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I’ve Been Intermittent Fasting for 961 Days: Here’s the #1 Reason Why

“A diet changes the way you look. A fast changes the way you see”

Lisa Bevere

I have been intermittent fasting for 961 days. I have an excel spreadsheet which lists the day, date, and number of hours fasted. I started my intermittent fasting journey on July 24, 2018. You know how Forrest Gump said he felt like running? Well, I felt like fasting and I never stopped. And I never will. I never want to go back to the days when I wasn’t fasting. Fasting opened a portal to an entire new world that I love living in.

I can talk for hours about the physical benefits of fasting. The regeneration of the immune system, the weight loss (without muscle mass loss), autophagy, regulation of high blood pressure, insulin levels, and the deep healing that occurs on the cellular level. I could rave about my enhanced performance at the gym, the mental clarity, and the increases in my production at work. I am sharper, I can process information faster. My critical thinking skills have expanded. I sleep better, I feel better and I look better because I intermittent fast.

“The discipline of fasting breaks you out of the world’s routine”

Jentenzen Franklin

But none of this compares to the spiritual leaps and bounds I’ve made due to fasting. Food is more than calories and grams of carbs, protein or fat. Food is information. It carries important instructions that tells your body what to do. The fast, fried, and low vibrational foods that we eat tell our body and cells to degenerate, produce dis-ease and die. The live, whole food, plant-based foods we eat send signals to our body to regenerate, regulate and heal. But what happens when you fast? There is no information being transmitted, good or bad to our body and cells. The only information being accessed is the information lying dormant in your DNA. When you fast, you reactivate dormant DNA. The pineal gland is activated on a deeper level. The opening of the third eye occurs. The secretion of your melanin increases. And we know that melanin is the biochemical substance that makes Black people Black. Fasting literally makes you more black. You begin to see and feel the world from an elevated and ascended state of being. You become a magical, spiritual force.  

You begin to access generations of information, strength, wisdom, and power embedded deep within the fabric of your DNA, previously inaccessible due to being deeply entrenched in American society. So much of who we are is buried beneath the varied and harried layers of white supremacy and the resulting transgenerational trauma that can sometimes define what it means to be Black in America. Fasting peels back the layers one by one until one day you look in the mirror and you see who you truly are. Cellular truths are revealed. And this only happens when you fast consistently and intentionally. You stop believing what you hear on the news. And you start believing the intuitive truths that soak you like a gentle rain.

“Fasting speeds up your spiritual progress”

Unknown

Yes, I love that I have lost weight, built muscle mass, reversed my high blood pressure, and regulated my cholesterol levels. I love that I have less anxiety and more concentration. But nothing compares to the reactivation of dormant DNA. Nothing compares to the opening of my third eye, and the information that has been revealed to me spiritually and esoterically. The increased knowledge and access of who I am, where I come from and why I am here. The expansion of my spiritual power. This is the #1 reason why I fast and the #1 reason why I’ll never stop.

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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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Avoiding the Winter Skin Blues: 4 Ways I’ve Kept My Skin Glowing

The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for removing nearly 25% of all the toxins that the body eliminates. If the body is unable to eliminate toxins via the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, or lymphatic system, it will use the skin as an overflow route. Therefore, healthy skin indicates a healthy body.

Buffalo NY winters are rough on the skin! Each winter I struggle to keep my skin adequately moisturized and avoid flaky, ashy, itchy skin. In the past I’ve tried all different kinds of creams and lotions, but this winter my skin has been soft and supple with minimal ash, lol. Here are the 4 ways that I’ve kept my skin healthy this winter

Drinking Sufficient Water

Healthy skin starts from the inside out. The greatest and most effective skin care product is water! Water clears the skin, makes it smoother and helps decrease the effects of aging. It also keeps the skin moisturized. At a minimum, everyone should drink half their body weight in ounces daily. For example, someone who weighs 200lbs should drink at least 100oz of water daily. Adding fresh lemon or limes is an added benefit and will produce greater results.

lemon juice in cup
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Dry Brushing

