‘Life, love, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. Unalienable rights afforded to all just not to me, the soul of this land. But as our fight grows longer and our voices get louder even we deserve moments of stillness.
It is time that we speak our truth aloud and unafraid. What have you been allowing to silence you? Or, how have you been silencing yourself? What will you un-silence for yourself? And, what will it mean for the liberation of others?
This is wellness; the active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. I can’t say it gets easier, you just get stronger — mentally and emotionally. The tools I have acquired have become muscle memory in exercising as I navigate life. I wouldn’t be here, able to share my testimony, if it wasn’t for the black women I ha(ve)d holding me up.
Many of us are awakening to the binds that have been placed on femininity. There isn’t one right way to be feminine nor does being feminine look a certain way. Letting go of that can help us see the shame and rather than fight against it, learn to heal it.
where there is void, there is an aching compassion for wholeness. the space between the heart and mind is home for rooting. a blue sky of opportunity, a horizon of promise, an ocean of consciousness - this is where true self exists.
The things we speak can plant seeds of glorious dandelion or they can manifest other not-so-pleasant things and energies. The way we move is much the same; everything we do plants a seed and everything we experience, plants a seed within us. Our hope is for those experiences to become wisdom, not a lingering plight.
Boundary building isn’t meant to trap us in a bubble of loneliness and isolation; it is meant to foster a culture of safety, support, and true love in a malicious and taxing world. Now, when I look toward the brightness of the future ahead, I carry my “no” with me in confidence, in hope, in love, and in full faith because I know my “yes” means so much more.
In this one life you have on earth, make a conscious decision to dive into your heart’s desires, embrace your uniqueness and simply create – whatever that looks like for you. You are a unique being and are here for a reason: to take up space and to grace the world with all the gifts you have to offer. Courageously and unapologetically.
My body is not a challenge. It is a thing to be loved, honored and valued. When we view our bodies from this perspective, it becomes a thing we want to maintain or improve. It’s saying: I am not a thing that needs to be fixed.
It’s difficult to shake the association between happiness and people, places, things and events. Adolescence is filled with milestones that typically hold joy and we become spoiled by the newness. Drivers licenses, first loves, eighteenth birthdays and graduations kept us anxious for the next big moment. We’re always looking forward to tomorrow.
Our life force energy is a constant stream that wants us to evolve and exist as present human beings. When that stream is disrupted it leads to physical tension and mental fogginess, due to our mind being out of harmony with the life force energy of the body.
Our mind, body and spirit are so intimately linked that everything we experience is stored within us. Oftentimes, aches, pains and illnesses that seemingly come out of nowhere have an emotional, psychological or spiritual root, and coming back to our body can induce great healing.
To experience the body as a home for love means identifying your body as a dwelling place for God’s spirit. A dwelling place for joy and peace. A safe space where you’re able to express your true authentic self. It’s where you feel the most liberated, because you identify your body as yours.
The breath is the human body's first gateway into the conversations our physical body is trying to have. And once the language to this conversation is understood and practiced, we can begin to control when and where we experience this state of ease in our physical bodies.
I think of the women crossing the transatlantic, the women praying over her children at night, the black body holding her youth, the black woman’s body holding itself; finding voice and dance, and asanas and prayer as deliverance. The black woman’s body forgetting the world’s fetishism and becoming wholly in love with itself. Oh, the Black Body, the black woman’s body is a steeple, we glorify.
I often receive emails or Skype calls from friends and family saying “I have no idea where you are now!” and sometimes my response is “I’m not so sure myself.” Yet despite all the jet-setting and time zone changes, my health and sense of peace and centeredness have only increased.
In Jamaica, I felt connected to Mother Earth as I drank coconut water and wiped mango juice from my mouth. Every cup of bush tea and plate of vegan food reminded me that plants are God’s gift to us. Jamaica, my plant-based paradise, reminded me that being vegan doesn’t have to be a chore; it truly was an exploratory adventure of the offerings that the land constantly and lovingly produces for us.
Self-care isn’t only important for when you’re going through your daily life, working, etc. – It is also very important when traveling. You have to make sure that you maintain your peace when in a space that is foreign to you.
