S: Manifesting the Bubble

3 years ago Q and I created what we call the bubble. It’s a spiritual space to which we exist together where it’s just us. We’ve historically referenced it as something that relates to how we start to change as people as it grows.

Well something happened okay visit on Sunday the 15th.

I was sitting across from him feeling an overall sense of gratitude for his presence. It had been over 3 weeks since I’d last been there, and 3 weeks since I’d gotten to wrap my arms around him and feel the since of safety I’ve only felt from his spirit. I held his hand with both of mine and held it close. I closed my eyes and I instantly filled with emotion through my whole body. Tears started form in my eyes. He held me closer and closed his too. I later learned he was praying. The moment was beautiful. I was relishing in the fact that he was real and he was just pure love in the flesh. It was like I couldn’t turn the tears off. He wiped my eyes as they filled my mask and neither of us had words for what felt like 5 minutes.

We then hear the lady at the desk call his last name. He gets up to go talk to her and I instantly felt alone again. When he came back, he told me they are not allowing us to hold hands. Both of us were crushed, and he had a clear sense of anger. I knew our moment wasn’t over, even if it couldn’t be physical.

I put my hands in front of me and put it on what would have formed a giant sphere. I told him to do the same, and there we were: with our hands on an invisible ball. We both started putting our hands around it. I asked him what it felt like, what it looked like, what it sounded like. We spent time building on it and following each other’s hands and fingers, to the point where I couldn’t tell which one of us was leading the other. We put our hands through it. Like water, he said. We then took our hands out and into our hearts. Like the ball was generating enough energy and positivity to recharge us as individuals.

It was powerful. A huge representation of how they can never take this from us. How our love is a ball of energy that we can create between us regardless of physical space. He called the ball of energy the bubble and it clicked immediately. Manifestation of the bubble.

Q even used it on his own. “I manifested the bubble by myself earlier. Just moved my hands like we did at visit and inhaled it into my heart.” Part of me has been afraid to access it due to the overwhelming emotional potential, but I’m grateful to know I have it.

The bubble is home, the bubble is us. The bubble exists regardless of time and space and physicality. Like God.

-S

Q: A Prayer – “Every Year of Forever”

God, Overseer of Our Days,
may every time we cross paths, it be an instantaneous rekindling of our love at
first sight for both of us.

May loving one another continue to produce the most beautiful experiences we shall ever
have… only we, together, can totally
understand the sweet dream that is our love.

Let us, before God and all under
the blue sky, before everything that
crawls, walks, runs, and swims upon
God’s green earth… profess and acknowledge what we know to be true – that our coming together is God’s work.

Let the love of two forever amazed by one
another, continue to shine throughout an imperfect world, perfectly.

God, may you conintue to use our love as your own and a shining example, as it can
inspire our friends and ever-growing
Family, by which that same love shall endure.

God, allow us the depth of your eternal grace, as we continue to remember: When we put our heads together, we create a world that’s even better.

We respect the awesome power that is God, as it has forged the framework for the eternal force that is our love — love that is now, love that was then, love that is still, love always, love will and forever shine it’s reflection, our reflection throughout the sands of time.

Separate bodies, kindred souls, rebounded back by the ultimate unifying force, God’s original form – love – fashioned from a rib, created to be side and side. May our joy continue throughout our lives as a reflection of your joy that spans an eternity – a love that is true and pure, a love that is absolute, that it is formless yet never changes… love, threefold and forever and ever.

Q: Manifesting Integrity

The penitentiary is full of desperation. In such a dark place for such a long time, the aliment of the human condition and all its imperfection is sure to come to surface. It is not hard to imagine how undervalued the virtue of integrity may be to a person fully submerged in the distractions of our modern society and all the demands that come from it. Even behind the prison walls, there is a heavy emphasis on respect (an essential concept for the coexistence of men forced to live in extremely close quarters), but integrity becomes more of footnote to such an idea.

I have been incarcerated for over a decade and one thing I’ve come to fully understand is that my power to change is firmly rooted deep within my sense of self — my integrity. In the menagerie of men, concrete, and steel, it is easy to drift into a sea of obscurity — a place where you can easily lose yourself… the acquisition of integrity is the only thing that can help you maintain. Maintaining your identity is a necessary key in the goal of greater self discovery and personal growth and the overcoming of the sad state that is arrested development experienced by many who are imprisoned.

