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The Trees Teach Us The Beauty of Death

nature red forest leaves

“In the end only three things matter: How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you”

Buddha

My daughter and I took a walk at the park and we marveled at the radiance and gloriousness of the changing colors of the leaves. She exclaimed, “mommy, it is SO beautiful”, as she pointed at each tree that charmed us. I debated whether I should disrupt her joy to let her know that what we were marveling at was death. Yes, the changing colors of the leaves are a sort of death; a letting go, a release. Being the mother that I am, never wanting to shield her from the most important truths of life, I said, “Baby those leaves are dying. It is the only way the trees can survive the winter”. She replied with a slow and somber, “Ohhhh”. I said, “But see, even death can be beautiful”.

“There is beauty to be found in the changing of the earth’s seasons, and an inner grace in honoring the cycles of life”

Jack Kornfield

Western society shuns death. We’ve accepted that death should be eluded and avoided at all costs. We fear death because of the uncertainty of what comes afterward. No matter what one’s belief system is, no one can be sure. And even if we are sure, do we really want to experience what’s next, forever leaving what was?

“Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to die”

Joe Louis

“This place is only a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief”

Rumi

During the fall, trees release their leaves to survive winter. In a way, trees are actively “pushing” their leaves off, allowing them to die. Photosynthesis requires a lot of energy and water, and during winter there is simply not enough of either to sustain foliage.  During winter, trees go through a process similar to hibernation called dormancy. Everything within trees slows down so they can conserve energy. This is what keeps them alive during winter and allows them to get ready for the Spring season. To survive, they let their leaves die.

“Love is a kind of survival”

The trees show us the beauty of letting things go for our own survival. More than that, the trees show us how beautiful this can be. We don’t have to go into our next season or cycle kicking and screaming. We can release people, relationships, jobs, friendships, and cities with the same grace and striking beauty trees release their leaves. We can let the thought patterns, mindsets, and habits die that will hinder our survival with the same dignified brilliance and splendor that tress let their leave die.

Death can be beautiful and freeing. It can welcome a much-needed transition and even a survival. Some things you have to let go of or it will kill you. If the trees did not let their leaves die, they wouldn’t survive the winter season. And we all know that if you don’t survive winter, there will be no spring.

There are many things that we are holding onto that we simply need to let die. Look to the trees and let that death be glorious and grand!

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In Honor of the Slave Mother

“A mother holds a knife by the blade”

Tswana Proverb

I’ve been here many times before. I keep coming back because there is a lot of unfinished business. There is much karma to transcend and wrongs that must be made right. Some of them are mine, but most have nothing to do with me. Still, it is my duty to make them right. I owe it to myself, but more importantly, I owe it to them. My children. The precious souls that have chosen me as their mother. I often wonder why they chose me. Why choose a mother who is a slave. Why choose a mother who will give birth to more pain than joy. Despite my many flaws and no matter what oppression we were born into, whether it was the backwoods of Alabama or the low country region of the Geechee, whatever child I birthed, I loved to no end. I didn’t care who the father was either. Whether it was Massa’s or my husband. My child was MY child. My devotion to them is steadfast, and I will protect what is mine even if it cost me my life. And it has cost me my life before.  And I’d do it again. They know that. My children know my heart. And that’s why they was MINE. The only thing stronger than my love for my children was my hate for the massa. They say you ain’t supposed to hate, but most days my hate was the only thing that kept me alive.

I couldn’t love them with all of me; working them fields and then in the Massa’s house. But what was left, I gave it all to them. I can’t think of where else it could go. I loved my babies with all I had and all I didn’t have. How I did it, only God and my mama, and her mama, and all the mamas before them know. When a child is born, something is also born in the mama. I learned that with my first child. A girl. I couldn’t love nothing in the world more than her. I had her bout 4 years and then they sold her. She on that wagon screaming “Mama” and I bout lost it. Took 3 men to hold me down. I would have tore that wagon to pieces to get my baby. I never was the same after that. I had four more children after that. Two of them sold too. After my girl, they sold two of my boys. They tried to run. They was caught. I seen the fire in they spirit. I never would try to stop it. I was proud of em. They whipped em them sold them as punishment. Massa said didn’t make no sense to kill em, make some money off em instead. I wonder if they would still be here if I had taught them different. If I put the thoughts of freedom out they head. I can’t help but think it is my fault.

