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Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

This is one of my all time favorite quotes by Black feminist writer and activist, Audre Lorde. It's speaks so much to what rings true for me as a Black woman, and specifically as someone who has chosen self-care over the status quo.

Black women enjoying self-care

The other day, my mom and I laughed about a joke she made about me living a "relaxed life" over a trivial task that I felt unbothered to expedite, and I casually mentioned that our urge to "rush" and constantly be doing something is symptomatic of oppression. It then dawned on me that I should write about my decision to live more "sustainably", and why my lifestyle is an intentional act of resistance, and in ways a revolutionary choice as a Black woman. For so many, being Black in America is synonymous with WORK... NEVER ENDING work! So much of what we've been conditioned to know and accept is related to incessant working, and that somehow our value is attached to our labor. This is not just true for African Americans, but it is especially true for Black people given the history of our experience in America, which was built on the free labor of enslaved Africans and many of our ancestors.

Being overwhelmingly conscious of this has made me rebel against the notion that rest is a luxury. Somehow rest has become associated with privilege, as opposed to simply being a necessity for survival. Capitalism has successfully indoctrinated so many of us into believing that our worth is tied to our productivity, and despite any good that has possibly come from it, everyday I question at what cost?

As someone who has adopted a simpler, often slower way of living (which although is completely intuitive, is somewhat seen as "counter culture"), I find myself often searching for videos and articles for inspiration. But, the problem is any time I search #softlife , #slowliving or similar popular hashtags, I rarely ever see content created for or by people of color, specifically Black people, and sadly, I know this is not a coincidence.

For generations the narrative has been "strong black woman", and despite the description being positively rooted in truth in so many ways, we've come to accept this archetype as a badge of honor, but unfortunately too often at our own detriment. And, it's not just true for Black women, but Black people as a whole. We are literally "sick and tired", so why is there not more representation of Black people in this movement toward slower, more sustainable living? To me, it's not just a trend, and it certainly is not a lifestyle only for the "privileged". In fact, at its core, this movement is largely about attuning to the intrinsic rhythms and teachings of nature, and if there's anyone with an intimate understanding of our connection to nature, it's Black and indigenous people.

Which brings me back to the Audre Lorde quote of why caring for one self is self-preservation and political warfare! Every day I wake up and choose not to rush to do something, every time I take my time with a task, each moment I give myself permission to rest, or do something simply for joy and not out of obligation, I am consciously resisting countless forms of oppression, and affirming that I matter, my wellness matters, and that we too deserve the freedom of relaxation.

I'm not waiting for someone to tell me it's okay to care for myself, I'm choosing it now, for myself, and I'm choosing it in honor of my ancestors, and everyone who fought and is still fighting for self-care and wellness to be normalized and prioritized for all people.

So, in the spirit of Black History Month, I encourage you to reflect on the implications of your everyday decisions. What ideas have you accepted as the norm, what notions around work, rest and leisure are you consciously or unconsciously propagating, and what messages are your choices reverberating into the world. This month and beyond, I charge you to choose yourself, and to do it unapologetically with the strength and courage of all those who came before us.

Here's to fighting the power, one breath, one nap, one cup of tea, and one mindful moment at a time!

Happy New Year! Yes, it's 25 days into the start of the year, but I've been busy.... collecting lessons. Not making resolutions, or trying to keep resolutions that will inevitably be broken, but being still, recharging and listening to spirit. It's not even one full month into the new calendar year, and I already have a bunch of lessons that I've learned, relearned or reaffirmed. And, what better way to wish you a prosperous New Year than to share my insights with you. Here is to 24 things that I've learned in 2024 in just 24 Days. And yes, today is day 25, but I started conceiving this yesterday, plus 24 lessons in 24 days in 2024 is pretty catchy right? So, here goes my 24 lessons, or reminders, in no particular order!

Lesson 1. It's okay to try things and have to pivot, and to start something and choose to stop. Believe it or not, we are allowed to change our minds and our course.

