August IS African Heritage Month and this August, 2020, we are changing our focus.
PositivEnergyWorks connects health with culture and this month let's look at your health from that perspective....Let's change our legacy by changing our old conditioned responses, biases, and heightened fears that tense us, bringing our stress up and our health down.
Let's look at what changes, we can make, even, if just a little. Clearly, our health is our responsibility. You may live in a food desert, but you can make the simple choice of not buying empty-nutrient, sugary sweet, pastry daily, right?
So, here at PositivEnergyWorks, I am changing our focus so that we can better help us all work on our conditioned responses.
For many years, I.ve focused on generalized breathing applications but, I.m. now re-focusing my efforts on what I know will maximize our health. I.ve been studying it, speaking on it, and writing about it....racism is at the root of the stress related dis-orders, affecting all of our health.
Join me in my new focus of offering solutions for stress management through breathology/breathwork applications for race-based trauma release with tools to un-pack un-conscious bias. We are also shifting away from coaching to group training and certifications. Last, due to Covid-19, all of our services/presentations are VIRTUAL now, until further notice.
In this month of August, as we honor our Ancestors, I truly affirm that this shift in my work, will be pleasing to their legacy. Join me on August 22, in my introduction to Breath Circles for Racial, Diversity and Gender Healing. let's allow the truth to set us all free - that racism is a sickness and that we must heal it to be free of our greatest "stressor".
His name was George Floyd. He was a black man who was murdered in front of young people, passer-by's, and the whole world, as the videos of his murder, taken by two of courageous people , quickly went viral.
Mr. Floyd was killed by a policeman, who put his knee on his neck, choking him as he is laying face-down, so that he could not breathe. This policemen didn't care about the risk of this military tactic that he had been taught. Other police are seen holding his legs and his back. And even as Mr. Floyd was barely able to say repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and pleaded that he was about to die, he was ignored by the police. As the officer, continues to hold him down long after the brother appears unconscious, I began to cry, as I felt his life force slip away....
A review of a N.Y. times scene recreation, indicates Mr. Floyd said "I can't breathe 16 times".
If you watch the video, it looked exactly what it was – a murder before the world’s eyes, in broad day-light. It was so hard to believe, that I made myself watch, hoping that it wasn’t real, hopping that what I was looking at was a stunt or something, but knowing in my heart….the sickening reality --that here was another Black man whose cries, "I can't breathe" was ignored, whose life thereby ended with no compassion,and no sense of dignity for a fellow human being.
I.m. so hurt, tired, angry --sick and tired of being sick and tired -- of seeing the ways in which our Black Lives seem as if we are nothing. As if we don't matter. Not only have we lost another black man in our community,,,some ones father, some ones brother or uncle....we have again lost some of our selves due to the stress and collective shock/trauma that this video will have reminding us again of our fragile lives living with racism. Our consciousness of pain, hurt, anger, and rage boils again...the tension, the trauma affects our very DNA on deep cellular levels...we hold our breath and our cells die a little bit with each death in our community.
Unborn babies feel the traumatic impact. We must breathe again to keep going...we dealing with Covid and the health disparities, survival issues. However, we must stand up and say enough....I don't know about you but I.m. sick and tired of being sick and tired. I.m. in prayer, listening as to what to do....with my pain. I.m. holding my own breath I.m. so shaken as protests take the streets, and each day, as more demand justice for Mr. Floyd, we see even more violence from the police. Then, lots of violence from agent provocateurs, who weave in and out of the protestors, using every opportunity for mayhem and chaos. I see them recklessly busting windows, burning, spray painting and taking over buildings that just don't seem related at all to Mr. Floyd's death..... Smoke fills the skies as whole blocks burn in many major cities and now, many others can't breathe, chocking in the night....
I have had to really process my grief over watching Mr. Floyd murdered in broad daylight on video. I.m. sad, angry, frustrated, grieving for Mr. Floyd and for his family. I.m. sick and tired of feeling sick and tired at the way Black folk been treated for over 400 years, with somebodies "KNEE on us, making it almost and at times impossible for us to BREATHE". II have been in the movement for liberation and freedom since 1970 and despite how agonized I feel most of the time, I keep fighting through my emotions and continue to put them into action steps to make a difference. When I shift my feelings into constructive action, I stand in alignment with the Harriot Tubman's and Malcolm X's and a huge list of revolutionaries, activists, historians, teachers and "just everyday folk" who keep standing up for humanity demanding equality.
Warning: Graphic violence and language, and truth.
Because my study has shown them, and me that racism is a pandemic, an illness, a conditioned learned behavior and a system of power. It's system is at the root of every institution in our society and is being passed on through our conditioned responses, reactions and cellular, inter generational memories. It will continue until people change and the change has to be on deep, sub-conscious levels, below the surface behavior, where the conditioned responses begin in order to see real and permanent change , not just when we are activated by incidents or out of sympathy. Racism serves a huge purpose that perpetuates power, and unless the power mongers go deep to change, we will see the institution of racism continue to serve them, and shackle humanity.
My work has focused on helping people "wake-up" from this conditioning by impacting the sub-conscious mind for new programming and new behavior, so that this sickness of racism is no longer perpetrated nor passed on to more children, thereby to generations. Malcolm X stated in the 70's that we could have done more "in the struggle" for liberation in the '60's if more people would "wake-up" to realized that they were NOT FREE.
