One of the greatest revelations I learned from being around a Zen master is the concept of being stuck in personhood. That is the drama of everyday life we feel when we become attached.
Spiritual freedom, to me, is the understanding that we are beyond this personhood. The paradox is that we are also at the root of it.
When I feel myself getting emotionally attached to things, I sometimes have difficulty resisting the urge to run away from it all. I feel that it’s not real and too real…why is that?
There are times that I want to be in the mountains all alone…and others that I want to be in the middle of a busy city surrounded by thousands. My affinity for these extremes is maddening.
In the end of all of my contemplations, I am left with the feeling that I am everywhere and nowhere. Perhaps this is what the journey to freedom is supposed to feel like…
Photo source: An appropriate night for anything
In the past six months, I have traveled through as many time zones. I started with a lovely trip to Lisbon to visit friends and meet Mooji, and from there, I went on to visit New Jersey, NYC, LA, Austin, and Houston before returning back to Africa.
During that whirlwind of a trip, I was able to work with my incredible graphic designer, Dillon, to bring my second book (unbreakable) to print! Thanks Dillon! But during that time, I was also writing my third book. As I think about it now, I am amazed that I was able to do both somehow. In the midst of enjoying time with family in friends during my travel, I actually finished writing my third book — a novel that is so long that it will probably have to be released as a series haha! And because I am old school, it took me an additional two months to type the book I had handwritten in 27 notebooks.
I am now editing the book, and actively measuring the progress of my edits by the number of pages edited. It’s a crude calculation, but somehow it inspires me to do a little more each day. When I updated my chart today, I inched my way to 16%. This number felt inconsequential to me…like I should have gotten more done over the past month. And that’s when I had to stop myself.
You see…one thing I’ve learned on this very long road to finish my book is that I’m not very good at incremental celebrations. Fortunately, I had family and friends who encouraged me to celebrate when I finished writing my book by hand…and again when I finished typing the pages. (I had a root beer float with vegan ice cream after I finished writing my book in LA…and then I got a manicure/pedicure and a message in Austin after I finished typing — my body needed it!) But even before I finished, my cheerleader mother excitedly celebrated as a finished typing each notebook. Sometimes I’m too much of a realist and can only focus on what’s left to do…but her consistent cheers did filter through and I remain appreciative.
Because my second and third books took over my life, I did not update my website as consistently as I wanted to. And I couldn’t even remember when I’d made my last post when sharing my business card with a lovely family from Vienna and a world famous Cape Verdean artist, Tchale, that I met here in Africa this week. It’s been so long that I wasn’t sure what to even talk about on the blog. I wasn’t sure how to start again. It’s possible that I’ve been too deep in the creative process of making new art…and, possibly more painful, editing that art.
I say painful because editing makes you look for flaws in your own work…typos, incoherent jumps in the story, and confusing elements that no one would probably understand but you. I have found that editing causes me to question if what I’m writing is any good. When I have those moments, I stop editing and go take a walk outside or watch a movie. I let the doubts pass by like clouds in the sky. I don’t let myself get attached to them. Instead, I try every day to do a little more of what I know I must do to complete my art. And more and more, I try to congratulate myself for small milestones completed.
I share all of this because I think we all go through challenges. Many of those challenges are multi-layered and require many steps to complete. I have been spoiled because my previous books came to me in a matter of days or weeks. Now that I’m working on this novel, I measure the time in months. In the same way, your previous challenges might have had clear action and resolution. But when things are more complex, I believe the process of resolution is similar to my own — we must simply do what we can each day to make progress toward completion. If we can, it’s great to celebrate small successes and even measure progress to help us recognize that progress is being made.
Not every road is straight, and not every solution is obvious. But I believe that we must do what we can with the information we have to keep going. A determined person can climb a mountain, but the mountain can only be climbed on step at a time :)
My prayer for you is that you will be gentle with yourself as you climb and find it within yourself to celebrate what you may now consider to be insignificant wins. The journey is the adventure. It is where the growth and excitement happens. If we don’t find ways to celebrate during the process, I think it is possible to be so overcome with stress and a false feeling of defeat that we might not have the energy to go on. So in this moment, I celebrate you and send my cheers for all that you are doing…and will continue to do. You got this! ;)
Photo source: My camera from a recent hike here in Cabo Verde :)
Author note: Because I have had enough editing for today, I have made the decision not to edit this post haha If you find a typo, please use it as your chance to smile at how I didn’t let a silly error stop me from posting this ;) Namaste.
I am thrilled to announce the release of my second book, unbreakable!
After spending a month in Thailand, living on Muay Thai camp, poetry came to me when I returned to Africa.
During the time that I was writing the poetry, I was reflecting on life, relationship, and changes that had led up to me being where I was. Like a Phoenix, I felt that I was burning my old self up in the fires of the present, and arising from the ashes stripped of the emotional weight that had been subconsciously holding me back.
I stripped myself of societal thoughts…like the need to be married and a mother by a certain age…and I basked in the realization of my beautiful freedom. Humorous poetry flowed through me as I reflected on situations I would have once considered painful. It was a beautiful experience, and I wrote this poetry for practically two days straight.
unbreakable is the result! I am thankful to numerous friends who encouraged me to publish this book…at first, I was not planning to. It was difficult for me to consider laying some of my trials bare for all to see (especially my family!). But I moved passed that as I realized that this was part of my growth and my journey to ultimate freedom.
I hope that others might be inspired by reading unbreakable and know that they are not alone in various situations that they may consider struggles. May all who suffer know that there is an end to that too. That end begins with a decision. And that decision is always yours. Peace and freedom are our birthright. I wish you an infinite amount of both. And love too ;)
Namaste and love!
