The moon is symbolic of feminine energy. This energy marks the tone for the day. La Luna receives the light given by the sun, which is masculine energy, and illuminates it back to us; creating the dynamic of giving and receiving that is characteristic of the masculine and feminine energies. The moon also symbolizes the inner world of the mind, what happens in the dark, the unconscious that is hidden in habitual routine. It exemplifies the inner most emotions and how they are expressed.
When the moon is full the gravitational pull on the earth is at its peak. For this reason, the tide is always high during this time. However, not only does the full moon mark the hide tide it also marks a spike in emotions, creativity and powerful intuition. During this day our subconscious minds can tend to run rampant. If you have been suppressing emotion? This can be a dramatic time for you.The full moon emphasizes everything you've been mulling over since the new moon.
If you have been acknowledging and integrating how you feel, honoring your inner nature, you will get a an increase in harmonious energy with no big surprises. When there is an increase in emotional energy it is a powerful time to reflect, perform, make a statement, give a presentation that will grab hearts, and set intention for manifestation. If the energy that comes up for you is low vibrational, negative, focus your intent on releasing it. The true essence of the full moon is to nourish. Get outside at night and let the light shine upon you. Let that light nourish and heal your soul.
At the end of June 2020, a video was released to an Instagram account owned by musicians Chole X Halle (a sister duo managed by Parkwood Entertainment). Chatter swarmed the internet of a possible leak. It was a trailer for “Black Is King” a passion project Beyoncé Knowles Carter had been working on for about a year. By June 28th Beyoncé officially posted the trailer to her Instagram account along with Disney+ who posted to Twitter, and the backlash from the African community began. Seventy seconds created a psychological divide between Black Americans and Africans. Seventy seconds was all it took for what Beyoncé intended to unify us, in our shared ancestry, to be criticized and judged as being the appropriation of African culture.
The response from some Africans were disappointing to many black Americans, however not completely surprising. Africans and Black Americans embody a genetic link and tie to Africa that should unify them both historically and psychologically, yet the need to identify with and assimilate into western society seems to be more rewarding for the current generation of Africans. Stating, “We are “normal” people who wear jeans and own iPhones.” “I’m tired of the way African countries are often portrayed in American screens.” “There is this constant joke that Africans wake up and see animals running around.”
In a dissertation written by Adaobi Chiamaka Iheduru entitled Examining the Social Distance Between Africans and African Americans: The Role of Internalized Racism, Iheduru mentions that African Americans are resistant to identifying with their African ancestry based on messages internalized from a European dominated colonial experience that has been sustained by race-based intrapsychic processes. If that indeed is the case, why are African Americans being rejected from its African lineage? In the effort to connect to their roots, African Americans have been met with opposition from their African “brothers” and “sisters.” So, what should feel like a going home is instead met with a feeling of exclusion from the African Diaspora. The descendants of Africans in the United States have gone through the most horrific psychological destruction of their identity. Black Americans are more assimilated to white culture in terms of the way they see themselves and move through the social world. What African Americans know of their ancestry has been taught to them mainly through the eyes of their oppressors. None the less, Africans place the blame on Black Americans saying they are culturally watered down, yet at the same time distancing themselves for them. When Black Americans got excited to see black women hold the crown in all National Beauty Pageants in America, no matter their ethnicity, they were ridiculed and criticized for being attention seekers by Africans. Why is that?
The experience of slavery and colonialism has continued to have a negative impact on the self-identity of people of African descent which suggests a social economic inferiority in relation to the dominate western culture. I believe this has increased the need for Africans to be recognized as separate from Black Americans whose self-identity is strongly tied to American slavery and systematic racism. By showcasing and identifying with a more westernized image they reject their “blackness” and their connection to African Americans through their shared ancestry and history, projecting internalized racism created from years of colonialism and centuries of slavery. Africans do this in hopes of escaping the struggles, oppression and suffering that racism has caused for many black Americans.
