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Transcending Survival: Are You Really the Strong Person You Believe?

woman in white off shoulder wedding dress sitting in brown fabric sofa chair

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell”

Buddha

We live by the motto, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. But contrary to popular belief, just because you survived something, doesn’t necessarily make you strong. You aren’t stronger if what didn’t kill you made you bitter, resentful, jealous, spiteful, and angry. Are you really a strong woman if you make it through every day, but you do so wearing a mask, riddled with sickness, excess weight, a wounded womb and nonexistent smile? Did the nonkilling truly make you stronger?

We have placed such value on being strong, but we have made the grave mistake of equating strength with a mere survival from day to day, despite how haggard and unhealthy that survival looks. It is time we redefine what true survival and strength looks like. Being strong doesn’t mean suffering day in and day out after a survival. Being strong doesn’t mean dragging yourself through life with a deep and unending sadness in your heart. We all have war stories. Each of us has experienced inexplicable sorrows and undeserving traumas. And we have survived them. Because we are here. But that is not enough.

I don’t want to know what you have managed to survived. I want to know what you have transcended and what levels of self-mastery you have attained. I want to hear about the resulting triumph. I don’t want to know that you made it through. I want to know where you’ve gone and who you’ve become after you’ve made it through. Are you stuck in the in-between space of what you’ve gone through and where you can go next? Have you made a forever home in the survival stage of your journey, constantly attending to your wounds? Are you content with just knowing you survived what should have killed you, or are you ready to transcend and triumph over what should have killed you, master yourself and experience radical self-love and a peace no devil can destroy?  These are tough questions to ask yourself. It’s a very hurting thing to take a look at where you are and admit that not only don’t you belong there, but it is only because of you that you remain right where you are. It is easy to convince ourselves that we are ok. That it could be worse. But nothing is worse than not loving who you are or where you are. Nothing is worse than denying yourself the experience of discovering your greatest truth and knowing true happiness.

We have to start somewhere, and I have the perfect place to begin. My e-book, The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love is available for download and will provide a perfect blueprint to find your true strength and transcend survival to experience triumph. Click here to download today.

Kathleen is the Owner of Melanin Rich Wellness, an African Holistic Health based company dedicated to optimizing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community. Kathleen holds several certifications in the fields of Holistic Nutrition, Womb wellness and Yoga. She is an Intermittent Fasting Guru and Self-Healing strategist. She relies on the wisdom and strength of the healers and warriors she lovingly calls ancestors. To learn more about Melanin Rich Wellness and Kathleen click here.

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Harpo, Who Dis Woman…Discovering Your Purpose and Greatest Truth

confident black lady with closed eyes near frame with plants

“But the question that will most help you live your purpose is not what have I come here to do? But rather who have I come here to be”

Unknown

If you are wondering who you are or why you are here, I have a little bit of advice to offer you. This is from my own personal experience. You see, I’ve been through some things and seen some things. But most importantly I have transcended some things. Most people merely survive. They survive their childhood traumas, their pain, disappointments, rejections, and sickness. But only a few are able to transcend survival to experience personal transformation and mastery. This is definitely another topic for another day, but I have shared this to provide the proper context that you definitely want to pick up what I’m putting down. I know who I am and what I am here to do. All I had to do was ask myself two questions and listen for the answers. The two questions are:

If you didn’t have to get up and go to work every day…If you had no familial or societal obligations… If you didn’t have to worry about money…what would you spend your time doing?

Imagine the best version of yourself. What does it feel like to be him or her?

Asking these two questions will allow you to discover your purpose in life. You will unearth your greatest and highest truth. But I must warn you, the asking is the easy part. Listening for the answers have proven to be more difficult. It requires that you take an honest assessment of your current habits, beliefs, and mindset. It requires an intentional silencing of outside noise. It demands that some beliefs you’ve held all your life are discarded. It forces some people out of your life. It often times means preparation for some stormy weather.  

There are many joys in life, but nothing compares to knowing the truth of who you are at the soul level and being able to live in and walk in that truth daily. Asking two simple questions and bracing yourself to receive the answers will be well worth it.

Kathleen is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor and Death & Mourning Doula. She is an Intermittent Fasting Guru and Radical Self-Healing Specialist dedicated to optimizing the physical and spiritual health of the Black community using African Holistic Health, Black Radicalism and Intermittent Fasting.

