American Promise

@PromiseFilm

Followed me on Twitter this week. That simple act brought back one of the best memories of my life and one of the most poignant conversations I have had in this lifetime.

That conversation was with Stacey Summers, mother of Seun Summers. Sundance 2013 American Promise premiered and Filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michele Stepehson, friends and family came to Blackhouse’s space at the end of Main Street and they were electric with excitement. They entered the room with Zydeco band playing, Idris and best friend Seun were on fire – the film was well received and they were ready to celebrate. The Zydeco band was playing a rhythmic tune, and once the band found a groove Vikter Duplaix dropped an Afro Caribbean song and everyone on the dance floor lost it, including me.

I stepped off the floor to grab something to drink and that is where I saw Stacey standing and so I congratulated her. She reminded me of my Aunt Habibah and she had that strong New York twang and reminded me a bit of home. I thought Idris was her son, but then I guess he was tall and reminded me of my son – I incorrectly assumed. We laughed and hit it off and Stacey shared with me some of the experiences she and her husband Joe had navigating education in New York City. I think we wound up talking for almost an hour.

As a mom, I can tell you this film is so necessary, this dialogue about the educational gap in young African American men is an important one. Living in Southern California, the experiences Stacey and I shared as parents were common and some of the decisions made along the educational journey almost paralleled exactly. My son was diagnosed with ADHD, Stacey’s son was diagnosed with Dyslexia, we both transitioned our son’s out of “good schools” after the 6th grade looking for an alternative where they could thrive. As parents we worried about those decisions.

Well I just watched American Promise on Netflix. Kudos to the Brewster Stepehson family and to the Summers family. American Promise is amazing!!! The social dialogue, community activism, and educational tools that have come from this movement are groundbreaking. More info can be found at American Promise.

This may seem off topic a bit, but these are my closing thoughts, I remember being choked and lifted off the ground by my second grade teacher during a school play rehearsal. That one act taught me that you have to empower your kids to deal with crazy kids and insane adults in school. There is a moment in the film when Seun did not like a music class and another child projected onto him his prejudice and responded by saying “you do not like it because it’s not rap music.” Now if he had been my child I would have told him kids are stupid and you have to remember that people do project their insecurities onto other people and you do not have to accept it. In that situation you either call them on their shit or responded something along the lines of “just because your uptight parents don’t let you mix your classical strings with banging djembe beats don’t hate.” Now back to teachers for a minute, I have had A LOT of experiences raising an ADHD child in private, public, and charter schools, dealing with a host of adult educators, philosophies, energies along the way. I do wish that all schools had to give some sort of racial and/ or socio economic bias analysis to all teachers and teacher aides. I bottom line teachers and medical doctors to one thing, they are people too. Although their education may give them the ability to make very educated decisions, they are still people and people have biases. When it comes to educating kids, you should not be legally allowed to expose kids to your bias if in the long run it is going to be the disconnect that hinders our children’s ability to learn.

Unapologetically,

Friday Jones

Follow on Twitter @FridayJones1

Do you know when the Universe is actively conspiring for you?

Have you ever had a moment where life was happening, but it slow motion and you could feel the pieces of destiny coming together? That is how I would describe what it feels like when you are aware that the Universe is actively conspiring for you.

My brother was in town just last week, now he had been planning to come to Los Angeles since August, but the date kept being pushed back because of project he was working on. Initially we were going to celebrate his birthday which is rare, so I was excited and then the delays so I stopped asking. Then randomly about a month after I get a text from my Uncle that my brother is performing at the Mayan Theatre Downtown Los Angeles. When you have a family member that is an entertainer, you do not have to be at every show so this show was not really on my radar. Then my mother texts me and asks if I wanted to go and take my kids. Then I thought – why not, this for them is rare, so I text my brother and we arrange back stage access.

Now two months ago I had a cousin move to LA from Washington DC. She has been talking about Chef Roy Choi aka @RidingShotgunLA since she arrived. She loves his personal story and how he turned his life into a lifestyle and a medley of delicious foods that we all get to enjoy. Well she also got a text and was going this show too at the Mayan.

The headline for the show was Souls of Mischief, Adrian Younge, The Pharcyde, Blue Exile and Special Guests Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife Dawg. My daughter brought her boyfriend to the show, he is an up and coming rapper with an old school soul and is in a group called Villain Park. This kid was so humble and taking pictures and observing everything around him. To my surprise Jarobi was in the house, the always present fourth member of A Tribe Called Quest. Jarobi invited me and my family to Line Hotel where he was going to be cooking from 6pm – 11pm. I was thinking cool something to do on a Friday Night. I was so proud of Jarobi when he became a Chef and now I would have an opportunity to have him cook for me. Good times.

