#TuesdayTea | Refreshment

Welcome to #TuesdayTea! Pull up a chair, grab a mug and get comfortable. Today, we’re talking refreshments.

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I love tea of all kinds! Green, white, oolong, jazmine, mint, hibiscus, peach, raspberry pomegranate, chamomile lavender, mango ginger–you name it, I probably drink it! (except for that “Throat Coat” stuff; I can’t stand the licorice flavor!) Iced or hot, there is nothing like a soothing cup to cleanse the palate and relax the nerves.

tea gif

What I’m referring to, however, is spiritual refreshment. When the chips are down, tensions are at an all-time high, our anxiety runs through the roof, or we’re simply too weary in our souls from carrying grief and stress, how do we find relief?

One of the quickest ways is to offer it ourselves.

When I find myself in a rut, discouraged, or in need of motivation, I look for someone else that may need that comfort and connect with them. I may send a motivational toast GIF on Twitter:

motivational toast gif

 

Whether that person responds immediately in gratitude or not, it cheers me up: I reach down to find enough joy in the reservoir to share–and it got amplified!

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25 NLT

When you are willing and able to give of yourself to other people, enriching others, extending to them your time, wisdom, encouragement, patience, connections, materials, and other resources, then you are setting yourself up for prosperity.

Enrichment. Blessings. Abundance. Profit. Fatness. Glory. Success. Generosity yields these things.

If I help meet someone else’s needs–without expecting anything else in return–then I in turn shall be satisfied. That’s the principle of sowing and reaping–God rewards us well for good expressed to others from a sincere heart, for that is how He gives to us: liberally and without reproach. (James 1: 5)

How does this manifest in practical ways?

  • You lighten up. It is harder to obsess over your present difficulties when you have shifted your focus to another person. Interrupt your pity party by intentionally seeking someone to show kindness to. Amplify Your Joy!
  • You realize you have influence, which is the basis of agency. You exercise power over your own mood and affect the people who surround you. That means you are not  hopeless, worthless, or purposeless whatsoever–so start tuning out those lies of self-defeat and condemnation! And hey, folks like it when you smile.
  • You realize you have hidden strength, buried beneath the weight of your oppressive,  less-than-ideal circumstances. You have joy–and “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.”  God graces us with supernatural vigor, resilience, to carry on despite the worries, chaos and drama that attempts to weigh us down (or, as in my case, an upper respiratory infection. yuck!) We need only to ask Him to be our strong tower (defense and offense, a refuge, a safe place).
  • You amplify whatever resources you dole out.  Whatever time, talents, or treasures you are providing for someone else, they do not come from you, but sourced from God–we are to be responsible stewards of our resources. In terms of being accountable, being of a generous spirit ensures that you do not waste what abundance he extends to you. God cannot be outdone in the generosity department, y’all. Whatever “little” energy you lend or “last bit” of change in your pocket, He richly rewards us according to the measure that we use: pressed down, shaken together and running over. these things are for us to be responsible stewards.
  • You build relationships and connections of value.
    When you continually reach out into the lives of others to give generously, you initiate soft relationships. You never know who you impact with your acts of kindness, or what could develop: A timely Get Well Soon card could lead to your next business partnership, collaboration or other opportunity. As you well know, I’m all for community building; one can chase a thousand but two can chase ten thousand!

    That well-paid compliment just might come back when you need it. 🙂

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
–Maya Angelou

Takeaway: In need of a pick me up? Go refresh someone else, so that you may be refreshed yourself.

How will you exercise generosity today? Share in the comments below.

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New Art Show! | #LxveMatters

Community building just keeps on going!

In just 10 days (August 27th, 2016), I will be featured at #LxVEMatters, put on by The Lxve Collective.

ilxve art exhibit flyer with frame and sponsors (1)

 

Peep this: LxVEMattersPressRelease

This isn’t just another curated event or artsy showcase. Jonathan Tease, one of the event organizers, speaks on the aspirations of this special show:

“This is more than just an art exhibit. It’s a meeting of the minds for individuals looking for ways to invoke change, but have started to feel hopeless. Our goal is to show everyone that ‘LxVE’ is the answer to the root cause of many of the terrible tragedies we’ve recently experienced. We also want to empower our attendees to take action in their communities and to be the change they are so desperately seeking.”

