Beginners Guide To Meditation ( 4 Encouraging Tips To Know)

When coming across those who have a pretty consistent meditation practice we often think, ” They make it look so easy”.  Seeing people who have been sitting for what seems to be long periods of time and the aspect of a quiet mind; may have us wondering how do you do that? The secrete is you can do it. We often times here people say I want to get into yoga and meditation but I ________.  Preceding the big but is normally an excuse as to how hard it may be, it is tied to a religion, and/or they can not focus for a particular amount of time. Many of these things are merely limit we have placed on ourselves. We are here to help you strip away those limits with 4 encouraging tips you should know before giving meditation a try. Consider this a little beginners Guide to Meditation; giving you some tips and tools to make your practice a little lighter.
1. You Can Meditate Anywhere.
The first encouraging tip to know is you can meditate anywhere, anytime, and anyway you would like. Many encourage beginners to start off practicing meditation in a seated up right position; Indian Style with a little cushion or back support. However, meditation can be done many ways. You can meditate:
• Laying down
• In a chair
• Driving
• Standing
• In the shower
• In a bath
• Through movement
Mediation is believed to be the earliest signs of yoga; making yoga meditation in motion. It all boils down to the breath. Consciously paying attention to your breath makes meditation accessible where ever you may be.
2. You Can Meditate at Any Time.
Many may associate meditation with a religion and assume meditation is reserved for certain times of the day. Our second encouraging tip is to reassure you that meditation is not religion specific and you can meditate whenever you feel. Morning meditation is a great way to start the day. It is encouraged to set a mantra for the day along with morning meditation. You can reflect back on your mantra whenever you feel your day maybe getting rough; aiding with anxiety. Taking a midday meditation break is a great way to recharge while at work. A common meditation time is at night. Meditation after dark is a great way to relieve the stress of the day and settle into your night before going to sleep. Beginning your meditative practice after dark aids one in sleeping through the night or simple falling to sleep. Another encouraging tip is meditation after any type of workout. Doing this helps being the heart rate to a neutral state with easy.
3. You Can Set a Mantra.
Going into any task with an intention is always a great idea. Not as though you are expecting something such as a reward. However, going into yoga and meditation with the intent of leaving it all on the mat will aid us daily in becoming the best version of ourselves. This encouraging tip gives you 3 mantras that will assist you in your meditative practice. The following mantras create space for healing, stress relief, and relaxation; allowing you to create more mantras for yourself later on.
• I am Open
• I Release
• I am Present
Using these three mantras in the beginning will give you a foundation to start with as you build your practice. An encouraging tip when using mantras is to expound on them as you breathe. Asking yourself, “What am I open to?” or “What do I release?”
“Ex: I am open to change.”
With mantras you can say them out loud or quietly yourself as you sync them with your breath.
4. You Can Use Tools.
Our final encouraging tip opens us to a broad spectrum of meditative styles. Some people enjoy mixing their meditation practicing up every now and then by using tools. This normally happens when you become more in tune with your body and able to sense a blockage somewhere. These tools consist of aromatherapy, crystals, sounds, and much more.
Aromatherapy
This is the most common tool we may hear people talk about. Aromatherapy may consist of incense, candles, essential oil, sage wands, and palo santo wood.
• Incense: Great for raising the vibrations and blessing yourself, your space, objects, and others. Sage and Palo Santo wood are the ideal tools to use for cleansing and blessing. Scents such as frankincense and myrrh assist with sending prayers higher. You may also use this fragrance for blessing and bringing in positive energy.
Essential oils: Is a great tool to ease your mind, activate chakras, and parts of the brain. Common scents used are peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus.
Candles: Candles are normally used to set the tone as well as manifest an intention. Often times certain colors are picked as a symbol of what is needs. Some may also pick candles according to the crystals being used in chakra clearing or to bring in the energy of what is being asked for. Example: green candles symbolize growth.
Crystals
Another tool that has recently come into the forefront of meditation is crystals. Many people have begun incorporating crystals into their daily life as well as personal meditation practice. Crystals are a great tool to use in meditation as well as metaphysical healing. They assist with taping into what is needed in the present moment. Crystals have their own vibrational frequency and is able to cleanse you aura and aid you is raising to your highest potential. They do this by stabilizing your vibrations and aligning you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Each crystal is different and holds unique purpose as well as story. Crystals are not to be dependent upon or prayed to. They carry a vibration just as we do. Crystals are a guide that The Most High and Universe work through just as much as us so that we can work with in partnership.
Sounds
Using sound during meditation may vary depending on the individual as well the day. It is often suggested that beginners use soothing sounds such as the ocean or rain. Others may suggest a guided meditation where there are sounds incorporated as someone talks you through the practice. There is a nice selection of sounds to choose from for meditation. You may pick from tranquil music from artist, nature sounds, binaural beats, and tabatin singing bowls and cymbals.
o Tranquil Music: This variety of music can be found anywhere. Many of our favorite artists have songs that have a nice beats to meditate to. Getting a hold of the instrumental is pretty easy.
o Sounds from nature: There are many apps such as well.as Calm and Spotify that have a variety of nature sounds such as: lakes, birds, the beach, and more.
o Binaural Beats: Each song we listen has a certain frequency that affects our brainwaves. They are designed to calm the mind and assist with better sleep, concentration, and more. There are many apps designed specifically for binaural beats; such as Beatfulness. The beats are known to assist with activating chakras as well.
o Tibetan Singing Bowls and Cymbals: Similar to binaural beats. These tools are incorporated within the beats from time to time. These tools are normally associated with sound healing.
A helpful tip that I am always mindful of is there is no right or wrong way to meditate. The practice is as personalized as we want it to be because it is a personal practice. All of the tips and tools given today can be used as much or as little as we wish. The encouraging tips given are suggestions to get us started and the tools described above are not to be dependent upon. Have fun with your personal practice and find what fits you. If you find a routine that works for you that is a beautiful thing; it is all about finding what feels right and good to you. My personal practice consists of Tibetan Bowls, eucalyptus oil, incense, and a sage smudge wand. I use the singing bowls and cymbals whenever I need to ground myself a little deeper. I find that is not only clears the stagnate energy within my home but, in my body as well. I do this before I meditate and sometimes after depending on how I am feeling that day. Before I meditate I always take a shower to relax myself; I find that I feel refreshed when I am on my mat. I also like to physically cleanse myself before I enter my meditative state. I take my oil and dab 3 times in the palm of my hand, rub them together, and take a nice inhale of the scent. Once that is done I settle into my meditation. I am not as consistent with the essentials oils and singing bowls as I am with burning incense. I try to make it a habit to burn incense daily in morning and at night regardless of the time I meditate; it does sync pretty well together due to the incense being handmade. They tend to burn slow where I can meditate while they are still lit. I burn my sage wand every Sunday to cleanse myself and well as my home. If I feel it is needed outside of that day I take time to do so. Whenever I light my sage and incense I work them around myself first and then the space. I find it is important to cleanse yourself first before you cleanse other people or space. Ideally I try to meditate at least twice a day; mainly in the morning to start the day on a positive foot. If I not have time before work I meditate in my office before I start my work day. On the days I do yoga I make it a point to close with meditation.
I hope this Beginners Guide to Meditation (4 Encouraging Tips To Know) was helpful. If you have a meditation routine and you would like to share it feel free to do so. And if you have any question my door is always open.

