by Kevanté A.C. Cash. photography by Deun Ivory.
I tattooed the Greek hieroglyph on my chest last summer that means ‘to transcend’ - to rise above and go beyond any range of limitations I or others would ever place on me.
I would not come to find this meaning to be true or even actualized for me until now, some 12 months later.
Last June when I lost my first ‘real’ job a year after graduating from undergrad, I sank into a deep depression, wallowed and allowed myself to stay there for days on end. It felt as if I had been thrown a rope with an unknown end, yet still I held on for safety, only to be transported into mid air and dropped into an ocean without an ocean floor.
My perspective about myself, my purpose, and capabilities shifted when the job decided to take its time, title and money back.
I tattooed the triangular symbol on my breastbone a month later as a daily reminder to self that I can push past my ‘inadequacies’, rise above and go beyond what is asked or required of me and amaze my own natural mind. I wanted to remind myself that I was always choosing in this life, and that despite self-perceived shortcomings, I am always capable of stepping into my true power and higher calling with great ease.
And it all felt so powerful and so magical as I was undergoing the needle, explaining the meaning behind the symbol to my tattoo artist, but life had other plans. It truly wanted to test how faithful I could be to this newfound promise.
It wanted to test just how faithful I would be to myself.
After Christmas had passed and I still found myself without a steady form of income, professional self esteem still wavering, and added to the pile of mess was the grief from grappling with the ups and downs of a damaging relationship, the quiet and passive nature within me decided that enough was enough. I took it upon myself to reclaim my time and identity and create what I call a manifestation love board. A concept similar to that of drinking the ‘manifestation juice’ Tracee Ellis Ross memes about, but instead, I would use a dry erase board to write the vision and make it plain. Almost like a yearly vision board, but simpler for those who are less methodical as I am, since seeing is believing and believing aids with the actualization and the manifestation.
To me, a manifestation love board is the product of choosing to align one’s natural self and vision with the supernatural Self and vision. By writing down the goals and making it plain, we are choosing to step into a greater love for self because we are honoring the visions set in our hearts. Through writing and doing, we are not only empowering our own self perceptions, but also aligning ourselves holistically. When we feel empowered, encouraged and completely aligned, there is no other choice but to ascend and transcend.
So, what can a manifestation love board teach us?
Preparing monthly goals helps with organization. Even establishing weekly goals if you’re terribly disorganized - there’s no shame in the game. Within the first week of every month, think of the things you’d like to accomplish and divide them into three parts: professional, personal/ spiritual and academic (or whatever it is you hope to organize within your life for that given month). Under professional, prepare a list of tasks you want to achieve that would propel you in your professional and/ or creative pursuits. For freelancers, that can look like building up clientele to sustain your independent endeavors; for creatives, that can look like joining an artists group that helps to improve your skills. Under personal and spiritual, devise a list of things you want to accomplish within a month that helps to maintain your holistic wellness, like perhaps scheduling days in a week to practice yoga, go jogging or swimming; spend time with family or friends or create a little extra time for prayer and meditation. Under academic, craft a list of things you hope to manifest within a month that would propel you in your scholastic ventures. That can look like prioritizing your acceptance into a graduate program of a dream school, then prioritize manifesting scholarships for tuition, after being accepted.
Seeing the goal every morning as you rise and every night before you go to bed, allows it to sink deeper into your Spirit, therefore aiding in your endeavors to make it real. I’ve come to find the work is birthed out of moments of remembrance. It’s like a virtual sticky note we carry around with us on laptops, except, it’s planted in the soil of our bellies, waiting for us to water it so flowers may bloom and spring up out of our nostrils. There is no separation between the self and its goals because they work in tandem to achieve higher Self. I am reminded every morning of the seeds I planted when I look at my manifestation love board attached to the back of my room door, and honor the vision by getting to work. I am reminded of the work I have put in throughout the day to actualize the dream every night, when I look at my manifestation love board before I head to bed...and I am grateful.
Yet, in the midst of this, I am also cognizant of the fact that work without faith is dead. Making time for moments of gratitude through prayer tells the Universe we are appreciative of what it is right now, and are ready and open to be blessed with more. Prayer is also direct dialogue with the Creator; just as it is important to keep our loved ones in the loop on what’s been transpiring in our lives, it is important we also make space for the Divine. By doing this, we are giving her the chance to work her magic, cast some spells, clear and open up pathways that make it easier for us to obtain the desires of our hearts.
We are simultaneously bettering our mental health and stability, as our manifestation love boards serve as confirmation that our efforts are not in vain. Sometimes with the push and pull of life, love and loss, it may seem as though time is being wasted, or perhaps it has been frozen because we aren’t seeing the fruits of our labor right away or within the timing we’d have hoped for. This notion should be counteracted by reminding ourselves that everything happens in time, on time and according to the Divine’s schedule. Though we’d have devised lists of things we’d want to achieve within a month, I’ve found it useful not to set a specific deadline or date on accomplishing a project or activity. Imagine setting a deadline on when you’d want to perfect your headstand within your yoga practice? It would be way less disappointing to allow your body to lean into the position desired for it to be in when the time is right and body is ready. This practice reduces pressure and anxiety as well - an illness a lot of Black women can identify with experiencing from time to time or even within their daily living. I’ve personally developed a mantra that proclaims, “let go, let flow” - taken from the 2006 film “Something New” starring Sanaa Lathan. I am someone who grapples with situational anxiety regularly; so if I am giving myself the space to exist and flow into things quite naturally, I am lessening my chances of experiencing an anxiety attack. And this is not to say, not to hope to achieve anything within a month at all, because some things do have deadlines like grad school applications, but simply that staying grounded in reality and pacing yourself to the finish line is key.
It ultimately opens us up to other possibilities we never knew we needed or wanted. By devising lists of goals, allowing it to sink deeper into our Spirits, practicing gratitude for what is now while manifesting, remaining present and patient for what’s to come, we attract more love, more goodness, more wealth for greater ascension into our pathways. Because we have honored the visions laid on our hearts by helping to establish its existence through writing, we have answered ‘yes’ to Higher purpose and have created space for purpose to reveal itself to us in other and new boundless ways.
Since tattooing the Greek hieroglyph on my breastbone some 12 months ago, I have uncovered a new sense of self worth and have grown stronger in my self-love and meditative practice. Because life is more of a journey than a destination, I am still aligning to achieve my highest Self who aims to rise above and go beyond the range of limitations this world will attempt to place on me.
I am breathing and pacing myself, but doing the work nonetheless. And I hope the same for you.
Light and Love.
kevanté a.c. cash is an Afro-Bahamian creative writer and arts journalist based in Nassau, Bahamas. Her creative work explores identity of self and Self through spirituality, sexuality, Black womanhood and Caribbean upbringing. Her journalism features the voices of creatives whose stories go untold. She is crafted in pure love and light and believes her mission on Earth is to spread all love, all ways, always. You can find kevanté on Instagram and Twitter. She is also supported by Linktree and is the editor of Bahamian art blog Gray Area.