I dry brush my skin every day. Dry brushing removes dead layers of skin. It keeps the pores open and functioning well. It makes the complexion brighter by removing the things that dull the skin and improves circulation. It also decreases cellulite and increases collagen production. Dry skin brushing allows your skin to breathe and cell renewal is stimulated. How to dry brush? Starting from the feet, dry brush in a firm upward motion toward the heart to increase circulation.

wooden hanger with towels and body brushes
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Baking Soda Baths

I’ve been taking a lot more baths than showers lately. I find that showers leave my skin feeling dry, even with a shower filter. I take baths almost daily with baking soda (after dry brushing). The baking soda alkalizes the water, making the water less harsh on your skin. It also draws out toxins from the pores while softening the skin. You will notice an immediate difference in your skin. Start with 1-2 cups of baking soda to your bath along with essential oils and Epsom salt for added benefits.

a romantic setting in the bathroom
Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

I always use natural butters and oils on my skin. I avoid any of the name brand, drug store lotions and creams. My winter go to’s are Shea butter, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil and Castor oil. I also use MarDavon Company skin care products. They are a black owned local company and I have been using their handcrafted body butters and lotions for nearly a year. I LOVE the way they make my skin feel and smell. Check out their products at:

 mardavonco.com

IG: @mardavon_co

Etsy: @MardavonCo  

Your skin doesn’t have to be dry, ashy, or dull. Try out these 4 skin care tips to avoid the winter skin blues!

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Reiki Level 1 Practitioner, and Death & Mourning Doula. She is also an Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist, and Traditional Hoodoo Rootworker.

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The Three Mistakes Black Women Make at the Gym

I’ve had a gym membership for 11 years. Over the years I’ve seen way more white women than black women working out (a different article for a different day). And when I do see black women in the gym I notice we consistently make the same mistakes. Notice I say “we”. I too have made these mistakes, but once corrected, I was able to reap the bountiful blessings of the gym. And I want you too as well. So here are the three mistakes black women make:

1. Too Much Cardio/Ineffective Use of Cardio

My first love is running outdoors. I love a good run, but black women spend too much time on the treadmill, elliptical, Stairmaster or bike. Cardio has its benefits but if you’re like me, you want to be toned, firm and look amazing naked. 30 minutes to an hour on the treadmill is not going create a toned, firm body. Yes, you sweat. Yes, you will drop some pounds. But cardio is not going to make you look good naked. Unless you do cardio properly and that involves HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower intense exercise. My favorite form of HIIT is to walk the treadmill at 2.5 to 3.0 mph for a minute and then run anywhere from 7.5 to 9.0 mph for 30 seconds and then back to walking at 2.5 to 3.0 mph. I will alternate between the walking and sprinting for 10-15 minutes. HIIT burns a lot of calories in a short amount of time and it helps to build muscle which is a perfect Segway to the 2nd mistake we make in the gym.

2. Not Enough Heavy Lifting

The more time you spend on cardio, the less time you have in the rack. If you want to build the body of your dreams you must lift and lift heavy. A lot of women avoid the rack because they are afraid that if they lift too much or too heavy they will look like a man. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We don’t have enough testosterone to look manly. We will however be curvy and toned. Yesterday at the gym I deadlifted singles at 225lbs. Do I look manly? It can be intimidating in the weight section with all the men grunting and groaning but don’t let that stop you. Incorporate the deadlift, squat, and press into your workout routines and lift as heavy as you can without sacrificing form. When you get stronger, lift heavier. Use the bar, dumbbells (not 5lb ones either) or kettlebells. Make lifting an integral part of your workout routine and you will fall in love with the results.

3. Not Stretching Before Working Out

I have recently realized the importance of stretching prior to working out. And I don’t mean a quick 2-minute stretch. Stretching for 5-10 minutes before working out loosens up the muscles and prepares them for the heavy loads. You’ll be able to workout longer before becoming fatigued and less likely to experience muscle strains. I find that when I stretch my workouts are much more productive. I can lift heavier and longer. My favorite stretches are butterfly, shoelace, and sphinx.