I desired a way to change being so drained. I wanted to protect my creativity while working extremely long hours. The challenges that I faced while searching for ways to get my creativity and peace back were me being too lazy to change. Once I realized my laziness was keeping me from living intentionally; I found my solution. I curated a nightly beauty routine and now I go to sleep relaxed and completely prepared for my following day.
The goal of self-preservation is not only to ensure that well does not run dry, but also to have a tool-kit to access, if or when it does. So that when they say, take care of yourself, we can trust that we will.
Our bodies are not separate from our mind, emotions, and soul. Your body hears and takens on every thought you think. Your body feels every emotion you feel (or choose not to feel). Your soul speaks to you through your body. Cultivating a better relationship with your body supports you on every level.
Food is totally comforting, but so is a phone call to a dear friend, a warm bath, or perhaps a ten-minute intentional savasana. Food is not the enemy, and in the case of an eating disorder, it’s not even the issue. The issue lies in the relationship with food. Does it nourish us or does our consumption and lack thereof provide a quick antidote for latent emotional discomfort and pain?
We forgive men for leading sexually because we’ve come to expect that as the opening to any expressed interest. We minimize ourselves to objects because we have been minimized. And how often do we scroll our timelines comparing our shapes to other women?
There is something to learn and grow from, and leave behind, every day. It’s a part of our evolution. Calling attention to this subtle physical process made me more attentive in how I care for my spiritual and emotional bodies on a daily basis.
Today we’re going to highlight 5 summer superfoods that will make your summer days that much brighter. These foods are satisfying, packed with nutrients, and can be obtained at the local farmers market! We’ll also be providing some fun pro-tips for eating these foods
As I meditatively twerk, I twerk to reject my mother’s classism and respectability politics, my white friends’ microaggressions, and all my self-doubt. I twerk because it makes me feel sexy and divinely feminine. I twerk to affirm that I deserve to take up space in this world.
Making peace with our bodies allows us to eat and exercise in healthier and more intuitive ways. It opens the doors to living a different way of life that is no longer defined by the size we think we must fit into or the food we convince ourselves we must eat to lose weight.
Even as I continue remembering who I am, I cannot forget the looks on their faces each time I set myself free. The sting of their stares, the thickness of the air, and the false positivity in their good wishes are braided into my psyche. They exist in the crevices of my brain, not because I invite them to, but because I am a woman of color who has uncovered her voice and now enforces her self-care.
I tattooed the triangular symbol on my breastbone a month later as a daily reminder to self that I can push past my ‘inadequacies’, rise above and go beyond what is asked or required of me and amaze my own natural mind. I wanted to remind myself that I was always choosing in this life, and that despite self-perceived shortcomings, I am always capable of stepping into my true power and higher calling with great ease.
Living a wealthy life is ultimately a practice in seeing and seeking the abundance that exists in every moment and in recognizing the value that each experience adds to your life. The more we continue to recognize that there is joy, purpose, love, lessons, blessings, preparations, richness, etc. in all aspects of our existence, the more that we can, too, begin to see the abundance that surrounds each of us.
Joy is the simplicity of reading while the sound of ocean waves (real or digitally produced) wash ashore. The themes outlined in the following books offer some divine insights into how we might live out radical joy in practical everyday terms.
For me, Feminism is a necessary tool not to liberate women, but to allow them to be what they are and develop themselves without conforming to externally imposed limitations that hold them from progressing and reaching true self-realization.
We’ve created an entire culture and economy around forcing folks to look outside of themselves for answers, leading them further, and further from the truth that lies within. While we can utilize our sisters as resources, we must understand that their journey is their own, and is no direct representation of what ours will look like.
Our mothers are our first experiences of God. Their wombs are the portals of our greatness — our entrance into this dimension and to our true purpose on the Earth. Give thanks. Here at Black Girl In Om, we want to honor the legacy of our founder Lauren Ash’s grandmother Lillian Lazenberry-Martin and her queen mother Patricia Miller. We give thanks for the powerful legacy that has ultimately led to our divine resource for black women’s wellness and healing — Black Girl In Om.