Sad as Mr. Floyd's murder is, the consequences is that it is re-awakening many who must actively involve themselves in creating freedom through equality and humanity, through the act of acting human. Those who thought we had a color-blind society just because Obama was elected must be awakened. Those who think their good job with co-workers who don't look like them, means they are equal, yet they must be awakened. Those of us who get lost in materialism, obtaining for the sake of keeping up, who will buy clothing, food or designer labels even when no money comes back into our community and the corporations or designer mocks us -- they must be awakened. Those of us, who are filled with so much rage against "the man", but who take it out on their brothers and sisters in their own community, instead of focusing on the real target --- MUST BE AWAKENED too, from centuries of passive conditioning, pain, trauma and oppression. For those communities that are non-black, who are out-raged but don't know what to do, they must be awakened to go deep into their own sense of white entitlement, privilege, denial and un-conscious racist behavior to question what they must learn to be a better supporter for communities of color.
Yes. we all got a lot of work to do. It starts with each of us, waking up to understand what racism really is, and deciding what are we going to do to take some responsibility, to make a difference to CHANGE. Things have got to change.
Why WE NEED TO RE-LEARN HOW TO BREATHE - COVID IS KILLING BLACK, BROWN, POOR & WORKING CLASS PEOPLE
By Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou
Preliminary research has shown a spike of deaths in Black, Brown, poor and working-class communities due to the COVID-19 virus. Extremely sad, but not surprising, to Ayo Handy-Kendi, a Certified Breathologist, Laughter Yoga Teacher, and wholistic practioner with 50+ years of study and practice, who has studied and written about this issue for years. She is advocating a simple solution - use breathology techniques now to support persons infected with COVID 19 and to build immune systems for prevention.
She explains, "African Americans, and other melaninated people were already disproportionately living sicker and dying sooner than their white counter parts. High blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, strokes, certain cancers, obesity, stress, depression, addiction -- all imbalances that affect communities of color and working class people. These diseases, so-called imbalances, have their root beginning from poor breathing affecting limited oxygen up-take. Now, it's covid-19 further straining the poor health of people already diminished physically, and emotionally with Black people dying due to their under-lying conditions, exacerbated by this virus."
Her work and research is documented in her book, "Applied Breathology", in several DVD's and CD's and in her lectures and demonstrations, on and off line. She elaborates, " Racism and classism, play a big part in health imbalances.. Marginalization, poverty, fear and stress, are issues many of us face daily. The common thread, my research has found, is that we restrict the breathing due to these concerns. When we are in fear we hold our breath and restrict our oxygen. When we are stressed, we hold our breath or over-breathe. When we live in over-polluted, environments of limited oxygen, we breathe dirty, polluted air.:"
"But every time we hold our breath due to stress or pain, or just because we've developed restricted breathing habits, consciously or un-consciously, or we breathe in toxins- man-made chemical waste or environmental by-products - we are putting our health at great risks due to the challenges on our oxygen for our respiratory system's ability to function best.".
Sekou Ayo's studies have documented that 60 or more stress-related, oxygen deprivation disorders, i.e., high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma, obesity, depression, anxiety and more, can be positively impacted by efficient breathing techniques, such as deep breathing, box breath or cleansing breaths. Deep breathing is an efficient breath technique that fundamentally provides all of the benefits of optimum oxygen as "the" critical nutrition to feed, revitalize and detoxify our cells. Breath is life and with limited breath, we exhibit limited life, yet with optimum breathing, we have optimum life, health, and longevity. Her system, O.L.B., also addresses how to increase oxygen in our life and behavior in simple, cost-efficient ways.
"Yes, we need data to validate whose afflicted and dying of covid-19, but will this data change institutionalized racism or the class privileges of a few, once we find out what many already know? Most of our "essential workers" on the front line of this challenge are black, brown, poor and working class. Will research data point the way to change the disproportionate health issues for many who are on the front-line, to support our communities, now being further challenged by covid-19?."
"My goodness, don't we need to just "pause" and breathe while many, right now, are struggling to breathe; ill and hurting; holding their breath out of stress, fear, worry, concern, grief and trauma. Too many have already given up on life, and have little emotional or physical reserve to fight back a covid19 illness. Is data the priority now or is changing how we look at things, so that the things, we look at can change - really the recipe to save more from dying and prevent more from illness, now and beyond.
Now more than ever with the grief, stress, illness and deaths, we all need to breathe, build our immune system, and use breathology techniques to increase the oxygen meal, as the #1 nutrient".
"Self-care is our greatest protection. We must master the breath, to master life and "the moment" in which we find ourselves - pandemics, crises, disorganized governments, life on hold, uncertainty about the future, hazards to the natural health, environmental catastrophes and more".
"We take breathing for granted, until we can't breathe. But breath is life, and to truly live a full life, we must breathe fully, every 20,000 breaths a day. Yet, 8 of 10 people breathe inefficiently, the reason for more than 60 or more imbalances that most consider dis-eases. Now, more than ever, we need to "relearn how to breathe".
Sekou Ayo Handy-Kendi, has been teaching a system of breath training called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) since 2004, to help people "relearn how to breathe" and how to use 10 other breathing techniques and 4 practices to act as a self-care, prevention and conscious-raising tool. She has certified over 140 Breathologists in O.L.B., in 7 states, exposed her system in over 9 countries of which 4 are African, and has, "breathed" with millions on radio, t.v., in print, on stage, over the internet and in private and group practice.