Lesson 2. It's okay to live and not just work. More "be-ing" has helped me to obsess less over things that don't truly matter, and less "do-ing" has contributed to less anxiousness or anxiety.

Lesson 3. It's okay to not know what's next, and to be open to (almost) anything. Surrendering to the unknown has really been freeing for me.

It's okay, to start every lesson with "it's okay". Lol, just kidding. Let's continue.

Lesson 4. I don't have to have all of the answers, or really any of the answers, right now. There are times in life when you have a lot figured out, and seasons when you're the wisest by knowing that you don't have to have it ALL figured out, and won't anyway.

Lesson 5. Scaling down could be the greatest level up. There's something about going to zero (metaphorically or otherwise) that allows you space to get to 100 with less distractions and less attachment to things that don't really matter to you or don't align with your desires.

Lesson 6. I'm an introvert. Well, I already knew this, but this year has really confirmed the pleasure that I yield from my introverted ways, and in just being authentically me.

Lesson 7. Taking time away from social media is necessary! And, it wasn't intentional or planned. It just happened, and when I noticed that I took a step back, I leaned into it for self-care, and it has felt amazing!

Lesson 8. Moving on doesn't always require closure.

Lesson 9. Taking breaks doesn't require announcing it.

Lesson 10. It's okay to tell the truth about your experience, and about what you do or don't want or feel like doing.

Lesson 11. Honoring oneself doesn't require explanation.

I'm seeing a theme emerging here, are you?

Lesson 12. Sometimes not having a plan is the best plan you can have. They say if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail, but also if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. See the irony. The point is, there is freedom in surrender, while remaining open to what "plans" reveal themselves along the way.

Lesson 13. Routines are good, but are meant to be broken. Having a set morning routine or work schedule can provide a sense of stability, but deviating from the routine can be refreshing, energizing and spark creativity.

Lesson 14. I've gotten really good at letting go of "things", and decluttering that which I do not/ will not use, or that which does not bring me joy, and it's really an amazing feeling. After all, you have to get rid of some things to make space for new things.

Lesson 15. I'm starting to really understand what it feels like to be "unburdened" and "unbothered". There's an inner peace that prevails even amidst real or perceived external challenges.

Lesson 16. I don't have to be everywhere all of the time, or constantly "show up" in order to remain relevant or successful in any regard.

Lesson 17. Grace is a simple act that frees you up from holding yourself or others hostage to "expectations".

Lesson 18. It's okay to be where you are, as opposed to where you expected you'd be, or where you're expected to be (read that again). Less resistance to what is, creates more joy in the present and more openness to what will become.

Lesson 19. It's possible to activate without outward, willful action. And in fact, most of our actions are compulsive, coming from a place of fear or lack, as opposed to spontaneous and rooted in faith and abundance.

Lesson 20. Blessing others and using my gifts to bless others is a blessing all in itself.

Lesson 21. Wealth comes in many forms. What some people have in external riches they lack in internal peace and love. And, although the two can co-exist, internal abundance is not determined by external factors.

Lesson 22. We are NOT in control of EVERYTHING, and there is freedom in stepping from behind the steering wheel.

Lesson 23. Growth may often come from hard places, but change doesn't have to be hard. Resist not, for the only constant is change.

Lesson 24. Expect "unexpected" blessings. Anticipation without attachment to details (e.g. what, when, where, why, how) welcomes blessings to flow freely in abundance.

That's it! I hope you glean insight or inspiration from my 24 lessons, and that you welcome your own personal "time out" or "time in", whatever is needed, in order to be more receptive to the lessons and blessings that life has in store for you this year and beyond! And, we'd love to hear which of our 24 lessons most resonate with you!

Wishing you love, peace and a new found freedom in 2024!!!

