Onions And Resentment

You know what else has layers? Resentment. Resentment has lay-yers.

I have been trying to stay away from consuming too much news post-election (are we “post-election” yet) and I am just proud that I know which day of the week it is!

Thursday, right?

CELEBRATION TIME

This past week I celebrated a major milestone as an author. My children’s book, “The Love of 10,000” is gaining sales outside of the U.S.! I was thrilled and so grateful to receive a message from a new friend and colleague informing me that she received a copy of the book in Brazil. We now have readers in the UK as well. In addition to the book being well received in other countries, we just published the 2nd edition of both the Spanish and English versions.

TIME FOR A MAKEOVER

Revamping one of the pages of the ancestors from my daughter’s lineage was important for this second edition.

At the time of our first publication, it was early in my separation from my estranged husband and my mind was all over the place. It had not registered that the image that our wonderful illustrator designed could be viewed as…let’s say “colonizer-esque” when the intention was to show my ancestry depicted by women and her father’s ancestry represented by men. Of course, intent versus impact being what it is, I wanted to make sure that the second edition sends an empowering message to young girls. I am including the new page here simply because I love it:

That’s nice, Sis. But what does any of this have to do with onions and resentment???

Nothing and that’s the beauty of my entire rant. Resentment cannot gain a foothold when you are living in your purpose, not abandoning yourself to please others, or racked with anxiety, anger, disgust and constant low grade fear.

So I suppose this is where I will pontificate about knowing a little something about the layers of resentment.

Scene from the animated film “Shrek.” Donkey is right…who doesn’t like parfait?!?

RESENTMENT HAS LAYERS, TOO

In Dan Mager’s article 8 Strategies to Work Through Anger and Resentment, Resentment is defined as “negative feelings, basically ill will, toward someone or something that emanates from the past. Resentment is the re-experiencing of past injustices — real or perceived — and the old feelings of anger connected to them.” We can feel resentment towards our partners, family members, coworkers/supervisors/organizations, institutions and their representatives, other racial/cultural groups…and ourselves. The latter is what I feel complicates resentment because it is the dirty little secret that we do not discuss. It is easy to focus on the other people and the unfair treatment they are subjecting us to or have subjected us to in the past. What I see as a hurdle (at least it has been for me) is acknowledging my part in the unfair experiences in the first place.

MY STORY

My marriage was built on a foundation of resentment that we never healed. We tried to address it as best as two traumatized social justice activists could given the tools, emotional bandwidth and destructive tendencies we both carried/carry. Our resentment also brought company: familial obligations, financial woes, competing societal gender norms & responsibilities and yes…race. And all of this was before we even got married!

The layers were intricately wound around us and strangled any compassion, vulnerability and love out of our relationship. My “cousin” on my dad’s side (hey, history is complicated), Brené Brown talks about another phenomenon that was very common to us, foreboding joy:

Oprah interviewing Brené on Super Soul Sunday back in 2013.

In relationships where resentment is a constant, destruction is commonplace. You may be familiar with the song It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock (there was an 80’s song too that I can’t remember the artist…)? Well, I know for certain that it takes two parties to keep resentment in tact.

IT’S THE HEALING FOR ME

As I am actively making sense of and working through the layers of resentment that kept me from living my truth and acknowledging that of my ex, I have been reflecting and journaling on the following questions (hopefully these questions will be useful to you if you are dealing with resentment in your relationships or your organizations):

  • What was the injustice/s or the grievance/s that occurred and to whom?
  • When did the resentment/s begin? Who started it…and who really started it?
  • What insecurities helped keep the resentment alive in me and the other party?
  • Would I still see the issue the same way if the roles were reverse? Why or why not?
  • If I could go back to the very first offense, what would I say now knowing all that I know from my experiences?
  • Moving forward, how do I plan on addressing issues of distrust (a lack of trust based upon experience) so that resentment cannot take root?
  • How and what am I putting into practice so that I communicate anger or injustice in a way that I hear myself first, then can be heard by others?
  • What lessons would I want my daughter to learn in order for her to live a life free of resentment?

Whew Lord! Folx, this is a BIG one for me!

I would love to hear from you. Feel free to add your comments below or email me your thoughts/comments/questions. Also, please feel free to share this post with anyone who may find it useful.

Love, Justice and Liberation!

Breathe Again

President-elect Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, her husband Doug Emhoff stand on stage Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WE MADE HISTORY!!!

Presenting: Madam Vice President-elect, Kamala D. Harris and President-elect Joseph R. Biden! Kamala Harris is the first Black, Indian-American and female person to EVER to be elected VP. Joe Biden is the first presidential candidate to receive more than 74 million votes. He is also the oldest president-elect at the age of 77.