Note: I am offering unbreakable in ebook and paperback versions. Here are the relevant links for both.
unbreakable eBook: ZenTao Books
unbreakable paperback: Amazon Prime
As an independent author and publisher, I’ve added details here to provide insight into the cost structure behind each book.
Thank you for your support! <3!
I am so very thankful for the beautiful beams of light in LA who came out to support the official launch of my second book, unbreakable! The event was incredible because of the amazing energy and good vibes shared by all. Thank you for making the day, and the launch, so special!
I was inspired to give a talk about freedom. What does freedom mean to you? What does freedom feel like? What stories about yourself do you need to give up? Whose voice is telling you that something is not possible? Is it your voice? What is holding you back? Have you discovered what you truly are?
As always, the questions are what move us. I believe that living the questions is what sets us free. And I wish you the greatest freedom!
Author note: Thank you to my dear friend, Linda, for hosting the incredible event! <3
Photo note: Thanks to Fred for capturing these amazing photos! ;)
This video from Alan Watts is profound and deserving of its own post <3
This May, I traveled to Lisbon to meet with a Zen Master named Mooji. I have been meaning to write about this experience, but I confess…finishing my novel has gotten in the way of that. However, today, one of my cousins asked me to explain, “…what is Mooji is to [me],” and so now seemed like a good time to write this post :)
Firstly, I would have to say that I don’t buy into the concept of having a personal “Guru” or “Master”…but if we were to take Guru as it’s original meaning of teacher, I must say that Mooji was a most profound teacher. During my 5 day intensive with him, and others from around the world, in Lisbon, I had new revelations about my True Self and the true meaning of Awareness. I think perhaps it happens when we are on a spiritual quest to freedom that we are lucky enough to encounter beings like Mooji who help point us on the way. (This video from Alan Watts happened to be shared on Facebook just after I met Mooji and it resonated with me…you can click here to watch it, but I think I will also be giving it its own post.)
When I embraced Mooji, I felt a profound feeling of emptiness and fullness. As if I’d come in touch with a light that totally dimmed out everything else. Even before I met him, I felt this sense of joy that I can’t describe, but I appreciate the image I used for the header because I think my smile shows it.
I guess I’d say that meeting Mooji was like encountering myself without barriers. He is an amazing being and I encourage everyone I know to search him on YouTube and watch any video you find of him. I think you’ll find that something he says will resonate with you. Mooji is like that <3
And when I gave him my book, Meditative Questions, he was so gracious and kind that giving him a gift felt like a gift! What a presence he has! I am so thankful for the opportunity of knowing him and meeting him.
Here is a Mooji video that I picked at random that you might enjoy ;)
I believe in the Infinite. I don’t particularly like to think about limits, as I believe we are limitless. However, I do believe that our body forms are limiting. It is the reason that we must take time out to rest and relax as our cells recharge. The Source that charges us is unlimited.
But the reality is that we make energy choices all of the time. Should I go here and do that? Or should I stay home and relax? There are other unconscious choices we make about energy use when we worry about things or remain in toxic situations. I believe it is absolutely possible to overcome anything, but I think the question that must be asked is, “At what energy cost?”
For you see, when we tie up our energy in lower value things (like worry, stress, or dealing with toxic people and situations), we have less energy to do the work that we were sent here to do. As I’ve made choices to better align myself and my actions with what I feel I’m supposed to be doing, I find that I don’t want to spend energy in lower value areas. I also see how my time in Corporate was keeping my energy tied up from more Creative and Spiritual pursuits.
It is a divine blessing to be free of constraints. However, sometimes a series of choices — often difficult choices — are required to move us into that space of freedom. I believe it is incredibly possible. And the question is always the same: What are you willing to let go of? Until your answer that question is everything, it is possible to go on leading a very attached life that seems to be missing something. That “something” could be as simple and profound as peace. In case you’re still wondering how you might know that you need to consider letting go, ask yourself, “Do I feel trapped?”
If you answered, “No,” to that question…let me ask you another. If you wanted to pick up and move to Greenland tomorrow, could you? (Not would you.) When I tell people that I moved to an island in Africa, I often hear, “Oh, I wish I could do that!” My response is always the same, “You could.” But people then share their stories that include things like, “Oh, I have a house here, though.” Or, “Well my family is all here…” and so on. The reality is that people and things are attachments. Of course there is nothing wrong with having things and family! But I think is difficult to be truly free when every decision is made through the lens of attachment. I found that when I let go of all of my things, I had more energy. And when I let go of everyone else’s opinion, I could do anything ;)
Sending good vibes, love and light to you!
Photo source: Palos Verdes, CA (my mobile phone ;)
Author note: Special thanks to my dear Christina who inspired me to write about this after our amazing sound healing session in LA! I’ll admit that it was difficult to pull myself away from my novel to write this, but I’m glad I did haha ;) Love to you! xo
I am excited to announce that I will be having an event in New York this Friday, June 23rd! This event will be a Talk + Q&A + Book Signing at The Langston Hughes House in Harlem! Please find complete details and RSVP for this FREE EVENT at Eventbrite here: Selena Sage NYC Event. RSVP count is needed for seating and light refreshments, and your email will be used to send you a free sample of Meditative Questions and the to-be-published book of poetry entitled Unbreakable :)
A limited number of books will be available at the event, so you can also pre-order on Amazon: here. Meditative Questions is a finely crafted hardcover, full color book experience that inspires you to question everything. Each book is $40, but a special event price of 2 books for $60 will be provided (recommended if you would like to order multiple copies!).
Thank you for your support! I look forward to seeing you in Harlem!