Hair In A Bun Friday: Back to Basics

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

I took a couple of weeks off from contributing to Spiritual Bahana due to personal issues that I’ve been dealing with over the last year.  I’d like to share some of the events with you on today’s post of Hair In A Bun Friday.

In November of 2012, I received my second credential in education, this time as an Education Specialist; take away the fancy words and what you get is a special education teacher.  Although I enjoyed teaching as a regular ed instructor, I felt the need to go back and get my second credential due to the slow economy.  Teachers were getting pink slipped year after year and in order to remain marketable, I decided a second certificate would give me the edge I needed to stay afloat.

When the 2013/2014 academic school year began, my two credentials in education along with a Masters in Teaching paid off; I was hired on by an affluent district in a desirable neighborhood – in short – I had arrived.  Little did I know this would be the year my life would fall apart.

When I signed my new contract in June of 2013, I was hired on to teach a 5/6 combination class.  I knew it would be a challenge but I was up for it.  Up to this point in my career, I had worked exclusively with low income, predominately Hispanic populations.  The students really needed the basics when it came to education so there wasn’t a lot of time for enrichment activities.  The new district I was contracted to work under would give me an opportunity to work with students who were more prepared.  Unfortunately, two weeks before the school year began, I was moved to the first grade and only had minimal time to prepare for a grade level I had never taught before.

What I didn’t know about myself when I signed on the dotted line was that the new population I would be working for would bring out a wave of insecurities and self doubt.  I was no longer working for uneducated parents but professionals who would demand the very best for their students.  I was not prepared; it became a stressful nightmare and I ended up walking out of the job without prior notice.  My impulsive behavior that had followed me around all my life finally caught up with me in October of 2013.

When the 2014/2015 school year started, I was back with the previous district I had worked for and was ready to begin a new chapter.  It didn’t take long for that new chapter to end quickly.  The previous district I worked for went after my credentials – for good reason – and I’m now on administration leave for 44 days.  I go back next week after having been off for 6 weeks without pay.

I had the opportunity to fight the decision and hire a lawyer to postpone the suspension but after 7 years of fighting to remain employed and having gone to school and worked hard for great evaluations – I was tired of fighting.  I was tired of fighting for a job that was only getting more stressful as each year passed.

When I go back next week, there will only be a month left of the remaining school year. I’ve decided to resign and sub for the upcoming year.  I need a year to regroup and rethink the future.  Within the last several years, I’ve held on tight to my spiritual practices which have been my saving grace through out this whole ordeal.  If it hadn’t been for my faith, I don’t know where I would be; probably in a lawyers office trying to protect my income and excellent health benefits.

Next week, I’d like to continue this subject and write about what I’ve decided to do spiritually for the coming year.

I’m going to channel Christina and go back to basics:

 

 

 

Music Monday: The Sunshine Version

What do you think of when you think of sunshine?

It’s that time of year in Southern California, when our sad excuse for a winter quickly skims over spring and jumps right into summer. Highs in the 90s are expected in this week’s forecast.

I do like sunshine, though and have always loved the upbeat, silly Katrina & the Waves song “Walking on Sunshine.” It used to remind me of the scene from “Look Whose Talking” when John Travolta was dancing around the pre-school. I had such a big crush on him in those days, this was after his Saturday Night Fever Hotness and before he got that Scientologist, crazy look in his eye.

still-of-john-travolta-in-look-whos-talking-too-(1990)-large-picture However, once I watched Allison on Intervention, I had a whole new visual for the song. Do you ever watch Intervention? It’s definitely one of my favorite shows. I love seeing the patterns, the family dysfunction and secrets confronted and worked through. But, if I am being really honest, I also love watching the crazy behavior!

Allison tipped the scales with this type of behavior. She was addicted to inhaling computer cleaner and living her life completely high and ignoring reality. Although this is not my way of dealing with life, I can understand how things quickly spiral out of control and a can of pressurized liquid and gas is all you have.

Enjoy Allison’s rendition of the song and a week full of sunshine!

Spiritual Sidebar: Kristin B

Kristin B is an infectious ball of light and love. She is one of Ang’s fellow yoga teachers and a overall lover of life. We definitely wanted to know her spiritual secrets! You can also follow her blog Sorta Enlightened for more inspiration!

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Hello! I’m Kristin Booth. Wife, dog-mama, yoga teacher, sandwich-lover, lover of travel and pretty things.

I grew up in a small town in Southern California and was introduced to ‘church’ at a very young age. My father, mother, sister, and I went to The United Methodist Church in my hometown every Sunday and were highly involved in activities and happenings going on there. It was not uncommon for us to be at the facility two to three times a week for various events and my parents could often be found cleaning up after spaghetti dinners and other gatherings late into the night.

The United Methodists are a denomination of the Christian church with the belief that Jesus is the son of God and through his death on the cross we receive the grace of God, should we accept it. This belief, and others, was taught to me through Sunday school, youth group, summer camp, and Bible Studies. I memorized scripture and was an acolyte- bringing the lit candles to the church altar during Sunday service. I met some of my best friends in my church home and credit them with keeping me out of trouble during most of my high school years and well into college. ‘Spirituality’ wasn’t a factor during this time- ‘religion’ was and I accepted all of it at face-value.

During my college years I didn’t go to church. I wasn’t used to not being in ‘my church’ and felt uncomfortable exploring other options on my own. There was the occasional venturing out, but nothing felt right. I felt guilty for not being involved in a church and felt ashamed that it wasn’t a priority for me to find a new church home.