It is evident that not everyone is celebrating this historic win. For some in our country (and abroad) this leadership shift is traumatic, painful and possibly met with suspicion. I appreciate what my cousin (in my head) Dave Chappelle said during his monologue last night on Saturday Night Live about “being a humble winner.”  Dave also painted a picture of what white folk, police officers and those who may feel disenfranchised by the election results may be dealing with and provided some advice in a way that only Dave Chappelle can get away with:

“…Here’s the difference between me and you: You guys hate each other for that [feelings of anguish, pain, like no one cares, ingratitude, etc.] , and I don’t hate anybody; I just hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through. That’s what I suggest you fight through. You got to find a way to live your life. You got to find a way to forgive each other. You got to find a way to find joy in your existence in spite of that feeling, and if you can’t do that…[a special Dave Chappelle invitation for some “lessons.” Said another way, you need to learn from Black Folk how to survive and thrive in the face of oppression].”

There is just so much that can be said about the 2020 election cycle…I am not going to do that now. We have experienced enough. Instead, I am going to share my reflections that I posted yesterday on Instagram. As usual, I have about 5000 questions for us to ponder as we think about how to move forward. Take some time with the questions and I welcome you to share other reflective prompts with me that you feel might help us to begin to address the external and internal barriers to liberation.

BTW, if you happen to find my musings useful or just plain witty, feel free to forward this email accordingly!

Here’s to Love, Justice and Liberation!

Love, tho.

Just 4 days before Election Day. This image is my last reminder/plea to you to vote [Image reads: VOTE! We Died for This]. Please be safe in all the ways you must enact safety during this election season.

Given everything going on in our world, I thought I would make a slight departure in this week’s post. I want to examine some of the positive things that still exist in our COVID-world. So today, I am going to examine Love.

How are you going to go from telling people to be safe during an election that is riddled with white supremacist, zenophobic, hate-filled rhetoric AND practices, to wanting to talk about Love, Sis? HOW?!?

I am going to focus on Love because as a Poet, it is a bonafide job requirement. So sit back on this Halloween-eve, pause from all your Zoom-ing and explore with me.


A former student and a dear friend of mine got married last Saturday. She and her partner have been together for 18 years and have seen each other through countless life experiences, including surviving breast cancer. She called me the Friday before her wedding as she was rounding the corner into Bridezilla-mode.  She hadn’t quite gotten there yet, but you could hear in her voice that if pressures continued to mount, we would have a full on Bridezilla moment on our hands.

I was glad she called me when she did. I was in a really good place in my mindspirit because I just had a great call with one of my clients only moments prior. In addition, I was still celebrating my talk for the University of San Diego’s virtual Homecoming event. The panel discussion was entitled, “Living Beyond the Limits: Stories of Success and Opportunities.”

“Beyond the Limits: Stories of Success & Opportunity.” Video courtesy of the University of San Diego’s Office of Alumni Relations. The 3rd speaker is my favorite!

All four panelists told stories of not only resilience, but also times when we have had to stand against conventional ways of operating to make change for the better in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. This way of rejecting old societal scripts of relationships and building anew was also the case for my dear friend who was preparing for her wedding. 

During our call, I asked her to talk about what works well in her relationship as a way to have her refocus her energy away from the wedding dress issue she was attempting to fix (trying to solve any problem when you are highly frustrated is rarely optimal). Something my friend said made me very curious. She began reflecting on a number of experiences and said that her relationship with her partner has never been hard. She mentioned how she would often hear those around her say that relationships are hard/hard work. She pushed back on that idea and said that her relationship with her mate has been one of the least challenging areas in her life.  She began to talk about who he was to her, how he was with her and how they worked as a couple. Then she dropped this gem on me  “Kecia, he answers the call I never have to make.”  

“You said what now?” was the thought that ran through my head when she said that statement. Instead of asking the question in that way, I asked her to give me  an example of what that statement looked like in their relationship. She told me a beautiful story about how the words she chose to describe her relationship was a literal description.

She told me about a time when she was battling cancer and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital.A time when she was battling the cancer in her body and had grown violently ill as she was driving alone during a trip for work and had to be rushed to the hospital. Without anyone notifying her partner or the use of cell phone tracking, he met her at the hospital because “he felt something wasn’t right, he knew where I was heading, he knew what I was dealing with and when he didn’t hear from me he got worried. The doctors came to me and said, ‘Miss, there is a man here to see you.’’’ At that point she turned to find it was her partner! Wow! Talk about a bond!

