We had the good fortune of connecting with Imani Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Imani, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
The Idea behind my blog/business, “The Hippy Mom,” really came after a series of unfortunate events. Here I was, 23, a new mother and heartbroken. I actually didn’t plan to be a single mother as I’m sure most single mother’s can relate. it all came crashing down at once. One day, my son, Jude, lost all language and stopped looking at me when being called. It was a switch from one day to the next. He was just a little shy of 2 when he received the Autism diagnosis. I didn’t know what to do, or how to feel. So, I began to write. I don’t remember exactly when my journal transitioned online but, when I wrote the long captions, I would get messages on how my words were helping other mom’s going through similar experiences. One night, I remember not being able to sleep. I wanted to name my blog something that really reflected me. The name came to me in a whisper voice that was not my own. I know it sounds crazy, but I heard God’s voice that night. He gave me the name and, “The Hippy Mom,” was born. I classify myself as a spiritual person, though I feel that we’re all spiritual beings ; some are more tapped in than others. And to tap in is to have your heart cracked right open-thats what happened for me. My long captions became the start of, The Hippy Mom, but now it’s morphing into much bigger. The site is being revamped to becoming a blog of my personal experiences, resources for autism families, a autism mother support group and an online herbal shop.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is writing. I have always resorted to releasing my emotions through words. And I think you can feel that. There’s no faking that. I believe that’s what sets me apart. My authenticity. Although, each season my authenticity changes. I often reevaluate what authenticity is for me. Part of the struggle is getting out of my own head and the other part is believing I am worthy. I feel I have a deeper understanding of my power, but then on the other hand I don’t feel I’ve even begun to touch the surface. I think that’s the hardest lesson to overcome along the way. I am excited to announce I am finally writing a book. I’ve had many false starts in the past three years. I had many walls I needed to break down to understand why that was. I think the fear was mostly worrying about how sharing the depths of my life and Jude’s journey would make other’s feel. I have reached a place in my life that sharing our story is more important than being fearful of other’s perceptions. I also realized during this process that if I don’t share my story. I will always live with words left unsaid. And that is terrifying to me. I’ve lived many lives in my 28 years. And I believe every life I lived is meant to be shared with the world. I am so excited for this shift that has happened internally. I have this innate desire to heal. I believe that’s my soul purpose-to heal Jude to talk again and present this tool to others. For it’s not just Jude, but 1 in 52 other children on the autism spectrum to be exact. If all diagnosis lie in the gut, then I can heal my son’s gut hollistcally and better help him. I believe I can heal him to talk again. Thats what my brand, The Hippy Mom, represents. Being your own healer. Today, Jude is 5 and I see the progress already made! I will continue to document his healing journey in hopes to empower other’s and pass the Paton.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a bit of an introvert. I don’t go out much, but when I do it’s always in nature. New York has many layers. There’s the city that people are drawn to. I’m a native New Yorker, so the city life isn’t enticing to me anymore. It was in my younger years, but now that I am Jude’s mom, I crave more grounding. One of my favorite things to do is escape the city. I live in Yonkers, but if you drive the Saw mill highway north, you are met with the most beautiful scenic views of The Hudson Valley. So, that’s where you’ll find me and Jude most weekends. If you’re ever in NY and are looking for a change of scenery, some of my favorite kid friendly trails i’d recommend are: Verkeerder Kill Falls, Minnewaska State Park, and Breakneck Ridge.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this shout out to all the single mothers and special need’s mothers doing the damn thing! To say it’s not easy is an understatement. You were chosen. I know that this is not the experience you chose, but it sure as hell chose you. “So now what?”- You may be thinking. Surrender. Surrender to your child’s diagnosis, but do not let it dictate how you choose to love them. It seemed like life was against me, but it was really giving me the blocks to build my foundation. I’d like to thank that relationship I lost, I would have never found my relationship with self. If Jude never got diagnosed with autism and lost his voice, I then would never be able to see how many different ways one can say, “I love you,” without verbally communicating it. I also would have never built this community and crossed paths with so many beautiful and inspiring warrior mothers. And lastly, I’d like to thank losing my breath. Had I not lost my breath, I would have never stumbled into yoga and known what it feels like to truly BREATHE.

I know it can feel like you are on your own island where the rules only apply to you and no one else. That may be true. But the island is not small. It is filled with other warrior mothers, some of which want answers. Many with the same question: how can I better help my child? Heal yourself. The greatest gift God could have ever given me was to be heartbroken. I’m not trying to sound modest, just hear me out. I think being single at some point in your life is a good thing. Most people don’t know who they are. They go through life taking on other peoples personas, or feel stuck in relationships that drain them of their light. The quest of self love and self discovery led me to my tribe. This beautiful community. And for that, I am most thankful. Once I surrendered to this new lifestyle, I realized just how much of my decisions were made from a place of fear and pain and abandonment.We are given many doors to open. Don’t give in to that door. What is this season teaching you? That’s the door you should choose to open. We can choose the door of self pity, or we can choose the door of expansion. Let this period expand your heart to new lengths you’ve never reached before. Heal yourself, so you can be a healer for your child. I wouldn’t be able to get this insight without the love of God and constant outpour from my community. So for that, I thank You.

Website: www.thehippymom.com

Instagram: @thehippymom, @thehippymomsupport

Twitter: @thehippymom

Facebook: @thehippymomblog

Image Credits
Maegen-Christie Cruz, Glen Verazza

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.