Celebrate March with Ananda’s events – Free creativity coaching, author chats, yoga, NYC art exhibit & DC Book Reading

Greetings All,

March is about to happen in a few days. Mark your calendars for my upcoming events.  I am participating in a NYC art exhibit on March 11 and having a book talk and signing on March 14 in DC.  Please see the dates below.  Hope you can join me!

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude, and Joyful expectations for a fabulous March,


Ananda’s March Events

1. Celebrate National Women’s History Month on March 4 by tuning into Ananda Leeke Live! from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST for an author talk about the power of the sacred feminine, goddesses, sisterhood, feminism, and womanism in Ananda’s artwork, poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me, and debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One.  She will also discuss her new book project Sisterhood, the Blog: Soundbytes from the 21st Century Woman’s Online Revolutionhttp://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live

2. Listen to Ananda honor International Women’s Day with woman-centered poetry and reflections on March 8 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/anandaleeke

3. Practice online yoga with Ananda for 15 minutes on March 10 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. to honor National Women and Girls HIV/AID Awareness Day. http://stickam.com/anandaleeke

Ananda Leeke’s wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart”

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley (the greatest photographer in the universe! – www.leighmosley.com)

4. Come see Ananda’s wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart” at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s exhibition “Wearing Spirit: Aesthetically Personifying the Feminine in African Sacred Traditions” from March 11 to May 24 in New York City.  The opening reception will be held on March 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Visit www.cccadi.org.

5. Attend an author talk and book signing for Ananda’s new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery on March 14 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Historical Society of Washington, DC,  801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square metro. She will also discuss her debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. Visit www.historydc.org.

6. Calling all creative women!  Join Ananda for a free creative coaching session on March 25 from 9:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EST that explores the nine blocks to women’s creativity. Ananda will use creative coaching exercises in her new book That Which Awaken’s Me to guide the session. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live

7. Take a deep breath and experience Ananda’s free kind and gentle yoga Meetup on March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park in DC. The class will be dedicated to National Women’s History Month, National Women and Girls HIV/AID Day, and National Nutrition Month.  http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

Black women, depression & Ananda’s novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma Book One

Susan L. Taylor

Happy Thursday!

Today, I read Linda Villarosa’s article “When Depression Strikes the Black Superwoman” on TheRoot.com.  It features Susan L. Taylor, former editor-in-chief of Essence (www.essence.com) and founder and CEO of the National Cares Mentoring Movement.

Linda Villarosa

Villarosa writes,

  • The 21st century has been good for many black women who have followed in the footsteps of women like [Susan]Taylor and [Terrie] Williams. Two of the world’s most visible and accomplished women are African American—one in the White House, the other on daytime television. Black women are going to college and starting businesses in record numbers. We’re also hammering away at the glass ceiling and more of us are rising into management positions. And a few, like Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox—and subject of a glowing New York Times profile last week—make it to the very top. But success can come with a price. We’re the first to arrive and the last to leave as we grind through 10-hour work days. We’re the ones everybody relies on—first at work, then after hours during the second shift of home and family time. We work ourselves almost literally “to death” especially now during this economic storm. Or for some of us, we “feel” like we have to continue to be the “superwoman.”
  • Even as our collective accomplishments have bubbled to the surface, the pain is often simmering just below it. Certainly many of us have found happiness and joy in our lives, whether singled or partnered, mothers or not, with or without that high-status, six-figure career. But too many others are lonely, sad or angry—and too proud or too afraid to talk about it.

Here are several key comments Taylor made in the article.

  • “My sadness and depression came out of giving myself to my career before I would give myself to myself… Everything for Essence; nothing for me.”
  • ““I sought help, and everything began to unfold.”
  • “Hiding sadness makes you more and more sad because it closes you off to your healing.”
  • “Giving voice to what you’re feeling is part of the healing.”

