Ep#46 Night Blooming Cereus: How I Ended up on Red Table Talk
In this solo podcast episode, I discuss:
- How I ended up in the Red Table Talk for Jada Pinkett Smith’s 50 birthday: https://fb.me/RTTHair
- Why I shaved my head (and how I’m processing this experience)
- The impermanence of Night Blooming Cereus, aka “Queen of the Night”
- The wisdom of loneliness
Once a year, the night blooming cereus opens up in her regal beauty. When this time comes around, my dear friend Shelley Bruce invites me over to witness this phenomenon as we set an intention and cast spells for our future selves. The following day, the night blooming cereus wilts away to remind us of impermanence.
This has been our ritual for about four years now, and every year we witness our own compost followed by bloom.
It was Wednesday, August 25. That particular evening was full of grief for me, still mourning the end of my relationship. And before I returned home, Shelley clipped one of the flowers and handed it to me. I resisted, already grieving the death of it before giving myself a chance to enjoy the present moment, but she reminded me that that IS the medicine. Cereus would only be present for this day so I was to sit with this discomfort and receive whatever it is she had to give to me before wilting away the following morning.
I fell asleep that night with this flower on my chest, taking in her aroma and sweet blessings as my dreams blurred with reality. When I woke up, she was gone - turned to ancestor and stardust.
Just two days before that, I released my previous solo podcast episode all about decluttering: letting go of old stories.
I probably listened to myself at least 20x, wondering if I overshared and also taking in the wisdom of what came through me, even as my body was catching up to my mind.
And in summary, I discussed how…
When you let go, you make spaciousness for new people, places, and opportunities to arise. When you’re choosing to vibrate at a different frequency, the universe will begin to mirror that in the physical realm as evidence for you of how shifts are happening.
It’s like the ancestors are just waiting for you to surrender so that they can finally step in and assist with your ascension.
So that week as I’m feeling like a complete failure in my relationship in comparison to my business, my friend Bryan Philip Cruz, who happened to be my improv teacher when I decided to take on acting class again about three years ago, puts up a Facebook posts that says: “does anyone want to shave their head for a TV segment? I can get you on set within three hours.”
And I jokingly commented, “tempting LOL”
I go to hot yoga. An hour goes by and as I’m getting getting ready to drive back home, covered in sweat, he calls me with one request:
“Hey June, can you be at Will Smith’s house in two hours?”
Side note: I’ve since then learned that it’s actually called “HER LAKE” which speaks to how patriarchy is ingrained in our language and who we assign ownership to.
So: her lake.
When I looked up the directions, it said it would take me 1.5 hours to get there - which meant I had less than 30 minutes to make a decision, shower, change my clothes, fill up my gas tank and hit the road.
I almost said no, using a client call that I had later that day as an excuse - but as synchronicity has it, she canceled and rescheduled our session.
I asked my parents for their opinion, who said they were scared of losing their daughter and that I would forever be a nun.
I also consulted with the students in my program, roots to rise, inside of our private chat, and I was met with conflicting messages of “I would never do that to my hair” followed by “You are not your hair! Just do it!” and honestly without their love and support, I probably would have declined. Shout out to all of you who are stretching yourselves alongside me and befriending your fears, I love you so much.
And I also recalled the wisdom that Cruz taught me during our improv days in class about how to be in the present moment.
Cruz is like a mentor to me, and just to be clear there is no romantic connection.
A little background on Cruz… he moved here about four years ago from Texas with his beautiful wife, Genevieve, to pursue his acting career. By day, he would audition for roles. By night, he worked as a registered nurse supporting the both of them since Genevieve was finishing up medical school.
When the pandemic hit, all the acting gigs dried up and Cruz was actually the first person I knew personally that caught the Rona and recovered.
Who would have thought that this would be a blessing, since a new job title opened up in Hollywood for nurses that specialized in Covid to be on set.
Little did he know that this would work to his benefit since he has both an acting and medical background - so this past year has been quite abundant for him with job opportunities.
Do not doubt the seeds you’re planting and what they will blossom into!
So within two hours, I was cruising down pacific coast highway until I arrived at Her Lake getting my hair and makeup done for *dun dun dun* Red Table Talk.
I literally had five minutes to pick an outfit from my closet, and I chose my silk robe to treat this as ceremonial.
My heart was and is still healing from this separation, and parts of me were wondering if I was doing this too soon.
Maybe I should wait until all of my things are moved out of the apartment.
Maybe you should tell your family and friends first.
Give it time, you haven’t even changed your relationship status on Facebook or announced it on social media.
But I knew there was no coincidence I was there with my dear friend Cruz and his words of wisdom from years ago to stay in the present moment.
And when the camera turned to me to ask me my why I said yes to shaving my head, I spoke unscripted and unfiltered- about how I am coming out of a long term relationship, tried dating apps for a week, and was met with anxiety and comparison as I had to pick the perfect photo and write the perfect one sentence description to call in a potential lover.