Line Hotel is in Korea Town at the corner of Wilshire and Irolo. There is a beautiful mural of a lotus flower on the side of the hotel – it felt like good times waiting to happen. I walked in my cousin was seated and we were at Chef Roy’s hotel. Jarobi came over with a wonderful crab dish that he prepared, and then Chef Roy came over and when I say he rolled out the red carpet – he and his staff absolutely catered to every desire and prepared a meal for royalty. Thanks Jarobi and Chef Roy. My cousin got her wish and she has a picture to prove it!

The Souls of Mischief performed a new song that I felt was so telling “There is Only Now.” The lyrics to the hook are “the past is an illusion, there is only now, the future is fiction, there is only now.” Adrian Younge had joined us for dinner. When the desert tray came around my brother introduced Adrian to a woman that he felt Adrian should know. As I sat eating a delicious piece of Chef Roy’s Tiramisu Cake, I noticed the woman had good energy. When Adrian sat down I asked what did she do, he said he did not know and I should find out and as he took a piece of cake my cousin was eyeing he said to both of us, that was to teach you a lesson if you want something go get it. I remembered the hook to the song and there is only now. So I got up and introduced myself to the woman, it turns out she was like the international marketing executive for Toms Shoes – she suggested that I look up jobs online at Toms.com and she told me they believe in work life balance and in their employees going on their giving missions. I was intrigued.

So the next morning I went to Toms website and I was blown away by their story. I mean everyone knows the gist of One for One concept, but what Blake Mycoskie has done is really phenomenal. It reminds me of a 3M Post It competition that I entered for an opportunity to win $25,000 to start a business, and you had to do it on a post it. My idea was for a lingerie company that would provide school uniforms in underdeveloped countries for girls to attend school with manufacturing in the communities helped. Unfortunately my entry was disqualified and I did not win, but it is a dream of mine and Blake Mycoskie got it right. I knew I wanted to work for Toms. The accounting jobs listed were not anything I was interested in and they were entry positions which means low pay. I completed an application for Executive Assistant to the Senior VP of International Marketing. Now I do not know if I will be hired, but the Universe definitely ignited a spark and I am listening.

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Unapologetically,

Friday

Follow me on Twitter @FridayJones1

When is the last time you voted for your local Judge?

One of my very good friends Kaypri posted this to her Instagram:

Her mom Miss Dorothy was a Freedom Fighter in her day and she was a White Southern Woman!  See her story at http://www.dorothystory.com/ 

Ferguson is at the forefront of news conversation these days.  When you have a town with 66% of any race and that race does not take time to vote in local elections to make sure their politics are represented by people that will legislate and enforce policy that is considerate of the 66% Ferguson will exist.  Complacency is not concerned with anyone’s civil rights.  If young men can go to war at 18, they can vote at 18, and if they can vote at 18, they can run for local government.  America is one of the few places on the planet where individuals still matter and I encourage young people in particular to seek political offices and stir up the pot, because status quo has never been cool – even Kanye said “What you think I Rap to push a RAV-4.” If you are going to work and pay your taxes and live a life of civil obedience, dare to run for office and create the dream instead of being a pawn in other people’s dream.

If you want to see change be the change you want to see.  So I ask the question, when is the last time you voted for a judge in your local election and knew his or her politics?

 

What would you do?

What would you do if you thought you were having a heart attack?

I am writing this because we all have played this game.  What would you do if you had a million dollars or what would you do if someone had said something obscene to you – even Kanye has a lyric that is an old school saying with the same premise “I wish a ni$$a would..,” but really what would he do?

Tuesday of this week I really thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I was at work and I kept having heart palpitations.  Now sometimes that happens because my bra is too tight – at a 34G it happens, but this was not one of those days.  I even looked up on line what were heart attack symptoms in women and what to do.  The basics were call 911 and take aspirin.  And as I was having the next set of questions well what are you going to do.  And honestly I thought about my reality – I am working but I still do not have health insurance – I don’t care how you repackage it $750 per month for me and my teens is more than I can swing a bat at right now.  If I have a heart attack and live – I can tap into my life insurance for critical condition which would actually cover the hospital bill and make me financially whole – but then if I died after the heart attack and paying the hospital bill there would be no life insurance for the kids. And I sat at my desk and wept for people in this situation.  I realized I would miss my kids, mom, family and then I thought well if I do kick the bucket who can I trust to tend to some last minute things.

Now I have a will and trust, and life insurance – so in my mind I have done my best to prepare, better than some people and if I went to a hospital and nothing was wrong with me I could wind up with a fifteen thousand dollar bill to have someone tell me nothing was wrong with me.  So what would you do?

I sent a text to my mom telling her I needed to talk to her when I got home and I decided if I were going to die, I was going to have enough time to take my daughter home from school one last time, tell her and my son I loved them so those would be the last words they remember me telling them, and I was going to sit my mother down to make a list of important information.