We do not have to like our mothers or have the best relationship with her, but we do need to heal this pain because it will fester and spill into other areas of our lives. Not healing this wound can even cause physical dis-ease in the body, particularly in the brain, the heart center, and the womb space. Healing the bond that exists between us and our mothers, whether she is in our lives or not, deceased or not, allows us to heal a very deep and critical part of ourselves.
The blessing of this hyperconnected era is that we can use the internet and social media to create digital villages and find support through each stage of our spiritual development. In the tradition of Cosmic Blackness, we can take pieces of the ancient ways and weave them into new strategies for empowering and sustaining ourselves.
I am already enough. I am enough because I can connect to my emotions and cry. I am enough because I am able to know when to call on my friends. And I am enough because no matter what opportunity tells me ‘no’, I will always say ‘yes’ to myself.
I urge you to take the time out to shift through the thoughts + beliefs you have about yourself and begin to challenge the things that you hold space for. You might be wondering how to do that, so here is some guidance on how to learn how to be rooted in your true self.
Rooting means taking back the power in your dirt. Reveling in the mess of your mud. Feeling bold in your blemishes. We have to explore our mud and dirt in order to rise; In order to plant any kind of seed worth growing. To explore our dirt means not only embracing our imperfections but being wildly creative with them. In order to get wildly creative with our imperfections, we need to develop a deep sense of trust in ourselves. Soon, those imperfections will become blessings, essential tools, or our greatest superpowers.
The willingness to turn inward, again and again; to separate the illusions from Truth and allow the Truth to rise and mindfully shift you forward in directions in alignment with divine intentions. As a vessel, I must always be open and willing to turn inward, root down, and tune out, in order for true expansion in alignment with my intentions to manifest.
A constant reminder to heal forward is the note I wrote to myself during those first few weeks of shifting, it sits over my writing desk, pinned to the wall with a piece of tape, it reads, “One of the things you miss in the wreckage is the shared fact of you.” Instructions to remind me that the story is always about sacrifice. Always about giving of the self. Always about finding and maintaining my pillars of strength, my emotional well-being, and my resilience to still glow up.
Collectively, we are now journeying inward. The outer world and things external to us are no longer of service to us the way we knew them to be in the past. Every day we are waking up to the fact that everything we ever needed is being found and sourced from within us, from our core and being. We are returning to the earth, the traditions of our ancestors, and ourselves in ways we have never done so before.
I am committed to rejecting the internal notion that I should fear love based on my personal traumas. I am not a victim. My declaration, my choice, is radical. I choose black love. I choose to do everything in my power to uplift, honor, envision, and support our black families. We will never die. We will commit to infinite love, and together, we will survive.
By channeling our ability to feel and express ourselves fully, black women can create paradise for ourselves and our communities. There is power in the androgynous space black women inhabit in the public imaginary. Unbound and unafraid, we are revolution.
When I was a new mom, I lost myself. I stopped writing (how could I when I wasn’t sleeping) and it took a deep look in the mirror to decide to stop beating myself up for it and prioritize coming back to myself outside of being a Mom… I had to realize that my child wanted what was best for me as well.
Really getting into the body, as this intelligent vessel that is speaking to us through sensations has been really big for me lately. I'm all about body awareness. You have to heal trauma through mind and body. That is something to keep in mind with this work. Are you feeling safe in your body? Are you honoring everything that is arising within you internally?
It is important to know who we are to be influential. Make it your personal agenda to fill the breeches where things have been left open, to make way for fresh ideas for navigating your life in a way that brings social and political change and impact.
Sister circle. Girl tribe. Squad goals. These aren't just phrases or cute lil’ sayings. They stretch far beyond an IG caption, a hashtag or a Twitter update, they hold weight in the way that we as women carry one another. It is our love language. An ancestral bond that speaks to the way we love and support one another.
I have carried that weight in the soles of my feet and as these days continue to stretch, I’ve recognized the need to unravel the webs created by the idea that as a woman, I must reside in a world of emotional strain. I’ve recognized the need to find harmony within my journey, the need to slow down and take in every intricate detail.
