One of the things that keeps us trapped inside our racial pain is our disconnection from the truth, our truth. Many of us like the idea of living authentically in this regard, but it’s much harder to practice inside a system which aggressively demands the abandonment of our blackness.
Neely Fuller Jr. and Dr Francis Cress-Welsing dedicated their lives to teaching the world how this social cancer infects us in all areas of people activity; education, entertainment, economics, labour, law, politics, religion, sex, and war.
It’s aggressive nature along with the layers of intergenerational powerlessness, means that many of us have unconsciously learned to accept dishonesty as part of our daily lives. We also codependently believe that not speaking our black truth will save us from future pain.
When we are unaware of how this racist confusion is maintained, we unconsciously enable the system’s breeding, and remain vulnerable to absorbing a legacy which murders the souls of our people.
Exploring my cultural needs in the early stages of growth was a painful experience, as I separated from my internalised racist thinking and began reclaiming my true sense of self. Some mornings, I still wake up feeling like a dumb negro, and other times I remember that me and my blackness are the magnificence of Ra in human form. This racist, boomerang confusion and self awareness is part of the growth process we must face to purge ourselves of the lies of white supremacy.
The journey to black empowerment includes layered cycles of dismantling, grieving, discovering and recovering the deeper parts of ourselves. As we begin to understand our personal patterns of hiding from the truth, we can find healthy way to start living more authentically. Our brilliance will blossom as we shed the layers of self hate, and surround ourselves with the greatness of others who mirror and remind us who we are.
Just for today, I can lower the walls of denial with kindness, by first being compassionate with myself. When I speak my truth, I manifest my power. When I live my truth, I am unstoppable.
As I search for my truth, the truth will find me.
I am truth.
In honor of today’s reflection about Alethiology (the study of truth), I have created this cool collection of attire to go with it. I’ve had lots of fun this weekend reviewing my shop for the autumn and I’m well chuffed with these simple pieces which some up everything that the Yard of Greatness is about.
But wait….I nearly forgot that you will also get 20% off the Yardie Attire from today Oct 31st until Nov 6th.
Use the Code: SAVE20NOW when you checkout! and tweet me a picture of you in it @yardofgreatness
Why not register to learn more about Dr Francis Cress-Welsing’s work in my book club launching next year. You can buy a copy of ‘The Isis Papers’ text beforehand by clicking on the picture below. See you next time!
The true meaning of wealth has been lost under the guise of cash hustle, generational assets and shiny, big ticket trinkets. In our aggressive pursuit of wealth, we can get stuck in the fantasy that having more, means that we are more.
Emotional wealth on the other hand, is a deeper level of understanding and ownership of our emotions. When we’re emotionally wealthy, our life has meaning. We can love fiercely and grieve deeply. We stand in our truth, even if it sometimes means standing alone. We nurture our sense of worthiness and receive abundance in all its forms.
As a consequence of our abusive racial history, many of us did not inherit healthy tools for nurturing our emotional wealth. Instead, we were passed down dysfunctional legacies of shame, disconnection and anger. We were robbed of our ability to be happy in the enmeshed expectations and demands of others.
We all deserve the right to thrive in an environment which mirrors our commitment to abundant personal growth. In our culture of denial and avoidance, many of us are afraid to feel our feelings, but sharing in a safe space can help us understand our pain, and open the door to relief, wisdom and clarity. When our inner circle is emotionally broke, we can give ourselves permission to detach with love and move forward with those committed to change.
Emotional wealth is the root where all riches are seeded. To be happy, we must protect and nurture it like a savings account. Regularly deposit positive emotions and cultural experiences to build racial esteem. Be mindful of any people, systems or things trying to make unauthorised withdrawals. We cannot control the behavior of those trying to get access, but we have full control over how we respond and take care of our account.
Fearless ownership of our emotions means that our happiness becomes a magnet for abundant financial wealth in its purest form. When we commit to taking better care of ourselves, we also create a legacy of racial serenity, strength and empowerment within our family and the community.
Today, I claim my right to happiness, just as I am. In this moment, I own my feelings and choose some loving actions to nurture my well being.
And so it is.
Till next time
June. aka Mindful Yardie
If you enjoyed today’s Yard Reflections and think it may empower someone, please share it with a friend or on your social media.
