The Flow …12 is the Magic Number

Photo by Marilyn Wilson Photography

The Flow: Doctoring Me Through a PhD 
By RobinD 

Give me five… 
ten…12 (years, that is)
I’ll take ‘em
Will probably need every 
Slow and some days steady
Ready… not ready
then fighting back stories sometimes tears
Don’t fight the feeling
Just sit back 
And let it 
You will know

Can‘t do as others do
Travel your divine way
Self will dictate 
When and what to write
What to birth today
What needs to escape 
Leak out
Light a candle 
Let the words
Like smoke
You will know

Panic, guilt, shame 
Only get in the way
Block the portal
Cause writer’s block 
So dance, play music
No worries 
Open the door
Shhh, hush
No rush 
Yogi on a mat
You will know

Joy must bleed through the pages
Like heavy ink 
It’s a spiritual journey 
So stay in sync
Words will come and 
Be written with ease
Eyes will glide 
Return sweep
Easily spoken
Not broken 
Not chokin’ on words
Forced and coerced 
You will know

Ride the waves
Different each day
Anticipate but wait
BE … 
Be ready to receive 
Go in, meditate
Read, listen, watch, live
Take in the stories
They medicate
Listen to the fountain
Babbling waters speak
Shower -first one in days
Let waters pour
Soak in the tub
Let the words 
Like water
You will know

Appreciate the time to heal
Doctors need care too
Be thankful you understand 
You must begin with Self
Oxygen mask in place
Inhale, exhale 
Have a glass of wine
Peppermint tea
Coffee with cream
Hold space 
For you
Let go
Let it
You know

12 is the Magic Number

This journey to PhD was a 12 year trek. When I wrote this piece, I was just beginning the literature review…my dissertation work was just beginning. At times, I felt like something must be wrong with me because I didn’t do it the way such and such did…didn’t finish in 3 years like they did. The stress that I was putting on myself made it almost impossible for me to get calm and get into the writing process. I had experienced so many losses during the 12 year journey that it was almost crippling. I lost my job in central office in 2010 (yay) but still had to process it all. My father, mother, and oldest sister all transitioned rather unexpectedly within a 5 year period (2008, 2011, and 2013). My marriage which had been sick from the start, ended in 2014. Actually, I was losing my old life — my old self. It was quite frightening. I needed time to heal…time to take hold to the new life that was coming my way.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had a couple “friends” and acquaintances become extremely negative and judgmental about my “lack of progress” during this time — as if taking time to heal was not progress. I was using music and writing to help me through the losses. I was also looking for “love” (life’s a b!$ch pull them panties to the side, girl! — K. Lamar), peace, and positivity to heal my brokenness. Seeing me post my concert “tour” on FB and hearing me talk about “love”, my writing poetry, and stories during this time made them feel some type of way…

“man standing inside the tunnel” by Kyle Simmons on Unsplash


One even posted her “rant” on FB — in a Black Women’s PhD “support group” suggesting that several women at my/our university in the doctoral program needed to get their priorities straight and stop running around to music concerts and finish their dissertations. Seriously? Words were exchanged. I left the group. That was crazy! I’m over it…Anyway…

A year after my sister passed away, I finished my comprehensive exams (because school had also historically served as one of my pain relievers) and then I hit a wall. I had spent a week writing in the basement and when I came up from “down under” — after pressing “send” — I took a celebratory selfie and sent it to my sister. Later, she told me she cried when she saw it. She cried because, “Sisterrr, you looked like death…like you were dying. It scared me.” And she’s right, I did look like “death warmed over” as Daddy would say. I was thin, my eyes were sunken in, and I looked so…well…DONE. I have to admit, I looked pretty scary. I wanted to cry when I looked at that pic too (hell, I just wanted to cry… for many reasons). I had to check myself out in the bathroom mirror to see if it was real…see if something was wrong with my phone/camera. Man, that was truly an awful picture and if I had it, I’d post it here…but trust me when I say “you ain’t missin’ nothin’!” LOL.

Yeah, comps was an elephant I had to eat fairly quickly. I wanted to continue…to finish, but I was out of steam. I was beat down by the circumstances of my crumbling world. Maybe for someone else (those armchair coaches wagging their tongues on the sidelines), managing my dismantling life AND writing would have been a piece of cake (eyes rolling in my head). According to them, I imagine that by then I should’ve been over the losses and back at it…“Yeah, you finished comps but did you write your dissertation yet though?” Whatever…I really am over it…FRFR…breathe…which, btw, was another song that got me through the process…sister Lalah is a doctor too — healing the wounded soul. Thank you, sister Lalah! Tight, long hugs!