While I could tell she had mentally and spiritually gone back to that moment when he showed up at the hospital for her without her having to call him,  I told her to step away from her wedding dress and to sit in gratitude for what they had. I told her that I appreciated what she shared about how relationships don’t have to be hard because life already was challenging enough. Even when you are in a good place in your life, have a partner where nurturing each others wellbeing is a thing, are in the right role in your life and you’re doing what feeds your soul, challenges still occur. Yet your energy and ways of coping are very different when your internal world is in alignment. Unfortunately, some of us have been encouraged by well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) people in our lives to live completely out of alignment and create Trauma Bonds that impersonate Love.    

View this post on Instagram

#truelove vs #trauma

A post shared by Teracarissa (@teracarissahodges) on

Wait! That’s what you’re supposed to do as an adult: Work hard, have hard relationships, handle hard problems and eat hard food (ok that last one is optional, but you understand where I am going here). Said another way, we have resigned to the societal and generational toxicity that work, relationships, life in general is supposed to be traumatic and oppressive. 

As we are in the process of re-imagining and redesigning our society, and we are blessed to have a generation around us that is not only questioning EV-ERY-THING, they are also working towards dismantling structures that are antiquated, destructive and downright unhealthy; I would love for you to ponder with me about the messages we have received about Love and Happiness (Not the Al Green song, though). 

I say this often and will continue to do so; I am in no way shape or form discounting the very real forms of oppression that exist around and within us. In spite and despite all of the hate, and man-made barriers to health, wealth and liberation, what would happen if we were committed to re-imagining everything…especially our loving relationships with others?

Why must suffering be the litmus test to so many parts of our lives? I know from my own religious upbringing in Christianity, that Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a critical part of our doctrine. Thankfully, I have a mother who could rival any religious scholar and she often points out that most people only focus on the suffering that occurred on our behalf. However, there was a point where the suffering ended and the REAL miracle, what Christians call The Resurrection–the transformation that came after the suffering was done and the Promise was fulfilled. 

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your promise in your life and in your relationships? Here are a few more questions for us to consider as we head into the weekend:

  • (Since tomorrow is Halloween) What, if anything, scares me about Love?
  • What are some of the trauma scripts that I have been taught related to Love?
  • Am I able to identify when I am acting from trauma that is masking as Love? 
  • How or in what ways am I committed to disrupting and dismantling trauma bonds in myself and/or supporting that work in others around me?
  • Have I found ways to show genuine love at work, at home and in my community during 2020? 
  • What am I committed to doing in 2021 to bring love more fully into my interactions with myself and others?

This lesson is a BIG one for me and one I am still working through, especially as a mother who wants her daughter to live a far more liberated life filled with love and far less trauma connected to it. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to comment on this post or email me and tell me your thoughts about this Love thang.

Congratulations, Tiffany! BTW, thank you for letting me help you create a playlist for your special day! I love you and wish you and your beloved a love so powerful that its force rivals any waterfall (inside joke). 

Love, Justice & Liberation

Justice First

If the walls could talk, they would say Breonna deserves justice. Justice first.

Recapping everything that has occurred since my last post seems futile. It almost feels as if the character Thanos from the Avengers is snapping his fingers, however his fingers are wet so he just keeps snapping because he’s not getting the full effect. We’re not seeing a loss of half of humanity. Yet, with every inaudible snap there is more loss and more injustice to dismantle. 

Supreme Court Justice and voice for justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died on September 18th. Five days later, Attorney General Daniel Cameron in Louisville, Kentucky delivered another blow to justice: Not one of the 3 officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor would be charged with her murder. Breonnna Taylor was a First Responder who was asleep in her home when officers tore through her home shooting, looking for someone they already had in custody. One officer was indicted on first-degree wanton endangerment charges; he was accused of blindly firing shots that went through Breonna Taylor’s home and penetrated the walls of a neighbor’s apartment.

If the walls could talk, they would say Breonna deserves justice. They would manage just fine with some stucco and a good paint job.

Devastation, heartbreak, hopelessness and betrayal encapsulate only a few of the feelings of grief expressed as Daniel Cameron, a Black man by birth, regurgitated the decision for the world to hear. Calls for his resignation and cancellation were swift, given his affiliation with those who have a proven record of activating injustice against the Black community specifically and communities of color in general. Personally, I was grappling with how I was going to explain this decision to my 10-year old daughter who had just returned home from being with her father on the East Coast for a month. In a world that has been abundantly clear what “they” think about us (that Black Lives do not Matter and are detested, defiled and are expendable); I, like so many grown-ups are trying to turn the Truth Narrative volume up even louder in order to drown out all that hate noise. Black Lives Matter. They always have and they always will.

Something else I was wrestling with is how I too have unintentionally caused harm to my own community in the form of seeking solidarity as a form of justice. Or working to have Black Folx included in organizations and institutions that I know full well are so toxic that you can feel your humanity draining from you when you step through the door. No, I have never done a D. Cameron. However, I have inadvertently done damage.