With all the tragedy in recent weeks along with our daily busyness, it can often be hard to stop, reflect, and be present. Our overstimulated minds from aggressive advertising, multitasking and the illusion of needing more, constantly robs us of our inner calm and natural, spiritual place of wholeness. We belong in nature, and when I give myself permission to take a power pause and reconnect to the earth, I remember how easy it is to attune to my Higher Power, especially around trees. The glorious weather in London has been the perfect excuse to wander barefoot in the park and recharge my melanoid soul.
Being outdoors during the summer has always been an important family event and I’ve taken my daughter camping at music festivals ever since 2010 (when she was 2). Despite enjoying the time we spent at these festivals, there was always a longing to experience it at a deeper, cultural level with other black people. Last year, I could hardly contain my excitement at discovering a wonderful organisation who flipped the ‘black folks don’t camp’ myth on its head. I finally found a space where melanin rich folks could celebrate our culture through the power of storytelling.
I know there’ll be those who whine that having black only spaces is ‘reverse racism.’ P.S.A. Black people cannot be racist, because our choices do not affect white people as a group, e.g. we can hate racist white folks all we want, but it won’t stop your whiteness being prioritised for a job, bank loan, housing etc. but I digress and that conversation is for another blog post. The truth is, these black spaces are needed in response to, and having some respite from the ongoing everyday racism we experience. Also, with all the recent racial trauma and deaths, it is even more difficult for us to grieve and heal as a community, so it’s actually as healthy boundary, and act of self love to take time out from the people and structures which enforce and enable the abuse. It’s important just to spend time with each other in our shared experience to recharge.
My first experience at the African Storytelling festival when I arrived, was excitement in the car park as brotha’s and sistah’s pulled up in over packed cars, with children hungry for woodland freedom. There was a warm sense of family from the beginning, I had offers to help build my tent, and Zuri (my daughter) was off in a flash exploring and chatting to other children as they arrived. The storytelling workshops were a wonderful opportunity to share and identify, we learn history, our values, spirituality and the importance of community. The performances were also powerful tools for connection that had me initially terrified of speaking amongst strangers, to embracing a childlike joy as I embraced the freedom of engagement. We must never underestimate the glory of hearing stories about us, told by us. Mirroring is a powerful tool for building our identity and raising self esteem.
I cannot even begin to convey how healing it was to absorb the power of the drum which echoed throughthe woods the whole weekend. I remember thinking, despite the traumatic journey of my ancestors from Africa, to Jamaica and then onto the UK, my soul remembers it’s source, the rhythms, the fyah and ancestral energy ricochet straight back from the Motherland.
One of my favorite memories last year, was when a large group of us were strewn over the grass outside my tent, reasoning, sharing and laughing as we shared food and snacks. My pot became became their pot. I arrived a stranger and became an sistah to many, the auntie to a beautiful little girl who was happy popping by to explore my tent and play with my daughter. The campfire at night was a delicious space for chatter and song, I even saw a breadfruit being roasted and devoured with abandon. I felt right at home, here is a sneak peak from last year.
As the year has flown past and the countdown begins before to unpack my tent again, I just had to grab the founder and powerful warrior for a chat about how this project was brought to life and what to expect this year.
JA: Tell us about yourself and your movement?
GC: My name is Griot Chinyere, and I’m a storyteller and the artistic director to ashanti-chi which is a company whose main aim is to promote, preserve and celebrate the oral tradition of African storytelling. I use it as a leadership tool to train and empower people. I use it with children, adults, prisoners, young people, the suited and booted, the rough and ready, domestic violence victims, the homeless etc. It’s a powerful tool that was introduced to me at 10 years old and I love the healing power it gives when used correctly.
JA: How did the festival project come about?
GC: I come from a long line of storytellers and I wanted to find another way to preserve the tradition. I have also been to lots of others festivals where I’ve been the minority and loved being outdoors, but always wondered where my community was? I’m not one to complain about things so I wanted to do something about it. I began by doing some expedition leadership training where I learned how to build fires, map & compass reading, food foraging etc. and then I worked to combine the things I love about the old traditions and nature, together for people who looked like me. When I was 10, I went home to my mother’s village and it was an amazing feeling to experience being in a village, to be surrounded by people who look like me and recognise me. There are many (Africans) who live in the UK who may never have that experience, so I wanted to create a space for us to be who we are, where we are. This is how the Nne Agwu Afrakan storytelling festival was born.
