8.01.2016

Solo Yolo Wanderer Chronicles: Shi Shi Beach

This last weekend, I went on an epic adventure! I went backpacking for the first time. Even though I met up with my friends on the beach, I did the entire commute alone. It was a transformative experience for so many reasons. Tiring, inspiring, beautiful. I decided to make a story out of my experience, partially as a way to remove myself from the discomfort I was feeling by objectifying it through art. This is always a helpful tactic to get me through more difficult experiences. I also did it to experiment with writing in third person narrative. As a writer, it's really fun to explore with different methods of communicating and engaging with my audience. She Shi beach will forever hold a special place in my heart, not only because it is the most Northwestern tip of the U.S or because it is home to many indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest, but also because it is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!
So, I present to you the Solo Yolo Wanderer Chronicles! (Originally posted on my Instagram and Twitter)

1. Solo yolo wanderer arrives to beginning of trailhead, after 9 hours of commute, and is filled with both excitement and terror...


2. Solo yolo wanderer prepares to cross the first bridge. Sunlight, magic, and mystery await her on the other side...


3. Tired from 3 miles of trekking with a mal-fitted backpack, and wondering how it's been 3 miles (according to her Fitbit) when the entire trail was promised to be 2, tired solo yolo wanderer decides to look....Up towards God and listen to the sounds around her....and just breathe...


4. Suddenly, there's hope. About 1/2 a mile later, solo yolo wanderer catches a glimpse of the ocean-a mere and magnificent sampling of what's to come...


5. Slightly nauseous 4 miles in, solo yolo wanderer sits on a tree trunk to catch a breath and asks herself a question she has become far too accustomed to asking "Can someone with a body like mine actually do this?". She tears up a little. She wonders if her lack of fitness coupled with the stubborn "freshman 15" or rather "Med school 20" meant that she wasn't made for this lifestyle. But staring down at her mud-stained boots gives her a tickle. She laughs. This ever so slightly bougie New Yorker is in the middle of the peninsula wearing dirty combat boots and actually really needs to pee now that she thinks of it. Solo yolo wanderer sees a group of people of different body types walk by and remembers "there are people who have done this before me and there are people who will do this after me". She gets up and pushes forward.
Little did she know, the last part of the journey (albeit, the most dangerous part), was but a few steps away...


6. Solo yolo wanderer looks back and wonders how she survived that steep descent (not fully pictured)...but is grateful for her body, the support of the earth, and the welcoming sound of the ocean just behind her...


7. Solo yolo wanderer arrives just in time for sunset and wonders how they always seem so holy. The natural ebb and flow of the universe, moving at its own perfect pace. She couldn't help but wonder if he was watching the sun set somewhere too...


8. "Is this Earth or is this Mars?", solo yolo wanderer thinks to herself, as she treks down the coastline in search of her friends, slightly hopeless and slightly delirious with exhaustion. She begins to understand the concept of mirages, as she keeps thinking she sees them just...right...there. With only 1 hour left til dark and dwindling energy reserves, it is critical she finds them so she can set up camp and get some much needed....rest...


9. Solo yolo wanderer survived. She found her friends eventually. They set up camp, past the creek, amidst the logs, nestled by the haystacks. They gathered by the fire, gazed at the stars, and exchanged tales...hopes...dreams...fears. Solo wakes up and takes in the enchanting air of mystery, intensified by the morning fog and sea breeze.x.


10. Solo yolo wanderer looks back at Shi Shi Beach with gratitude for all the lessons, and commences the hike back to the mainland. Something has changed within. She returns feeling stronger and more capable than ever...



11. Nearing the end of the 6 mile trek back, solo yolo wanderer thinks she sees a fairy/nymph thing at the corner of her eye. It was a flash of shimmering light amidst the bushes.She looks closer and it's just a little berry plant, or so it seems...
Solo takes a moment to thank the spirits of the forests, animals, waters, lakes, light...etc...for their company and guidance.
There's something magical about the olympic peninsula, a space that's been inhabited by numerous indigenous tribes for time immemorial. The Spirit is palpable everywhere....


12. Solo yolo wanderer glances at the forest, now back on the mainland, and wonders what other chronicles from other storytellers lie buried in all the sacred places such as these...

Fin

Let me know what you think!!!!
Stay engaged,
N

7.07.2016

Black Lives Matter. Thoughts on Revolution and Self-Care

As if the countless slaughtering of all my other brothers and sisters-both on tape and not on tape- wasn't enough.
As if.
But the execution of Philando Castile in his car has honestly gotten me F-ed up. Completely and totally. This is the straw that broke the camel's back for me. 
Maybe because I was still grieving the loss of Alton Sterling....
Maybe because I was beginning to consider apathy-one of the *most* prized tools of the oppressor- as a legitimate coping strategy....
Maybe because the ability of Castile's partner to catch the execution footage on her actual phone in their actual car was just a little too much for my already bloodshot eyes and battered heart....
Maybe because Orlando....
Maybe because the pain of the day juxtaposed with the beauty of the end of Ramadan and the air of celebration I witnessed my Muslim friends experience with the countless beautiful declarations of "Eid Mubarak" displayed on my feeds...
Maybe because the name Castile sounds like he could've been of Haitian descent too and Lord knows that's my weak spot....
I literally did not sleep last night, despite the consumption of my herbal teas and concoctions, and partially due to the persistent palpitations and numerous anxiety attacks. But also because I was up processing with my tribe. Thank God for tribe.