 

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Meditation and Yoga: The Connection

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Can You Blame Them?!

We all desire to be understood in one capacity or another; if not understood we have a right to be respected. Often times we feel as though being understood is a sign of respect. However, we can agree to disagree. Meaning, we may not understand where one another is coming from but we respect each other for standing for something. Well what happens when we encounter individuals who do not want to understand us and do not respect our perspective at all? Do we get angry? Engage in throwing low blows? Why should we do anything of that nature? When sharing information with others that may go against their experiences it is without a doubt a sensitive conversation. It doesn’t have to be; yet it is because we are passionate beings by nature. But, we can not be angry with those who do not understand and  may not want to .

There comes a time when we have to take ownership and pride in our path. And often times that means turning off the noise of others. When people share their opinion it may be out of doubt, fear, their experience, or feelings. Turning off the noise entails not carrying it with us and having tunnel vision. This may lead to a lonely road for quite sometime; we may feel as though no one understands us. We may even question ourselves as to why we are on this journey. Having a moment of confusion is okay; digging deeper is always needed in these moments. When we find we are closer to the life we knew always existed it can also be scary. Living a life that makes us happy can be scary. We begin to doubt ourselves knit picking at certain things; maybe even questioning is it real, is it possible, and “what if’s” begin to form. We remember things people have done and said to us; comparing ourselves to others. Often times we can be our biggest critics and enemies all by overthinking. In moments of change and isolation compassion for self is a major key. It is a major key because we are unlearning and relearning. Some of us are entering into the dark night of the soul, others are in that moment, or some of us may be at the end of the tunnel. When evolving having self compassion for self while others may not understand you is the healing component. No, it is not easy. It isn’t suppose to be easy but it is worth it. We allow ourselves to have a clean slate and take on our fears and challenges head on. Finding your voice and purpose is the gift; the light at the end of the tunnel. In that you find you need zero validation from anyone.