JA: How has the festival evolved over the years since it started?
GC: When I first started it was just an evening with a few storytellers walking through the woods. It then progressed to an overnight event from 6pm till 6am, then 2 nights and it grew from there.
JA: Why do you think black folks don’t camp?
GC: When I first started, I heard a lot of people saying that they didn’t want to do the camping thing, but I’ve noticed over the years that more people are willing to give camping a try. There is also the option to attend the day’s events and not camp overnight, the venue is accessible via the tube.
JA: What can campers expect from the festival this year?
GC:It’s the first year that we are using the festival to honour someone. It was mentioned that it was the 10 anniversary of Louise Bennett (Miss Lou’s) death on 27 July and how did I feel about honouring her this time which was a no brainer. She was a storyteller, a poet, a folklorist, an oral traditionalist more than anything. She went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in England, and although they spoke BBC English, she was an advocate for her authentic, Jamaican voice. She probably stopped a lot of Jamaican children getting clipped around the ear for speaking patois, as they became familiar with her work. The way that she told her stories, as well as the stories themselves encouraged Jamaicans to be proud of who they are, it was an acceptance of self. She also revealed the connection between patois and some of the African languages, for example in Igbo language, we say ndeewu means, greetings to you (one person) but if there were many people it’s ndeewunu and unu in Jamaican patois means you many. She was able to make those important connections across our journey.
Linton Kwesi Johnson is a massive fan of Louise Bennett and has recently become our patron. His poetry tells stories which transforms the negative to the positive. He provokes thought with ways of moving forward, giving us jokes so we feel good about who we are. We are having our opening ceremony with him on the Friday. I am also hoping that one of Louise Bennett’s relatives will also attend. We want to set the right tone so we can enjoy the space and support each other and any newcomers.
Throughout the weekend we have musicians, yoga, night walks and the best storytellers from around the country. We have a wonderful vegan chef, a wellbeing area, a herbalist, and a small African market with actor Chris Tummings who will be sharing his hand made bamboo saxophones. It’s our way of connecting with and honouring our ancestors. We give thanks and listen in order for us to rise and shine in our greatness.
Whether you’re able to make the festival or not, make some time to get outdoors and explore Ra’s glorious creation, it’s great for your health and an amazing opportunity for family self care. For my melanoid family in the US, I found this gorgeous site which organises inspiring camping events for black people. http://www.outdoorafro.com/
The Nne Agwu storytelling festival runs from Friday 29th July, to Monday 1 August 2016 Full details and the line up can be found below. Don’t miss it!
In my previous post, I shared Jesse William’s powerful speech from the BET music awards, where he shared the unapologetic truth about our black pain. Many felt empowered at being acknowledged on such a public platform, and his speech along with our appreciation went viral. However like clockwork, it didn’t take long for white supremacy to slap the hope out of our mouths, with an onslaught of black male murders, committed by racist white law enforcement. This erupted into violence, where officers were also killed in the fall out.
As I send virtual condolences to the families of the deceased, I am also deeply concerned about the impact of the video murders of Alton Sterling, and Philandro Castile on our black psyches. One of the most valuable commodities in maintaining white supremacy, is our ongoing traumatisation and emotional abuse. When we remain in this confused state, it’s much easier for us to be manipulated and controlled on mass.
I chose not to watch any of the videos, because seeing my people killed with impunity is to upsetting, and I need to be as present as possible in order to be productive. It’s hard enough that I’ve been trying to finish this post for the last 2 days, but my insomnia and the daily rise in dead bodies meant that I needed to just surrender to being human, and take some time to collect myself, before coming back with something supportive from an emotionally sober place. Now that I have refueled a bit, I’m sharing 5 simple tools to help you manage your racial stress.
Process not projection.
