The Invitation

The Invitation

By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know 
if you will risk 
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesnt interest me
what planets are 
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you 
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know 
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

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Don’t Quit

By: John Greenleaf Whittier

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

*Motivational Tip* Get fit ANYTIME, don’t wait for the new year

 

Why wait until a “special” occasion or the new year to get healthy. Being healthy is not a destination but should be a life long journey for your overall physical and mental health.

Below are a few tips you can use to guide you make lasting lifestyle changes. And the great thing about it, you can start them at anytime of the year.

  • Get an annual medical checkup if you don’t have any underline condition. Visit your doctor more regularly if you have any chronic illness like Diabetes or High Blood Pressure. Be sure to get the go ahead from your doctor before starting any strenuous exercise program if you are not a very active person.
  • Stay active with an exercise routine, even if you are not with a group or going to a gym.
  • Write down your short term and long term fitness goals and Keep a food journal so you can track your progress.
  • Stay motivated, get help if you are having a hard time by yourself. Most of all  have fun how ever you decide to stay active. Try to do things you enjoy, bike riding, swimming, dancing, aerobics, boxing just to name a few.
  • Drink at least 2 liters of water daily. Drink at least 1 glass first thing in the morning and at least 1 glass last thing at night
  • When exercising always warm up and cool down before and after your routine.
  • To improve your overall health increase your fruit and vegetable intake, preferably fresh (not from a can or package).
  • Avoid or decrease stress, alcohol and smoking as these can affect your body and your mood.
  • Try to eat regular, healthy meals and snacks. Limit animal fat, dairy products and refined starches. Never skip breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day.
  • Get adequate sleep every day, at least 6-8 hrs sleep nightly to maximize your overall health.

 

Motivational Tip: “Let Me Be What I Am”

Let me be what I am

by Sharlene Samuel

Let me be what I am

Not what you wish for me.

I cannot fit into your plan;

That’s not the life for me.

The pomp and pride of yesterday

Have vanished in the air;

The honest human being today

Must be free from inward fear.

I’ll do the things I want to,

Whene’er I feel the need;

Not stifle my feelings as you do

By trying to keep a creed.

I’ll talk, I’ll sing, I’ll dance, I’ll shout,

I’ll run, I’ll skip, I’ll play;

I must be free as I move about

Not be burdened with each day.

I thank You Lord, for nature’s gifts

So plenteous an free;

The rising sun behind the cliffs,

The earth, the sky, the sea.

Why then should I not happy be?

Why live as if in pain?

Why waste the gifts God gives to me

By living life in vain?

Material wealth is not for me;

Its price is much too high.

Nature’s gifts are pure and free,

I’ll enjoy them till I die.

Book Launch

Book Launch

Love is Love

LOVE IS LOVE

Do you believe

The words escaped

Her lips in a whisper

Almost as though

She had exhaled

The words like spent air

Technically, carbon dioxide

My grandmother

Was not prone

To speaking at length

Actually, I knew her

Not to talk at all

As she died

Long before I was

A twinkle in my parent’s eyes

And yet her she sat

On the corner of my bed

This was a dream

Or so I kept

Repeating to myself

Still, I did not

Pinch myself, thinking

It would be a tad

Disrespectful

Then she repeated

Her question

This time louder

This time with an object

As well as a subject and verb

Do you believe in love?

I looked away

How do you explain

To your grandmother

That you had closed your heart

And chose not to love

Chose not to seek it

Chose not to let it in

Coolness touched my chin

Turning my head

So that I met her gaze

She waited

She would have waited

From now to forever

I had no choice

But to be honest

She listened

As I emptied my soul

Into the night

She listened as the moon

Traveled west

And the stars watched

Then she whispered again

Love is love

Love is not a missing pen

That you have to look

High and low for

Love is out in the open

And if you continue

To look for it in

Nooks and crannies

You will never find it

Love is not for one

Who hides their heart

Afraid that it would

Be abused

That it would

Be broken

If you do not

Can not love

How can you be loved?

