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What Is Ayurveda?

Updated: 4 days ago

There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. ☥ Chinua Achebe ☥

It is … a system of medicine in the sense that it systematizes and applies the knowledge about health and disease, i.e., of balanced and unbalanced states of living beings, and how unbalanced states can be corrected and the restored balance maintained. ॐ Dr. Vaidya Bhagwan Dash ॐ

Ayurveda means: “The Science Of Living.” It is a positive medicinal philosophy that helps us understand the profound effects that our mind and emotions have on our body. It teaches us how to become more aware so that we may know the difference between a balanced and imbalanced state within our body, mind, emotions and Spirit. Self-awareness helps us to make corrections and establish a heightened state of well-being regardless of our illness or age. The study ☥ practice of Ayurveda includes:

☥ Elemental Theory (pluralistic study of the elements)

☥ Healing of the body, mind, emotions and Spirit

☥ Rebalancing personal, family, professional and social lives

Ayurveda is a foundational medicine of:

☥ India

☥ Tibet

☥ Sri Lanka

☥ Burma

☥ Now being integrated into the western world

Ayurveda is an open-minded science. In this sense, like any form of true knowledge, it has no beginning and no end, and no work written on it can ever be complete. Although being extremely coherent and logical within its own realm, it is not limited to any particular fixed dogma, but rather universal and dynamic in character, like life itself. It is motivated by the sincere desire to restore and to maintain health ... ॐ Dr. Vaidya Bhagwan Dash ॐ

The Origin Spread Of Ayurveda

Colonization has dissected and dismantled much of Kamitian (Ancient Egyptian) culture, preventing it from developing in Africa. However, it survived through Ancient Africans, such as the Dravidians, who brought their intricate system of spiritual development ☥ lifestyle strategies into India thousands of years ago. However Aryan invaders imposed an apartheid caste system and outlawed the religions of the Africans. As a result, our integrated system of spiritual development was destroyed or broken up into separate philosophical systems that we recognize today as:

☥ Various forms of cosmology

☥ Meditation and mantras

☥ Invocation of the Gods ☥ Goddesses

☥ Yantras and mantras

☥ Various forms of yoga (hatha, kundalini, etc.)

☥ Tantric rituals, spiritual initiations, etc.

The colonization of Africa included the destruction, demonization and appropriation of indigenous healing practices. The Ancient Greeks appropriated and whitened Kamitian culture and healing practices. Though they didn't invent cultural appropriation, the Ancient Greeks certainly perfected it as an art of war. As a result, many African healing practices that were suppressed in Africa, were able to develop in other parts of the world. Ayurveda is a healing practice that places its focus on correcting imbalances in the body ☥ mind ☥ emotions ☥ SPIRIT. We will begin the process of restoring balance to our understanding of Ayurveda by exploring its deep connection to Africa.

A white hand attempting to erase Africa

From about 1885 to the end of the Second World War, most of Africa was under the yoke of colonialism; and hence colonial historiography held sway. According to this imperial historiography, Africa had no history and therefore the Africans were a people without history. They propagated the image of Africa as a 'dark continent.' Any historical process or movement in the continent was explained as the work of outsiders ... African history was seen as the history of Europeans in Africa ... Colonialism was celebrated as a 'civilising mission' carried out by traders, missionaries and administrators ... By Africa, for instance, many of the scholars meant 'sub-Saharan' or 'Black' Africa, definitions which were intended for various ideological and political reasons to divorce North Africa from the rest of the continent. Since the 19th century, many Western scholars have made strenuous efforts to deny the Africanness of North Africa and its peoples, especially the Africanness of the great civilization of Ancient Egypt. Dr. Bethwell Allan Ogot

The Orishas of Western Africa most successfully developed elemental theory despite oppressive forces. Yet, when I did a search for images of Orishas, I found more white caricatures and practitioners than Black. In other words, colonizers were demonizing and forbidding us to participate in our cultural practices in the foreground, but studying and appropriating it for their benefit in the background. In fact, if image searches were my first exposure to the Orishas, I would think that they were white Catholic saints. Knowledge of the African Gods ☥ Goddesses were purposely kept from colonized people who were conquered, enslaved and pitted against each other for centuries. As we heal ☥ recover from psychological manipulation, we restore the dignity of our ancestors through the reclamation of our stolen legacies. A few North and West African deities who survived colonization include:

☥ Nut ☥ Goddess Of The Heavens

☥ Geb ☥ God Of Earth

☥ Shu ☥ God Of Air

☥ Ptah ☥ God Of Craftsmanship (metalwork, pottery, etc.) ☥ Creation

☥ Khnum ☥ God Of Water

☥ Ra ☥ Sun God ☥ God Of Fire

☥ Ọlọrun ☥ God Of The Heavens

☥ Shango ☥ God Of Thunder

☥ Oyá ☥ Goddess Of Wind ☥ Fire ☥ Lightning

☥ Ogun ☥ God Of Metal (Iron)

☥ Yemayá ☥ Goddess Of The Ocean

☥ Mami Wata ☥ Goddess Of The Ocean

Oshun Goddess Of Fertility Sexuality Sensuality Water (For Cleansing Purity)

Ptah ☥ God Of Craftsmanship (metalwork, pottery, etc.) ☥ Creation ☥ Ausar ☥ God Of Transformation ☥ Our Ancestors ☥ Auset ☥ Goddess Of Alchemy
Ptah ☥ God Of Craftsmanship (metalwork, pottery, etc.) ☥ Creation ☥ Ausar ☥ God Of Transformation ☥ Our Ancestors ☥ Auset ☥ Goddess Of Alchemy

Other deities were so successfully appropriated, that their names are still not known today. For example, Auset ☥ Goddess Of Alchemy was renamed "isis" by the Ancient Greeks. Most sources will say that her name is "isis," but "the Ancient Egyptians referred to her as Auset," which is like me saying that my name is Boo-Boo Pe Do, but my parents referred to me as Phyllis. She is a Black woman and her name is Auset. When we say her name, we restore the dignity of our ancestors and reclaim our stolen legacies. In case you were wondering, "osiris" is not his name. He is a Black man, and his name is Ausar ☥ God Of Transformation ☥ Our Ancestors. And no, "anubis" is not his name. He is a Black man, represented with the head of a jackal, and his name is Anpu. Sources that lead with the Ancient Greek "rename" and then state "also known as ____ in Ancient Egyptian" need to be exposed and corrected. This behavior would not be tolerated by any other culture. We unknowingly tolerate it because the knowledge has purposely been hidden from us through psychological manipulation. As we awake, we strive to:

☥ Recognize self-hatred and seek healing through reconnection to our identity ☥ culture.

Examples could include listening to AfricanIndigenousIndian (India represents a

massive migration of Africans/culture for us to rediscover) music until it no longer

sounds or feels “foreign” to us (Americans/Christians can listen to gospel music at first

to get comfortable, but graduation day is when we can listen to tribal music ☥ songs

without hesitation/fear); learning about our family’s history/legacy ☥ recognizing and

healing inner angst, jealousy or compulsions to compete in order to prove our worth.

If we look at how many white people are making money off of African drumming, playing/teaching us to play the 'Native American Flute,' teaching yoga, etc. and contemplate how and why they show up as having 'discovered' these 'new' finds and become the authoritative source of their definition and distribution, we must open our eyes to the deception, love learn about support each other (especially in the start up and grassroots phases) and no longer buy into the many ways that xenophobia and disenfranchisement creeps into our lives.

I once heard a mother tell her son that Get Out is nonfiction. I chuckled, but I

believe her. Start with the 20th page of a Goggle search, because white people

dominate the first 20+ pages and Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People often get

pushed behind them. The Asian flute music that I link to in A Cross-Cultural Healing

Haven (behind the yin yang image) was on the 14th page of Google, but had 16 million

views worldwide. That said, some of the best videos I've found have very few views on

YouTube, so seek quality and don't be fooled by the number of views. Colonizers can

afford to hire people to click on and view their videos/spam advertising.

☥ Say our ancestors' true names and reject colonizers' appropriation.

☥ Accept that some of the missing pieces of our identity ☥ culture are purposely erased

through "othering." For example, when I lived in Miami, I met Black Cubans, Haitians,

and Americans, and each group saw themselves as completely separate from each

other even though we all were brought from Africa to Cuba ☥ Haiti ☥ America,

respectively, and could even been related. Because colonizers "other" us, we project

this behavior on people within our culture to deflect pain instead of learning how to

heal and with people whom we perceive to be outside of our culture as a

passive/aggressive form of rank pulling. ☥ Accept that if they look like us, we most likely share ancestry. Seek understanding and

resist the colonizers' programming that causes us to "other" people.

☥ Assert the truth. Repeat the truth consistently.

☥ Practice continual self-care to overcome racial fatigue.

Bollywood actors

Bollywood, Blackface And Imitation Of Life

Ayurveda teaches us to stay connected with the truest part of ourselves, which includes making sure that we are comfortable and have plenty of healthy snacks available. We will travel through a number of digressions (that will appear to be unrelated to our Eurocentric monolithic concept of understanding) in order to engage in pluralistic healing, a fundamental concept of Ayurveda. Colonizers worked deliberately to ensure that we did not know about the African ancestry of Indians. In their quest to control India, the British killed over 100 million Indians in just 40 years. Then, they hired an attorney to divide their land into what is now called “India” and “Pakistan.”

The social programming was designed to create xenophobia within their own land. Psychologically manipulative divide and conquer tactics, such as erasing the African ancestry of Indians continues to foster cultural ignorance and self-hatred.