Someone who needs zero validation from others is often seen as a threat. * What!!* Yikes. The reason being is due to the fact that the social structure may be at risk. That person is seen as a rebel.  One rebel may inspire or encourage another person to be themselves as well; perhaps causing them to question why they haven’t been true to who they are all along. Before you know it dynamics have changed and others have shifted their perspective as well. Many of us are afraid of the light because it shines the brightest on the truth. However, when we find our light we begin to love ourselves. Own our truth allows us to take pride and joy in all the things that we love. And in those darkest moments of our life we can find a way to make it through things that aren’t as enjoyable. We remember we are the light we have allows been seeking because it is within us; that is when we begin to free ourselves. Those who may not understand us may not want to or they simply can not process it. Often times those two mindsets go hand in hand. Can you blame them?! In being angry with those who do not understand us we discredit our own journey.  We have all been in the same exact place before we embarked on our journey back to self.  This makes us all hypocrites to some extent due to the fact that we have changed. What set us aside from a hypocrite is admitting that we have all been there before without judging others. We have all come from “nothingness” we just woke up. In this we are free to speak our truth and love others from a distance if need be. Learning from our journey gives the gift of compassion. So, can we blame them? Yes and No.

Yes, we can blame them due to the fact that there are too  many sources of knowledge to be completely in the dark. However, many people are not completely in the dark. As humans we choose what we want to receive as knowledge dismissing what we can not completely wrap our minds around. This is because of our upbringings, belief systems, and society. With that being said; no we can not blame them. Although we know we should not dismiss nothing but rather question everything.  Many have not fully grasp that concept. Being able to question things requires uncomfortable conversations. In those conversations we have to be open, willing, and able to pull back layers of ourselves and question why we think the way we do. This process can be uncomfortable and scary. It comes with the reality that we have to let go of things and people that often times we are not ready and willing to give up. Can we blame them? Sure, with compassion. * What does that even mean?!!* Agree to disagree and continue to do you. Over time we see who our true friends are. Those who accept you for you and keep a respectful relationship. Compassion eliminates judgement and leaves us light. Eventually your opinion and/or perspective will be wanted. Those are the moments when we speak truth to power.

 

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose 

The Revolution Has Come by Robyn C. Spencer

 Although the text is extremely well written and easy for the non-academic to read, Spencer fails to adequately discuss the most important term in its title: gender. Some attention is given to women in the BPP but the text does not give a voice to the women in the Black Panther Party. Writing the text through the lens of a Black women would have made this text applicable to disciplines such as Feminist Studies and a growing interest in Black women’s studies in local communities. With the author being a Black woman, the silencing of Black women’s voices is not only unacceptable, but depreciates the value of the text (as far as the title is concerned) and leaves the reader unsatisfied.

         As someone interested in organization development and management, texts such as The Revolution Has Come are necessary to push Black institutions’ toward a more radical and communitarian framework. For many, the Black Panther Party has served as an example of what a militant framework might look like. Robyn Spencer eloquently depicts the militant activism of the BPP by charting their historiography in Oakland, California. In her 2016 text The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland Spencer, Associate Professor of the History Department at Lehman College, utilizes manuscript collections, interviews, FBI records, and organization records to illustrate the political influence of one of Black America’s most radical organizations in the latter 20th century. With special emphasis on internationalism, Spencer argues the BPP in Oakland had a “commitment to making linkages with the revolutionaries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean [making] it one of the most effective ambassadors for Black Power” (Spencer, 3). This text also establishes the blueprint for revolutionary thought in Black political consciousness.
Spencer writes her text specifically to activists and community builders grappling with incorporating the legacy of Black Power in today’s Black Freedom Struggle. She asks her readers “What does Black Power have to offer in the context of drone warfare, deepening poverty, unemployment, immigrant detention, and a criminal justice infrastructure that is an engine of destruction in Black and Brown communities?”—all questions that can be directed to social justice organizations of the 21st century (Spencer, 5). Chapters one and two paint a geographical landscape of Oakland while providing insight to the community concerns that birth the BPP in Oakland. Spencer makes a point to highlight the academic genius of the BPP explaining the theories and world views that birth Black radicalism in the city of Oakland. From the identity crisis of the Black Panther Party of Self-Defense to the Sacramento incident, Spencer’s thorough research illustrates the developmental challenges of being a radical organization in the 1960s. By the close of these chapters, the BPP shifts in the consciousness of the reader from an all-black wearing, gun-toting troupe, to a group of Oaklanders promoting humanitarianism and dedicated to preserving their community (the complete opposite narrative most people have of the BPP).
Chapters three and four further transforms the BPP from a “local organization to a mass movement” while exploring the extremities of covert state-sanctioned harassment (Spencer, 61). These chapters dissect BPP coalitions and discuss the significance of increasing diversity in membership that ultimately, lead to political repression. These chapters also make a point to illustrate the flaws of historical figures such as Huey Newton. Readers obtain a comprehensive depiction of this Black leader and visualize him in human form. Activists and community builders can stop touting historical Black leaders and understand the importance of the good and the bad aspects of Black leadership. Lastly, chapters five and six bring the BPP into its demise revisiting the challenges of the BPP’s development. Spencer focuses on ways the BPP dictated community control—schools, health clinics, newspapers, and new relationships with the church. But, despite this hard work and short lived thrust into local politics, the BPP ended in 1982 with the close of the Oakland Community School.
Despite not digger deeper into the women of the movement, the reader does walk away with the ability to re-imagine radical organizing. Coupling this text with The Revolution Will Not Be Funded by Incite, can give readers a new and contemporary critique of ways “humanitarian” efforts have been co-opted by the non-profit industrial complex. Spencer’s text serves as a great precursor to The Revolution Will Not Be Funded because it explores the demise of the last radical organization in the Black Power Movement, the era immediately preceding the boom of the NPIC. The Revolution Has Come is extremely beneficial to the emerging field of Organization & Management Theory, as well as History, International Studies, and the Social Justice/Human Rights fields. The Revolution Has Come is also a very timely text given the current political condition of the nation. It seems as if every day, activists are being targeted for stepping outside of the boundaries of conservative advocacy. Spencer, with the evidence and history of the Black Panther Party, has given us the keys to imagine ourselves outside the realm of conservative community advocacy. Activists and community builders have the ability to learn from the mistakes and glorify the successful measures of the BPP. All we need to do as a people is follow in the footsteps of the BPP: keep the community first, create national and international coalitions, and trust in the power of unprecedented mobility.