“gray cinder brick wall” by Jacky Watt on Unsplash

When I hit the wall, I hit it hard and slid right down onto the floor like a puddle of hopelessness. This time, my youngest son talked me through, “Mom, yoga was actually the best class I took in my entire college experience. I think you should try it. Try meditation. You know, many people who would call their life a success say they don’t hit the ground running. Instead, they meditate before they get going each day. Maybe you could try it.” Best advice ever for me! I know…I’m so fortunate to have such thoughtful, wise, and nurturing sons. Winning!

So, as my son suggested, I learned to PAUSE. I began seeking guidance from my angelic guides, Spirit, and my ancestors (who have transitioned from this physical existence). That was the answer for me…it was the strength I needed (along with a year of psychological counseling with a therapist) to get up off the ground and back into the game of life. Finding my way inside myself to Spirit was the best work I’ve ever done. Healing, forgiving (myself and others), learning to surrender to Source, learning to trust through the chaos, becoming familiar with my INtuitive Self…it’s been the most amazing part of this journey. Beginning these practices made all the difference.

When I was well into my healing space…when I decided it was time for me to get to the project…when I was clear about what I wanted to deposit into the world with this massive undertaking…when I was ready to write, I spent nine months on the work I thought I could never do. I began writing what I once feared was waaaaay out of my league. I conquered my fears of not being enough. I wrote (as one of my committee readers put it) “the hell outta that dissertation”! It was the best piece I’d ever written.

I love that the work centered around the lives of 5 single Black millennial mothers and their journey (in a world that looks down on them) to self-efficacy as first teachers. It was like an ode (the longest ode ever) to many of the women in my family and my daughter, a single mother of three, who inspired me to research and write on this topic. The world is full of single mothers who do the damn thing everyday!! Yes, we do! It was my intention to celebrate us. My committee felt my work was “a page turner” and should be published as a book. I am working on making that happen. I was hooded on August 17, 2018.

She Paused… She Persisted… She Ph.inisheD.

While I was writing, I worked full-time as a kindergarten teacher and picked up a part-time job in January of 2018 (hoping to secure a post PhD opportunity). Why must I always do THE MOST? Who knows…I think it was a resurfacing of my old habits — living under duress…if we’re not careful, we get used to drama. Still, in order to turn that mess into a positive, I tell myself what I learned was not only am I capable beyond my understanding, I am magical (#blackgirlmagic) in a grateful and humble-ish type way.

Truthfully, I have to admit that twelve years was quite a spiritual journey and I got so much support from true friends, family, my guiding angels, Creator, and my ancestral guides. I had friends who helped me in many ways. One encouraged me to write about what was stopping me from proceeding and I wrote a really long piece called Ph.ear and D.etermination. Another friend told me of how her brother and sister (both PhDs) said, “You have to live the dissertation before you can write it.” She assured me that I was living it and when it was time, it would materialize on paper. She even put me in contact with her sister who helped me set up my calendar for the work, read parts of my writing at the beginning, and talked me through several snafus.

My sister visited regularly, literally helped me type parts of the project, and listened whenever I needed to talk it out. The Crew — my family — gave me so much encouragement, space, and positive energy all along the way with phone calls, a family text thread, and visits. My oldest aunt scheduled check-ins with me and listened to me talk things through often offering just the piece of the puzzle I was searching for (so spiritual). The ancestors and angelic guides were AMAZING and would come to me whenever I summoned their strength and guidance — literally! And Spirit, well, that goes without saying…we co-created this entire project…my entire life. I could not have done it without all the guidance and love in action from these positive influences.

Twelve loooong years…but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Although this was not a dream (but sometimes felt like a nightmare…Ha!), suggests dreaming of the number twelve denotes spiritual strength and divine perfection. It also represents cycles and repetition.

Padre, messenger of the angels, breaks down the meaning of the number twelve and suggests gaining an understanding of numbers 1 and 2 separately in order to understand the meaning of 12. Number 1, represents relying upon oneself, self-motivation, and new beginnings. Number 2 is associated with your faith and belief. It focuses on peace, harmony, duty, and the purpose for our existence here on Earth. The number 12 means it’s time to leave old habits behind…looking forward to newness and opportunities that can benefit you.