The power in therapy is having an unbiased ally to guide your growth, someone to answer your “now what?” You may not walk away from every session with a step-by-step guide on how to turn your experiences into lessons learned. But you’ll walk away with something – questions to think about, an app to explore, literature to read, practices to consider or maybe even a new perspective.
In 2015, after returning to Chicago from a two year stint of living abroad in China, I discovered my purpose in life. I realized that I chose to have my human experience as a highly melanated woman, with one hand, and with a purpose to empower people and build confidence by making prosthetic limbs accessible.
The ethos behind The Godyssey is the idea that we do not have to ask for a seat at any table, we are our own tables. And we have enough divine brilliance and creativity within to sustain ourselves without needing validation from any institution.
When I first sat down to write this piece, I thought I wanted to talk about finding safe space in the yoga studio, something that has definitely changed my life. However, I have been Divinely led to write a love letter to the woman I’m discovering daily and to my favorite space on the internet, Black Girl In Om.
As I began carving out who I was and how much power I inevitably had, I started tethering my character not to who or what culture/society mandates, but to what I could achieve by redefining my personal space.
I arrived to Thailand with my heart in my throat, and naive optimism. It had taken me a while to convince my family this was the right move, and ultimately I decided to do what I felt was best for my well-being. I took a leap of faith with my first solo trip abroad and the experience enriched my life in more ways than I could’ve ever predicted.
Bringing out the om in “business woman” is not always intuitive, but with a little foresight and planning, you may find yourself more centered and less stressed, freeing you to connect with your creativity and enjoy a sense of flow.
Once we can create an abundance of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and self-love, we are unstoppable, and Astrology is one of the most ancient and long-standing tools we have used to achieve these enlightened states of being.
While you can’t change the lack of representation of Black people or avoid unwarranted fetish/sexualizing comments from ill-mannered men, you can still travel with ease without inflicting your well-being. After all, awareness of self surpasses well beyond mainstream positive affirmations; it’s begins with both self-protection and celebration.
We live in this really dark universe where hate is becoming more normalized and more ingrained into our country’s politics, so when I think of just myself going through that I feel very weak, but when I think of my whole community succeeding and persevering, it fills me with a lot of strength and pride by knowing that I can accomplish anything. I know as a united front we can accomplish anything, you know what I’m saying?
Every woman on the BGIO team pours herself fully into her role, and also juggles many other beautiful creative projects, many of which also center black women and other people who occupy identities that are too often marginalized. It's crucial for us to pour back into ourselves to continue to move forward in doing this work with integrity, vigor, and enthusiasm.
Each of us has the power to create a “red tent” of our own. It doesn’t have to be perfect or frequent. It doesn’t have to be expensive or expansive. It only has to be intentional. Ask yourself,“What do I want the women gathering here to gain from this space and time?”
While I believe wholeheartedly in protests, acts of resistance, and raising your voice, I have never felt comfortable at physical demonstrations. I often feel guilty about this—especially, when facing the question that’s all over Twitter right now: What would I have done during the Civil Rights Movement? Honestly, I’m not sure how many marches I would have attended. But I still would have taken action.
To be childlike is to be curious and eager, to be adventurous and full of wonder. Children are creative, playful and open to experience. I’ve had to be that way with myself, and to get back to having, and owning, that freedom.
It’s kind of like raising the bar a little for the things that surround you and focusing on the things you keep that bring you joy rather than thinking about how much you need to discard which is kind of a negative action, right? We’re shifting the perspective to: let me make sure the things that surround myself are things I love.
Growth is another word for abundance. And when we clear space of material things, --of relationships, of work, of tasks in our lives, we make room to be better versions of ourselves. We make space to have the things we want and desire.
Creating a space that supports both our work and wellness, is not always an easy feat. Nikisha’s journey of living with ADHD, depression and anxiety makes the need for a self-crafted space even more vital to her mental health and wellness. Dive into our conversation and prepare to expand your wellness tribe with this rebel woman.