Restorer of Peace

Restorer of Peace

Who is the Restorer of Peace?

I have worked in field Women's Holistic Wellness for over 15 years and I specialize in coaching women to spiritual and emotional wholeness. I conduct Wellness Workshops, Transformative One-on-One Coaching, Sister Circles, Sister Sweats, Fitness Activities and an upcoming training on "Dismantling the Myth of the Strong Black Woman". I am committed to equipping women with the truth of who they are and empowering them to act on that knowledge.

25 November 2010

Now You're Cookin'

I woke up this morning without an alarm clock, that was refreshing! I know that some of you woke up early this morning because you had to get started cooking. You probably have a long list of the various meats, veggies, starches, desserts, etc. that you are preparing today. I don't. I'm part the other group of people that often bring the drinks, paper items, or ICE. Whenever I travel to potluck events, people very seldom ask me to bring a dish.

Hmm, I wonder why. Well, I had the opportunity to really think about this as I relaxed on the recliner in the living room while my mom began prepping for Thanksgiving Dinner. It's not that I can't cook although I must admit that I don't like doing it everyday. Whenever I commit to cook something (most times with a very detailed recipe from memory or from a cookbook) it turns out to be pretty tasty. So why is it that I'm always assigned the ice or drinks or paper items? What is it that folks see about me that makes them ask me for anything other than something I have to cook?

As I lay there pondering these things, my mother was in the kitchen wrestling with pots, knives, meat, veggies. Maybe she made those sounds because she wanted me to help her, maybe she was just that engaged in prepping that it required maximum exertion. I thought about 3 times "you should go in there and help her" but I was really enjoying not having to worry about preparing food. I love to eat, I don't mind cooking every now and then, I especially enjoy following recipes and tasting my work. But the thought of cooking multiple things for several different people with different preferences, is not pleasant to me. I cook for myself and my son - that's it. I know what he likes, how he likes it and most times, I'm dead on. I cook for myself whatever I have a taste for and sometimes the foods don't necessarily "match" but they work for me.

Cooking for other people is an intimate process. You either have to know what ingredients and dishes are pretty much universally satisfying or you have to know the preferences of the person(s) you are cooking for. Most people that take on the responsibility of holiday cooking are good at either or both of these. People that have anybody over for any occasion are great at intuiting what everybody wants and likes. They know who will like something new and who will like something old with a new twist. They know how much of what certain people will eat and what needs to be conserved for those that don't eat "anything else". These intuitive hosts love to satisfy people. They thrive off of knowing that their food has caused someone to sleep well, unbuckle their belts, lick their lips or ask for thirds. Do you see these people eat? I know, when I go to my mom's house or aunt's house, I hardly ever saw them eat and if they did, it wasn't a lot. They usually got "full from cooking". I will venture to say they were full from seeing the effect that their work had on someone else. Food comforts us. It gathers us. Some of our fondest memories are around family, friends, and food. The smells of certain foods can very often push us back to moments where we sat at the big table or the kid's table and shared a meal with someone we loved.

The voice in my head repeated for the fourth time, "you should go in there and help her" - I gave in. I went in the kitchen and began chopping, slicing, squeezing, mixing whatever ingredients my mom instructed me to. I silently watched her, trying to make mental notes of what she put in, when she put it in and what she did when it was in so that one day I could replicate it. But what I realized is that her ingredients were not recollections of mental notes but from heart notes. She knows me intimately. She knows how much I like collard greens (without red peppers) so she makes more of it just for me. She knows that I like the turkey breast so she rubs it differently and puts a special spice (at least I'd like to think she does). That's intimacy!

To all of you intuitive hosts, I salute you. Thank you for thinking enough of us that you make food that warms our souls, produces great memories, comforts us, refreshes us and nourishes us in so many ways. I know there is no detailed recipe for discovering your gift but I'm watching you and maybe, just maybe, I'll invite you over for a meal. And if you like it, I know I've been a good student.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

24 November 2010

Excellence Striver here ...

Do you organize the dollar bills in your wallet so that they are in descending order and facing the same way?
If someone gives you a stack of papers, do you beat them on a hard surface until all of the papers are lined up to a straight edge?
Do you have a hard time reading or writing text messages because there are too many abbreviations, typos and grammatical errors? Do you spell out EVERY word because you can’t stand seeing those squiggly lines?


Do you think that any of these things make you a perfectionist? Well, they don’t. A perfectionist is someone that needs to do everything perfectly. Perfectionists set standards for themselves and other people that are unattainable. Seriously, no one is perfect.

Being a perfectionist means that you are never satisfied. Before you cringe because I said that “satisfied”, let me qualify that - it means that you don’t take the time to acknowledge what you have done. It means that you are living in the past or the future and do not recognize the power that you have in the moment.

