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Phase 2 of Summer Creativity Adventures – Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’ night CD

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Happy Thursday!

Yesterday I began phase two of my 2009 summer creativity adventures with Maxwell’s new CD, BLACKsummers’ night.  Each of the nine tracks has been added to my summer joie de vivre playlist.  So far my favorites are “Pretty WIngs,” “Stop the World,” “Love You,” “Playing Possum,” and “Phoenix Rise.”  

Are you a Maxwell fan?

When did you discover Maxwell?

If yes, what are your favorite Maxwell CDs, songs, and concert moments?

I discovered Maxwell while watching the movie Love Jones (one of my favorite films) in 1997.  All of Maxwell’s CDs are my favorites!  I adore “Til the Cops Come Knockin,” “Sumthin’ Sumthin’: Mellosmoothe,” “This Woman’s Work,” “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” and “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever.”  I could listen to them all day and night long.  My favorite Maxwell concert moment was seeing him perform at the 1997 Essence Music Festival Concert held in New Orleans. He was amazing!  Maxwell’s music also kept me company while I wrote my first novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007 – www.lovestroubadours.com).   

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, and Maxwell Music Love,

Ananda

Ananda in the News – North Dallas Gazette Feature

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Happy Wednesday!

Many thanks to blogger Shawn P. Williams of Dallas South blog (http://dallassouthblog.com) for hipping me to the fact that I was featured in the North Dallas Gazette. Big ups to the North Dallas gazette for giving me a shout out and promoting my new Talkshoe.com program, The Ananda Leeke Show that aired on June 30.  Click here to read the article:  http://northdallasgazette.com/archives/06-18-09_edition.pdf

Enjoy your week!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of My New Book – That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery

Happy Monday!

Today I thought I would share an excerpt from my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery(Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.).   I decided to post the quotes that introduce Chapter 1 and two poems.  Note that I use six-word memoirs (http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords) as chapter titles.  I fell in love with six-word memoirs last year.  They really helped me climb out of a serious writer’s block.  Author Lori Tharp (www.loritharp.com) introduced them to me during a memoir writing workshop held at my church, All Souls Church (www.all-souls.org) in October 2008. 

Let me know what you think about Chapter 1’s six-word memoir title, quotes, and poems.

Enjoy!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

 

Excerpt from That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery(Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.)

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke

Chapter One: Honoring Ancestors. Family. History. Cultural Legacies.

“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people.”  Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, activist, and author

“I feel like the ancestors brought us here and they expect great things.  They expect us to say what we think and live how we feel and follow the hard paths that bring us near joy.” Drew Dellinger, European American poet, teacher, and activist

“Family represents a collection of individuals who are committed and bound together always and forever to provide love and support to one another.”  John F. Leeke, African American educator, organizational development consultant, and entrepreneur

 “I think knowing one’s history leads one to act in a more enlightened fashion.”  John Hope Franklin, African American historian

 “We are deeply, passionately connected to black women whose sense of aesthetics, whose commitment to ongoing creative work, inspires and sustains. We reclaim their history, call their names, state their particulars, to gather and remember to share our inheritance.” bell hooks, African American author, poet, professor, and cultural critic

“Cultural legacies are powerful forces. They have deep roots and long lives. They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.”  Malcolm Gladwell, British-born Canadian author

_____________________________________________________________

Two Poems from Chapter 1

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Me praying to the ancestors at Elmina Slave Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana – December 2003

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Me praying to my female ancestors who were enslaved in the female slave cell located in Elmina Slave Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana – December 2003

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Me standing in front of the Elmina Slave Castle in Cape Coast, Ghana – December 2003

 

POEM #1

Elmina: Homage to the Ancestors

#1

In the middle of the night Spirit woke me and instructed me to do two things.

Cut my locs and go home to sit, pray, release, and renew on holy ground in the midst and comfort of my ancestors.

So the next morning, I made two phone calls.

One to my hairdresser.