These four comments really hit home with me.  They made me think of my own journey and the journey of my main character Karma Francois in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (available on Amazon.com –  http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq).  Karma is a thirtysomething Oakland-born BoHo B.A.P. (Bohemian Black American Princess) with Louisiana roots and urban debutante flair. Love’s Troubadours begins with Karma’s life in an uproar. Her relationships and the museum curator career that she struggled to form in New York City have crumbled, leaving no viable options to rebuild. Relocating to Washington, DC, Karma struggles with denial, depression, and debt. A lack of full-time employment opportunities forces her to craft a gypsy existence as a Jill of Many Trades: yoga teacher, art consultant, and freelance curator at Howard University Gallery of Art. Unable and unwilling to appreciate these jobs as gifts, she wallows in a pool of lost identity-and doesn’t see a way to keep from drowning. When she looks in the mirror, Karma sees a woman whose choices have dishonored her true character. Now, for the first time in her life, Karma must learn to see herself for who she really is.

What do you think about Black women and depression?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Joy, Compassion, Gratitude for healing,


Celebrating Black History Month with Dehejia Maat’s new book of poetry Deep Rooted Soul Sista Poems

Greetings All,

My sistalove friend Dehejia Maat is a multitalented woman.  She shares her gifts as an actress, artist, poet, singer, yoga teacher, mother, and spirit woman. She recently published Deep Rooted Soul Sista Poems.  Her book is available on Amazon.com:  http://bit.ly/aNbzkt.

Guess what? Dehejia also released a fantastic CD entitled Melanin Wine (Earth Mix) which is available on Amazon.com: http://bit.ly/couuRI.

Dehejia currently serves as the theater director for the Dragon Box Theater in D.C. She established the No Goddess Left Behind writers workshop.  Her current projects include The Joy of Billie Holiday (an original one woman show) and The Yes That Leads to Infinity (her second book of poetry).  Click here to learn more about Dehejia and her creativity: www.dehejiamaat.com.

Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dehejiamaat.

You can also join her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dehejia.maat.

Check out her YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/dehejiamaat.

Here are some of my favorite YouTube videos featuring Dehejia.  Enjoy!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for the creative spirit of Dehejia Maat,


Open your heart with my kg yoga life practices show on MomTV today!

Greetings All,

Open your heart this week by taking my kg yoga life practices class on MomTV. This morning I pre-recorded today’s show. The theme is opening your heart with love (prema in Sanskrit) and compassion (karuna in Sanskrit). Click here to watch the show (approximately 24 minutes): http://stickam.com/m0mtv78.

Be sure to join me on March 17 at 8:00 p.m. for the next kg yoga life practices class on MomTV: http://stickam.com/m0mtv78.

May you have a fabulous day opening your heart to the love and compassion inside of yourself! Dwell in it all day long. Tomorrow pass it on to someone else!

OM Love OM!

OM Compassion OM!

Peace, Creativity, Love, Compassion, and Gratitude for an open heart,


Listen to Ananda share the lessons she learned during her morning training session for More Magazine’s Half-Marathon in April

Happy Tuesday!

Great news! I returned to my training for More Magazine’s half-marathon on April 25 in New York City: www.more.com/2029/10135-more-fitness-women-s-half-marathon-2010. Listen to my audio blog on Cinchcast below and discover the lessons I learned during my morning run. Let me know what you think.

What lessons are you learning today?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for my body, mind, heart, spirit, and breath (the things I need to complete my half-marathon!),


PS: I decided to do the run/walk half-marathon.  Here’s the plan: http://www.more.com/2029/2874-half-marathon-walk-run–week-3.

Celebrating E. Ethelbert Miller, One of My Favorite African American Poets

E. Ethelbert Miller

Greetings All,

Today I am celebrating poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller, the “godfather of poetry” in D.C.  I met Ethelbert in the early 90s at Howard University’s Afro-American Studies Resource Center.  Ethelbert has been the Director of the Center since its inception in 1974.  During our first meeting, Ethelbert became my literary mentor and brothalove friend.  Since then, Ethelbert has played a major role in my literary work.  That’s why I had to write a poem about him for my new book That Which Awakens Me (available on Amazon.com – http://tiny.cc/7uFsg).  See the poem below. By the way, I call Ethelbert “E-bert.”