Perfectionism is the mother of inactivity. In some cases perfectionism is stifling, you are afraid that you will not do something perfectly so you don’t try at all. You procrastinate, you tell yourself that you really weren’t interested in doing it, you allow yourself to get distracted by something else.

Perfectionism kills your self-esteem. The amount of negative self-talk that a perfectionist does can fill a landfill. That voice tells you what you should have could have done, differently. This is a cocktail for anxiety and isolation. Phew!
Perfectionism is something that I strive to overcome daily. I am intentional about acknowledging the things that I do because that motivates me to do more. When I set an intention to make changes in my life, I look at the integrity of my work. Did I give it my all? Was I fully committed to the process? These questions determine my integrity and not perfection. There is no judgment, no negative self-talk, no guilt. If I wasn’t fully committed, I have to reassess whether or not I really want to make that change. If I didn’t give it my all, I ask myself, “what can I do today to get back on board to accomplish my goal?”

When you operate from a place of integrity instead of perfectionism, you allow yourself to make mistakes, chose to do something else without guilt, and feel good about yourself for the positive steps that you’ve taken.

Maybe you’re not a perfectionist. Maybe you have a standard, an attainable one, and you strive for excellence. Then you are on the right track. When you strive for excellence you are invested in the process. You give it your all because there is joy in the process. If there are setbacks, you don’t blame yourself and give up, you reassess and make adjustments. People that strive for excellence are motivated by their goals, not held captive by them. Excellence strivers have positive self-talk because they are motivated by the love they have for what they do and not motivated by the fear of what they will look like if they don’t do it.

If you are a perfectionist, I encourage you to be an excellence striver. Practice integrity in all that you do. Acknowledge the positive steps you take, no matter how small. Abolish negative self-talk and replace it with the truth about who you are.

Five Steps to Blissful Intimacy (with your mate)

Relationships are work. In order for us to be successful in our relationships, we have to be intentional about keeping them alive. When you think about the people in your life that have successful relationships, examine their methodology. How do they do it? What do they do? Why do they do it? If you ask them, they may or may not be able to pinpoint one thing; it might just be a feeling. It could be intimacy. Intimacy is a closeness, familiarity, a state of being lovingly close to someone. You share an intimate bond with someone when you can finish one another’s sentences or sense when your mate is apprehensive or angry without them saying a word. Intimacy is what enables you to pick up on unspoken cues, it sustains you when you are away from one another for a period of time, and it fuels you and makes you eager to see one another again and again. It cannot be forced, it requires trust and vulnerability, it happens when you least expect it. I’ve listed five steps that you can take with your significant other to help you experience intimacy.

1. Set the intention that you will be present in the moment.




2. Prepare a meal together (it could be one of your favorites or something new and different. I recommend “Down Home with the Neely’s” by Patrick and Gina Neely if you’re looking for a cookbook. And they are simply a romantic couple.)



3. Set the atmosphere with candles, aromatherapy, music (Kindred The Family Soul’s Surrender to Love is cool OR anything by Will Downing)



4. Read and act out an excerpt from Songs of Solomon (it’s in the Bible, three books after Psalms. Here’s a quick excerpt: The Woman says: Kiss me – full on the mouth! As an apricot tree stands out in the forest, my lover stands above the young men in town. All I want is to sit in his shade, to taste and savor his delicious love. He took me home for a festive meal, but his eyes feasted on me!)



5. Dessert is on you …

Guilt is Useless!!!

In September of this year, I did a 40 day challenge Future Forward with the Fastgirls on sustainability. The intention of the challenge was to challenge us to eliminate the concept of waste and acknowledge our interconnectedness with the planet. Success meant that we had made a conscious effort to transform our relationship to water, land and our carbon footprint. One of the requirements was for us to watch “The Story of Stuff” a 21-minute video that showed just how much “stuff” we produce and the abuse that the earth suffers because of the accumulation of stuff. As I watched the video I began to feel more and more guilty about how careless and wasteful I’ve been. I was guilty of buying new things without thinking of how to I would discard the old things that they would replace. I was guilty of wasting paper and not recycling it. I was guilty of not caring about where my garbage goes once the Department of Sanitation tosses it into their truck and drives away. I was guilty of acquiring things just to have them. I was guilty of buying things and throwing away the wrapping without thinking how it would eventually biodegrade, if at all. I was guilty!!!!!

The video hit hard and my response was … guilt. I was immediately weakened, stifled, paralyzed by guilt. I am sure that the author of “The Story of Stuff” wanted me to jump into action instead of freeze in my guilt. After all, I was in a challenge with the Fastgirls and we are ALL about action. And yet, I was stuck in my guilt.