Sis, you actually gon’ put that in writing for people to read? Are you trying not to work again or…?

I have always intended for my blog to be about love and liberation. Part of that goal is realized by excavating how and what we learn, challenging unhealthy thoughts and actions, while leading ourselves and others out of oppression and into liberation, both personally and professionally. You know, the stuff our Ancestors fought and died for and want for their descendants. So yes, this requires me being honest with you AFTER I have been honest with myself, because we know that substantive healing happens in community with others. 

So yeah, I messed up during what I will call my “Emergence from the Sunken Place:” 1 Part leaving a toxic relationship and 1 Part re-learning that Justice, true Justice is the foundation of DEI work.

Justice first.

Once, I thought I was being useful by trying to help bring Black and Brown students to work together in solidarity to combat White Supremacist Delusions (see @sonyareneetaylor on IG for her brilliant views on W.S.D.). I was a part of solidarity work during my time at USD where we conducted these educative, cathartic and life changing experiences with a diverse group of student leaders called Human Relations Workshops (HRWs). They were dope! Surely bringing these students leaders together after a botched student election to re-imagine leadership and liberation on this campus would be just what the institution needed, right? 

Crash and burn. I learned that before solidarity can ever be truly realized, there must be…

Justice first.

The 2nd time came when I was asked to support a department-wide conversation examining the impact of Anti-Black racism perpetuated by the department and the institution at-large. Due to my strong familiarity with the institution (my way of qualifying that I intimately know the pain caused to Black minds, bodies and spirits by said institution), I was slow to re-injure Black community members on that campus by talking with them first about their pain. “I know their pain and I know it is valid. Let’s get to work so we can make sure they are heard and give the organization their marching orders. The department needs to get busy in order to transform the experiences of Black community members, which will also make a better living/learning/working experience for everyone else.”  

Yes, I said that *bleep* out loud.

Add to my decision to not talk with members of the Black community being a single mom and being strapped for time, you can imagine the reception during the community discussion. 

Sidebar: Something I tell all of my emerging and seasoned leaders to make time for are Listening Tours. “Listening tours are not about you” I say. “They are all about you making space for those who have been voiceless, they must be heard and seen.” Listening, seeing, and loving on others is a form of…

Justice first.

Yes you guessed it, that discussion was cringe. Luckily, the Associate I had working with me was so amazing that she was able to create a brave space for the community that was in real pain, while I was able to observe the leadership to provide next steps to lead the department into the new millennium.

Breonna, your life and dreams were stolen from you. You would have been an amazing nurse, Sis. We will continue to fight for what was rightfully yours. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeFirst. | Image: Family of Breonna Taylor, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Back in my early 30’s, I remember being reprimanded for providing too much support to Black students on a university campus (I kid you not) and not providing enough support to our Asian/Asian American students. My supervisor at the time was someone who identified as a woman of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage. She led an office that was designed to support students from various cultural backgrounds. I recall a particularly contentious meeting where she informed me that there were “places for people like me” whose primary focus was supporting Black students.

“Word?” I thought. “There’s a place for people like you who have a problem with people like me. It is very, very, VERY hot there. Let me help you pack a sack lunch for the ride.”

I eventually quit that job.

We all have our biases. And, if our biases get in the way of justice for those who experience the most extreme forms of injustice, then we have to rethink our relationship to social justice, possibly time for a new line of work. As The Notorious B.I.G. astutely pointed out “UPS is hiring.” Go do that; don’t call yourself a social justice activist if you are not about…

Justice first.

To be clear, my goal in this post is not to try and garner sympathy. I have sown enough good seed in my community during the past 3+ decades that I haven’t been cancelled. Maybe I was on a “Cultural Time Out.” Nonetheless, my goal is to have you, the reader, think critically and honestly about ways that you may have unintentionally and/or intentionally worked against justice: Justice within your own family, community, places of worship, work environments, the gas station…wherever. A few questions you may consider asking yourself:

  • Do I know what justice is for myself? My community? Those communities different than my own?
  • Do I know what injustice looks like for the various communities around me?
  • What is hindering me from being able to actively hear, understand, appreciate and bridge the Justice Gap for those who may not be empowered or privileged in areas where I have power and privilege?
  • What stories have I been taught about what might happen if a particular group receives justice?
  • Am I doing true justice work, or am I engaging in covert-oppression exercises for those who have historically been in power?
  • If I am really about that Justice Life, am I learning and doing more to support the work that needs to be done?

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Cornel West (that I often transpose) is “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Justice is still calling out too many names of loved ones whose lives have been taken, unjustly. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #JusticeforTooManytoName #JusticeforReal #JusticeFirst.