To be a raindrop in the middle of the ocean and maintain your shape… that is integrity. I’ve found my search for greater integrity has lead me to seek a greater grasp on truth, admire honesty, and achieve a level of character that is solid, sturdy, and principled. I’ve found that in the course of being encouraged to be honesty with others, I’ve gain a more objective outlook in general and inevitably, I am more honest with myself– this is the strength of integrity.

I cannot imagine my life without being on this journey. It has improved my life immeasurably. My self image is incorrigible, my relationships have improved with family and friends, and I feel like there is direction for my future, even after being behind bars for so long. Purpose, cause, and destiny have all become perceivable to me through eyes of integrity.

-Q, 3/20/2022

S: The Roots Are Evident

Q and I have been fortunate to get back together at visit, as COVID cases have been at a steady low in Virginia. We’ve gotten to hold each other twice in March, which has been refreshing and reminding of how strong our connection really is. It hasn’t stopped us from being spiritual, and finding ways to connect by heart.

Last week, we challenged each other to write a haiku, and remember it, so that we could recite it face to face with each other.

Q’s Haiku:
Soon our day will come,
cutting through the morning dew –
finally, love is free.

S’s Haiku:
Spirit moves slowly,
Like two twin trees in the wind,
Love keeps them grounded.

The moment was beautiful, fun, and enhanced the overwhelming feeling of love within us. It sparked some beautiful conversation about how nature has always been a running theme in our relationship, and how some of the the strongest and oldest trees have exposed roots. Just like us, they stand tall, all while enduring the harshest and most brutal conditions year after year. Blooming with beauty and coming back no matter what happens to them. Our connection is just that.

-S

Victory

There’s been a ruffle in the rift,
A shift in the tide,
A victory won that was –
But wasn’t mine.

Sending waves of tears big enough
To fill an entire glass,
Because they consist of dreams and
what’s locked in the past.
Afraid of letting go of hope,
Afraid of losing control,
While negative thoughts have been on a roll…

But then…
There’s love – always threatening to pull me through.
Reminding me in tough times that there’s always YOU
In the back of my mind pushing me to
Be at my best;
Breaking down barriers and shaking the rest.
Continuously showing me the light
And touching my spirit,
Holding the mirror to my face
To make sure I get it.
Protecting my being,
Even when im at my worst.
Holding yourself back,
All just to put me first…

Love…
Is what will always get me through.
Love…
It’s what brought me to you.
So I’ll fight through crying, laughter, anger,
and everything in between
Just to continue to show you
how much it means
To have you by my side
through thick and thin –
Making sure I always win.

– S, 1/14/22

S: Our Spiritual Journey, the Second Year

Every once in a while, Q and I decide to write on an interesting topic for the blog at the same time. As an additional wild card, we don’t share the entries with one another until they’re both finished. No peeking. This month, we thought we’d reflect on how we’ve continued to grow together spiritually after 2+ years. Enjoy.

S:

It’s been a roller coaster of a time for us. Not being in the same room for almost 2 years really has a tendency to rattle beliefs and poke at hope.

That said, Q and I have gone through a rough summer and fall – a rough Mercury retrograde – and now, a lockdown that could last another week or more. It’s been 3 days now since I’ve heard his voice, so finishing this writing felt right because I’m in need of the reflection of our connection.

While the expression isn’t as erratic as it used to be, there’s no loss of passion. We still write to each other letters, write poetry and music and drawing pictures… still planning our future together. However, there’s a bigger baseline of faith between us.

Connecting on a deeper level isn’t always about the tangible things for us. I believe we have been praying similarly and working toward goals together. Meditating nightly and not forcing it if it’s not there. I’ve found in the past year, we spend more time talking about our meditations and dreams – and even HOW we prayed has become a regular point of conversation. It has inherently brought us closer and more grounded in each other.

In my own life, I’ve been struggling with heightened anxiety since the beginning of the pandemic. I can recall a time a couple months ago when Q was able to really help me dig deep into my control issues, and offered many words of encouragement and learnings he got from his own meditations and from studying tai chi. He really knows how to help balance me when I’m at my worst. There was a night when he gave me some advice so good I had to write it down as quotes on post it notes – so I could stick them around my space.

