Listen to me celebrate Yoga Day USA (www.yogadayusa.org and www.yogaalliance.org) with a yoga breathing exercise and yoga-inspired poem “Present Moment Awareness” from my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg).
Today we are celebrating President Obama’s first year in office. What were your favorite moments during President Obama’s first year? I really loved watching President Obama sign legislation that gives workers more time to take their pay discrimination cases to court. I remember him saying “equal pay is by no means just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue.” See photo below.
Enjoy your day!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude and Hope for President Obama’s Next Seven Years,
I am in the midst of doing some research on my next novel Love’s Troubadours – Symon: Book Two. It tells the story of Symon Allure, an African American man who spends his freshman year of college at Morehouse College (www.morehouse.edu) and later transfers to Howard University (www.howard.edu). During one of my recent online research sessions, I discovered a wonderful series of women’s heart health events that Morehouse School of Medicine (www.msm.edu) is sponsoring in February. See the information below.
Happy First Year Anniversary to President BarackObama and First Lady Michelle Obama!
Last year I was standing on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial watching President Obama get sworn in. That day was filled with so much hope and joy. I shared it with my brother Mark and sisters Lu and Sylvia, and folks from all over America. My prayer is that we work together as a country to make America what it can be under the leadership of President Obama. We have got seven more years to make things happen. I say seven because I am affirming President Obama’s re-election in 2012!
Today I am sharing information about two free online yoga classes I am teaching to celebrate Yoga Day USA (www.yogadayusa.org), an annual campaign created by the Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org) that strives to make yoga more accessible. My class schedule is below.
The classes will focus on the practice of karuna (Sanskrit word that means compassion). They will also honor the people of Haiti and everyone affected by the January 12th earthquake. If you like the classes and learn something that helps you, please consider adopting the Charter for Compassion (http://charterforcompassion.org) in your daily life and making a donation to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that is working to make the lives of Haitians better. Visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org to learn more and make a donation.
Enjoy your week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Healing OMs to the people of Haiti,
Today I listened to NPR journalist Michel Martin’s conversation with James Braxton Peterson, assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at Bucknell University, about the meaning of service and its connection to Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.’s legacy of service. It was aired on Martin’s NPR show, Tell Me More on January 18. Click here to listen to the conversation (11 minutes): www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122626581.
I was really moved by Professor Peterson’s definition of service:
“Service has got to be not just the action but also a mind state and that’s something that’s got to be sustained over the course of the year, throughout your life. It’s a very, very important act, particularly people of color and people who come from certain circumstances understand that service is what helps folk who are underprivileged to rise above and transcend their own circumstances.”
I totally agree with the idea that service is a mind state. My mind state of service started when I was growing up in my parents’ home. They both believed in service to their family, friends, local neighborhood in P.G. County, Maryland, and St. Joseph Catholic Church.
My mother exposed me to the meaning of service through her active membership and participation in Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Sigma’s motto is “Greater Service, Greater Progress.” It became my personal motto when I joined Sigma in 1983. It also helped me develop my personal plan on how I contribute to my community and the world.
During Martin’s radio show, Professor Peterson also shared the following remarks:
“Remember, the idea around service is that it’s grassroots so that if everyone does a little bit, then actually that’s where the movement comes in. So, every small contribution does count. And listen, if you don’t have time contributing a few dollars to particularly service-oriented organization, it’s very, very important.”
“Part of community service is being an outstanding, contributing citizen within your community. That’s the first step, that you actually are someone who handles their own economic business, their family business and is responsible as a citizen in the United States.”
“So if everyone helps the elderly person to cross the street or if everyone goes into a school and tries to mentor one child even if it’s for one day, that’s going to be very, very powerful. That’s going to be extremely powerful. So, every little bit counts. We’re thinking aggregate here. And we’re thinking and hoping that everyone will rise to the challenge and the responsibility of service in our society.”
WOW! Professor Peterson’s really hit home with me. They made me go back and read my path of service discussed in my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg). I have included an excerpt below.