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You Don’t Need to Forgive to Be Free

I’ve always had a serious issue with the concept of forgiveness. It never made any sense to me and it never resonated with my spirit. Why should I, the one who was done wrong offer anything, especially forgiveness to one who has wronged me? Why does the onus now lie on me? Since when did it become my responsibility to fix what others f****d up? Why do I have to be the bigger person?

There’s talk of accepting apologies you’ll never receive, turning the other cheek, forgiving 70 times 7. RUBBISH! And I’m not even British. They say forgiveness is for you, not the other person. Why is my healing and freedom contingent on the denial and sacrifice of my righteous anger at those who have harmed me?

I was molested at the age of 4 by a family member. This man ruined so much of me. He left me broken and confused. Any concept I had of self-worth was obliterated. After the 7 years of abuse ended, my perception of myself and the world was so skewed, I easily found myself in relationships with men who were abusive. Abuse had become my norm and I accepted dysfunction as my karma. 

So, I need to forgive this man to be healed and be free? That is complete bulls**t. Who came up with this crap? I’m here to tell you, if forgiving those who have intentionally and systemically hurt you doesn’t resonate with your spirit, DON’T do it. And don’t you dare even try. Forgiving others does not have to be a part of your healing journey or the key to your personal freedom. You can say f**k em and they mama and still become whole. You can refuse to forgive them and still shine. 

When you see me, do I look bitter, sad, or defeated to you? Absolutely not! Anyone who has the pleasure of being in my presence can feel the vibration of love, light and healing that radiates from me. And you know what? I didn’t have to forgive a muthaf****n soul to do it!  

You don’t have to forgive anyone, blood relatives included to become whole.  And holding onto the belief that you need to forgive may be that one emotional block that is keeping you mired in your trauma and pain. You are conflicted. You are trying to do something your spirit is rejecting. No matter what the preacher says in the pulpit, the life coach or therapist says in your sessions. You are not obligated to forgive a soul. 

Now, let me tell you what you are obligated to do. You are obligated to forgive yourself. You are obligated to offer yourself every ounce of kindness, gentleness, and compassion you can muster. You are obligated to love on yourself, every hour of every day. You are obligated to go within to the deepest parts of your being to love and cry and moan and pray yourself back to life. You are obligated to mourn and grieve every part of you that was lost. And after your mourning period has ended, you are obligated to dig through the ashes, gather the best parts of your essence that could never be destroyed and you must with every fiber of your being recreate, restore, and rebuild. 

Sorrow and suffering must become your closest companions. Grace and gratitude must become your song. You reparent your inner child. You nurture your soul back to full health. You master yourself. You find the joy within. You must release the parts of you that you needed to survive because, now it is time for a new thing to begin. You take off your armor because the war has ended. You release your deep attachment to the pain, hurt and bitterness. Your anger remains, but it builds you up, it becomes a fire in your soul that propels you to move forward. You become one with yourself and then one day you wake up and look in the mirror and it’s as if you’re seeing yourself for the very first time. 

You look at your scars and you can only cry tears of joy because of what you’ve overcome. You feel enveloped in the light of love. You repeat the cycle again and again. As many times as you need too. You mourn again. You heal again. You see yourself for the first time again. You are transformed by the bravery of your choice to let your healing journey be what it should only be about. YOU. 

Does this work? With a strong emphatic voice, I scream yes! I didn’t forgive my abuser or his wife and when I tell you I am healed from the inside out. I am healed! How did I know? Well, the moment came when I saw this person. And when I saw this individual, I didn’t feel an iota of resentment, anger, disappointment, or pain. I wasn’t triggered. I didn’t have to pretend I was ok when in reality I wasn’t. I was truly ok! PEACE! PEACE abounded in my soul and that was the moment I knew, I was free! And I did it without offering forgiveness.

You don’t need to forgive anyone to be free. Now, go be free!

And while you’re on your way to freedom, check out the amazing e-book book called The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love, which provides a unique 5 step process to experience radical self-love and feel your own sun. It is on sale for the next 10 days for $3.99. To download your copy, click The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love. This book was was inspired by a recent blog post I wrote, called “The Truth About Self-Love No one Told You”. To read the article, click The Truth About Self-Love That No One Told You.

