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.

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.

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.

Do you know how much power your story holds?

Happy Sunday!

If you are someone who is into celebrating holidays, October 10th is the observance of the following:

  • World Mental Wellness Day
  • World Homeless [Awareness] Day
  • Pastor Appreciation Day
  • National Hug-A-Drummer Day (Who knew?)
  • National Handbag Day
  • National Cake Decorating Day

Regardless of whether you recognize any of these holidays/causes/days of appreciation, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe today and always.

Today’s message is likely the shortest I’ve ever written to you.

Ummm, didn’t you say that about a previous newsletter? Whatever, I’ll let you slide today.

As always, my Inner Critic with the raw-uncut feedback.

Our Stories Are Powerful. Period.

I released the last interview of the first season of my podcast, “More Than Metaphors” last week. The conversation was with a college friend of mine who has gone on to do tremendous things, which includes being a father and husband. Some of what he shared was expected given what I knew/know of him. However, a few stories he told gave me pause and had me challenge some major assumptions I had about him and his work. His story also helped me challenge a few assumptions I had about myself.

In this conversation, “Weekend Philosopher,” Husband, Girl Dad (times 4), and NASA Astronaut, Navy Commander, Victor J. Glover, Jr. reflects on the various lessons he has learned from his elders and contemporaries. He also shares the inspiring exchange between his younger self and the person he is now that has helped him “propel” his career, as well as support the “launch” of his firstborn child into college.
 

Since I am regaining my inquisitive nature (Read: I have gotten my nosy back), I found I was left with more questions that I wished I asked during our chat. Then it dawned on me: Isn’t that what the cycle of discovery/self-discovery is supposed to do? Lead us to more questions and more discoveries?

That said, I would like to provide you with the questions I usually ask my guests. Feel free to have fun with them and answer them as if you were a guest on the podcast (you never know…). For those who have been a guest on the podcast previously, feel free to revisit the questions to see how, or in what ways (if at all) your responses have changed.


7-Questions: The Power of Your Story: The Interview

1) Tell us about yourself. What do you do and why you do all that you do?

2) What have been your biggest lessons? What have been some of the best and worst pieces of advice you have received?

3) Could you talk a bit about what grounds you/reconnects you to your humanity? What are some of the lessons you would like to share with our next generation leaders as they are looking to change the world?

4) What have been some of your “Aha!” “Oh-Yes” and/or “Wait-What?” Moments you have experienced as you support others?

5) The BIG Question - As you know, the purpose of this podcast is to explore how, or in what ways has poetry/the power of words helped people find the courage to live their “poetry” out loud (poetry in all of its many forms). With that said, what piece of writing/words of encouragement/lyric would you like to share? or Do you have a particular poem, quote or a song that motivates you or gets you in “The Zone?”

6) Given everything you have experienced, what words of encouragement would you give to your younger self as you grappled with all of the feelings, experiences, concerns, expectations you may have been balancing at the time?

7) What do you think that same young person would say to the person you are now about everything you have accomplished and are looking to accomplish?

Do you have any idea of how much power your story holds? Your story may be just what someone needs to hear to get through a trying time, go to the next level, or allow themselves to dream again.

And maybe that person is you.

Sending you thoughts of love, justice and liberation!

In Solidarity.

Poem: The Me of Now

I am becoming more and more clear on who I am becoming.
This means I have to be patient with others 
as they shift their understanding of who I am.
This time is not a journey back to me anymore.
It is me being introduced to my new self.
The Me of Now.

The Me of Now is comfortable with the way 
she wears her brand of womxnhood.
The Me of Now gets excited when she respects her own boundaries
and demonstrates to others how to respect them as well.
The Me of Now gets downright giddy each time we say “No” 
in all of the splendiferous ways we are learning to say it.

The Me of Now takes responsibility for the hurt she has caused
while simultaneously holding others accountable for their actions 
(versus self-blaming or shaming others).
The Me of Now finally understands that while 
“Hurt people, hurt people,” that 
“Healing people are hurt people working towards a do-over,”
so compassion for self and others is crucial.

The Me of Now is still a bit clunky and shaky, 
like the legs of a baby colt.
However, the Me of Now is becoming more steady.
More focused.
More ready.
More available to Loving Guidance 
during the next part of this journey.

I see you, Me of Now.
Welcome Home.