I also felt my own superficiality as I spent hours losing sleep one night swiping left, judging others based off of their images and hobbies.
By the way, There are way too many good looking people on there with washboard abs and great careers in their 30s and 40s who are recently divorced, have children, are married and looking for a good time, or are also coming out from long term relationships like me.
It affirmed that I’m not alone. However, it was equally overwhelming considering that I’ve never been on these apps.
I got butt hurt when someone deleted me after I told him that all of this felt too fast after he said he wanted to meet me that evening.
I even sent one guy, my website and told him to get on my email list to stay in touch, because I didn’t know how to tell him I was not interested.
Like, who does that?!
Needless to say, he deleted me as well.
And I realized how fearful I was of my own loneliness.
After all, I have yet to date myself.
And so, what more beautiful way to be held than by the powerful matriarch of the Smith family?
When people on set asked me how I heard about this opportunity, everyone was shocked when I told them that Cruz was my former improv teacher, since they only knew him as “the Covid nurse” - which was a gentle reminder for people to recognize that we are so much more than our titles and our careers.
And that was another beautiful catalyst to shaving my head as I released notions of my own titles and standards of beauty.
In Buddhist culture, throughout Southeast Asia, the child who was close to a deceased family member shaves their head and becomes a monk for a short period of time in an effort to bring their beloved ancestor closer to nirvana as they renounce their attachment to physical appearances and our bodies.
I had to ask myself, who or what is dying in my life?
I almost lost my mother back in June, the same day I had broken off the relationship with my partner and drove my mom to the emergency room that evening where I sat with her for three days, uncertain about whether she would live or die.
Even though she has cultivated a healthy relationship with death, already planning her own funeral, I was not ready to let her go.
That day also happened to also be mercury in retrograde, and that morning I had a private client session at a cemetery where she requested we stay close to her mother’s spirit.
Death was ever present for me, asking me to be prepared.
And while my mother is better today, I knew that a big part of me died.
This was also a week before my 34th birthday, which I celebrated in Hawaii and talked about in another solo podcast episode called Initiations, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence why 33 is called the Jesus year, where Jesus died and resurrected.
This was my rebirth.
Fast forward to the red table talk. You can find this episode dedicated to Jayda Pinkett smith’s 50th birthday to witness the great reveal of my new haircut.
Now When I tell you what it was like to see myself in the mirror without hair for the first time in my life, I felt a heavy burden being lifted from my shoulders.
I felt permission to begin anew.
I could feel it in my body, and apparently Willow did too since she asked if we could be friends and started following me on Instagram.
We bonded over Londrelle, the artist, shared a love for Hiatus Kayote, my favorite band, and recalled how we actually met several years ago at a sound bath with the amazing harpist Low Leaf as we were both locked out of downtown LA warehouse waiting to be let in.
It was a significant moment where I felt like so much of the inner work I was doing on myself, the people and beliefs I’ve been shedding, led me to be a vibrational match for this very moment.
The stories still surfaced of “who am I to be here? Do I even belong?”
And I now know that that’s more often than not my inner child asking to be held and affirmed.
So in those moments, I whisper to myself, “You absolutely do belong.”
And I kept repeating to myself, “It’s not about you June. You are just the vessel for God’s love to work through you.”
I hesitated to share a photo of my bald headed self on social media and why I did it, but soon enough millions of strangers would know.
There are parts of me that get embarrassed, but I’m learning the importance of owning my story - even when I’m still in it.
Even though my former partner and I haven’t spoken or seen each other now in nearly two months, which has been devastating to me after sharing the same home with him for a decade, I needed to complete the relationship with grace.
If not for him, for myself.
So the past two weeks, I took a major pause on my business to prioritize the decluttering process and moving all of my belongings out of the apartment before this red table talk episode would go live.
I even binge watched Marie Kondo episodes and learned a LOT about the spiritual aspects of decluttering.
And while I was originally so eager to get my things OUT as fast as I could -
I also knew that I needed to sit with the spirit of that 600 square foot apartment that was also my place of refuge for ten years.
So before driving away in my Prius with my final belongings from an almost empty apartment for the last time -
I sat there in total silence and stillness for fifteen minutes, in the same spot I would meditate daily in front of my altar. But instead of facing the open window as I would usually do, dreaming of a life outside of these walls, I faced inward toward our living room where we would sit on that couch every single day and is where I built my six figure business in the midst of a pandemic.
And the words came to me like water:
“May only love permeate through these walls.”
While I was grieving the end of our partnership, I also needed to grieve how this place cocooned me in a chrysalis all these years.