If we watch Bollywood movies, we’ll notice that the main stars tend to have lighter skin which does not accurately represent the skin tone of the majority of their population. Similar tactics are employed throughout the African diaspora and are granular to the point of pitting tribes against each other. The general public is bombarded with propaganda such as violent and racist cartoons, TV shows, movies and commercial products for sale that promote racism and psychotic behavior. In the 1970's, television commercials about starving African children fostered self-hatred and caused Black children to use the term “African” to insult each other and as a coping mechanism. Hip Hop rivalries would sometimes end up in fatalities. Skin lightening creams are still heavily marketed and sold in India and Africa. When I first started practicing massage therapy, I did in-home massage for a large prestigious Indian family. The matriarch of the family coordinated the visits and was pleasantly surprised to see me with my hairstyle, which featured a decorative cloth that was wrapped around and concealed two Afro puffs. She said, “You wear your hair like an Indian!” and I smiled and replied, “No, you wear your hair like an African.” I could tell that she had not considered my perspective even though her skin tone is as dark as mine, a true reflection of how deeply embedded the social programming exists within our culture.

When Immigrants move to America, they've already been imprinted with the colonizer's perception of African Americans (many don't even realize that Indigenous People are still here) and begin to distance themselves to keep from being treated as poorly as Black ☥ Indigenous People. Black ☥ Indigenous People see these Immigrants being allowed to start businesses in Black ☥ Indigenous neighborhoods (a sneaky divide and conquer tactic) and rank pull/behave with a sense of entitlement, which creates a considerable amount of angst fueled by survival instincts. The Immigrants don't realize that their presence in America was paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of enslaved Africans and Indigenous People. They don't see how they are being used to weaken the stability of Black ☥ Indigenous neighborhoods in America and in their own countries, and often speak negatively about their home country's government without a true understanding of the root causes of its behavior. Nor do they stop to consider who benefits most from their presence. Immigrants are sold a vision of the “American Dream” that omits the “American Nightmare” as it exists in our colonizers’ past and current behaviors. Black ☥ Indigenous People of America are sold a vision of Immigrants as competitors.

Our ignorance of each other keeps us in survival mode which prevents us from connecting long enough to see that we’ve all been fooled. A way out of this conundrum is to recognize our programming (which may be subconscious) and seek understanding to prevent being seduced into knee-jerk reactions.

Most Immigrants don't realize the politics of destabilizing a country by causing civil disturbances in the background which forces people to leave their country, extracting its talent and preventing socioeconomic development. In this way, we can see how colonization forces Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People to focus on survival which prevents them from collaborating and accessing solutions that are almost impossible to see while struggling to meet basic needs. Survival can mean fighting others to get basic resources, but it can also mean collaborating ☥ pooling ☥ sharing resources ☥ ensuring that everyone has their basic needs met. Why do we so often defer to the former behavior? How can we train ourselves to see through ☥ transcend psychological manipulation/social programming?

Indian men with the American flag in background

Colonization has spawned a litany of sneaky side effects that reinforces its divide and conquer strategies and are so insidious, we can be caught up in and behaving from it subconsciously. The Phillis Wheatley programming is especially effective on immigrants. Imagine suffering in your home country and being forced to flee. You arrive in another country that makes you feel like you need to prove your worth and strongly supports certain types of social behaviors in order for you to be accepted. What you know of the people in this land is tightly controlled in the background, but appears to reflect an open society in the foreground. As an example, the publicized racist attacks in the news caused me to be interviewed for white publications. However, I now realize that these publications were expecting me to give them "Phillis Wheatley" responses/commentary instead of the truth. Once I spoke my truth, the articles were killed which inspired me to write Three Elephants Blocking Our Healing. Even children of immigrants who were born in this country can fall into the trap of taking advantage of liberties paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of Black ☥ Indigenous People. Vijay Chokalingam claims that he pretended to be Black to get into medical school. He speaks out against affirmative action as being reverse racism. The social programming that has affected his behavior shows inconsistencies as he:

☥ Admits to being “harassed by policy officers and accused of shoplifting” while

pretending to be Black;

☥ Got into medical school, dropped out which squandered the opportunity and took it

away from someone else;

☥ Wrote a book that capitalizes off of Black people to earn money and continues to

speak out against affirmative action; and,

☥ Fails to recognize that most articles about him lead with “Mindy Kaling’s brother”

instead of his name, reflecting the desperation to use this incident as a device to drive

a racial wedge between Black and Indian people.

I am in no way excusing his behavior, but we have to look more deeply at the root causes of social programming. It encourages us to cannibalize our own culture, turns us against each other, sabotages long-fought civil rights efforts, has created crime organizations as well as Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant pimps, murderers, spies and “front people” for colonizers, crime lords, hustlers and produced decades of multimedia that dumbed down our culture and denigrated women. We also need to consider how deeply this programming can be embedded within our psyche.

Excalibur sword with marijuana

Vijay said that he got into medical school even though had a mediocre GPA of 3.1. Let’s digress a bit to explore GPAs. College life was a harsh wake up call for me. I had to work full-time while going to school full-time and deal with a number of stressful familial issues. Still, I managed to graduate Cum Laude for my first Bachelor’s Degree. I went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude for my second Bachelor’s Degree. It took me a long time to figure out what a “mentor” was, let alone find one. I had to teach myself how to study and thrive in a very hostile academic world. I didn’t have the luxury of goofing off throughout college, but I was surrounded by students who enjoyed the fun campus life. One of my white Medieval Literature classmates invited the entire class, including our English professor, to her home for an “Excalibur” potluck dinner. I had to attend, because the idea for the dinner came from me mentioning in class that I had never seen "Excalibur," (which apparently was a crime for a Literature student). Even though I was the only Black person in attendance, it was a lot of intellectual fun. After dessert, I noticed that her husband was making something in the kitchen. His wife came over to me and said, “do you want to get high?” I said "sure!" because I thought she was still acting out a part. It turns out that her husband was rolling weed. The professor and I were the only people who skipped the "pot" part of the potluck dinner, but I don't think that anyone noticed.

multiple choice test

It was in college that I truly got to test out my intelligence theories. Were white people superior simply because they are white? I honestly had conversations with white people that baffled me to the point that I have no idea how they were even admitted to the university. Years later, when I was a professional in the working world, I was assigned a white female intern with a 4.0 GPA. She was in a program requiring that I report back to her professor. It’s hard to describe what the experience was like, but I probably ruined it with my expectations based on her GPA. She believed herself to be smart, but when she was asked to think through a concept, she would get flustered. I could tell that she had never been challenged intellectually before. She was very skilled at talking her way into opportunities, but could not think her way through simple concepts. I couldn’t wait to get rid of her, but because she went to my alma mater, I agreed to see the semester through. The professor loved my feedback. The intern was in shock, but it was also a good wake up call for her. Have GPAs digressed to “doing what is necessary” to get the grade?

As I approached the entrance of a supermarket, a young white girl stopped me to solicit her Girl Scout cookies. I love those cookies, but they are too sweet for me now. However, I wanted to donate money to her cause. It took longer than I expected because of her inability to think through a concept. Our conversation went something like this:

Oh they are too sweet for me now, but I’d like to donate $2. I hand her a $5 bill.

“Thanks!” And she attempts to give me back five $1 bills.

Confused, I repeat myself: No, I’m actually donating $2 to you but you can keep the cookies to resell to someone else.

She now looks at her father who is completely embarrassed by her ignorance. He says, “Give her the change.”

This totally stumps her, so I take back my $3 and leave her with the $2, and then I jokingly said, “stay in school” and walked away while her father shook his head in shame.

The GPA conundrum also affects Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant students. One of my Black friends told me that her son insisted he was ready for his biology test. She asked him to recite the definition of meiosis and mitosis. She said that he gave her a perfectly “memorized” definition. She then asked him to explain what meiosis/mitosis was, but he couldn’t. She had to help him understand that he was learning the concepts of cell division. However, even if she had not explained the concept, he would have passed the test with an “A” by memorizing facts without understanding the subject matter.

Multicultural collage of dancers

I had an informal group of study buddies in college. We would often critique each others' work. One day, we had to write a very subjective paper. I read one of my Indigenous friend's papers and noticed that it was very objective in nature. They said that they didn’t want to appear to be biased, but the instructions were to write a “subjective” paper. I couldn’t sway my buddy, who ended up getting a disappointing “D” on their paper. This person is extremely intelligent, but failed to follow instructions because they didn’t understand that they had to factor in the professor's guidelines. Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant students often miss these nuances and struggle unnecessarily to thrive. One final concept that we must explore is how the specialization of our education has lowered our rate of cognitive intelligence. Do we need the arts if we are a science major? Let’s take a snapshot of how many subjects can show up in a dance class:

☥ Mathematics (counting, geometric body positioning, problem solving, calculus,

placement, timing, etc.)

☥ Science (biomechanics, physiology, space, energy, time, physics, engineering, etc.)

☥ Communication (composition, poetry, emotion, translation, language, etc.)

How do we dance without calculating the continuous rate of change (calculus)? The dance teaches us how to move from specialization to integration of knowledge (i.e. the ability to apply concepts to novel situations). With all of this in mind, how do we refine the GPA system so that it accurately measures intelligence?

Black woman being told "no" at every turn

They thought that they could take my crown, Fire back ... I never put it down. ☥ WolfHawkJaguar ☥ From The Song 'Protection Shields'

My academic journey was a rocky road to a 3.8 GPA. When I was about to start kindergarten, my IQ test scores placed me in the second grade. However, the school discouraged advancing me because if they placed me in second grade, I would graduate at 15. Because of my birthday, I was already on track to graduate high school at 17, a year younger than my classmates. My parents are a Page/Knight combination but they were divorced and it took some years for them to figure out how to co-parent. The primary decision maker is a solid Page, so I was on my own. By the time I got to second grade, I was in so much trauma, that I barely cared about academics. In middle school, I was surprised to realize that I was tracked into the lowest academic group. My experiences kept me from judging people with low academic performance, because trauma siphons away the energy needed for academics. I started doing my homework, and was surprised to win the “Most Improved Student” award at my 8th grade graduation ceremony. I experienced different sorts of trauma in high school, but managed to work my way up to the top 17% of my class. One of the first courses that I took in college was Logic and Reasoning. The professor was terrible, and I ended up going to the bookstore to find other books that could help me to understand my textbook. I remember sitting at the kitchen table analyzing four different logic books when, finally, something clicked for me. I began to learn how to think critically and make the distinction between facts, the truth and what the professor wanted me to submit for the grade. Those concepts were often not aligned, and no one helped me to navigate the nuances. By the time I started my post graduate work, I had found my rhythm because I had solid proof of my abilities. I knew that I was equally qualified to be where I was even though I would not be treated equally and faced discouragement at every junction point. I learned how to transcend academic trauma in hostile environments. I also loved the subject matter and was deeply immersed in the search for answers.