Voting Resources: 

  • Check your state and local election sites for registration deadlines and voting details. 
  • There are a number of states that offer ballot tracking technology

The Journey Back to Me

First, giving honor to God and all of the Ancestors of years past and those who have recently made the journey home (Civil Rights Activist and U.S. Representative John Robert Lewis and Minister C. T. Vivian).

I am going to keep this post nice and short (ha!) because today’s post is actually a visual poem. The piece chronicles my experience with Impostor Syndrome after the death of my sister in 2002, which had me gravitate to toxic environments and relationships (both personal and professional).

Shout out to Shawndra Cox-Diaz, Owner of Out of Proportion Studios and Simplicitee Complex for putting some sauce on this video. Black Women Business Owners…we kinda stick together.

For those who are unfamiliar with Impostor Syndrome, it is a psychological phenomenon where you feel like you are a fraud and that anything that you have accomplished is due to luck. I personally view Impostor Syndrome as a form of internalized oppression that is a direct byproduct of the systems of oppression that exist in society.

Since I had the nerve to be speaking on the topic of “Living a Limitless Life During a Time of Extreme Limitations” during a virtual group meeting last week, I thought it was important (Read: Critical) for me to talk about my internal limiting thoughts and ways of being. I also have 6 Tips that are helping me rally back from almost 20 years of living a life that was damaging me mentally, spiritually and physically:

6 PERSONAL LESSONS ON LIVING OUT MY LIBERATION/LIVING A LIMITLESS LIFE

1. Examine limiting narratives (Society, Community, Family, Self).

2. [Do Not] “Fake it ‘’til you make it!” Figure out how to make it!

3. End “Entanglements” with people pleasing (if you are so entangled).

4. Surround yourself with Limit Pushers.

5. Define and acknowledge Liberation in your life daily.

6. Remember your connection to Greater.

I am going to write a post later this week that provides more detail for each of these six points. For now, I would just like to share a bit of my journey with you.

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you continue to do what you can to live a Limitless Life (Not to be confused with Sheila E.’s Glamorous Life) during these unprecedented times.

Peace & Blessings,

Lies Told. Lies We Uphold.

We have a complicated relationship with the truth. Whether it is speaking our truth, believing the truth, or telling the truth, something that should be the norm just is not.

We have a complicated relationship with the truth. Whether it is speaking our truth, believing the truth, or telling the truth, something that should be the norm just is not. It has been force fed to us for centuries that it is more advantageous for us to lie and uphold lies that destroy us than to fight against them. We’re not buying the bs anymore. Tear down the lies because they have choked the life out of us for far too damn long! Rest in Power: Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. ~KCB journal entry

I have been putting off writing this post for weeks now. Technically, I began writing this post before my Mother’s Day post. However, like so many other people, my heart has been beyond heavy with all of the racial injustice, murders/lynchings of Black Women and Men and the stoking of hatred we are seeing politically (Please vote on November 3rd)

 In two words: I’m angry. In four words: I’m afraid and angry. Psychologically, I am using my anger as fuel in order to function beyond my fear.

I had a whole set up for this post on Lies. There’s this cute vignette I had about my daughter, Christmas, and the Elf on the Shelf. A quick aside: Our elf is still here freeloading…and it’s June. One day there will be a proper time to talk about the cycle of  lying -> telling the truth -> lying -> final truth.  That story will be told at another time.

No, today I simply implore you to look at the lies told, the lies we uphold, and examine the ways that we have intentionally and unintentionally caused harm. I will serve as a model for the work I’m recommending:

Black Community

I want to  acknowledge the pain I have caused within my own community as I dwelt in the Sunken Place of the Most Toxic. Being married to a white man, no matter how “aware” and freedom fighting his views, still sent a message of self-loathing and cultural betrayal.  In addition, I made major missteps when trying to fight for us because I was unable to fight for myself (and was “crazier than a Betsy Bug” as we say in my family). Now that I am free (Honey,  I’m free), I am very clear about who I am and what the Creator is requiring of me during this time of Revival. 

First Nations People/Muscogee Community

You are family, too. I see my great-great grandmother’s BIA number and wonder what she would say about everything we are seeing now. I believe she would say that Black Lives Mattered before we were brought here in chains. 

I thank you for seeing and speaking out against the injustices perpetrated against Black and Brown bodies, especially given the historical scars of White Supremacy on Indigenous Peoples. The lies you endured that set the stage for the genocide of the First Keepers of this land need to be addressed in a more substantial way than a few casinos here and there. Hopefully, many of you will live to see that change come.

People of Color

You have been lied to as well. That is the calculation of systemic racism, its sleight of hand moves quickly and it can be hard to recognize when People of Color use the lenses of the oppressor on one another. We uphold the lies without even questioning them (Colorism being one of the lies we have been told and continue to uphold). We need each other. Our kids need a better world. We have to work together in dismantling the lies AND building new structures for the generations to come.