When we’re exposed to this trauma, we can feel powerless, angry and numb as a consequence of the initial racist abuse, and then the secondary social abandonment. Our body reacts to this emotional violence, by generating the energy which prepares us for a fight or flight response. If this is not discharged, it can end up being negatively recycled and projected unconsciously into our closest relationships. This means that our heightened state may cause more irrational responses towards our loved ones. We may also feel resentment, mistrust and anxiety around other white people in our personal and/or professional circles. These feelings are all completely normal, and if we’re able to be honest with ourselves whilst practicing the other tools, we’re less likely to act on them in a destructive way.
Discharge the energy.
Discharging this energy involves doing an activity which will help to process and move the stress outside the body. When I woke up this morning, I was exhausted from very little sleep and still feeling anxious and emotionally numb. However, after 30 mins of Jamaican style movement to some banging Afrobeats, I felt a lot more present and willing to engage the day. Other suggestions include,
Punching pillows or the bed (in private). Set a timer for 1 min, and fill up the time. When I do this exercise, I also like to picture someone who represents my upset. May I appropriately suggest Donald Trump or for my UK people suffering after the rise is racist attacks after Brexit, you can use Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson. Pick what works for you and pound it out. You’ll finish exhausted, but so much lighter.
Take long, deep, conscious breaths for 3 mins and visualise the negative energy leaving your body.
Rage journaling is where you allow yourself to do some free flow writing about your feelings, cussin’ to the max when necessary! Finish off with some slow breaths and a gratitude entry.
Self – Soothing
Self soothing techniques can really help the recovery process, as you consciously practice behaviors which will reconnect you to yourself. This self care is about self-compassion, being gentle in the same way you would a young child. Use each of your 5 senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch) and right a list of your favorite things to build a self-soothing toolkit. You will recognise a lot of these simple techniques, but to practice them more consciously will empower you inside this system of powerlessness.
Community spaces, particularly at this traumatic time are incredibly important. Choose one that feels safe with people you trust to share feelings and give support. Religious organisations and culturally specific support or recovery groups can be great resources to find help and explore your feelings. Community empathy from your tribe can be very healing and great for processing our collective grief.
Our personal boundaries mean that we can identify and communicate clearly what is acceptable to us. At this vulnerable time, the natural reaction may be to withdraw and protect ourselves emotionally and psychologically, so understanding where the boundaries are, are an essential part of the healing. It will also help to have an honest discussion with your family about how you will deal with this, and be clear on where your boundaries are as a unit. Consider carefully where your triggers are regarding social media and take a break if needed.
In closing, Jesse Williams explained that ,‘it is not the job of the oppressed to comfort the bystander,’ so if you need to take some temporary time away from your white friendships, give yourself permission to do so. You are under no obligation to justify or engage in conversation about your boundaries with any white supremacist, ‘all lives matter,’ ‘not all white people,’ ‘what about black on black crime,’ ‘not all cops,’ ‘yeah, but he should have moved his right foot,’ rhetoric, which are clear deflections from the truth about the war on black people. It’s your pain, your choice.
Have you have ever just sat down and thought consciously about what really matters to you? Are you making choices in line with what feels peaceful at soul level? After writing my previous post about the power of legacy and the late Muhammad Ali, I was inspired to write this one as a springboard to get you started building your own.
Values are personal principles that many of us have absorbed without question from our family, community and social environment. We get caught up in doing the ‘right thing’ in line with someone else’s values, even when it doesn’t support us, or sit well in our spirit. If you’re feeling a little confused about which values belong to whom, I’m taking this time with you to get clear on these fundamental principles to build your vision.
Consciously defining our values is an important part of claiming and redefining our identity, especially as we grow. For people of colour, values are particularly important in order to create and maintain a sense of cultural identity, safety, and consistency around resisting the onslaught of racism we experience on a daily basis.There are so many areas where racist ideology is aggressively projected onto us, that we can unknowingly prioritise the values which uphold this dominance, and enable the ongoing subjugation and neglect of our own cultural needs and values.
What often brings us to this point of personal exploration, is a significant life event that calls a halt to us doing, and demands that we pause and think of our being. My pivot point came in the summer of 2007, as I sobbed inside the bottom of my wardrobe clutching a positive pregnancy test. It wasn’t having a baby that brought on my tears, but having to face the ugly truth that I had nothing to give my child, except a trunk of recycled dysfunction and my emotional rock bottom. I didn’t know who I was, and was terrified of the kind of parent I would be if I did nothing. I did know, that I wanted to be a great role model both as a parent, and a black woman. I wanted to model a strong sense of self in line with my values, and was willing to go to any lengths for her to stand in her own power.