My Naturopathic Doctoral program offered me the option to do a clinical practicum in lieu of the dissertation. I jumped at that chance because I was thoroughly done with writing what other people wanted me to say to prove my intelligence and was more interested in the application of knowledge to novel situations. I’m just now realizing that my blogs are my dissertation delivered in digestible modules. I no longer allow colonizers who challenge me to throw me off my game, because I have conducted literally thousands of one-on-one interviews/had conversations with white people in intellectual settings and with the general public respectively (locally, nationally and globally). I realized that I have yet to meet a white person who could say the same about Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People, yet they will not hesitate to aggressively assert their opinions as facts about who we are, especially if they are scholars and have invested time in the monolithic objective study of us. I on the other hand, stay humbly aware that I have barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn and keenly aware of the daily work required to untangle and release myself from social programming. I volunteered over 1000 hours of my time to get experience or to expose people to my work, which is still viewed by many people to be witchcraft, quackery or a last resort option.

Yet, no matter how difficult a challenge presents itself to be, something inside of me refuses to let me give up and proves to me that IT is stronger than any resistance that I will ever face … if only I would trust in IT and let IT guide my actions.

I had another epiphany during an interview with a professor at an Ivy League institution. I was coaching a white female sales rep on how to conduct a calculus interview to present the features of our soon to be published calculus textbook. When we walked into the professor's office, he assumed that she was the manager instead of me. By the time we got to the middle of the interview, I had short circuited his brain so many times that he thought I was a mathematician. Yet, I was a Communications major and couldn’t even remember the formula for a quadratic equation. His perception of my level of intelligence was based on something other than academics or a GPA.

A spokeswoman for the Association of American Medical Colleges said that the group no longer had a copy of what Chokalingam describes as the application on which he identified himself as black in 1998. A spokeswoman for Saint Louis University, the only school where he was ultimately accepted as a medical student and where he enrolled before dropping out, said that his test scores and grades met the university’s criteria for admission. 'His race or ethnicity did not factor into his acceptance.' ☥ Washington Post ☥

I grew up with an array of immigrants who were immersed in the Black experience, yet they lived Eurocentric lives and knew very little about Black history and culture, even though I shared my struggles and evidence of the disparities were all around them. Social programming is so cunning that we can look directly at it and still not see. This is a much broader systemic issue that hides in plain sight and requires us to become more self-aware so that we can transcend the programming, see its presence in our thoughts and actions, improve our behaviors and heal.

Whenever a Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant person embodies the programmed ignorance of Phillis Wheatley, they are given a platform that is used to promote xenophobia and other passive/aggressive tensions between the races.

This is a very insidious divide and conquer strategy that is almost impossible to call out without heightened awareness.

Black and Indigenous reservations agents and white male customer

A Community Collaboration Story

In How To Outsmart Our Monkey Mind, I share a few of my experiences in college working as a reservations agent. One day, I was exchanging customer stories with an Indigenous co-worker. I told her about this man who would say that he wanted to make a reservation and while I’m working on his itinerary, he says that he has to put me on hold to take another call. Then he takes the call, but I can hear what he’s saying. I interrupt him, but he pretends that he doesn't hear me, so I wait. After a short while, it becomes apparent that it is a sex call and he gets his thrills by forcing people to hear his conversation. I hung up on him. My co-worker had the same man. We talked about him in detail, and then we went around and started talking to the other reps. Most of the reps also got this man. So we decided that we would teach him a lesson the next time he called. A few days later, I heard someone in the office say, “It’s him get ready!” The conversation with him went something like this:

Man: Yes, I’d like to make a reservation from Palm Beach to LaGuardia on Friday. Is that

6pm flight available?

Rep: "I’ll be happy to check for you. How many people are traveling?"

Man: Just me. I’m returning on … let me see where did I put it? … Oh, my phone just

clicked would you please hold for a moment?

Rep: "Sure thing."

Man: Hey how are you? While the man is going through his sex talk, the rep then

transfers the call to a co-worker. When the man is finished, he gets back on the line

and the new rep says:

Rep: "______ Airlines, this is _______ how may I help you?"

Man: Uh ... wasn’t I just talking to you?

Rep: "No sir, this call just came through to me. How may I help you?"

Man: (very confused/disappointed) Yes, I’d like to make a reservation from Palm Beach to

LaGuardia on Friday. Is that 6pm flight available?

We continue to transfer him around until he gets so confused that he finally hangs up. I don’t recall him calling us back again after that. I share this story because we often don’t realize that what we are going through is not unusual. Other people are going through it too. While it is important to cultivate trust in all relationships, so that the people in our lives respect our boundaries, meet our benchmarks for trust and are at an elevated state of consciousness, we often don’t share because:

☥ We didn’t/don’t know how to establish/enforce healthy boundaries, so we don’t know

who to trust, and we don’t want to get “burned” again.

☥ We think it is just “us” going through “it” and are afraid of what others may think/that

something is wrong with us.

In order for racism and oppression to work, we have to live in survival mode or be in a constant state of managing our ego’s self-consciousness/esteem issues, jealousy, competition and envy. This keeps us from checking in with each other to see the patterns of colonization. In the example above, most of the reps at work were being harassed by the same man and we chose to suffer in silence to maintain an appearance of confidence/control. However, talking about the issue with our colleagues helped us to identify the pattern and have fun while working together to thwart/remove the problem.

Black man looking to the side

We want an end to racism and oppression, but we cannot transcend it without some form of inner transformation. Racism and oppression is not just about what colonizers are doing to us. It is about how we respond to what they do. Most of the time, we knee-jerk react (taking the bait and giving up our power) instead of choosing a response that shifts the dynamics. We can’t read about inner transformation, we must continually practice balancing our mind ☥ emotions. Let’s unpack a few ways to catalyze our training and develop self-control:

☥ When a colonizer does something, breathe and pause before responding. Then

observe the person objectively over time and look for the emerging pattern.

☥ Step back from the situation and ask: Why has this person triggered a strong reaction

within me? Is there some hidden trauma that needs to be addressed? Deal with this

issue first. Do I need to respond to this person? Is this person purposely baiting me to

respond? Is the purpose of my response to prove my worth or value?

What’s the bigger picture? The unknown variable? The patterns of behavior (within me and the other person)? Who stands to gain from my response? Is the person attempting to distract me away from discovering their true intentions?

☥ Listen intently and refrain from responding. Suggestions can include, placing feet

shoulder width apart, tucking the tailbone under and pulling shoulders up back and

down. Place your palms over the navel or just beneath that area. This is a protection

stance that deflects negative energy as you breathe slowly ☥ deeply and feel your feet

sink into the ground. If this is a conversation, ease into this posture while breathing

slowly, looking at the person and saying absolutely nothing. Your breathing exercises

will help you stay silent. If you feel discomfort anywhere in your body, imagine sending

your breath there. Slow down the breathing until the discomfort passes. It may surge

before passing, but it will pass. Often times, the person will become uncomfortable

because you didn’t respond, and they will begin to speak. Listen carefully to what they

say (it will most likely reveal a pattern or their true intentions). Excuse yourself and

walk away without responding.

☥ Practice breathing exercises until you can replay the situation without emotional or

mental angst. When you get to this point, you will be able to see the patterns and

cultivate a solution that serves your highest good. Once you have taken the reaction

that the colonizer wanted away from them, they will have to change their behavior.

This will either begin a metaphorical chess match between you or the person will

move on to another target.

Black woman meditating on the toilet

Yes this is hard to do which is why it is called t-r-a-i-n-i-n-g. The first few times will be tough, but with practice it will get better and you will become stronger. The level of difficulty indicates how much control we have over our own thoughts and behaviors. In other words, if it is extremely difficult for us to breathe, pause and restrain ourselves from responding until we achieve clarity, then we have little control over our thoughts and behaviors and are much easier to manipulate (psychologically and physically). If you are still thinking, “there is NO WAY that I can do that,” then I invite you to practice my “don’t push the poop” exercise at home to help you get ready. Yes, I said “poop” and that is what I’m talking about. Here’s how to approach the pre-training:

☥ When you are sitting on the toilet and the poop is taking too long to come out, begin to

take slow deep breaths, but refrain from pushing it out.

☥ Instead, practice the sitting version of this spinal stretch exercise which will help the

bowels to move naturally.

☥ Whenever you feel the urge to push, breathe slowly and deeply in and out. Focus on

the breath to help you resist the urge to push.

☥ Allow the bowels to release naturally. If you struggle with constipation, increase

hydration, digestive aids and fiber intake.

The same is true for urination. We don’t get incontinence because we get old. We get incontinence because we wait too long to urinate and then when we finally get to the toilet, we forcefully push the urine out instead of relaxing and allowing it to flow naturally. Over time, the internal wear and tear turns into the body's cry for help in the form of what is called incontinence. This may seem like a primal exercise, but it is a great way to develop self-control because the urge to push is as strong and the urge to respond when a person is baiting us into the knee-jerk reaction. Think about a time when we ran to the bathroom during a meeting. Did we relax or did we push the urine out and rush back to the meeting? I challenge my readers to a two week observation test where we count how many times we relaxed and breathed instead of pushing out urine or poop. Resisting the urge to push cultivates self-control in our thoughts and actions. When combined with yogic pelvic floor exercises, it also heals preventable health issues such as incontinence. When we’ve developed enough self-control to resist the urge to push, we’ll be ready for the t-r-a-i-n-i-n-g suggestion above.