We’ll be spreading positivity, promoting self-love, healing, unity, and appreciation for all marginalized groups through art (music, film, photography, painting and mixed media.) Who’s we?

Featured Artists:

  • Myself, Mia Anika
  • Dizzy Art
  • Quintavious Oliver
  • Jaquan Cummings
  • Molly P
  • Jamal Parker

If you’re in Atlanta Saturday August 27th, this is where you need to be!!

I will be painting live, with brand new work and items for sale! You don’t want to miss it!

Get your tickets here!

CIAO! (I am oh so excited!)

Midsummer Night Dreams

2016: the year dreams and passion projects come to fruition!solange dancing

I’ve been a busy bee–which is why for August, I am taking a focused break–but check out what I have been up to this summer.

Essentially, I’m working to champion this statement:

“Creatives, caretakers and entrepreneurs of color, in particular, do not take the time and space to care for themselves. Focused breaks actually make you more productive, less anxious, more liberated over time.”

[You can explore the Jamii prototype here.]

I’m grateful for the opportunities floating my way. Go TEAM! I couldn’t do it without God, my support system, or you, who read this lil blog. Thank you!

Many more to come!

#TuesdayTea | Quiet Time

Welcome to TuesdayTea! Come pull up a chair, grab a mug and settle in. Today, we’re getting some quiet time.

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You will find this more brief than most of my writings, esteemed reader. That is deliberate.

What I want you to do before the end of your lunch break, or at least by the time you get home from work/school today, is to seek solitude. Seek silence.

Get away from the tyranny of your To-Do List, and daily demands, hustle and bustle of routine living, and the incessant clamoring of many voices.

Surrender to silence and solitude.

Ride in your car without music blasting. Take a walk around the block without earphones in. Sit in a sunny spot and be still. Make it intentional.

You may be able to hear the still, small voice whisper to you: Perhaps you are in need of some encouragement, or direction and next steps to take, or to receive some unsettling truth, or feel some love today.

Check out what beautiful truth David found when he tuned in:

Hear, O Lordwhen I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 27:7-10

He found hope, support, confidence, help, safety, trust. All the prayers? Answered. All the worries, cares, questions, comments, concerns? Answered or settled. The bottom line to whatever is distressing you –putting you in a state of agitation and NOISE–is that the Lord will take care of you.

If you don’t believe me, try Him and see. Go and really patiently look for His presence–and watch Him cover you in peace and resonating joy.

(Transparent Sidetone: I really needed this word today, myself! The stress and struggle of keeping it all together and getting the things done can get to any of us, and all of us.)

Grace to all who read this.

Creatives, engage in spirit care for yourselves.

P.S. I’m engaging this quiet time in waves, and in more ways than one: For August, I’m taking time away for planning, resetting, etc.
So you guys won’t catch me on social media. 
If you feel a need to reach out, you’re more than welcome to comment below–I’ll be sure to respond!

 

#CultureFix| Healing in Response to Outside Trauma

In honor of Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (official government name),  I’ve partnered with #CultureFix, “a global, collaborative network of artivisits, cultural producers, & influencers who use arts to impact communities around the world,” founded by Nora Rahimian and Natalie Crue.

What’s in store from this fabulous collaboration? Two Twitter chats centered on mental health awareness for creatives and entrepreneurs of color, as well as an open resource for support. (Cue the fireworks.) By these, we aim to bridge these gaps of access and availability, and spark insightful conversations about mental health and wellness.❤

Catch a replay from Self-Care Pt 1 here.

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Who’s Up for Round Two? This time, we discussed “Self-Care, Creativity, and Healing in Response to Outside Trauma.”

