Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wednesday Wisdom: …By the Lapels!

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

— Maya Angelou


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Filed under Affirmations, Wednesday's Wisdom

Monday Musings: Our Self-Care Stories and 3 Questions

If you have been following the information I’ve been sharing about the upcoming retreat (and I hope you have), you know Jemitra Hairston will be our coaching facilitating our

(re-)discovery of our own personal self-care stories

at the retreat.

On the weekends, most of us manage to fit some type of self-care regime into our schedules. But now – at the start of the week – I want to share an audio Jemitra shared with us about self-care as a reminder that self-care (yes, focusing on ourselves for a change, and not the other people/things in our lives!) isn’t a topic that should be relegated only to the weekends or vacation days in our lives! Having a personalized self-care ritual – in other words: one that fits your lifestyle and therefore actually works for you – for every day of the week can help replenish us exactly when we need it most, namely when we’re dealing with the bulk of the stress work or school, family and household can trigger in our lives.

Also: The July Retreat is scheduled for 29th – 31st of July, so Lillian, Jemitra and I have  scheduled

a 2nd open call

to field more of your questions and hear your comments about the whole idea behind developing a retreat format specifically for Afro-European women.

Just in case you won’t be able to make the call, or simply want to make sure YOUR question is answered, let us know

What are the three (3) questions you would need to have answered about an event like this upcoming retreat before you make your personal decision to attend?

Uncaged Birds™ July Retreat – 2nd Info Call

Date: Friday, 24 June 2011

Time: 7.30pm CDT

Dial-In: (724) 444-7444 (Call ID: 95377)


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Filed under Coaching, Monday Musings, Retreats

Wednesday’s Wisdom: On Forgiveness

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.”

(Lily Tomlin)

Meditating on this quote allowed me to examine what it really means when we insist on holding a grudge or resentment concerning something that has happened to us in the past. Holding on to that hurt or pain means we prevent ourselves from moving forward towards forgiveness. We are not ready to accept that…

what happened happened exactly the way it happened“.

We want to believe that someone can somehow magically make that pain or injustice “undone”.  To change the past in retrospect, so that the outcome is more to our liking.

But nothing – and no one – can do that!

  • Your rapist can’t “un-rape” you.
  • Your enslavers can’t “un-enslave” you.
  • Your unfaithful husband can’t “un-cheat” on you.

Even their apology or punishment or death won’t change the fact that “it” – however trivial or catastrophic – actually happened.

Or that it happened to you.

Being able to forgive doesn’t change the past, either. What it does is change the way we allow the past to impact our present – and our future!

In the end, the choice is ours. Do we hold on to our habit of  fruitless “magical” thinking by making something that’s impossible the prerequisite for our (future) happiness? Or do we – as individuals or collectively – open our own clenched fists to let go of the past and be ready for gifts and blessings both the present and the future hold in store?

I really like what UB reader,  Alice W., had to say :

“No longer feeling it as a negative burden still holding me down, but simply seeing it as an uneven stepping-stone I had to go over.”

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Filed under Coaching, Wednesday's Wisdom

Monday Musings: Touching Bases with Your Empowerment Story

One of my favorite lines by American poet Anne Sexton is:

“Out of the cage came Eve,
escaping, escaping.
She was clothed in her skin like the sun
and her ankles were not for sale.”

– Anne Sexton

This is a bold statement characterizing a brand of emancipation and empowerment that many women – particularly women of African descent – still are striving to attain.

What can we do to get in the habit of remaining in touch with ourselves – and communicating that authentic aspect of self – on a more regular basis? In other words:

How do you come to own your own skin?

  • Never feel you have to apologize for who you are! There is no such thing as not dark/light enough, not thin/”thick” enough, etc. You are who you are – now – and that is (and will hopefully remain) a wondrous work-in-progress! This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue moving forward towards your goals or reaching for your best life. But by accepting who you are right now you are giving yourself the gift of authentic self-esteem that will continue to energize and motivate you to strive for even better things for yourself.
  • It’s OK to put yourself first! Whether we have spent our entire lives in the Diaspora or are deeply rooted in African soil without a detour, we have a history of being called upon to take other people’s welfare more seriously than our own. But: how can we continue giving of ourselves and being the rock in other people’s lives  if we don’t take the time we need to replenish our energy source and renew our spirit? When your inner batteries are running low, no one can replenish them but you! If you have a giving heart, make sure you are also giving to yourself. Otherwise you’ll find out you soon have nothing left to give anyone.
  • It’s normal to sometimes doubt yourself! When you live in a world that often doesn’t portray people who look like you in the most positive, self-determined light, it seems doubly easy to become riddled with doubt about who you are and what you stand for. But there’s a distinct difference between allowing (false!) images to be projected onto you, and proactively analyzing your own motivations and intentions.

Each of us has a purpose in life. Have you identified yours? Once you have found that purpose, you’ll understand how essential it is that you make regular “pit stops” with yourself to realign what you’re doing with the “why” of doing it!

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Filed under Coaching, Monday Musings

Uncaged Birds™ on Poto-Mitan

On the intro page to her blog Poto-Mitan, Sandrine Joseph describes herself – and her mission – like this:

Oser être soi-même, Oser déranger

Je suis une femme de tête et d’engagements aux multiples facettes. J’ai créé ce blog pour rendre hommage aux femmes piliers de ma famille, qui ont le courage d’aller au bout de leur idéal, de se réaliser elles-mêmes : les Poto-Mitans.

Les articles publiés sont en français et en anglais.

A long-time admirer of Sandrine, I’m particularly proud she wanted to showcase Uncaged Birds™!

To read the interview, but also to find out (much) more about Sandrine and her passions, give Poto-Mitan a look. I’m confident it will find its way onto many of your blog rolls/bookmarks!


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Filed under Monday Musings, This & That