Who Validates Our Worth ☥ History ☥ Culture?

If I were to tell you that my skin is pink and blue, you would not believe me. But what if every picture that you saw of me had a pink and blue tint to it, and experts from all around the world wrote books, journals, white papers, held press conferences and funded documentaries that presented me as having pink and blue skin? Now let’s say that a few generations have passed and all that remains of me are pictures and documents that other people validated with what appears to be pink and blue skin. How would the current generation come to know the truth? One day, someone is looking at my picture and notices that something “feels” off about it. Even though the data seems to substantiate my pink and blue skin,

the 'feeling' pushes the person to investigate and to the ultimate discovery of the truth.

Colonizers have invested billions of dollars into the funding, development and chosen narrative of our social culture, including destroying the noses and lips of Kamitian (Ancient Egyptian) statues so that they would not look “Black.” In 1912, British Archeologist Charles Dawson claimed to have discovered the missing ancestral link between humans and great apes in a discovery known as the “Piltdown Man.” However it as well as dozens of his other “discoveries” were proven to be fakes. What we now know of as the “university” was created by and for colonizers. Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People had to fight for the right to attend universities. In fact, in 1963, President Kennedy had to send military troops to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to protect the admission of its first two Black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. This context is important to consider when we hear a colonizer say “but you don’t have the data to substantiate your claim.” Allowing colonizers to define, disseminate and validate our history and culture is like allowing a struggling dairy farmer to define, disseminate and validate the history and culture of veganism.

Colonizers have a very solid history with established patterns of lying, cheating, stealing, raping, pillaging, bullying, engaging in psychological manipulation and cultural appropriation that is still in effect today. When I was a sales rep for a publishing company, a white professor threw me out of her office because I was promoting the publication of the very first anthology of American literature that included Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant ☥ female authors. She told me that Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People cannot write and do not represent “real” literature. I was amazed that she was proud to tell me this to my face as she asked me to leave her office. We still have politicians who are fighting to keep Black history and what is known as critical race theory out of schools. The only reason why we know that a Black man, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, was the first surgeon to successfully perform open heart surgery is because the patient had been stabbed and the incident was covered in the local newspaper (discrediting a white doctor making the same claim). It is imperative that we recognize and engage in pluralistic ways of knowing and doing to reclaim the truth about who we are, even though we will be in conflict with established and well-funded propaganda.

The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart. ☥ Chinua Achebe ☥

Black man and woman looking at their reflection and a Black woman with a white mask

A Few Examples Of How We Subconsciously Emulate Colonizer Behavior

Where Are You From? I’m East Coast. I’m West Coast.

Borders were created by colonizers to separate/control. When we use borders to rank pull, we reflect colonizer programming.

What Are You?

A person is not a “what.” A person is a “who.” When we use language that reduces people to objects, we reflect colonizer programming.

Tell Me How To Do It

When we can’t cook without a recipe, dance without steps or access clarity without outside validation, we emulate colonizer behavior.

In Journey To Radiance ☥ Black Panther, I mention a story where I look for a “hoagie” in a new town. The new town calls it a “sub” and insists that I call it a “sub.” I try the “sub” but it doesn’t taste authentic to me without the oregano that I’m used to in my “hoagie.” The insistence on being the one with the “proper” name of the sandwich and the competition of which sandwich is “better” both reflect colonizer programming because in both examples, there is an unwillingness to accept something new without rank pulling. Colonizers insist that what they do is better simply because it’s what they know or are used to.

Black and white people watching a football game

Should I Or Shouldn’t I?

One of my favorite lines in the movie Amistad was around the word "should." The attorney was speaking to an enslaved African using an interpreter. The attorney said that he should be able to liberate the African. However the translator got confused and said something like, “What is this word 'should?' We don’t have this word in our language. Either you do something or you don’t do it.” I almost jumped out of my seat in the movie theatre. When we know what to do deep in our soul, but defer to what we “should” do, we emulate colonizer programming.

Yes Darling … I’ll See You In Monte Carlo.

During the recording of our Journey To Radiance ☥ Sankofa podcast, I share that whenever I would tell someone that I’m going to Europe, there would be great fascination and excited questions. If I say that I’m going to Africa, the response that I usually get is “By yourself!!!??? Is it safe?” Or “Did you get your shots?” When we invest our time and money in places and things based on colonizers’ perceptions of value (designer clothes, European travel, etc.) in order to prove our worth/get status while at the same time ignoring/avoiding the investment of time or money into exploring our history and culture, we emulate colonizer programming. This also includes purchasing dolls for our children because dolls give our children the impression that someone outside of themselves has greater value. An alternate suggestion would be to teach children how to make things, including dolls. In this way, they are affirming who they are and can play with a “doll” that reflects connection with themselves.

I Got The House, Car, Money, Trophy Spouse … What Do YOU Have?

Let’s take a moment to dive into this emulation because it is a bit sticky. On one hand, Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People must have the resources needed to fulfill our potential. We have suffered through centuries of disenfranchisement and oppression, and we deserve a quality life and the chance to cultivate wealth. On the other hand,

believing that financial wealth can purchase happiness, health, respect, favors, freedom from racism and sabotage is an emulation of colonizer programming. Rank pulling is fueled by an emotional addiction that cannot be satisfied. It must be healed ☥ transformed.

Collage of a child celebrity

I’m training myself to seek the lesson instead of dreading investigating the answer to the question, “What ever happened to ______?” Most recently, the song “Boogie Fever popped into my mind, and I thought, “Oh no!” I remembered having to investigate what happened to Bobbie DeBarge and was so saddened to learn about the trauma he experienced as well as his death. It was time for me to investigate what happened to the multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Foster Sylvers. He released his first album at the age of 11 with a song that made it to number seven on the RnB Billboards. However, something went south for him. He is now in prison for committing a sex offense. These assignments always have a purpose. I realized that his story serves as a cautionary tale for celebrities who believe that money is the great enabler. I can see how people get lured into this fallacy. Rape was legal for centuries in the United States, and sexual freedom is often connected to rebellion against authority. What I find so disturbing is that our social programming often blurs the lines between these two, very different, issues and promotes/glamorizes the idea that money buys the right for us to dehumanize other people or get away with crimes.

Child celebrities truly need to be protected, particularly from sexual abuse as they are vulnerable and surrounded by adults they are attempting to emulate to prove that they are “old enough” to be taken seriously. They are also surrounded by jealous people who want to sabotage them and fans who need to be controlled around them. How does a child who doesn’t know how to heal grow up in this world? For this reason, I adamantly assert that celebrities need to be the EES. The problem is that most celebrities are Knights and

it is very difficult to convince a Knight that they need to grow, because they think that their money and status proves that they have already arrived. They surround themselves with people who tell them what they want to hear which reinforces this belief, and they are shocked by the curveballs that hit them because they thought their money ensured that they were prepared for everything.

I don’t know what trauma pushed Foster into his current life situation, but I’m very suspicious of the root causes of child stars who grow up to be sex offenders. If he committed the crime, then I will accept the truth and claim that all parties involved will heal. However, we need to consider the high levels of exploitation in the music industry. We need to question convictions that occurred during the rapid expansion of the prison industrial complex. During this time, I was profiled by the police and heard a very troubling story from one of my college buddies who was profiled and had his car searched for no reason. His parents are immigrants, so he was extremely annoyed by the incident without realizing how close he came to being incarcerated. We also need to question our long history of being victims of entrapment, a favored colonizer technique to encourage punitive actions against Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People. As we contemplate these stories, my affirmation is that we will learn from them without judging the person in the story. Our judgment doesn't create change. If we want change, we must heal so that we can improve our thoughts and behaviors. The story is about the lesson. All we can do is send love ☥ light to the person and hope that they will find peace and heal. I once told one of my family members, who was incarcerated at the time, that freedom is a state of mind. Let us hope pray that, regardless of his life situation, Foster never stops singing ☥ composing music. As long as we are alive and functioning from our innate wisdom, we can allow SPIRIT to find a way to balance the scales so that we fulfill our potential regardless of outside circumstances.

Manipulation of Black and Indian People

Other examples of this emulation of colonizer behavior include "cancel culture," hating on each other, public humiliation/intimidation, multimedia that denigrates our cultures, etc. However, the deeper issue is our belief that money somehow protects us which keeps us from authoring a system of protection for ourselves. In other words, we can hire people to protect us, but the cultivation of trust needed to choose the right people and the creation/direction/evolution of our master plan of protection needs to fall under our direction. Frederick Douglass was married and had five children. Then he allowed two white women to move into his estate. His wife fell into a deep depression and died. He married one of the white women and then died of a heart attack. His estate went to the white woman instead of his children. After he died of a heart attack, Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize and farm was sold in order to settle debt. However, “Roots” has been an active money maker in video, DVD sales and in syndication for decades, so who gets that money? My family has lost thousands of acres of land due to disenfranchisement and predatory gentrification.

If we track even the wealthiest of Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant celebrities, we find that the bulk of their wealth manages to get siphoned away from their children. Why? Because once we achieve a certain amount of wealth, more and more white “experts” show up to “help” us manage our money and we hire them without cultivating benchmarks for trust. Our social programming tells us that having this posse of white professionals around us gives us status, to leave it to the experts and to not do anything that we can afford to pay someone else to do as a business strategy. However, that rule applies AFTER we have mastered the thing that we are delegating to someone else. In this way, we can see a derivative of slavery in that Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People are “allowed” to generate lots of wealth and live a lavish life (which generally includes the gradual siphoning of their money and the nonverbal pressure/sabatoge to have a white spouse/divorce and get a white spouse), but when they die, it’s game on for their money, which often leaves their family disenfranchised.