I began turning this around by first defining what MY values were. Not what my family thinks, not what is socially dominant, but what did I actually think about my position in the world. What did I obsess about? What makes me laugh? What makes me furious and where do I feel love and compassion?
To begin, I Goggled a list of core values and began working through them to see which ones moved me. This clarity was where I began rebuilding my self respect and sketching the blueprint for my future. I wanted to focus on 3 to keep it simple, but there were so many I wanted to keep. I especially struggled to choose between culture, family, spirituality and education which are all key parts of my personal growth. After much deliberation, I finally chose three core values I knew would broadly cover the previous topics I could not whittle down. My final choice is……..
On a side note, it’s also important to be mindful and prepared for people in your close circles to question and challenge your new values as you begin implementing changes in line with your vision. I encourage you to stand firm in what you believe and give yourself permission to set gentle boundaries with those who refuse to honour who you have now chosen to be. You don’t have to accept anything that is passed onto you, it’s healthy to question everything and move forward to build the awesome life you deserve.
Defining my values was such a powerful exercise for me, that I decided to turn it into a mini ebook, which I’m excited to be offering free to help you begin living the life you want and building the legacy your children deserve.Once completed, you will benefit from the following….
You’ll make clearer, confident choices about your career, relationships and social environments.
You’ll be a lot less stressed because your choices can be made quicker.
The clarity will keep you focused on the results and accountable for things which are not in alignment with your list.
Your behaviour will now mirror everything that is important to you.
You’ll build a stronger family unit as everyone is involved in the process of maintaining these redefined values.
I hope you found this useful and would love to hear your experience of working through my worksheet. You can find the free ebook as promised at the bottom of this post. Please come back and comment to let me know how you got on.
Launching my business has been THE badass chapter in my life. I felt charged expressing my creativity, and raw stepping into the vulnerability which stretched my business muscles. Despite all the excitement, nothing could have prepared me for the juggernaut of emotions and exhaustion that also came with it. The sleepless nights, the writers block, and fear of being seen (but still wanting to be heard,) ran rampant alongside which web host to use, what marketing strategy to pick, where to find my audience and how to serve my community without starving and so on, and so on.
Inside the initial struggle with overwhelm, I knew I needed some tangible tools that would help me stay present in the actions and not be paralysed by the anxiety. I knew that part of the process was pushing through the fear, but I also wanted some simple, mindful ways to honor and process my feelings without feeling like my new venture was a form of self inflicted torture. After trying several different things, the following tools are the ones that kept showing up to keep me calm, present and focused.
1. BUSINESS JOURNAL.
Like anything else we try that’s new, there will always be some anxiety around change, there may also be a fear of failing, or not earning enough to be fully self supporting. This business journal isn’t about recording meetings or ideas, but to explore the difficult emotions you may be experiencing around taking the action. Without openly acknowledging your feelings, you could leave yourself vulnerable to self sabotaging behaviors like procrastination and perfectionism,which will quietly eat away at the self esteem underneath your goals and intentions.
There is something powerful that happens when your brain connects with your heart and transforms energy through the pen. When I answer the following questions in my journal, I am able to bring up and discharge the negative energy blocking my ability to take action.
How do you feel about taking the action?
What thoughts come up about taking the action?
Is there an inner self critic talking? What is being said?
How do theses thoughts and feelings manifest in your business?
How would your inner business badass respond to the critic?
Do you need to connect with someone else for feedback or support?
Self reflection will help you understand how you tick and where the triggers are. Honesty in your writing will move you through the negative feelings and help you decide on the next loving action for you and your business. Staying present in the process is a powerful tool for stretching your emotional intelligence as an entrepreneur, and can often result in epic, creative divine downloads.
