POEM: The Solution of X

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

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

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

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

We are the x.

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

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

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

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.

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!

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)


 

2020: A Special Letter to You

For WP Welcome, 2020!

Dearest,

It has been a long time since we’ve connected. We wanted to share what has been put on our hearts about you as you prepare for an amazing new year. 

Stop being afraid. If you had any idea of how many people beyond this life had your back, you would walk through this world differently. With that said, hide these truths in your heart:

  • You are loved. 
  • Success is not a bad thing and failure won’t keep you safe. 
  • Your purpose is bigger than your pain. 
  • See and work beyond your current circumstances. 
  • We can tell you that you are worthy, but only you can live out your worthiness.
  • One more time…only you can live out your worthiness. 
  • What would you do if you knew everything was going to work out in your favor? 
    • What would your state of health and wellbeing be like? 
    • What would your surroundings look like (people, places and things)?
    • How hard would you pray? 

Yes, how hard would you pray? You know prayer changes everything around you. Why won’t you pray? Because you know it works. And anything that works scares you. Someone loving you back, scares you. Someone investing in you and your dreams, scares you. We have watched you villainize those around you because they love you. You run from those who love you because they see your worth.  What about you? Do you love you? If not, what are you waiting for? 

You have to decide that this year and every year you exist, is your year. Yes, you have lived through traumatic situations, but look at you! You are still here and stronger than ever, even when you do not feel like you are stronger. Tap into the resources around you to help you move past the trauma so that you can continue to serve, while living a life of joy and purpose. You’ve got this, Dearheart! Even when you feel like your “this” is a sham or totally out of reach, remember your THIS (Tenacious Heart, Irrefutable Spirit) are not to be taken lightly. 

Please make healing a priority. Block out the noise. Get prepared and stay prepared. Most important, fall madly in love with yourself and the possibilities that surround you. 

We are waiting for you to renew your mind and re-connect to your purpose. We have faith in you and cannot wait to see what you do next! 

With Love,

Your Past, Your Present and Your Future 

 

*I originally wrote this letter to myself as one of my personal healing projects. I hope it inspires you to work towards your goals today! Remember: You’ve got THIS!

Peace,

Dr. Kecia

Welcome the Holidays with The Love of 10,000!

What’s better than giving your Little Ones the gift of love, empowerment, and hope for the holidays? Celebrate a story of love and ancestral wisdom with the children in your life. Order your copies of The Love of 10,000 today!

Excerpt from the book:

Just find your calm and be still
and you’re 10,000 will speak to you.

You will hear them say:
You are mighty.
You are loved.
Speak out!
Rise above.
You matter.
You are brilliant.
Be kind.
Be resilient.

Children’s Book-The Love of 10,000

Inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers,” The Love of 10,000 is a love letter from a mother to her daughter. This visual poem reminds us all that as we navigate life, we are surrounded by those who love and guide us every day. Please email us directly at dr.kecia@drkeciab.com to order copies in Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

$16.95

PRESS RELEASE: The Love of 10,000

THE LOVE OF 10,000 by Dr. Kecia Brown Published on May 25, 2019 by

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

Contact:
contact@drkeciab.com
781-361-9755

THE LOVE OF 10,000, A CHILDREN’S BOOK BY DR. KECIA BROWN,
PUBLISHED ON MAY 25, 2019
Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing

Cover 05-17-19 LOVE-10000-MANUSCRIPT_KindleSan Diego, California (May 25, 2019) – A global publication date of Saturday, May 25, 2019, has been set for the anticipated third book by educator and poet, Dr. Kecia Brown.

THE LOVE OF 10,000 is a self-published work by Dr. Brown and is distributed by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.                  

Dr. Kecia Brown is an educator, entrepreneur, writer, mother and SisterCircle convener. Growing up in Inglewood, California, she has written poetry and prose for more than three decades. She released her first book, “Humanity’s Cup: Tales From the Inner Circle” in 2006 and “God Don’t Like Ugly…And Is Not Too Fond of Pretty Either” in 2018. Brown called upon the talents of her daughter, Makaila Imani to serve as Editor for her first children’s book, “The Love of 10,000” a book inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers.”

As the first person to graduate college in her family, Kecia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from California State University in San Luis Obispo; a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego and a Doctorate of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York. Her research interests look at the intersections of career, leadership and spiritual development of women leaders.

Said Dr. Brown, “Writing THE LOVE OF 10,000 began as simply a love letter I wrote to my daughter. It was her encouragement and ‘editorial savvy’ that led me to publish a book for children everywhere to enjoy. What I did not know at the time, was that I actually wrote the book that I needed as a child to help me better navigate the world after losing my father when I was seven years old. Thus, I have found my own healing in this book and hope that other children (and subsequently adults) will do the same.”

At the time of publication, Dr. Brown will embark on a book tour, with details to be announced at a later date. Information about the book is available to consumers at www.drkeciab.com and on her Amazon Author Page www.amazon.com/author/drkeciabrown

The print edition will carry a suggested list price of $16.95 in the U.S. and the digital edition will be priced at $8.99 in the U.S. International prices may vary.

In support of Dr. Brown’s personal and professional mission to support the development of next generation leaders, the author will provide copies of the book in her late sister’s name to children of military families who have lost a loved one in combat.

An English-language edition of THE LOVE OF 10,000 will be published in six territories: The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. A Spanish translation of the book will be available in early June 2019.