“It revolves around the idea of bringing new challenges and new opportunities in your life for you. It helps you understand that you are not limited by your age, race, or culture to help others by spreading the knowledge that you have.” Padre

Padre says the angel number 12 guides us to face new challenges with optimism as they will be bringing positive changes in life. He says 12 is a call to fix the negative energy in and around you and it brings the confidence needed to do so. Number 12 suggests there are no limits, it’s time for growth and success, questions and prayers are being answered, and it is time for awareness — knowing who and what is good for you. Angel number 12 asks me to attract others with love, empathy, and kindness. This number says it it is time for you to turn over a new life and start with new beginnings. It is a cue from the angels to say, “Yes, it’s your time!”

SERIOUSLY! This was my jam during the nine months I was writing the Big D! I need to put this one back in rotation!

Thanks for the reminder, Padre!

I truly felt this shift as I look back over the twelve years. Not all the changes were great — I miss my mother, father, and sister — but the transitions of my loved ones are helping me learn non-attachment to life as is appears now and life circumstances. IF I CAN LIVE “WITHOUT” MY MOMMA, I CAN SURELY MAKE IT WITHOUT A PARTICULAR JOB, TITLE, SALARY, HOUSE, CAR, whatever other THING one can name. If I can adapt to those losses, I can adapt to life changes whether they be due to my own decisions or those of others. It’s in my DNA, my ancestors had/did it…I Got This!

Often, we get caught up in timelines (ours and others) as if life is really even a linear process. We get stuck in the shoulds, oughts, and musts that are spoken from our egos and from the mouths of those who, truth be told, could care less whether or not we succeed — my Granny would say, “They probably wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire!” Like a fly caught in a spiders sticky web, I got caught up sometimes..fretting about how long it was taking me to finish the program, worrying about this, concerned about that, who said what, how and why. But, I am learning to trust the process….learning to find peace in the chaos knowing it will work out. Angel number 12 has come to my rescue so that on most days (I said most, I’m human), I can look back and sing this song (which btw, was one of my lifesaver songs throughout the last 5 years of this 12 year process). Sing, Lalah!

I don’t know how you feel about life, but for me it has not been easy (I probably made it look that way sometimes though…that’s the #MAGIC, HA!). When I was contemplating quitting and being ABD (all but dissertation)…my oldest son attempted to ease my mind. He sat me down and gave me The Talk about how lots of dropouts make it big in the world. One day as I was mulling over whether or not I wanted to finish he said, “Mom, you have already done so much. From successfully raising three children while [simultaneously] teaching kindergarten full-time and going to school for your master’s degree to being an administrator in your district while taking doctoral courses and moving back again to your love — the classroom. Listen, if you never do another thing in this life, you’ve done enough! You have been more than an inspiration to us!” I love this guy!

I love that my children and I have such a mutually supportive relationship. Facts… If you add up all our Life Path numbers (11+ 22+1+ 4=38) you get 11 (3+8=11). Now, I don’t even know that this is a thing (adding our numbers to get a “family number”). Yeah, I’m sure I made that up! Ha…anyway…11 is a master number. Let’s see what Hans Decoz has to say about that:

Positive Characteristics: A Master number, the 11 is the most intuitive of all numbers. It is instinctual, charismatic, dynamic and capable when its sights are set on a concrete goal. The 11 is the number associated with faith and psychics.

Negative Characteristics: The 11 can be anxious, shy, stressed, conflicted and scattered. When focus is not applied toward a goal, the 11 can be extremely self-sabotaging. As a Master number, the positive characteristics will turn into obstacles when not understood or used properly.

Hmmm. Thank you, Hans, on those + and -…again, Facts! But knowing is half the battle. When you know your struggles, you can face them…transform them. We’re on it, sir!

Ooowee…Master Number. What? Ha! But…ummm…You can call me Robin, you can call me Neecie, you can call me RC, you can call me RDC1, you can call me RobinD Cooper, you can call me Dr. Cooper, you can call me Dr. Robin D. Cooper but you doesn’t have to call me Master, Doctor Cooper (LOL) — dating myself

I used to be able to do it with him. Memory like an elephant (+,-)

“metal staircase near #12 sign” by Michael Skok on Unsplash

On a more serious note, I ask myself:

Q: What has been the biggest lesson in the last 12 years, Robin?

A: I would say the lesson is Trust. Spirit has been teaching me to surrender and trust even in what appears to be chaos. A friend of mine recently made me an intention bracelet that says, “Trust Me” because I needed the reminder. It is what I heard/hear Spirit saying each day and several times a day as I need it. Living in fear and drama is no longer a viable option for me — as if it ever was viable.

I have learned that my path is not the same as anyone else’s. I am not to compare myself, my circumstances, or my life to anyone else’s. I have to trust the process. I share for the sake of perhaps helping someone rest in the chaos, learn to trust the process, work towards finding the place and peace of surrender.




Just S’UNO.

With Love,