To learn more about E-bert, visit his web site –  www.eethelbertmiller.com and blog – http://eethelbertmiller1.blogspot.com.

FYI – Yesterday, Ethelbert sent me a Twitter message about his February 11th interview on NPR’s Speaking of Faith.  The show’s theme is “Black and Universal.” It is rich and juicy!  I think the interview will give you an opportunity to really learn about Ethelbert is as a person and how he thinks.  Click here to listen to the interview:  http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2010/black-and-universal.


Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for E-bert’s Passion for Poetry and Black folks,


Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke


Inspired by E. Ethelbert Miller’s City as Memory: Lyrical City
Writing Workshop held at Busboys and Poets on May 3, 2009.


Toni told me I had to go and meet Ethelbert if I wanted to
take my poetry to the next level.

Every couple of weeks, she reiterated her recommendation.

Before I made the call, I walked to Vertigo Books on Dupont
Circle and read some of Ethelbert’s poetry.

His words felt like jazz improvisation that could easily be
featured on one of WPFW’s radio shows.

It teased me to the point of curiosity.

So I took the plunge and called Ethelbert.

The first thing I noticed when he answered the phone was a
genuine kindness in his voice.

My ears heard the welcoming tone of a long lost friend.

Hints of New York City appeared in the middle of his soft
spoken sentences.

The rhythm of his conversation opened my heart and invited
me in.


My first visit with Ethelbert happened on a sunny day.

I think it was springtime in 1994.

I had just published my second chap book of poetry and was
rather proud.

We met in his office located in Founders Library on the campus
of Howard University.

His desk was filled with paper and books.

I think we might have even had some tea.

Our conversation was just that … a conversation.

It included shared interests, questions, stories, laughter, pauses,
and comfortable silences.

It traveled down Georgia Avenue, waved at the Wonder Bread
Factory, found itself on 4th Street, got dizzy going around
Anna J. Cooper Circle, and came all the way back up to
Georgia Avenue before parking itself in front of the School of

Before I left, I mustered the courage to ask him to review my

His smile offered a generous grin as he extended his hand to
receive a copy of my lavender chap book of poetry.

We hugged and agreed to meet again.

That afternoon as I walked across Howard’s campus to Soul
Vegetarian Café, I realized I had just received my first taste of
Ethelbert’s mind and humor.

And it was delicious.


Ethelbert left me a message on my answering machine.

It was the kind you wanted to keep forever.

It started with one of his trademark phrases, at least the ones
he used with me.

“Hey Love. This is Ethelbert. I read your work and would like to
talk with you about it.”

I quickly called him back and scheduled an appointment.

This meeting was different from the last one.

I can’t remember what the weather was like, how his office
looked, or whether we had tea.

All I can remember is he talked and I barely listened.

When he opened my chapbook and attempted to review each
poem, I could only focus on the red pen marks that decorated
most of the pages.

Although Ethelbert was kind in his delivery, I was naïve and
unprepared to receive his comments and suggestions as the
D.C. godfather of poetry.

They stung me and left an open wound.

If I had been by myself I probably would have started singing
the blues like Billie Holiday about how my creative heart lost
its virginity before it is was ready.


It took me a minute to digest and accept Ethelbert’s comments
and suggestions.

I purposely stayed away from his delicious mind and humor
for months.

They were a dangerous combination.

At one point, I felt comfortable calling him to say hello, but
when he asked me what I was working on, I gave him a vague
response because I didn’t want him to know about or review
my work ever again.

One day I found the courage to read Ethelbert’s feedback.

It forced me to unpeel layers of myself and dig a little deeper
to find my own voice.


I was at work early one morning.

From my office window, I could see autumn leaves falling
from trees in Dupont Circle Park.

D.C. traffic was moving at its normal pace.

It kept me company as I logged onto my computer.

My AOL account announced loudly, ”You’ve got mail!”

