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 Mothers Have Come

TRIGGER WARNING: This poem was written May 25, 2020 after the heinous murder of George Floyd one year ago today. This poem depicts violent imagery, yet not nearly as violent as what the world witnessed on the day (now) 7-year old Gianna Floyd had her father ripped from her life.
The contents of this poem may be haunting and are not meant for young audiences, those who have witnessed or have directly experienced forms of violence. Please be advised.

Originally added to Spotify on 5/25/21

The Mothers Have Come

Our Mother Ancestors are enraged. 

The pillaging of Black bodies at the hands of 

white supremacist tyrannical delusions, 

acts of violence and psychological warfare

have resurrected the spirits.

The Mothers have come.

There is more to be atoned for than white delusions can understand. 

Our Mother Ancestors have grown weary from 

their lineage being hunted down as prey 

and hearing their last breath calling for their mother (we heard you) 

or for air (we heard you) 

or for change (we heard you)

Tears of blood running down our Mother Ancestors’ cheeks 

as they hold in their hands each precious Black pearl 

that they have been so careful to surround with love, power and hope. 

Only to have those pearls drowned and suffocated in their own blood. 

The Mothers have come.

Vengeance belongs to the Lord

and the Patrons of Vengeance are en route.

Weapons cannot save you because

you can’t kill what you cannot see.

You can’t  apprehend what you cannot touch

and you cannot terrorize what is beyond terror.

Even Mother Nature has reached a boiling point 

where she too is stepping in 

with fire, famine and fear.

Nothing in your training has prepared you

for what is next.

The Mothers have come.

The Mothers have come.

The Mothers have come.

Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo Should be Alive Today

Image Credit: APNews and Ben Crump Law, PLLC. 

20 year-old Daunte Wright and his son, Daunte Jr. Daunte Wright, Sr. was killed by an officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Image credit: Elizabeth Toledo, mother of Adam Toledo, age 13. Adam was killed by an officer in Chicago, Illinois.

Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo should be alive today. They are not. Their lives were taken from them by those who are supposed to “protect and serve” the communities for which they are paid to serve. 

For my international readers/listeners, last week was another week of trying to balance trauma with hope here in the U.S. As an educator, it is growing more difficult to shore up an inspirational message for our next generation leaders.

However, I am fortunate that I have a community of leaders to engage in these conversations who can provide empowering words in those times when my motivational reserves are low. Feel free to watch or listen to the following episodes of the “More Than Metaphors” podcast to start your week off on a good note:

More Than Metaphors Episode 12 Part 1: Politics, Hip Hop and Re-Membering Home 

Episode 12 Part 1: Politics, Hip Hop and Re-Membering Home 

Sociologist, Author and Higher Education Leader, Dr. A. Rafik Mohamed reflects on the intersections of storytelling and politics in remembering (recalling) his journey from D.C. to California, while re-membering (putting together again) a feeling of home. He and Dr. Kecia also square off on a hip hop trivia challenge to (possibly) end their 20+ year East Coast/West Coast beef [Timestamp: 53:45-1:04]! P.s. Ms. Lauryn Hill has more than one album, Dr. Mohamed!!!

Rafik’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contributions: 

King of Rock © 1985 Run DMC

Can’t Truss It © 1991 Public Enemy 

Ain’t No Future in Yo’ Frontin’ © 1991 MC Breed


More Than Metaphors Episode 11 – Part 1: Being All the Things: Beyond Expectations and “Instagram Ash”

Episode 11 – Part 1: Being All the Things: Beyond Expectations and “Instagram Ash”

This is the first part of a conversation with one of the co-hosts of the “The Adjacent Self” podcast and Principal of Kendra Dorlenda Coaching & Consulting. Kendra Stewart reflects on her evolution into supporting the personal development of others. She also talks about the importance of re-connecting to the world around us while keeping “Instagram Ash” at bay.

Are you “Instagram Ashy?” Listen to this episode and find out!

Kendra’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contribution: Alive by Sia

More Than Metaphors Episode 10 – A Poetic Love “After the Snap”

Episode 10 – A Poetic Love “After the Snap”

Our very first More than Metaphors interview is with Author, Poet and Inglewood’s Mahogany Son, Kian A. Furnace and his amazing wife, ReShockie Furnace! This lively and thought-provoking conversation looks at what and how we can learn to love ourselves and others after experiencing divorce. 

Kian and ReShockie share their truths (and lots of laughter) as they discuss how they went about their healing process and eventually found their way back to each other. They also share their musical choices for the brand new More Than Metaphors Playlist.

Kian and ReShockie’s More Than Metaphors Playlist contributions:

– Sunkissed Child by D Smoke ft. Jill Scott ©2020 D Smoke

– Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood ©1964 Nina Simone

– Fall In Live  (Your Funeral) ©2010 Erykah Badu

– Mark on Me © 2014 Eric Roberson

Feel free to enjoy the playlist on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. Search for: More Than Metaphors: The Playlist. 

You can also watch these interviews on YouTube

Even in these times when it feels a bit harder to hold on to hope, let’s work to cling onto our belief in something greater than what we see.

I am sending you all love and light as you continue to to learn, thrive and move towards liberation.

In Solidarity,

Cherish the Days: My Reflections From “A Poetic Love After the Snap” and More

Welcome back, Everyone!

I pray you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. As we begin to re-engage into our pre-pandemic ways of being; I hope that each of you are continuing to be vigilante about your health as well as the health of those around you.

My plan is for this post to be brief given what I really want to share with you lives in this week’s episode of More Than Metaphors. So, let’s jump right into it:

As we move closer to the middle of April, I find myself in as space of contemplative gratitude. You see, for some, April 15th may be filled with dread. Others are excitedly preparing for their tax refund. I have a very different view of this time of year because I happen to be born on April 15th. There was a time when I would treat my birthday as if it were a national holiday. However, given the events of the last two years (and well beyond), I am viewing another year of life differently.

As I prepare to turn 48 years old (how in the hell did that happen so quickly?), it has become more important for me to think about how, or in what ways I am honoring those who I have lost with the life I have been given. Kind of a heavy question, but one that sits with me as we mourn the death of yet another artist, Earl Simmons known by his stage name, DMX.

Rest in Love, Mr. Simmons.

How are celebrating birthdays, the death of DMX and an episode of this week’s podcast entitled “A Poetic Love After the Snap” connected? I look to the words of Mr. Simmons’ family for the answer “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him.”

Love and cherish. Because it could all change in a snap.

Sade Adu said it best: Cherish the Day.

Who are the people, places, things and circumstances that make you feel loved and cherished and you, in kind, love and cherish them back? This was one of the questions that was answered by my first podcast guests, Kian and ReShockie Furnace: Two divorcees that decided to give love a chance and have created a union based on friendship, love, mutual respect and a deep faith in their Creator.

Are you sharing your gifts out loud in the world where our next generation leaders can build, borrow and best-up what you have created? DMX did. If you have too, hats off to you! If you have not, what are you waiting for?

And as for the gift of another year, day, or moment of life; how are you honoring those you have loved and who continue to love you beyond this world? That is the question that I am reflecting and acting out in a far more intentional way.

I hope that you are continuing to learn how  to love and cherish your days a bit differently, while continuing to learn, thrive and move towards liberation.

In Solidarity,