Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pray With Us

Prayer is a common practice of many sacred and secular traditions.  Research tells us that prayer has the following benefits:
1.  Improves self control
2. Increases trust
3. Erases stress
4. Decreases anger
5. Builds forgiveness
Source: Psychology Today

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Educate. Empathize. Embrace

These are unique times we are living in.  The world as we know it maybe taking some possibly dire turns for people of color (POC).  Here are some practical suggestions from one of our thought leaders on how we can provide support to make things better and bolster already on-going efforts.
Practice empathy by exercising your civic imaginations to walk in the sometimes strapless boots of POC where you can see the true challenges, barriers and realities.
Tithe offerings to youth, students and parents that defray cost for summer camp, sports teams, band instruments, art supplies, tutors, foreign exchange opportunities.  Compensate professionals, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs with higher wages, tips, bonuses and grants for good labor, great service and demonstrated return on investment.
Teach yourself and other people about cultural, economic and political history, events or movements (civil rights, slave trade, cointelpro, etc.) that still impact the quality of life for POC today. 
School your contemporaries about the "seductive, mythical, neutrality" of accessibility and the space it creates for uncomfortable issues to go unaddressed about POC.
Participate with your presences when POC gather to express grief, dissent, or indignation at meetings, protests, and rallies where the attendance of people can add weight to the communications expressed.
Oppose how POC are relentlessly and routinely made the "other" by being dismissed, deemed invisible or denied humanity.
Speak against injustices and traumatic public events to POC with emails, letters, speeches, commentary on the airways, cyberspace, halls and courthouses.
Visit schools, jails, churches, museums, cultural centers to share your resources, expertise, insight or just your affirming concerned presence, word or encouragement.
Understand the difference between coming to this country and acquiring citizenship by voluntary immigration versus involuntary relocation and how it influences POC.
Source: Tears We Cannot Stop, Michael Eric Dyson

Monday, May 29, 2017

For The Next Time

The following natural resources have been proven effective as possible additional sources of protection or recovery from illness.  Many of these oils, clays, elements and plants have antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties.  Inquire with your health care practitioner to discuss if any of these may be right for you the next time your wellness is compromised.
Tea Tree
Oregano Oil
Pau D'Arco
Coconut Oil
Golden Seal
Manuka Honey
Pascalite Clay
Oregon Grape
Colloidal Silver
Olive Leaf Extract
Cayenne Pepper
Apple Cider Vinegar
Grapefruit Seed Extract

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Gratitude as Self Care

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to everyday. Cultivating gratitude doesn't cost any money and it certainly doesn't take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have several benefits:

1. Opens the door to more relationships;
2. Improves physical and psychological health;
3. Enhances empathy and reduces aggression;
4. Increases resiliency;
5. Improves sleep.

We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have - rather than complaining about all the things you think you deserve.  Developing an "attitude of gratitude" is one of the simpliest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Deborah Leadership

As a leader, are you bringing all your gifts to the daily leadership moments? As we reflect on that answer, consider the leadership skills of Deborah.  When we meet Deborah in the Bible she is presented as a wife, judge and international leader.  Deborah made good use of all the gifts and opportunities God sent her way.  Her gifts and opportunities teach us the qualities of great leaders:

Role Model.  She led by example.  She faced reality and exposed herself to the full consequences of her decisions as she advised and joined in the struggle.

Servant. She magnified God and served the people.  She excelled at her job and helped others do the same with theirs.

Speaker. She spoke with authority. She grew strong and stepped forward when her wisdom was needed by her people.

Under Deborah's leadership, the oppression was lifted and the land had peace for forty years. May the characteristics of Deborah inspire us to share skills to grow a victorious team.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Think Well

As leaders do we help our people think well? I have traveled to Alkebulan (the indigenous word for Africa) on three mission trips.  The spiritual impact of the trips were so profound I encourage others to take the pilgrimage to the motherland, the birthplace of civilization. When they return home from the trip the overwhelming first response has been – “compared to the United States, the people of Africa are suffering yet the majority are still warm, peaceful and joyful.  How do they maintain this state of mind?”

Author Byron Katie writes that our thoughts create suffering.  Suffering is a choice. Ouch. She encourages us to question and challenge our thoughts. She offers four questions for our examination: 1. Is it true; 2. Can we absolutely know its true; 3.How do we react when we believe the thought;     4.Who would we be without the thought-if we did not believe the thought?

By their actions it appears that the people of Alkebulan choose to accept the thought that they are valuable and worthy.

The other day I visited with a well educated and affluent young woman.  As I listened to her, I could hear how her thoughts of being invaluable and unworthy had moved her into a lifestyle of suffering. She is addicted to prescription pain medication that escalated into heroine use. She was seeking to understand how she choose addiction.

May we remind ourselves and ours to think well… we are valuable and worthy - deliverance is available. All we have to do is accept the gift. Then the journey of transformation begins.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hobby Happiness

I have very fond memories of participating in the childhood of my niece.  I witnessed many of her “firsts”-first crawl, teeth, steps and words. Her first and favorite sentence was “Is everybody happy?”  This question would always make me smile.  After a few months of hearing the question from her, my smiles turned to meditating on that question. Am I happy? Happiness is defined as a combination of how satisfied we are with our life and how good we feel on a day-to-day basis. We have the ability to control how we feel. We can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. 
This wisdom guided me to ask another question – “What makes us happy?”.  Buying stuff, status, wealth, popularity, the refrigerator, the medicine cabinet — all have failed to get the job done. Research suggests that what really works, though, is a passion or a hobby – a time to play. January is National Hobby Month. A hobby is an activity or interest pursued outside of our regular occupation for pleasure. Hobbies are a great source of relaxation. They can reduce anxiety and increase concentration.                                                                         
A hobby can add eight hours of joy, gratification and contentment to your week. For example, I know a business who is a perfect example. A dinner and salsa dancing demonstration at a Latin restaurant inspired him to take dance lessons at the age of 40. As his mastery grew, he was competing in 14 dance categories and found something that ignited his entire being. “It’s changed me totally,” he says. “It’s given me a purpose. I went to the office, had a great family to care for, but dancing shifted my spirits and direction in such an amazing way. I feel 20 years younger.”  One of my sparks came from a recommendation from my physical therapist to practice yoga. Therapy turned into a passion to achieve an advanced certification to teach this ancient mind body system.                                                          
So how do you get your hands on this happiness pill? Select an activity that interests you or has value. Try different activities and see what connects. Meditating on this question expanded my life.  Over the years, the answers for me have included traveling to 34 states and provinces in North America, exploring the continents of Africa, South America and Europe, African dance, drumming, gardening, singing, crocheting, sewing, coin collecting, painting, weightlifting, basketball, volleyball, creating jobs, advocating for a living wage, writing a book, producing a radio show, teaching African American history, mentoring women…I am sure you get my drift.  I continue to explore this question during my quiet time. Use your imagination - the possibilities are endless.

These hobbies re-introduced me to myself, long forgotten under a pile of duty and obligation. They reacquaint us with the enthused, eager soul we used to be and give us a reason to be that person as often as we can each day. Celebrate your favorite hobby this month. Host a hobby party with friends. Research different hobbies with your children and select a new one to try. Hobby happiness is the truth. Have fun! J