Working On Self

Peace and love fam and happy Monday! As always, I hope you had an awesome day today. I have been in reflection mode. It seems more and more of my days are being spent this way—quietly in my own thoughts. Today, I was thinking about the value of stimulating conversation and being exposed to good, positive energy.

I realize that I have wasted so much precious time on meaningless conversations and interactions. I also realize that I have participated in these conversations and interactions and could have chosen to change subjects or removed myself and I didn’t. But, now that I know better, I must do better. I have been very fortunate to connect with some great people and in turn, my experiences have begun to improve. They challenge me to think, to explore, to love more, to be open to new experiences.

As this year comes to a close, I am focusing on doing better in many areas and working on improving myself. There are people who are not around anymore that I never would have imagined would be absent. There are new people in my life who I could have never imagined would be in my life. And I am grateful for it all. Life is very cyclical and I feel I am coming full circle. I am choosing experiences that will help me on my journey of self-improvement. It is time to focus on raising my vibration and maturation on my spiritual walk. If it doesn’t resonate with me, I must remove myself.

I have found so much joy in being more selective in who I choose to be in the company of and in doing the things that are in my best interest. I have had to become more selfish with myself. I am looking to gain energy from interactions that I am involved in. At a certain point, I became depleted because I was constantly giving to people who were not giving anything to me in return. And when I say giving, I do not mean gifts or anything tangible, I mean giving positivity and great energy back to me. Remember the old saying “you cannot pour from an empty vessel”?  Well, let’s just say my vessel only had a few drops left.

I am looking to begin 2017 on a high note—full of abundance, creativity, and progress. It is time to step into my own! I am acutely aware of the state of my people but I choose to shed light not throw shade. I am here to nurture, to heal, to guide, to love. I have so much work to do. But, before I can give all that I can and am, I have to be fully in tune with myself. Let the self work and growth continue!

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

Love Yourself Without Regret

Peace fam! Hope all is well. I woke up this morning feeling like “blah” lol. Have you ever gotten up from sleep feeling like doing nothing at all? Well, I call that feeling “blah” and that is exactly how I felt. There is so many things I should and could be doing but I just wasn’t feeling it at all. Nowadays when I feel like that, I allow myself space to chill. I am naturally a “workaholic” and often neglect myself by not getting proper rest. So, I allowed myself to just BE this morning.

Afrikan women are often expected to work and nurture and give without exhaustion, regret, or complaint. But, we need to learn how to just be. We need to sleep in some days, rest our minds and bodies, recharge our batteries, and be with ourselves unapologetically. As this year winds down, there is still much to do but one of the most important thing we can and should do is to reflect on where we are and also where we want to be. We need to nurture ourselves through the transitions in life lovingly.

When I was in my 20’s, I never slept properly. I worked hard, played harder, and slept hardly any at all. But, now that I am in my mid 30’s, I realize the havoc I was wreaking on my heart. My heart needs healing, from hurt and from lack of proper nourishment. On the journey to wellness, I found that although my physical body may look awesome, so much lies beneath that I need to work on. There is much I have not dealt with, heartaches that I ignored, rest that I have been deprived of.  So, as 2016 concludes, I have made a pact with myself to do the work necessary. Ashaki deserves to be loved by Ashaki. I will never become the greatest version of myself if I do not learn to love myself fully.

I want to encourage you to do the work necessary to reach the optimal level of health for yourself as well—emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. You are a precious being and deserve the best! Rest more, love more, do what you love more. Give to yourself abundantly. And give to yourself without any regret!! Have an awesome weekend loves!

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

5 Year Loc Anniversary and So Much More!

Peace peace fam! Man oh man, what a crazy time this is. I have been attempting to write my celebratory post for my five year loc anniversary for almost three weeks now (crazy I know) but so much is going on so I am just going to do an update, speak on my growth, and some other topics that have been on my heart.

So, the week of Thanksgiving was my five year loc anniversary. My hair, my hair, my hair…what can I say? It is growing and I am thinking of combining , my locs —again. I love the thick look so we shall see. I have found that the manicured loc look is not for me at all. I love my knatty dreads, I love my thick roots, I love when they are unkempt, clean but unkempt lol. I am comfortable with myself finally. I am still growing and learning myself. I have learned that the process of self-discovery is a journey and that I will always be learning myself because I am constantly growing and changing. And the journey is beautiful!!

