sometimes we set out to accomplish goals that we think are for our own fulfillment and through that pursuit, we end up being used as a vessel for something greater than us. when natacha conceived of acacia book café, it was merely an idea to elevate artists, craftsmen and women with a space that gave their work a platform for exposure and economic empowerment. fast forward years later, acacia is a staple in the community– a safe house for creatives to meet, create and build together. on a sunny morning in june, accompanied by heartfelt ballets from r&b queens like deborah cox, natacha and i had a conversation about dancing through life by one’s own choreography, embracing our truest version of self and understanding that the “process” is about experience rather than acquisition.
Narrated by gem
authenticity; trying to be as true to myself as possible. not letting the outside dictate the inside, unlearning and learning through that process. i want authenticity to overflow into everything and everyone i engage with. i’m focused on that and i pray that it shows and that it’s contagious.
that blog post was actually inspired by my friend. we were talking about how easily people fall into mediocrity and not fulfill their potential and how one of the biggest drivers of this is marriage. it really got me thinking- can i actually have it all? can i get married and continue to do whatever it is i want without restraint? i came to the realization that you can have it all, but not at the same time. you can fulfill your potential; you can be whoever you want to be but it has to be according to your own terms, not the world’s. it also has to be in accordance to what is possible for your reality.
i think it’s because we feel we are in competition. imagine if we were not in competition. you get to be, i get to be, i get to work and be happy with what i’m doing—fail and mend again until i do it right. i feel like that’s healthier than anything. acacia serves as a living example of the idea that you can co-exist and collaborate with people. pushing each other—and finding a way that we can work together.
looking to people who do the work from within helps us learn how to create from within. not only do we learn about trust through the process but we understand that we don’t have to do things one certain way.
taking time to know yourself and being true to that, to know what really makes your heart beat. if you get to know what it is that you really want, you will do whatever you need to do to make it happen. it’s different from when you do something based on exterior pressures.
we give definitions so much value. it’s very hard to detach from that thinking. instead of asking “what did you do today”, why not ask, “what did you learn today?”. simple change in our language can shift the way we shape our value systems.
there is so much life that goes into the experience. often times that gets lost on us because we put so much emphasis on success rather than the process that got us there.
that you don’t have to do it alone, which was very hard for me as an only child. i was so accustomed to doing things on my own and being very self-sufficient so I didn’t know how to rely on people but to make this[acacia] happen, i had to learn how. i was constantly reminded of paulo coelho’s saying that when we decide to pursue something, the universe conspires to make it happen for us. the moment i decided to start the acacia journey, doors just started opening up. till this day, i get help from people exactly when i need it. trusting the process & not waiting for perfection are key to realizing our dreams. one thing that pushes me is taking note when something doesn’t work the way i expect it to. what lessons am I being taught and how can i make sure to learn for my next experience? even if acacia were to close tomorrow, i have a bag of lessons that I will always carry with me. i will never be the same again and that makes it worth the while.