Category Archives: Events

What gardening taught me about self care.

I have never been good at growing plants. I couldn’t even keep store bought flowers alive for more than a couple of days. Yet, here I was accepting two small pots with tiny seedlings from my best friend as I prepared to shelter in place due to COVID-19. I thought it might be a good idea to learn how to grow things and be more self sustainable. Plus, I knew I was about to be inside indefinitely and had time on my hands to start a new project.

My bestie gave me simple instructions: Water when the dirt starts to appear dry. After 4 weeks replant them in a larger pot. That seemed simple enough. I put two chairs on the small patio of our apartment and placed the tiny pots on top of them. Watering the plants became a part of my quarantine activity checklist. Bake something new. Check. Declutter a closet. Check. Order a kitchen item I don’t really need. Check. Water the plants if they seem dry. Check.

Honestly, I didn’t expect those seedlings to last more than a week. And here I was in week 2 with a plant that was a litter taller than last week. Then that turned into four weeks. I made it to replanting time! I took a picture and texted my friend , proud of my accomplishment. In her low key petty fashion, she replied, ” What?! I am actually suprised but that’s great!”

After replanting, I stayed committed to caring for the plants. Every day, I would observe them so I could figure out what they needed. If the soil seemed dry, I would add water. If leaves were a certain color, I added plant food. If bugs wouldn’t let them be great, I found ways to keep them away. I would go out on the patio a few times a week soaking in the sunshine and tending to my plant babies. Many times my daughter joined me and it became a quiet, calming ritual.

The plants kept growing and after about 6 weeks, I had a few green beans. I started feeling myself and got some more seedlings from my friend. I now have five plant babies (peppers, green beans, mint, basil, and squash).

Tending to this small garden has brought me back to myself. It has become the most unexpected act of self care. Gardening has been a calm in the middle of the storm that is 2020. It has been a saving grace when I have felt so weary with all that is happening in the world. It has brought a subtle kind of joy.

As I care for these plants, it is an invite to care for myself consistently. To observe and really notice me. To honor what I am feeling, acknowledge what I need, and give it generously to myself.

As my plants have grown, so have I. In so many ways.

Are you being humble or hiding?

I often hear successful people talk about the importance of being humble. Humble is defined as “showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.”  In my mind, this is about doing your best work without needing the applause of others. It is about learning to cancel out the noise and do your work regardless of who is or isn’t looking at you. With this kind of posture, you never “fully arrive” but always are willing to learn, explore, and stretch yourself to be and do better.

Keep in mind that being humble doesn’t mean that you don’t do the work. Humility isn’t hiding. The most humble performers still perform. The most humble actors still act. The most humble entrepreneurs still do business and make money.  Being humble doesn’t stop you from doing your thing. Humility doesn’t impede on you making progress.

Hiding is something different. It is all to easy to think that you are being humble when you are straight up hiding. I have to call myself out on this daily.  In an effort not to “toot my own horn” I have not shared, not served, and not shined my light as brightly as I could. I have waited for someone to notice me rather than put the spotlight on myself. Hiding looks like concealing what you do. Hiding looks like trying to make it absolutely perfect before you share it (which usually means you never share it). Hiding looks like procrastinating on the one thing you really want to do.  This is right in line with the definition of hiding which is “to put or keep out of sight conceal from the view of others.” You are keeping your head down not to work and focus on your craft, but to make sure that no one sees your face. When you hide, you aren’t acting on the potential that you within you.

Photo: CreateHer Stock

Make it a practice to check in with yourself. Are you being humble or are you really hiding? Know that you can be gracious about your craft and still slay. Queen Bey shows us this time and time again. You can be humble and expand into your dreams. You can practice humility and secure the bag. You can be humble and do what you want. But when you hide, you prevent yourself from getting all of that goodness you deserve Sis.

There are times when you need to be a little less nice and a little more bold. Times when you need to share who you are. When you need to work on your passions without blocking your own flow. We can get so used to posturing ourselves and bending to everybody else’ expectations of us that we think this is the norm. Anything outside of that not only feels different but a little uncomfortable and wrong. Let it be uncomfortable so that you can unlearn this belief that you have to hide your brilliance. You are meant for more. You know what you want to do. It’s time to do it.

Stay humble. Shine unapologetically. Live free.

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Black Women + Creativity Interview #5 with Tamyra Andrews

The Black Women and Creativity interview series is focused on inspiring Black women to tap into their creativity capacity. Our intention is to talk to one hundred Black women, from all walks of life, to share their advice on creativity by answering the two simple questions.

Our fifth interview is with Tamyra Andrews, Creator of My Helps the People. She’s a humorist vlogger, speaker and author. To learn more about Tamyra check her out on social media !

What does it mean to be creative? 

Tamyra: To be creative means that your brain, spirit, and natural gifting(s) have collaborated to cause you to produce something that didn’t exist previously. By “didn’t exist” I don’t mean reinventing the wheel. For example, if you’ve written a book, obviously you didn’t invent books. But your book from your brain with your perspective did not previously exist in the world. It would have never existed without you creating it. 

What advice/wisdom/encouragement/insight would you have to Black women about navigating their own creative process?

