re trying to get to another place. It’s okay to be present with whatever you’re feeling today. There's a lot of talk about mindfulness in the wellness culture. You're HERE. That's OKAY. I love you.


Stay with it. Love yourself. Keep doing the good work. We're going to be okay.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance.


Trish


P.S. ​If you are anxious or just need to set aside time for yourself, join me on September 26 for my Black Vegan Life Virtual Retreat (for Women Only). Details at HoneyButterflyz.com/virtual-retreat . And, if you haven't read my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings, what are you waiting for? I got my first third-party review TODAY and it's 5 STARS! Check it out here: https://indiestoday.com/thinking-outside-the-chrysalis/ If you are interested in one of my heroes, Zora Neale Hurston, learn more at zoranealehurston.com




Wakanda Forever

September 1, 2020

When I was interviewing my most recent guest for my YouTube series, The Butterfly Effect: Conversations for Black Women to Soar, I asked her what she would recommend for women who want to reach higher levels in their lives. She said to get a mentor. Since I haven’t had traditional mentors in my life, my immediate response was, "how?" A couple of weeks later, I listened to the first episode of the Michelle Obama Podcast on Spotify. I have been toying with the structure for my own upcoming podcast for a while. When I heard Michelle, I thought, that’s it! I’ll use her podcast as a model for my own. That was my light bulb moment - I may not have had mentors, but I’ve always found models.


I would never build a house without a blueprint or sew a dress without a pattern, any more than I would create a business without a vision. When I decided to write my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings, I modeled it after The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, a beloved classic. I’m currently working on a companion journal that will be available in time for the holidays modeled after the Live in Wonder journal that I adore. When I worked as a financial advisor, I modeled Warren Buffet and Dave Ramsey. We all stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, and many of us don’t have people in our lives that are doing the work we want to do. We may be walking on dirt paths looking for road signs.


This is why the loss of our heroes often hurts so much. We may not have an auntie who owns her own brand, but we have Oprah. We may not know anyone who is a successful politician, but we have Barack. We may not know anyone who can show us our history or our potential, but we had Chadwick Boseman. And we still have his legendary benefactor, Denzel Washington. We all walk a unique path full of resounding potential if we slow down long enough to notice.


Information is so ubiquitous nowadays, we don’t need to have Michelle, Barack, Warren, Chadwick or Denzel in our families. We can read their books, watch their interviews or listen to their podcasts to examine their templates. Even with the loss of Chadwick Boseman at the young age of 43, our technology renders him immortal, forever available in films and interviews. We have so many resources, it’s up to us to either study wise models that expand our hearts and minds or focus on the things that contract and divide us. We make the decision to expand or shrink every single day.


We are all on this earth to grow. Everything in nature works in the rhythm of this simple knowing. The soil and water transform the seed into the rose; the chrysalis prepares the caterpillar for life as a butterfly, and our models pull us toward our full expression as humans.


Whether we model famous people, our loved ones, ancient wisdom or the teachings of our ancestors, we all do it whether we know it or not. I choose to seek the template for my life with the highest intentions. I hope you will join me, choose your models wisely, lean forward and spread your wings.


I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!


Trish


P.S. The photo is me with my black lipstick and fluffed-up afro on my way to go see Black Panther in November 2018. I will never forget how Black people around the country showed up and showed out for Wakanda that day, and for our pride in being descendants of the African continent. If you’d like to connect with Black women for relaxation and rejuvenation, join me for my Black Vegan Life ™ Virtual Retreat on Saturday, September 26. For womxn who self-identify as Black. We will connect, release stress and gain clarity for the weeks and months ahead. Visit https://HoneyButterflyz.com/events for details about my Virtual Retreat and all three sessions in my Fall Retreat Series.

Invisible Cages

August 25, 2020

I had one of my most fun interviews to date this morning. I’ll be sure to share it next week when the podcast goes live. Before we started, the host asked me if I’d be okay with talking about politics. I was so excited! One of my pet peeves is the encouraged silence about religion and politics. I am not a person who enjoys debate or argument, but I do enjoy speaking my piece. I operate from a place of love, so if someone else has a differing opinion from a place of love I want to hear it. Now, if you have a different opinion from a hateful place, this goddess has no time for your nonsense.