With the arrival of colder weather and shorter days, the urge to go into hibernation mode is real and seems to set in immediately. Early mornings quickly turn into early afternoons, as I willingly give into the urge to sleep in later. There's nothing wrong with honoring our body's natural clocks and shifts during the change of seasons, but there may be an alternative to sleeping in that will contribute to feeling more refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Last year around this time, I started a "fast". Unlike your traditional fast from food, I chose to fast from oversleeping. During my fast, something in me shifted. Waking up at 5am (which is way earlier than I would naturally wake) shifted my perspective on "sleeping in", or, more likely it sparked a desire that was already there.

My "5am fast", as I called it, inspired me to adopt a new morning ritual. One with more time dedicated to connecting with myself and spirit, more time to set and sit with my intentions, and more flow as I eased into my work day.

Being a full time entrepreneur has afforded me the opportunity to realize a lifestyle and daily routine that is more sustainable for me, with a slower pace, and more aligned with my natural rhythms. Overall, leading to a more holistic way of being.

At times, this natural inclination to slow down has been silenced, or quieted by the noise of productivity, capitalism and overachievement. But the truth is that although I welcome "more" to help sustain myself and my family more comfortably, I don't need for much, and more often would prefer returning to a simpler way of living.

My practice of rising early during my 5 am fast achieved a few important things. One, it affirmed my sensibilities towards "slow / soft living". Two, it inspired a new way to start my day. And, three, it actually made me more productive, yet at a much more comfortable pace.

As we fully settle into Autumn, I invite you to consider ways to "shake up" or refresh your morning routine that will bring you more peace, more joy and leave you feeling cared for, inspired and prepared to seize each day. Here are a few of the practices that I've adopted along the way:

* Wake at 5 am (After the fast, I adjusted my waking time as needed, depending on what's going on in my life, my energy levels, and the season).

*Begin my morning with a centering activity (e.g. meditation, prayer, sound healing etc).

*Sit up, stretch, use the restroom and wash my face. I've found stretching to be very important throughout the day. I've gotten better about incorporating mindful movements to release tension in my body and to help move stagnant energy.

*Make warm lemon water as my first beverage of the day, to help detoxify the body (this has been a practice of mine for many years).

*Make a pot of tea and allow it to steep while I tend to other activities (e.g. cook, shower, get dressed, water the plants etc.). I always like to start and end my day with tea. It's a great mindfulness practice, helps me to feel unrushed, and is nourishing to my physical temple.

*Journal, while sipping my lemon water or after I've moved on to tea. Journaling has also been a practice of mine since I was young, and doing so soon after meditation allows me to capture any revealing or emerging insights or thoughts.

*Prepare and enjoy a meal. Preferably something healthy and savory. The meal may vary from simple to more intricate depending on the day, but eating something tasty and nutritious helps to fuel my day.

*Get dressed in whatever feels good and true to me that day. Adorn myself in something beautiful and colorful, or keep it simple and natural., whatever feels right! Also, take time to love on my hair and skin. This also is a fun way to care for and express myself.

*Give plants some love (e.g. sunlight, water, attention). I love my plants. They bring oxygen, green life and joy to my home, so in turn I should be intentional about reciprocating the love to them (I'm becoming a better plant mom, little by little.).

*Take a walk if have time, or hold my walk for later in the day. Perhaps just step outside for some fresh air in the morning to help wake me up. Walking is one of my favorite leisure activities, and often my preferred form of exercise and meditation.

*Do something creative each day. It could be work or non-work related, like blogging, updating website visuals, creating social media content, fluid writing, planning my podcast, drawing, rearranging things in the house etc.

These are a just a few things that have supported my well-being and helped to elevate my morning routine. I encourage you to try these practices and explore others to see what works best for you. Remember to be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace. Some days will come easy, and others may be a challenge, but what matters is that you set an intention and practice. Practice is repeated application over time, and with consistent practice, your daily rituals will eventually become healthy habits. And even if practice doesn't make perfect, it will make for an overall improved sense of wellness and better quality of life.

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