This is not sustainable. This is not acceptable. They're trying to erase us. My God. Help us. Please?

I came across this photo (and many others) on the gram and wanted to share.
Self care is critical at this time so that communal care can happen.
We just...we must...we can...we...We. We. We. We. We. We....we...we.....we....we.
We must hold each other up. The collective we. I believe in the power of we. The black we. The brown we. The non-POC (People of Color) we. The collective we. The human we. I really do. I truly do. We were meant to exist in community. We. We. We.




Absolutely and whole-heartedly do #blacklivesmatter specifically. This needs to be affirmed as we are disproportionately affected and targeted by this disenfranchised system.
But don't get it twisted that destroying and re-building this broken system won't require *ALL* of us. POC and non-POC alike. The re-building will require all of us. The re-building will require all of us. The re-building will require all of us. The re-building will require YOU. The re-building will require YOU. The re-building will require YOU.So stay woke everyone.

Fight the temptation to become apathetic. Fight the temptation to tell yourself that this does not affect YOU. Fight the temptation to consume and internalize false propaganda. These are all the oppressor's tools to separate us from the deeper truth and from EACHOTHER. Feel your emotions. Let them penetrate your inner being. Allow them to move you into action. It is from that place where you can draw the energy to authentically respond.

I personally have used my sleepless night (now morning) to sage, to light incense, to pray, to write, to send love to the victims' families, and to call up the spirits of the ancestors to re-inspire and guide us.

People. Rest up. Re-charge. Re-connect.
A Revolution soon come.


Stay engaged,
N

7.04.2016

What I Learned From My Time Back Home in NYC

I'm back home in New York. I can't believe I left this place for Seattle. The only thing that comforts me is knowing that I'll be back really soon- 361 days to be exact. New York can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes-so much to see, so much to do. But what it lacks in serenity and simplicity, it makes up for in inspiration and opportunity.

I've spent most of my time here connecting with friends and family-especially those I haven't seen in a while. I've also been immersed in the arts, revisiting my former organization Haiti Cultural Exchange, and connecting with a couple others. I've been savoring delicious food- homemade Haitian and Ghanaian cuisine to French gastropub, and everything in between.




I just adore this place and am so excited to come back to a community that nurtures me on so many levels. It was special interacting with people who knew me in a very specific way and at a very specific time, which was when I started this blog and was really for the first time deeply emerging myself in Haitian/Haitian-American culture, as well as holistic healing. I was new, fresh, and bright-eyed. Sometimes I wonder what would've happened to my career trajectory if I didn't go to medical school right away. Would I be blogging more regularly? Would I have more success? Would I have more fulfillment? It's not that I don't feel like I have those things now. It's just that I'm completely bogged down during my last year of medical school and sometimes feel like I'm missing out on...MORE. I know the type of life I want to live and the type of content I want to create and share....and even the type of practice I want to soon create :) It's just a struggle to do it all amidst the chaos. But I feel re-inspired and re-assured that it is indeed possible to create the life I envision.





In any case, it was really nice getting feedback from people on what they like about my Instagram pages- both my personal profile and my Haitian herbalism profile, as well as this blog. It felt nice to be appreciated for what I have to offer and to be reminded of who I really am.

All your comments, messages, and mentions are helping guide me on my path as I re-imagine my place in social media, in the healing world, and in life in general.


Here are a couple things that came up for me during my trip....
  1. We need different things at different times.
  2. People can change (thank God).
  3. Family is everything.
  4. Running from your problems won't solve them.
  5. Embrace your amazingness
  6. There's no such thing as a fundamentally good or bad person. We are all multi-layered and multi-dimensional. Our actions and how we treat others defines who we are.
  7. We are all hypocrites....who are trying our best
  8. Your community is important. They bring you back to yourself.
  9. Speak your truth
  10. Love is a choice, fortified by actions.
  11. I'm exactly where i need to be in this moment.


All shots can also be seen on my Instagram page.
Also make sure to follow my other instagram account, the Haitian Herbalist!

Stay engaged,
Naika

4.11.2016

Newness! Follow @HaitianTreasures on Instagram

I know, I KNOW. I've been gone for a MINUTE. So much. So so much. I'll be posting an update video very soon as well as an update post.

But I'm back. I promise, I'm back. And a different way.

One of the many changes is that there is now an Instagram page for my Haitian Treasures series! On this account, I go deeper into the natural and holistic healing practices of the Haitian people, through visuals and videos.

Decorative plant
Castor plant

Neem

Hibiscus

It's a very new page and there's tons of growth to be had, but I'm really excited about it and hope that you'll follow me!

Follow @HaitianTreasures for natural Haitian awesomeness!

Stay engaged,
N