Love, “The Dream” & Healing Our Worlds

Given the events of yesterday (hostages taken at a synagogue in Texas, eruption of Hunga Tonga volcano and subsequent tsunami watch here on the West Coast, storms on the East Coast, unrest in Kazakhstan, COVID still, and so much more), I am replacing one of my poetic pieces that I wrote yesterday with this reflection. There will be time and space for that piece. Today, I want to focus on the Lessons in Love that are presenting themselves as I read bell hooks’ book All About Love: New Visions (Love Song to the Nation #1). 

Don’t worry; the angry poetry will return shortly.

Healing Our Inner World & Love 

Like many people, I was parentified at an early age. Like so many parents, my mama had to work multiple jobs in order for us to survive. What that meant for many of us who had to take on this role was our “job” was to take care of ourselves and possibly others, that may have been beyond our emotional capacity at the time. We did the best we could and all things considered, we did a pretty good job for little people “Livin’ in a World (They Didn’t Make).” Yet, there were some gaps in what we needed to learn and experience. What I am coming to see firsthand as I continue my inner child work at this stage in my life, is how my child is reaping the benefits of my inner reworkings. The next generations benefit from what we learn to love ourselves through.

It is never too late to change our inner world.

Please know that I am not writing this post to appeal to anyone or to convince others to feel any way in particular about me personally or professionally. What I have hoped since launching this blog back in 2019, is that I could encourage you to encourage yourself to heal whatever needs to be healed (both in yourself and in the world). It’s hard and it seems to get harder at every turn and with every news update. However, as I read a word of encouragement on Instagram several months ago, “We can do hard things.” 

Love and “The Dream”

Even with everything that is going on around us now, I implore you to continue to believe that justice, liberation and love are possible. Our foremothers and forefathers dreamt of them and actualized them as best they could. We get to do the same, every moment of every day.

On this day, the day before we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those that fought with him, re-member the relationship between justice, liberation and love (and the fact that all 3 start at home). Keep them top of mind and focus on them over and over and over again. All the while not forgetting that “…the greatest of these is love [1 Corinthians 13:13] .” I am a poet, after all. I have to believe this to be true.

In Solidarity.

Don’t Let Your Dreams be Just Dreams

We made it to 2022! I am so glad you made it to another year! We have come through some trying times together and look at us? Still moving past viruses, insurrections, (un)natural disasters and U.S. gas prices higher than my favorite multi-talented West Coast rapper!

All jokes aside, we have lost and we have gained so much in the last few years. As I continue to reflect on the impactful lives of bell hooks, Betty White, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Sidney Poitier and Lani Guinier, I am reminded just how important it is to live a life filled with hope, love and purpose–on purpose. To continue to dream in spite of our circumstances, working towards making those dreams a reality for ourselves and encouraging others to do the same.

I recently wrote an article for Three Fifths e-Magazine entitled Granting Ourselves the Permission to Dream…Again. Please take a moment to read it (as well as the articles by the other contributing writers). Let the words encourage you to not just dream, but to dream BIG. Dream for those you represent. Dream for the next generation. Dream because you have the freedom to do so. However, don’t just let your dreams sit around collecting dust. Let’s be about the business of actualizing at least one major dream this year.

Song: Dream on Dreamer. Artists: The Brand New Heavies. Year: 1994.

7 Questions: 2022 Dream Launch

To help focus our thoughts, here are 7 Questions (Oh how we missed the 7 Questions!) to consider as you move that one big dream forward:

1. What is the one dream I have that I want to move towards actualizing this year (write it down)?

2. What are my most outlandish fears or doubts I hold about this dream (write them down-the more outlandish the better)?

3. What are my greatest hopes of what achieving this dream could mean for me and those around me (Yes, write them out)?

4. Which 1-2 people can I deeply trust to support me as I move my dream forward (Envision them then write their names)?

5. Who are the people who may intentionally or unintentionally not be supportive of my dream (list them)?

6. What resources/contacts/learnings will I need to tap into in order to actualize my dream (create a table including dates and outcomes)?

7. How will I motivate myself to accomplish two (2) activities related to my dream each day (i.e. What are your known “Slump Crushers” and how will you activate them in those moments when Netflix and the air fryer are calling out to you)?