So, as of right now, I am working on a new book—hooray! I am also working on several different projects, one of which is an online health and wellness course that I am creating to help people take a few simple steps toward a healthier lifestyle. I am very excited about the upcoming prospects and opportunities that may arise because of the work I am doing. Everything that I am pursuing at this moment is helping me to live my life on my own terms. Life is to be lived!

In the five years since I began my locks, so much about my life and what I thought life should be has changed. I have connected with some beautiful souls as well and have grown in so many other ways. Now, although I am always seeking new information, it is high time that I apply the knowledge to my life, which is exactly what I am doing right now. I have important work to do in my community and abroad. There are many who can benefit from the light that I carry and I fully understand that now.

I want to encourage you to find the work you were created to do and go full force! I have found that finding your purpose is so important to your personal well-being. Once you know the work that you were meant to do and start, life becomes more beautiful. A paycheck should not be your goal. Money and material possessions will not bring the long-lasting joy that we seek but doing purposeful work that has meaning is priceless. Think about it.

 

Have an Awesome Weekend!!

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

My Tribe: An Ode to ATCQ

Peace, love, and light fam! It is my hope that all is awesome with you as always. I am still on cloud 9 after the release of my favorite hip hop group’s final album. If I need to remind you of who I am referring to, let me make it clear—the group is A Tribe Called Quest and the album is “We Got It From Here….Thank You For Your Service” and it is absolutely, unequivocally my favorite ish right now!!

If it sounds like I am a super fan please know that my love of Tribe defies any description. Some may think I exaggerate when I say their music saved my life, but it did. When I was living in a very dysfunctional situation and felt as though there was absolutely no hope for me, Tribe told me to keep going, that it was ok to be “Stressed Out”; that being a nerd, a linguist, was absolutely dope. So, this blog post is dedicated to A Tribe Called Quest.  I will share my feelings on them, some of my all time favorite Tribe bangers, and my thoughts on the new album and why I feel this purchasing this album is necessary for anyone who claims to be a real “hip hop head”.

So, let me say this, I am a lover of all things hip hop. I grew up during the Golden Age of hip hop and though I was undoubtedly a youngster during the 80’s, I was always mature when it came to music. My family is musical so I was exposed to the awesome music of Bloodstone, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Howling Wolf, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and so many others. I have very sophisticated musical tastes even to this day. I fell in love with Tribe when I heard Bonita Applebum in the summer of 1990. I will not reveal how old I was , but I knew that I absolutely loved those guys with the locked hair and the tie dyed shirts. It was a hip hop love song and I was enthralled with them.

My favorite Tribe songs are of course Bonita Applebum, Electric Relaxation, The Hop, Jazz (We’ve Got), Check the Rhime, Sucka Nigga, Lyrics to Go, and Footprints. I love others but these seem to stay in my daily rotation. Phife Dawg was my favorite member of the group and as you all are aware he has transitioned from the physical. His spirit, however, is alive and well.

Their newest release is epic! They effectively applied their original formula and attacked numerous topics and issues within our community. The track titled “We The People” has a powerful  message, speaking of the affluent against the poor and issues we face daily. There were two tributes to Phife  on the album, one titled “The Donald” was bittersweet but so poignant and heartfelt and “Lost Somebody” was a tearjerker for me. I love the album and its message but it is heartbreaking to know that this is it for Tribe. No more albums will come forth. I am, however, very hopeful. Tribe has given rise to great artists and will always be the heartbeat of hip hop. Q-Tip, Phife, Jairobi, and Ali if this blog ever reaches your eyes, please know that this Sistar loves you all–deeply, honestly, and sincerely. Hmmm, I think it’s time for a poem to these pioneers. They deserve it, still trendsetting after all these years.

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

Enough is Enough…

Peace, love, and light fam! Can you believe that we are nearing the end of 2016? I certainly cannot but 2016 was quite a year on my end! Anyway, this past week has been very trying for me which is why I have been mostly absent from my blog space, as well as YouTube etc. My laptop took her final bow and I have not gotten a new one yet but, I will soon!  So many things are on my mind but one thing that is particularly nagging me and that is the barrage of bashing of black women by black men online.

Let me start with this, I know that these men do not represent the majority (or I sincerely hope not!). Nevertheless, it is an issue that seems to be ongoing and not stopping anytime soon. I don’t know if they have mother issues, a string of failed relationships, or just terrible experiences with the sistas and personally, I don’t give a damn if they have! How dare any black man spew such hatred to the one who birthed him? There is so much wrong with this dynamic.