The other to my travel agent.

 By the end of that week, my locs were cut.

My head resembled that of a Tibetan monk who had gone four weeks without a shaving.

My travel itinerary was confirmed for Ghana and a day was planned for a visit to Elmina Castle, the holy ground where my ancestors’ spirits reside.

I was going home.

 #2

How can a slave castle built in 1482 by the Portuguese traders as the first European slave trading post in all of sub-Saharan Africa be my holy ground or my home?

How can one of the many slave castles holding horrific memories of the African holocaust called the Maafa, a disaster, a terrible occurrence be sacred space for me?

How can I separate the inhumane acts and suffering of more than 10 million people of African descent who passed through Elmina’s door of no return?

 The answer is two fold – Spirit and Ancestors.

They call me home.

 #3

I came seeking renewal and release.

As I walked through the Castle, looked out into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, and prayed in the dungeons, I heard their voices.

They urged me to give them my burdens.

They lovingly assumed my pain.

They reminded me of Sankofa, the Andinkra symbol that represents learning from your past in order to chart your future.

 They are my past. 

I am their future, grateful and humbled to reap and enjoy the benefits of their love, faith, greatness, strength, humility, and wisdom.

 Because of their living.

Because of their suffering.

Because of their dying.

I am free.

 

 

POEM #2

They Want Me to Hear Their Songs

Inspired by artist Elizabeth Catlett’s I Have Given the World My Songs (1948, linocut).

Their voices are buried deep in my belly. 

When will I let them out?

They want to sing their songs, but I fear their voices may be too loud for me to hear.

They speak to my spirit and remind me that their songs are my legacy.

Yes I know.

Yes I know.

Yes I know.

But I’m not sure I want to hear what happened to my great-great-grandmother Millie Ann Gartin before she was freed.

The rest of my womanline rises up in my gut and demands that I allow them to sing their stories – the good, not so good, and in between. 

They refuse to leave me alone.

I try to run and hide, but they won’t let me escape.

They surround me and begin telling me about the sacrifices they made so I could be free.

Before they disappear, they say a prayer.

“Beloved one, so much has happened. We don’t mean to frighten you, but our stories must be told.  You must tell them. In telling them, you will access wisdom from the way we lived and what we learned from our elders.  Our voices will become your voice.

You will begin to carry our full legacy. It is our gift to you.  We pray that you accept it.

Ase. Amen.”

Ananda Hosts BAP Living Radio on 7/5@ 7pm EST – Black Women Bloggers Share Lessons Learned at the 2009 Blogging While Brown Conference

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) – Jul 03, 2009 – Washington, DC – Author/Artist/Blogger Ananda Leeke will host the fifth episode of BAP Living Radio’s series about Black women in social media on July 5 at 7:00 p.m. The theme is “Lessons Learned from the 2009 Blogging While Brown Conference.” The guest panelists attended the 2009 Blogging While Brown Conference (www.bloggingwhilebrown.com) on June 19 and 20 in Chicago, Illinois. They include :

-Senam Amegashie
http://www.tweetmeblack.com

-April Davis
http://www.blog-aroundharlem.com

-Faith Dow
http://www.actsoffaithinloveandlife.blogspot.com

-Sabrina Miller
http://www.hitmebackblog.blogspot.com

-Telisha Ng
http://goddessintellect.wordpress.com

-Megan Smith
http://www.megansminute.com

-Talia Whyte
www.taliawhyte.com

Visit www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598 to listen to the show.

Leeke will also host the sixth episode of BAP Living Radio’s series about Black women in social media on July 19 at 7:00 p.m. The episode will feature a discussion with attorney mom bloggers Justices Fergie, Jonesie, and Ny about their MamaLaw blog (www.mamalaw.com), MamaLaw Media Group, and Blogalicious(http://www.blogaliciousweekend.com), the first annual conference for women of color bloggers held on October 9 to October 11 in Atlanta, Georgia. Click here to listen to the show: www.talkshoe.com/tc/18598.