Collage of Black People with locked hair

A Few Examples Of How We Subconsciously Emulate African Behavior

That’s My Brotha/Sistah Right There!

When we connect with people with whom we have no “blood” relationship, we emulate African behavior.

Smacking Our Lips/Teeth ☥ Making Sounds With Our Mouth

When we use verbal sounds outside of the English language to express emotion, we emulate African languages.

Dancing And Jumping To Express Joy

When we express joy through our body by dancing or “jumping for joy,” we emulate African behavior.

Dare To Care For Our Hair

When we enter the zone or pray while braiding, twisting, locking or grooming our hair, we emulate African behavior.


When we gather our family ☥ friends together ☥ tell stories, we emulate African behavior.

My Name Is Jamal But Everyone Calls Me "Super Slim"

In many African traditions, a child does not receive their name until their personality is revealed. In other African traditions, names are given to signify specific details of their birth (i.e., born on a Sunday, etc.), as affirmations of fulfilling their potential (i.e., one who leads, etc.) and other names are given by other relatives. In America, expectant mothers are constantly asked about the name of their child, and there is an expectation that the name is to be known before the child is born. The rush to name a child reflects colonizer behavior because we are naming them based on our parental fantasies/status. However, when we name someone based on an affirmation (i.e. Queen or Lucky) or something they do (i.e. Peacock, Popcorn) we emulate African behavior.

white person climbing steps

A Deep-Dive Digression Into The Need For Steps Web Of Deception

Although this blog focuses on understanding and applying the concepts of Ayurveda, we need to do the work of healing some misconceptions. In fact, it would be most helpful to read ☥ study ☥ re-read Journey To Radiance Black Panther I and II to gain a greater understanding of the webs of deception. Before we learn how Ayurveda was developed in India, we need to question, outside of hieroglyphics, why Africa appears to have no written documentation of its intellectual property. Let's begin with a deeper understanding of the word "Kamit."

Before colonizers named the land "Egypt," it was a much larger geographical area called Kamit. The definition of Kamit cannot be fully understood within the limitations of the English language. However, the closest translation is "Black Land" or "Land Of The Blacks." As we can see from the meditative illustration above, the definition is much deeper than that and transcends this image. However, studying this image can help us gain a more pluralistic understanding of Kamit. What we know of as "geometry" is an integral part of the definition and includes Black People and our inseparable connection to the land ☥ SPIRIT as a sacred pyramid. In cultures such as the Himba people of Namibia, we see a practical example through their use of Otjize on their skin and hair. Otjize is made with clay from their land. European languages cannot define, fully understand or be the authoritative source of African culture, regardless of how many monolithic studies they have funded, conducted and promoted ad nauseam. As we will soon learn, Ayurveda is a healing modality that teaches us how to locate and correct imbalances in the body ☥ mind ☥ emotions. As we come to a greater understanding of the impact and fall out of colonization, we will find hidden puzzle pieces that enable us to re-establish the balance we need to heal.

Indigenous couple dancing in the kitchen

When we see that our problem is so complicated and so all-encompassing in its intent and content, then we realize that it is no longer a Negro problem, confined only to the American Negro; that it is no longer an American problem, confined only to America, but it is a problem for humanity. ☥ Malcolm X ☥

Now, let's turn our attention to the need for steps web of deception. If we look at dances such as salsa, we learn that it was popularized in the 1960's in New York. However, "salsa" was a label used to commercialize the dance. Enter the "need for steps" web of deception. Colonizers didn't understand what Indigenous People were doing in the clubs which catalyzed their typical pattern of behavior:

☥ Mock and ridicule the dance

☥ Use their economic power to spam the public with their chosen propaganda and

narrative until it is widely accepted/adopted while simultaneously creating and

promoting branding that publicly shames anyone who questions or rejects it

☥ Study the dance and learn the "steps"

☥ Label the dance

☥ Mass market and become the authoritative source on and of the dance for their profit

☥ Ensure that people who present an authentic experience are disenfranchised so that

only the Eurocentric versions of the dance are validated, funded and promoted. This

includes spamming the public with social programs so that the people who created

the dance lose their connection to themselves and need “steps” in order to do the

dance - but only after colonizers have first mastered the "steps"/garnered the first and

often only opportunities to promote/develop training programs, schools, conferences,

competitions, etc. This gives the impression that the colonizer "discovered" the dance

and that Black ☥ Indigneous ☥ Immigrant People do not support each other.

Black woman experiencing constant rejection and subject to competition in the city

Colonizers also have enough money to subsidize new businesses to the point that it is impossible for them to fail, even though the product is substandard and the content is watered down, to ensure that they are the “first” to bring it to market. Think about how many bad products are on the market that use spam advertising techniques to convince the public that the product is good because of how many products have been sold. Also consider how challenging it is for Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant businesses in the start up/growth phases to be discovered in the marketplace/forced to “compete” with these business who can afford to purchase huge mailing lists/to pay people to test and rank their products. As an example, I purchased a product on Amazon and then received an email and snail mail to write a review for a $50 gift certificate when I paid less than $50 for the product. How can a business afford these expenses during the start up or growth phases of business development without substantial subsidization? Some of my college courses were held at a local TV studio. I produced a TV commercial for a class project, and I saw a version of it on television less than a year later. I was so naïve that I thought it was a coincidence, even though I sometimes heard breathing or subtle noises in my headset that didn’t come from my classmates. How could that product be brought to market/become profitable before I could graduate from college/realize that my idea was stolen? How many Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant celebrities announce a new business idea that falls flat and disappears in the start up phase? The journey to fund my work is a mountain so high that I can’t even see the top, and its paths are littered with obstacles designed to discourage every step I take.

You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get action. ☥ Malcolm X ☥

This pattern of mockery → appropriation is now seamlessly woven into our culture to the point that we adopt it through racial exhaustion, economic bullying or cultural ignorance.

However, healed Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People don't need steps when we are dancing. We hear a certain kind of rhythm, and we respond in a certain kind of way that appears to the naked eye from objective, monolithic study as a 1-2-3 step combination. However, the dance is much more than that. If we attempt to force an Indigenous Person to learn the "steps," it short circuits the brain and interrupts the spiritual flow of the dance. The colonizer wouldn't need steps if they could harness the spirit of the dance. However, they cannot harness the spirit of the dance because SPIRIT requires that they drop racism. There is no superiority, lying, cheating, stealing, raping, pillaging or appropriation within the SPIRIT of the dance. Those qualities must be dropped and because the colonizer will not drop it and heal, they cannot do the dance without "steps" which they impose on us to slow us down so that they can learn, copy and paste, mass market and profit from the dance.

Collage of appropriation of African dance

Colonizers have integrated dances such as salsa into American ballroom dancing and it is judged by a dancer's ability to stick to the "steps" of the dance. When I lived in Miami, I took dance lessons with Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People who also lost the innate ability to dance and had to take dance lessons to learn the "steps." In Oakland, I was excited to learn of a Haitian dance class that featured live African drumming. But the class was marketed to a white population, in an area where we had to pay for parking and the classes were costly. When I got to the class, I noticed that 80% of the class were white women who had mastered the "steps" of the dance. By the time Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant women found out about the class, they were forced to dance with white women who already learned the "steps." And of course the Black male drummers go to class every week and watch white women who have mastered the "steps" as the Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant women start from scratch to catch up or drop out. Although the dance instructor, drummers and white women were smiling, the energy of the space was silently disempowering and discouraging, another sneaky form of social programming that gentrifies the dance experience.

In fact, if Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People want to make big money with a song, they'll create a dance with "steps," a practice that has become so common that we now believe we can't dance unless we learn the "steps." I took dance classes for a long time before I was able to make this connection. During a private belly dancing class, which was taught without "steps," I suddenly felt ill. The color drained from my face, and I experienced what I can only describe with words as a darkness with extreme nausea rise up from my hips and leave me. I almost passed out. My teacher said that she had never seen a Black person turn white. Then, I was practicing a samba routine for a dance recital and realized how hard it was for me to get out of my head so that I could flow into the dance. However, I'm so grateful for my Brazilian dance teacher, who refused to teach "steps" and helped me to believe that I would eventually catch the flow of the dance in consciousness. Meditation has helped me to reconnect to the Spirit of the dance, and I find that connection easier with African dances such as samba and belly dancing. We still have a long way to go because healed Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People cannot earn a living as a dance instructor unless they teach the "steps" → it is difficult for them to succeed because the profession is dominated by white people.

Dr. Edwin Nichols, renowned psychologist ☥ Father of Cultural Competency, explained the colonizer's need for steps during a presentation I attended for a group of national leaders. He explained a conundrum that Black People have yet to overcome, particularly within the American school system. The Ancient Greeks didn't understand African mathematics. It was sort of like watching Indigenous People dancing salsa. In order to do the math, the Ancient Greeks had to add some extra "steps." However, African people can do the math without the added "steps." The conundrum occurs because, particularly in America, our languages have been erased so we are not able to explain in English how we got the answer (i.e., "show me your work"), which is especially problematic with modern day algebra. The teacher will force the Black student to "show their work" and because the "steps" that the teacher understands are not present, the Black student is accused of cheating.

