Ngala-Najla

I Celebrate Myself…


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With Clasped Hands

It’s fall but it feels like it’s winter. It’s cold outside and I am not in any hurry to go outside. This past weekend I volunteered with the Obama campaign, calling voters in Ohio and that was the last time I went outside. The colors of the trees were so beautiful. I wish I had one of those really expensive cameras where I could capture every hue on film. I am thankful for the camera that I have though.

Since Saturday I have been sick… again! Today I opened the front door of the house to grab the mail and the wind was crisp and for that brief second I felt as if I just opened to door to the freezer in the kitchen. Boy, it’s cold out there. I am afriad to go out before my poor asthmatic lungs can recuperate from all that coughing and wheezing.

Lately, I have been having intense conversations with the Most High, God, however, you want to address the Divine. I started doing this a couple of weeks ago after reading an awesome article in the Yoga Journal about the importance of prayer and gratitude. I am learning to be sincere in my conversations and acknowledging the fakeness within me at times. I strive for authenticity. If I cannot be true to me, true to God, to whom can I be true?

So, when I get ready for bed, after writing in gratitude journal, I take a minute to talk to Him: giving thanks and requesting favors. This has been really helpful to me lately. Sometimes I meditate, sometimes I repeat the sound Om; I mostly try to focus on my heart, the article discussed the importance of tapping in from there. All this to connect before praying.

Last night I had a deep conversation within myself, with God , thanking Him* for my family especially after hearing what Jennifer Hudson went through with the death of her family. I prayed about my continuous strive to let go and have faith. I thanked God for my ancestors who surrounds me; I heard spirituals/hymns, they were there. I cried, I dozed off, woke up and thanked Him again.

* For me, God transcends gender, last night however, God was very paternal.

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His Country, Too

Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama yesterday. I was particularly moved when he talked about the young Muslim soldier who died in Iraq. Colin Powell’s speech was a much needed one, where he described the need for a transformational leader like Barack Obama at this time. We, as a country are indeed polarized at this moment and in order for this nation to take its place as a world leader again, we have to be united. Senator Obama has the ability to do just that.

The story of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan is not unlike that of any American young man who wanted to serve his country. I wanted to learned more about this brave young man and so I found some more information here . Although I detest war, I think there something to be said about his bravery and the way in which his life illustrates that we are all Americans who love our country, Jews, Christian, Black, White and yes, Muslim. Thank you, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, for your service.

Here is a little bit of what Powell said:

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards — Purple Heart, Bronze Star — showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old.
And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross; it didn’t have the Star of David; it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.
Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”


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Clothes, Clothes, What is A Girl To Do?!

I have a dilemma: I do not have clothes to wear! I know, what woman does not believe that she has enough clothes to wear?… but, honestly, I do not have to enough clothes to wear. My clothes– are locked in storage…in Maryland. I only brought clothes for the summer with hope that I would return to Silver Spring, but I am still here. So, here I am without my pashmina shawls, my scarfs, my boots and my winter clothes. I need to create my wardrobe… with little money. 🙂

Tim Gunn from Project Runway has his own show on Bravo. The show is a makeover show called Tim Gunn’s Guide To Style; I came across it while watching TV…at two in the morning. In the show, he has what’s called Tim Gunn’s 10 Essential List, a list of must haves in clothes for women. Here’s the list:

  1. Basic Black Dress – The basic black dress has been around for a long time. It is often called the “Little Black Dress”, and it’s true that shorter skirts on the basic black dress, when they hit you in the right place, can be more flattering than a long black dress.
  2. Trench Coat – The trench coat is one of the pieces that is both classic and currently a hot fashion item. Most any store sells this piece now. It is great for fall and you can pick it up in a wide range of lengths.
  3. Dress Pants – Although it doesn’t say black, this is probably what you want to look for. Black is flattering on all figures and goes with everything.
  4. Classic Shirt – The white shirt is a definite classic. But it can also come in many different styles to make it look trendy and not dated or like a man’s piece of clothing. Find one that accentuates your best attributes and minimizes trouble spots. For example, if you have wide shoulders, stay away from large collars.
  5. Jeans – Everyone has a pair of jeans, but does everyone have a pair of jeans that make them look great? The wider leg, low-rise jean style has been popular (and still is) but a narrower leg is coming back along with a higher waist, which eliminates the unflattering “muffin top” look.
  6. Any Occasion Top – Find something you look great in that can look respectable under a jacket but bring on the fun after hours.
  7. Skirt – If you need dress pants then you also need a skirt. A skirt is womanly and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men. See number 8.
  8. Day Dress – Women also are not wearing as many dresses anymore. It was certainly liberating to go from the ’50s when women wore dresses every day to wearing more practical pants for gardening, exercising, and so forth. But the dress does not have to be abandoned altogether. They can be very flattering, and there is nothing wrong with “dressing up” for daytime.
  9. Jacket – A jacket does not have to be masculine. Find one with a proper, fitted shape. Women’s jackets should follow the silhouette of a woman’s body and accent the hourglass curve at her waist. It is also a perfect piece to put with the skirt or dress pants, and white shirt. Or make it casual with a pair of jeans.
  10. Sweatsuit Alternative – As mentioned before, women wear fewer skirts and dresses these days. But some women have taken casual to the extreme and spend days on end in sweatsuits. It is possible to be casual and comfortable without looking like a slob. Find a comfortable material (that’s why this doesn’t say jeans again – denim is not as comfortable as a nice soft cotton) that you would want to wear every day. It could be khakis, cords, a cotton dress, or much more.