Excerpt from Chapter Seven: Service. Vocation. Answering Your Life’s Calling. (one of my favorite six-word memoirs – www.smithmag.net)
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
The Birth of Service
A thousand thoughts ran through my mind as I tried to trace the birth of service in my life.
Three thoughts cemented themselves into my psyche.
Thought #1 – My parents taught me the more you have, the
more you are called to give through service they provided to
their neighborhood, church community, and membership
Thought #2 – The Catholic Church reinforced this teaching by
promoting charity to others.
Thought #3 – Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority required its
members to perform community service as an extension of its
motto: Greater Service, Greater Progress.
One question followed.
How did these thoughts shape my ideas and commitments to
My journal opened itself and soul searching unfolded onto its
Each page was decorated with one sentence.
I read them out loud and realized they were affi rmations I can
use to create a service creed for guidance and reminders.
I serve because I want to honor my ancestors by leaving Mother
Earth better than I found her.
I serve based on a family legacy that cherishes giving back through
I serve from the center of my spirit which is rooted in sacred
teachings that promote charity, compassion, and contemplative
I serve individuals, communities, and organizations that connect
to my deepest passions: creativity, healing, yoga, meditation, Reiki,
green living, people of color, and women.
I serve because my work contributes to greater service, greater
I serve because giving creates a vacuum for receiving, completes a
cycle of abundance, and says to the universe I claim my oneness
with everyone and everything.
Greetings! Happy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service!
In honor of Dr. King’s Day of Service, I am sharing information about two free online yoga classes I am teaching to celebrate Yoga Day USA (www.yogadayusa.org), an annual campaign created by the Yoga Alliance (www.yogaalliance.org) that strives to make yoga more accessible. My class schedule is below.
The classes will focus on the practice of karuna (Sanskrit word that means compassion). They will also honor the people of Haiti and everyone affected by the January 12th earthquake.
If you like the classes and learn something that helps you, please consider adopting the Charter for Compassion (http://charterforcompassion.org) in your daily life and making a donation to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that is working to make the lives of Haitians better. Visit www.doctorswithoutborders.org to learn more and make a donation.
Are you participating in a Dr. King Service Day event or Haitian Disaster Relief fundraising effort?
Enjoy your week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Healing Love and Light to the people of Haiti,
My cousin and creativity coaching client Sharon Malachi, owner of Miracle with Paws (http://miracleswithpaws.wordpress.com), told me to check out the Diary of A Single Mom, a new web TV show written by screenwriter Cheryl L. West (www.imdb.com/name/nm0921985) and produced by filmmaker Robert Townsend. I fell in love after watching the first episode which featured actress Monica Calhoun who plays Ocean Jackson (don’t you just love the name Ocean!). Ocean is a 27 year old divorced woman and mother of two children. Her father died when she was young and left her mother to raise several children. Her mother suffers from alcoholism. Ocean’s siblings are not self-sufficient and live in her mother’s home. When the series begins, Ocean is struggling to earn her GED and keep her children safe, fed, and educated as she works part-time as the building manager in her apartment building. The first season shows how hard Ocean works to build and maintain her relationships with her neighbors, Lupe and Peggy.
Lupe is one of my personal favorites. She is a 25 year old sassy Latina played by actress Valery Ortiz. Lupe is studying to be a medical assistant and has two children by different fathers. One father is a stand up do right kind of guy. The other father is a dangerous guy. Lupe is attracted to the dangerous guy and does not want to be responsible for her life.
Actress Janis Lynde plays Peggy, a 50 year old white suburban housewife, who has recently lost her husband and daughter and been forced to move into the city with her grandson. Peggy’s husband gambled away their money. She did not have any experience in managing her family finances.
The cast of Diary of a Single Mom includes some of my favorite actors Richard Roundtree and Billy Dee Williams. Valery Ortiz, Nieko Mann, Leon, and Jonathan are also a part of the amazing cast. They work so well together to tell stories we all experience in our own families and lives.