Now more than ever before, this world needs your gifts, brilliance and yes…your dreams. What do you have to gain?

Feel free to send me at dr.kecia@drkeciab.com and let me know how your Dream Launch is going (or not  going at the moment)! I would love to be one of the people cheering you on!

Sending you and your loved ones prayers for continued health and safety! 

In Solidarity.

The Gift of Acceptance

Thank you for the kind responses to my last reflections on my mother’s life. I greatly appreciate each of you for being a part of this virtual transformative learning circle wherever you may be in the world. My hope is that by sharing my learnings (and unlearnings) I am supporting the reflective process of our beloved community. To quote the late author, scholar and Black Feminist bell hooks “Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.” I am grateful for the gift of our community and look forward to what we will learn together in 2022.

In today’s reflection, I would like us to consider the Gift of Acceptance.

The Gift of Acceptance

There are certain things we learn solely for the sake of survival. Yet, we reach a point when we will have to acknowledge that we survived it. All of it. And then, we look around to ask “What’s next? What is the gift I give as I continue to live [bars]? However, before we can give anything, we must accept everything.

Acceptance is one of the final stage of the grieving/mourning process for a reason. According to grief.com, when we engage in acceptance we:

…see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.

The 5 Stages of Grief – Grief.com

Personally and professionally, I have had to learn that it does not matter if other people do not understand my grief or what I am mourning. It is my job to fully acknowledge what I am feeling because only I know every nook and cranny of my experiences…from my point of view. That point of view may be skewed for a whole host of reasons, but acceptance— pure acceptance, doesn’t require accuracy.

Acceptance is simply compassionate acknowledgment. It doesn’t mean giving up or giving in. Acceptance is a part of nature. It’s breath. It’s blinking. It’s cool air brushing over our skin. It is a different kind of O.K., an Omnipresent Knowing of what is and was at the time, before envisioning something new for the future.

There is no regret in acceptance. No hatred or confusion. Anxiety cannot exist in the presence of acceptance. Acceptance is not powerless, it is power-filled.

As we come to the close of 2021, I would like to humbly request that you give yourself the Gift of Acceptance: Accept all of who you are, what you have and have not done and why you did or did not do it. Accept your quirks. Accept the changes in your body. Accept your survival. Accept the unspeakable. Accept your gifts. Accept your shortcomings. Accept what was once unacceptable. Accept that you are loved and lovable. Accept the Gift of Acceptance.

I pray that you accept your purpose. Then when you are ready, accept the challenge to create something far more acceptable in your eyes (while creating it from your heart and soul).

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and I look forward to reconnecting with you in 2022!!!

In Solidarity.

The Next Divine Assignment

My mother’s time on this plane is dwindling. She is seeing herself, her flesh anyway, transition. All the things that have mattered to her all of her living days–how she looked on the outside to others–no longer matters. It never did. That was not why she was brought here. However, all of the fear…ALL of the fear has been right there at the surface of her life blocking her view of who she truly is.

My mom, as is the case with each of us, did not come to this world filled with fear. Fear was force fed into her and she fought and fought as long as she could against it (sometimes even climbing trees as a child to hide away from it). However, when her purpose, joy and talents were constantly undermined; this beautiful spirit succumbed to fear and fight. She could no longer access that thing hidden deep down in her soul that others could not see and only she and the Divine cultivated. 

While white supremacy, misogynoir and abusive relationships choked the very life out of her dreams, she poured what she could salvage into her children (living and nonliving). There is something to be said about a mother who does her best to defy the odds to give her kids the power to dream. 

As is the case of a dream built on top, through and out of hellish experiences; nightmares are inevitable. Trying to pass on the power to dream when all you have lived is a nightmare becomes a tainted process filled with possibilities complicated by destruction. Constant contradictions of hands that attempt to pat the pain away, while choking the disobedience out of you. Words that speak scriptures to build you up, while using the words of the oppressor to tear you down. 

The seeds from the tree re-cycle and develop the next generation of Fruits of Contradictions. 

My mama tried to give us everything she did not have, yet it was filtered through everything that almost completely destroyed her spirit. 

Almost.