Lizzo said what she said.

White Adults

[Deep sigh] I have insider knowledge that White Supremacy is spread by small lies that uphold the larger structural lie: White skin makes you better than everyone on this planet. Which is simply not true and you know it. You needn’t go any further than your own families to see that some of your own family members did not get the memo about being supreme beings. Part of the issue is the Culture of Silence that exists. “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” has been a part of white family systems long before the military revamped the meaning to address (not address?) sexual orientation within their ranks.

Look. Tell the truth. Tell the whole truth and ask God to help you, not your Black colleagues or that one kinda-sorta Black friend that seems to be brought up when racism is mentioned. If you can figure out how to use ever-changing technology, I want to assume your commitment to lifelong learning as an adult has not completely disappeared. 

In essence, I’m telling you that you cannot call Tyrone to ask him how to dismantle racism. He has turned off his phone and so have I.

. . .

I could go on, but I will not. I want to encourage each of us to do whatever is necessary to dismantle what is killing all of us, figuratively and literally. Let’s continue to ask ourselves:

  • What are the lies I tell (inadvertently or as the current system mandates) and who do they benefit? Who do they harm/destroy?
  • How or in what ways am I upholding the lies that reinforce White Supremacy, White Privilege and Anti-Blackness?
  • What does being an “Anti-Racist” mean in my world and…what will it cost me to become an anti-racist?
  • What resources will I need to engage and who will hold me accountable during my anti-racist skill development?
  • What will I do to sustain myself when I meet opposition?

Rest up. We have a lot of work to do.

My Mom’s Mother’s Day Message

In recognition of Mother’s Day, I yield this week’s post to my mother. I previously mentioned that my mom was a writer for the Herald Dispatch in the 70’s. Here is one of her articles (Yes, this is my awkward Black Girl way of saying, “My mama said…!”).

GROWTH AND CHANGE 

There can be no growth in repetition of an experience, unless at the same time we are making some provisions for broadening the base of the experience. To grow we must gain a new vision, and a wider outlook, a better way of doing things that will increase our usefulness. 

Forget The Past…(Cremate it) and forge ahead.

Think: I know that I have a right place and right activity in the Divine scheme of Life and that I am God-guided to the right place now. God’s presence is with me and I have no fear. 

We are continuously living a new life and when the old, being no longer able to contain the new, should be discarded. God’s limitless bounty is yours to receive, you need only to ask, give thanks and believe. 

YOUR FAITH

 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. James 2:26

The fact always has been that, although the reach of faith is boundless, without works [it] is meaningless. They are the two parts of a whole life. “Works” include the willingness to do something about our own problems as well as consideration of others. We commune with the Almighty for solace, protection, guidance and to search our motives before undertaking a course of action. But to follow such Holy Communion with inaction or indecision can bring forth no accomplishment or satisfaction. In the arena of human affairs, the deed must enact the thought. Merely to be good is not enough. We must DO GOOD. We cannot withdraw from the worldly activity hoping to find in seclusion life’s purpose in the answer to our problems. Prayerful contemplation should be entered into regularly for real inspiration, but not as a retreat from daily life.

My mom rockin’ the BIG hair back in the 70’s! I love you, Mom!

THINK 

I have both the ability to understand and do that which is right for all concerned. My faith in God is embodied in my acts today; that they may reveal the Divine benefits which flow from the use of right ideas. 

Man’s actions should swing from inspiration to action, from contemplation to accomplishment, from prayer to performance!!!

We shall endeavor to bring new thoughts of enlightenment each week to our readers. As I leave you this week, remember the GOLDEN SILENCE:  CONTEMPLATE ON THIS 

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD  Psalms 46:10

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and like-moms out there! Blessings, safety and health to you & yours.

Dr. Kecia 

Mother of MAKAILA

Daughter of JUNE

Sister of JACKIE

Aunt of MALIA

The Benefit of Being Overwhelmed

“The enormity of it all hit me as I watched Bishop Jakes’ sermon. Then, it happened. I cried. The real “I” cried, meaning I cried from my soul. I cried for myself, my family and the whole damn world. Once I was done, I felt ready. That release and that emotional/spiritual support was what I needed so I could re-engage and get back to work. Thank you, Bishop.”

Happy Resurrection Sunday to All!

The excerpt above comes from my journal entry from last Sunday. As you may have [not] noticed, I did not post anything last week. Admittedly, I needed to sit with what was going on around me. Normally a Dispositional Optimist (respect to Dr. Jacqueline Mattis), I usually have a tendency towards feeling that no matter what is going on around me, when it is all said and done, everything is going to work out. 