Now when I left work to pick up my daughter – a friend of hers needed a ride home.  I literally drove from the school as composed as I could be but there were tears I was fighting back because I thought I might kick the bucket.  My mother has on a couple of occasions said – one day after the fact ” ooh I thought I was going to kick the bucket, I laid on the floor in excruciating pain and had written you and your brother a note.” I had decided if I am going to kick the bucket I am telling folks before the fact – because really who wants to die alone.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did not ask my mother to come sit with me and watch me die, but I wanted her to know I loved her, this is where life insurance is, this is where trust documents are, this is who executors of the trust are, you have $750K make sure the kids have money for college, buy out the lease on the car so they can share the ride and have fun driving it, here are login passwords, credit cards and the like, there are rental checks that should be deposited from tenants.  I wanted her to tell my brother he was my best friend and then we both teared up gave each other a long lasting hug and I said goodbye.

So again what would you do? Hit me up on twitter and let me know.

And just in case you figured it out.  I lived Ha!

Unapologetically,

Friday

Friday with Friday – Finding my Faith

Dear Readers,

Bare with me as I go through this entry – it is a little all over the place, but living life is a process and blogging is no different.

So yesterday I found my faith.  Faith is generally something I have struggled with and the issue at least for me was that my mind could rationalize things and my heart could feel things, but often my thoughts were not in sync with my feelings.  I could understand faith as a concept, but in terms of how I felt – that was another subject.  You have to remember my introduction to God as a child was fear based – do what God says or be damned to hell – so how can a person build faith in a being it has learned to fear?

One of the lessons in A Course in Miracles is “love holds no grievances.”  I had to look up the definition of a grievance. By definition a grievance is a real or imagined wrong or circumstance regarded as a just cause for a complaint.  The thing about an imagined wrong is one can un-imagine a wrong. Last week a female friend of “The Actor” reached out to me on Linked In of all places – a business platform.  The message said quite simply “so and so says you are a friend and would like to invite you to her network” talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I thought firstly I have really not communicated with “The Actor” since August of last year, in October of last year I decided he and I did not need to be Facebook friends for a few reasons, if he wants me to know about his going ons, he knows how to contact me and share, what he was posting was falling in line with projects as they were being released, so for the most part what was on FB was old news and last my female intuition had already popped on this individual and I decided that my intuition was trustworthy so I ended FB our communication. Now almost six months later out of the blue I have this “friend” request on Linked In.  Needless to say I deleted the woman’s request to be my friend.

Now there was a part of me that wanted to contact The Actor to tell him get your chick in check – but that action would indicate that I had a grievance with him as well as a grievance with this woman.  In reality I do not have a grievance with either of them or anyone else for that matter.  I had forgiven The Actor some time ago for the silencing of our relationship and I have also forgiven myself for being hurt by his actions – forgiveness means no grievance.  Now I forgave this woman because the action of her reaching out to me really only served the purpose of her bringing whatever dramas and insecurities that she has created in her own life surrounding this man, our only common thread, into my reality and life, so I forgave her for what she thought and felt about me and asked the universe to bless her – forgiveness means no grievance.

Yesterday I actually thought about The Actor. I actually have faith that despite how things are he and I are not done.  I remember how we first looked at each other and those exchanges are quite rare.  It is those moments that make people buy posters that say things like “believe in love at first sight.” Love at first sight actually happens and I believe that.  As I was thinking these things AND feeling filled with faith, it occurred to me that believing in the possibility of being reunited in a relationship with The Actor was no different than having faith, having faith in God – in that things will be okay, and having faith in myself.  I had found a way to connect my heart feelings to my thoughts about faith and honestly what a peaceful state of being. I rested in my thoughts and my feelings and allowed them to flow through me quietly.

I had a long talk with one of my best friends from New York.  She and her boyfriend of five years seem to be coming to an end.  It is breaking her heart and she is having a hard time letting go and setting boundaries as the dynamic of the relationship changes.  I told her the story of how my brother fell in “love” with his girlfriend.  They were on again off again, fast and furious, seeing other people, the relationship was simply not committed, very passionate, and emotionally immature. Something actually very external to the relationship is what brought it together.  There is nothing that my brother’s girlfriend could have said or done to improve the hot and cold of their relationship.  One of his best friend’s grandmother’s died and at her funeral he was moved by her life, what she had done in life, how she had loved those that were important in her life and how wide her love spread through her family, her church community and her community at large.  She was just one person that made a difference and her difference was love.  That impacted my brother so much that he took an internal review of his life, and as his best friend he sent me a lengthy email about the people he loved and what message he wanted me to convey to them should something happen to him.  He made a decision to commit to those people that were really important to him – including his on again off again girlfriend.  Now at that time she was not particularly receptive and he had some work to do to show his commitment and he did what he needed for as long as he needed for her to come around.  I explained to my friend that there was nothing she could do to change the heart of a man.  Have no grievance with him or the situation, forgive him for not being able to commit right now and forgive yourself yourself for being hurt by his inability to commit and let it go – meaning do not be vested in a particular outcome. This is easier said than done, but it is true.