BAP Living Radio affirms the lives of women of African descent who self-identify as Black American Princesses (BAPs) and educated Black women (EBW). BAP Living Radio features programs about self-love, self-care, spirituality, health, finances, social media, politics, technology, beauty, fashion, art, music, culture, community service, creativity, fitness, travel, and more.

BAP Living Radio supports the following BAP Living social media projects:

-BAP Living social networking site – http://baplivingforbapsandebw.ning.com

-BAP Living Facebook Group – http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15124364305

Wreck This Journal – Week 4 Update

WTJ

Hi All,

Last Friday marked week four for my Next Chapter Book Blogging Group. We are having a grand time with the book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  Click here to see what my creative sistaloves are doing:   http://tnc-wreckthisjournal.blogspot.com/2009/06/wreck-this-journal-week-4.html.

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This morning I woke up feeling very anxious about a series of changes I am experiencing.  These changes are transforming the landscape of what my current life looks like.  They are pushing me out of the cocoon of a ten-year comfort zone.  Sometimes they scare me.  They show me my fears.  They make me revisit old wounds.  I don’t like them, but they don’t care. They are happening and will continue to happen.  How do I want to respond?  That’s the question I asked myself over and over again before I got out of bed and headed to the yoga mat.  As I came into child’s pose, I asked Creator for guidance and help.  The music of Jai Uttal kept me company.  It seeped into my throat and before long I found myself chanting Sita Ram over and over again. The chanting helped ease some of my anxious feelings.  Feeling more grounded, I began doing a series of 10 sun salutations. At the end, I sat down on my mat and did several rounds of alternate nostril breathing before chanting Sita Ram with my mala beads 108 times. 

When my morning practice was over, I headed back to my bedroom to grab my Wreck This Journal book.  Me and the book walked into the kitchen and sat down at a table filled with magic markers, scissors, gluesticks, and magazine clippings.  I noticed a quote by Dante and decided to paste it on the cover of the book: “Follow your own path and let people talk.”  I wondered what is my path in the midst of change?  Four wisdom phrases emerged:

1) Keep your heart open.

2) Surrender and do not resist.

3) Embrace and enjoy the destruction and release of your old life as an opportunity to actively witness and participate in the transformation process.

4) Give thanks and be grateful for all changes even the ones that make you panic,  scare you into old wounds, and cause you to feel doubts and fears.

Enjoy your week!

Peace, Surrender, Change, Release, Transformation, and Creativity,

Ananda

The Ananda Leeke Show launches on June 30@8pm EST.

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Me and my best brothalove friend/book editor extraordinaire Wayne P. Henry

 

Tune into the very first episode of my new creative baby — The Ananda Leeke Show (http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820) on June 30 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Wayne P. Henry, my best brothalove friend and book editor extraordinaire, will join me for a discussion about my insights on writing my books, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.) and Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (August 2007 – iUniverse, Inc. – www.lovestroubadours.com). Our conversation will explore the hardest and greatest moments in my writing process, 7 lessons I will never forget, and the main reason I choose to write books. Click here to listen to the show:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820If you miss the live recording, don’t panic.  You can download a recording to your computer or iPod after the show has aired. 

More information about Wayne He is a writer and contributor to the book How We Love – Letters to the Next Generation edited by Karyn Langhorne Folan, Wendy Coakley-Thompson, and Tanara E. Bowie.  How We Love is a collection of letters and lessons published by the Capital Bookfest in 2008.   

Click here to watch a YouTube video (2 minutes, 10 seconds) that features me explaining how I prepare to write: www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1v0nMObacY. The video was filmed during the question and answer session of a book launch party for my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com) on November 18, 2007, at Mocha Hut Cafe in Washington, DC.