I was never really a meditating girl before him – but having a tool like this in my toolbox is exactly what I needed to be able to maintain stability in a situation like this. Letting go and keeping faith front and center is what it’s all about. Opening ourselves up to feel the flow of nature and allowing the little things to shine through is what we value most. Through a song lyric, seeing a plant grace our picture, smelling a flower, seeing the sun set, or hearing a bird chirp. Those are the kinds of things that make us feel love through spirit and I’m truly grateful.

Here’s to growing into many many more years of that feeling, regardless of where we are in the world. Faith, hope and love are the 3 things that we know will get us through it all.

– S

(To read the Q version, click here.)

Q: Second Year of a Relationship and It’s Spiritual Growth

Every once in a while, Q and I decide to write on an interesting topic for the blog at the same time. As an additional wild card, we don’t share the entries with one another until they’re both finished. No peeking. This month, we thought we’d reflect on how we’ve continued to grow together spiritually after 2+ years. Enjoy.

Q:

It has been over two years since S and I re-engaged our love story. One of the most interesting things about that is that no matter how far apart we were, for however long, we’ve managed to still be alike in so many ways. We still both love to dance, sing, laugh, and love. It seemed as if time could not fade it, it has only made it stronger. But above all that, there was something that we didn’t share enough of as kids… our spirituality. As adults, S and I both embraced a diligent search for our more spiritual selves and we have bonded over that search and it has become one of the greatest pillars in maintaining our very fruitful and loving long distance relationship.

My entire incarceration has been an opportunity to build a spiritual discipline. Since being locked up, I’ve read an array of books and practiced meditation for the last 13 years; and most recently taken up Tai Chi. There came a point were I felt like I mastered meditation. I was unbound and completely detached from the hostile and mind numbing, monotonous world of imprisonment. I didn’t realize at the time that I was nowhere near mastery. Soon, the universe would send me a reminder.

August 14th, 2019, S and I decided that we would be together even though we were miles apart. From that point on, the world began a light speed crash course for my emotions and mind. I was plunging back into an emotional life of caring, concern, and attachment. I stressed and felt unbelievable pressure as I was jolting back into a world beyond my aloof present. Regrets of the past, fears of the future, feeling of helplessness over control of my world… all things I thought were no more, had resurfaced from their mere suppression and assaulting my inner spaces. It was like a struggle I never experienced before. That was the first year.

Being in a long distance relationship can pose a lot of problems for any couple. Being in a relationship where one of you are in prison, can be one thousand times more stressful. S and I have extremely limited physical contact and phone calls aren’t always ideal. But we have a spiritual connection and a desire to strengthen it. We focus on what we call, our “spiritual love.” We try to reach one another in a way that is beyond physical. It’s presence we miss, so its presence we try to project. We try to synchronize our prayer and meditation times in an attempt to channel one another.

I’ve realized that the type of discipline I engaged before being in this relationship was only foundational at best. What I understand now is that spirituality is not only for yourself, it is to be emitted to those in your life. Spirituality is about connecting and bridging the gap between what seems to be separate. S being at the center of my journey with me has allowed me to better express my love to my family, friends, and even random people I encounter in my daily happenings. I feel more sensitive to life and more alive because it.

S’s presence pushes me to reach out, not withdraw in, learning to bring a lot of my internal growth out into the atmosphere. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, this has been the greatest challenge I ever had to endure. but I know, just the bit of growth I have achieved in the last few years is a million times greater than the 10 years I’ve walked this journey alone. And to be honest, I welcome the lifetime of new levels I can see over the horizon, as S and I set out on our forever journey of love, life, and continuous spiritual growth.

-Q

(To read the S version, click here.)

Q+S: The Second Year

August 14th marked our second trip around the sun together, and we wanted to take some time and think about all we’ve been through, and how the love still grows. We each took a step back separately and reflected on it. Pictured, is the beautiful drawing in the card that Q made for S.

Q:

It has been 730 days since S and I decided that we would act on our feelings and move out on the rest of our lives together. Ever since then we have experienced joys as well as sorrows, laughter as well as tears, but overall, we’ve experienced the depth of our love and its inability to fade.

We were only 7 months into our newly re-established relationship before the pandemic hit. Before then, she came to visit me 2-3 times a month before they stopped visitations well over a year ago. So, a majority of our time as a couple has been under the strain of no contact… And what a strain it has been. But it is evident that it cannot defeat us.

