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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
On this day 20-years ago, I remember watching the news in disbelief as I begrudgingly ironed my clothes for work. At that time, I was a student affairs administrator. It had only been a short time since I earned my master’s degree from USD and now I was an employee.
I can’t stand ironing. I see it as a fruitless chore connected to respectability politics. I’m sure Jesus wasn’t worried about wrinkles while out there healing the sick and loving on those the “Well-ironed crowd” shunned. I mean, really. All this to say, I was engaged in a process that didn’t matter on a day when my urgency to show up mattered way more than how polished I looked.
I recall rushing out of my apartment and during my drive to campus, I felt it all. Rather, I could taste it: Fear, sadness, confusion, helplessness, hyper-awareness, calm, out of my body/mind moments. Driving on the freeway in California was an eerie experience as well. There was this collective sense of unknowing/uncertainty, tied to disbelief and helplessness that was a thread connecting every driver on the highway that day. I did not know then to call it Collective Trauma, but I know it now. That moment, combined with the historical trauma that already lived in me from my African and Muscogee ancestors were active that day. I had to get to work and be a part of a community that had to support our students. What I did not know on my drive to campus was what that support was going to entail.
That level of trauma was one like I had yet to experience (until 5 months later). It did not occur to me until I got to campus just how many of our students and employees had ties to the East Coast. Students were either from the area or had family members who travelled to NY, DC and or PA for business. Community members who had loved ones who worked in the Twin Towers. Colleagues that had friends who worked in the Pentagon.
When I got to my office, I put my purse away, found my supervisor to be directed to the students that needed support the most and went to work: Comforting students while my colleagues and I got on our cell phones dialing the phone numbers of loved ones to confirm what we could confirm. To this day, when I hear the words “We got through” or “We got one,” there is a momentary sense of relief that comes over me. You see, those phrases were yelled each time a member of our team was able to get hold of someone who was feared to be in the line of tragedy.
Moving between screaming, sobbing students while “numbing out” in order to stay radically present, became my attire for the rest of that day and night. I am sure the wrinkles in my tear-stained clothes did not matter at all that day.
Reflecting on that day as I enter my second semester back at the institution I left in February 2002 (five months after living through a family tragedy); I think about the importance of just showing up just as we are. Not perfect. Not knowing what the hell to do at times. The simple act of showing up with our imperfect selves and having enough courage to love another person in pain.
I have a faint memory of “Stolen Moments” when my colleagues and I would take a break to shed our own tears, breathe, hug each other, then go back to supporting our students. On that day, we felt like we were all we had. And, what we had to offer was more than enough.
Oh, how the times have changed.
It shouldn’t take a national tragedy to bring out the best in us. Now, we’re in a time in this country where tragedy ushers a full-on assault from us on to each other. No, this is not an argument to go back to some fantasized or glorified, “Good Ole Days” because let’s face it, dehumanization through oppression makes for pretty awful millennia. What I will say comes in the form of my 7-Questions:
What are some ways you have allowed yourself to 1) acknowledge collective trauma 2) release the collective trauma out of your body? [An excellent resource for Mind-Body-Soul work is the book “My Grandmother’s Hands” and the process of Somatic Abolitionism a practice championed by Resmaa Manakem]
What, if any, are some rehearsed stories in your mind-body about a time of collective trauma that you may need to interrupt (i.e. question their validity and utility) in order to reveal a path towards healing?
Who (if anyone) do you want to express gratitude to for helping you through the collective trauma (Divine Power(s), loved ones, strangers, ancestors, yourself, others)?
Who (if anyone) would you like to extend forgiveness towards as you continue to process any of the collective traumas you have experienced (Again, Divine Power(s), loved ones, strangers, ancestors, yourself, others)?
What questions, if any, do you wish you could have answered to help break up any mental blocks that may have you recycling/replaying the collective trauma?
Depending on your age when the collective trauma occurred (if you were even alive when it happened), what expressions of love would you have wanted to receive in order to help you regulate/reconnect you to your humanity?
Given the uncertain times and collective trauma we are experiencing right now, how or in what ways have you “loved on” those who matter most to you?
On this day of somber reflection, during a time when fear and hatred are threatening our ability to critically self-reflect; take a moment with me to re-member. As I have said in prior posts, you are still here serving as a Blessed Ambassador of those who we have lost. Please know, we are so glad you made it.
And to my USD colleagues who lived the experience of 9/11 twenty years ago with me: I see you. We got through. We got us.
In closing, please know that I will “Say A Little Prayer” for each of you as we all work towards love, justice and liberation.
I hope you and those you love are healthy and safe as we prepare to part ways with August and welcome the month of September.
Before I get into today’s message, I would like to send prayers of love and protection to everyone impacted by the events in Afghanistan. Whether you are a member of the U.S. military or an Afghan citizen wanting to find refuge for you and your loved ones, may “…the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7)” fall upon you as you seek safety.
With everything going on right now, including the focus on returning to “business as usual” during these highly unusual times, I am focusing my email today on creating a different kind of safety, a spiritual and emotional place of respite that we all have the power to create. So let’s get into it…
Love and Change
This past week, I was blessed to talk to four very different groups that are gearing up to lead in their respective areas of influence. In all four discussions, I talked about Love and/or Spirituality as strategy for navigating all of the destruction that surrounds us. What I was saying wasn’t new or groundbreaking. My memory immediately pulls up files of the Civil Rights Movement and images of strategy sessions. Loving fellowship was always at the core of those meetings. No, not a group of “perfect people” trying to one-up each other. Regular people who wanted to see love in the form of justice lived out in the world. But, before they could love on the world, they had to love on each other and that required sharing love and space.
What is a”Love Space?”