 

Jalyn Gordon

Afrocentric Organization adviser

To order book press link below:

Spencer, Robyn C. The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.

Sojourning for Freedom by Erik S. McDuffie

Sojourning for Freedom creates “new” history and new perspectives of Black women that epitomizes them as the trailblazers and warriors they rightfully deserve to be.

     To many African-Americans, Communism has long been associated with a domineering government, McCarthyism, and fear. Miniscule comprehensive information is given to readers regarding how Communism relates to their cultural experiences. Eric McDuffie’s Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Feminism provides a detailed account of the achievements, struggles, and significance of Black female Communist warriors and their often discounted contributions to the black liberation movement. McDuffie utilizes personal papers, civic club records, historical papers such as The New York Age, The Messenger, and the Atlanta Daily World, and interviews to argue “the Communist Left provided a theoretical and empirical template for appreciating how the international Left served as a key site where black women in the United Stated forged an innovative radical black feminist politics during the early and mid-twentieth century” (McDuffie, 3).  McDuffie’s text seeks to recover and define “Black Left Feminism” – “a brand of feminist politics that centers working-class women by combining black Nationalist and American Community Party positions on race, gender, and class with black women radicals’ own lived experiences” (McDuffie, 3). Bringing light to lesser known Black Left Feminists, such as Louise Thompson Patterson, Thyra Edwards, and Grace P. Campbell, and the triple oppression they faced from black men and members of the CPUSA, this text serves as a “conceptual framework” to the identity politics of Black Left Feminists during the twentieth century (McDuffie, 3). McDuffie has several intentions for this book. His first goal is to illustrate the Black communist woman’s relationship to Black radicalism during the Old Left Period. He also aims to define the Black communist woman and how she influenced feminists of the 1970s and 1980s. Lastly, McDuffie emphasizes the familial, mental, spiritual, and internal pains Black women endured as activists in the communist movement.
The Sojourners, the Black Left Feminists McDuffie honors in his text, not only predate, but also craft many of the ideas associated with black feminism of the 1980s. Claudia Jones’s 1949 essay “An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman” is a pinnacle accomplishment of Black Left Feminists that includes several arguments made by later and more known feminists groups such as the Combahee River Collective. Claudia Jones essay outlines the “triple oppression” black women face regarding race, sex, and class during the Cold War era. This triple oppression permeated majority of the grassroots efforts led by the Sojourners during the twentieth century. Through literary works such as Jones’s essay, Black Left Feminists sought to force their visibility not only to the CPUSA and the white population, but their black male counterparts as well (McDuffie, 167). Jones’s theory of triple oppression would later evolve into Kimberle Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality in the late 1900s. McDuffie characterizes the work of these specific women as “community feminism”. One can appropriately utilize Ula Taylor’s definition of community feminism to describe McDuffie’s Sojourners. Taylor contends community feminists are “women who may or may not live in a coverture relationship [. . .] their activism discerns the configuration of oppressive power relations, shatters masculinist claims of women as intellectually inferior, and seeks to empower women by expanding their roles and options” (Taylor, 64). These women continued to break barriers with their activism engaging in activities not commonly paralleled with women: from joining men in the stepladder circuit to leading “The Revolt of the Housewives” demanding the prices of meat decrease (McDuffie, 40 & 1). Through these heroic acts, Black Left Feminists served as examples of progressive leadership in their communities while disrupting power relations and demystifying gender roles. Additionally, their communities included more than the inner city of Harlem. Black Left Feminist leaders traveled internationally, broadening their scope of community to include everyone who believed in their values and were willing to fight for their cause. Trips to Spain and the Soviet Union, in some cases unsupervised, illustrates the determination of the Sojourners to expand the opportunities for women, even outside the United States.
McDuffie’s text introduces critical concepts and perspectives in the ever-evolving and fluid Feminist discourse. The integration of community feminism, black female radicalism, and “oppositional consciousness” are all relevant to current black socio-economic movements. With an increase in coverage of police brutality and focus on identity politics in the LGBTQ community, black women and their struggles are often lost in both academic and community liberation efforts. Sojourning for Freedom provides not only historical context, but action-steps black women can take in their own communities to increase political visibility and efficiency in activism. It is particularly essential that scholars utilize each other’s definitions to create consistency and validity in theories and definitions. McDuffie’s integration of Ula Taylor’s definition of community activism increases his text’s scholastic relevancy and the ability to cross-reference feminist strategies in future research. While the research for this specific text is very thorough and highlights several unknown Sojourners of the Communist movement, it leaves readers wondering what other unknown Sojourners lie in the crevices of historical movements. McDuffie suggests there is always a group of people who serve as outliers in every movement and new research must be done to bring them to the surface. This fact highlights why there are few texts on the subject of black female communism or communist movements. Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History by Walter Howard brings light to a smaller subsection of this text concerning Black Communists involvement in the Scottsboro Boys case. Black Internationalist Feminism: Women Writers of the Black Left, 1945-1995 by Cheryl Higashida can serve as a complementary text to Sojourning for Freedom, however, contextually, there are few texts that focus on Black Left Feminists.
The biographical information and the level of research it took to develop the lives and work of these women for such an extensive amount of time, is much appreciated. Biographical sketches assist readers in contextualizing the actions and thinking of an individual in a much more comprehensive lens. With Feminist scholarship on the rise, McDuffie’s biographical sketches add historical context to the characteristics and work ethic of Black Feminists. Feminism does not belong to a certain ethnic or racial group, a specific portion of the world or socio-economic status.