Life so often does not happen the way we want it, when we want it, how we want it, and we say it is unfair and our feelings are hurt, and if this thing could have just gone that way, I would be happy.  At any moment in time if you are unhappy, you can forgive a person, a situation, and yourself, and instantly move from a state of being unhappy to a state of peace.  We all have that ability – removing grievances.  In my particular situation with The Actor I am unconcerned about the details, anything that happens or does not happen is for my greater good and his.  I could have a lot of grievances just based on my life circumstances in general, I am moving beyond finding grief.  I have wonderful friends and family that have been nothing short of blessings and I have to remember to count those blessings and find joy in the blessings rather than sorrow in what is not how I want a particular situation to be.  This is a major break through!  Imagine the power of Nelson Mandela’s mind while he was in prison, this is the mental metal that we all must exercise daily as Mandela did.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with my mother on this subject of faith.  She was struggling with an issue and what I told her was I have always felt some reverence for people that because of their religion allowed them to embrace faith.  You talk to Christians and they say God will take care of whatever because of the Power of Jesus Christ, or you talk to a Muslim and in the name of Allah…Muhammad may peace be upon him said XYZ.  And these conversations are the same if someone is Buddhist, Krishna, Jewish, Hindu – whatever the religious practice, they believe in a doctrine, a system and believe in it even if logic would disprove some portion of it, for them it is an absolute.  I think that is an admirable trait. But for someone like me that was not “raised” in a single religion or was raised to be afraid of God within a doctrine or in my case two doctrines, it is not as easy to simply believe.  It is only through my understanding that I could explain how I found my faith to another human being – not unlike those raised in a particular faith bases system. My faith lies in the agreement of my heart feeling and my mind thinking it is so and it is possible, and so it is as the two are in agreement.  That is faith. For me it is a new found sense of peace.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday

Please follow me on Twitter “FridayJones1″ or on Facebook “TheRealFridayJones”

Friday With Friday – A Spiritual Walk

Yesterday was my good friend Kaypri’s birthday.  As women are sensitive about their ages, I will not share hers online.  As part of our celebrating her day, we had breakfast at a local LA Fav – Toast on W 3rd.  I ordered orange juice and I brought with me my canister of “Green Vibrance.”  Green Vibrance is one of those green powders choc full of vegetables, algae, sperilla, vitamins and minerals.  I start my days with a daily dose of green.  After pouring a scoop of green goodness into my orange juice, my friend decided for her birthday that she would also order orange juice for an opportunity to go green.  We both enjoyed our green drink and the rest of our meal, and she thanked me for sharing.

Now if you have been following my blog you would know I grew up Christian Baptist and Sunni Muslim and as a kid the basic message I received was accept being baptized in the name of Jesus or you are going to hell, or accept Islam by saying there is no other God but Allah or you are going to hell.  Well I accepted Jesus and Islam, what kid wants to go to hell, particularly when they seem to already be living in hell on earth.  The last thing I needed was for my soul to be tormented and on fire for the rest of its days.  I had resolved at some point that different religions are simply God’s understanding of the human psyche and different religions were gifted to man to reach man where he was spiritually.  That has long been my belief because even as a child I thought it a little ridiculous that man’s expression of hellacious renaissance renderings and hell bound stories were the best of what God could offer as religious practice.

Since reading Marianne Williamson’s book, “Return to Love,”  I have actually picked up the book “A Course In Miracles” by the Course in Miracles Society.  I think the timing of my finding these teachings is no simple accident – The Real Friday Jones Blog was the catharsis needed for me to be accepting of the teachings.  So every day for the last month and a half, I have been practicing the daily lessons, three to five minutes at a time three to five times a day.  I start my day off in purpose filled thought, exercising my faith muscle in mini Friday with Friday moments.  Today in reading  the teacher’s section 3 “What Are The Levels of Teaching,” I read “…the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Those who are to meet will meet because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.  They are ready for each other.”  This reverberates what I knew to be true at the age of ten.  Even the Course in Miracles is very masculine in its presentation of God and that makes sense as we are in the year 2013 of our lord Jesus Christ, in a time of the patriarch and so it is easier to say God is a him and for it to be accepted than to say God is a she as the world is now just entering the rebirth of the Goddess – not that she ever went away.  It is relative and where people might create conflict, there really is none.