Shame and Fear may have double teamed this woman all of her life. However, that same Shame & Fear is slowly being peeled away from her. A person who never knew freedom via living out her full potential in this life will begin to see just how majestic she always was and will finally understand why there were so many who beat that majesty, misdirected that majesty, and lied that majesty away from her. 

My Mama wrote for the Los Angeles Herald Dispatch back in the early 70’s

Although this post is deeply personal, I hope that it will resonate with you.

I understand now that the Mother Wound (or any other wound from an adult caretaker in our lives) is a generational severing from Love and our Purpose. What we may have experienced as hate, abuse, fear, confusion, and anxiety, goes well beyond generations of A Dream Deferred. The wounds were designed by the enemy of our Ancestors’ Dreams (Us) to destroy the power and purpose of each subsequent generation.

Nevertheless…

Our parents, parents, parents, parents lived the surreal so we can experience and continue to foster the power of The Marvelous, A Surrealist’s Joy, The Majesty of Purposed Moments.

So to those of us who are healing the wounds that were never ours to bare: May we redirect our steps, our minds, our spirits and our actions back to what is beyond fear, hate and anguish. May we and the generations we create and/or influence live out more Empowered Imaginations of what can and will be. 

To My Mama: Thank you. I love you. I forgive you. I forgive myself. I promise I will do better. Your creativity will continue to influence dreams through the hands of your next generations. Those people lied to you, Mama: Joy, Love and Liberation were always your birthright. As you prepare for your next Divine Assignment, I pray you know all the Joy, Love and Liberation that you did not feel in this broken society. You and your contemporaries deserved so much better than what was forced upon you. I hope your spirit knows now that the God you gave us was the God who has never and will never leave you. May you and all the elders who are experiencing these times be at peace.

It is well, Mama. And so are you.

Lovingly your kid,

Key-Ring

Poem: Love is Our Reality



Love is our reality.
We do not have to hustle for it in this life.
No longer must we crave reciprocity
from those who are unable to love themselves.
Yearning for what we already hold in abundance,
while allowing that abundance to be depleted.
But, can anyone really “deplete” abundance?
Can love ever run out?

[I know from experience it can run cold.
Blood Ice in our veins
can make us do destructive thangs.
]

But what happens when the warmth of
a new day, a new joy, a new will emerges?
Emerges and re-minds and re-members and re-calls us back to love?
Re-news our minds and re-minds us that we are loved?
Puts us back together by re-visiting the love
we were before and the love we are now?
What happens when
love makes that long distance call
to the core of our being?
We become re-aligned to the reality
and the possibilities of us.
And that Love, the Highest Love, is our reality.

What Are the Stories of Your Petals?

Welcome to Native American Heritage Month honoring those who are contributing now, and have always contributed to society. I send special love to all  Mvskoke (Muscogee/Creek) Peoples, as my family has both African and Mvskoke roots. Take a moment to learn more about the various Native Peoples who have honored the lands in the Americas for thousands of years.

In the spirit of examining the contributions of the past and the present, today’s newsletter is inspired by the prolific and profound works from the Poetic Powerhouses Nikki Giovanni and Tupac Shakur.


As I have written previously about creating a Love Space in order to help sustain us, I am practicing while trying not to sound too preachy. I have been actively surrounding myself with writings of Black Womxn authors. I am seeking advice as well as admonishment from their words. And as is the essence of Black Womxnhood, they are speaking life into me and into my work.

The Powerhouse: Nikki Giovanni. Image Source: American Liberties Magazine, 2017.

I was listening to a rendition of Nikki Giovanni’s piece honoring Tupac Shakur and the posthumous publication of his works in the book “A Rose that Grew from Concrete.” Tupac, never one to mince words or hide his personal development journey, drops this gem:

You see, you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun. Well, we are all roses – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals. Don’t ask me why, thank God [expletive], ask me how!

Tupac Shakur
A Hip Hop offering that honors  and features Tupac’s words and Nikki Giovanni’s poetry. Trigger Warning: Tupac uses the N-word towards the end of the video. 

Are you getting the feels, yet? No? Ok, wait for it…

Tupac’s words then mix with Nikki’s thoughts about embracing change:

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is;  once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.”