Notably, she has been featured on "Steve Harvey's Morning Show" on radio and syndicated on his t.v. program. She was recently featured as one of the 40 breath experts on the Shift Network's "Breath Summit" and as a presenter on the 24 hour event for World Breathing Day (WBD), April 11, that was sponsored by the International Breathwork Foundation (IBF)
Today, through PositivEnergyWorks (P.E.W.) her company, she now offers ON-LINE breath training, classes, events wholistic tele-health services, a weekly Webcast called "BreathShops On-Line", and a new series, called One Minute Breath Breaks. She is also re-starting her popular "Sage-ing Baby Boomers Show" for those age 50+ and those who love them" to provide breathing and wholistic health programming for an aging population worldwide, particularly offering special highlights, for those seniors living in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (D.C. being her home-town).
Sekou Ayo concludes, " At age 68, I've been in the leadership of many movements - social justice, million people marches, human rights, equal rights, buy black/empowerment, african-centered education, stop violence campaigns, gender equality and diversity/racial healing as the founder of Black Love Day, Feb. 13th,created in 1993. I.ve been practicing breathing in some form, since 1970 and I.m one of a few Black folk who has studied, practiced, written about, and witnessed many testimonies, along with my own, on how breathing changed my life. Therefore, for the last 10 years, I.ve been spear-heading a BREATH MOVEMENT.
"I continue to make this statement, now validated by many doctors, health experts and practitioners who have studied the Ancient medical records and today's modern-day, evidenced-based science, to come to the same conclusion. "Breathing is the simplest technique that we can learn, to offer the greatest benefit to our Spirit, Mind and Body. It is always available, accessible 24/7 right under our noses, is FREE and critically effective. Everything that has life, has breath, and to breathe optimally, enables us to live optimally. Optimum breathing is self-care, healing, preventive and emotionally stabilizing. We should be focusing on changing the way we breathe to change our lives, now during this Covid-19 challenge and beyond".
I don't have to say the name anymore. We have said it so much now, that it has lodged into my sub- conscious and everything I know, says, "do not keep speaking on what you know you don't want". But, how do we get away from it.....it's on the news, the internet, the radio, on messenger, social media, and on everyone's mind and discussion. It's on my heart so much that I sometimes feel my heart hurting.....
For me now, I.m. monitoring much less news coverage than before as it's become very depressing for me and this is my issue, that I struggle with. I don't detach easy, and I.m. empathic, so I feel pain, death, illness, conflict and confusion. I.ve become sensitive, hearing over and over the statistics and felt the need to numb again, going back to some old habits, that help me do that.
Yet while knowing better, I still hit that 6 o'clock news daily, as a wholistic practitioner, feeling that, this is my duty to know as much as I can on how to avoid it.
However, in the last several days, I.m. spending more time, learning how to help myself to stay calm, sane, and healthy. I realized, I.d better do more "self-care", take more mental health breaks for my own hopin' and copin'. If I take care of me, then I can help others.
After weeks of depression, I have pushed through, and the cloud has lifted again. Thank God for breathology, uplifting music, inspiring movies, my 'puppies", friends and family, my warm tub bath ritual, writing in my journal and being able to re-direct myself by finishing my latest book and staying on my "mission" to create a "breath movement".
This April newsletter for PositivEnergyWorks will focus on "Hopin' and Copin" or I will give it a sub-title, "Stay together spiritually, mentally and physically." We have provided lots of inspiration, resources for people of color, tips for coping and prevention. It helped me just compiling some of the resources.
So, today, I wake up with my renewed, "positivEnergy" pro-active, resolve. "We will make it through and we will be better than before". Today, I can say this "positive self-talk" and know this, as I too, am holding onto my faith that God (Allah) has my back and yours. Today, I promise myself to laugh more, get back to my exercise routine, get to bed earlier, breathe even more and create a better work/life balance, despite the uncertainity of life and these times. Today, I.m. claiming abundance, prosperity, great health, harmony, and my own ability to create my world, despite some virus.
Today, I can say with strength in my own being, that PositivEnergyWorks is here for you as always, cause I truly feel what you feel, and I.m extremely blessed that I can help you with the same tools that are helping me with my own "hopin and copin".
P.E.W.'s specialty is helping you BREATHE thru fear, anxiety, panic, depression, addictions, violence, stress, trauma & diversity issues, along with helping you use breathing techniques for Spirit, Mind, Body health, up-liftment and transformation. We have 50+ years of experience in helping communities help themselves because of my own 50+ years of managing my own "stuff".
I.m. encouraging you to EMAIL, CALL OR COME-ON-LINE, to inquire about P.E.W.'s event programming. breathshops, sessions, certifications or tele-health counseling, so together, WE can get on the other side of "THIS TIME" we are faced with.
Here are my contacts in case you need them:
Need to just talk for a few minutes - 202-667-2577.
See Up-coming events for a line-up of some powerful ON-LINE events.
Check our ON-LINE Services Menu if you are interested in doing some deeper, personal development at this reflective time.
I.m saying to you, what i.ve said to myself.....Breathe Positive to maintain "positivEnergy" that charged up attitude that says, "don't quit while focusing on what you want and not on what you don't want".
Yes, today focus on "we are stronger and more resilient than we know". It's time to keep our heads to the sky, hit the pause button, stay calm, and "just breathe". I affirm that my formula will work for you as it has for me and so many others. Let's help each other....Breathe.