It was during this time that I traveled out of the country for the first time, started practicing yoga on a regular basis, and started to develop my own opinions about who I am and who I want to be. It was on my yoga mat and in the outdoors that I started to feel more spiritually connected than ever before. I came to realize that my connection with the Devine did not have to be facilitated in a religious service- it can be anywhere- and that my relationship with the Holy Trinity, the Devine, is an actual relationship.

As most relationships go, they need to be cultivated and nurtured. Relationships go through highs and lows, they experience distance and extreme closeness and connection. My spiritual life right now consists of having a small space in my home that serves as a retreat where I can go to pray, practice breath work, and be. In addition, I have been become a student of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and A Course in Miracles. Both have given me fresh ideas and principles and have been building blocks to the foundation that my early church upbringing gave me.

It has been a long time since I have been in a traditional church service. In the meantime, I have been blessed by a Buddhist monk, skipped work to go hear the Dali Lama speak, prayed in the Sistine Chapel, seen heaven over the Alps, and experienced the greatest peace riding an elephant in a forest in Thailand. I feel like my spiritual practice is…practice. It’s sometimes easy and sometimes complicated. It takes effort, but sometimes is effortless. My practice is not pretty, but I cannot help but whisper a prayer of thanks when I’m surrounded by beauty.

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My greatest recommendation is to soul-search to discover your own connection on your own terms. If you spend all of your time in a church only surrounded by people who agree with you and never allow you to question your own beliefs, you miss out on the world outside its walls and challenges that will help you grow. This big universe was created for YOU- to enjoy, to explore, to love, and to cherish. Enlightenment is not a destination, it’s a journey. There’s so much joy in the journey!

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We are interested in hearing about your spiritual journey! If you would like to be featured on Spiritual Sidebar, please email us at spiritualbahana@gmail.com or comment here!

Music Monday: The Back in the Gays Version

This weekend, Ed & I got to talking about our 20s and the time we spent exploring the gay lifestyle. He, of course, is a gay man and I have been a fruit fly for as long as I can remember. I have probably spent more time in gay clubs than in straight ones and spent a good portion of my 20s in Palm Springs and West Hollywood.

We went to a new, local gay club on Friday night, something we have not done for a long time. Most Friday nights, we are on our couches or going to sleep early, but we needed some time to kiki and this led us to want to dance.

We looked around at so many who were just starting to explore the lifestyle. Buff boys concerned with their looks and girls who were coming off too strong. We looked at each other and remembered when we were there and realized we do not quite fit into that scene any longer.

We still had fun dancing and talking, but that’s a whole time in our life we have left behind. We are trying to figure out the next phase of our lives now, one that involves more spirituality and connection.

Although we may not be concerned with making it to the gym everyday or the newest mixed drink, with the lowest calories, we can think back fondly on that time and feel glad that we know a little better now.

This song is one that reminds us of those days of twirling, sashaying and vogueing on the dance floor. Luckily, we are learning to show ourselves love first, but it’s still nice to ask for it from others:

Music Monday-The Girls, It Ain’t Easy, Version

Ed and I needed a week of silence to contemplate and reflect.

In this week, we have both spent time with our respective groups of Latinas (cousins and friends) and have to conclusion that, girls, it ain’t easy.

Have you seen Mi Vida Loca? It’s a classic. Classic!

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Not really. It’s actually a little ridick, but it does give a great perspective on some of the issues us Latinas face. Especially us Latinas that grew up on the ride side of the tracks.

Ed & I have talked about being girls from the wrong side of town and needing to prove something to ourselves and others. Neither one of us were brave enough to get in fights, shank anyone or hide knives in our hair. We both had good enough families to keep us off the streets, but we did hang on the fringes with the girls with the big hair and dark lipstick.

But, we hung around and lived enough to know, girls it ain’t easy. 

Talking with our friends and cousins over the last week has proven once again to us how hard it can be out there to make it in this world without your sistas.

We face issues of “loving hard” and trying to keep our men, we try to balance out being independent and in relationships, we try to be true to ourselves and still be responsible. We try to be true to our culture, yet assimilated to our current societal norms. We sacrifice, sometimes too much and need to tell each other the hard truth, when our boundaries have been crossed.

This song is for all our sisters out there who know, it ain’t easy….

“A woman’s work is never done
Even if it stops, it goes on and on
We work our fingers to the bone
Gotta be home every time he’d phone

Some times the goin’ gets a little tough
It’s seems our best ain’t good enough
Keeps you losin’ sleep
Seven days a week, yeah”

Hair In A Bun Friday: It’s Good To Be Friday

“Catholicism is not a soothing religion.  It’s a painful religion.  We’re all gluttons for punishment.” Madonna

Whether you believe Jesus was the son of God or if he was just a holy prophet, let’s all take time today to tie our hair up in a bun for Jesus.

When I was younger and practicing my Catholic faith, along with my family, I remember I couldn’t stand Good Friday. The television had to be off the whole day, we had to eat fish for dinner and go to mass at night.

Looking back though, I’m grateful to my mom for introducing religion into my life. It gave me a structure to build from now that I’m an adult. It has also been a blessing to lean on when life gets rough. The cycle of: life, death and resurrection has given me peace in times when I find that I have to give up an old way of thinking, believing or acting.  The experience may be painful but I have hope that one day that stone will roll away and I’ll find new life.

Hope everyone one takes time to have a Good Friday!

~Ed