First of all, the Afrikan diaspora has been under constant attack since the first invaders hit the shores of our beautiful continent. We have NO room for disunity! We have enough outer enemies without there being battling between our own. The war is on and some of the brothers feel as though they are somehow exempt by choosing to lay with a woman that does not share the same experience as he does. No matter how many women he chooses to procreate or have relationships with, he is still an Afrikan and still a part of the struggle, whether he is fighting against the system of racism or fighting for comfort within the system of racism. Some of these men actually are bigger white supremacists than you could imagine.

Secondly, where is this hatred coming from because it could not have just started. And as a mother/sister/daughter, I have to make certain that I am not absorbing the negativity that I see and hear into my own psyche because it can be damaging. I almost feel as though the men who are attacking us are damaged themselves and instead of dealing with their issues, they have instead chosen to attack those who are closest to him—his mother, sister, lover, cousin.

And I will wrap this vent session up with a few points. It is heartbreaking to see some of the memes and discussions about how undesirable we are, how untrustworthy, how annoying, how disagreeable, how “everything negative that one could conceive” we are.  It is as though a huge target has been placed upon us and they are taking aim. Now again, I do know and understand that these men are not the majority but in the day and age that we live and with the continued attacks against our people, one would think that they would put their pettiness aside and rise above the bullshit. And yes, I said bullshit because that is exactly what it is.

Now, please do not misunderstand. I am in no way naïve. I know that not all black women are living to their full potential. I know we have work to do; we have women who would rather twerk than cook, whose full time job is going to child support court or the Department of Social Services.  But there is work to be done amongst the black men as well because we continue to have men who will not take responsibility of seeds that have created, whose full time job is playing Madden, and who have been in jail more than they have been free. We all need pruning!

In all honesty, I have had some absolutely terrible relationships, had a very dysfunctional upbringing with a less than warm step father,  yet you will not hear me utter “Niggas ain’t shit!”  I absolutely adore black men! They are my brothers, suns, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins. They are the strength of the community and are so needed.  Our community is in desperate need of weeding! Let’s weed out those who seek to destroy the nation.  Make them accountable for their actions and make consequences for their wrongs. The black woman has suffered long enough. Damn can she catch a break!!

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

 

 

 

 

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Peace, love, and light. I hope all is well in your world this morning. It seems my days are running together but I am doing the best that I can to keep the most important things in perspective. Nevertheless, I always feel as though I am neglecting something. I have been meditating on a few things over the past few days that I feel like sharing.

As most of you know or maybe you don’t, I am all about the progression of my people within the Afrikan diaspora. I am learning that I am a rare breed among most people within my community at large though. Most of us have become so comfortable with our current condition that we cannot move past or let go of status quo. Most take personal issue with anyone who challenges the current state of our community. I am also learning up close and personal the effect that complacency is having on our people’s condition. It is nearly impossible to mobilize a resistant people. Many claims to want to change, but refuse to take any steps to actually cause change.

It is a difficult life—wanting better for people who don’t see any issue with their current life. Many turn a deaf ear to the truth and ostracize those that highlight the issues. I foolishly believed that there were more “of us” than there actually were. But, there is hope. Hope can be found in the youth. Our children are much more open to change and in the words of Huey Newton “The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.”

I know you may be thinking, “why is she ranting this morning?” Well, let’s just say my disappointment has overflowed and I needed to let out my thoughts on our condition. Facebook and Instagram are not the forum for revolution. Don’t get me wrong, both sites are wonderful modes of communication and sharing information but we need more boots on the ground. We claim that we are so tired but are we so exhausted that we can’t take any actions to make our children and our children’s children lives better. What does our future look like if we continue on our current path? Most of us are looking to some savior to come but 500 years of oppression in this country should show us that the chance of that happening is non- existent. No president and no one else is going to remedy our ills. Meditate on that. Where are we giving our energy and time? Einstein once said that the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Are you ready to do something different?

 

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

Surviving Disaster

Peace, love, and light fam! It’s has been too long but as we are all aware, life always changes. So, my family and I are just finding a bit of normalcy after weathering Hurricane Matthew. The community where I live currently suffered so many losses and so many have lost everything, some even their life. The storm has caused me to seriously take inventory on disaster preparedness, as well as what is truly important in my life. So, I want to take this time to share a few of the things that has been on my mind as well as some disaster survival tips.