Yeah, my Dispositional Optimism was on vacation week before last. So, my need for some spiritual nourishment was real.

Segue to the sermon.

In my opinion, Bishop Jakes is an amazing adult educator, biblical scholar and entrepreneur. And, he can preach. As a preacher’s kid, you learn that a real preacher can preach to 1 with the same conviction, fire and purpose they can 100,000. His sermon “The Shock of Suffering” is an example of that.

Please know that I am not here to convert anyone to a particular religious orientation. See this information the same way you used to see those little receptacles in stores where you could leave a penny or take a penny (now in the time of COVID-19, leave that penny alone).

Aretha Admonishment
The undeniable  Queen of Soul, Aretha Louise Franklin. Image source: YouTube: A Change Is Gonna Come.

The reason why I needed to hear a positive word was because I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what loved ones were dealing with financially, emotionally and physically. I was overwhelmed hearing stories from friends in New York as they received calls about loved ones who were dying. I was overwhelmed (yet grateful) for the daily briefings from California Governor Newsom. 

Over it (COVID-19) and overwhelmed.

Have you ever been overwhelmed to the point of inaction? Or, in my case, to the point of “Processing-by-Pantry” (#COVIDcalories #COVIDCrunchies)? 

It seemed like my advice was muted. The resources I offered were meaningless. My empathic ear was not enough. I could not shoulder the enormity of this moment by myself. And that is when I was reminded of the benefit of being overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed is like an alert system. It tells us that the current situation requires self awareness, curiosity, additional support/guidance and strategy to navigate.

As an example, I think about the times I have moved and it was time to move a hulky piece of furniture or an appliance. Regardless of how many times I lift the 10 and 15 lb weights, I am not capable of moving a refrigerator by myself (rumor has it though that my father once put a large refrigerator on his back and moved it by himself #daddybrag). Overwhelmed by the size of the task, I have had the wherewithal to know that I am not able and do not have the necessary equipment to move a refrigerator. I had no problem looking for the right people to do the job safely. 

Moving a refrigerator does not equate to the level of current crisis we see globally, but it serves as a decent metaphor. Even if we can handle life’s heaviest challenges on our own, it does not mean there is not a more fruitful and saner way to manage the situations we are experiencing.

On this Resurrection Sunday, I encourage you to think about the various changes you and those around you are navigating, the various support systems available (people, places and things) and how best to develop plans to help move “the refrigerators” around you. For some, the situations around you may be the size of a mini refrigerator while others are dealing with “Double Wides” that are more complex. Whatever the situations may be, take some time to be still and honestly assess the needs around you, then seek support accordingly (Social Distancing ≄ Emotional/Spiritual Disconnection).

For those who need a tool to help you think through how to manage the changes you are experiencing, feel free to visit the Keeping Balanced Instagram page (keeping.balanced). Learn more about a framework that I have used to support those who have felt overwhelmed by career changes, job loss, family challenges and other life transitions.

All 4Ss for Posting

No questions to ponder this week. I figure you have enough on your mind.

Continued health and safety to you and your loved ones.

RESOURCES

You have likely heard about the increase in domestic violence in the wake of the COVID-19 quarantine.  I posted about this on several social media outlets and want to add it here for this community.

There are many forms of domestic violence that are thriving under the current COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing environment: 

– Domestic Violence/Dating Violence
– Financial Abuse
– Reproductive Abuse & Coercion
– Sexual Abuse
– Stalking/Cyberstalking (Digital Abuse)
– Litigation Abuse.

Here are a few helpful websites for survivors and those who are looking to provide support to them:

National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 
Office of Women’s Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Domestic Violence Resource Center 
National Coalition Of Anti-Violence Programs
Womenslaw.org

Remember: Social Distancing ≄ Emotional/Spiritual Disconnection. Please check on those who may need your support.

2020 Is An AMAZING Year!

2020 is here to rearrange our lives. She is not here to play games. Let’s pause for a moment (or two weeks) to pay attention to what she is teaching us. 

As I write this post, we are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic that has shifted governments, businesses, schools and families in an unprecedented way. And again, our hearts are still heavy from losing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others. In addition, we are experiencing loss at the community and personal levels. We have all had a speed dating-like experience with the 7 stages of Grief and Loss as of late. For those who are not familiar with the seven stage model by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, here is a breakdown:

Loss, uncertainty and fear are difficult to navigate, especially for those who are dealing with concurrent stressors (work dynamics, preexisting health concerns, challenging relationships, etc.) and trauma. 

So, how can I fix my lips to say that 2020 is an amazing year?

What I am choosing to acknowledge about 2020 is that this year is forcing us to rethink and reset our personal and professional relationships and priorities in ways unimagined. 

