I am blessed with an Angel as a Mother! Happy birthday Mom, as you continue to soar on to greater heights.
My Mom, Violet Archer taught me how to be of strength, yet remember that kindness will always protect the delicate love I have inside. She said, if we open our shell on the outside, by our choosing, inspired by outgrowing the container, as opposed to allowing force from outside to violently change our reality, we will always step closer to our destiny, using love as a guide. She mastered this lesson. It is my goal in honoring her to remember and learn to embody her grace coupled with strength and immersed in boundless love.
I decided at the end of July that I would not post anything on social media until October, taking this time to reflect and learn from what I was seeing in my state of stillness. Many years ago friends encouraged me to be still in the midst of massive life change and I just wanted to create change for the better, and I did. At one point, I was forced to slow down. I was in a place where so much was changing around me that being totally still would have felt like not having any control over my life and that was not an option for this Taurian sister. But, life has a way of reminding us that we are on a journey to learn and, hopefully grow. Today, on this very special day, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the events I didn’t plan that inspired me to find my best self and get out of stuck ways that can often become our safety blankets of familiarity, never aiding us in reaching our true potential.
One would think to lose my brother in 2009, and then my Dad in 2010, was enough to sit me down to reflect, but then also in 2011, I had one of the biggest health scares of my life with surgeries and all, and after that my long-standing family shifted unexpectedly in 2011. The lessons continued……..in 2013, my best friend was called to leave the planet after doing more for humanity in 60 years of her life than most of us could accomplish if we had 200 years, so she moved on to higher spiritual works.
Some say wow, that’s a lot.
And there’s more, in 2013 I resigned from my position as chief executive at Ifetayo which was the only thing that was indeed planned. However it was still a major life change after 25 years. After all of that, in January of 2014 my dear sister Tioma said, “gurl you need some sunshine come on home to Jamaica for a week and hang with me while you still can”, so I did.
I came back to NYC after what was a personalized 10 day impromptu stillness retreat and swiftly decided that my life and existing business goals needed to change. By gradually slowing down my expectations and actually being still for a while, I learned that life doesn’t have to stop while being still, it actually allows for you to create space to actively go so deep inside that you can listen in a new way that begins to restore our souls.
Two years ago, today (October 1, 2016), I was in long island, NYC with my Mom who had just made a positive turnaround from her unexpected illness. We were ecstatic! It was a regular day; I was at her house taking care of daily routines and spending sweet time with her. We had a new nurse that day. I came into her room in the middle of cooking one of Mom’s hot cereal recipes with ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and fresh coconut milk. Of course, as usual, this was done in my very organized fashion making everything as orderly and perfect as I could imagine. I gave Mom a big hug and kiss after our customary deep chat and said that I was going to the corner store to get some supplies for her and would be right back to give her the cereal that was beginning to engulf the house with the sweet aroma of Jamaica. Before I came back, I received a call from my sister in law who said come home right now. My blood ran cold. I was only gone for 25 minutes.
Yes, my best friend, my forever cheerleader, my Queen and Goddess had moved on. I ran back home and rushed everyone out of the room, closed the door and fell to the bed. I began weeping and remembering in some sort of out of body experience the fact that I needed to begin her final transition rites. Accepting that I needed to pull it together, I still didn’t know what was real and what was not! I knew the right things to do, but my mind couldn’t catch up with the emotions and the reality that she was not still in her body, although I felt her everywhere in the room with me. She transitioned three days before her 88th birthday, which was on October 4, 2016, only 24 months ago.
I decided to wait until after her birthday before I posted due to the fact that sometimes we move so fast in reaction to things that go on around us, we forget to be still. Not stop, just be still and listen in the deepest ways that can often prepare us for our next stage of life. Over the past 7 years I am definitely growing by leaps and bounds, but I have also become more still. My Mom’s birthday this year on October 4 was a reminder of how to overcome difficulties with love, listen deeply in stillness, live every day as if it’s the last day you’ll ever have, and how to be grateful for all of the granted blessings.
Violet was that woman who had holiday dinners at her house and no matter who her invited guests brought along as guests of the guests, somehow she always had an amazing gift for them, making them feel like she knew they were coming. She remembered everyone even before she knew they would be present! Now that’s mastering stillness and listening. She never let anyone leave her presence without feeling more love than when she first met them. All of my friends saw her as their confidant, hearing every secret detail of their love sagas, their obstacles then counseling them to be elegant, educated, compassionate and sensual women through their chosen growth process.
Yes, my Mom was essence of Osun (Yoruba), Erzuile (Haitian), Rati (Hindu), Kwan yin (Chinese), Xochiquetzal (Aztec) and ISIS (Egyptian) Cliodhna (Irish), Ziva (slavic), Venus (roman), Aphrodite (Greek) all wrapped up in one.
My Mom’s life wasn’t always easy, but you’d never know. She lived every day with flawless grace, joy, and kindness. Mama Violet embraced my two brothers born during her marriage to my Dad as if they were her own. She dealt with betrayal as the wrongdoer’s burden and not hers. Professionally, she was a hematologist who dedicated her life to health and wellness, all while deciding to pay close attention to Sickle Cell Anemia, a blood disease affecting African Americans. Although she was excelling in her career in the medical field, she also created a company called Doll House Productions, where she produced sold-out fashion shows with renown designers and celebrity musicians raising huge amounts of money for Sickle Cell Anemia. She was the consummate hostess, as well as a sensual goddess. She was unapologetic about her stylish fashion choices that slayed and loved to dance in the center of her living room or in the middle of any party. I would say she was a woman of strength rooted in love, but never would I call her a superwoman, because I believe that would detract from her inner loving power, and focus on the external might and force the term super woman conjures.
If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends.
If an egg is broken by an inside force, then life begins.
Great things happen from the inside of us, not the outside.
To this day, everyone speaks of her joy, love, and compassion. I know that I could never have reached my heights this far in life if it were not for her undying support of my dreams, especially during my teen years. She was the warrior that made sure undesirables who could possibly disturb my destined path, found their way out of my life.
In her way, she was always fighting for me to remember who I was and what I came here to do. She showed me how to love myself first, and then generously love others and work to compassionately forgive my offenders.
On May 14, 2015, I turned 50 and had a phenomenal celebration of life in Jamaica thanking my Mom for all. Many of my family members and dear dear friends came to the island to celebrate with me. Their presence along with my Mom was one of the most restorative moments during my still time. Little did I know while thanking my Mom that party would begin my final year with her physically being on this planet. I thank God for the last opportunity I was granted to let her feel in person how much I appreciated her for all that she sacrificed, supported and gave me during our physical time together.
Violet’s favorite Jamaican proverb—
Di higher monkey climb di mor ‘im expose ‘im batty!
Originated in Uganda:
The higher a baboon climbs a tree, the more undesirable are the parts exposed.
Translation: The higher the monkey climbs, the more he exposes himself.
Meaning: A higher position in life can bring you more responsibility and make your position insecure.
Violet’s answer–keep striving and achieving, but be humble.