This night

As the full, shiny moon

Traversed west

A dead grandmother

Taught her granddaughter

How to love again

And as the weight

Of the Sandman’s

Sands closed my eyes

I felt coolness

On my forehead

Where my grandmother

Kissed me goodnight

I saw her twice more

In my lifetime

Once, on the eve

Of my wedding day

She taught me

How to love my husband

The second time

Was when my newborn child

Slept in the cot beside me

She taught me

How to love my child

Every time I saw her

She whispered

Love is love

By Kimolisa Mings

From “She Wanted A Love Poem”

Hair Tips: The secrets that are not secrets after all

How to retain moisture and length in natural hair

natural hair

natural hair

  1. Clean hair and scalp: The first step to retaining moisture and ultimately retaining length, [if that is your goal], is to work with a clean canvas. The scalp and length of the strands must be kept clean in order to give it a better chance of absorbing the well needed moisture to keep your hair soft and manageable. Weather you follow the no shampoo method, also known as the girl method or you have a tweeny weeny afro (twa), at the in between stage or have waist long hair, hair must be kept clean. You may have to spend a little time figuring out what works for your hair depending on the porosity, density, length and texture by researching and experimenting. Depending on your preference and life style you may wash your hair as often as every day, every week or once a month. It is important to find out what works for you and stick to that method. It is important to note that your hair regimen may change other time depending on the length and lifestyle.
  2. Styling choice: There have been many debates whether one should adapt protective styles or not to retain length. Once again it is a matter of choice and goal set. For me, my hair prefers to be in protective styles such as buns and twists because it is prone to drying, so I rarely have my hair loose. But for others, they are able to wear their hair loose and still retain length. One thing is certain is that too much stress must not be placed on the strands and especially the edges which are easiest to break. Choose your styles based on your preference and daily activities.
  3. Tracking length: Note that although the average growth of hair is ½ inch per month, that does not mean that you will retain that amount. It is important to remember that everybody has different growth rates and you have to find out how fast your hair grows and how much of that you retain. If you are retaining much less than your hair is growing then it may seem like your hair is not growing. If that is the case, you should investigate the reasons why and put steps in place to correct or change as needed. It is also important not to compare your hair growth with others, if you are doing all that you can to preserve your strands, length will come, so don’t obsess over it [because it is pretty over rated ;-)]
  4. Health: Physical and mental health are often over looked factors in hair growth. Hair and nails are the last places on the body to receive nutrients. So it is essential that you are eating well and exercising both your body and your mind. Stress plays a big part in retaining length, whether it is positive or negative stress. You should know your stress level and find ways to manage it effectively if it is negatively affecting your health.
  5. Handle with care: Natural hair, especially naturally curly-kinky hair, is very fragile with all the twists and bends in every strand. You could be doing all of the about but if you are rough with your hair, you will be sabotaging all the hard work that you put in over the months. It is advised that if you are having a bad day or not in the mood to do your hair, just leave it alone, gel it down or wear a scarf or hat. You may cause more harm than good by venting on your strands. Leave your hair until you are better able to handle your hair with more gentle hands.
  6. Patience Patience Patience: Hair does not grow over night, so it is imperative that you exercise just a little patience. Sometimes we get caught up with seeing growth or getting to a certain length to achieve a hair style that we have been wishing to try, that we don’t enjoy the length we have at the time. Hair grows, it breaks or we cut it, then it growth again. Enjoy the stage that you are at until you get to the next stage then enjoy that stage, so in the end you are enjoying every moment without missing a beat. You may enjoy a particular length and may choose to keep it at that length and that is also fine.
  7. To trim or not to trim, that is the question!: There have been many discussions on trimming the ends of your hair or not. The reality is that, because natural hair is natural curly, fragile and prone to dryness, then wear and tear will come, especially the longer it gets. The ends of the hair, the oldest and weakest part of our hair, will, over time develop split ends and single strand knots, although split ends and knots can occur along any part of the strand, it is most commonly seen at the ends. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot repair split ends or unravel single strand knots. The only way to get rid of them, is to get rid of them, by cut them with a well sharpened barber scissors before they travel the length of the strand. The frequency of trimming or dusting the ends is entirely up to you and the state of your hair. Note though that if you are trimming your hair faster than it is growing, you will not retain length.
  8. Water is your friend: Apart from needing water to clean your hair, water is the only product that truly moisturizes your strands. All products that are not water based are just sealant and merely seals in the water that adds moisture to the hair. If your hair is not sufficiently moisturized, the hair can feel dry and brittle and look limp. On the other hand, too much water in the strands can cause the strands to become swollen, making the hair heavy also giving it a limp feeling. In addition, the hair can have a “mushy” or wet feeling. Again, when you learn your hair, you will know the quantity or water to apply to the hair and the frequency in which it should be applied. So learn your hair and find that middle ground. Once you know that amount of water your hair needs, learn what are the best products to seal in that moisture. There are some who follow the LOC method, which stands for Liquid, Oil, Cream. This method may not work for everyone so may need to experiment a bit to see what works best for your hair.
  9. Loving what you got: The unique thing about naturally kinky, curly, coily hair, is that no too heads are exactly alike. They may look and feel similar and may even require the same products but every head of hair is different. The one thing I like to tell other is that you should never compare your hair to another person’s hair. It is a plus when you learn to love your hair just the way it is and if you want a change, you can add colour, cut it and style it to suit your preference. But fall in love, fall head over heels even with your tresses, they are yours and they were perfectly made just for you. When you can appreciate what you were given you can enjoy your hair even more.
  10. Is it just hair: There have been many a discussion on the topic, so what is the answer!, is it JUST hair? It is hair, yes that is correct but for me it is a little more than hair. For me, my hair tells many stories about my heritage and ancestors, where I came from and where I am today. It reminds me that I did not create myself and there is one most powerful, all knowing who created me and I was created imperfectly perfect in his image. It makes me feel myself and alive when I am able to wear my natural hair. I also feel fortunate to even have hair, a privilege that many to not possess, so I wear my hair for them. I am more confident with my hair, the hair that I was born with and not ashamed to wear. I wear my hair for the little girls who may feel pressured to adding chemicals to their sensitive scalps because either society or their peers tell them that they are not pretty or professional enough with their hair. So more me, it is much more than hair. So wear your hair proud because its yours.