 

Jalyn Gordon

Afrocentric Organization adviser

To purchase this book please click link below:

McDuffie, Erik S. Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

YSF Catering Co.

If you are looking for a good home cooked meal on the go or catering for your next big event look no further Houston. YSF Catering Co. is a Black Owned Business with quality food and customer service. YSF Catering Co. puts their heart and soul into every meal that is prepared. I have had a great experience ordering lunch from this wonderful establishment. The food is exceptional and the service is nothing short of family vibes. You have the option to pick up your food if you stay near or you can have it delivered personally to you home or work place. All forms of payment are accepted and YSF even adjust the order to fit my none pork or beef life style. All in all I support YSF 100% and look forward to ordering even more delicious food.

Immediately after graduating from Lamar University with a B.S. from the Lamar culinary program Zoia Taylor started the business with her partner Jamilah Thompkins. I have had the pleasure of attending college with this beautiful soul and order a meal or 2 myself. YSF Catering Co. will be celebrating their 1 year anniversary December 6th and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping.

For Order Vist Their Facebook Page here.

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Naturotica

 

I’ve had the pleasure of ordering from Naturotica numerous times and the consistency keeps me coming back for more. All of the products I buy are organic in every sense and I make it a point to order from businesses that are centered around just that. Naturotica and the sister brands Nene Organics and Yoni Poppin are the only brands I trust when it comes to feminine health and hygiene. The products are organic and vegan based; when shipped to you the owner Nerissa Irving provides facts about the products you purchase as well as useful tips. Naturiotica offers products such as: Yoni Steams, Yoni Eggs, PH balancing body wash, PH balancing feminine spray, Waist Beads, Skin care products, and Hair care products (locing products as well), and much more. Ordering the products online is a piece of cake and products take less than a week to arrive at your doorstep. Below I have listed the products I have purchased thus far.  

 

 

 

Traditional Waist Beads ( Click For Full Image)

Menstrual Cup ( Squeeze Drain) 

The menstrual cup I purchased allows you to drain the cup without having to remove the cup itself. The cup is  soft silicone which allows to be manipulated with ease to fit snuggle inside the vagina. The is a slight sensation when you first insert the cup however it subsides after 2 mins or less. I prefer to wear the cup over tampons or passed now because it is more sanitary. It also puts me more at ease and is comfortable to wear. The first day you have to empty frequently to prevent it overflowing however that is not an issue. It helps me stay more mindful during this time. To purchase menstrual cup, see benefits and more (click here)

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Feminine Spray

The rose water and lavender blend last majority of the day and smells really refreshing. I also noticed on extremely hot and humid days it prevents excessive sweating as well. You do notice a change in your PH balance.