  1. Purchasing a generator is a good investment. I have had it on my mind for a while but a generator would have saved my family and I a lot of food as well as inconvenience.
  2. My father used to say “It’s always better to be over prepared.” Purchasing flood insurance may not be on the top of some people’s agenda but, this hurricane caused so much flooding and many people did not have flood insurance.
  3. I always keep an abundance of candles but we could have used more flashlights and of course batteries. (However, if we would have had the generator, none of that would have been necessary)
  4. Keep important documents and keepsakes in one box for easy transport if one must evacuate suddenly, as did happen to some people in the hurricane
  5. Having an emergency fund is of the utmost importance. It is difficult enough when trying to navigate when disaster strikes, but nearly impossible if you have no money.
  6. Having alternate sources of energy is also very important. My family and I have a propane tank that we use for cooking outdoors. We were able heat water for bathing and we also cooked meals using the propane. We cooked on the grill as well, as most people did too.
  7. Always have a disaster plan in place and a way to communicate in the event everyone is not at home or unable to get home in times of disaster. I work in healthcare and though I was not working the day of the storm, many of my co-workers were and some had difficulty getting home after their shift because of damage and flooding. Every family member, especially adults or those who drive, need to have a meetup point if you must evacuate and a means of communicating.
  8. I mentioned earlier in having a box with necessary documents, but having what I like to call a “breakaway bag” is also a good idea. The backpack will have a few changes of clothes, underclothes, hygiene items, comfort items such a favorite toy for a child, and anything else that you may need if you have to leave home unexpectantly.

These are just a few things I have been thinking on over the past week. The unity and sense of community I have seen has been heartwarming. My heart does ache for all of those who have suffered severe losses. I hurt for the families who have lost loved ones in the flood. But, we must keep in mind that circumstances could have been so much worse. Most of my community has their power back on and the linemen, city workers, and volunteers have done much to repair the community and also make sure that everyone has the necessary items needed such as bottled water, cleaning supplies, clothing, food, etc. Much work is still left to do but I am sure that everything will fall into place. We just have to take it one day at a time.

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

 

 

 

Photo Cred: http://beautifulandawesomewallpapers.blogspot.com/2012/11/sunset-beach-wallpapers-and-backgrounds.html

It’s Harvest Time

Peace, love, and light as always fam. The air early this morning was cool, crisp, and absolutely divine. I have quite an affinity for cool/cold weather (strange I know). But, anyway, most people think of spring as the season of rebirth and newness. I view fall as a similar time. It is a time of shedding off old things, off nature allowing some living things to “die” for a season, to hibernate, to put things to rest. But, it is also a time of harvest. All the work of planting and nurturing comes to fruition and one reaps what one has sown.

Harvest may or may not be vegetables though. Harvest can be representative of the hard work that you have put into accomplishing a particular goal coming to fruition. It seems I am always working on the next project or taking the next step. I realize that each step I take is correlated to my overall life path. Now, when it relates to the people, my people, we need to really think about our next steps in the path to liberation. I see positive moves from some of my comrades but I see a lot of wasted energy as well.

In my opinion, the quote-unquote “conscious community” wastes too much energy bickering, debating, and bashing, and not enough time building, working, and coordinating. The internet is an awesome tool for dispensing and distributing tons of information quickly but it can be also a hindrance to actual “work”. It is not enough to spread information online, though it has its place. We have to move away from social media being our only means of communication. If the internet fails, how many of us have phone numbers and locations for our “comrades”? How many of us have actually met offline? What happens in times of disaster and danger? Do we have safe houses established and can we get there without GPS? All of these questions are of the utmost importance.

Summer has died down, thought the temperature in certain areas still is warm. Let’s stop playing around. It is high time we got serious about the state of our union. This is not a time of peace. This is a time where strategy must outweigh our desire for normalcy. This country has shown us repeatedly how it feels about our lives. We cannot wait until death meets us at the door to make moves. Let us support one another unfailingly. Let us reach and connect with one another. We already know who is coming to save us—let’s act accordingly. We have connected online. Now let’s do the work. It’s harvest time!!

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

Revolutionizing Our Lives

Peace, love, and light to all of my fam! It has been quite some time since my last post. Life happens and you become so preoccupied that you end up neglecting your gifts, your talents, and the like. Anyway, let me not get bogged down into that and jump right into the issue at hand. As I type this, I feel weighed down and heavy in my heart. The burden of being an Amerikkkan Afrikan is heavy indeed and the social climate in our communities is one of absolute exhaustion.