At this point in Dr. Nichol's presentation, one of the Black male leaders broke down and cried. We had to stop the presentation for a while, so that we could hear his story. He said that he thought there was something wrong with him, because he knew how to solve the math problems, but he couldn't explain how he got the answer without having to do the extra "steps." He was conflicted because he knew inside of himself that he understood mathematics but would get confused by being forced to solve the problem in a way that didn't make logical sense to him. This conundrum haunted his entire journey with learning mathematics and was riddled with stress and internalized trauma. It was a moment that I will not ever forget. As a child, I was forced to learn many types of Eurocentric "steps" that short circuited my brain and slowed down my learning process. I thought I was not as smart as the white children until I got to high school and started conducting psychological experiments. I realized that it wasn't that I had to study more because I wasn't as smart. I had to reprogram my mind to defer to and present the "steps" that were required by my Eurocentric education without short circuiting my brain. It is tantamount to translating from my native languages into English at warp speed without the actual vocabulary of my native languages. I also learned that my native languages still exist within me as a knowing - which is sort of like how we just know certain details of a dream.

A letter, a strawberry and the Rosetta Stone

Strawberry Letter #23 And The Rosetta Stone

In A Community-Based Ecosystems Approach To Healing Our Village, I share part of the story of Strawberry Letter #23. What I didn't mention is the colonizers' blatant misrepresentation of the song as a part of its marketing strategy to insert white people into a Black narrative. If we research images of the song, we'll see the original marketing cover for the single, which contains a picture of a white woman's hand holding a letter that has "Strawberry Letter #23" handwritten along with a small picture of the Brother's Johnson. The problem with the image is that "Strawberry Letter #23" was not a letter written by a woman. Colonizers can "substantiate the data" that there is a "strawberry" a "letter" and the number "23" in the song. However ...

A present from you - Strawberry Letter #22 ... The Brothers Johnson ☥ From The Song, 'Strawberry Letter #23'

So, the BLACK woman wrote Strawberry Letter #22 and, the BLACK man responded by singing her a song, which he called "Strawberry Letter #23." These sorts of inaccuracies highlight the ways in which Black People talk in code that white people don't understand, but of which they define and claim themselves to be the ultimate authority. If a person doesn't know the story of the song, they will look at the marketing and get a different interpretation of the song. These nuances reflect some of the ways in which we gradually lose ourselves within Eurocentric branding and social programming, and in order to re-establish the balance in our lives, we must be the authoritative source of our history and culture. We cannot allow the fact that colonizers spam us with their whitened versions of our stories to push us into racial fatigue.

With this understanding, let's look at the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone has been established as the authoritative understanding of Kamitic (Ancient Egyptian) language. However, the Rosetta Stone is also a "Strawberry Letter #23" because it is the Ancient Greek's interpretation of our language. The Greeks needed extra "steps" to understand our culture. So, although the Rosetta Stone is an essential puzzle piece to our understanding of ourselves, it cannot be properly interpreted by a colonizer. Until we get linguists and historians of the African diaspora, who have healed from the psychological manipulation of colonization to study the Rosetta Stone pluralistically, we will not be able to unlock its hidden mysteries. As we learn and apply the concepts of Ayurveda, we will begin to understand how the re-establishment of balance plays out in every aspect of our lives. The colonizers' need for steps is a very sticky Bolas web of deception. What we now know of as social programming evolved from these Aryan influences that have been in place and refined for many centuries. These social programs are forced upon us on a daily basis and are seamlessly embedded into our accepted way of life.

Black woman floating in water

Universal Principles Of Ayurveda ☥ TRUST

Ayurveda has been refined over many centuries, but it is not an exact science because it has had to survive many iterations of colonization. Because Ayurveda is such a rich science, people sometimes get lost in the strategies. Before we dive in to those strategies, I will share a few universal principles that are reliable enough to lead us to the answers that we are looking for:

☥ Our bodies talk to us through sensations. We must learn to pay attention to the

sensations and breathe ☥ pause to ensure that we are responding correctly. For

example, if we feel like we have to go to the bathroom, it is important to go as quickly

as possible. However, if someone says something to us that offends us, we must

breathe and pause before responding to protect us from being seduced into a knee-

jerk reaction triggered by a past trauma.

☥ What exists in nature is connected to an element and has a quality or qualities that are

hot, wet, cold and/or dry.

☥ Like increases like. If we are feeling angry (a hot emotion), it is not a good idea to eat

hot chili peppers (a hot food) because it will become more difficult to process and

release the anger.

☥ Opposites balance imbalances. Using the example above, if we are feeling angry, it is a

good idea to drink some peppermint water to help us process and release toxicity

because peppermint is an herb with a "cooling" quality.

☥ When in doubt, we breathe, pause and trust our inner wisdom to guide our next steps.

This blog is meant to help us reconnect with and TRUST ourself. Our inner wisdom

knows us better than anyone else so we must defer to it over anything we read in this

post. For example, if eating beets is a suggestion in this post, but you hate beets, then

choose an alternative that “feels” right to you (red colored or otherwise). Your body will

bring what you need to your attention.

With this understanding, let's move into the development of Ayurveda in India and learn about the basic principles of this healing modality.

Indian man using a mortar and pestle with herbs

The Development Of Ayurveda In India

The origin of Ayurveda in India is said to have been passed down by Brahmā, the Hindu Supreme deity, to a wise sage by the name of Dakṣa Prajāpati who began the process of transmitting and developing the knowledge into what is now known as "Ayurveda." However, the ancient texts are careful to make the distinction between "passed down" and "created by." The multilingual Sanskrit ॐ Ayurvedic scholar, Dr. Vaidya Bhagwan Dash, refers to Brahmā as the "propounder (not the inventor) of Ayurveda."

Ayurveda offers us a healing opportunity to find and put the puzzle pieces of our lives back together again through cultural competency and reconnection to the truest parts of ourselves.

How To Get Started With Ayurveda

One of the most challenging aspects of my work is figuring out how to catalyze action within my clients and readers. Knowing is certainly not doing. In other words, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" doesn't work unless we actually eat an apple a day. One of the reasons why action can be difficult for people is because they are so simplistic, that we underestimate their importance. At the top of my list of examples are what Ayurveda calls the "13 Bodily Urges." It may seem simple, but health begins with our willingness to increase our awareness of and resist the temptation to suppress the imminent needs of our body.

The 13 bodily urges

Our bodies are continually communicating with us, but are we listening? We would be amazed at how many health challenges we could thwart if we would pay attention to our body signals and take the appropriate action when prompted by our body.

How Does Ayurveda Work?

Let's dive into the basics of Ayurveda. Elemental Theory is the foundation of Ayurveda and includes the study of the elements ether (space), air, fire, water and earth. Kamitic Yoga includes additional elements such as metal which is not a part of Ayurveda but appears through Ptah ☥ God Of Craftmanship (metalworks, pottery, etc.) ☥ Creation, Ogun ☥ God Of Metal (Iron) and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (the five elements of wood ☥ fire ☥ metal ☥ water ☥ earth). These elements are as important to understand within our bodies as they are within the earth. Our bodies are grouped into three major doshas (body types that are governed by specific elements):

☥ Vata (ether ☥ air)

☥ Pitta (fire ☥ water)

☥ Kapha (water ☥ earth)

I suspect that the metal element didn’t make it into the Indian system because aspects of metal fit into each of the doshas (body types). Metal could be categorized as Kapha-Pitta. We can think of our dosha as the translator that communicates our current state of being interactions in our inner world needing our attention offers feedback based on the actions we choose to take. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a different elemental system of fire ☥ wood ☥ earth ☥ metal ☥ water. I will attempt to present Ayurveda as it was developed in India, but will use pluralism to help us gradually reclaim aspects of this healing practice that may have been lost or removed over time. For this post, we are introduced to the metal element, but will explore it further in subsequent posts. As we walk through each dosha (body type), we'll learn how these elements flow through our bodies, what happens when there is an imbalance that affects the flow and what steps we can take to re-establish balance within our bodies. We may notice tendencies that reflect a specific dosha (body type). Rather than focus too much on what our "dosha" is, take the time to truly understand the difference between a balanced and an imbalanced state within our body. We have all of the elements flowing through us. The "dosha" reflects our tendencies and can help us to maintain balance. However, an optimal goal would be to seek overall balance with all of the elements as they flow through us.

The Vata Dosha ☥ Ether ☥ Air ☥ Movement

The Vata dosha (body type) is the element of ether ☥ air. Air moves through spaces in the body ☥ mind ☥ emotions ☥ Spirit. Vata primarily resides in our colon. Secondary areas include movements such as our heartbeat, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, breathing, etc. When the Vata element is balanced within our bodies, we love connecting with people and we are quick thinking, focused, creative, enthusiastic, organized, joyous, energetic and flexible.

When the Vata element is out of balance within our bodies we can become hyperactive or can feel scattered and experience physical reactions such as diarrhea, nervous twitches, mood swings, cold hands and feet, insomnia, dry cracking skin, feeling fearful, anxious or have an imbalanced or blocked heart throat chakra.

How To Balance The Vata Dosha

Eat (healthy) sweet, salty and nourishing grains, legumes and seeds such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole oats (groats/steel cut), mung beans, lentils, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds. Enjoy sweet, salty and nourishing vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, leafy greens, cilantro, carrots, beets, asparagus, pumpkin, cucumbers and fruits such as

bananas, pineapples, coconuts, avocados and dates.

We can balance our heart chakra by listening to our heartbeat as a meditation or chanting the word "yum" during meditation. Strategies for balancing our throat chakra include speaking our truth, practicing Ujjayi breathing and chanting the word "hum" during meditation.

The Pitta Dosha ☥ Fire ☥ Water ☥ Catalyzation

The Pitta dosha (body type) is made up of two elements: fire ☥ water. Fire and water catalyzes interactions within the body ☥ mind ☥ emotions ☥ Spirit. The Pitta dosha primarily resides in our stomach. Many people wonder how the elements of fire and water could possibly work together. Gastric juices in our stomach are essentially a fiery water that catalyzes digestion and absorption of nutrients. The secondary areas for the Pitta dosha include where metabolism, digestion, assimilation, absorption and the regulation of body temperature takes place. When the Pitta dosha is balanced within our bodies, we are confident, intelligent, disciplined, goal-oriented, understanding, precise, dedicated leaders who make sound decisions and actively engage in mentorship.

