Category Archives: Self-Empowerment

Daylight Savings: How to create habits during this transitional time.

So, I have a confession. I LOVE when Daylight Savings time ends. Yup, the darkness, the cool air, checking your watch and noticing that it’s pitch black, but it’s really 12 noon- ALL of it.

But most importantly, I love to feel like I have a second chance of fighting old habits and building new ones. That extra hour gives me a rebirth of something. Almost like a clean slate to try this thing called life again. So as I begin to recharge, I wanted to send some vibes along your way.

 

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What better time to change a bad habit than Daylight Savings time? 

 

Here are a few tips that can help you stretch that extra hour and reflect on the way you manage your time this daylight savings period:

A morning routine: After moving back in with my parents once I graduated from college,the mere THOUGHT of waking up early was not even a figment of my imagination. Who wants to do that? Do you really think I want to get out of my bed and work? When I wake up, I will work!  let me rest. But actually, that was wrong. Super wrong.

I have been studying successful people and their lifestyles for a while now. It is important to look at these psudeo-mentors (because they don’t really know me, yet) and almost mimic their ways of thinking, eating, and breathing (it’s not that creepy, i promise). While each person is different, I noticed that all of them have something in common: a strong, consistent morning routine. Yup, waking early and HANDLING THEIR LIVES.

Morning routines set the tone for your day. If you are waking up groggy and slow, chances are, your day might be just that. The opposite though, is fascinating. Imagine waking up early, reading a chapter of your favorite book, meditating, getting a killer workout in, and leaving the house ready for whatever life throws at you. Get it going!

Seize your day: Now that we got your morning down, what about the rest of those hours? Getting into a habit of being intentional with your time is the perfect swing to this dark weather that we are about to endure. Imagine what you can actually accomplish with the time that you are doing, hate to say this, pointless things.

I remember being fed up with my day -to-day routine. It went something like this: I would wake up late, rush to work, complain during my commute, get to work and under-perform, get a burst of energy to contact my friends and go out for dinner, hit up all of my social timelines to see what folks were doing, stay up late to watch tv, and do it ALL over again the next day. NOT OK.

We all have 24 hours to grind. Your dreams ad aspirations can be handled in that time span, but its all about what you do with them that makes your time effective. I dare you to think about what you do with your 24 hours that we all have? How much time do you spend being productive? What are you doing instead?

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-Change your mindset about Mondays: Let’s face it: You are sad that the weekend is over because you didn’t have time to do the things that you wanted to do. You were using your off-time carelessly and you can’t even imagine going back to work and starting the week all over again because you are backed-up on your personal tasks.

So now you take it out on Monday, the day that you should hit the ground running. The Monday that gives you a fresh start for your attitude of the week….

Consider this Sunday, the end date of Daylight Savings, your starting point. Instead of waking up and noticing that you have an extra hour to catch some more zzzz’s, GET UP AND GET IT. Do the work. Hit those crunches. Write like you never written before. Read like you’ve always wanted. Go ‘head. Those 24 hours belong to you. And now that extra one too.

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Your Morning Routine: The definite deal-breaker and habit-maker.

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So I’m not coming into this post as one who is an expert NOR knows what she is doing. I am coming as a concerned professional and creative, who is worried about her inner thoughts and ideas that have been flushed out by the day-to day priorities of life.

This hit me one morning when I woke up 2 hours after my alarm clock. When 25 minutes was the only thing that kept me from being at work, and yet I hadn’t even moved out of bed yet. It was after I became a ninja and hopped out of bed, threw clothes on, and sprinted out  of my house. I sped down streets and cut through corners saying to myself, how do we get here? Something definitely had to change and I knew it was my mornings.

As a tired (literally) snoozer and procrastinator, I began looking up morning routines and the things that people do to prevent ninja mornings like the one that I had myself. I was extremely surprised to find that the most successful folks are ones with solid morning routines. That people usually use mornings to work out, meditate, and figure life out in the wee hours of the mornings. And here I am, still wiping the crust out of my eyes at my computer screen.

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SO I changed, for the better. I didn’t say it was easy, now. But I began waking up early. And when i discovered the joys of waking up simultaneously with the sun and listening to the newness of the morning, I was sold.