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The Truth About Self-Love That No One Told You

“Self-love will save your soul”

r.h Sin

“Know thyself, accept thyself, love thyself, trust thyself, conquer and master thyself”

Kathleen Richardson


Everyone talks about self-love. What it is and what it looks like; its words, actions, habits, and deeds. But so many struggle with both grasping the concept of self- love and manifesting self-love into a working reality. The reason is that self-love has been separated from the fundamental truisms of Self. Self-love is not a solitary practice. “Love yourself”, they say. They remind us that Self-love is the best love. But they never quite tell us how to love ourselves. What many fail to reveal is that there is no self-love without first having a solid foundation of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self- acceptance. And they never tell us that there will be no evidence or manifestation of self-love if there isn’t self-trust or self-mastery to follow.

In our microwave, I want it now, take the shortcut, cheat code society, we want maximum results with minimum effort. We want the glory without a story. We want the reward without the risk. We want the prize without the sacrifice. We want the change without the impending crisis.



Self-love has been cherry picked and isolated as something we should all strive to achieve, but it is time to place it back in its proper context of the internal, very personal process that encompasses so much more than cute Instagram hashtags of self-care Sunday’s (although they are necessary and fun). A quote that comes to mind is, “It is the process that activates the promise”. You don’t wake up one day and start loving yourself. You don’t simply use affirmations to love yourself. You must do the work and begin the process.



It starts with knowing thyself. Who are you? At your soul level? What makes you uniquely you? You must search and unearth your deepest truth. You must shed the layers of social and familial conditioning and socialization to arrive at the naked truth of your essence. You must cut the draining and toxic energetic cords with family and friends, sorting through to determine what belongs to you and the bullshit that belongs to others that has been projected onto you. As A Nichole explains, “And then I suddenly realized that I was not obligated to carry the suitcases that I didn’t pack and didn’t have my name on them”. You must unbecome to simply be. You must Know thyself…


Then you must accept thyself. Be at peace with who you are. Accept that your desires are your desires, and they are valid. Accept the life you have been purposed to live. Be at peace with the karmic soul contracts and work you must engage in. Accept your ancestral assignment with grace. You must accept that you may be different from everyone else. You must be ok with the path chosen for you. You accept responsibility for the energy you emit and the frequency you operate in. You must get comfortable with your inherent truth. You accept all of who you are and release all of who you are not. The acceptance leads to being at peace with who you are. And then you rock that shit out.



Once you know who you are and accept who you are, you can begin to love yourself. How do you love something or someone you don’t know. How can you deeply appreciate someone by only seeing the surface. What does self-love look like? Honoring who you are in every moment. Forgiving yourself when you fail to honor yourself in the moment. Commitment to yourself. Establishing healthy boundaries. Taking care of your spirit and body. Self-love is nurturing the relationship between you, your inner child, and your higher self. Your confidence increases. You begin to show up in the world boldly and authentically. That quiet, subtle power begins to ripple through the world.

Then comes the fun part! You begin to trust yourself and your highest truth above all else. You learn to follow your intuition and trust the promptings of your heart. Your spiritual hearing is increased, and you no longer doubt that what you know, feel, and hear is accurate. You no longer need the validation of others. Every answer lies within, easily accessible, and always on point. Any confusion, doubt or fear is cast aside by the simple reminder that you got you. And you know that you got you because God and the ancestors got you. You begin to know on a soul level, that you cannot fail.


Lastly, there is self-mastery. As Don Miguel Ruiz states, “Mastery is a way of thinking, a way of acting and a journey you experience”. You conquer yourself. You fight and win a thousand battles within. You realize that your greatest trauma was a gift. That everyone who broke you, berated you, and betrayed you was being used to build you. You understand they were pawns being used to manifest God’s glory in your life. That realization means that those who hurt you, no longer have power over you. You realize the fears that haunted you were only illusions. And you wonder why you spent so many years running from the mirror that would have reflected your true beauty with a simple clearing away of life’s debris. You understand that rock bottom is the only way to know God, that sorrow and suffering were the greatest companions and teachers. Self-mastery breeds a type of gratitude only the most resilient have. As Marianne Williamson says, “Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet”. That is self-mastery and that is where transformation both begins and ends.

Self-love is knowing the path. Self-love experienced with self-knowledge, self -acceptance and then manifested as self-trust and self-mastery is walking the path to enlightenment.

