Cultivating Self, Family, Community

Coming home

The other day, I heard a really good podcast interview of Tiffany Dufu, the women’s leadership guru and powerhouse author of “Drop the Ball.” Because Tiffany is, like me, an African American working mom with a Ghanaian husband, I wanted to feel camaraderie. Her message – that modern women should learn to do less and delegate more, to rely on their “village” so that they can focus more energy and attention on achieving their highest visions – was solid. I wanted to support the work that she is doing to help women and girls, so much so that I quickly hopped over to my local bookshop and grabbed the bestseller off the shelf in order to get a closer look. Thumbing through each chapter, I searched desperately for a hook. I wanted badly to relate. But the truth was that in many respects, I couldn’t. Continue reading “Coming home”


Are your “distractions” really your guides?

I’ve always been the good student.

I went to “gifted and talented” school growing up, was voted “most likely to succeed” in high school, and graduated summa cum laude after four years of university.

I had found my “thing” – academics. I loved school so much that I kept going for a long, long (long, long, long, long) time.

In my early 30s, I graduated with a PhD in Psychology. My husband and four kids attended my graduation ceremony.

So, was I a “success” now? Would the red carpet roll out for me to a world of opportunity and prestige now that I had achieved the highest degree in my field? Would all of my book smarts and all-nighters pay off?

 Well…If you know my story, then you know the answer.

Continue reading “Are your “distractions” really your guides?”

Breaking the Busy-ness Habit

So a few months ago, I did an unbelievable thing. I took my own advice (gasp!) and took a step toward recovery from the most popular drug in America: busy-ness. Continue reading “Breaking the Busy-ness Habit”

My activism: Unapologetic Black JOY

A child of a Black Panther and an escapee of the Jim Crow South, I grew up steeped in Black pride and an understanding that one of my core duties on this Earth (and requirements for survival) was resistance to an interlocking system of oppression that would love to see me and my kinfolk destroyed, and preferably by our own hand. Continue reading “My activism: Unapologetic Black JOY”

The Creative Quarantine

I used to think that work-family “balance” was a goal to strive for, but now I think that balance is probably the worst thing for my brain. Balance implies that I will spread my energy and attention equally across the various demands on my time, gracefully keeping all the plates spinning in sync (or, at least broken into equally tiny, sharp pieces across the kitchen floor). Continue reading “The Creative Quarantine”

18 reasons my kids hang out on a farm

Our weekend excursion, every weekend: harvesting on the organic farm where I work during the week. Might sound like an awfully difficult way to handle grocery shopping, or maybe just thinly veiled workaholism, but the kids usually end up having a blast and we always end up with a hearty dinner. Continue reading “18 reasons my kids hang out on a farm”

The power of small, sacred spaces

It’s not a large space. It’s really not in any way fancy. Hell, it’s not usually even clean.

But it is a sacred space. Continue reading “The power of small, sacred spaces”

Simplifying Father’s Day

This year, still reeling from transitions to a new home and the launching of several new work projects, the hubby and I were NOT at all interested in doing that little yearly dance usually accompanying Mother’s and Father’s Day. Continue reading “Simplifying Father’s Day”

Love of Self, Love of Community (aka Chicken and Egg)

Terisa Siagatonu, a Bay Area spoken word artist, recently inspired me to reconsider the often-heard and readily accepted idea that “you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.”  Continue reading “Love of Self, Love of Community (aka Chicken and Egg)”

10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels for Kids of Color

When I was growing up, being a sci-fi geek seemed antithetical to being an urban Black kid. Or so I thought. Thank goodness that in recent years, thousands of melanated folks with a hankering for time travel, humanoid species, dystopian visions and other “out-there” phenomena have leapt out of the closet, blowing the white wash off of the fantasy/sci-fi genre and ushering in an age of Afrofuturism where a kid can be (get this) Black and nerdy at the same time. Lucky punk… Continue reading “10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels for Kids of Color”

Mantras for New Parents (and Even the Not-so-New)

Who has time to read parenting books? Certainly not people with actual babies and children in the house! Sometimes what parents need most is a simple, quick phrase to remind themselves of what is true and real. When you need re-centering, speak these brief phrases aloud or silently. Repeat daily, hourly, and every minute if you need to. The Universe may just respond with a burst of positive energy for you… Continue reading “Mantras for New Parents (and Even the Not-so-New)”