.....Ayo Handy-Kendi, The Breath Sekou
rby Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou
In this time of early March, just going into another Spring, we take time to celebrate Sistahs around the world for International Women's Day, March 8 and then to continue to applaud the achievements of women, as the month continues as Women's History Month. Because, I know, that all women are amazing, and I.m totally appreciative of the Black Woman's resilience, as the Mother of Humanity, For all that women go through, we still hold up so much, create, manage, bear the burden, shoulder the loads, heal the hearts, and nurture the souls. We carry the children - a miracle in itself. And we nurture to ensure life and growth, while at the same time,-- must take care of ourselves.
Yes, women are amazing. My blog title is from an African proverb that I saw on a greeting card and it was such a truth. Our women keep our skies from fallin. It just seems like this is what the Creator put us here to do ---.hold things together.
My Mom, Doris A.M. Thomas 4 months before she "let go of life" and transitioned at age 92
I.m. grateful on this journey of my Soul that I experienced being the woman I am coming from the family I was born to, I am grateful to be the daughter of the profound Mother who nurtured me. And I.m grateful to Maria and Donna, the Sisters who I.ve been able to help nurture as my Mother nurtured me, who today, I still share, laugh, grow and bond with. I seem to have always had good relationships with women, because my Mother turned out to be my best friend and truly best example of Sistah, Woman, Queen Mother, Hold it Down. Strong yet a determined Diva. I.m. every woman type. My Mom, a true hard act to follow, was the very image of "holding up the skies to keep them from falling". Even when things looked their worse, some how, my Mom seemed to get it together for us all.
Often, my Mom took care of the family, her job, her church, her community, and the world, and early on, she may have neglected herself while doing so much for so many. She had several serious illnesses, a breast removed and re-occurrence of cancer in her hips. But, after she did self-healing, and began to breathe, stretch, do yoga, change your diet, and her thoughts, she focused lots of love and attention on herself, even while she keep the "sky from falling around" her family. She learned the lesson of self-love and self-care, the hard way, like many of us. But, she never forgot these lessons living well, until age 92, She attributed her good health to a natural life-style, good, spiritual thoughts, limited stress, laughter, caring relationships, and enjoying and living life fully, for all of it's up's and downs. She would try new things, and always wanted to learn more. She was always achieving something with new projects and dreams. These were the keys to a life worth lived, she would say, sharing her motto, "have that will to live".
I know my Mom would have a lot to say about the corona-virus and all of the fear and media promotion that's increasing. She would tell us to look to the Lord, be prayful, and take care of ourselves. She would also tell us that women always have to do more. We have to take care of others, while taking care of ourselves. So,Sistahs - women - hold it up, because here we are again, having to hold up the sky from falling. There is a lot we must shoulder quickly, and still take heed to know when to let it down, for ourselves, so we can take care of us.
How do we take care of us while making sure we are on top of taking care of "the others". Not gonna say that it's easy, but the main thing, is to take it easy and be calm, so you can think and be intuitive. I believe we must be " in peace Sistahs". How you respond will make a big difference as to how all around you will respond. Speak "peace" into existence and visualize it for yourself, as you speak "hope" to yourself and others.
BREATHE to de-stress, the best immune booster. Come to our BreathShops OnLine sessions to just "BE". Turn off the news and tune-in. Take a cleansing bath and soak up some Epson salt in very warm water. What you are doing -relaxing and de-stressing --is rejuvenating your cells immunity by managing stress hormones. Please practice the "Cleansing Breath" we are featuring on this website and in our last BSOL. It is a top preventive tool for viral infections.
Increase oxygen to build immunity, with tub bathing to open up skin pores.. Sip room temperature water during this bath. People with high blood pressure, make the water warm and not too hot.
Move more with some exercise or stretching for better circulation, , another immune booster.
Here's some more immune building, oxygen increasing tips.
This a good time to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, right as the Spring is coming in and get ready to grow your own food.. Drink the amount of water, based on your weight. (Call or email me if your need the formula, or look at BSOL this Wednesday, March 11. and I'll attempt to address this).
Drink 2 -3 glasses of water upon rising, and pace your water drinking throughout the day. Pacing water drinking is better for hydration, instead of over-taxing kidneys with a big gush of water.
Reduce processed food, meat, dairy white floor products and sugar, Lower your temperature when cooking any food and attempt to steam instead of fry and bake. Take Moringa as the best plant based food supplement with, 92 + nutrients and minerals, I know of,. Use Young Living Oils for Lung support, immunity building, oxygen up-take and viral protection.
Increase Vitamin C, D and the B complexes. Use, ginger, thyme, peppermint, tumeric, onion, garlic, black seed oil, elderberry, seamoss, ashwaganda, lemon, oregano. Do a liver cleanse, seasonal for Spring preparation after heavy eating of the winter.
Stop smoking, (We can help you with that too). Get proper rest. Take walks in nature, Pray. All stress-reducing concepts to decrease stress induced inflamation.
Dance, move and turn up music to tone-up your vibration.. sing, dance laugh-- all breathing techniques. Embrase the foundation of breathology -- "relearn how to breathe for best life, health, work and longevity, which gives you 20,000 times a day, oxygen nutrients, and detoxes the co2 we don't need. We want to clean the lymphatic glands too, with breath and movement.
My Mom, my favorite, international woman would say, for the times we are living in presently, "Live your life as if it were your last day" or like you are at your last breath. Practice principles of right thinking, living and being. All of these practices will keep your immune system high and resilient as the best virus protection, as well as practices that provide a foundation for life-long self-love, self-care while keeping the skies from falling on those we love..