Morning routines are crucial. It is time that you have with yourself before the world enters in and takes you for the storm of the day. You know, the “let me tell you what happened last night” texts, the 9:30am conference calls, and of course, the  demons that try you each and every day. Morning routines are the moments to reaffirm your position in the world and motivate yourself to get through properly.

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And for my fellow creatives: what are some things you would like to do that you don’t have time to? you don’t even have to tell me. Those mornings will definitely allow you to get to work on some of those long term projects.

Whether you take 10 mins to drink your morning coffee at home and reflect on the doings of the day, or if you want to journal your thoughts out, I truly encourage you to find that happy place. It not only helps in the morning, but it also gives you something to remember when you are having a rough day. Take it from a snoozer, who used to crawl out of bed and believe that everything was going to be alright.

 

Have a morning routine? Tell us what you do! Don’t have one? What are some things that you might want to accomplish during those morning hours?

 

Orisha On The Horizon

The year is 1619. On a voyage across the Atlantic ocean towards Jamestown, Virginia, captured African slaves carried with them a disabling sense of loss and a nagging uncertainty about their forthcoming destinies on their journey to the new world. Among the pain these resilient people also held onto various spiritual traditions and ways of relating themselves to the world from their perspective homelands which helped them sustain some sense of sanity within the hellish conditions they were forced to endure.

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Amidst European Christian and Spanish Catholic indoctrination, enslaved West Africans who were transported to various parts of the Americas had enough dignity and audacity to secretly practice various indigenous African spiritual belief systems against the will of their captors. Most prominent of these indigenous beliefs was the worship of Orishas, a Yoruba practice known as Ifa, with origin in present-day Nigeria and surrounding areas. Ifa is a potent method for displaced Africans to rediscover their true identities, claim access to birth-right cultural memories, and empower the world with a religion rooted in humanism, ancestor reverence, and the preservation of Earth. Ifa evolved over time into several distinct spiritual systems known today as Regla De Ocha (also known as “Santeria”) in Cuba, Candomble in Brazil, and Haitian Vodou.

Ifa stands out from the reigning religions of the day, some of which encourage separatism, because of its humanistic aspect. Practitioners of Ifa place all power into the people. While the Orishas are worshipped, it is clear that they are not merely outside entities, but symbols of nature and representations of ancestors. Here is where the value lies, because unlike most European religions where energy is invested into mere ideas, Ifa seeks to empower the individual, the community, and the world at large.

The rediscovery of our true spiritual traditions, rooted in West Africa, begins with the resurrection and globalization of the Black gods known as Orishas, who were almost successfully wiped clean from the communal memory banks of enslaved African peoples by colonizers. Profoundly described by Wole Soyinka as “paradigms of existence,” the following mythical symbols are, in my opinion, the most beneficial to know: Osanyin, Oya, Oshun, and Yemaya. Each of these Orishas teaches a valuable lesson through their various stories and what they represent which can prove to be useful in the evolution of oppressed Black peoples across the globe.

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During these times of critical health crisis’s and medical apartheid within the global Black community, a proper knowledge and respect for the healing powers of nature is necessary. Osanyin, known to be the god who has dominion over wild plant life, especially herbs, serves as a bridge into ancestral medicinal wisdom. Consider him Father Nature who rules all flora and fauna. The spirit of Osanyin can be found at the core of Blacks like famous botanist George Washington Carver, urban gardener and food activist Ron Finley, and the many other “healers” around the globe. Osanyin’s ashe, or life force, peaks Black interest in the field of medicine in addition to the cultivation and nurturance of plants and herbs. All of which are needed today with the spread of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, mental health disorders, and preventable diseases like diabetes that plague the Black community.

Yemaya and Oshun are two goddesses embody the power of motherhood, protection, and hold the memories of our fallen ancestors. In the Yoruba tradition where spiritual baths and cleansings are commonplace, water, like herbs, is a constant necessity. Though both embodiments of water, each Orisha has a distinct purpose when called upon. While Yemaya reigns over the oceans, full of purifying salt water, Oshun is the essence of rivers and fresh waters.