A Love Space is an emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, space of rejuvenation. In this space, one’s personhood is welcomed and continuously validated. It is a place to restore one’s sense of purpose, gain perspective, and revive courage in order for the person(s) to move forward with the work of countering hegemonic, demonic, and pathologic forms of social dis-ease.
I developed this definition while designing a program for adult learners in Boston back in 2013. The term “Love Space” was being used to describe what the learning environment should “feel like.” Creating this nurturing environment was in addition to providing content to support the community members in being successful as classroom teaching assistants. There was no formal definition or description provided, but what was said about a Love Space was simply “You know it when you feel it.”
What does this definition have to do with dealing with the experiment of going back into the office, sending young children back to school, and leading life in a time where everything that is anything is a boiling hot mess?
Do You Have A “Love Space?”
Oppressive systems must be dismantled. Periodt (For those who may be unfamiliar with that hard ass “t” added to the word “Period” is to denote an added layer of emphasis per Tyler Perry’s beloved “Madea”). And our righteous indignation (which is fueled by love) has us look at oppression with an expression that says “Is that the best you’ve got?!?”
When we embody and are surrounded by Love, we create solutions that seem unfathomable. When we are overtaken by the Spirit of Love, we never give up on the idea that change is possible. When we know that Love is the only answer, we don’t get tripped up by the world’s questions. When you are in a Love Space, you know it and you feel it, because it fuels you.
A Love Space situates you right back into your divine essence over and over and over again.
Look, I’m not totally naive here. Sharing in a Love Space with other people is not going to be perfect. Sometimes it is clunky as hell and can be downright hard to watch. Oh, but the benefits are soooooooooooooo worth it!
As you go about your week, please make time to be nurtured by those in your Love Space. If you do not have a Love Space just yet, give yourself permission to develop one made up of those you love (and who love you back) and who will provide sound counsel. Consider adding the spiritual guidance of the Ancestors to your Love Space as well! Some of their written and spoken words are just a Google search away!
I hope you have a wonderful week! Sending you love from afar and wishing you continued health and safety as you work towards love, justice and liberation!
I am more than my feelings.
I am more than resentment and bitterness.
My timeless smile and unreserved laughter reminds me of that fact.
I am every “No” my Mother Ancestors were robbed of uttering.
I am an electric spirit.
I am love and courage.
I am passion and joy.
I am the force behind the waves of the deepest oceans.
I am contradictions and compliments.
I am impenetrable and porous.
I am the creator of Daughters of the Moon
and Sons of the Sun.
I am distantly present and
present in my aloofness.
I am the bittersweetness that lies
at the very moment of impact
between Agony and Ecstasy.
I am the quintessence of creating more with less.
It has been a while since I have conducted an interview for the podcast. I have been busy processing and working on my next book Emancipation Papers: A Truthtelling Journey Towards Awakening, Healing and Transformation. That said, I have now resumed my interviews and cannot WAIT to share episode 17 with you.
Here is a description of the episode:
In this episode, Dr. Kecia speaks with Licensed Psychologist, Dr. Satira Streeter Corbitt (“Dr. Satira”). Dr. Satira talks about her journey to supporting the love, genius and wellbeing of families through her practice, Ascensions Psychological Services, Inc. She also shares parenting tips and advice for couples, as well as shares excerpts from her first children’s book “Black Genius: A Journal of History and Affirmation.” Feel free to reach out to Dr. Satira at www.drsatira.com/ to learn more about ways she can support you and your family.
Take a listen and let me know any Ahas! Oh-oh’s! or Oh Wait’s! you had as you think about your relationships with your partner, family members and any children in your circle.
One Aha! Moment I had from this episode was when she talked about “The 4 Horsemen: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Stonewalling. Dr. Satira called them “…the four things that they [couples] do in relationships that are the four biggest indicators of divorce.” It is these ways of communicating (or not communicating) our feelings to our partners AND the children in our lives that are highly detrimental to those relationships. As we talked, I began to realize that these forms of communicating live in our assumptions and expectations of others. Further, there is a connection to what Dr. Mohamed referenced in episode 12 as “…the story we tell ourselves about ourselves,” and the stories we tell ourselves about the other people in our lives, our expectations of them and their intentions towards us.
Big time Aha! Moment!
Speaking of relationships and expectations, Jay Sheatty has an interesting episode of his podcast On Purpose where he talks about 8 Unrealistic Expectations We Have in Relationships & 8 Ways to Replace Them for Success in Love. Jay and I had an argument about these expectations (albeit the argument was in my head…no matter). I will share those musings with you in a future post. in the meantime, take a listen to episode 17 of More Than Metaphors and leave me any comments or questions that come up for you!
Looking forward to continuing this journey towards love, justice and liberation with you!
First, I would like to send love to all of the readers in the United States, India, Pakistan, Canada, Ecuador, Romania, Russia, Croatia, Sweden and Denmark, who read the poem moments after it was published!
I was inspired to write this poem after receiving my inspirational Bible verse of the day. I use these verses to right set my day and provide a positive word when everything else we hear is the direct antithesis of positive.
For those of you who do not read the Bible or are unfamiliar with the “Love Chapter” I Corinthians 13, please find verses 4-7 form the New Living Translation for your reference:
“Love is patient and kind, not jealous or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no records of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out…Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
I Corinthians 13:4-7
It was these words that inspired me to write an interpretation of added attributes of Love. I hope you enjoy it:
Side Note: If it is vicious, vindictive or destructive, it is not, never was and never will be love.
Love has a swag all its own.
“I Am with you. You are not alone when I Am here.”
“Things may not be perfect, but when we’re together, what we have will always be enough.”
“Others will do everything they can to destroy us. And I will protect us at every turn.”
“I will show you how to trust again and again and again…”
“No matter what may come, only I can withstand time, space and circumstance. Come. Take a chance and walk these shores with me.”