My good friend Rich when I started this blog sent me a private message on Facebook and I want to share a piece of it here with you. “My instinct is to tell you to close ranks. Even though we don’t talk often, I consider you one of my thinking friends (So many people don’t think). Closing ranks is out of fear and hatred of a thoughtless world. Then I read your thoughts and I think about the good people out there. The writers who share there lives so that we don’t feel isolated, even in our clicks. So, write on (right-on). Keep doing you and maybe I won’t worry about doing me.”  I love Rich for sending me this message, and it is important to me that I share both what I know and what I have learned with the world because I have been called an “old soul” for most of my days, who knew some of my wisdom would be born of my wounds.  If I can help save one soul by relating to them where they are, then my purpose for having a human incarnation has been well served.  Would I wish the hurts on my life on anyone – NO, but if those hurts can heal the next man or woman, so be it.

Below are the first thirty lessons from “A Course In Miracles”  you can also go to http://www.jcim.net/Pages/DailyLessons.html for full lessons as offered by Course in Miracles Society:

  1. Nothing I see means anything.
  2. I have given everything all the meaning it has for me.
  3. I do not understand anything I see.
  4. These thoughts do not mean anything.
  5. I am never upset for the reason I think.
  6. I am upset because I see something that is not there.
  7. I see only the past.
  8. My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
  9. I see nothing as it is now.
  10. My thoughts do not mean anything.
  11. My thoughts show me a meaningless world.
  12. I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
  13. A meaningless world engenders fear.
  14. God did not create a meaningless world.
  15. My thoughts are images which I have made.
  16. I have no neutral thoughts.
  17. I see no neutral things.
  18. I am not alone in experiencing effects of my seeing.
  19. I am not alone in experiencing effects of my thoughts.
  20. I am determined to see.
  21. I am determined to see things differently.
  22. What I see is a form of vengeance.
  23. I can escape from the world I see.
  24. I do not perceive my own best interests.
  25. I do not know what anything is for.
  26. My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.
  27. Above all else I want to see.
  28. Above all else I want to see things differently.
  29. God is in everything I see.
  30. God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.

For those of you that may be worrying A Course in Miracles is public domain material and reproduction, sharing, and quoting from the material is encouraged.  Where reproduction involves commercial sale of more than ten percent of the total content of the book, in any media, written permission of the copyright holder is required.  So I am not violating any laws by sharing this tid-bit of information.  I can tell you I have specifically chosen these introduction into ACIM because thoughts are the foundation of all creation.  And this one fact is so important because it is how one perceives the world through thought that will dictate what events, situations, and circumstance MEAN to you – joy/ sadness; opportunity/ loss; peace/ hell.  What if things happened and they meant little or nothing to you and caused you no emotional distress because your faith was a mighty lioness that made your fears seem the size of a gnat?  Controlling how you think about things, and most importantly yourself is a true spiritual walk, and every journey begins with what – a thought!

This is my green juice for today that I share with you just like I shared with my doll of a friend Kaypri on her birthday.  Celebrate life, celebrate love, and live fearlessly!

Unapologetically,

Friday

Follow me on Twitter FridayJones1 or Facebook TheRealFridayJones

Friday with Friday – Afro Caribe Dance with Kimberly Miguel Mullen

Fridays with Friday have proven quite fruitful!

So if you read my blog you will know that as a child I wanted to be a dancer and had quite literally talked my way into dance classes.  I wanted to be a choreographer because I could see movement and feel music within music – and even if I was not the best dancer, I thought if I learned how to dance, I would be able to teach others.  I had a male dance teacher tell me once that I should consider gymnastics because with my hips being so wide and my height I had the perfect center of gravity – now that may have been a backhanded compliment of sorts – but what did gymnastics have to do with music and dancing in the mind of a child – the message was I was not good enough to dance, how wrong he was!

I recently learned faith is a muscle – the muscle of controlling your thoughts and the ability to live in the present and not the past is understanding that you can create a new beginning.  That is exactly what taking Kiberly Miguel Mullen’s Afro Caribe dance class allowed me to do – redefine my relationship with dance.  Two words LOVED IT!

My Girls and I with Kimberly

My Girls and I with Kimberly

Kimberly teaches dances that originate with the Yoruba in Nigeria and the Orishas.  As enslaved peoples were transported from Africa to the Caribbean, they could not practice their religion and created dance to celebrate their religious practice.  For our first class we danced to Eleggua’, the gate keeper of the roads whose colors are red and black – he is also the trickster; we danced to Shango’ the Orisha of thunder, lightening, fire, and the drum whose colors are red and white, and we finished dancing to Oshun the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty, fresh waters – and if wronged she can be a force to be reckoned with.