Tamyra: Timing is everything. I live by that in general, but specifically in the creative process. It’s important to know when you’re working too fast or too slow; or if you’ve released your creations into the world prematurely or too late. You have to stay in tune with yourself to recognize the right timing. 

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Black Women + Creativity Interview #4 with Dr. Denise Moore Revel

The Black Women and Creativity interview series is focused on inspiring Black women to tap into their creativity capacity. Our intention is to talk to one hundred Black women, from all walks of life, to share their advice on the creative process.

Our fourth interview features Dr. Denise Moore Revel, the Self Discovery Specialist and author of Own Your Amazing. Dr. Denise is passionate about helping women discover their unique value and find their purpose. Find out more about what Dr. Denise over on Facebook and get a copy of her latest book!

What does it mean to be creative? 

Dr. Denise: When I think of what it means to be creative, the first word that comes to mind is freedom. To be creative is to allow myself the freedom to fully express who I am. When I allow myself to be creative, there are no preconceived ideas or rules to follow. Being creative is the unleashing of my innermost self.

I also think to be creative is an example of self-discovery. It’s discovering what is uniquely inside of me. Being creative is the witnessing of something that’s never been seen before.

 What one piece of advice/wisdom/encouragement/insight would you give to Black women about navigating their own creative process? 

Dr. Denise: The one piece of encouragement I would give Black women about navigating their creative process is to allow the process to unfold in the way that works best for them. They should not focus on how the creative process happens for others, but to accept their process as uniquely theirs. For example, my creative process usually involves me writing ideas down on paper, putting the paper away for a few days so I can reflect and ponder the ideas. After a few days, I go back to the ideas and see which ones still resonates with me.

I also understand my creative process needs to be flexible.  I have learned that I need to allow my creative process to change as I evolve and grow as a woman.

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Black Women + Creativity Interview #3 with Temara Moore

The Black Women and Creativity interview series is focused on inspiring Black women to tap into their creativity capacity. Our intention is to talk to one hundred Black women, from all walks of life, to share their advice on creativity by answering the two simple questions.

Our third interview is with Temara Moore, founder of Cloud 9 Bookkeeping and Tax, LLC and my bestie! In addition to helping small businesses get their accounting together, she makes jewelry, does genealogy research, and writes books. Learn more about her company at https://www.cloud9bookkeepingtax.com/

What does it mean to be creative? 

Temara: To be creative is to ignore the voice in your subconscious that creates excuses.  When you ignore it, there’s nothing telling you that your ideas are silly or impossible.  As an accountant, my creativity comes into play when I see clients clinging to processes that are inefficient and outdated. I create new systems for their own unique situation.  When you deal in numbers, it’s easy to get stuck in old school ruts.  Math is centuries old and it’s one of the few things that will never change.  However, we can change the way that math works for us.

What one piece of advice/wisdom/encouragement/insight would you give to Black women about navigating their own creative process?

Temara: We should trust our guts.  For me, second thoughts are usually just variations of my first and more authentic thought.  The first thought is shot down and revised by my subconscious.  If you have a brilliant idea or a deep longing to pursue something, you’ll notice that idea or longing never goes away until it’s fulfilled.  Act on those first thoughts because in my experience, the second and third revisions of my true desires never measure up to the original.

No is a complete sentence.

Years ago, I was struggling to set boundaries with my time. I was saying yes to every little request that people asked me. All of those little yeses added up and it was slowly draining my energy. I found myself, yet again, having to make a decision to say yes or no to another request that someone had emailed me. Here was my stream of thoughts: If I say no, then I can give them a few suggestions of what to do. Wait that is more work than saying yes.I will just gone ahead and do it. But don’t I have time to do what they are asking. Maybe I could rearrange the schedule to fit it in. I told my friend about this internal battle I was waging and she quietly responded, “No is a complete sentence.” That mantra has stayed with me every single time I find myself in a frenzy of trying to be everything to everybody.

We are often asked to do things that are optional. These optional tasks and requests start to add up. Suddenly we find that every single minute is accounted for in our busy schedule. Our help may bring someone else some temporary happiness,but it definitely doesn’t bring us any joy in the process.

Your time is yours, though. You get to choose. Repeat, you get to choose. You get to do what you want with your schedule. Sometimes this means saying no.

Your no does not require an explanation. If someone is pushing you for an explanation than the request is really a demand (that is another blog post for another day). Sometimes you just simply say no and stand in the power of that decision. Without trying to justify it. Without trying to make that other person feel better. Without trying to come up with alternatives. Without apologizing.

If you have a hard time with this, find you a “no friend”. This friend will hold you accountable when you find yourself in the throes of over-committing. They will lovingly remind you of your power. They will congratulate you when you create more space in your calendar because you didn’t take on the millionth request. I have friends who celebrate when I say no and set boundaries. Positive associations are powerful.

Saying no can be simple. You can say: I appreciate you for thinking of me, but I can’t do that for you right now. Or..I will have some space in my schedule next month, why don’t you check back with me then? Or..No I can’t. After you say no, take a deep breath and release any guilt that tries to creep up.

This is your life. It is your time. It is your energy. Protect it and nurture it well. Say no with power. Take up space in your own calendar unapologetically.

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If you want to continue to take up space for YOU, get the Reimagining Your Dreams Challenge Workbook. It is 7 days of saying yes to you and your dreams. Learn more here.