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Yoni Egg ( Drilled)

The yoni egg I ordered is the African Blood Stone Crystal that holds some amazing properties and benefits. When I first used the yoni egg I was very nervous however Nerissa Irving provided me with instructions and her social media outlets carry alot of information. Since using the yoni egg and frequently doing kegels my menstrual cycle is lighter and I experience less harsh cramps sometimes none at all after the first day and a half. As of now my yoni eggs acts as a crystal more than a kegel tool. The drill is in place to add a string in case you would like to add small weights to strength your muscles.  (Click Here) for more information on yoni eggs.

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Cure Of Conformity

I grew up hearing the rich old saying, “Do as I say not as I do”; not to mention if I asked why I would hear, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!“. I am sure I’m not the only one. Often times when these things were said the adults saying them were doing the exact opposite. On the other hand, some of those following these rules interestingly enough do not know why these standards were put in place or who put them here. Yet, they follow the rules set in place because it was something passed on to them and “that’s just the way it is”. In our community it is as though we conform to just about anything; whether it makes sense or not. Some may see it as not being that serious while others make jokes about it either as venting, passing time, getting attention, likes, or whatever may have you. However, we enforce things that may be tearing down our community little by little destroying the structure and dignity that we have left; without even realizing it.

* What is conforming? What exactly are we talking about?*

Conform: comply with rules, standards, or laws.

  • Behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.

It can be uncomfortable being the odd one out. It makes others uncomfortable as well. Often times when we make others uncomfortable it is voiced in an unpleasant manner. Sly remarks may be made followed by sarcastic questions; with little desire to want to know the truth.  There may even be a moment where we are sent on a guilt trip with all the reasons why we shouldn’t be so different. Often times we begin to conform because we “don’t want to hear anybody’s month.” We are conforming to make others comfortable again. Why is that? We may feel out of place when we are simply trying to be ourselves around other people. That is okay. The environment may not be one you prefer or the vibe is off. Perhaps we actually are out of place; maybe we aren’t meant to be around certain people. The moment we give in and conform we are suppressing a huge part of ourselves to satisfy others. How do you feel when you conform for other people? When we disown a part of who we are our personalities and attitudes towards life begin to feel forced. Almost as though we are trying to convince ourselves this false since of self is who we really are. While everyone around you loves this version of you. How do you really feel? Do we even like the person we have altered ourselves into being? Often times we are fooled into becoming someone we truly do not like. There is always a promise of more friends, business opportunities, or a better way of living. However, have we ever stopped to ask who created this standard of living and being? Many times we are forced to choose between being what others want us to be and who we truly are. Often at the expense of losing friends and “luxurious” life. And it all boils down to what makes you happy.

We are all under this impression that to have friends and make it in life we have to fit in the same box as others. However, that isn’t the case. Standing out is a good thing. Being unique is what makes us special. Each of us is created different to perform many different tasks. We are the same yet different in a variety of ways. Conforming taints the soul and suppresses who we are within; causing us to forget who we are. Creating this false sense of self to satisfy others detaches us from self; in turn forcing a part of us to die. We slowly become dependent on others to validate us. Once we need validation from other people begin to feel entitled to our space, time, energy, and personal life. We lose time to ourselves caused by others wanting a piece of us by the second. Moments to our self are filled with things we really may not be up to doing. We forget that it is okay to do somethings alone because most activities are done in a group. Having a different perspective on things may be seen as taboo or taken personal; due to others telling you how you should feel about things. Agreeing to disagree may not be a option because opposing opinions may not be heard or respected. Group thinking becomes the name of the game. We have all been told at some point the great things that come from belonging to some type of group. Often times it is suggested that we should be a part of something to: enhance our chances of being a better person, keep us motivated, create an identity, and add to our sense of self. In a sense, it is almost as though being a part of group adds value and meaning to our lives. While all of this may be true to some degree; there is always a chance of conforming to a way of life that we may end up resenting down the road.  Everyone longs to feel as though they are not the black sheep or odd man out; to have a sense of belonging.  And sometimes these feelings place us in a world of trouble in some way, shape, or fashion. We may find ourselves a part of a team, organization, group, or crew for many reasons. Is this wrong? Of course not; If we have knowledge of self-beforehand. Without knowledge of self we lack an identity; our own identity. This causes us to lack self-expression; from thinking and speaking for ourselves to lack of creativity.  We allow ourselves to become molded into what others want us to be due to the fact that we do not know who we are. Often times when we take on the persona that was given to us we begin to feel important. We then have an “image” to uphold. When we hold on to the image that was given to us we willingly throw away our intuition at the cost of being accepted. It is often easier to suppress who we are rather than to hear others talk about you.