Kimberly had live drummers that were most excellent and made for a transformative experience.  On this day the class was all women, they chanted the language of the Orishas.  In this dance class of all women, I was able to wash in female energy expressing the dance movements of male Orisha’s and able to embrace both energy forms.  Kimberly brought custom folk dance skirts for us to wear when we danced Oshun.  The movements were soft and flowing and in the end we sat in a circle and laughed and appreciated our beauty with the movements.  I actually was brought to tears because there was a feeling of being sensual without the judgement of men, media, or advertisers to say we were anything other than beautiful women.  This was a class where you could be flat footed and still be great.  There are times when I just was lost in the movement with myself and the beat of the drum – that experience was so liberating.  I remember looking through the class at the women of different ages, body types and ethnicities, and they danced to the grace of their own movements and for me it was a celebration – no one particularly fit into whatever the societal norm’s for so called beauty are and yet we radiated to me like beautiful flowers.  Through life as women there is often this aesthetic to live up to and it was freeing to be in a class to move your body and to enjoy the movement for your own sake.

During certain motions like, and forgive me as this is me giving my best descriptions, making the heart to the head – the thoughts that came to me were you are worthy, you are amazing, you are happy.  And then when you go from that position and exhale hands down and extend the hands out – it is as if that is the energy you are supposed to give to the world with love.  Kimberly’s class was an amazing way for me to celebrate feminine energy, to be pleased with me, and to get in a great workout.  Do not be afraid to discover who you are, live, love, laugh, and dance of course!

Classes are Saturdays at The Electric Lodge at 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice CA 90291 from 10:40AM – 12:10PM and costs $20.  Please remember a love donation for the drummers.  For more information on Kimberly Mullen and her classes please check out her website at http://www.kimberlymiguelmullen.com/ Photos courtesy of John Dedenis.

Uapologetically,

Friday

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Friday with Friday – Marianne Williamson Small Miracle!

The Beauty of The Universe…..

Where do I even begin? So on December 31, 2012 I posted these words to Facebook:

“2012 is winding down. I am encouraged by how positively the past year has been for friends. For me the year has been a mixed bag of nuts of sorts. I fell in love, like really, something I did not think would happen again in this lifetime – but that situation ended or faded or is complicated – my point is there was no happily ever after. I also had a moment driving on Stocker on a sunny California day where I realized for the first time in my life I had butterflies that were related to where my life was, I was happy about the direction my life was going in and about work and my involvement with a feature film project – life seemed to be on track finally. I was pleased with me. First time ever. Then everything related to those butterflies unraveled and I have been in a place of uncertainty since then – not too sure about the direction of my life, work is questionable, feature film is speculative, life is uncertain. I was at a meeting recently where attendees were asked to state what they wanted for Christmas. I stated I would like small miracles. Still waiting for small miracles – but the usual optimistic Friday, well she is on vacation, and I am here. Not sure what 2013 is going to bring, but I am keeping my heart close. Should it bring more of the same, I will not be disappointed. If small miracles arrive, I will be surprised and grateful. I will also maybe look back on this post and remember me in this moment of time and remember how things are and how I feel and I will have strength to encourage someone else not to give up. So as I look forward to 2013 – I look forward without expectation. Expectations can lead to disappointment I would rather leave my disappointments in 2012. Like I said mixed bag of nuts.”

My BFF – best friend forever was also at the meeting where I said I would like to receive small miracles and my words touched her.  Then she saw my posting and she had the thought, what can I do to help my friend.  She decided to gift me “A Return to Love,”  a reflection on “A Course In Miracles” by Marianne Williamson.  This I kid you not was one of the best gifts ever!!!! A small miracle, among several others delivered since January 1, 2013!

January was a world wind.  On December 31st after my posting I got a tweet from Toure’ Roberts of One Church International.  I sent him my manuscript for “The Real Friday Jones,” at the top of December – his tweet was simply he received the package and looked forward to reading it.  Small Miracle.  I picked up a temp job and got the flu after two days of working, the proprietor allowed me and my sick self  to work from home.  Small Miracle.  I was scheduled to go to Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City Utah and was not sure I was going to make it because I had the flu.  The day before my flight, I had a fever that killed all of the flu virus, that night I was able to pack my bags for my AM flight.  Small Miracle.  On the way to Utah for Sundance, I found out a client payment that was supposed to hit the bank that day did not.  I was on a plane that flew from Los Angeles to New Mexico to Seattle Washington, and finally to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Thankfully by the time the plan landed in Salt Lake, with a lot of texting and phone off and phone on in-between stops, my dear brother put some funds in my bank account so that I would not be on empty while in Utah.  Small Miracle.  I read half of “A Return to Love” on my way to Sundance and the other half on the return flight to Los Angeles.  For me this book was like the how to of spiritual growth, focusing on love, thoughts, and self – very relatable!  I had a ball at Sundance, I took a picture with the Oscar, moderated a panel for The Blackhouse Foundation that originated with Matthew Cherry when he had to deliver his film “The Last Fall” – the panel was on how to deliver your film once you sell it.  Good times.