Stretch for 10 minutes+ HIIT Cardio for 10 minutes + Heavy Lifting for 40 minutes = The Perfect Gym Workout

Bonus Mistake: You can’t outrun your fork! 70% of your body composition is based on what you eat. What you eat in private, you wear in public no matter what you do in the gym. Incorporate intermittent fasting, juicing, and plant- based foods into your daily routine and you will reach your fitness goals faster.

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist and Death & Mourning Doula

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I Didn’t Forget Where I Came From; I Just Couldn’t Stay There.

“Healing yourself is the glo up”

Unknown

I had a realization recently. I was raised to be great BUT play small. I can still hear my father, “If you ain’t gonna do it with excellence, don’t do it at all. I don’t celebrate mediocrity”. I took that message to heart. Coupled with my innately intense personality, I poured my heart into everything I did. If I was going to do it or participate in it then I gave it my all. Each and every time. Anyone who knows me, knows I go hard. One would think with that upbringing and my complete acceptance of it, I would be much further along than I am. Yes, I am somewhat successful, but when I look at my life I am frustrated and a little angry. How does one who never cuts corners, has never made excuses and who has done everything with a spirit of excellence struggle the way I struggle? Then it dawned on me. Although I was encouraged to aspire to greatness, I was also raised to play small. I was raised to be great, but not so great that it would highlight the inadequacies in others. I was unconsciously taught that it is NOT okay to deviate from the group. I must maintain the status quo of our family and church community. And if I do happen to deviate then it must be kept a secret.  I was unconsciously taught that others are more important than myself. I was unconsciously taught to not be too big because it might make others feel small. Don’t let your light shine so bright that others are blinded. My entire life I’ve been great but oh so small. That seems oxymoronic, but it perfectly explains why I have had an internal conflict most of my life. Running full steam ahead, then looking around and not seeing anyone from my family or church around me so I must stop. And not only stop, but self-sabotage in order to fall back in line with those around me.

The message I received as a child and teenager was that I was not allowed to be happy if others around me were sad. I was not allowed to be blissfully in love while others were single and miserable. I was not allowed to be in excellent shape and be healthy while others were struggling with their weight and health. I was not allowed to be financially secure and free while others lived with a poverty mindset.  I was not allowed to enjoy life while others lived from one struggle and drama to the next.

 “Learn to say that’s on you.

Your behavior is on you

The way you move is on you

The choices you make are all on you.

The way you live, its all on you

Stop absorbing the pain of other people,

recognize what belongs to you and what doesn’t

@coleen_c_kimbro20

This realization revealed yet another. I had been jumping from box to box all of my life to satisfy others. My parents, extended family, church family, and finally society. It’s as if from the day I was born, boxes have been shoved toward me and I was told, “This is where you belong. Get it and don’t ever think about getting out”. As the lightbulbs were going bonkers in my head, I was having difficulty articulating what I was experiencing. But I came across a post on IG by @iamness which perfectly described what I was feeling:

“At some point we stop taking on the energy of others. We stop absorbing the sadness, the guilt, the victim mentality, and the pressure. We stop telling our friends and family we relate to them because we honestly just don’t. We stop finding reasons to match the vibration of others and we force those around us to raise theirs on their own. You are allowed to heal and not relive the past every day. You are allowed to be unrelatable and selfish about the mindfulness of your energy. You are allowed to water yourCELF and grow unapologetically.”

Wow, just wow… And here I am. Deciding that not only will I be great, but I will also be as big as MY life allows. I will no longer use others as a measure of how far I can go or how happy I can be. If I do not relate to you, I will not force myself to. If you are not on my level, I will not bring myself down to yours. I will not participate in anyone’s story that is contradictory to mine. And if that makes others feel badly, so be it. I will no longer sacrifice my growth for others. I am choosing to not apologize for the bright and bold way I show up for life. I will not apologize for wanting more and actually putting in the hard work to get more. I am stepping out of boxes. I am establishing boundaries. Even if that means leaving family and friends behind. The guilt though. Leaving behind people you’ve known all your life. Those who have meant so much to you and have helped you along the way. The gratitude will forever be there. For those who want to come along and catch up, I’ll leave little clues behind so others know where I have gone. I’ll never forget where I came from. I just can’t stay there. Even if it means leaving others behind.

