12 Jan

It was a rainy Saturday morning. I had the day planned: I was doing my mother’s hair and chilling afterwards. You know, the lounging, laundry here, a rub of a rag to clean there, kind of chilled day. I would have to preface that there was A LOT going on with me emotionally.  I’d met someone that I really liked, and he was rearranging my whole understanding of all the things…I’ll just leave that there.

Things were happening to celebrate my novel Magnolias Bloom in May and my Queen of Healing Journal Collection. I was definitively moving forward in healing from an old love- after three years. I’d also decided to release my two fur babies to a shelter a week before. Though I loved them, I found that I was not the best cat parent to them that they deserved.   Things were shifting for me across my life. Change, death, transformation, renewal- this is the cycle of healing- beautiful in one moment but definitely a turnstile of emotions in all moments.  

All was quiet as my mom, and I droned in conversation catching up with the latest. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something big and quick and gray move down the hallway towards my bedroom.  Now I just told you that I no longer had my cats, so it wasn’t them.  In the middle of doing my mom’s braid, I yelled “Mom there is a rat in my house!” Despite her questioning to quail my fears of what I knew I saw; I was absolutely sure that it was a rat. Not a mouse or mice.  A. Whole. Ass. Rat. For six weeks that rat terrorized me by coming out at night, staying hidden during the day.  In the coming mornings I would wake up to massive black pellet droppings, missing food I’d left for the ancestors, ravished plants, knocked over or broken house items. 

A business trip to Senegal, two exterminators, and an unresponsive landlord later, I was moving in with a friend, paying additional rent on top of my regular rent, due to the fact that the landlord refused to let me out the lease. I’d just thrown out hundreds of dollars of plants, furniture, and cherished items. Why? In case you didn’t know, rats carry over 35 pathogens on their fur, and their feces is even worse. As my friend and I looked at each other with a sigh after signing a certified month-to-month lease, I was traumatized, questioning God, Ancestors, Orisha, Spirit and Angel Guides on what the exact-fuck was going on.  How? How does this happen to a late-forty-something woman who tries to always do the right things in life? How do you go from an amazing home that you loved to a shell of a home that held the odor between burnt hair and decaying flesh?   

Now on the other side of this nightmare, I am happy to report that I’ve since moved into another space- thanks and gratitude to all The Divinities. In that time, about four months total, there have been many lessons. As I was able to allow myself to move around and through this major life interruption and displacement, I saw areas that perhaps the Divine was trying to show me before the rat invasion. To be clear, I am not appreciative of how my attention was grabbed.  I am also trying to dislodge from the idea of the Divine having to “show or teach” me anything.  If I go down that punitive rabbit hole it causes me to question the whole set up of spirituality and belief; man, life is hard enough. Every day is a lesson, especially since I do active work on me most of the time.  How could The Divinities “reward” my hard work with being displaced by a rat? Sitting at my computer as I write this post for you, I am low-key still looking at My Divinities with a side-eye, unabashedly. I am not perfect, but gaaa-damn, what in the entire hell? But as I shared the experience with a SisterFriend, she said: “Jeanetta, sometimes fucked up shit happens”. Well, well, what a concept.  Sometimes life "life's". However, sitting at least 75% on the other side of the experience, these are the lessons I am gleaning and am still growing from: 