As I hear Tupac’s truth through his beautiful metaphor of the rose that grew from concrete, while taking in both Nikki’s associated poem and the quote about change; I am led to the only question I have for us: What are the stories of your petals? This question is aligned with the newsletter that asked: “Do you know how much power your story holds?” Understandably, not everyone is ready to scream their stories from the rooftops. What I am suggesting is that you scream your beautifully complicated stories to an audience of one: Yourself. Looking at the rose that you are/are becoming (Quick Reality Check: Roses have seasons when they bloom and rest), what marvels do your petals hold?

Ok, so technically that’s two questions, but it’s not 7!

Fam, I want to encourage you to sit with your petals and allow them to help you re-member “…your will to reach the sun” and enjoy all the parts of who you are, while learning about the new world we are in. Please know that I will be somewhere doing the same!

In Solidarity.

Poem: She Stays

She stay creating
transforming destruction into art.
She stay owning what she does
and all that she is
and stay giving from her heart.

She stay doing dumb shit.
She stay learning from it.
She stay jumpin’ over haters
like they’re ‘gators in swamps
or snakes rattling in hidden pits.

She stay showing up 
even when it’s hard.
She stay loving on her Folx
even when they try 
to snatch her Card.
She stay hustlin’.
She stay grindin’.
She stay ridin’.
She stay providin’.
And when it gets to be too much
She is known to stay hidin’.

She stay writing.
She stay fighting.
She stay striving.

She stay trying.

Through it all 
what keeps her going 
is that she stays praying.
Because it is her relationship
with the Divine
that gives her the power
to keep staying.

Are You Tired of Wearing a Mask?

Short on time? Feel free to copy, paste and listen to this newsletter at https://www.naturalreaders.com/online/

Hoping today’s thoughts are reaching you on a day where you and your loved ones are in good health and safe.

Speaking of the importance of safety, my message to you today comes from a place of examining safety and liberation. Let’s jump right into it…


You no doubt saw the title of this post and thought to yourself, “Kecia, are you one of those people out there screaming at the Costco (or Dollar Tree) employees talking about you’re ‘not going to wear no stinking mask?’ Because if so, Sis, your messages are now being B-L-O-C-K-E-D!”

Hold on! I’m not going there, I promise! Just let me share a quick story with you:

The Greatness of “Mother Maya”

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being part of a panel focused on the writings of Black womxn. Each of us chose Black womxn authors that spoke to our respective personal development journeys. It was a powerful experience to say the least. I chose to focus my reflections on my self-appointed patron saint, Dr. Maya Angelou, or as I lovingly call her within my spirit conversations, “Mother Maya.”

Maya Angelou’s words found me when I was 15-years-old and have traveled life with me for more than three decades. I have long admired her brilliance with words. However, it was the way she was able to write herself back into her personhood (while living a very colorful and well textured life) that made me love her all the more.

All that to say, I think Maya Angelou was and is the dopeness!

One of the 500 writing projects I am working on is an experience I am calling “Mother Maya and Me.” It will be a compilation of her pieces and those I have written that were inspired by her work. The two pieces I was planning to offer to the attendees of the event were two love poems: Mother Maya’s “In and Out of Time” and my poem “The Poem I Will Never Write.” I often talk about for a Poet, Love is a bonafide job requirement. However, there was a little something that happened on the way to being all lovey-dovey… 

Masked @ Birth

Prior to the event, I read in our campus communication that some of my colleagues had decided that they were no longer going to observe the COVID-19 mask mandate. I thought this was a curious stance for educators (Read: My Pandemic Pisstivity was activated). And then it fully settled into my spirit: So many of us have had to wear masks from the time we were born just to survive. How convenient it is that some people are inconvenienced by a simple piece of fabric.

Long story short, I was led to the powerful piece below by Mother Maya and my poem “The Mothers Have Come.” Trigger warning: If you are looking to keep your Sunday light, do not watch/listen to these pieces today. Save them for Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s powerful piece, in her own voice.

All of this leads me right back to the original question I posed to you: Are you tired of wearing a mask? And to be ABUNDANTLY clear, I am referring to the mask that hides your authenticity, your character, your brilliance, your full self so that others around you will not feel threatened by your presence?