I support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November’s presidential election. When Bernie Sanders and Stacey Abrams were still candidates, I supported them. They are no longer options for the presidential ticket, so I support the candidates that most closely resemble my dream ticket. What I don’t support is hatred, whether it’s spewed across the nation by the current man-child in the white house or if it’s slung by misogynists against Kamala Harris. Neither candidate is perfect. Neither am I or anyone else.


In the same way we may find ourselves forced into political or spiritual silence, we may find ourselves in all kinds of invisible cages of our own design or someone else’s. Cages that tell us what we can talk about, where we can live, or who we can love. Cages that keep us out of places that we want to go, like so-called “exclusive” neighborhoods or institutions. And cages that keep us trapped in places we want to leave, like relationships, religions, or even families that have become abusive.


When I was twenty, I worked in New York City’s iconic World Financial Center. At its heart was a beautiful marble atrium lined with palm trees and covered by a huge glass dome. It was absolutely stunning. When I wanted to go to the lower level, I always took the side escalator. For some reason, I didn’t think I was allowed to walk down the beautiful marble staircase. It was as if there was an invisible barrier. Something told me that area was off-limits to me. I worked there for many months before I walked down those steps, and it was only after seeing other people do it who looked like me. I had created a cage for myself.


You have probably heard the story of frogs in a bucket. (Or, I think they’re frogs.) Anyway, if you put frogs in a bucket that is too large for them to jump out of, eventually they will give up. If you transfer them to a smaller bucket later, they won’t even try to jump out. They’ve been conditioned to believe there is no escape. They don’t realize their circumstances have changed.


This happens to all of us. We learn from our experiences. If we try and fail, we may come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t try again. I wrote a book in 1995 and couldn’t find a publisher. I told myself my writing career was over. I opened a fitness center franchise in 2003, and it didn’t work out. I told myself I would never own a business again. Like many people, I’ve experienced heartache that made me want to give up on love. 


It’s so easy to hide in invisible cages, hoping to keep ourselves safe. 

But are we safe or are we just dead inside?


So what if we step outside into the light? What if we try again? To pursue our dreams of happiness and fulfillment? To speak our truth? To question authority and the status quo? What if we risk another round of scraped knees and hurt feelings? Will we die from trying or die from giving up? Or maybe it will be different this time. Our circumstances have changed. Perhaps we're older and wiser. We've walked through fires before. And maybe this time we'll experience something beautiful we thought was out of reach.


I want to open doors that are off-limits. I want to speak and stand in my truth. As John Lewis would say, I want to make good trouble. I hope you want good trouble too.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is a quote a friend shared with me. I don’t know who the author is, but whoever wrote it is one smart cookie. If you want to connect, join me for tomorrow’s author chat. We’ll be talking about self-love, releasing anger and generosity. Sign up at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvceGhqDIiHNXQ9UeqdfrMOoCJD6gJ7urB


Momala

August 18, 2020

I was so excited when Kamala Harris was selected as Joe Biden’s VP pick last week. Not because she was my first choice. I really wanted Stacey Abrams. But I was excited because she’s a Black woman, she’s a fighter, and she’s qualified. I know the Biden campaign forensically vetted her background and her ability to enhance his campaign. With the current white house administration's obsession with “law and order,” having a former prosecutor on the Democratic ticket sends a strong message. Also, a white husband will make many white people feel more comfortable. I mean, she can’t be the leader of the Black revolution with a white husband, can she?


Before I had a chance to do my Beyonce victory dance in the kitchen, social media morons were already attacking her. I know moron is a strong word, and I don't like name-calling, but I don't know how else to describe people who spread hatred and false information simultaneously. They are Black, and I am pissed. Why? Because my mom told me if I have nothing nice to say don’t say anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn't affect change. I’ve spent the past year raising my voice in every way. It does mean there is a time and place for everything, and for god’s sake fact-check before you make a fool of yourself. And, have enough character to apologize when you’re wrong. 