2. SELF CARE BUDDY.
I often hear about the power of accountability in business mastermind groups or with action buddies. However, sometimes I can find myself workaholically driven by a business action partner, so having someone to commit my self care actions too regularly, means that I am consciously connecting to what I need everyday to take care of myself, instead of just reacting to the demands of my to-do list. There is no right or wrong way to do this and I have used several methods which have all worked. It may be a short 10 min call to check in how you feel and then commit 3 actions that are self compassionate. You could also just text or commit your actions into my Facebook group ‘Yard of greatness,’ as long as the actions are done, that’s all that counts. You’ll be amazed at how great you will feel, and how much more productive you are after doing this for a while.
3. SCHEDULING AND PREPPING SELF CARE.
This is the most important action of all. We all know how important self care is, but so many of us get distracted and often cave in to the demands and busyness of life. If you really want to start thriving in your life, your business and your relationships, this has to be a priority. It can take a little while to get into the habit, but the rewards are serious game changers. I have watched lives and relationships transform when self love is put at the top of the list.
Your abundance will reflect your ability to be self compassionate, so schedule some time out and prepare what you need the day before to make sure it happens. I’d love to hear from you if you have tried any of my suggestions or what you do as alternatives. Tweet me @juneallendotnet if you have found this content useful, and don’t forget to subscribe so we can stay in touch.
With the best will in the world, sometimes things just don’t always go to plan. My to-do list has completely drained me this week so it was really important to listen to myself when things felt overwhelming. In the past, my default has been to shame myself and the negative thinking would have run riot. I had prepped a whole list of things to do today, but after a terrible nights sleep, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to share a break down with you, of how I actually practice simple self compassion and mindfulness in my own life.
Take a power pause.
When I give myself permission to take a few conscious minutes to pause, breath and reflect, I can really get in touch with the thoughts and feelings underneath the overwhelm. This is how I begin to take responsibility for how I feel, instead of dragging the negativity through the day, throwing it over anyone in my path.
Identify your feelings.
We can only change what we are willing to feel and understand. In the stillness, I can own the frustration and anger inside the exhaustion. It’s important not to judge yourself for having any negative feelings, just stay present in the silence and observe how the energy feels inside your body.
Discharge the energy.
As I am present to my irritation, I also understand the importance of discharging the energy so they don’t impact the choices I make during the rest of the day. One of the ways I love to do this is through writing, hence the blog post. I’ve learnt that feelings are just different levels of energy that will teach me who I am, and what I need. The challenge arrives when we ignore them or don’t process them in a healthy way. (I’ll be doing a specific Periscope session and blog on this another time.)
Define how you want to feel?
Once the energy has been released, I’m in a much more peaceful place to make compassionate decisions about what I need and how I want to feel. Simple things like sharing thoughts about why I couldn’t sleep with a friend, listening to some music, being out in nature and playing with my daughter are really easy ways I was able to reconnect and call positive energy into the now.
Lastly, It’s ok to reschedule.
Now that I have processed the energy and made some choices to support how I want to feel, I can also think more critically about rescheduling the rest of the day to create a space this evening for a generous restful wind down. I didn’t want to spend all day wallowing in my sleep deprivation, so I also made a power shake and took my daughter out in the sunshine for a melanin top up on her new bike!
I watched an inspiring video today by Steve Harvey where he talks about jumping into your purpose. Facing the cliff of uncertainty, but doing it anyway, trusting that the creator is the parachute to catapult you soaring into your greatness.
I’m feeling well chuffed today because all the personal work I’ve done over the last 6 years has led up to this moment. This first blog post is my ‘jump.’ A jump into documenting the legacy of love and wholeness for my family. A leap into receiving my birthright of financial abundance. An opening of my heart to share my experience and hope to those still trapped and lost in their inhibility to love themselves.
Change has been painful and exhausting, but I would go through it all again because the freedom in speaking my truth, showing up inside my black skin, and having my daughter be proud of me has all been worth it.
So now, I’ve jumped. I have begun. This first post is published and I’m ready to live in my greatness. Are you ready to jump? It’s ok if you’re not. You can start small by just being open to making changes. Each small action is a victory.
I’ll be live streaming on Periscope this week @juneallen with some simple ideas to start practising self compassion. Join me and let’s start building your SOULpower tool kit.
Look forward to seeing you there.
p.s. Here’s the link to the Steve Harvey ‘Jump’ video. Enjoy and have a blessed day.