If this article resonated with your spirit, I have written a book which goes into detail of the process to radical self-love The Black Girl’s Guide to Radical Self-Love

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Pity P****y and People Pleasing: I Lost Every Time

“If it is all burning and misery ahead, I hope the version of myself that is tired from rising from the ashes in the end shows up and keeps me from dancing into the fire to begin with”

Upile Chisala

I have been engaged in a deeper level of self-reflection and self-awareness lately. I mean, really, truly looking at the core and essence of who I am and delving into what has gotten me to where I am. I am peeling back the layers, going beyond my blind spots, and coming to some really insightful realizations. One of those, realizations is that I am a HUGE people pleaser. I do things that I don’t want to avoid hurting other’s feelings. I much rather endure discomfort than cause it. I fear that if I don’t do what others want or ask of me (particularly those close to me), they will withhold their love and affection and I don’t want that.

Because of the way I was socialized, and due to some aspects of my childhood trauma, I have held the false belief that others are more important than I am, and their feelings are more important than my own. I felt that I owed people what they wanted from me. I was worried about how others perceived me. I didn’t want to be seen as mean, rude, or stuck-up, so I would go along with whatever others wanted. Especially the men in my life.

The first experience I had with this was when I was 16. I was “dating” this guy. You can’t really call it dating because I only saw him at church, or at the YMCA for basketball tournaments and we talked on the phone. That hardly qualifies as dating but in my book, that was a full- blown relationship. He was OK, but he wasn’t what I really wanted. But he liked me, and I just went along with it.  Fast forward to Junior Prom. He told me that he never had a chance to go to his prom and he always wanted to go (he was 18). But my crush at school, who was super cute, smart, and sweet asked me to the prom. I was so happy, and I was going to say yes! But I thought of my “boyfriend” who I only sort of liked and never had a chance to go to his prom. So I made a decision, I told the guy who I REALLY liked and wanted to go with no. You see, I didn’t want to let my “boyfriend” down. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I didn’t want to be mean. I thought I was doing the right thing because I had placed his desires above my own.

Let me tell y’all how that backfired! I told him I was wearing black, and I wanted him to get a black tux. Do you know he showed up at my door in a white suit and an orange hat?! Wait, it gets worse. The night of prom, he handed me a hand-written note telling me that he was breaking up with me. TF! Really? After I made his dream come true of going to the prom, this asshole dumps me! I took a major, major L that night. I promise you, to this day I think what may have happened if I put my feelings above my “boyfriend’s” and went to prom with my crush…

I didn’t learn my lesson because 10 years later, it happened again. I was a proud member of the 5:30 am gym squad and so was my soon to be baby daddy. He would always talk to me, bring me little trinkets, and ask if we could work out together. He was a short, light-skinned, dreaded, gold-tooth Rasta man straight from Trinidad, and I wasn’t the least bit interested. He kept asking. I kept saying no. He kept asking. One Saturday morning, he literally begged, “please can we workout at least once together”. I felt so bad for the guy. I thought, wow he must really be into me to go this hard. He wore me down and I agreed. But it was out of pity more than anything else. We started working out, then it was lunch dates, mall dates and dinner dates. Next thing I know, I’m face down, a** up giving him pity p***y. Because I mean that’s the normal part of dating right? I was never attracted to him, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings because he was just so into me. Once again, I put the feelings and desires of others before my own.

“Honey, you are sacred land. Choose your travelers wisely”

Della Hicks-Wilson

But it didn’t end there because I became pregnant. Before you judge me, and ask why the hell I would have a baby with a man I wasn’t attracted to or even liked, we used protection every time. But one time, the condom broke. AND the very next morning I took the morning after or plan B pill. But you know what? I still became pregnant. I guess my daughter is just as stubborn and won’t take no for an answer just like her daddy, because she was like nope, I’m coming. F your plan B pill mom! Lol. I am so blessed to have my daughter and I wouldn’t change having her in my life for anything. But soon after I became pregnant, her father’s true colors showed. He was very abusive to me. He put my daughter and I through a lot. I can’t help but to think how differently my life would have been if I had just kept saying no. Or even had the courage to tell him to F off! But I didn’t want to be mean, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

I have learned the hard way, through much pain, heartache, and disappointment that I must ALWAYS honor myself and my desires. I must ALWAYS put myself first, even if it disappoints or hurts others. No one is more important than me. No one’s feelings are more valid and honorable than my own. Especially not a man. Being a people pleaser left me with a very unpleasant high school memory and the chance to experience a wonderful event with a great guy. Giving away pity pussy, caused me to become a single mother.