Picture 2020 as an empowered, resilient and wise grandmother ( or “Big Mama”) who has witnessed the previous decades and has come in to completely rearrange your life so as not to reproduce the same results. She is coming in clearing out cabinets, closets and other places where you have hidden your talents and treasures. She is forcing you to feel fear in order to reinforce and fully activate your faith. Social Distancing is her way of having you acknowledge that your health and wellbeing is inextricably linked to that of others and sometimes, you do not need to be “running around with everybody.” 

2020 as Grandmother Wisdom and Power
Queen Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther. Image source: BlackPanter Costu.me

It is thought provoking that we are being forced to isolate ourselves in order to either heal or to stay healthy, as I have been engaged in selective social distancing throughout my divorce journey.  By doing so, I have been able to sever relationships or erect stronger boundaries with those who have (unintentionally or intentionally) enabled unhealthy, destructive behaviors in me and vice versa. I have been able to deepen relationships with those who are actively working to engage in the world in healthy and productive ways, while creating new connections with individuals that were not accessible to me during my time of navigating the world on autopilot through an anxiety and stress-laden emotional fog.

 If prior to 2020 and this pandemic you were operating on autopilot and the quality of your relationships with yourself, others, nature, money, etc. were less than optimal (wait for it):

  • What if you use this time to re-connect or realize your larger purpose?
  • What if community relationships were more than résumé fillers and you were more actively engaged in the well-being of the community-at-large than ever before?
  • What if you used this time to purge your surroundings of toxicity of all kinds?
  • What if, regardless of your station in life, you tapped into your creativity to produce what only your mind, talent, and spirit can create?
  • What if you use this time of solitude to challenge your thoughts and assumptions about yourself, your faults and your capabilities?
  • What if you emerge from this moment where fear is an expectation, faith-focused, totally unbothered and filled with “power, love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)?

2020 is here to rearrange our lives. She is not here to play games. Let’s pause for a moment (or two weeks) to pay attention to what she is teaching us. 

Continued Blessings,

Dr. Kecia


P.s. For anyone who is interested in other uplifting resources, check out (with more to come):

“CORONAVIRUS WILL MAKE US ALL STRONGER” (Article written by Entrepreneur’s Editor in Chief)

SPECIAL EPISODE: A SOCIAL DISTANCING SURVIVAL GUIDE (NPR Special Podcast Episode)

BEYOND THE VIRUS . . .YOUR DAILY ANTIVIRAL MESSAGE (series by Iyanla Vanzant)

B-B-B-BYE CORONA – SELF CARE IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC (blog by The Alchemist’s Studio)

NEVERALONE.LOVE (hosted by Deepak Chopra)

THE POSITIVITY SOLUTION (The name of the site says it all. Blog by Shola Richards)


 

Take it, Transform it and Release it!

I hope you enjoyed your February and are ready to step into March like an HBCU band! Lift those knees, PEOPLE (Loving memories of Mr. Conrad Hutchinson III, Inglewood High School’s Band Director. R.I.P.)!!!

The world is busy being too busy: We stopped for a nanosecond to celebrate the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the U.S. is preparing for the 2020 election and the pre-insanity that occurs leading up to November, the coronavirus has U.S. government officials doing the “Confused Child Shuffle” (“The virus will not spread to…huh? What? It has?!? NO, what I meant to say was not TODAY.”), and many other issues that are part of Humanity’s Cup (shameless plug – 2nd edition available now). Even with everything that surrounds us, we are alive and we still have the capacity to do remarkable, life-changing things.

Melissa “Missy” Arnette Elliott. Goddess of Creativity.

With a desire to do something constructive, I have been spending time engaging my creativity. With that said, many of you (all three of you) are aware of the online store I launched for gift items that have a positive message. Recently on the site, I wrote a post about my excitement for the items created for the Month of March: Women’s History Month. I started the site during Black History Month. As a Black woman, I love the idea that I have two consecutive months to be reflective and celebrate our many accomplishments (I do it every day, but you get my point). Take a gander at the post below:

The slogan for this month’s collection comes from a poem from my forthcoming book, “Emancipation Papers.” The poem is about a person who takes on the emotions of others and transforms them into something we desperately need: Excellence. Similar to how a tree takes in carbon dioxide and converts it into oxygen, we can recycle toxic energy and turn it into something powerful and life giving (takes a lot of self-awareness work, but it is possible). That is why I thought the statement “I exhale EXCELLENCE” was perfect for our next line.

A word of inspiration to each of you: Continue to take on any challenge. Transform it. Release it as EXCELLENCE!

Do not let what is surrounding you to negatively transform you. We each have the power to take negative energy, transform it and release it!

Continued Blessings,

Dr. Kecia