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Intermittent Fasting Specialist, Herbalist, Rootworker and Death & Mourning Doula.

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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.

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Slave Quarter Conjure: A Message from Beyond the Veil

There is so much to learn from our enslaved ancestors. If we would shift our focus from the present and simply take a moment to look back, we would find solutions to problems that cause us anxiety, worry and fear. We have become so preoccupied with further integrating with white society and pleading with a people with no moral compass, we have denigrated the power of our melanin. We believe that white is right, and the further we remove ourselves from the painful history of our enslavement, the better off we’ll be. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Most of us came here in chains and most of you came here to escape your chains. Your freedom was our slavery, and therein lies the bitter difference in the way we look at life”

John Oliver Killens


One important lesson our enslaved ancestors have taught us is that when Massa and the other white folks is distracted, that’s when you run for freedom! During the Holidays, wedding celebrations, big parties, and even catastrophes (fires, storms, etc.) proved to be the best time to run. During those times, white society’s focus was not on the slave quarters or the enslaved. And that was the best chance of escaping unnoticed. And by the time they figured out you were gone; you were well on your way and your chances of being caught were greatly diminished. Our ancestors knew that and planned their escapes during these times of golden opportunity. In fact, after making her own escape, Harriet Tubman went to get her parents at Christmas.

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going”

Harriet Tubman


Why is this relevant today? We’re in a freaking global pandemic! While also being in the midst of one of this country’s most contentious presidential elections ever. White Society is completely distracted! They are even fighting amongst one another now and not just us. White society is more anxious, more on edge, and more worried than ever before. White society is in a state of instability. And this is our chance to escape! This is not the time to get caught up. Don’t follow suit and become just as panicked, anxious and unstable. Don’t be that house nigga that looks at Massa’s trouble and takes it on as your own. See the turmoil as the blessing it is and run with it. For our ancestors, this meant run literally.

“I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs”

Fredrick Douglass


Start your business, get that certification, create, go back to school, or apply for that position. Now is the time to fortify your energy, get grounded and centered. Now is the time to focus on your health and wellness; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Run! Escape! While they are distracted, use this time to build yourself, your family, and your community. By the time the dust settles, you’ll be so far ahead, they won’t be able to stop you. Take full advantage of your enemy’s weakness and use it to your advantage.

“The most powerful work is done in response to an opportunity, not in response to a problem”

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The Grace of Gratitude

“And one of life’s gifts is that each of us, no matter how tired and downtrodden, finds reason for thankfulness”

Unknown

My brother and I now joke about the infamous “Ungrateful” speech we would hear growing up from our mother. She would get on us whenever we demonstrated an attitude of ungratefulness. She would remind us of how blessed we were, how the things we had (material and nonmaterial) some people would never have. Not that we should ever compare what we have to what others don’t to have an attitude of gratitude, but it helps to put things in their right perspective. Those dreaded ungrateful speeches have been etched in my heart. And I’ve learned that there is always something to be grateful for.

“Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of my favorite gospel songs is “Thank You Lord” by Walter Hawkins. Whenever life begins to weigh on me, and I begin to think of all the hardships, obstacles, pain, and the struggle. When I start to feel sorry for myself and when depression looms near. When I look at all I have lost and the past comes storming in, seemingly from nowhere I hear these lyrics:

“Tragedies are commonplace.

Economy’s down, people can’t get enough pay.

 But as for me All I can say is,

Thank you Lord, for all you’ve done for me.

It could have been me, outdoors.

With no food and no clothes

or all alone without a friend

or just another number with a tragic end.

But you didn’t see fit, to let none of these things be

and every day by your power, you keep on keeping me.

Thank you, lord, for all you’ve done for me”

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you’, that would suffice”

Meister Eckhart

I have said many times, if I never receive another blessing for the rest of my life, I’ve already received enough to say thank you over and over for the rest of my life. I’ve learned that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Always. Breath, life, health, and strength.  (I know I sound like a Friday night testimony service). I can walk, talk, see and hear. There are some people who need someone to come and bathe them. I can hop in the shower whenever I want, and I have hot water. I have a roof over my head. I have food to eat. I have a place to rest my head. These things are more valuable than we realize. I am in my right mind. That is a huge blessing. I look at what I’ve been through and I am surprised I haven’t had a nervous breakdown. I survived what should have ended me. For that I am grateful. I don’t have as much money as I like, but my needs are always being met. A way is always made. Always. For that I am grateful.