When making an attempt to be authentic people applaud us for being brave without know how hard it truly is. Many times it means being the butt of people’s jokes, being excluded from things, or even being sent on a guilt trip.  However, knowing that others will always have something to say about you no matter what you do or say is grounds enough to be apologetically you. No one can fault you for being who you are at all times. There was a quote I ran across many months ago that keeps me grounded in my truth.

“When a person is seen freely living their truth it reminds others of their chains”

Forgetting who we are and conforming to things we truly do not understand or agree with sucks us into a world that isn’t for us. It is important to be stingy with our time, space, and energy to protect and in many cases save ourselves. Aside from physically being involved in social groups that enforce stereotypes; the very thing directing and redirecting societal norms is social media. Many if not all of us walk around with our heads down as we indulge in our many phone apps. I often call social media a blessing and a curse do to the fact that if we are not careful a single notification can rule our lives. Every now and again it is important for us to unplug ourselves from the world and tune into ourselves. If we charged our bodies mentally, physically, and spiritually as much as we charged our devices imagine how different the world would be. Social media directs the wave of what’s hot and not. We find ourselves living for the media; putting up an image for likes that we may not necessarily like. Or on the other hand going the extra mile to be something we really aren’t comfortable with. Many times we put so much of ourselves out there that we have nothing left to save for ourselves. This may be done because we feel we have to show it to prove “it”.

In all things, if something feels forced leave it. Many times there are levels in life that lead up to us conforming in some way. This happens because without realizing it we ask for things to manifest in our lives.  A little preventive care could be weighing our options to find a better way of doing things. Even if it takes a day or less to do so take that time. Another mindful practice to carry with us is asking “What resignations with me?” In this we find what makes us happy, puts us at peace, and sets our soul on fire. Seeking guidance in our everyday life leads to those moments in life where we do not have to question our next decision or if we “fit in” because; it all will feel natural.  When we stop forcing situations we will begin to flow into our destiny.

 

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose 

 

Rock My Soul By Bell Hooks

THE REVIEW:

Overall, though, there is a mental health crisis in African American life. This crisis is most deeply felt around the issue of self esteem.

Rock My Soul is a must read for women and men of color. The context of this book is that of the times we currently live in today. Bell Hooks forces us to visit our past and analyse our present state. Rock My Soul gives a new way to look at self esteem that involves owning who we are and what we believe. Read Bell Hooks plants tiny seeds within us to help us grow such as:

Stay true to self.

Heal from the past.

Let go of false beliefs 

 

OVERVIEW:

Mental health is one of many issue in the African American Community that is highly ignored or overemphasized depending on the subject matter. Bell Hooks openly talks about this topic 15 years ago in The Essence Bestseller: Rock My Soul; in a time when the subject was very sensitive yet just as relevant as it is today. The author creates a parallel between mental health and self esteem forcing us to take a look not alone within but back in time as well. Shedding light on the reality many of us ignore. Whether we come come from wealth or the slums,  have several degrees or none, and a good pay job or unemployed; our self esteem as well as mental health is at risk. Bell Hooks forces us to look at ourselves in the mirror. Not only as an individual but as a community. She breaks down each political movement and institutional structure explaining how it continues damage our psyche from past and present generations. The author also shares how we play a role in the shattering of our mental health and how we can heal ourselves collectively. It is almost as though the author is challenging us to recall the things that uplifted up physically, mental, and spiritually. And to throw away the things we are clinging to. She does this by calling our attention to some key factors we may have been over looking in chapters such as; Refusing to be the victim, Spiritual Redemption, Living with integrity, and Inner Wounds just to name a few.

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose 

 

By Book Here 

When Emotions Run Rampant (Checks and Balances)

Normally we see or hear the term ‘”Checks and Balance” we automatically think of our government and how the system is regulated. Checks and Balances are used to ensure that no one branch of our government has too much power. To ensure this each branch has to answer or is constrained by the other two in some way. The best example of this is our president because he/she can not make laws. He/she can pass or veto laws passed by congress. However, congress can override a veto with two-thirds vote of both houses. Also the supreme court can declare a law passed by congress unconstitutional. This system was created to ensure our government does not run rampant with crazy bills and laws to over use their power.    