It was a message from emiller698@aol.com.

By this time, Ethelbert had become E-bert in my world.

My eyebrows raised themselves up and past my forehead as I
read his request for a poem that would be included in a poetry
anthology he was editing for Black Classic Press.

As I sipped green tea from my Starbucks cup, I wondered,
“Why did he write me?”

Maybe he made a mistake.

Turns out it was no mistake.

E-bert wanted an original poem by moi.

My creative heart was no longer naïve.

So I sent one I had just written about my grandfather dying
with no expectation of publication.

When E-bert wrote back and said my poem was fine, I couldn’t
believe my eyes.

I called him to make sure he was really serious.

Something happened inside me when I heard him say, “Hey
love, your work is beautiful. Keep writing.”

It took me a few years to figure it out.

It was an act of someone noticing my maturation as a writer
who travels inside herself daily to fi nd her voice in each
subsequent moment.

It was a gift my creative heart needed to receive.

And one only E-bert could give.

Open your heart by watching Ananda’s 2/12 online yoga class for computer users

Hi All,

Give yourself the gift of love by taking 15 minutes to watch my yoga class video that explores the power of opening your heart.  It includes kind and gentle yoga poses that you can do while sitting in a chair or in your bed.  Click here to watch the video: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke.

FYI – My yoga class honors women’s heart health month (celebrated in February) and the people of Haiti.  If you learned something from the class, please consider making a donation to Doctors Without Borders to support their work in Haiti: www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

I am teaching two more online yoga classes on February 19 and 26 at 7:00 a.m. EST: http://stickam.com/anandaleeke. I hope you can join me for the classes.

Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Love OMs,


Watch video of Ananda’s 2/11 creativity coaching session on how to use six-word memoirs to discover who you are in the present moment and creative process

Greetings All,

Check out the video of my creativity coaching session (15 minutes) that aired on Ananda Leeke Live! UStream.tv on February 11:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4654453.  It discusses how to use six-word memoirs to discover who you are in the present moment and creative process.  During the show, I give an overview of six-word memoirs. For more information about six-word memoirs and Smith Magazine (folks who created the six-word memoir movement), visit www.smithmag.net/sixwords.

Writing exercises 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) are included. So get your pen and paper ready! Let me know if they helped you.

FYI – I am hosting another creativity coaching session on what creativity looks like in your life on February 25 at 9:00 p.m. EST on Ananda Leeke Live!: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ananda-leeke-live.

I hope you can join me for the live class. If you miss it, don’t fret.  You can watch a video recording of it.

Enjoy your weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Enthusiasm for Writing Six-Word Memoirs,


Ananda Celebrates Love Day w/ a poem & video from her new book That Which Awakens Me

Happy Friday! Happy Early Valentine’s Day!  Happy Love Day Every Day!

I thought you might like to read a poem about love 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).  See below.  I have also included a video of me reading the poem. Let me know what you think of the poem.

What does love mean to you?

Enjoy your day and weekend!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for love in all of its beauty,


Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke.

The Word

In the beginning was the word.
And the word was a seed called a thought rooted in Spirit.

In the beginning was the word.
And the word that we were given from Spirit was choice.

In the beginning was the word.
And the words that we choose each moment create energy,
meaning, and power in how we experience ourselves, each
other, and the world around us.

As we think and speak, we become a vessel of spiritual,
emotional, physical, silent, verbal, and written expression.

Our thoughts and words have lives of their own.

They tell our life stories out loud.

They stamp the universe with our vibratory signature.

Our vibration finds its way into the universe and dances to the
beat of beautiful music or noisy disturbance.

If we are mindful and aware, we can choose to allow our
vibration to create love, peace, light, beauty, joy, healing,
happiness, laughter, and abundance.

If we are unconscious or ego-tripping, we run the risk of
making a choice that will add more emotional, spiritual, and
physical violence in the universe.

The question we must ask is: what do we want the beginning
of each moment to look and feel like?

My answer is L-O-V-E.