It's 23 days into the new year, 2022, and I.m. so grateful that I made it through 2021, especially the end of the year. Always a challenge, the end of the year with it's holiday messages of "be merry" and "get and give the perfect gift", don't elevate me, but make me depressed. I admit this to you, my community and stand authentically, to say, "thank God, I made it through another year-end holiday season, intact, because I followed my feelings and accepted my low feelings and just allowed them. I didn't push away the feelings of being depressed, but instead just flowed with the flow of them...the ups and downs; the missing my grands due to the quarantine; and celebrated only when I really felt up to it. That meant missing my beloved Kwanzaa events, which I rarely do, but in 2021, I didn't even put up my Kwanzaa rituals table. Nope, just didn't feel like it.
So, come New Year's day, when I didn't get not one call from my son or grands, in our customary "Happy New Year's greeting", I instead did my own tradition. At 12 midnight, while my husband slept, I was on my knees, thanking the Creator for making a way out of no way in 2021. Thanking the Creator for keeping me safe and healthy. Giving praise for just the many blessings that I DO HAVE. And I cried for those who lost loved ones and I thought of how much I missed my Mom, who loved to sit and watch the fireworks to mark the start of the new year. I turned on the t.v. and watched the firework displays from around the world and felt good, like WE were watching them, as we had done many a year. Then, I put on a pot of Black-eyed peas, a Black people's end of year tradition, but don't know why, but did it with the affirmation, that "this will bless my household and bring us great luck in the new year. By 2:00 a.m. I was asleep.
Well, this was my end of year and the beginning of my new year. New Year's Day, I sat around and had a "movie marathon", I call it. I didn't again tune into the Zoom, last day Kwanzaa event that I love and customarily do. I honored that I just didn't feel like it. I also usually write my resolutions for the year. Instead, I read an article that spoke about the low value that we give to these resolutions to ourselves. The article suggested we come up with a word that would be our affirmation or our mantra for our new year. I reflected in meditation and breathed slowly, and the word came up in my consciousness - EXPANSION.
I started chanting, "in 2022, it's time to EXPAND YOU". This affirmation made such sense to me and I vibrated with anticipation. You see, I.ve been in a COVID self-quarantine lock-down since March, 2019.. I.ve missed my grand-children's birthday parties and events, friends gatherings, and special events. When I do go out, I mask up and do social distancing seriously, to go grocery shopping or go to the bank. In December, I actually allowed myself to go get medical examines and actually ventured out to the funerals of my favorite, Aunt Audrey, and Cousin Langston.
I’m not alone in my self-quarantine. I found out that many other unvaccinated people, have found this to be the way to cope with these COVID times we live in. I'm not trying to get vaccinated with what is being offered, and I.m. not getting infected by hanging out in crowds, small or large, therefore, I stay at home, build my immune system and take my Pax Immune for protection when I go out. . I'.m. not advocating for no one but myself, but I.ve been fine with this, don't have any feelings of COVID burn-out and actually have gotten a lot done. The cold, snowy weather in the D.M.V. has made it quite comfortable to "cocoon" in, but something started stirring within me.
But, when Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday rolled around mid-January, and I was still having movie marathons- Dr. King and Sydney Poitier movies - I knew, it was time to shake myself back from all of this isolation. How am I gonna expand, if I don't get moving?. And so I picked myself up, and dusted myself off, and started all over again, with the refrain - EXPANSION. How can I expand in a time of isolation? What do I need to do to be a better expanded me? How can I EXPAND to the heights I truly am inspired to go?
Breathing more; Moving more; Cleaning up more of my clutter; More quality time with myself in self-reflection; More quality time with the people I love, on the phone or zooming; Walking my dogs and training them; Saying "no" to the things I really don't want to do and being intentional in my own planning towards the things that inspire me; Expanding my self-care as my self-love, accepting that I must take care of me, before caring for anyone else. Really taking all those vitamins and fixing new menus, trying out never tasted foods. Going to bed and taking a day-time nap to feel refreshed when I awaken at 4 a.m. Putting on nice clothes just to lift my Spirit. Expanding my creativity; Working smarter, not harder for more creative time; Expanding my efforts by creating a team. Completing some projects that are calling me to complete them and expanding into some ventures that have been "down-loaded" into my consciousness.
As we come into February, 2022, I.m. "waking up" to EXPAND. As the song says, "this girl is on fire". Come expand with me, if you too are ready in 2022 to Expand YOU.
Ayo Handy-Kendi is reknown as the Breath Sekou, which means in the Guinea language "a master teacher". She has worked with breath techniques for over 50 years and loves teaching "the power of the breath". She has created a system called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) which teaches 12 common breath techniques with 4 breath practices. As a Wholistic Practitioner she incorporates sound healing, laughter yoga, Reiki, healing touch, movement, behavior modification and stress management and oxygen concepts, such as water hydrotherapy, Aroma-therapy, nutrition, into her trainings.She is creating a "breath movement" to wake people up to their joy and positivenergy with the belief that when you breathe better, you live better. She is also known as Mama Ayo, when sharing cultural presentations or performing as a storyteller, actor, author or speaker. She is the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13, the Ritual of Reconciliation, founder/director, African American Holiday Association (AAHA) and founder/CEO, PositivEnergyWorks.