Stay tuned for continued updates and support on this blog and through this newsletter, as we breathe through this time together, deeply, fully and consciously,
Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou, founder, Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B) and Black Love Day,
An Introduction Essay to Black Love Day
by Ayo Handy Kendi
In the climate in which many were working on the destructiveness of Black on Black
crime and the sad reality that Black youth had a 1 in 4 chance of being killed or
incarcerated before age 21, Black Love Day was born. During a time in humanity in
which many people were struggling with spirituality and inter-personal issues of identity
and roles, prompting many relationships and marriages to fall apart, Black Love Day
was born. At a period in history, in which the fast pace of American life produced high
levels of stress and achievement pressure, causing many to struggle with substance
abuse, food, sex, gambling or some other addiction just to cope, Black Love Day was
born. At a time in the world in which “intimacy” diseases were taking out people in large
numbers in their early 20.s and 30.s, Black Love Day was born.
Within this critical time period, where many adults didn.t know if they.d have a job
from week to week to be able to take care of their families; with poverty rampant in a
land of plenty, with a widening gap growing between the haves. and have-nots, Black
Love Day was born. In a frightening period of time, in which we read of children being
abused by adults in frightening ways; where alienated, White youth were killing their
classmates, committing suicide at alarming rates, and carrying out racial hate crimes
like their parents, Black Love Day was born. At the dawning of the new millennium
which promised “Age of Aquarius”, humanitarian behavior, yet still faced with Klan
rallies, church burnings, continued brutal lynchings of Blacks by Whites, noose hanging
threats and news reminders of the existence of fear and racial polarization in the
Nation, Black Love Day was born .
Many of the relationship issues, today, are similar to those that were seen at the
beginning of Black Love Day ( BLD) envisioned and proclaimed in 1993 by Sister Ayo
Handy Kendi, a community organizer in Washington, D.C. She is the Founder /
director of the African American Holiday Association (AAHA), a non-profit, tax-
exempt, 501 (c)(3) membership organization. A spiritual message, from the Creator, was
given to Sister Ayo inspiring her to develop BLD. The concept has been gaining greater
acceptance each year.
Black Love Day (BLD) is a commemorative holiday or "wholyday” of observance,
celebration, reconciliation, atonement, and demonstration of love, showing at least 5
specific acts (tenets) of love – towards the Creator, for self, for the family, for the Black
community and for the Black race. Whites show “love in action” for Blacks and inspect
their own racial attitudes.
The objective of BLD is to encourage Blacks to take a day to actively raise themselves
up through Black self-love instead of self-hatred, by demonstrating love through service,
celebration, forgiveness, apology, public and private rituals of reconciliation and for
Whites to take the same day to raise themselves up, by being more reflective of their
racial attitudes of fear, guilt, denial and negative behaviors of white privilege, white
supremacy, prejudice, segregation and bigotry . BLD offers a chance to use the
transformational, spiritual power of love, as a healing tool on the day of Feb. 13.
February 13 was chosen by the founder of BLD because February is the month for
the observance of Black History Month and the number 13, in astrology and
metaphysics, is the number of spiritual transformation. As Black people put love in
action and involve themselves in the love rituals of BLD, and as Whites take personal
inventory of their attitudes and be more mindful in their demonstration of loving acts of
service and kindness towards Blacks, this will help all people grow more spiritual. As
one grows spiritually, this increases the ability to love. The return to love is a healing
force and can be used as a tool to address many of the destructive behaviors,
disrespectful attitudes, abusiveness and self-hatred which fuels much of today's family
disruption, violence, racism, crime, anger and race polarity. BLD offers just one solution
to make a difference to increase the peace and stop the violence for all people.
BLD offers a cultural and wholistic alternative to Valentine's Day whose primary
focus on romantic love between couples, is based on pagan European culture and rituals,
and encourages Blacks to be mere consumers, buying the customary Valentine tokens of
affection. Instead, BLD offers each individual or family member, every neighbor, co-
worker, or gang member; any organization, group and all citizens of the world-wide
community -- a chance to make a difference by giving of themselves, through loving acts
and by being more mindful of love for a day to actively, rejuvenate relationships.
The rituals and symbols of BLD are a synthesis of spiritual, metaphysical, African
and African America customs which aid in heightening Black cultural pride and self-
esteem. Gifts can be given if one desires to express their love, however, gifts must be
purchased only from Black merchants, in the spirit of Ujamaa (cooperative economics) to
recycle money within the Black community. It is recommended that gifts be made or
chosen to enhance the spirit, mind and body or chosen to reflect the love of African
Diaspora culture and heritage, instead of the impractical trinkets and unhealthy, sugar-
laden gifts traditionally given for Valentine's Day.
BLD gives both Black and White communities one day to rejuvenate their
relationships; a day of harmony in the Black community and a day of honesty in the
White community. Hopefully, this one day of reconciliation will feel so good in both
communities, that they will want to re-create these feelings again and again. Just
possibly, this chain reaction of love will transform the nation as never before.
We know of the heart as a symbol for Valentine.s Day. Yet, long before Europeans
used decorative, lace hearts to symbolize romance, this ancient African, Adinkra
(pronounced Ah-dink-rah) symbol was called The Akoma (pronounced Ah co mah). The
Akoma means literally “the heart” and symbolizes love, patience, goodwill, faithfulness
and endurance, with its origin traced to the Asante people of Ghana and the Gyaman
people of Cote' d'Ivoire. This symbol, as well as other Adinkra symbols, have been re-
discovered and re-popularized, in modern times, by African-Americans in search of their
stolen, African cultural legacy. Thus, the Akoma was adopted as the symbol for BLD.