Bonus: One Indulgent Trendy Item

So, I guess I am going to begin my collection one piece at a time.


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Letting Go

While listening to a meditation series on itunes, the teacher talked about a quote by Buddha that goes, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Nuff said.

After listening to that meditation session. I came across a blog written by a counselor who talks about the power of gratitude and its role in allowing one to let go. So, I had an aha moment or realization maybe that I need to start a gratitude journal. I have been meaning to do that for some time but never did it, but I think this is a great time for me to begin, to get out of this rut that ebbs and flows.


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Us vs. Them

Here’s the thing: most of my posts have been very introspective. If you are one of my friends on Facebook you would know that I am really into the political scene; I post like totally serious articles, dude! Anywhoo, if you only read this blog, you would never really know that. However, something has gotten me outside of myself, outside of my mind: this issue of undecided voters in this presidential election and them maybe being, get this– RACISTS!

According to a recent Stanford University/Associated Press/Yahoo study, Obama would be six points higher in the polls if he were white. Wow! Kristof, from The Times wrote about this in a recent Op-Ed piece. In addition to articles that I have read and news shows that I have watched discussing this issue, I have heard this with my own two ears: undecided whites discussing this issue. When listening to NPR two days ago, a working class white woman from Pennsylvania stated that she was afraid that if Obama gets into the White House he would only “help them,” his own. Questions started to swirl around inside my mind: which “them” are you talking about, woman? Are you talking about the poor and working class? Are you talking about the average American? Who are you talking about?

Tim Wise in one of his speeches discussed this race myth and talked about the categorization of race and what that meant for poor whites to actually feel important and subsequently work for rich whites. The first blacks who came to this country were not slaves, they were indentured servants like the other indentured servants who were whites. The poor–black and white, were together. This paradigmatic shift (race classification) occurred and has been perpetuated for centuries– some poor whites feeling a sense of superiority against blacks just because of the color of their skin and yes there are blacks who buy into this myth, as well. So, when that woman talked about her concerns regarding Obama only taking care of blacks, she is ignorantly enforcing this systematic form of oppression that has been placed on the poor, regardless of race. So go ahead and vote for the Republicans, my dear and see if you are going to be one of “them.”


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The Lucky Ones

So, I am flipping bawling after watching an episode of Cold Case. I had to change my online job hours to 12-4am, and I have been watching episodes of Cold Case and Without a Trace for about a week now. I would watch them from time to time, but now, due to circumstances, I am an avid viewer.

This episode was about two cops, both partners, who fell in love with each other. They were both men and it was 1968. One of the partners said to the other, “Not everyone finds what we have, we are the lucky ones.” The thing is rumors started to develop and one of the other officers overheard a conversation between the two partners about being together–one of them was married. In the end, the officer who overheard the conversation told one of the officers’ father, who was also a cop, about the conversation he heard. The father and the captain of that precinct conspired to kill both of the lovers, however, one of them, the married one, backed out of the relationship that night and decided not to ride with his partner. The other partner rode alone to a report of a robbery, which was really a trap. He was shot. When he was dying, the officer used the radio to tell his partner that he must never forgot that they were the lucky ones. How, friggin’, cool, is, that?!

I am a sucka for love no matter the people who are involved. This world is too hard to be neglecting people of love when they find it. I don’t even know if I will ever be one of the lucky ones who find love that is undying, the one with the chemistry, passion and tenacity that is honestly shared with someone else ( Oh, did I just say that give ques to the Universe?). I do not know. And so some fell down ma cheeks like the day I watched Broke Back Mountain, because dang it, the more and more I grow up, the more I realize how lucky two people are to find that passion and someone who truly completes them. Too many people are compromising themselves and that’s what dude said in the movie. I guess I was so ignorant of that fact: that the vast majority of people just compromising. I lived in a fantasy world for a long time. Now, I am finally woken like my girl Jem says and the view ain’t pretty. Yeah, I think it is safe to say that I am kinda jaded. So, here’s to the lucky ones!


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Revisiting A Promise

While having the desire to express myself at 3am in the morning, I have decided to revisit a promise I made to myself in May: to live my birthday month, perfectly. I did not do it. Time went by in a blur and I am really not sure what happened. Did I even attempt this endeavor? I am not really sure.  I will  try not to make any excuses for myself. All I know is that I feel as if I am on the brink of some great accomplishment or adventure but I keep on making the wrong turn. Is there a lesson that needs to be learned somewhere? What am I missing?

“I am pregnant with potential but yet I birth silence,” so begins one of favorite poems by Jessica Care Moore. That lines speaks volumes of what am feeling. Should I fast another month? What’s the deal with my yoga session? I lack discipline. I am too hard on myself… I need to let go.

I think I am going to revisit that promise, the one where I would do simple things that feed my soul. Five simple things that nurture me inside and out:

1. Pray/Meditate

2. Yoga/ Excercise

3. Write

4. Cook/Eat Healthy

5. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day

Maybe a quantitative approach may be helpful, e.g. yoga 3x a week or write in my journal every night before I go to bed…I dunno. However, I will attempt again this promise. I will revisit it.