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It is widely known that Black women are among the most oppressed and disrespected individuals in the world. “Misogynoir,” a term coined by Myo Bailey, is used to describe how racism coupled with misogyny specifically affects Black women. Faced against powerful forces such as racism and misogynoir, the goddess image can be extremely empowering for Black women of the Diaspora. Yemaya and Oshun are not passive mothers. They can be gentle, but are fierce protectors of women and children. These goddesses, as well as Oya, divinity that guards the cemetery, are warrior spirits who not only give birth to nations, but are just as powerful as their male counterparts. Having female warrior goddesses to turn to in moments of strife and hopelessness, for Black women, can prove to be affirming and earn them proper respect from all others.

Ifa is a beautiful religion rich in ritual and adornment, but what’s most important is the devotee’s connection to spirit, the earth, and a respect for the past. Ifa forces its followers to open up to the worldwide community, being a religion of undoubted acceptance and care of fellow man, regardless of sex, gender, religious affiliation, or race. At the core of worship, Ifa would be most rewarding as a dominant force in the world because of its promotion of healing, loving, and respect, for self and others. As a people so stricken with pain, these Yoruba religious practices maintained and taught by those dragged unwillingly across the Atlantic ocean, provide for Black people a home in foreign lands.

Change is spreading across the Diaspora like germinated seeds blowing in wind produced by Oya, searching for fertile ground in which to settle. My ancestors and I share a common surety about the rising of the Orishas, who, like the Costus Spectabilis, are destined to flower in the minds and spirits of reawakening oppressed peoples.

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Restoring Your Chilly Season!

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I always find that the colder seasons allow me to reconnect with my purpose in life. I mean, I’m not able to sit on the beach or be outside as much, so I am now reluctant to be faced with, well, me. And it is clear that everyone can relate.
During this reflective time, following a  few guidelines in making sure that my hibernation season is effective as possible. Here are some tips:

 

1. Self Empow. 5Saving money: Although the holidays are quickly approaching, we want to remind ourselves that although we want to spend uncontrollably for our loved ones, they will still love us the same if we bought the 16GB IPhone instead of the 32GB. Becoming more knowledgeable about money and learning how to save more, invest more, and ultimately make more, is always a good skill to rely on. Besides, who wants to be broke anyway? Getting an upper hand on your green by learning some things during the fall and winter time. And stay tuned on our site, we might even help you reach your financial success!
2. Cleaning house: Yup, Exactly what I meant. Your space. It’s getting colder now, who wants aSelf Empow. 2 cluttered space? Take a weekend (or two) and begin organizing, disposing, and rearranging things in your home, room, car, office, etc. It pays off to have a clean space, especially when you feel that life is cloudy and cluttered with mental and even physical THINGS. Control what you can and CLEAN HOUSE! Trash things that you don’t need, organize things that you do need, and you will thank us later! De-clutter that mind and embrace your hibernation season with a little winter cleaning.
3. Self Empow. 3.Recovering connections: Even though it is cuffing season and everyone wants to call and remember the old friendships and old flings that was once started, it’s always best to reconnect with old, GENUINE, friends and family members that you missed during the summer nights with friends or loud music at concerts. Recovering connections can also allow you to get in conversation about things you would have never talked about through the basic text message or the small comments on Facebook and Instagram. Get creative with reconnecting! Have small get-together or coffee dates with the VIP’s in your life and reconnect! You will be amazed at the relationships and friendships you will make.
4. Self Empow. 4Becoming productive: With all this extra time on your hands, you can always do a little more with your productivity. Digging deep and finding that special hobby that you once loved will be great during this cold season. Whether it’s curling up with a good book, writing your life away, cooking up good eats, or even that blog site that you never get to, do it! It is never too late to catch your forgotten hobbies. Being productive with the things you like to do will only cross some things off your mega to-do list, but it will also bring you that inner happiness that is comparable to those warm, eventful summer days.

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5. Having Fun! There’s nothing like having a boring chilly season. Being bored AND cold is not too much fun. Just remember that although the warm season is months away, use this time to find your inner peace and happiness.

Juneteenth: Channeling Our Energies in Our Own Purposes.

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I think my fascination of Juneteenth has always been the fact that we are alive and well to celebrate this infamous holiday. We made it. Our ancestors lived through slavery. And if it wasn’t for their persistence and high spirits, we wouldn’t be able to see this day and build each year… 

So there’s something to think about in this small victory for ex-slaves. How did they manage to live through this experience? And furthermore, what can we do today to exemplify the strength and vigor that they had? Of course there are many answers to these questions, but I want to look at something very specific: purpose. 