The greeting on BLD is Nya Akoma (pronounced N-yah Ah-coma) which means “be
patient, get a heart”. On the day of February 13th, take 24 hours to be more mindful of
love, be patient, get a heart and return to love. In the Spirit of the Akoma,
EACH ONE, TEACH ONE –
WE MUST LOVE OURSELVES ENOUGH AS A PEOPLE TO WANT
TO RECLAIM OUR LEGACY, STUDY OUR HISTORY AND CULTURE….
WE NEED NOT BE ASHAMED OF ANYTHING--ONLY PROUD OF HOW
FAR WE.VE COME AND PROUD OF OUR MANY CONTRIBUTIONS!
Ayo Handy Kendi, founder, Black Love Day
AN EXCERPT FROM "THE BLACK LOVE BOOK" See and purchase the book at "the Marketplace".
A new year, and a new decade create tremendous possibilities for change and growth. But we must be open to change, and just because the year has changed, have we. PositivEnergyWorks offers tools of transformation that make change easy, by altering the subconscious mind of our belief systems and programming, then offers alternative behaviors to shift into success.
What we believe, we can achieve., so we must manage certain behaviors that distract us. PositivEnergyWorks to aide us in calming one behavior - anxiety - which is a stress related disorder that impacts millions, who are stuck in worry, doubt, fear, often paralyzed to move forward.
Why do we experience ANXIETY. ??? Along with a crazy world with many real threats, anxiety comes from being overly concerned and consumed by threats unimagined.
Western modern society stays" In its' head and multi-tasks". We are over-stimulated by technology, automation, sound and information; bombarded by demands to do more with little time and pushed to achieve with many deadlines; and we tend to not only over-think but we are always feeling pressure to do "something". Seldom do we just, sit, relax, contemplate, reflect, and be in the moment. Seldom, do we just take a "breath break" to just breathe to "feel joy" in t he small things of life. We feel "on" all of the time
This January, 2020, we take the month to remind ourselves of the value of living in the here and now. consciously aware of the "present moment", not stuck in the past, forging ahead into the unknown future, and not on automatic pilot in-attentive to our present feelings, thoughts and connections. 2019 was hectic, so "Pause" as you "dive" into 2020. Practice "mindfulness" using Optimum Life Breathology (O..L.B.)and be reminded of the beauty of being still, achieving more with less, and savoring more meaning to each precious step we take in life. You can manage anxiety, by being willing to master your breathing. Ready to master the moment? - breathe easier in 2020.
TWO BREATHOLOGY TECHNIQUES P.E.W. RECOMMENDS
Because Anxiety often makes us feel breathless or hyperventilate, with breathing out of control or feeling like we are almost chocking, it is an immediate remedy that one can use to gain control over this symptom. We must relax the nervous reactive response to a relaxation response, through either "deep breathing" or "de-stress breathing". A calm relaxed, fully oxygenated breath usually supports a calm response within 1 - 3 minutes. Continued support to manage anxiety is to become aware of your pre-anxious symptoms, and begin the breathing technique to arrest a full blown anxiety attack.
Staying in the present moment is another remedy, by using a "breath meditation" practice, On a daily basis, we can stay centered, grounded and balanced in our thoughts, checking them for this right now moment, and halting negative thoughts of the past or doomsday thoughts of the future. Takes only a few minutes during the day to give yourself a "breath-break" instead of reaching for some of the things that will further push us off balance, like sugary foods, substances that we smoke or drink. For a moment, just watch your breathing, in and out, and watch after a few minutes, how much calmer you are and relaxed, especially if you learn "effective breathing" compared to tight, restrictive breathing. Important here, to "relearne how to breathe" for best effect.
ESSENTIAL OILS ALSO HELP
P..E.W. further recommends Young Living Oils (YLO) to support an anti-anxiety, life-style management program. They are 100% organic and edible, which means that at the source, their high oxygen content can be rubbed on topically, ingested internally, or diffused for inhalation for fast results. They open up our breathing for greater oxygen up-take which helps our breathing, which then creates greater nervous, muscular and metabolic relaxation response to impact the entire system. A calm body, encourages calm emotions for greater joy.
YLO single oils we have used for years to support client relaxation response are:
The Blends recommended are:
Peace and Calming
WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO LET GO OF ANXIETY
Check out your diet to ensure that you are eating wholesome foods, with limited chemicals and sugars. Increase your water intake, based on your weight, in order to thoroughly hydrate your pounds, so that this source of oxygen enhances us for less tensionl Get your rest to re-calibrate your brain. Write down your thoughts to look at them objectively, in order to replace anxious thoughts and ideals, with positivEnergy thoughts and action.
Connect with us and/or your physician, to help you create a well-planned formula for your anxiety management. Start off the New Year, and New decade with leaving this old, disempowering behavior behind. Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou, CEO, www.PositivEnergyWorks.com
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This event evolved also into a non-profit organization, The African-American Holiday Association (AAHA) and was the fore-runner of many African-American market-places that encouraged shoppers around the time of Christmas and Kwanzaa to "buy Black". This concept advocated the goal of bringing back needed dollars into the Black community to circulate them among Black people compared to other communities that spend with each other.. This fundamental principle of "self-determination" to empower a community that see's most of their money circulating outside of their community enables job creation, wealth building and economic self-help, which occurs in other communities, using our Black dollars. Our 2nd goal of the Expo was to raise our youth to self-sufficiency" with the understanding of entrepreneurship.