This event has opened a conversation that must be had. Most Africans have no idea of the way in which they interacted with other tribes on the African continent pre colonialism. Many Africans have a strong sense of division from other tribes in Africa. Yet, its people were once called a people with no history because it was not written before colonialism. Their very nature, regarding how they interact with others in the Diaspora may not even be authentic to the nature in which their ancestors interacted with one another because of what was destroy through colonial rule. When one is moved from a position of thriving to one where they are competing with their neighboring tribe for resource, believe me, the dynamic changes, and the road leads to a state of survival. Conflict is without a doubt the byproduct of scarcity and lack, which is better known as poverty.
How do we begin to bridge the gap in the African Diaspora? How do we heal the wounds of a people who have been ignored for far to long? Someone once said, change your expectations to appreciation because suffering comes from only thinking of yourself. With everything in the universe, there is always a delicate balance where we are all one. Individuals who are not apart of the Diaspora make claims of Africa never being united. Yet, I genuinely believe there was a reason to divide the land, which was to divide the people. How can others possibly know a history that the Diaspora itself knows not? It is time to come together and share those stories. It is time for history in the making.
There are certain truths that we all possess from our experiences in life. I believe those are the truths that must be share no matter how uncomfortable that truth may leave you feeling because these are the facts that life stand upon, the thing that connects all people through time and space. Individuals from all around the world can be enlighten by the truth of a nation’s commonwealth and it rings true that when you are shown the small guy, the working class, the everyday people, you will be shown who these nations are. Nations upon nations idealize the American phenomenon of capitalism, the American dream, that for the most part, can be seen through time as being restricted to some and a privilege to others. I believe in these times, these nations that span the globe, see something that has always there and they are questioning the loyalty of the greatest nation in the world, to its people. This nations rise to power was and still may be something of mythical legend because of the people's history that has been erased and practically made invisible, silent with oppression and violence, the people who carried this great nation on their backs and whose decadence are still fighting to be seen, to be heard, to be free. The glamorous ideas of America, “God shade thy grace on thy and crown thy good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”
I have learned that social movements take time and patients. It is not something that happens overnight and it does not go at all how you planned them. Social movements require a “just go with it” kind of mentality. There are ups and there are downs, that on occasion leads to failure, but the key to overcoming this fact of life is to get back up, dust yourself off, swallow your pride and try again. Movements are about being perseverant, never giving up, never losing site of the process and the progress you hope to create or even just bring attention to its existence that is not okay. I believe movements are about trying to right wrongs that are not just being fought for you or me, not just this nation, but for all nations and all people, all over the world.
I can recall my first grade teacher, her name was Ms. Roberts and every morning we would sings songs, one of which was titled “God Bless the USA.” I remember this almost vividly because one, I adored my teacher and two being that I loved to sing. I remember feeling such pride for my country. A pride that I will never forget, one that is always recalled when I hear this song. I remember the words like it was yesterday. You see, Ms. Roberts took her time and wrote the words for this song out on an easel pad that she would turn while the music played and we sung. What fun for me was this time of the class day! I can’t tell you how much I thought of the white history of this country, my history, as I knew it at the time. I loved America! I still love America. I loved white people! I still love white people.
Ms. Roberts took our whole class on a field trip that year to a recording studio, and we recorded that song and every student received a copy. Unfortunately, the tape has been misplaced or lost because I have no idea where it can be, but if I still had it in my possession, I would listen to it right now. so I could remember that part of myself that was changed by the reality of the social world and its order. When I was singing this song, I was not thinking of my ancestors, black/African American people, and the fact that they die for this country too. I did not think of them because I was completely unaware of their existence.
When I think of this moment now, I remember how blinded I was by the glamour of the United States of America. I loved and love that glamour, it was something I wanted to take part in, be a part of. It’s funny how the truth causes enlightenment that you never dreamed you would receive. I think this quote by Adyashanti (an American spiritual teacher and writer from the San Francisco Bay area) is suitable for this moment of thought, “Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
This is so true. When I learned the facts of who I was exactly, made it difficult to remain who I was before the truth. My hope is to be happy again, one day, but there is this nagging urge now that keeps telling me that there is work to be done. It keeps telling me to take stock and gather your resources, take stock and work hard, no matter what it takes, no matter what happens. I want to do so many things. I see so many people suffering and it bothers me. I think of the people who came before me and what they had to endure for me to be here, where I am today at this particular junction in my life and it makes me cry. It makes me want to desperately find what it take to be happy again. I must act. I don’t know how or when, but I must create some form of change or ripple of change before I am called home. I want the people in my life to experience something that only comes once in a lifetime. I don’t know how I am going to achieve this or when, but I have a vision.