My father always told me that it is good to learn from your experiences, but it is even better to learn from the experiences of others. Learn from me. Choose you, always and forever. My dear, Choose you…

“I know my worth. I’ve paid dearly for every ounce of it”

Alfa

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You Ain’t Married Yet? The Question Everyone is Asking

“Think not that you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy directs your course”

Khalil Gibran

I’ve been hearing this question a lot lately. Mainly from other women. The question is always framed with equal amounts of surprise, pity, and the thought that maybe something is secretly wrong with me. I never take it personal though. I guess if I were them I too would wonder why I’m not married yet.

And to be honest, it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. Perhaps because I will be turning 37 this year. I had my first relationship right out of high school at 17. Twenty years later and I have NEVER been single for more than a year. I have literally gone from one relationship to the next. And not because I didn’t enjoy my time alone. Because I do. I can sit at home alone for hours and read or watch tv and enjoy my own company. I love to run alone, and I certainly don’t mind working out alone. I never used my relationships as an escape from myself. But there was always a man there. How could I resist?  I’ve had some rough relationships! And my heart has been broken more than I wanted to experience. But that never stopped me. I am a hopeless romantic, always willing, and ready for the next adventure in love. Both sets of my great-grandparents were married. Both sets of my grandparents were married. My parents have been together for 43 years and married 38. I’ve seen and experienced healthy love. I know what it looks like.

What I realized is that despite never being single in 20 years, always having an open heart to men, and seeing healthy love and marriages all my life, I never thought I was worthy of that kind of love, intimacy, loyalty, and security. I’ve spent most of my life fighting for my life, going from one struggle to the next, overcoming obstacles and trauma, making peace with who I am and learning the meaning of radical self-love.

But how do you explain this to people who ask, “you still ain’t married yet?”. How do you explain to people its not as simple as meeting a man, falling in love, and getting married. And no, it’s not because I’m secretly a raggedy hoe that no one wants lol. How do you explain that you are out here hustling for your own worthiness. And once you find it, you can finally accept the man out there who is gonna love the shit outta you and REST in that. My path this time around is requiring me to dig deeper than I ever have before, transcend certain karmas, and learn specific lessons. So nope, I ain’t married yet. You are free to ask, but are you ready to hear the real reason why?

“When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with”

Anais Nin
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It’s Not Personal: It’s Just the Law of Energy

There are some people you simply cannot be around. It’s not personal, it’s just the law of energy. Imagine two energies, one being higher than the other. One would assume that the higher energy would bring the lower energy up to its level. But the opposite is true. One of the fundamental laws of energy is that when two energies are present, and one has a higher energy than the other, the lower vibrating energy will draw the higher energy down to its level. “The weak draws the strong down to itself”.

Have you ever been around someone and afterward you feel drained, tired, or even sad? Have you ever felt a heaviness or something you can’t quite shake off after talking with someone? Have you ever felt physically ill such as headache or nauseous after being in someone’s presence? You can be on cloud nine, in good spirits and then after hearing about their health issues, relationship woes and family drama, you don’t feel the same. If this is happening, then whoever you were around has drawn your energy level down to theirs.

“Pay attention to whom your energy increases and decreases around, because that’s the universe giving you a hint of who you should embrace or stray from”

When you have worked to elevate your consciousness and weed out the anger, bitterness, and resentment in your heart you are raising your energy vibration. When you have committed to doing the tough inner work to love yourself and be at peace with who you are, you are raising your energy vibration. When you confront the deepest darkest corners of your inner world and face your demons and shadows with compassion and love, you are raising your energy level. And then you must protect it for all its worth!

“It’s poor spiritual hygiene to give everyone access to you”

Some people are not interested in raising their energy vibration and that is ok. Some people have found a comfort and satisfaction in dysfunction and find it is easier to remain the same than to do the soul crushing work it takes to be better. And that is ok too! We are not here to judge anyone’s journey or what experiences they must navigate here on Earth. With that being said, we are not obligated to be around or be in relationship with anyone with a lower energy that will inevitably lower our energy. It’s not personal, it just energy.