I continued in prayer,
“I’m sorry if I spoke negatively about your creaking cabinets and lack of natural sunlight. Thank you for being the refuge to incubate my dreams and for providing a place of safety and stability for me. Thank you for the beautiful memories you helped me create with this special person. Thank you for protecting us from harm. May you continue to protect him, may only love permeate through these walls. Thank u thank u thank u.”s
The tears of gratitude welled up inside of me, as if offering libations to our earth toned carpet floor.
My intention was to leave this home better than when I first found it, truly desiring nothing but happiness and love to permeate from here.
“I’m sorry. I forgive you. I love you. Thank you.”
And I meant every word of it, not wanting to carry any resentment in my bones for this next chapter of our lives for it absolutely served its purpose.
There is no waste of time.
And of course, I spent all evening in prayer and tears in the childhood bedroom of my parents home - followed by joy and curiosity about the future.
Many of us may feel like we need to get closure from relationships, wanting the final say and so badly wanting to be understood only for our words to land on empty ears or closed hearts- because people are hurting to the point where boundaries can become more like a prison to avoid letting others in.
So those tender moments we are seeking to connect with a loved one, whether or not they’ve become an ancestor, is an opportunity for you to meet them in the quantum realm.
When you cannot find forgiveness or approval from others in the present, you can meet their spirit in another dimension so that you can let go and move on. Sit with their inner child acknowledging that trauma intervened with their capacity to emotionally show up for you.
It doesn’t negate the harm that was caused, but it can give YOU permission to set yourself free from playing out old stories of what could have been fixed.
You get to embody that for yourself by releasing any shame or guilt you might be carrying thru prayer, meditation, breath work, journaling, ceremony, rituals and tons of gratitude for the medicine that comes from these experiences.
You also get to sit with the anger and rage, recognizing that this feeling will pass, so that you can meet the sadness and grief underneath it.
And when you can release that contraction (or contract) from your body, you give your spirit permission to expand into a higher frequency that will magnetize the right people, places, and opportunities that are a vibrational match.
So I started asking myself - If manifestation could happen this quickly after letting go, what else do I get to release? What other magic exists when I allow myself to lead with curiosity and play instead of fear of the unknown?
But first, is to sit with what currently is.
With the extra amount of time I now have, I’ve been meditating and reading more - and I slowly feel myself coming home.
On my instagram @jumakae, I shared about how one of the meditations I’ve been repeating is by Sarah Blondin on the Insight Timer app about the wisdom of loneliness. In it, she says:
“When we are lonely, it is our own love we are lonely for.”
“If loneliness is the midwife to the birth of our wholeness, that if embraced, we learn within the aching distress of our perceived separateness, that we are held indeed by some comforting unknown that feels like home.”
When loneliness comes to visit, can you treat her with intimacy and love as the wise sage ready to receive?
The closer I get to loneliness, the more I realize that I am never alone. For years, I’ve resisted this feeling. And yet, even in a crowded room or in partnership with someone for over a decade, loneliness is still present as an unwanted guest.
How often do we place the responsibility and burden on others to cure our loneliness, only to push them further away?
Many of us rush to fill this void versus observing that loneliness is beckoning for us to come back to Self.
It is in the stillness that the well of tears may arise to cleanse you. Instead of turning off the faucet, can you allow it to be the body’s way of saying “Thank You” while alchemizing grief into prayer?
So many grown bodies are trapped with unprocessed grief, unknowingly carrying it from past generations into future ones until we mistake apathy or even violence for the norm. (And in the words of @revbrianalynn , there is no such thing as evil. There is only LOVE, and then there’s Trauma.)
Our opportunity within this lifetime is to say “it stops here.” ✋🏾
When we learn to let go, we create spaciousness to let in.
When we learn to receive (without deflecting), we expand our capacity for love to be let in.
Trust that the universe always has your highest good in mind, and that even within chaos lives order.
Tend to your stillness. Befriend this feeling as a teacher and companion.
So in this next chapter of YOUR life, May you find the medicine within loneliness. 💕🙏🏾 🍵
May you forgive what you once believed was unforgivable.
May you let go, to let in.
May you fall so radically in love with your own radiance.
May you give yourself permission to quit and start many times over.
On this journey, may no harm come your way.
And even in the ways the world has tried to break you down, may you choose LOVE to permeate through the walls of your heart.
Thank you for being with me on this journey of becoming.
Thank you Cruz for the reminder to stay in the present moment.
Thank u night blooming cereus for your lessons on impermanence.
Thank you to Jada, Willow, Gammy and the RTT production team for dreaming up such a beautiful message.
Thank u to my students for allowing me to be human outside of the coach or healer.
And thank you to younger ME for the permission I gave myself to let go so that I can fully embody the woman I am meant to be.
I would love for you to send me a message about what you’re inspired to release, and how you will tend to own loneliness.
Let’s be lonely together.
How to further our connection:
Visit my website: http://www.yourstorymedicine.com/
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