“Seeds of discouragement will not grow in the thankful heart”

Unknown

I am grateful for walks in the park with the sun shining on me. I am grateful for funny memes I see on social media that make me literally laugh out loud. I am grateful for Friday Pizza night. There is so much to be grateful for, both big and small. And I am also grateful for what didn’t happen. The car accident that almost happened, the job I didn’t get because there was a better door that was open. And then I am grateful for the protection from unseen dangers.

“If you have lived, take thankfully the past”

John Dryden

When we choose to focus on what we are grateful for, it lifts the hung down head and shoots a bolt of hope into the hurting heart. It allows us to walk though life with a grace that will cause others to look at us in wonder. How are you still smiling? The ability to stop yourself in the middle of a pity, complaining or negative party to bring the focus back to gratitude demonstrates a mastery of life and of self. It demonstrates that wisdom has sprouted in the heart and the spirit has been fortified. Life loves a grateful heart. And it will reward you for your gratitude with even more to be grateful for.

“What you send out in the world is what you get back”

There is another song by Walter Hawkins that comes to mind, “Be Grateful”. The lyrics say:

God has not promised me sunshine

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be

But a little rain mixed with God’s sunshine

A little pain, makes me appreciate the good times

Your gratitude may be mixed with tears, regret, guilt, or shame. Your gratitude may be on the lips of a “I don’t understand, but I’m still thankful, “I’m hurting but I’m still thankful”, “My life is falling apart, but I’m still thankful”. That is the grace of gratitude. It will carry you through. Because my dear, “every storm runs out of rain”.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, gratitude”

Denis Waitley

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Defining Your Worth

“Protect your value for all its worth”

Marc Leder



There are many things we use to measure our level of value and worth in the world. Our physical and sexual attraction, body shape, health status, how we dress and what we wear, our level of education, socioeconomic status, career path, the car we drive or the neighborhood we live in. And lastly, our children. The schools they go to, the talents they possess, etc.

We can use any and all these things to send a message to the world. I am worthy. I have value. I am special. I matter. See me. Respect me. Like me. Love me. Cherish me. Accept me. Approve of me.

But what if you had none of the societal attributes we use to determine worth? Would you still be worthy? Would you still have value? I’ve been doing a lot of shadow work lately. Going within and facing the parts of myself that have been hidden, buried, and neglected. The forgotten, lost “self”. The part of me that has been socialized and parented to feel that I must earn love, acceptance, and approval by attaining and reaching certain heights. I must look a certain way, drive a certain car, have certain accomplishments, live by a certain set of standards and then maybe, just maybe I will be valued and loved.

First, I had to ask myself, “Why do I need anyone’s approval, love or acceptance?” I realized I was searching to belong to a world that was just as messed up as I was, if not more. I was looking for love and approval from loved ones, friends, and a society that didn’t even love and approve of themselves. And more than that, I didn’t need THEIR approval. I was worthy and had great value whether anyone acknowledged it or not. I did not need anyone’s approval or permission to be worthy.

“Forgive yourself for every single time you forgot your worth” Reyna Biddy



I began to see my value by the inherent intangibles that make me proud of who I am. My resilience, intensity, grace, and compassion. My ability to remain hopeful and positive in the midst of despair. My courage to seek my soul essence. My deeply intuitive connection to the spiritual world. My muthafuckin grit! My commitment to present myself to the world as the sacred gift that I am. And my heart that is just brimming with love to pour out.

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness” Brene Brown



If I never get another degree, make a million dollars, be deemed to be attractive or stylish, I am worthy of love. I have undeniable value. I am important and special. I love and approve of myself.

Don’t overburden yourself, stress yourself out, or devalue who you are based on a set of standards that could never fully define how valuable you truly are. Seek your highest truth. Do so with pure love. You have infinite worth.

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