With the continued and repeated attacks on our people by officers of the so-called law, lack of conviction and justice, we are left with a feeling of hopelessness. I have been saying that there is an apparent open season on black folks and it continues. And still there is no clear course of action as to what we as a people should do to bring all of this to an end. Some want to pray about it. Others want to take revenge. Some want to attack economically through boycotts etc. While others look to repatriation as a feasible option.

I have been meditating on the murders of Keith Lamont Scott and Terence Crutcher. As the protests began in my city of Charlotte, NC, I felt just as I had during the Mike Brown protests. After all was said and done, no conviction was to be had and we all were left broken hearted. And the hash tags have become almost insurmountable. The cycle of murder, calls to action, the old adage of “I feared for my life”, missing evidence, lack of evidence, and the sort, followed by “No conviction” is well known by us all. Often these murderous police officers walk away with tons of cash via GoFundMe and pension plans.

We have had tapes of our people being murdered (remember Eric Garner), we have had children murdered as well (Tamir Rice), we have had people who were not officers get off Scott free after murdering our people (Trayvon Martin). These people have been immortalized but not in a positive way. Now we are in an election year and we all know that neither candidate truly cares about what is happening to us on a daily basis. Even the United Nations has brought the brutality to light. So, what is the solution?

I believe that the solution must be multi-faceted and all actions strategic. I am at a point in my life that I do not believe that liberation for our people can be found on the shores of Amerikkka. But, I do also understand that leaving this country may not be feasible for everyone. So, we must live as separate and as unified as possible. Participation in elections on a local level is of the utmost importance, boycotting oppressive corporations and spending black, educating our own youth—via homeschooling or afterschool enrichment programs, growing our own food, utilizing alternative methods for power such as solar energy, opening co-op grocery stores, etc. All of these actions are feasible and I feel necessary. We must stop doing what we have always done in order to achieve the change we seek. All change begins within. Revolution begins in the mind. By changing your mind, you can change your life. One person can create a ripple and cause great change and affect the lives of generations. One step at a time…..

 

Hetepu,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

The Tru Lioness

Life is Stillmatic

Peace, love,and light to the fam! Hope you all are well. I am feeling quite nostalgic after watching “Time Is Illmatic”, the 2014 Nas documentary. Now, let’s flashback to 1994 when Nas’s first album dropped. I was a 13-year-old struggling with issues of family drug abuse, neglect, and poverty. One day as I sat at the kitchen table doing homework, the video for “The World is Yours” came on. I dropped my pencil and became hypnotized by the words. “Understandable smooth shit that murderers move with, the thief’s theme; play me at night, they won’t act right. The fiend of hip-hop has got me stuck like a crack pipe…”

Quickly I moved to my dresser drawer to see if I had enough money to buy the tape. To my surprise, I did. I jumped on my bike and headed to the record store, praying along the way that the record was not sold out. No, I was not from Queensbridge, but his tales of life in the hood were all too familiar. “Illmatic” was a pivotal record in my youth. I was coming of age in a time where crack was king. Many children were left to fend for themselves or depend on grandparents to care for them. But the music, the hip hop of 1994 was absolutely historical. The music told the untold stories of ghetto life, from the dirty South to the slums of the city. We all were experiencing similar things in life. Nas tapped into the energy. Nas spoke to my soul. He was more gritty than A Tribe Called Quest, but he still flowed effortlessly and with intelligence. His lyricism was crisp, poetical, and poignant. His presence made a huge difference on the scene of hip hop.

People think that I exaggerate when I say that hip hop saved my life. Yo, it is far from a lie. Many times I considered suicide and illegal capers, but hip hop was salve to my soul. “The World Is Yours” gave me hope. I began to visualize my escape from my condition. I knew that life was much more than living in projects and seeing drugs rip your community apart. I knew life was more than drinking, getting high, and having sex. I knew that I was not destined to be a part of the nonsense. I knew life was good and also what you make it. That record is an anthem for me until this very day.

Another of my favorite Nas lines is “Life is good, no matter what, life is good.” It is my creed. I am a child of hip hop. Much gratitude to Nas for his contribution to the art that is hip hop. He may never know the true impact, but “The World is Yours” had a direct impact on the essence of Ashaki Ali.

 

Peace, Love, and Light,

Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

 

 

 

 

Photo Cred: http://columbiaspectator.com/arts-and-entertainment/2014/10/02/new-documentary-focuses-inspiration-importance-nas-debut