Sponsored by my non-profit, African American Holiday Association (AAHA) we offered youthpreneurs' vending spaces at a very low fee as well as offered scholarships and hired young people as assistants. In those years we operated self-sufficiently also, getting only one small government grant, and some sponsorship from local businesses. The rest came from fundraising with the attendees who donated to the program and the merchants who vended.
We recycled these funds to support over 5,000 young people, in the 10 years of a program we called Y.EP. (Youth Entrepreneur Program). All of the youth in this picture below were in the core group of YEP, of which several continue today to use their skills as business and family leaders . While several of these youth, - my son Rashid and Sister Valencia's son Imtiaz became Ancestors early in their life, we believe they learned a lot from YEP . And the adults in the picture, who are also Ancestors - my brother Melvin and Brother Wakili - along with all of the other core members at that time of the Expo, sacrificed time, money and effort because they truly believed in raising up a generation of self-sufficient youth, whose ability to stand on their own two feet would enable them to be self-determined in this world.
I.m very proud of this legacy.. I still see the "fruits of our labor". Several youthpreneurs are involved in businesses of their own or in leadership positions, today. I know that Christopher Lee in the picture, not only was the first in his famiiy to complete college, then he went on to become a director at Meharry Medical College, a HBCU in Nashville. Mukhtar, also in the picture, recently shared with his Mom, Valencia Mohammed, "that one of his most memorable experiences as a young boy was working at the Expo". He grew up to also attend college, majoring in business and is instrumental in the business founded by his Mother, the successful M.E, a business that advocates for cannabis access, justice and it's wellness and sustainability for economic and business self-help.
Not in the picture, is Zaki Rasheed, who imported African clothes at an early age like 7 or 8 maybe, who came into YEP and vended for years, then continued to import after he outgrew the Expo, opening up his own stand as a young man,. Now, his leadership skills learned from those day, still show up as a teacher and administrator at the Kuumba Learning Center in D.C's S.E. side, created by his Mom, Mama Maja Rasheed, who started a day care center for " special children " now over 37 years old, and a private school for african-centered learning focusing on the arts.
Rashid Handy, my son, who saw some vendors struggling to bring in their items into the Expo and suggested that the youth could earn money by helping them as vendor assistants. His vision became the foundation of the Youth Entrepreneur Program (YEP) Rashid served in YEP and helped develop it for 5 years until he was attacked and taken at age 17 on the streets of D.C. His legacy also lives on as I have breathed with millions because of him..
These are just some of the success stories and there are many more. The Expo left a legacy of self-determination because of it's YEP initiative, of which I am most proud of. But, we also spawned a number of entrepreneur marketplace replicas, which also enabled our community to gain self-determination and thereby self-sufficiency. We consulted with Brother Baruch about his desire to start an Expo which he hosted for several years, and next thing, he had a health-food store, then restaurants, and today, has several in D.C and Maryland.called Every-Lasting Life and E-Life.
We consulted with Juanita Britton, giving her consultation and a vendors list, and she became founder of the BZB International Art and Gift Show, which is now going into its 29 year. in D.C We consulted with Duron Chavous, founder, of Happily Natural Day in Richmond, Virginia, now going into it's 18th year; the,holiday craft show at Jacob Javitz Center in N.Y; and with Lee Greene founder of the Black Expo, U.S.A., that started in D.C., that went national and with Sala Damali' big vision of IBBMEC, the International Black Buyers Manufacturers Expo and Conference.
Years after the Expo ended, we still consulted with festivals, gift shows, marketplaces and entrepreneur ventures, like Kymone Freeman's, "Black Love Day Festival"; festivals held by One Common Unity; and several hair shows. The list of consultations we offered to start and evolve, "do for self, buy black businesses" go on and on.
In addition, many of the merchants who got their start, vending at the Expo, year after year, became successful store owners, opened retail outlets, and created businesses in which they helped grow their families into entrepreneurship self-determination. Brother Hodari Ali developer of Pyramid Bookstore, grew from a vending business to own 4 bookstores, before his passing. His legacy is being carried on by son, Haziq Ali who is a businessman and motivator of entrepreneurship. Barbara and Ollie Collier creators of Food for Life catering business, continued years after the Expo's long lines of serving delicious fish and tofu cuisine. They have passed their catering business to their daughters, who used to work with them at the Expo., while today are P.E.W. affiliates with Kangen Water systems.
Sala Damali and husband Alex Medley, proprietors of a greeting card enterprise, Kuumba Kollectibles and IBBMEC, also would have their children helping at the Expo, and today they all work for themselves and help with their families printing business. Brother Aria LaTham introduced his SoulFired food concept at the Expo, and now has gone international, sharing his plant-based menus and offering retreats in Jamaica. Again, I could go on and on to speak of the merchant success stories that came out of the African-American Hoiday Expo.
,But the Expo was more than a "gift show" - it was a 360 degree family, community and cultural affair to lift up and expose the high values of afrocentrism, creativity, Kwanzaa and self-sufficiency, as an alternative to the commercialism of Christmas. We provided a platform for many up and coming D.MV. local presenters, authors, spokespersons and healers, who have since gone on to fame on the world stage - Iyanla Vazant, Julianne Malveau, silver-medalist, Jair Lynch and his father, historian Acklyn Lynch; performers Ayanna Gregory; Maimouna Ali, a grammy award winner; Englishman, Ivy Hylton; and harpist Jeff Majors. author, historian Tony Browder and poet, author Lamont Cary; the publisher, Paul Coates; and healer, Ra Ur Nefer Amen; drummers, Baba Ngoma; Melvin Deal, Asani Kan Kouran, Fara Fina Kan and Doc Powell's Malcolm X Dancers and Drummer; radio personality E.Z. Street; international dancer, Nana Malaya Rucker; acupuncturist/ visionary Kokayi Patterson of AWHA; Damu Smith, activist/founder of Black Voices of Peace,; Anise Jenkins of Stand -Up; Mama Hasinati, co-star in Daughters of the Dust; and Mymadi Nyasuma founder of "2000 Black".