99-Year-Old Sprinter Sets World Record: “I’m Running From Old Age…”

99 year old sprinter

99 year old sprinter

Whats your excuse? Get up and move your body!

Even though Ida Keeling came in last place in the 100 meter race on August 12th, 2014, she took first place in the record books. The 99-year-old great-great-grandmother from New York finished the 100-meter race with a time of 59.8 seconds, becoming the first woman in the 95-99 age group to have completed the event in an internationally certified race, according to her daughter, Shelley Keeling.

“I’m running from old age and arthritis,” Keeling told the local Akron Beacon Journal before the race. “Believe me!” Explaining her routine now, she added: “I try to do everything for about an hour unless I’m tired, because I’m no spring chicken, honey. That’s why I like the sprint — I go as fast as I can and get it over with and feel good about myself.”

Ida, standing 4 feet 6 and weighing 83 pounds, started competitive running at age 67 to help deal with grief over losing her two sons.

“I was so depressed, and my daughter wanted to take me on a mini run,” Keeling said before the race (via the Akron Beacon Journal). “After it was finished, I felt relaxed and relieved.”
“She was sinking deeper and deeper,” Shelley said (via the Akron Beacon Journal). “I said, ‘Mama, you had four kids, but I only have one mother. You’re coming out with me.’ I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I knew I had to try something.”
Keeling lives by herself in a studio apartment and uses the gym twice a week in addition to running and yoga, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Shelley, 63, is a real estate investor who coaches track at Fieldston School in the Bronx.

Ida has set records when she ran a 60m race in 2011, when she was 95, and again two years later.

Keeling is closing in on triple-digits in age, but she is still an avid fan of exercise and eating healthy. She plans on running the 100-meters again in 2015, this time going for a record in the age 100-104 division.

“Eat for nutrition, not for taste. Do what you need to do, not what you want to do and don’t leave out your daily exercise. Love yourself,” she says.

In a world of excuses, Ida Keeling has every reason not to put herself through strenuous sprinting. She has a dark personal past, a naturally tiny body, arthritis concerns and old age to worry about. But Keeling keeps on running.