Here were our guests:

  1. Zuwaina Murad (@zu_mu), psychotherapist working to heal traumas, foster coping and promote wellness. She is the owner of Amicus Group, GTA concierge therapy practice
  2. Roconia Price, (everso_Roco) ( pronounced “RuhCONNuh”), founder of @Moredinary. sometimes Ro. Sometimes Roco. Always writing, always fighting

This was a lively conversation on mental health and creativity, with several views and suggestions presented, with questions giving rise to more questions! Here I’ve captured a couple gems:

On reinterpreting cultural trauma for the masses, and its impact:

  • History is always being reworked and reinterpreted; potential for positive and negative in this! –Zuwaina
  • There’s this expectation that artists stay outside of cultural events so they can document/interpret them for others–heavy. –Nora
  • We wind up bearing a burden and not giving ourselves time to recover –Me
  • How do creatives access mental care? Where, outside of traditional structures, can we go? –Natalie
  • We start by creating our own structures, support groups, writing/art groups, initiatives like #CultureFix.–Zuwaina
  • Artists can help communities understand traumatic events, but it has to be their choice to do so. –USDAC
  • There’s this emphasis on not feeling emotions rather than learning to feel, face, work through them. –Nora

    There’s pressure to be overly dramatic and vulnerable which may bring emotions to the surfaces that shouldn’t be brought up..I definitely feel stoicism is valued…–AK
    This may add to the mythos of artist as superhuman, but we need space to decompress, also!–Me

  • Art/trauma- can make artists more aware of the aggressions they exp. themselves & allows to consider new methods of resiliency– Zuwaina

On artists’ responsibility to speak on social justice, and striking a balance for self-care:

  • While self-care alternatives like yoga, martial arts, retreats, etc sometimes are helpful in terms of mediating stress and mental health issues, they’re not a cure-all. –Chula
  • Can art relating to trauma be self-care?
  • Formal treatment is always good in addition to our art.–AK Kerani
  • Creatives are responsible to depict through their own lens, informed by historic context. Art not made in a vacuum…but of course exercise empathy and not speak over those who are closely impacted & grieving.

    We can feel compelled by emotional highs, but need to take time to process in order to create effective work.

  • We expect [artists and creatives] to interpret what we cant make sense of. Or act as intermediaries. Pick up the torch when you feel the need.–Natalie

On holding space for collective healing:

  • An individual artist can connect with a community that s/he identifies strongly with…There’s a level of empathy and understanding that an individual’s community can provide, allowing someone to feel supported. –Chula the Film
  • I have a responsibility to my fans. If they’re suffering, and me speaking can change it, I have to do it.–Takuna

On messaging, using art to change the conversation around mental health:

  • Art has a dope way of opening people up, so creatives being open about their mental health in their work is a major key. –Amirah
  • Combatting the stigma of mental health in communities of color is one message i’d like to put out there.–Natalie
  • Arts can open our minds to alternative ways of coping, encourage our differences, one size doesn’t fit all.–Zuwaina
  •  hopes to educate others on BPD and substance abuse, and empower people to educate themselves using film
  • POC suffer the most health disparities, less likely to seek treatment. We gotta help each other be well!

A final takeaway from yours truly:

Creatives, don’t forget to breathe. Don’t leave transparency out of your daily practice, whether you are using your art as therapy, or another constructive alternative to heal. 😀

(You can scroll through the full discussion here.)

This was such a great experience! I hope everyone gleans what they needed from these chats, in resource or connecting with like minds. Thank you!
Tune in to #CultureFix every Tuesday at 3pm EDT/ 12 noon PST! 

culture fix acct tag

 

#MMHM16| Best Of #MMHM

#MinorityMentalHealth

Wow, y’all. This jam-packed #JubilantJuly flew by so quickly–can you believe it’s August?!
So many eye-opening moments, so many open discussions of mental health and disparities in communities of color, so much insight, resources & clever solutions were shared these last few weeks, that I’ve decided a “Best Of” listicle is in order.
So without further ado, here’s my highlight reel:

  • BH365
  • Af-Am Ed
  • #blkcreatives
  • MH Chat
  • CultureFix x Me
  • RootChat
  • Salud Today
  • EBONY Chat

July was super rich in community building, partnerships, and surprising new opportunities–in person and online, I met and reconnected with so many other women of color who advocate for mental health in their families & beyond.
Shout out to Nora Rahimian & Natalie Crue of Culture Fix, Myisha T. Hill of Brown Sisters Speak, of Spoken Black Girl, Cheryl Aguilar of Salud Today, and all my new friends and supporters.
Thanks for joining my circle! #ForTheCulture for the win!

Remember, we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of our wellness, placing a priority on mental health!
You are Not Alone! If you ever need a listening ear, my couch is open.