This is some of the nonsense I’ve seen on social media in an attempt to diminish the first Black woman nominated as VP in a major party:


He just picked her to secure the Black vote. – Black people have been voting Democratic since the 1930’s. Why? Because the Democratic Party was the party of FDR’s New Deal which provided programs for relief for the unemployed, creation of welfare programs, and economic recovery after The Great Depression.  https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/great-depression/a/the-new-deal The Democratic Party has long been the party of worker’s rights and diversity, and Black people historically vote in our own self-interest, which isn’t always true for whites. When politicians are able to convince poor white voters that Black people, immigrants, etc. are stealing their cheese, they can be manipulated to vote against their own interests. The Democratic Party is the party of Barack and Michelle Obama, AOC, and the “love gov” Andrew Cuomo. We’re not perfect, but we have plenty to celebrate. 88% of Black people voted Democratic in 2016. https://blackdemographics.com/culture/black-politics/ We will again, based on facts and logic. Black people are smart, and our votes aren't handicapped by deeply-ingrained racism.


She sent Black people to prison. – She was attorney general for many years, so part of her job was sending people to prison. In the U.S., people who are convicted of crimes are supposed to go to prison. While her stance on the death penalty has been a little wishy-washy, for the most part, she has not been a proponent of the death penalty. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/11/kamala-harris-vp-background-bio-biden-running-mate-2020-393885

Despite misinformation spreading on social media, she was NOT involved in the tragic Oscar Grant case portrayed in the heartbreaking but excellent film, Fruitvale Station. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/aug/14/viral-image/no-kamala-harris-wasnt-prosecutor-fruitvale-statio/


She’s not African-American because her family is from Jamaica and India. – Welp, this African-American is from Jamaica and St. Lucia, so I know that’s not true. Kamala Harris is a Black woman who went to a Black college and joined a Black sorority, so she’s pretty much Blackity-Black. I have no idea who the Black police are, or why they want to judge other people’s Blackness. 


As a Black woman, I understand the source of Black self-hatred. It's the American Way.  When I was a kid we used to play the dozens. We called it “ranking.” I hated the game and was never any good at it. The game was played by insulting each other with “your mama” jokes, and teasing about how poor, Black or nappy we were. I’ve read multiple theories on the origin of the game. There seems to be a clear connection to similar games played in Africa. (Chimezie, A. (1976). The Dozens: An African-Heritage Theory. Journal of Black Studies, 6(4), 401-420. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2783770?read-now=1&seq=8#page_scan_tab_contents) However, the term dozen may be related to the way enslaved workers were sold or raped “by the dozens.” I imagine that a game that helped Black people to have a “thick skin” and to learn to spar verbally would be helpful in navigating a racist society. I fear that this cultural tradition has often turned us into crabs in a barrel pulling each other down instead of lifting each other up. 


Here are a few ideas to calm the crab if you ever feel the hateration rising inside of you from a lifetime of internalized, unconscious self-loathing, or garden-variety jealousy. And, for the record, it's not your fault. 


Remember you are not perfect and neither is anyone else. We’ve all made bad decisions, been embarrassed, and misinformed. If we’re smart, we grow from our mistakes and move on. Through this process, we learn compassion for others who've made mistakes and recognize their humanity and our own.


We are all individuals and entitled to our opinions. Don’t expect to agree with someone about everything all the time. We can’t even find that in our own households with our partners and families. We certainly won’t find it in politicians or celebrities. We are entitled to opinions. We are not entitled to spread false information or false theories like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. That’s called blatant stupidity. It’s easy to fact check with sites like snopes.com or politifacts.com. Use your google searches for good not evil.


Life is not a zero-sum game, and there is no pie. We can all excel. If Kamala Harris becomes Vice President, it doesn’t diminish anyone else’s ability to achieve. I love the Starbucks story. Many local coffee shops were concerned when Starbucks entered the market, thinking they would put them out of business. More often than not, that didn't happen. Starbucks EXPANDED the market exponentially which helped many mom-and-pop coffee shops thrive. The same is true for most things in life. If you win, that doesn’t mean I lose. There’s enough oxygen for everyone.


If elected in November, Kamala Harris will be the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American vice president in the history of the United States. Representation matters. After a hellish four years with the current administration, “Momala” is giving me hope.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is one I found on Meagan Goode's Instagram in a repost from Femi Magazine. You can get a t-shirt at vplikeme.com Representation is powerful. I never imagined I would live to see a Black president. I hope I get to see some #blackgirlmagic in November. If you're looking for a way to de-stress and nurture self-love this election season, join me for my Fall Retreat Series. Details available at HoneyButterflyz.com/events.