* Where exactly has this gotten us in today’s society * 

What if we had a checks and balances on our emotions? Many of us (if not all) are at war with our egos. We find ourselves trying to balance between good and bad, pettiness and letting things go, following our dreams and remaining stagnate, etc. Perhaps, something is holding us back. What are you emotionally invested in? Everything we give our all to may not be worth it. We often have to be selfish with our time, energy, and space. When we start to realize certain things no longer benefit us it is okay to let it go. The question we can ask ourselves more often is, “Is it Hurting or Helping me”. When we take a step back to reflect on those things our honest answer will indicate what we truly need to do. If something cost us our peace it is too expensive. When we find ourselves in situations we can not control yet we some how end up more affected than others; our peace is at stake. This is when we should do a little checks and balancing. In creating a checks and balance we may find the very thing we were emotionally invested in is of zero importance. Some of us may dismiss the very important term,  “Where your mind goes you go.”  Thinking negatively all the time can manifest itself into our daily lives. The more we think about a situation; creating more situations in our minds that may never happen out of anger may cause us to create a bigger issue. Often times we forget we create our bad experiences with our mentality alone. Another great way we can create a checks and balance for ourselves is by simply noticing the energy you carry with you. Direct your attention periodically to your emotions and how you feel when you are completely happy in comparison to when someone or something has made you upset. When negative thoughts try to infiltrate our minds it is our job to counter balance them with a positive affirmation.Checking our emotions daily helps us to not only be accountable for feelings as well as our actions. It also allows us to compare situations and evaluate why we maybe feeling the way we are.

A practice I try to remain on top of is welcoming in all the thoughts that may fill my head. Good or bad; once something negative comes to the surface I think of the good that happened around that time. If nothing good took place I reflect on the good that came from that situation. The moment our thinking process shifts to positive reinforcement we receive positive affirmations.

*However, I am fully aware certain situations require a second party to be checked as well. *  When it comes to energy we can carry other peoples energy throughout the day, week, month, and even years depending on our connection to that person. We can transfer our energy onto others with something as simple as a comment or look. As crazy as it may sound it does not have to be as complex. When someone rubs us the wrong way they have just given us their negative energy. Once someone insults us we immediately are upset with them and offended; subconsciously we begin to examine ourselves in a negative light. The very minute we take something someone says personal we become vulnerable to that persons energy.  When we are insulted it is a choice. We do not have to take what someone says to heart; once we do so we willing taking their negative energy. We have no choice in the matter of when someone will try reflect their negative energy, misfortunes and ways of thinking on us. However, we do have a choice whether to acknowledge, process, and receive it or not to. The only thoughts we should acknowledge are our own.  When we choose to knowledge those who have insulted us it is important to ask ourselves, ” Does this deserve a remark?”  or “Is this worth my time and energy?” The best reaction is no reaction; the best response is no response. There is power and silence and stillness. Another thing we often dismiss is Universal Law. For every action this is a reaction; a chain of events will occur within the universe off of our one small misjudgment.  Overstanding that we do not always have to read someone their rights and be their instant karma because knowing the universe will work that out is a divine gift in itself. Our egos may tell us to handle it now; do not let them get away with what they have said or done to us.  However, we shouldn’t always give others the satisfaction. Is it really worth the extra baggage that may come after?

When talking about ego we are referring to what we are consciously thinking about at all times. Our ego is our sense of self, self important, and self esteem. We normally see people refer to our egos as our lower self. In hindsight that may be true; however there is only 1 whole self we merely vibrate at different frequencies. When we see or hear someone say, “your lower self or higher self” they are referring to your level of frequency you may be giving off in that moment. Our egos often times puts us in a situation that may cause us to have a low frequency moment. * Think of it as stooping to someones level* We often find ourselves in a tug of war when it comes to our emotions. Not knowing how to address something, someone, not knowing how to feel about things, and how to let go. These are battles we deal with internally between ego and soul. Often times we have to do a little ego check.  Our negative thoughts are our egos bringing up things past and present that we may have thought we were over. Putting scenarios in place and playing out how we “should” handle them. Checks and balances come in to play when we try to make the conscious effort to tame our egos and vibrate on a soul level. We begin to evaluate why we are hung up on particular things. Many times those situations may not be relevant to where we are currently. Operating on a soul level will not put our ego to death. However, it will allow us to put to death things that consumed us in a negative manner; things we obsessed over and couldn’t like without. We wouldn’t be focused on how we appeared in the eyes of others. We would have a healthy balance, knowing what truly matters to us;  how to pick and choose our battles. Also giving ourselves space and time to find out who we are. We can not put our egos to death but we can allow our souls to guide our egos. Taming the ego and feeding the soul  is a recipe for vibrating at our highest frequency daily.

Balancing the ego with the soul is acknowledging and balancing the good and the bad about ourselves. We are taking a look into who we are and deciding what is worth holding onto about ourselves and what we need to do away with. This may vary from people to habits depending on what is connected. Taming our ego is shedding light on those dark spaces within that can be used for good instead of blocking blessings. Our ego can be that thing that pushes us to be a better person when we get a handle on who we truly are. Every now and then we all need our ego stroked; by feeding our soul with positive affirmations we can live a life that puts us at peace. Once we are at peace our ego will be stroked and at rest; once aligned we will be fulfilled. Allowing our egos to drive us mad does a disservice to ourselves. Let’s do ourselves a favor and let go of our egos and become guided by your soul and allow ego to back seat ride.

Peace and Blessing,
My thoughts my views, Share with me, vibe with me
– Rose