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Monday, December 30, 2013

KWANZAA

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa are known as the Nguzo Saba. These principles exemplify the very best of African cultures and traditions throughout the Diaspora. Kwanzaa is celebrated to help people of African descent affirm the grandeur and beauty of their ancestral home and translate that beauty into their everyday lives. The holiday, a Swahili word which translated means “first fruits of the harvest,” was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. While Kwanzaa is typically commemorated annually from December 26th through January 1st, these are wise axioms to live by 365 days a year. Here I’ve written a Haiku for each of the principles. Read them over carefully. They are meant to stimulate thought and promote positive action. Harambee!

Habari Gani? Umoja! What’s the news? Unity.
Our Ancestors smile
Upon the unity we
Promote through Kwanzaa.

Habari Gani? Kujichagulia! What’s the news? Self-Determination.
When we define our
Own greatness, we project Self-
Determination.

Habari Gani? Ujima! What’s the news? Collective work and responsibility.
Don’t be so trifling
and lazy! Pull your own weight!
Be responsible!

Habari Gani?  Ujamaa! What’s the news? Cooperative Economics.
Ominous clouds taunt
when Blacks refuse to support
Black-owned businesses.

Habari Gani? Nia! What’s the news? Purpose.
If you plan to get
ahead, then make sure you live
your life on purpose.

Habari Gani? Kuumba! What’s the news? Creativity.
Creativity
Nourishes the life-blood of
African cultures.

Habari Gani? Imani! What’s the news? Faith.
In no small way, Faith
Sustains us, Heals us and gives
Hope for the future.


Asante Sana. Peace and Blessings Always

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Welcoming 2014: My Un-Resolution


Resolve means more than
empty promises spoken
Every New Year's Day

It’s Christmas morning.  I have the privilege of sitting here in my “Sacred Magic Room,” reading, writing, praying and reflecting on what this season means to me.  What my life means to me. What my essence means to the world I navigate on a daily basis. I am especially grateful for the presence of mind that guided me to scribble down my thoughts before the gathering with family and friends, before the big feast, before all the gift giving and gift receiving. Because if I learned anything at all during 2013, I learned that God wants me to succeed at out-flowing the unique talents, gifts and abilities bestowed upon me:  No Excuses! God wants me to humble myself, discipline myself, believe in myself so I can get closer to that holy place of redemption. And it just so happens that sitting down to write is a big part of that equation. So I am a blessed woman. Right here, right now.

Normally by the time we get to the 25th of December, I’ve written down all of my resolutions in a beautifully bound journal. For many years, these resolutions have remained the same:  Obey God’s will; be more active in my elderly parents’ lives; continue with my volunteer work; finish writing my books of poetry I’ve started, finish writing my screenplay I’ve started, chunk down a few more chapters of my novel, complete my book of essays; continue with my jogging, start training for another marathon, eat better and oh yes, lose some weight!

But this year, there will be No Resolutions. No looking back or looking forward or making false promises. This year, the goal is to make one goal and stick to it, which I have already done – (a birthday present I gave to myself back in October.) I don’t feel compelled to share what this goal is, but will keep myself in check as I continue to experience the bliss that each day on this planet offers  -   troubles, challenges, triumphs and all. 

As you observe the season (or if it’s your tradition, not observe the season), I hope that you achieve all of the lofty goals you set for yourself this coming year. I hope you are able to keep whatever resolutions you make. I hope you can find joy in the coming year.  I hope the song of Spring on its way is a sweet melody in your ears. I hope the taste of freedom is on the tip of your tongue. I hope the smell of success is ripe in your nostrils. But most of all, I hope you are able to feel your heart beating. And when you do so, I hope you can find and spread love.

Asante Sana. Peace and Blessings Always.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today is a Gift

Love Park, Philadelphia, PA


Today is a Gift
that features priceless, rare and
unique qualities

Today is a Gift
That’s why it’s called “The Present”
So please cherish it

Today is a Gift
Revel in “The Present” as a
Child on Christmas Day

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Asante Sana - Peace & Blessings Always


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winter Solstice Haiku and Reflections

Winter Wonderland: A photo I took in Overbrook after a Snow Fall 
When I left the house on Saturday afternoon, it was windy and cold, however no precipitation was falling. My block, as you see here in this photo, looked like winter wonderland. Yet the moon was almost full by the time I walked home through the falling snow, as evening fell around my shoulders. It was quite a lovely scene here in the Overbrook section of West Philadelphia.

Beautiful. Tranquil. Serene.

In two more days, the actual full moon will be in effect, and on Saturday, December 21st at 12:11 p.m., the Winter Solstice will descend upon those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. I absolutely adore this time of year, while so many others hate the cold weather that is typical in the Mid-Atlantic states. But I always feel optimistic as the old year runs out and the new year rings in.  I hope this change of seasons gives you pause to reflect, meditate, and contemplate positive change. Here are some Haiku verses I wrote in anticipation of the Winter Solstice.

While others curse and
scorn winter, I marvel in
its stark cold beauty.

Joy surges through me
as the fresh snow flakes dance and
swirl around my face.

I feel a certain
peace in knowing the earth is
preparing for Spring.

Asante Sana. Peace and Blessings Always



Thursday, December 5, 2013

NELSON MANDELA


July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013


Nelson Mandela,
our peaceful warrior, has
gone home to glory.