At that moment, I allowed myself to be ruled by this emotion that is only as powerful as we allow it to be in our lives. It, for that moment, crippled me. I was so stuck on yesterday that I did not realize the power of that day and that moment. I watched the video again. This time my intention was to see it from an empowering perspective, to think of the small steps that I could take to lasting change. Once I changed my perspective, I was able to see that I was powerful, not guilty. I had the power to change my relationship with the earth at that moment and any moment in the future.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be stunted by guilt? How about the lifestyle change that you pledged to on New Year’s Day and aborted because you felt guilty about going back to your old habits. Where did that get you? Did you make the change or are you still lamenting about the one infraction. You have the power to make everyday brand new! Dust yourself off, and start all over again in the moment – not the next day.

When was the last time you used guilt to get someone to do what you wanted them to do? What toll do you think that has on your relationship with that person? How genuine are your relationships if you don’t ask for what you want even if it means that you will be rejected? Guilt cripples our relationships; it generates resentment and anger. Relationships that are riddled with guilt are not productive, they don’t grow, and you don’t grow while you’re in them. Ask someone that is able to help you for help. Articulate your needs without playing the victim, yelling, bartering, and crying. The more you practice being genuine and asking for what you need without attachments, the more you will see how fulfilling and dynamic your relationships are.

The moment I made the decision to let go of the guilt of all of the “stuff” that I tossed so freely in the trash, I was ready to DO something. At that moment I sprung into action and began making changes that will not only affect my life but yours, too. However, I had to make the choice to not be stifled by guilt (which can sometimes be a comfortable place) but to be motivated by the information that I was given and the power I had to change.

What step can you take today to breakthrough any guilt that may have stifled you or your relationships?

Five Steps for Friday Night Bliss


Whenever someone asks me my favorite day of the week I say, Friday. That is the day that I look forward to shedding the weight of the past week , opening myself up to the possibility of being refreshed over the weekend and preparing for another powerful week. This is something that I recommend to close your week and open up to the possibilities of a new one.

1. Set the intention (
before you cross the threshold of your home
) that you will shed all layers that will hinder you from experiencing bliss (extreme happiness)


2. Steep a comforting tea (I love Tazo's African Red Rooibos) or pour a glass of wine (White Zinfandel is cool)


3. Speak or journal 5 things over the past week, that you are grateful for


4. Take a relaxing bath with a sprinkling of dried herbs (lavender and chamomile are my faves) or Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Body and Bath Oil (another fave ... your skin will thank you)


5. Wrap yourself in your arms and give yourself a squeeze

Bliss

I am HYPER!!!

HYPER NIKAO

It means that I am MORE than a conqueror!!!
It means that not only will I have the victory but that it will be a smashing victory!!!
My relationship with Jesus establishes and confirms my victory!!!
I always WIN!!!
You always WIN!!!
NO one, Not even ME,
Can interfere with my Destiny!!!

Are you HYPER???

Are you operating out of a victorious mindset? What limitations have you put on yourself and your circumstance? Is that the truth about who you are? How different would your life be if you believed that you will always come out on top? What opportunities would you seize? How different would your relationships be if you knew that no matter what, everyone wins? Would you love harder, deeper, unconditionally?

Are you HYPER???

[Today's] Bucket List

Most people have a bucket list of things that they would like to accomplish before they die. I guess the premise is that if you do these things before you die, you've lived a full life, done all you could do and you're, well, ready to die (I guess). I'm not sure how I feel about that but there is something that I can take away from it. Living my life to the fullest EVERY day! Now that doesn't mean that I race against the clock everyday, that I am controlled by my TO DO LIST. It simply means that I choose to be present and great at the same time. That I live my life with urgency and expectancy. So on that note, here's my bucket list - for today, at least.


Today’s Bucket List
1. Live today to the fullest
2. Go all in

What would life be like if we made good on our bucket list daily?

Truth Crushed to the Earth Will Rise Again

The truth cannot be hidden. It's fluid; it always finds an escape. The truth about who we are and our power may be hidden for awhile because of circumstances or situations but that does not mean that it is not there. Who we are at the core of our being never changes.

Truth is constant - it cannot be manipulated or re-fashioned
Truth is peace - it enables you to sit in who you are and engage her, explore her, express her
Truth is balance - it agitates and soothes, irritates and comforts, stirs and stills
Truth is liberating - it frees you from bondage and pushes you off mountains to soar on lightened wings
Truth is dynamic - with each moment, the depth of the truth is peeled away and revealed to you

What are some truths that you've discovered about yourself?
Has anyone ever told you the truth and it changed you for the better?
Do you speak truth in love?
Do you practice telling yourself the truth?