7-Questions

During my keynote address at a Womxn of Color Summit, I shared 7-Questions for the community to consider as they think about solidarity and liberation. I have tailored the questions for you/us here:


7-Questions:
Unraveling the Other Mask

  1. How do you name and claim your accomplishments?
  2. Are you able to give another Person of Color their flowers or has the training of “Competition is Good” eroded your ability to partner and praise others?
  3. How (if at all) are you mentoring the next generation of Changemakers to own their accomplishments while still supporting others, as a way to deteriorate the foundations of Impostor Syndrome?
  4. How or in what ways does caring for yourself while supporting other Leaders of Color to do the same, show up in your leadership practice?
  5. What does setting boundaries, bossing up and sitting down mean for you as a leader?
  6. What does it mean to you to be a “Good Ancestor” (originally coined by Dr. Keisha McIntosh Allen and quoted by my friend and Sister-Scholar Dr. Yolanda Sealey Ruiz)?
  7. How will you continue to interrupt and dismantle “The Oppressor Within” in order to be culturally humble enough to keep learning, even when it is hard, inconvenient and/or is time consuming?

I hope that these questions and your honest, compassionate and courageous responses will help you lift the mask of oppression, shame and fear. You deserve to breathe freely and we are grateful for your every breath! 

Have a wonderful week! 

In Solidarity.

POEM: The Solution of X

This poem was written for the 4th Annual Womxn of Color Summit at the University of San Diego.

We are not a problem to be solved.
We are, and have always been the answer.
We are both sun and moon.
We are the Spirit Dancer.
All life flows through us
whether through womb, if we choose 
or through the words that we use. 
It is within our complexities 
and the righteous indignation 
that sits at the core of our connections
that allows us to be All the Things.

For we are the teacher, the test and the lesson.
We are the music, the instruments and the jam session.
We are the stand-in and the stand alone.
We are the letters, the Word and the poem.
We are the answer to the problems that others create
especially when those problems 
were designed to determine our fate.
 

We are the timekeeper and the time stamp.
We are whatever we want to be.
We are the x that goes beyond ‘ships
we are the force that launches ships
to sail and provide refuge to the refugee.

We are the x.

We are the x between Delores Huerta and the New York Rep. A.O.C.
We are the x between Marsha P. Johnson Alicia Garza, 
Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. 
We are the x between Cierra Fields and Madonna Thunder Hawk. 
Maria Teresa Ruiz.
Hayganush Mark. 
The Quintreman Sisters and the Williams Sisters.
Dame Katerina Te Heikôkô Mataira and Haunani-Kay Trask.
Malala Yousafzai and Henrietta Lacks.
We are the x between Yuri Kochiyama and Junko Tabei.
Zora Neale Hurston and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
We are the x between Cecilia Chung and Al-Jen Poo.
Velma R. Veloria and Fe Del Mundo.
We are the x between Fannie Lou Hamer and Tamika Mallory. 
Anacaona and Silvia Lazarte.
Melavika Kanaan and Kalpana Chawla.
King Hatshepsut and Miriam Makeba.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  and Kenya’s Sitawa Wafula
Who spoke these words:
“Whatever you do, do not let what happened silence you.” 

It is the Intersection that is the solution.
We are fully known.
Our existence is not only the solution
It is the only way home.
We are what was and what is next.
We are the vertex. 
Womxn of Color are the apex.
We are twilight, that which intersects the night and the day.
We are the mountaintop 
that reminded Martin Luther King Jr. of the justice pathway.

We are the pinnacle, absolutely nothing can hold us down.
We are the zenith and the apogee.
We are Womxn at the Intersections
of what is
what was 
and what shall always be.

Poem: The World of A Poet

Poets. 
We are not difficult beings. 
In a world full of manufactured complexity, 
Poets are the least complicated. 
We vibe on a Love frequency. 
We are activated by Injustice. 
We are most alive in spaces where Liberation is felt.
Words intermingle with air to sustain us. 
We stay hydrated 
and love to look directly into the sunlight because, 
well, our eyes are shielded by our rose tinted glasses. 
Our words are our world.
And if you are fortunate enough, 
we will share our world with you.