It is becoming more clear that there is no force in this world that can defeat us. Over 10 years, and the great love we possessed as teenagers has only become stronger through its perseverance. Time has not been able to stifle us and every once in a while our love seems to rebirth itself. We re-live feelings of the first day we locked eyes in the middle of a busy sidewalk, and our lives were recreated.

There has been 80 miles in between us every night for the past 2 years. But without a doubt, our prayers reach one another and fill our spirits and souls with presence. It makes the space in between us irrelevant at times.

The physical distance has actually prompted us to get creative and more in depth with our communication. Sure, trying to translate much of how we feel through word alone can be choppy at times. We even experienced our first impromptu ‘hang up’ during an argument on the day of our second anniversary. But I cannot deny that we are getting better and stronger with each obstacle we overcome. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard. Really hard.

For the weekend of our anniversary, S traveled to attend my mother’s wedding. I could not foresee just how much it would affect me. Maybe because I was too worried about how much it would effect her, but the pain of knowing she was there without me, oddly enough drove me to anger. An anger that became irritation, that become stress and resulted in an argument that ended up with her hanging up on me.

Regardless of every difficulty we’ve faced, the truth is undeniable. S and I share a love that is unlike anything I’ve encountered before. After 2 years of fighting for our love everyday, I only look forward to living loving and growing throughout this life with her by my side. For better or worse, our love thrives. Here’s to two years and the rest of forever.

– Q

S:

While I couldn’t imagine myself here in April 2018, here we are. I’ve discovered the greatest love I’ve ever known in a man, and I can’t touch him, smell him, see him or talk to him without being monitored.

It hasn’t been easy at all. Through the pandemic and its daily struggles, my anxiety has gotten the best of me this summer. I’ve been trying to take it easy and take care of myself. More meditation and more management of work / life balance. Thinking positively.

I’ve found myself taking the daily churn out on him. When I work too hard or over do it in my personal chores/errands or stressing myself out trying to make sure I’m being a good mother, daughter, and friend. He’s on the recieving end of my stress. And it reminds us that he’s not here, which causes more confusion and frustration.

What’s amazing is that Q is always there for me, helping me and showing me alternatives. Coaching me and sharing his own experiences and understanding. And though he isn’t here physically, our spiritual relationship is the perfect solution. Just the other day he shared some wisdom on patience, one being: “Hone in on the desire of stillness – it’s already there inside of you.”

Focusing in on things like that and being open to universal love, reminds me that I’m okay. When anxiety strikes sometimes I think: “I am away from the man I love every day and I handle it with grace.” While it seems uncanny, I truly believe that Q and I have it all. We spend a lot of time building things together, sharing ideas and writing eachother poetry and haikus. Listening to music together, writing stories and singing and dancing together. And my favorite – talking about how we will change the world when it comes to criminal and social justice reform. Presently, we’re working on Brilliance and working with SIP to end mass incarceration in Virginia through awareness and law changes. In the future, we plan to continue that work and do even more on the ground together, as he wants to be a lawyer.

We are not perfect and we will never be perfect, but the way we work together each day, and the way we work to understand eachother: offering support and encouragement, is how I know we have forever locked down. He’s my soulmate.

– S

Q: Poor Man’s Pride

Hold on to everything, like it will all fly away.

Your pride, your truth, and all honesty ways.

Your speech, your logic, your poise and esteem,

But body and mind will still leave with the dream.

Oh poor man! Oh begger! Oh all righteous one!

Time ticks for us all and fate will ensue,

Oh hater of filth and lover of sun.

True things won’t transcend, but how about you.

– Q, 7/29/21

Q: JPay Poetry – A Visit From a Muse

This was written by Q, during a 10-minute break between video visits.

A crack in the sky
would not be as mesmerizing
As your smiling eyes.

A glowing fire,
lights behind the windows
which guard your soul.

A vision of your skin paints the inside
of my mind
with vexatious delight.

A portion of my being lies with you always Guiding my body through the trials of time –
Closer to your embrace.

Given the dawn as a gift,
I would deliver you the day.
Given the moon as a prize,
We would make sure the night shines.
Given 10 minutes,
I would attempt to describe the endless
depths of my love for you.
Given a lifetime,
I would ensure that you experience it forever.

-Q, 5/19/21

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