After they sold my three boys, all I had was my last one. A boy too. He was born a little sickly. I wasn’t as strong as I was. My body was, but my heart was so full of pain, I guess he carried that with him. He was never gonna be fit to work the fields and I couldn’t bear the thought of my last child being sold or killed by Massa. So I figure we try to run. I wasn’t able to save none of my children. But maybe this one I could save. My mind was made. Run. I had to be smart about it. Plan it really good and talk to the others about how to get to freedom. But before we could leave, my last child, died in my arms. Yellow fever they say. 

Wasn’t nothing left to live for after that. Not even freedom. But I run anyway cause I can’t stay.  All my babies gone. Gone. Ain’t never gon see them again, cept in the land of the ancestors. After we all dead. So what is freedom here? I wonder bout my other children. How they faring in this world. Did I give em enough to carry them through this lifetime. I ran. Don’t know what I was running to or from. I just ran. It was bout a month before I was caught. Massa tied me to the post hisself. Gave me those fifty lashes with everyone watching. I didn’t cry or scream. Wasn’t no tears left in me. Make an example out of me they say. I would get the noose. I was worth more dead than alive.

I could have lived without freedom if I had my children. My children gave me freedom in bondage. But they took every one of my children. I could hate the Massa and still live in bondage if I had my children. But with that noose around my neck I was strangled to a sort of freedom.

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I Started Doing This One Thing and It Changed My Life

“If we are going to heal, let it be glorious”

Beyonce

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, my health and the health of my community is my number one priority. I am always looking for ways to improve my health and optimize the functioning of my body, particularly the systems that are designed to remove toxins and waste from the body… I’ll just cut to the chase. The one thing I started doing that changed my life was enemas! Once I started doing weekly enemas my health drastically improved. I felt lighter, I had less headaches and less toxins recirculating in my system.

The Colon

One of the most important systems of elimination is the digestive system and within that system the colon plays a very important role. The colon is responsible for reabsorbing fluids and processing the waste from the food we eat for removal and elimination (bowel movements).

Think about it. If we eat 3-6 times a day, 7 days a week, that is a total of 21-42 meals per week. If you only have one bowel movement a day that means you have 12-35 meals worth of waste still in your system. And some people do not have a bowel movement every day and that means more waste not being eliminated. Feces can become impacted in the colon and the bacteria and toxins will recirculate through the body causing several ailments and dis-ease.

The Benefits of an Enema

An enema helps to remove impacted feces from the colon. Enemas should especially be used when fasting. The following benefits are reaped with enemas:

  • Treats constipation
  • Clears out the bowels
  • Relives headaches
  • Increases energy levels
  • Clears the skin
  • Removes toxins from the body
  • Removes excess mucous
  • Alleviates Bloating

How to Perform an Enema

You can start with using store-bought enemas and then graduate to making your own. Lie on the floor or bed (yoga mat or blanket) on your left side. Gently massage the left side of your abdomen. Laying on the left side eases the passage and flow of fluid into the rectum. Gently insert the tip of the enema in the rectum (don’t go too deep) and squeeze the enema bag so the fluid is released into the colon. Gently massage the left side of the abdomen. When you feel the need to eliminate, feel free to release. You can use a stool for your feet for deeper cleansing. The water loosens up stool and allows for feces to pass though easily.

I do enemas at least once a week as preventative maintenance. This may be TMI, but I have the best and most productive bowel movements when using an enema. It feels great knowing that waste is no longer in me and I literally feel so light and free. After intermittent fasting and increasing water intake, enemas are my next and favorite recommendation. If you’ve never done an enema, you must try. If you have any digestive or bowel disorders, please check with your PCP to make sure there are no contraindications. One of the first articles I posted on my blog in 2015 was titled: Poop: The Perfect Sign of Pure Health. It was true then and enemas have made this even more true today.

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness Inc. The mission of MRW is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the black community using African Holistic Health. Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor, Herbalist, and Intermittent Fasting Specialist.

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Adapt or Die: Why Many of us Won’t Make It Through the Pandemic

man in white crew neck t shirt sitting on brown pavement

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Charles Darwin



We are the children of the African Diaspora. We are the offspring of super humans. We are the progeny of the most resilient people on this Earth. It took an immeasurable amount of strength and mental fortitude to survive the middle passage and life on the plantation. Not every African was able to do so. Many died on the ship and many others chose suicide over slavery. But more than strength and fortitude, it took the unique ability to adapt. It took the ability to assess the current situation and figure out how to make it work for one’s best interest. That was and still is our greatest tool to navigate this racist, white world. Our ancestors had it figured out. Adapt or die. Adaptation manifested into Hoodoo, Negro Spirituals, Gullah Geechee culture, the Blues, soul food, and every facet of slave quarter culture and black life. We created an entirely new way of life that nurtured our bodies and souls. This allowed us to excel and thrive in the midst of bondage, subjugation, and deep oppression. Our ancestors chose adaptation over death.