We also exposed illuminaries on our stage such as the likes of musicians, Roy Ayers, Oscar Brown Jr, and Jean Carne; historian Niam Akbar and historian/social commentator/author, Dick Gregory; author and African centered psychiatrist, Dr. Frences Cress Welsing; the founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga; and Mayor Marion Barry.
We were also frequented yearly by the founders of many social and public organizations, such as: the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA), the Universial National Improvement Association (UNIA), the Nation of Islam, The Republic of New Afrika, ADACI, Rap Incorporated, Ausar Auset Society, African Wholistic Health Association (AWHA),, Temple of Nyame and Mother Taylor's church. The Serenity Players, WPFW, WOL and WHUR. Of course, every independent Black School would represent, - Ujamaa Shule, Nation House Watoto, and Abena Walkers school
Eventually the event's promotion offered AAHA it's third goal for the Expo. We were blessed to speak before hundreds of thousands locally nationally and internationally, developing a huge media presence as we advocated for whoistic health around the time of holidays,. We coined the concept of, "holiday stress syndrome" which identified 4 triggers of ill health around every holiday, especially around the year-end holidays. Those concerns linger today: 1. cultural diversity mis-identification with traditions and beliefs that don't reflect ones-self; 2. Over-consumption due to pressures to conform to out-directed media and societal expectations, leaving us over-spent emotionally and empty, disconnected and depressed; 3. holiday hype which mis-directs us from inner spiritual desires resulting in spikes in over-indulgence in everything from over-eating, over-drinking, over-spending, excessive family drama and violence; 4. Excessive consumption leaves us bankrupt fianancially and emotionally, which especially stresses us as we derive little community or cultural value, .
AAHA promoted that African-American market-places should minimize holiday stress by, at least, encouraging shoppers around the time of Christmas and Kwanzaa to "buy Black" at cultural marketplaces, stores and entrepreneurs that we could identify with.
We were pioneers in encouraging our communities to follow the "Buy Freedom" campaign in the '80's, advocated by journalist, Tony Brown. He was following in the footsteps of Marcus Garvey and Elijah Mohammad, men, who had fostered huge "do for self" movements in the 30's well into the '90's. So the "Buy Freedom" campaign of the '80s was our self-determination initiative adapted by the African American Holiday Expo to "buy Black" and we advocated this in a consistent slogan, "spend your money where it counts in your own community." All of the shows that we consulted with, were in alignment with this principle, and I.m. sure most of our volunteers, youthpreneurs and merchant vendors.
In 1988, in my PositivEnergy Newsletter I wrote, "Although you may already know about "Buy Freedom", the information bears repeating. the campaign is actally a concept that encourages African-Americans to spend 50% of their income with business owned by other African Americans and to spend the remaining 50% with businesses that employ our race or otherwise supports our community. By following this concept, African Americans can realize their economic ower and us it to build jobs and economic stability in our communitiies. ...it is a sad reality that we spend only 6.6% of our income with each other. Equally sad, is that unlikke other ethic groups, whose money circulates some 5 to 12 times before it leaves their community, a dollar last in the African American community less than 4 hours".
Continuing, "In relationship to holiday spending, tis means that large department stores and malls, stand to benefit from African-American gift-giving instead of our own vendors, merchants and store-owners. Consider that if only 1% of last year's 2.4 billion retail gross was spent with businesses owned by African Americans, it would generate some 24 million back into a community that needs the revenue for further business development and job creation"
You get the point, without up-dating the gross relail industry statistic of today. While we collectively have many people employed in these corporations where we spend our money, we still are economically behind our counterparts. We still have little wealth to pass onto our generations. We still are under-employed, under-paid and struggling to stay afloat without goverment assistance. We still are the last hired, and first fired. Black women are disproportionately underpaid and not in managerial positions which they qualify for, and Black men make up disproportionally the unemployment roles.
Think of, internalize and act on the concept of "spend your money where it counts" and remind yourself of "buying freedom" every time you spend outside of the community that represents you. Harnass the "holiday syndrome" to be more productive and vibrant every holiday. Let's practice daily, not making the rich even more richer, while making the poor, even more poorer -- morally, spiritually and physically poorer by our behaviors and spending habits, especially this holiday, as we face government shut-downs, food stamp cut-backs and rising prices due to tariffs. We, can live in a "self-determined" way, and it starts by making some decisions to change. Have a happy, "self-determined holiday" that reflects YOU.
Ayo Handy-Kendi, the Breath Sekou, founder/ CEO, PositivEnergyWorks, founder, the African American Holiday Association (AAHA), founde,r Black Love Day, Feb. 13th. Author, Speaker, Wholistic Practitioner, Diversity Trainer, Entrepreneur and lover of "the people".
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 40 years and loves teaching "the power of the breath". She has created a system called Optimum Life Breathology (O.L.B.) which teaches 10 best practice breath techniques with 5 breath practices. As a Wholistic Practitioner she incorporates sound healing, laughter yoga, Aroma-therapy, Reiki, healing touch, movement, water hydrotherapy, nutrition, behavior modification and stress management 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.