The Overnight Bag

August 11, 2020

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I ended up submitting a grant application and looked up to see it was 2:22am. I love seeing repeating numbers. If you follow the law of attraction or numerology, you have probably heard repeaters have significance. My daughter was born at 4:44am, and I see repeating 1’s, 2’s and 4’s frequently. I find they encourage me to keep pressing forward in the pursuit of my dreams. When I studied yoga nidra in the spring, my instructor said the numbers mean only what we want them to mean. That may very well be true for all of life. We apply meaning to the things in our lives, and we all need encouragement.


This past week was rough. My dad’s been critically ill for over a year now, and my uncle (his younger brother) was buried on Saturday. I woke up last weekend and discovered the maintenance worker had let himself into my apartment while I was sleeping. Who the fuck does that?! I complained to my management company and haven't received even a simple apology. My daughter is about to head back to her pandemic-ready college campus in a few days. I just had my dog’s teeth cleaned only to see tartar right back to 100% icky in only three months. I haven’t sold a million copies of my self-help memoir yet – I’m not even close. I lost five pounds and gained it back. I booked a flight to NYC to see my father only to cancel two days later when I realized New York State has a 14-day mandatory quarantine on travelers from Georgia. I miss eating in my favorite restaurants and going to the movies. I have a cavity in my front tooth to the tune of $600 even with my dental coverage. Listen, I’ve been in my feelings. :-/


Then yesterday happened.


So many times when life is feeling difficult, I remind myself that it can change on a dime. In a split second. On the fringe of a moment. With one phone call. One big idea. One email. One shift in perspective. One word of encouragement. One smile.


I’m convinced my brain has an elaborate circuit-breaker. I believe all healthy brains do. When presented with stress we implement our learned coping mechanisms: perhaps rest, sex, food or exercise. We all experience stress at times. We should be prepared for when it arrives and settles next to us with an overnight bag. Here are a few of my favorite stress-busters:


1. Reality-TV – Don’t judge me, but marathon-watching other people’s problems gives my own issues time to settle. Some of my favorites are Paternity Court, Judge Faith and my current obsession: 90-Day Fiancée.

2. Sleeping – I’m already a girl who likes eight hours, but a mid-day nap when I’m stressed out gives my body a break from mental shenanigans like catastrophizing and never-ending “what if” scenarios.

3. Indulgence – I treat myself to things I like without guilt. I got a 2-hour massage. So what? I upgraded from my regular mani/pedi. Mind your business! I bought myself flowers. Why wouldn't I? I ate a pack of the original Beyond Meat sausages in artisan rolls. God yes! (They ruined the spicy version by trying to make it “meatier.”)

4. Consistent Self-Care – I think everyone should have a self-care routine. Mine includes yoga, journaling, meditation, hiking, affirmations, music, books and running. Doing things I enjoy and being outside are important for my overall feeling of wellness. Take the time to find out what works for you.


My journey has been a winding road. I know I’m not alone. Be kind to yourself in words and actions. We teach other people how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. We all hit rough patches. Life was not always easy before COVID-19. Finding ways to work through challenges and usher your overnight guest to the door can make all the difference in the world.


I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!



Trish


P.S. The photo is of the honey-colored roses I bought to lift my spirits. That was before I put on my happy pants. Lol! If you haven't seen my happy pants, follow me at https://instagram.com/vegan_honeybutterflyz for all kinds of inspirational and vegan goodies. If you’re curious about repeating numbers, check out this article https://www.thelawofattraction.com/means-see-repeating-numbers/ If you’re interested in establishing a consistent self-care practice, join me for my Black Vegan Life™ Fall Retreat Series. https://honeybutterflyz.com/events If you’re outside of the Atlanta area, you can still participate in my Black Vegan Life™ Virtual Retreat on September 26, 2020. https://honeybutterflyz.com/virtual-retreat. If retreats are not your thing, my self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings offers wonderful advice for establishing a self-care practice. Get more information at https://honeybutterflyz.com/books 

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