My favorite quote of all times is written by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  I had a thought after reading “A Course in Miracles,” I would sure like to meet Marianne to thank her.  Well I went to her website and she was having a book signing for her new book “The Law of Divine Compensation” within the week at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice California aka my back yard.

So this was last week Thursday – I was tired, but I took my new handy dandy camera with the hope that I would be able to take a picture with Marianne.  I was late, I was literally the last person that had entered the bookstore.  There were no seats, I was standing in the back hallway, behind a guy whose shoulder I was barely able to peak over.  When Marianne realized people were in the hallway, she moved from being out of view where I could only hear her to anchoring herself in the main room where she could have eye contact with everyone in the bookstore and to those of us in the rear hallway.  Simple gesture that was much appreciated.  When her speech was over, had I had a book I would have been primed to be one of the first people in line – but I needed to buy her new book – and I did not bring “Return to Love” because I wanted to support her new effort….makes sense right.  Well by the time I get to the register to buy a book – they had sold the last copy to the person in front of me.  And now the line forming for the actual book signing was super long and I was at the end of the line.  Then I thought I do not even really have anything that she could sign… it didn’t matter, I had my camera, I was prepared to explain the course of events and to ask if she minded taking a picture.  After about 15-20 minutes of waiting in line, the owner of the bookstore came from the back with a box that she placed behind the register.  And people were going back to the register to buy copies of this little blue covered book.  I turned to the woman behind me and said, I think they have more copies of the book and asked her if she minded holding my place. She did not mind, so I bought my copy of “The Law of Divine Compensation,” hopped back into line and waited for my turn.  I thanked Marianne, told her about my BFF gifting me “A Return to Love.”  And the beauty of the universe…. well here is my picture with me and Marianne Williamson – the author of my favorite quote.  Small Miracle!

Friday Jones and Marianne Williamson

Friday Jones and Marianne Williamson

 

Unapologetically,

Friday

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The First Friday with Friday – Whew whoooo

My very first “Friday With Friday.”  One word AWESOME!

Okay I have been going back through my blog to gleam some of the wisdom imparted by The Therapist.  One of the things that she said I needed to do was to “validate myself.”  And I drew a blank.  How exactly does one validate themselves?  So I used my handy dandy guide to all things research and googled the term “self validation.”  A bunch of articles came up on the topic which basically fall in line with simply doing what makes you happy and being satisfied with yourself over and over again until you do not need another human being’s opinion of you or your actions to feel good about yourself.  This is what I might call the pathway to true happiness.

Now the beach has always been one of my favorite places.  The beauty of living in Los Angeles – you can go to the beach year round.  I thought what a perfect way to spend my first Friday with Friday.  The problem, it did not seem the universe was co-operating, key word “seem.”  My goal was to leave at noon so I could wrap by 4:00pm.  Earlier in the week I looked up the weather and all was clear.  I even discovered that you can only dig an 18″ inch hole thanks to recent legislation at Los Angeles County beaches – duly noted. Then as if on cue telephone call after call started at 11:00am and I could not get out of the house.  By the time the calls ended, or I ended the calls it was 3:30pm and then that voice of doubt popped up.  You can give it a whirl next week – stay home and relax, you have already missed your time horizon.  And then the universe in its infinite wisdom said to me, or you could go and watch the sun set.  Sold to voice number two!

I threw my gear into the back of my SUV.  I discovered a bale of wood in my garage and lighter fluid, which of course meant I was heading to a beach with fire pits – Dockweiler State Beach to be exact.  The sun was stunning and super warm, like a friend greeting me and welcoming me outside to play.  My sole goal was to dig a hole, yes big enough for me to fit into, because that is not something that I have ever done.  And I guess this is where self validation comes in, I felt almost child like once I completed my task.  It was like Friday you dug a hole, and as I looked at my wet sandy hole – I was pleased with me!  I made a tee-pee out of my bale of wood, lit my fire, and opened a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and enjoyed the sun set.

Whew whoo…. it is amazing the pictures one can take with a camera and a sturdy bucket. Enjoy my gallery of photos and start 2013 having “Friday moments” with you  – as Retta on Parks and Recreation would say “treat yourself” lovelies!

 

Unapologetically,

Friday

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Happy 2013 – A New Year

Happy New Year!!!

This morning I awoke at 5:00AM, not my usual 3:00AM, but considering it is New Year’s Day and yes I did stay awake to bring in the new year, it is about the same.  Expect some new things in 2013.  Site will be upgraded, just a matter of time.  I am also going to start something called “Fridays with Friday.”  These will be self reflective moments with myself on various escapades as I journey to experience life and discover what things bring me joy.  I have a new camera and a long list of things to do so hold onto your hats – it is looking like a lot of fun ahead.