“My ancestors survived the Middle passage, Chattel Slavery, and Jim Crow. I am the descendant of superhumans”


We are now living in a time that no one has seen or experienced before. The global pandemic and current political climate has wreaked havoc on our world. Everything we once knew is seemingly fading away. The life we once lived is no more. Many people are unable to cope. But It’s sink or swim baby. It’s adapt or die. Lamenting what once was is only going to cause more anxiety. Wishing for days gone by won’t bring them back.

Our ancestors survived because they accepted their new reality and adapted. They kept the remnants of the past they could and created something new. They assessed their new surroundings, tapped into their God given Ashè and lived their life to the fullest. Many of us won’t survive this new world that’s emerging. For some it may be a literal death as many of us have died from Covid-19 due to underlying chronic diseases. For many more, it will be a spiritual/mental/energetic death. We will succumb to anxiety, depression, panic, mania, breakdowns, illness and disease. It doesn’t have to be this way. Our roots run too deep to be carried away by the storms of life. The ability to Adapt is embedded within your DNA. It’s who you are at your core. You are the offspring of the greatest adapters this world has witnessed.

“You are worth every prayer whispered by your ancestors”

Adapt or die

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness Inc. The mission of MRW is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community using African Holistic Health. Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor, Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator, Herbalist, Intermittent Fasting Specialist and Hoodoo Practitioner. Kathleen takes the upmost pride in tapping into her melanin rich DNA and following in the footsteps of the warriors, healers and teachers she lovingly calls ancestors.

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The Liver: The Seat of Life

woman with blue lips on body of water

The heart has become the focus when it comes to our overall health. And while the heart is vitally important, there is one organ that is often forgotten and ignored: the liver. It is believed that the word liver is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “to live”. And rightfully so because there is no life without the liver. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is believed to house the soul and is the origin of many of our most turbulent emotions like anger, frustration, and bitterness. Once I learned about the liver and its functions, from both a physical and spiritual perspective, I developed a deep appreciation for the liver and have made a commitment to always take good care of my liver. It became a priority.

Functions of the liver

The liver is a very large organ with more than a thousand functions! And while I won’t go through them all, I want to focus on one particularly important function of the liver. The liver is the master detoxifier. Everything that we eat and drink (including medications) is first metabolized and processed by the liver before being distributed throughout the body. The liver is responsible for removing toxic substances and metabolic wastes from our bloodstream. The health of the entire body is dependent on the health of the liver.

Toxic Overload

If the liver becomes overburdened with toxins and wastes from the food that we eat, the beverages we drink and the medications we consume, the liver will be unable to remove toxins from our system. These toxins and waste will re-circulate in our bodies and wreak havoc on our other systems, particularly the woman’s reproductive system.  Dr. Catherine Kousimine has found that when the liver isn’t able to detoxify the system the body will develop cysts and fibroids to serve as a “second” liver to store toxins.

Signs and symptoms of the liver not functioning properly are feeling over fatigued, lethargic, and lacking motivation and mental clarity. Other symptoms include feeling overly anxious, frustrated, or angry. Hyperpigmentation in the skin, feeling nauseous, increasing PMS symptoms, and more aches and pain will also manifest when the liver is overloaded with toxins. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then it is time to detox the liver. Here are three simple yet effective ways to remove toxins from the system and regenerate the liver.

Detoxing the Liver

  1. Increase your water intake and add lemon. Water is nature’s healing elixir. Water clears toxic waste from different parts of the body and takes to the liver and kidneys for disposal. Adding lemon alkalinizes the blood and helps to flush the toxins out further.
  2. Intermittent fasting allows the body to have a much-needed rest from digestion. Instead of digesting, the body then focuses on eliminating toxins from the liver allowing regeneration to occur and the liver will begin to function properly again. 16/8, 18/6 and 20/4 are all great intermittent fasting regimens that will bring healing to the liver.
  3. The Melanin Rich Wellness 2-week Liver Detox Herbal Tea regimen will remove built-up toxins from the liver and cleanse the blood. It will energize the body, clear the skin, and bring stability to the system. To purchase the Liver Detox Tea and begin your journey to liver health, click here.

The liver is the seat of life. It is time for you to come on in and sit a spell.

Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Certified Yin Yoga Instructor, Herbalist, Intermittent Fasting Specialist and Hoodoo Practitioner.