18 November 2010

And for this ... I AM THANKFUL

Community * Family * life * my son * being vulnerable * safe travels * truth * growth * shelter * provision * confirmation * fastgirls * laughter * peace * my brother * a right mind * food * running water * knowledge * coffee * friendship * mercy * another day * connections * women * a smile * kindness * intuition * men * GOD'S TRUST IN ME * children * joy * Momentum * Revelation * completion * new beginings * redemption * mirrors * my staff * my heart * my parents * new friends * sweating * exercise * great mentors * my sister * friends who become family * love * peace * my ancestors *
courage * a voice * endless possibilities * music * paper * salvation * pen * trees * balance * earth * communication * BOOKS * dreams * pictures * sense of smell * heat * rain * comedians * sunlight * doctors * football * water * my inheritance * God's voice * NYPL * BPL * Africa inside of me * healing * pillows * words * teachers * herbs * coaches * ME * YOU*

16 November 2010

One More Starfish

Have you ever read or heard of the biblical story where the shepherd searched relentlessly for one of his lost sheep while the other 99 were contained and back at the pasture? If you’re a cynic, you’re probably saying, “it’s just one sheep, he has 99! What’s the big deal?” After all, if you had 99 cents, would you really be upset if you lost a penny? You’re looking at what you do have and its exponentially more than what you don’t. So why bother?

How about the story The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley? Have you heard that one? There’s this writer taking a stroll along the beach and he notices a young man reaching down, taking a starfish out of the sand and tossing it into the water. The writer asks the young man why he keeps tossing one starfish after another in the water and the young man tells him that the sun is up and the tide is out and if he doesn’t throw them in, they will die. The writer’s response was cynical: there are miles and miles of beach, throwing ONE starfish in the water can’t possibly make a difference. The young man, picks up a starfish and tosses it into the water and says, “it made a difference to that one” and continues on his way. Why does he do this?

What’s the use? The young man saw each life as valuable and worth saving. I agree with him, all lives are worth saving; every single one is important, valuable, and necessary. That belief affects the quality of my relationships; I no longer see a person as expendable. Think about this: how many of us enter relationships thinking about how they will end? Sometimes we enter relationships with an agenda and it may or may not go according to our plans. All of our relationships serve a purpose in our lives because true growth takes place in the context of relationships. And because our growth and development depend on our relationships, they are crucial; whatever takes place within the context of a relationship can foster my growth and the result can be me being more ME than I was before the relationship. That relationship can direct me to learn more about myself, discover a new part of myself, stretch myself, teach me how to be in relationship with others. If we look at relationships from this perspective, no relationship is expendable.

We know that all relationships are not meant to last forever. What do we do when our relationships have reached the point where they have served their purpose? Do we approach that transition with gratitude or anger? Do we just let them fade away because we feel wronged or cheated? What positive things can you take away from the relationship – give thanks. Don’t just let someone that you intentionally chose to be in relationship with haphazardly slip away. Take a shot at closing with gratitude.

The young man that made a difference in the life of one starfish at a time and the shepherd that searched relentlessly for one sheep did so because they recognized the value of each animal’s life.

I want to encourage you to change your perspective on a relationship that you let slip away and give thanks for the things that you learned about yourself, about life, about relationships … If necessary, reach out to that person and genuinely express your thanks to them and acknowledge the relationship for what it was to you.

Examine your current relationships and give thanks for the impact that they have had on you. If necessary, acknowledge that person’s impact on your life.

Let me know how that turns out for you …

In fact, I’ve got to go make some phone calls or write a letter or two. I refuse to let any sheep or starfish get away …

15 November 2010

I Saw [the movie]


This is my initial response to For Colored Girls, the movie that Tyler Perry wrote, produced and directed based on the choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange. I know that I will have more to say when I see it again. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry, I promise not to give anything away.



I am thankful for sister Shange and the courage that it took to share this truth. Thank you, to brother Perry for choosing this story at this time. Kudos to all of the people involved in taking the words off of the paper and bringing it to life in motion picture. And a very low bow to Kerry Washington, Whoopie Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose, Hill Harper, Michael Ealy, Macy Gray, Thandi Newton, Loretta Devine, Janet Jackson, Omar Hardwick, and all the other actors for such a riveting performance.



The movie was lyrical, complex, beautiful, courageous, colorful, intense. I saw myself, my friends, my sister, my mother, I saw you. I cried and cried and laughed (once, I think) for you and for me. I saw how delicately weaved together our lives are. I saw the impact that relationships have on our lives and how we can see the truth about who we are when we are engaged and present in them. I saw the liberation that is available to us when we take responsibility for our lives.



I watched the movie with my shoulders hunched, my elbows planted on my thighs and my breath on pause. I did not exhale until the characters released. I wrung my hands, I scratched my forehead, I shifted when sitting was completely uncomfortable, I wept when I was hurt and cried for joy. The acting was so intense that I forgot that I was in a theater and not enmeshed in their lives. Yet, I am. We are. You are.



I left the theater as a colorful woman; aware of my complexity, ok with my intensity, moving to the rhythm of full a heart, feeling drastically beautiful and urgently me.