I want to touch on a subject for a minute before closing about being happy. I use to be a very happy child and I think it is because my mother shielded me form certain aspects of reality. I want to thank her for this because it made me who I am today. I am a person who sees other people in real time. I take them at face value for who they are and who they may pretend to be because let’s face it, a lot of people are pretending. This, the good and the bad, is the beauty of being human. I think we undervalue the fact of just being human and always learning, growing, adapting and transforming. I have transformed over the course of life and especially the course of my educational career and it is beautiful, but it is also a little scary because this is new and you are new. So with that truth, I hope to inspire others to understand that life is not over until you have to give your body back to mother earth. Some believe you come back and do it all over again. With that aside, right now, it’s all about doing what I am capable of doing because where there is still life there is still hope. God bless America!
You deserve to be alive, to be loved and to be cared for; to feel anything less is wickedness. It’s always very painful when others don’t see your worth. Some may even pray you don’t know your worth, so they can pay as little as possible to own your time, attention and affection. They could even try to deprecate your value by saying things like; “You’re not even that pretty, smart, kind or important.” So, it is no surprise that the leading cause of ill health and disability throughout the world is mental illness. Depression, is in fact one of the top mental illness’s associated with American Society; due to low self-worth. Why are we living in a culture fueled by low self-worth? The simple answer, because that’s what we were taught.
Worth is the absolute feeling of usefulness or importance; as in, to the world, to a person or for a particular purpose. Your worth does not have to be justified. However unfortunate, having value of equal or greater importance, as compared to others, is a common theme in American culture. It’s called competition or nicely put, competitive advantage. Your self-worth then becomes tided to the conditions of your accomplishments, material possessions, status, relationships, money and family. This is the social world’s way of proving to others that you are worthy of the good that you desire. The love that you desire. The attention that you desire. The opportunities that you desire.
Most people have developed the bad habit of tying their self-worth to things outside of themselves. Have you even heard of or listened to the highly gifted, motivational speaker, Eric Thomas? He is one of the highest paid motivational speakers in the world. If you let him tell you, he’ll contributed his success at doing what he loves to his powerful “why.”
At a motivational event publish on YouTube back in November of 2019 under the title “Save Yourself”, Eric Thomas is on stage confessing that his wife had gotten sick with a chronic illness, meaning she would have to live with her sickness for the rest of her life and she didn’t even cry about it. However, when the doctor tells her that she has to take the next 3 to 4 months off from work for testing, a tear streams down her face. Confused the doctor says, “I told you, you had MS and you didn’t cry. I told you, you had to take off from work and you cry. What, you don’t have insurance?” Eric’s wife replies, “No, we have insurance.” Eric then admits on stage that his wife’s job is like her identity. His wife’s job, was tied to her self-worth, even though the stress from it was causing her health to deteriorate. When self-worth is tied to things outside ourselves and we believe we don’t meet those standards, one tends to become self-critical, depressed, shameful and/or even anxious. To mask these emotions, some individuals may begin to abuse substances like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, and sex because the pain of feeling unworthy is just too much to bear.
However, in all honesty these feelings are not yours to carry. These feelings are the “social world’s” standard of “what” and “who” they think you should be. The social world began to program you from the exit of your mother’s womb, on the date of your birth, of who and what you should be through the use of advertisements (buy this to be loved, to be accepted, to succeed), in school through your education (based on grades and test scores), through your parents (if you would just make the honor roll maybe they would love you more) and possibly even through emotionally, mentally or physically abusive relationships (making you question your own person-hood). You must know that you are worthy to be here, to be alive, to be loved and to be cared for. You were born worthy. You were worthy before you were born. Let go of this idea, that if you could just find someone to love you, then you would feel good enough.