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Miss Celie’s Hoodoo: Return to Sender

“The words we use, use us”

Unknown

The Color Purple is my favorite movie of all time. There are so many scenes that resonate with me, but the one that touches me the most was the Easter dinner scene when Celie gave Mister more than just a piece of her mind! Whew! Sends chills down my spine. Finding all those letters and realizing that not only is her sister alive but her children are with her sister lit a fire in her heart. Ahh, just thinking of it makes me smile. All those years of experiencing the deep and profound loss of all she loved, now gone! Hope and joy now creeping into every crevice where pain and heartache once was.

“Something that is loved, is never lost”

Toni Morrison

Well, Mister being Mister wasn’t having none of that. He went to hit her, and Celie threw those three fingers up and he stopped mid swing. She told him, “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘫𝘢𝘪𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘢 𝘳𝘰𝘵 𝘪𝘯…𝘜𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘮𝘦, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘯 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘭” Then she ended it by saying, “𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦, 𝘢𝘭𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶”.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it”

Lena Horne

What she did was a spell called “Return to Sender”. She also hastened the karma that was already coming his way. Mister thought he was invincible. He thought he could do whatever to Celie with ZERO consequences. If you’ve seen the movie, you know Mister’s life quickly fell apart. Until he went and made it possible for her sister and children to return, he would continue to suffer. (“Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gon fail”).

Y’all better watch who ya knowingly mistreat, lie on, manipulate, sabotage, plot on, and disparage. You must watch who you bring hurt and harm to. Because the person on the other end might throw a Miss Celie root on ya and reverse and return that same energy you’re sending out right back to you. See, the irony is, the jail you planned for others will become your home. It’s not even a form of revenge. Because it’s your OWN energy (everything you done to me, already done to you) coming right back to you.  Miss Celie not only took her power back, but she returned to Mister the hatred, resentment, and envy he directed toward her back to him. We all have the power to do the same. As a traditional Hoodoo Root worker, return to sender is a staple ritual for me. At least once a month I gather all the negative energy, resentment, jealousy, envy, and hate sent to me by others and I return it right back to its sender. So generous right? Most times, Spirit will reveal who these people are to me. And I just shake my head, almost in pity for them. Please don’t bring no clouds round my way, because I will make it rain.

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Encourage Yourself: Tips to Avoid Slipping into Depression

“Not that I am happy with the suffering; I simply refuse to be defeated by it”.

Huey P Newton

I am prone to fall into depressive states. When a depression hits, all I want to do is eat, sleep, and feel sorry for myself. There are certain triggers that if not handled immediately, can send me spiraling into depression until I muster the strength to pull myself up and out. This can take days and sometimes weeks.  Over the years I have learned how to recognize when I am on the verge of a depression and I take matters into my own hands to prevent that from happening. This level of self-awareness is especially important for self-mastery, personal growth, and ascension. I wanted to share with you four ways I avoid falling into depression to bring myself back to a state of equilibrium. As I wrote this article, the song Encourage Yourself by Donald Lawrence came to my mind. As you read this article, feel free to listen to this song.

  1. Practice Gratitude

“I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the lord

Psalm 27:13-14

Now this isn’t the gratitude that’s discussed in the post-modern spiritual circles where you write down 3 things you are grateful for and meditate. This is the gratitude of the Black Church. The, “when I think of the goodness of Jesus and all he’s done for me, my soul cries out Hallelujah, I thank God for saving me”. The, “when I look back over my life” gratitude. The type of gratitude where you use praise as a weapon. I put on my gospel music, grab my tambourine, and give God glory. It works! I thank God for all my many, many blessings. Because despite my present circumstance, despite my feelings of anger, shame, guilt, sadness, and fear, I know I can overcome them. Praise is a powerful weapon that is guaranteed to make you feel better and keep you from spiraling.