5 Ways to De-Stress with Essential Oils

Numerous scientific studies have uncovered the helpful effects of essential oils on pain, anxiety, memory, attention, mood, relaxation, and sleep. Whether inhaled through aromatherapy, applied directly to the skin (with a safe carrier oil), or ingested via tinctures and teas (more common in Europe than in the US), there is mounting evidence that these organic compounds have a positive effect on the human nervous system. Here are a few ways that you can use nature’s “smell-goods” to lift your mood and combat daily stress. A few of my favorites… Continue reading “5 Ways to De-Stress with Essential Oils”

6 Time Management Tips for Creatives (and Other Folks Who Hate Time Management)

Corporate culture talks incessantly about time management and productivity….which is exactly why I have avoided both of these concepts like the plague. As a bona fide free spirit, I run away screaming from anything that smacks of “other people telling me what to do, how much to do, and when to do it.” I contend that I am supposed to be late for most things, that daydreaming is a perfectly valid use of the hours between 9 and 5, and that the concept of “working through lunch” should be added to the list of cardinal sins.  Continue reading “6 Time Management Tips for Creatives (and Other Folks Who Hate Time Management)”

What the Law of Attraction Really Means (And why it’s not that different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

Have you heard of the Law of Attraction? Of course you have. Continue reading “What the Law of Attraction Really Means (And why it’s not that different from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)”

The Simple Life (Isn’t So Simple)

“Living simply makes loving simple.” ~bell hooks

Simple living is all about consciously choosing to live with less material possessions, reduced work time, and sometimes even less technology than the average modern American. How one chooses to design their simple life may look differently for each individual, but the underlying premise is to develop a sense of gratitude and satisfaction for you already have rather than enter the vicious cycle of always seeking more. Continue reading “The Simple Life (Isn’t So Simple)”

The White-Washing of Sustainability

Maybe I’m weird, but I like conferences. And in the past year, I’ve been honored to receive invitations to numerous conferences concerning sustainability, permaculture, green living, environmentalism, and nature connection. (Some of my favorite topics!) And yet, over time my enthusiasm for such gatherings have slowly waned. In fact, I think that I’ll turn down the next invitation. Why? Simple. I am tired of always being the only person of color in the whole conference. Continue reading “The White-Washing of Sustainability”

Do Crystals Really Have Healing Powers?

Hell if I know. But if so, that’s pretty cool, right? I mean, I guess it’s probable that natural formations which have been embedded in the Earth for hundreds or thousands of years might have come to embody certain energetic properties based on their unique vibrational frequencies. Minerals, gemstones, and crystals have been used since ancient times by cultures across the world to enhance physical, mental, and spiritual health.

And plus, they’re just so purrrty. Continue reading “Do Crystals Really Have Healing Powers?”

Fight, Flight, Freeze, or…Feel

Your boss walks in to your performance evaluation with a frown. A waitress gives a snarky response to your question. As you exit a store, a security officer chases after you.

What is your response to each of these situations? To varying degrees, each represents a potential threat or danger to your well-being. Perhaps you’ll end up fired, mistreated, in jail, or worse. Or maybe not. The uncertainty about how each situation will work out only adds to the stress you feel.

In such situations, we tend to respond in conditioned ways that are hard-wired into our DNA. Continue reading “Fight, Flight, Freeze, or…Feel”

Get Wild! What Being in Nature Does for You

I love a nice, big city – crowded sidewalks filled with interesting people, cuisine from all over the world, tons of fun things to do, and every kind of neighborhood you can imagine. But at the end of the day, I’ve learned that nothing restores my sense of inner peace like a walk through the woods, or an afternoon at a quiet beach. Even a few minutes watching the birds at a park can be a healing experience. I find that a quiet morning in the yard can help me to feel more creative, less anxious, and way more centered by the time I get to work. Now science is starting to know why. Continue reading “Get Wild! What Being in Nature Does for You”

Should Black Parents Consider Montessori Schools?

As a mom, I’ve done A LOT of school shopping. I don’t mean the autumn ritual of purchasing school supplies. I mean shopping for schools – pouring over promotional materials, combing through websites, asking friends and community members for referrals to their favorite schools, attending open houses and orientations, comparing curriculums and educational philosophies, meeting teachers and principals and students who all claim that their school is the best. But keep in mind – I’m not just a mom of four children. I’m a mom of four Black children, and I’m also a psychologist who is very interested in protecting my little ones from the traumatic experience that school can too often become. Continue reading “Should Black Parents Consider Montessori Schools?”

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