On another note, last night I get a direct message tweet from Toure’ Roberts that he had received my manuscript and looked forward to reading it.  I thought cool and for me that was the start of a good 2013.  And this morning at 5:00am as I lay in the dark with my eyes wide open, it occurred to me that since I had put myself out there, I might be invited to speak, to people, to women about this life of mine.  Then I thought – Oh my goodness – am I ready?

I did not panic, I thought about it for a minute.  The Therapist had asked me had I cried my last cry – honestly I am sure I have not.  Then I thought about my friend and contributor to the book “Souls of my Sisters,” Pamm Malveaux who told me to get ready because I will cry again and I will remember as I become a voice for others.  Then I thought faith is a challenge for me what would I say, but then I grew up in church and my life is my testimony.

This is what came to me I have prayed for and wept for women and girls. There are three that came to me immediately and one that came to me as I began typing this entry.  The first Mary J. Blige.  She was a client where I worked in 1994.  She was so young, all of her handlers were men, and her friends were around the way girls.  I was young and pregnant and I really wanted to be a friend to her – at that time, I felt like she needed a level headed friend in her life, but I was pregnant and stressed out and I could not be that for her.  We received a call, she was stuck at some hotel, K-Ci from Jodeci and her had had a fight, she was alone and needed money – she sounded terrible. I wept for this woman and prayed for her.

Then I thought about Hydeia Bradbent, HIV Activist and NAACP Image Award recipient. When she was 4 years old, she was on a special, her mother had died from AIDS, and she was this little test pilot for some of the first drugs to combat the disease.  She was so cute and so strong at 4 years old, and I was just so moved by her I literally put my hands on the television, I cried and I prayed for life and blessings and love to wrap around this beautiful little girl.

And then I thought about a little girl, she was 18 months old.  She lived in a home with a mother and a father whose souls were gone. She was found in the garage of her home, she had been repeatedly sexually abused by her father to the point where her vagina was raw.  Her injuries were so severe that UCLA started a fund for her, and I thought what is wrong with the world and I prayed that she also be wrapped in pure love, that she can relearn to be touched without long term psychological damage, that she remember who she is not what these adults in her life made her to be. I wept and prayed for this young baby girl.

And again I thought had I cried my last cry – probably not – because if I were asked to speak, in front of an audience of women, what would their stories be and what would my prayer be for them?  Then an old church song came to me, I am not even sure of the title but the words go something like “it is Jesus in my soul, for I have been touched by the hem of his garment, and his blood has made me whole.”  The song is about the woman in Mark 5:25.  When I was a child I did not understand what having an “issue” was, but this woman had bled for 12 years and she had sought care and only got worse.  And I now have great understanding of this particular story, because I had fibroid surgery in September 2011.  I had surgery but my diet and habits had not changed – with the doctor it was a non issue and in February of 2012, I bled so much I thought I would die.  For women the spiritual connection to reproductive health has to do with creativity and the stifling of creativity or the suppression of that which is trying to be birthed or manifested in their life which is not – and for me there has been a lot of stifling and suppression of who I am and what I came here to do, and like the woman in Mark 5:25 I was dying, and unlike her, I am not sure that I would have survived 12 years.  This woman’s faith was so strong, that according to the Bible, she only needed to touch the cloth he was wearing to be healed, in her mind that was all she needed and when she touched his cloth her body began to heal – she was made whole.

And again I thought if I were going to speak in front of a group of women, what would my prayer for them be? What I saw was that moment, typical to any church – the one where the preacher asks, if there is any one that might need a special prayer come forward.  I saw me asking the women to come up for prayer, and me weeping and placing my hand on the shoulder of women and being a vessel to bless them and to help unlock and discover who they are – that which was whispered to them as they were formed in their mother’s womb. I saw me touching them and I could hear myself say remember who you are, forgive yourself first and then forgive others, let that which is hostile to you fall away from you.  It is only a matter of time, before this happens.  Then I thought about The Actor and his mom.  On June 25th she was sick and in the hospital, the Actor was distraught, his mother had a hospital staff infection in her nasal passage and was on heavy antibiotics.  I remember the date because she was checked in the night before my son’s birthday.  Well I said a prayer for her, I actually took a picture out that The Actor had sent to me of him with his sisters and his mom, and I envisioned all of us praying for her and healing her and then I envisioned her alone and well.  Well I became sick with a nasal infection and in two days I was full blown sick, and The Actor’s mom had stabilized.  What I had not done was to protect myself – now I realize that as I go out into the world – I am being called to heal, but I also must protect my life’s energy.

I am thankful that we are in a new year and that I am getting closer to my purpose!  I saw a quote yesterday “Happiness is the soul settling into the most appropriate spot” – Aristotle.  Find Happiness and Wholeness folks!  Look for my first “Fridays with Friday!”

Unapologetically,

Friday

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