We all have the same level of intrinsic value. When God made us, he did not put our value in our flesh (the physical), he put the value in our spirit. In Genesis 1, God created man in his own image and likeness. He created them masculine and feminine. Then in Genesis 2, God “formed” man from the dirt of the Earth and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. God made man and then God formed man. Man became a living spirit in the physical world. Our body is borrowed from the dirt of the Earth; from dust we came into this physical reality and unto dust we shall return. My spirit, your spirit cannot be created or destroyed because it already exists. It’s your intrinsic value. Think about it, you can cremate a body and it will turn to dust, yet your soul can never turn into something it never was in the first place. It was made in the “image” of God! Your soul, your spirit. Looks just like God, meaning your spirit is like God.
How valuable would someone be if they were created in the image of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God? How powerful would that person be? Well, that’s you! That’s your worth. That’s what you bring to the Earth whether you’ve got money or not, whether you’re good looking or not, whether you have a good job or not. You may have found your worthiness in who wants you, who loves you, who accepts you. Yet, the key is to find your worth and your value in God. You are valuable. You are intrinsically valuable.
Most people are looking for the answers outside of themselves, and just know that they are never going to find them because most people don’t know who they are. If you ask the average person who they are, they’ll recite their name, but really. Who are you? If a person begins to study that, (the self) and look for the answer, they’ll find it. You are a spiritual being with an advanced intellect in a physical body. We are the only creatures on Earth who can say that we are made in the image of God. However, our lack of self-awareness will lock us into the physical world. Where we allow things outside of ourselves to control us.
You can spend a lifetime reacting to life or you could decide to live life “today” instead. It starts with knowing you are worthy. You have always been worthy; and you will always be worthy. Stop conditioning your worth to acting like everyone else around you because statistically 95% of the population have never lived the life they’ve wanted. Don’t tie your worth to the need to fit in. You were never created too. You were not created to be like anyone else. It is and never will be about fitting in. Your worth and value is intrinsic to your uniqueness. Know that the biggest part of who you are, the world will never see, because it is non-physical. What we see in the world is just the physical manifestation of our higher-selves, our Godlike-self.
Why am I so passionate about football? Most people don’t understand what’s so great about the sport. It’s more than just being good at it. It’s the only sport in the world where you get knocked down and have a choice to get back up or not. That builds character, when times get hard, you don’t quit. You keep fighting. Second, is the relationships you make. The unbreakable bonds that you form. The transformation you see when lifting weights. The possibility of going all the way to the pros.
Tom Brady is the Greatest of All Time. You’ll think he was the most talented in his class, but he was the complete opposite. He was a 6th Round pick. He wasn’t guaranteed the starting role. He’s a prime example of hard work pays off.
Tom Brady left the Patriots because the Patriots didn't want him anymore. The team he played with for 20 seasons. He is 42 Years Old. The Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, said he didn't want him anymore. Bill Belichick said he didn't want him anymore.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him because it was a clear upgrade to the quarterback position. He offers experience and leadership, something that a young Buccaneers team needs. It’s a good situation for both parties. It's a fresh start for Tom Brady and a winner for the team. The Buccaneers are in the NFC South Division with the Saints, Panthers and the Falcons. Coming from a weak AFC East Division.
The Bucs have a great shot at making the playoffs adding Tom Brady. This is a chance for Tom Brady to prove he can win without Bill Belichick.. A multitude of people say that Tom Brady won because of the coach. I think they are going to make the Playoffs but not make it to the Super Bowl. They are in a pretty tough division.
With summer fast approaching, beginning June 21st 2019, it's the perfect weather to sit poolside enjoying a cool mixed drink, maybe even a bite to eat. The sun and new moon will be in Gemini by June 3rd, ushering in new activity, new situations and new people that will promote life, growth and abundance along with the feeling of fun packing the air. This is a great time to be out, socializing and living it up! What's a more perfect place than The Roosevelt New Orleans, rooftop, poolside and celebrating the hotels's 125th Anniversary? An excellent, witness account, way to end Spring.