During slavery, it was clear that slaves served a higher master than White folk. This is not even to get too much into religion or anything, but they knew what there purpose was and for most of them, it was being able to get through, get out, and tell their stories. Because of these purposes, Black people today are still story-telling, maintaining culture, and living life. But we are lacking in something, and its definitely purpose. 

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Do you honestly think your daily life coincides with your intended purpose? Are your talents and qualities, as a human, as descendants of this great ancestors, are actively living in your everyday lives?

Every day we do things that benefit our current state but doesn’t not replenish our souls nor purpose. We work full time jobs to make a decent living and go to school to get degrees, but do we push ourselves to ultimately make us happy? Are our natural talents and “feel goods” being worked just as hard? ABSOLUTELY NOT. 

It’s cool to be great workers for the jobs that you are currently working, and of course it’s great to be awesome scholars, but imagine if you invested that same energy in fulfilling your own purpose. Think about how free and happy your life would be. If anything, we owe it to our ancestors who built this country, and were still devoted some of their time to ensure that their energy was not fully into doing the works of their masters. Live your OWN life and serve your own purpose. Now THAT’S freedom. 

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Use this day to reflect on your energies and how you can properly distribute them. What is you purpose? What are you going to do to make sure that you live through it everyday? 

Who Are You Again?

How often have you introduced yourself as your twitter/instagram handle? I personally need more than two hands to count the number of times I have done this. There are people who I consider real friends who only refer to me as my online nomenclatures. 
 
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In this day and age of everything being readily available, I feel we have lost touch on what personal relationships can be when we engage in a purely reality based  interactions. Where we learn each others likes and dislikes through talking instead of timelines. Where we get out of this romanticized view of the world and actually experience what it has to offer. The fear of missing out is becoming less and less of an observance and more of an diagnosis. 
 
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We tend to see pictures of people having a good time and in ours minds we believe that their fun is way more enjoyable than anything we are currently partaking in. When the reality is that, that picture is a moment and not an event. The person smiling with the solo cup is not an accurate model for the person before nor after the shutter has closed. A picture they say is worth a thousand words but who is to say that any of these words are true. The greatest hiding place for dispare is behind a smile.
 
I implore you to seek fulfillment outside of social networks. Think about how often your experiences are diminished to nothing more than a hashtag. Is that not saddening? I live by the adage that anyone who is truly having the time of their lives is too busy in the moment to document it. Our greatest moment will always be captured with our eyes and saved in our hearts of which there are no passwords. 
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Live your life off of the computer screen. Develop a personna that extends beyond and app. Do not fear the virtuous state of mystery. Is it okay for people to ask you how your trip was, did you get that job you were excited for, etc. I challenged all the viewers to downgrade their next big adventure. Make a physical photo album for when friends come over to visit, this creates conversation. There is nothing like face to face interactions, these will never go out of style. So log off and go out into the world, go off grid and embrace the sunshine and soft kisses the earth has provided in the form of wind.
 
As Always, I love You, God loves You, Love Yourself,
Man of Madu

Forty Days of Reconstruction.

Today marks the first day of lent, a tradition in many Christian denominations that observe the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for 40 days. During this time, many Christians fast, pray, and sacrifice important things in their daily routines as a form of penitence. Although many are not of this denomination or not religious, lent is a way to observe materialistic things that are used excessively to find time and space to better themselves. 

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Can these forty days create a great habit to find time for your true purpose in life without being religious? Can you use these forty days to change your thinking in certain ways? end bad habits? Forty days is more than enough time to reconstruct the habits of the mind. Ending things like procrastination and becoming more productive, picking up great habits of working out, or reading books, and of course making choices that will impact your life.

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The idea of sacrifice in itself shines light to the willpower and discipline that is self imposed upon the self. The notion of removing the most vital item or habit in your life and finding ways to continue on with your days can be very hard in the beginning, but liberating simultaneously. How good will it feel to know that you can stay off of social media for forty days, or stop drinking sugary drinks and sodas? Great, of course. 

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Allow these forty days to be your reconstruction period. Take away all the toxins in your life and replenish them with a sense of truth, purpose, and productivity. Let us know what you are giving up for this season!