2. Exercise

“It is easier to act yourself into good thinking than it is to think yourself into good action”

Bill Gove

High intensity exercise releases feel-good endorphins that improve your sense of well-being. Exercise also takes your mind off your worries. I love a good run or a good lifting session. I may not feel like it, but once the workout is over, I feel so much better. Even a walk outdoors will help to lift your mood and stave off depression. If you are unable to do any intense exercise; stretch or do a positive activity that brings you joy; knitting, painting, or gardening.  A good workout boots my self-esteem and confidence and the negative emotions that were waiting to weigh me down have been transmuted.

young ethnic woman with fit ball sitting on floor while training in modern gym
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3. Clean & Organize

“Like a sunflower, I am learning to always face the light”

Sabrina Laura

When I’m feeling down, I will open the windows (yes, even in the winter), let the stale air out and let the fresh air in. I will light my sage or palo santo to cleanse my aura and the energy of my home. Then I will turn some music on and get to cleaning. I will sweep, mop, dust, or clean the bathroom. If everything is already clean, I will start throwing things away. I will go through my closet and get rid of old clothes. I will go through the stack of mail and papers and toss whatever isn’t needed. Our physical environment is a direct reflection of our mental state and clearing physical clutter will clear mental, emotional, and energetic clutter.

5. Self-Talk: Encourage Yourself


“Whatever you put into your mind, in one way or another, is what you will get back out, in one way or another”

Shad Helmstetter

Like the song Encourage Yourself says, “Sometimes you gotta look in the mirror and tell yourself I can make it. You gotta remember that life and death lie in the power of your own tongue. Even if nobody tells you, you can run on. You tell yourself”. I begin to repeat my affirmations. I begin to combat the negative thoughts and words that are running rampant in my mind. I remind myself that there is nothing I can’t overcome. That there ain’t no quit in me. That I am my ancestors wildest dream, and that resilience, power and strength is embedded in the fabric of my DNA and I will not only be ok. But I will win.

Cry if you have to, scream if you must. But don’t you ever give up and don’t you ever quit. And when you feel yourself slipping into a depression, try to incorporate these steps to ground yourself, center yourself to as the old folks say in the church begin to , “ believe I’ll go on and see what the end gonna be”.

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I Ain’t Got to do Nothin But Stay Black and Die: Why I’m no Longer Obligated

“All the lovely women living in your blood are trying to teach you their soft magic. Please pay attention to them”

Upile Chisala

I can still hear my Nanie’s (my maternal grandmother) words echoing, “I ain’t got to do nothing but stay black and die” when referring to something somebody told her she had our ought to do. And I’m saying the same thing now. Especially when it comes to the obligations and duties I’ve always felt bound too.

The truth is, I don’t owe anyone anything. Not a conversation, my time, or my energy. I don’t have to share my space, a meal, my knowledge, my ear, my shoulder, my money, nothing! Not if I don’t want to. Not if I don’t feel like it. The message I received from my upbringing was that I owed. I owed my parents, my elders, the church, and the community. I was blessed. I was fortunate. And I was obligated to give of my bounty to others. It was my duty to share of myself with others. I was even obligated to carry the burdens of others. Their problems and issues became my problems and issues. Even at the expense of myself. I carried that messaging into my adult years. I willingly gave to anyone who asked for my time, money, resources, knowledge, advice, body, heart, and energy. I did not learn how to say no. In fact, I did not learn that it was ok to say no. I did not learn that what I have is for myself first and foremost and I have the right to choose what I give others and when.

“Its your story honey. Feel free to hit em with a plot twist whenever you want”

But I have learned that not only is it ok to say no. It is ok to say no without any explanation. I can cut others out of my life as I please. I can do what I want, when I want, and with whom I want. All I gots (yes, gots) to do is stay black and die. I don’t have to do anything else. I don’t owe anyone anything. My bounty and my blessing are just that. MINE. I do not have to share what I worked tirelessly and endlessly for just for the sake of sharing.  I have learned that I can be inaccessible because my presence is a privilege to be earned and not merely given.

“You are allowed to change the price of what it costs to access you”

Then the fear kicks in, “what will people think, what will they say”. Because God forbid people think ill of me for establishing boundaries and complain that I’ve changed and question whether I think I’m better than anyone. There is a price for everything. I am willing to suffer the cost of being looked at differently. My peace, my happiness and my comfort are more important. We have every right to put ourselves first and then decide who (if anyone) is next. We have the right to say no, unapologetically. We have the right to not want to give, do or be anything that is in conflict with our true selves.

“Who you are. You don’t have to defend it. Or explain it. You just have to set it free. That’s your journey”

Jaiya John

Thank you Nanie for the reminder that I truly don’t have to do nothing but stay black and die. But There’s one more thing I’d like to add to that, I also don’t have to do nothing but be happy.