I stumbled upon Chef Diva Lassair a few months ago, before I ever became aware of her story. Unable to recall what lead me to her, I thought wow, what an inspiring journey! Chef Ericka actually started out owning a storefront restaurant on Magazine Street across from Stardust Salon and Day Spa. However, foot traffic was so low that it made it very difficult to generate a profit, which in turn forced Chef Ericka to soon close the doors of her restaurant. Feeling like she hit rock bottom, Ericka decided to pick up a night positions as a chef at The Roosevelt New Orleans. One day a friend told her about an opportunity that she thought Ericka would be the perfect fit for, the Urban League of Louisiana annual Women in Business Challenge. Ericka took the challenge and won $10,000. She then used her winnings to buy the Diva Dawg food truck, which subsequently opened many other door of opportunity for her. Ironically, I am sure, she never guessed that she'd later become a featured Chef showcased on the Rooftop of The Roosevelt for their 125th year Anniversary. My, how the table can turn, when the faith you have is acted upon. Action is a key word. I think it is a very important word. Action. It will never be enough to just dream about the life you desire. You have to create it, with spirit.
Nollywood is the bustling mega of Nigerian Cinema that produces about 1,500 films annually. Just back in 2011 Nollywood was worth a reported 800 million dollars. By 2014, it would be worth $3.3 billion. Nollywood can be hard to define considering the totality of activities that take place in the Nigerian film industry in many different languages, permitting movies to be in English, Yourba, Hausa, Igbo, Itsekivi, Ebo, Efik, Ijaw, Urthobo or any other of the 300 Nigerian languages. Also this is to include Nollywood's Ghanaian film industry affiliations through their English-language cinema. Isn't this an alluring design. It amuses me, yet awakens me to an idea as to how powerful and influential the African Diaspora truly can be. It's a movement and it's moving fast.
One major player here in New Orleans bringing awareness to this social phenomenon is Dashiki Diaries. With their commitment to facilitating connections in a commonly shared culture within the African Diaspora, Dashiki Diaries is branding their network of industry leaders and creating events to showcase the lifestyle of this expanding global enclave while bringing collaborations together. Isn't this a beautiful thing. It's really an amazing time to be alive. Wouldn't you say?
If Hollywood could talk, I am sure it would say the legendary closing line from one of it's biggest love story blockbusters. (1) "Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? Everybody comes here. This is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don't, but keep on dreaming. This is Hollywood, always time to dream, so keep on dreaming!" Welcome Nollywood, it's always time to dream, so keep on dreaming.
While laying in bed on a workout high, frankincense burned upon a glass tray on top of the bedside night stand next to me. "Juice" by Lizzo off of her current album entitled Cuz I Love You played on repeat in the background. It was the last day of my 10 day detox. It also happened to be the last super full moon of the year that took place in the twelfth sign of Pisces, a mutable water sign, known for its creativity, sensuality and imagination. This signs higher goal is to achieve emotional and spiritual harmony. The Piscines' aspirations are demonstrated through acts of generosity.
It was a pretty emotional end of the day for me on top of wanting to eat the Mac and Cheese my son cooked the night before, fortunately I was able to stay committed to finishing my 10 day cleanse strong. At this point, I wanted to take a back seat to the emotions I was feeling and address why I was feeling this way to begin with. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in what we think is going wrong in our lives, that we forget what's going right. That's why it is so important to operate in a state of continual gratitude daily. My goal ultimately is to purge my mind of the negatives that we all can face at times and fill it back up with some positivity and kindness with the use of affirmations because our own self-talk can become very damaging if not addressed properly. This I call cleansing the mind. The mind is a very powerful tool, that everyone should truly understand how to use. It's full potential is limitless. Here are some affirmations I have been using recently. They are my go-to if I start feeling down or begin to have negative self talk. It's all about having a healthy mind because that's fundamentally where the life we are all living beings.
The 10 day detoxification of my body I completed is actually a plan created by JJ Smith author of The 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. I have used this plan before and it really helped me reach my goals of clearing and brightening my skin, limiting my junk food cravings, decreasing my waist line, and increasing my energy level. So of course, this plan has become another go-to for me when I feel I need to eliminate toxins and waste. How awesome is JJ smith, to give you access to a sample of this book for free on her website. Click the book title above and the link will take you there! Buy the book (however) and get full smoothie recipes to have on hand. It is fairly inexpensive and well worth the investment. Find one of my favorite recipes from her book below!