When the Pitta dosha is out of balance within our bodies we have trust issues, can get stuck on a thought or can’t let go of an issue. We also can become cynical, judgmental,

prone to anger, resentment, envy or hatred. We may experience physical reactions such as indigestion, inflammation, headaches, fever, viral infections, rashes, body odor, profuse sweating, high blood pressure or imbalances in our solar plexus chakra.

How To Balance The Pitta Dosha

Eat cooling ☥ nourishing foods such as raw foods, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, okra, black-eyed peas, black, fava and pinto beans, carrots, cucumbers, fennel, quinoa, berries,

cherries, watermelon, etc. Enjoy cooling ☥ nourishing herbs and use essential oils

such as lavender, coriander, cilantro, peppermint, yarrow and ylang ylang.

We can balance our solar plexus by chanting "rum" during meditation, drumming (playing ☥ listening to drums) and practicing the Harness Your Internal Power For Love ☥ Happiness Breathing Exercise.

The Kapha Dosha ☥ Water ☥ Earth ☥ Union

The Kapha dosha is made up of two elements: water ☥ earth. Water and earth unifies ☥ stabilizes the body ☥ mind ☥ emotions ☥ Spirit. The Kapha dosha primarily resides in our lungs (and in moist/mucous areas). The secondary areas for the Kapha dosha include blood, lymph fluid and water works within the body (i.e., sebum, synovial fluid, etc.). When the Kapha dosha is balanced within our bodies, we embody the wisdom to nurture ourselves and others. We are loving, compassionate, strong, wise, stable, calm, and have a healthy, passionate sex drive. People want to curl up in our loving arms and let our warm embrace nourish and envelop them.

If we mixed water with too much earth, the mud would be too dry to move (i.e. constipation). If we added too much water, we could have a flood (i.e. diarrhea). So, when the Kapha dosha is out of balance, we display sticky emotions such as greed, attachment (neediness), melancholy, possessiveness, addictive behaviors and emotional eating. We may experience depression, lethargy and can manifest physical imbalances such as weight gain, bloating, edema, tumors, fibrocystic breasts, clogged arteries, respiratory dis-ease, congestive heart failure, etc.

How To Balance The Kapha Dosha

Eat light vegetables such as raw foods, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, dandelion, leafy greens, beets beet greens, radishes, celery and light fruits such as

apples, berries, cherries, jicama, limes, lemons, kiwi and peaches. Light and dry grains

and beans such as aduki, fava, mung and pinto beans, chickpeas, buckwheat, rye, millet, amaranth, barley, quinoa, light herbs and essential oils such as ginger, marjoram and orange also help to balance the Kapha dosha.

People with a Kapha imbalance become sedentary, so staying active is a very important counterstrategy. Brisk walking, hiking, biking, dancing, jump rope, Yoga, Qigong, cardiovascular exercise, daily joint rotations and stretching are great balancing strategies for the Kapha dosha.

Black male yoga class

Important Ayurvedic Concept ☥ We Are All Of The Elements

We have a dominant dosha (body type) such as: Vata, Pitta, Kapha or combinations such as Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Kapha-Vata, etc. However, I have found that many people focus too much attention on identifying and learning how to balance their dosha, which can prevent them from seeking overall balance. Regardless of our primary dosha, any of the elements can be out of balance. Think of our dosha as the translator that communicates our current state of being interactions in our inner world needing our attention offers feedback based on the actions we choose to take. Ayurveda teaches us to become aware of and bring balance to the elements as they function within our bodies to achieve radiant health.

Black and Indian People thinking with pyramid in the background

Why Ayurveda?

“Why?” is a very important question to ask. We will learn more about the question “why” from our elder and pioneer in the African psychology movement, Dr. Wade Nobles when I publish Journey To Radiance ☥ Sankofa. For now, let us contemplate the wisdom of our ancestors. Why do Gods ☥ Goddesses represent the elements of nature? When we connect with the truest part of ourselves, we are in alignment with SPIRIT ☥ our ancestors ☥ nature and we don’t need a system of healing such as Ayurveda to teach us how to live. However, at some point, that connection was severely damaged. We are now at a point in our lives where we don’t know how to live or what to do with our pain. We struggle to take action without outside validation/approval. This is not the life our ancestors envisioned when they built massive structures to represent who we truly are.

We can think of Ayurveda as a translator and treasure map. Those parts of ourselves that were lost or stolen are still with us in consciousness.

Colonizers wouldn’t go through so much trouble to distract/manipulate/eliminate us if they had not witnessed this power flowing through us. Instead of surrendering to their inner excellence so that they could also experience fulfillment, they succumbed to their delusions of superiority which causes them to create and perpetuate harm virtually everywhere they go. Their incessant desire to recruit people to behave like or subjugate themselves to colonizers/colonization has infected the entire world. There is a much higher choice that they could make, but encouraging them to make that choice is like taking heroin away from an addict and convincing them that the process of drying out (Ayurvedically) will lead them to the peace that they continually seek through acquisition/pillaging. It’s a hard sell to a drunk crowd.

But what if, no matter what they do, they couldn’t get heroin anymore? They would be forced to dry out and heal. How do we force a heroin addict to dry out safely without causing harm to others and in a way that causes inner transformation and fosters fulfillment - to the point that the addict is no longer addicted? How do we protect ourselves while they are drying out and healing? This is the challenge that we have been given and our social programming causes us to not take it seriously/think it’s too big of a problem to solve. Having a house, car or money in the bank is not equivalent to making progress. Slavery keeps getting reinvented, and our lack of self-care will cause us to succumb to new forms of social programming that cause us to participate in and even become propounders of new/hidden forms of slavery. I’m not asking “why” for an immediate answer, but it is a question that we need to repeatedly explore. Ayurveda is not the only treasure map available to us, but it represents significant puzzle pieces that contain clues to find the answers we need.

That journey to West Africa was part of a continuum of the healing journey of the identity of finding my light, my truth … that journey to West Africa was really the catalyst to going a little deeper into the layers of ancestral trauma, … of doing deep, deep work healing my wounds, healing that trauma and out of that birth Afro Flow Yoga®. ☥ Leslie Salmon Jones ☥

If you've read my other blogs, you may have come across my personal story of Ayurveda. I mention my story because my decision to pursue Ayurveda was not easy. I had to fight through many levels of social programming that blocked my connection to common sense and the truest part of myself. What saved me was a moment of deep insight. I realized that all I had to show for my 27 years of suffering with and using conventional western remedies for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) was exacerbated COPD. Still, I was bullied into and terrified to stop taking my prescribed medication and there was no one around me who could offer an alternative.

During this time, I developed a habit of browsing shelves of bookstores. One day, my body stopped in front of the yoga section and wouldn't move. I was raised to believe that yoga and any practice that wasn't Christian was either evil or Satanic. However, as a grown woman, by myself in the bookstore, with no one looking, that programming filled me with fear that I had to push past in order to take action. That one action led me to Ayurveda and after one season of practicing Ayurveda, my cough stopped and my COPD saga ended. Ayurveda led me back to the truest part of myself ... a path that continues to reveal the parts of my ancestry and culture that was hidden, stolen or erased.

How Dis-ease Forms In The Body: The Traffic Jam

Now that we have a basic understanding of the doshas (body types), we'll need to learn how dis-ease forms in the body and the Ayurvedic strategies for reversing the course of dis-ease. I hyphenate dis-ease, because in the holistic healing world, dis-ease means the lack of ease in the body. Our focus is on healing because when we give our body what it needs, our body heals itself. To make this process easier to understand, I have removed the Sanskrit words and will use the metaphor of the traffic jam to describe how we can go from congestion in the body to full blown dis-ease. If we follow through with this metaphor, we can see how the progression of a traffic jam (congestion in our bodies) can lead to a car getting totaled (dis-ease that can become fatal).

How dis-ease forms in our body

We can think of stage one as the traffic jam. Traffic jams are generally caused by an accident or by drivers who continually speed up and slow down which causes a ripple effect through the surrounding cars. In our bodies, a traffic jam forms because of the accumulation of something that the body doesn't have the energy or resources to remove. Examples of what the traffic jam can look like in our bodies would be physical imbalances such as constipation, gas, heat around belly button, yellowish discoloration in whites of the eyes, dark yellow urine, craving quick energy such as candy/sugar (when what the body really needs is a stable protein such as pumpkin seeds), lethargy, feeling “heavy,” low appetite, etc. If we are stuck in a traffic jam, we may want to look for a different route or slow down and pay close attention to our surroundings. In our bodies, if we pay attention, our body will tell us exactly what we need to do in order to clear the internal traffic jam. For example, if we are constipated, we will need to eat more fruits and vegetables and increase hydration. If we ignore our bodies during this stage, we will progress to stage two.

Stage two of dis-ease is the Temper Tantrum. This is when we get aggravated because we can’t get where we're going. The temper tantrum can cause us to do things that can cause an accident because we are knee-jerk reacting instead of responding to the deeper issue. In our bodies, this aggravation can show up as low or mid back pain, stomach gurgling, breathlessness, hyperperistalsis, acid reflux, nausea, heartburn, a cold, cough or congestion. What our body needs for us to do is balance the issue with the opposite effect. For example, if we have back pain, we need to increase the circulation of oxygenated blood to the area through deep breathing, stretching and addressing any stressors in our lives. Stage two represents our last chance to address the issue without professional help. If we continue to ignore or anesthetize our body's signals, we will progress to stage three.

In stage three of dis-ease, we experience the car accident because we become frustrated to the point that we stop paying attention and crash into another car causing visible damage to our vehicle. In our bodies, the aggravation has caused a flooding of imbalances which can show up as dry skin, goosebumps, cold hands and feet, ringing in the ears, tingling and numbness, quivering thighs, heartburn, burning eyes, acidic sweat, hives, rashes, burning sensations, water retention, sinus/lymphatic congestion, heavy breasts, excessive salivation, heavy feeling in the head and/or cold, clammy skin. During stage three, confusion within the body causes us to crave what exacerbates the problem. Even if we attempt to deal with the symptoms, we will still progress to stage four, if we don't address and remove the root cause of the issue.