  • Do not underestimate the “happenstance” person(s) that comes into your life at any time. This experience taught me that meeting another spirit manifested in human form is not an accident- ever.  The person that helped me during this ordeal was not expected. At all. Something that was supposed to be a mere meeting turned into an amazingly mutually healing friendship. And while giving me a place to stay, there were places in my spirit that was mended, healed, and set free. No meetings with other spirit humans are happenstance. Sometimes they are angels entertained unawares.
  • The people you have “trusted” to have your back may not be who helps you the way you expect. On the other side of point #1, this situation taught me that in truth, you can have expectations on NO ONE. People can be your own relatives and will look you square in the eye and say, “Sorry, I can’t help you, unfortunately.” I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed, especially when I’d been a help- one of my ministries in life it to be a helpmeet to others. When going through a life situation try to be open to other people and not the expected crew to show up for you.  
  • It may be time to downsize, eliminate, and evaluate people, places, and things. As I threw away tons of cherished and curated household items, I became painfully aware of the fact that I simply had too much shit. Not only did I have too much stuff, but I also had too much space.  My son moved out months ago.  From my previous relationship I was so used to “buying big” because as a couple we were entertainers and had two growing boys, so we needed space.  So, every space I’d moved into was large. As the rat roamed freely in and around my house, I realized that I only used a bedroom or two, the living room, and kitchen.  The extra bedroom, patio, and square footage was fluff and extra.  I yearned for simplicity.  In this trial that you are currently in, allow the blessing of the purge.  Really look at the "real estate" that you are using in the major areas of your life. What is needed? What can you appreciate having, but could also give up? Your spirit will guide you.  In example, I loved my patio that was a summer oasis, but I am also grateful for no longer having to do the cleanup.  In my new place I find joy in knowing that I could still grow herbs from my ample windowsills!
  • You might just be spending money to “ack” like you are happy and fulfilled. A rule, though hard, that I am making myself stick to is not to purchase anything for my new home until I have absolutely evaluated and placed the things I currently have.  As I was forced to throw away things that the rat had freely trampled, I realized that even in that space, I was in a state of depression. I bought things to fill the hurt.  For me, if I am going shopping in a wounded space I purchase to “fix” the wrong, because obviously what is wrong can be bought at a store.  NOT. As I took large construction-sized garbage bags of stuff to the dumpster, I understood that I’d purchased to only fill up space- spaces in my heart that I’d avoided looking and actively healing.  As you are forced to throw things away, allow yourself the grace of understanding why you bought that thing. Be present in the moment of purchase and what you were feeling at the time. When “alignment” is called for, most times it may mean downsizing.  Give yourself the moment to appreciate it all, be it an item, situation for a time, or relationship. Mourn, because you will need to. But then try your best to reverb and discover the refinement that this time is calling you to.
  • Practice “active” gratitude. While cleaning up the place in which I was given the allowance to stay to earn my keep, I had to actively practice gratitude. There were many mornings in the car where I gripped about what I was going through, but I had to quickly turn it around and understand that it could’ve been another way.  I am sure I looked plenty crazy to my fellow drivers as during this time I could be found in my car, talking, and gesturing to myself to get my whole act together and thank all of my Divinities, sincerely for the provided provisions. When going through a hard time, even if you have to schedule it in your phone, give thanks to yourself and the Divinities and Guides that walk with you for sustaining and holding up your arms during this challenging time.
  •  The finality of detachment and peaceful settling. As I look around my much smaller apartment where I can see all of the rooms if I spin around in a circle quick, there is a sense of calm and relief that washes over me. With choosing to detach, downsize, and settle, there is a focus that stands up and demands attention.  In my old place, I remember my attention being so diverted…everywhere. I couldn’t keep one thought in my brain that wasn’t followed by another. For example, in choosing my bedroom in the new place, there was one that was much larger than the other.  The bedroom I’d already chosen allowed me space to move in and around (distractions).  A friend of mine encouraged me to choose the smaller room where only my clothes, bed, and plants could comfortably fit. It made me uncomfortable because in my last bedroom I did everything in it, which, I could spend days there and not engage in the whole of my place.  Always keep in mind that your home is also a spirit and main character in your life.  You must be engaged in all of it or a vacuum is created. I decided to give his idea of choosing the smaller room a try.  All I can say is that the first night of sleep was heavenly.  My sleep was long, deep, and peaceful. I woke up with a tranquility that I’d not felt in a while.  I was welcomed in the morning with the soft fall of full puffy snowflakes along my bald tree-lined street.  

Even as I write this, I am grappling with what I just wrote, but I have to hold on to this to make sense of it all and to be able to embrace the very valuable learnings that made me more aware, grateful, appreciative, less judgmental, forgiving, and inclined to be more focused on what I love. Those “rats” in your life are only there to help you to align with the deepest prayers and desires that only you and Your Divinities know intimately and are trying to get you closer to that and those things

Love you Real Good, Nay

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