By the time I completed this 10 day cleanse I was down 11 lbs, lost 4 inches off my waist, and my energy level had skyrocketed. I am by no means saying it was easy because it was indeed a bit of a challenge. I am planning another cleanse at the end of April. This time, with a better follow through in my transition back to eating healthy whole foods that will maintain my health and fitness goals.
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The Zulu Ball is something I have always wanted to attend. Every year like clock work I would profess that "I am going to Zulu ball this year!" Fingers crossed. The fact that it materialized, I believe was no coincidence. The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is the most visible African-American Carnival organization in the city of New Orleans, dating back to 1909. In the past, enslaved Africans and the Gens de Couleur libres (free people of color) were not allowed to participate in the festivities of Mardi Gras. As a matter of fact, during the pre-Civil War Ara, open gatherings of enslaved African-Americans were strictly controlled. However, after the civil war, emancipation, and the 13th amendment public demonstrations and celebrations became very common in the African-American community.
The city was full and bustling of fun and an energetic spirit. Beauty could be found in the simplest of things, like the cart that passed on the parade route selling stuffed animals and carnival memorabilia. Restaurants where packed with families, natives and tourist alike, where they were compelled to admire, appreciate and compliment beautiful things, which I consider to be one of God's greatest gifts of physical life. Likewise, what is a celebration without good food. This is New Orleans by the way, where the selections become harder to choose between. However, of course to find a great view and authentic Louisiana seafood you must patron Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar located in the historic neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans. Sitting on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenue this restaurant really offers a front row seat to the beautiful sites, sounds and culture of New Orleans. This experience allowed me to realize what an opportunity I have.. What I can do for the city I love so much. I am grateful. Do whatcha wanna!
I had an "epiphany" that the world is a beautiful place filled with love and a tremendous amounts of joy to share. King cake brings that kind of joy and fellowship to the people in New Orleans every year at Mardi Gras time. It marks the time right before the spring equinox, which many spiritualist believe to be the true beginning of the New Year, where hibernation from the winter's cold weather ends and rest restores the body to begin a new season of production. By now, the majority of individuals should have solidified their intentions for the new year. Mardi Gras is a celebration of the year's past; what we've learned and what we've created. However, it's also a time of excitement for what's to come because in the end we are all creators just as God, who has made us in his image.
January 6th signifies the beginning of King cake season which is no mistake. It's considered to be the day of the "epiphany", also known as the showing of Jesus to the three wise men, that follows the twelfth night of Christmas. This is the reason for the symbolization of the baby that is found in King cakes. If you find the baby (Jesus) in your piece of King cake, than you celebrate his showing by throwing the next party or bringing the next king cake to share in fellowship... It's that beautiful! Mardi Gras is a celebration of God. We eat, drink and be marry in the gift that we were given. Then we fast and pray, in order to be more like the creator, and create something just as beautiful that can be of great service to the world. Love is a powerful thing wouldn't you say! If you ever just stop and observe the way King cake causes joy, you will began to understand the life and legacy of Jesus Christ. In his mighty name we will be healed one piece of King's cake at a time.
In my celebration of God and his many blessings in my life I decided to gather with my family and take a survey of three King cakes that I truly enjoyed this year.
This is a traditional king cake. It was a favorite among the small children of my family who participated. It was soft with a nice texture to it. The flavor was mild, of course cinnamon, and the icing was the best part. Haydel's won best in taste. There is something unique that Haydel's do every year. They place small collectible editions of themed dolls in every box of king cake since 1990. This is an awesome way to create memories. Price point: $$, 15.32 with tax included.
Sucre's selection is also considered to be a traditional king cake. It was my personal favorite and it is made for the ultimate sweet lover. It was soft, very moist and doughy. It didn't unfortunately take home any honorable mention. Price point: $$$, 26.21 with tax included.
This king cake is so far from non-traditional, but was absolutely delicious in its own way. Éclair Délicieux is one of it's kind and I have never had one quit like this. It was filled with eclair creme and topped with fresh fruit, winning best in presentation and over all. Price point: $$$$, 45
Alicia M. Burks
"I feel absolutely challenged in just being myself, yet building my life on a foundation of excellence."