In stage four of dis-ease, our vehicle gets towed which potentially causes additional damage to the vehicle during the process of getting it off the road. In our bodies, our weak areas are now under attack and confusion within the cellular intelligence could change its normal qualities, setting us up for the development of full-blown dis-ease. Many people in this stage are still in denial and will attempt to resort to over-the-counter medicine so that they can keep working. When we suppress the symptoms, without addressing the root cause of the issue, we may experience an exacerbated resurgence of the dis-ease in the same and/or different parts of the body.

During stage five, an insurance adjuster shows up at the scene to start an insurance claim, assess the damage and make recommendations for repair. In our bodies, stage five is when the signs and symptoms of dis-ease can now be observed by other people who may insist that we go to the doctor. The doctor makes an assessment and we receive a diagnosis of dis-ease such as high or low blood pressure, diabetes, hypoglycemia, an auto-immune disease, etc. At this point, it is difficult to avoid medication or surgery without major lifestyle changes, proactivity and dedication. In the holistic world, receiving a diagnosis and treatment will not prevent the person from progressing to stage six, because they still have not done the work of locating, addressing and removing the root cause of the issue. In other words, high blood pressure can be managed with medication and avoiding table salt; however, the root cause of the high blood pressure may be an unresolved trauma, consuming fatty foods and a toxic relationship. If we do not address these issues, the medication may force our blood pressure into the "normal" range, but the root cause issues will continue to resurface from within our bodies in different forms (i.e., diabetes, arthritis, heart dis-ease, stroke, etc.).

In stage six, our car is totaled, and the vehicle is considered to be beyond repair, or we realize that the cost of the reconstruction is more than the actual value of the car. If we decide to continue using the car, it will struggle to perform and will often fall below par. Similarly, so much damage has occurred within our body, that it takes an enormous amount of effort to heal from dis-ease. Healing may still be possible, but the cost is high, and the work is intensive because structural changes have now manifested and all of our body systems are in a state of imbalance, the complications of which put us on a fatal course. During this time, we may experience severe dehydration, muscle wasting, loss of function, cerebral trauma, deep ulceration, hemorrhage, abscess formation, gangrene, meningitis, profuse edema, hardening of tissues, loss of vision, kidney failure, neoplasm/tumor and/or diabetic coma. Some of the issues have gone too far in the body for complete healing and we have to accept some losses. For example, gangrene will lead to an amputation of a body part which can often cause us to fall into depression. These imbalances are much more difficult to heal or live with, and we may decide to prepare ourselves for death.

The Four Legs Of Healing Dis-ease

If we are headed to a destination but realize that we are traveling in the wrong direction, we'll have to make a U-Turn. Similarly, if we are progressing through the stages of dis-ease, we are moving in the wrong direction. Ayurveda is a system of healing that helps us make a U-Turn and travel in the direction that leads us to healing, balance and reconnection to the truest part of ourselves. The process of healing dis-ease functions like the legs of a chair, because all four are needed to re-establish balance in the body. The four legs of healing are:

☥ The Processing ☥ Healing Of Emotions

☥ Nourishing The Body With Healing Foods

☥ Supporting The Body With Healing Herbs

☥ Increasing Circulation Of The Body With Movement

How to get from knowledge to action

Be optimistic and believe that we can un-get the ailments of the past.

From Knowledge To Action ☥ Optimism

Now that we have a basic understanding of the concepts of Ayurveda, how do we move from knowledge to practical application? We begin with optimism. If I’m water and you are thirsty, but there is a mountain between us, did I forget how to be water? The question sounds simple and obvious, but whenever we are faced with a health challenge, we behave as if our body has forgotten how to heal. However, we are the ones who have forgotten that our body is a self-healing genius. If I'm water and you are thirsty but there is a mountain between us, we must deal with the mountain. I often have to correct my clients ☥ readers because they erroneously assert that their bodies have shut down, failed, revolted against them or is in horrible shape. But that is a fallacy. If we want to heal our body, we must rid ourselves of toxins and give our body the energy and resources it needs to heal ☥ thrive.

Black man meditating in a business suit with science and Ancient Kamit (Egypt) hieroglyphic in the background

So, let’s take a look at the un-getting equation that I discovered on my journey to radiance. I learned over time that as a society, we have let go of some age-old traditions that served us well. By re-embracing ancient wisdom and refining it with culturally accurate cutting-edge research so that it applies to our modern world, we can return to our “whole selves:”

Ancient wisdom + culturally accurate research = holistic healing.

This un-getting equation put me on an amazing life-time journey that I’ll never forget. I hope that it will catalyze your knowledge into action.

Courageous Black woman jumping a cliff

From Knowledge To Action ☥ Courage

What does it mean to have courage? We need more than optimism to facilitate the healing process. We need to act on our optimism by pulling up the courage that we have within us. There are applications of this courage that help us begin our journey to Radiant Health. Of utmost importance is the courage to face our "band-aids." Band-aids can show up as anesthetizing ourselves (distractions, food, drugs, alcohol, etc.) instead of doing the work of identifying and removing the root cause of the dis-ease. If we cut ourselves and leave a band-aid on too long, what happens? That area becomes toxic. When we anesthetize ourselves we can be sure that we are suppressing the symptoms of the issue without addressing the real cause of the problem. It is like mowing the grass to get rid of weeds. Anesthetizing practices can increase toxicity in the body which is the main cause for dis-ease in the first place. If a river is polluted, environmentalists will not stand around the river and say geez, this river is really polluted; let’s throw some pills in there and clean it up. They will search for and remove the source of the pollution and then filter the water to remove the toxins that currently exist.

The time we invest in "band-aiding" keeps us from those back-burner projects such as a commitment to exercise 30 minutes a day or setting clear boundaries with a co-worker who consistently dumps their work on us. When we become aware of band-aids and then take action, we start a chain of positive effects that transform our lives. These concepts build upon each other. If we are optimistic that we can un-get something that we don’t want, we'll need the courage to act on our optimism. Often times we may have to step out there and take action without the support of our family and friends. People who do not understand or support our actions create emotional traffic jams that can jeopardize our progress. If we allow our inner wisdom to guide our outer actions without the need for outside support or validation, we may find that, in time, some people may be inspired by our optimism, courage and the results that show up in the form of a healthy body and a radiant glow. When we heal ourselves first, we can become the inspiration for others.

Black and Indian women practicing Ayurvedic movement

From Knowledge To Action ☥ Harmony ☥ Balance Through Food

Our body is constantly seeking homeostasis or harmony ☥ balance. What it wants us to do is to remove the mental, emotional and physical toxins that get in its way and provide the adequate fuel it needs to restore balance. Our body will take care of the rest. We can help our body restore harmony and balance through food, relationships and self-love.

Most people would agree that putting gas in an engine that requires diesel is a bad idea, but do we really believe that food is medicine? We don’t have to make major changes in order to help our body restore its harmony ☥ balance, just begin by eating whole foods such as whole grains, not processed grains like cold cereals (there is no such thing as a boxed/processed/puffed cold cereal that is a true whole grain). Use lots of spices because herbs add flavor, enzymes and healing properties. In America, we really miss the boat on spices. The word "spicy" has generally been limited to mean "hot," but herbs can be cooling, wet, dry as well as sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, salty and/or astringent. Basic spices, such as rosemary, ginger or oregano have a laundry list of healing properties and make our food taste great. The most important way that our body maintains homeostasis is by balancing our acid vs. alkaline levels in our body.

All the dreams that we have—everything that we want to accomplish, we must accomplish in our physical body. We can use the wisdom of harmony ☥ balance to preserve our health while we earn our wealth.

Most Americans eat foods that primarily digest acidic; however, our blood must be slightly alkaline at all times. Our body will work very hard to maintain balance even if it means robbing other bodily systems. The best way to maintain this balance is to make sure that we get enough organic sodium in our diet by eating enough fruits and vegetables and making sure that we are using unprocessed sea salt. Unrefined salts, sugars and raw oils are essential nutrients for healing. Ironically, most folks take in ridiculous amounts of refined salts/sugars/oils that bog down the body while the body is desperately searching for unrefined salts/sugars/oils that it needs to maintain harmony ☥ balance. Just a few tweaks to help increase the quality of our food can change our life. Here's a brief summary of how we can restore harmony and balance with food:

☥ Vegetables (at least 30% raw for most people)

☥ Fruits (at least 85% raw for most people)

☥ Protein Rich Alkaline Grains ☥ Seeds Such As Quinoa ☥ Millet ☥ Amaranth (soak them

for at least 8 hours or overnight and rinse well for optimal digestion)

☥ Herbs (excellent source of enzymes, adds flavor, healing properties)

☥ Legumes (beans, nuts and seeds)

☥ Enzymes (essential for body functions such as digestion, breathing, circulation, etc.)

☥ Hydration = Water + EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) + Electrolytes

☥ Raw, Unrefined Sugar, Salt, Oils (i.e., dates, sea salt, unrefined chia seed oil)

Collage of Black People and healthy lifestyle strategies

From Knowledge To Action ☥ Harmony ☥ Balance Through Relationships

Harmony ☥ balance is also restored through maintaining healthy relationships. This includes balancing our work vs. play, the time we make for ourselves vs. the time we make for others and most importantly, monitoring our reactions to outside stimuli. Our perceptions can be very powerful, but often they are incorrect, particularly when we choose to react to negative outside stimuli in the heat of the moment. How we choose to respond to outside stimuli determines our stress levels to a great extent, and stress can be as toxic to our body as unhealthy food.