RIP Michael Jackson – A Major Force of Creative Inspiration in My Life

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Greetings All,

My heart broke open when I heard the news that Michael Jackson made his transition yesterday.  I wasn’t prepared. None of us were.  The shock continues to travel through my spirit, mind, and body.  This is a hard one to take.  Michael and his brothers played such a major role in my childhood, adolescence, college and law school experiences, and adult life.  I feel like I grew up with him.  His music and creativity inspired me to tap into and express my own creativity.  I will miss his presence. 

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Why is Michael special in your life?

What are  your favorite Michael moments and songs?

My favorite songs are “ABC” and “Ben.”  I also love the albums Off the Wall and Thriller. His Thriller videos are incroyable as the French say!  His performance in The Wiz was incredible. 

May Michael’s spirit rest in peace.  May his children, family, friends, and fans remember the beauty of his creative soul.

Peace, Serenity, and MJ Inspired-Creativity,

Ananda

PS: My cousin Lori sent me a link to All MJ Radio, an AOL Radio station dedicated to Michael Jackson.  I am listening to it all day to stay connected to Michael’s creative energy and inspiration.  Click here to listen: http://music.aol.com/radioguide/bb. There are commercials on the radio station. If that bothers you, create a MJ station on Pandora.com – www.pandora.com.

 

Just For Women Manifesto – Poetry Marries Collage

Hi All,

Yesterday I posted a collage with a poem made from magazine clippings.  Some folks have asked for a typed version of the poem. See below. Please share it with others.  Consider making one of your own.  If you do, feel free to post it in the comments section below. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

SB-Manifesto

 

Just for Women Manifesto by Ananda Leeke (based on collage)

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke

 

Practice loving yourself 

Drawn inward take a personal time out.

Age gracefully.

Experience your own divine nature.

Become yourself.

Reserve a day for yourself.

Giggle.

Living your best life.

Share. Serve. Make a difference.

Think the environment is important.

Our roots make us stronger.

Love.

Be more sensuous.

Discover the power to create.

Go ahead … PLAY.

Join the movement.

The Business of Being Ananda Leeke – Part 1

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Narrative: Memories. In Your Own Words, a six-word memoir

collage by Ananda Leeke

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke

Happy Thursday!

Two weeks ago my life coach Yael gave me several homework assignments.  One assignment involved me mapping my goals, priorities, and to do list activities.  Yael said this assignment would give me a picture of what I am doing in my life.  I call it The Business of Being Ananda Leeke.  Yes it is a business being me!  And it is a business building and maintaining the Ananda Leeke brand

This morning I got up early again with more energy.  I made some peppermint tea to keep me company as I sat at my kitchen table journaling about about my goals, priorities, and to do list activities for July, August, September, October, November, and December.   Several key phrases emerged from my journaling:  

  • mission
  • strategy-driven approach
  • reality check-ins  
  • desired outcomes
  • bottom liners
  • satisfaction
  • celebration

“More words … blah … blah … more thinking … more work” is what I thought when I reviewed my writing.  So I put my pen down and walked over to my yoga mat.  After doing a few restorative poses, I moved into my ten sun salutations.  When I finished, I sat on my meditation cushion and did several rounds of alternate nostril breathing.   That really opened my heart.  I took it a step further and grabbed my mala beads for a mantra chanting session that ended with several quiet OMs. 

After my morning yoga, I returned to my kitchen for breakfast.  While eating my oatmeal, I realized that The Business of Being Ananda Leeke  deserves a strategy-driven approach that incorporates my heart and mind.  There must be balance between the two.  A Yin and Yang approach to be-ing me. 

Stay tuned for more updates on The Business of Being Ananda Leeke!

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

PS:  Be sure to tune into the first episode of The Ananda Leeke Show, an online radio program that celebrates creativity in everyday life, on June 30 at 8pm EST on Talkshoe.com.  I will discuss my insights on writing my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery(Summer 2009 Release – iUniverse, Inc.).  Click here to listen to the show:  http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820.  If you miss it, you can listen to a recording several minutes after the show airs.  You can also download the show to your computer or iPod via iTunes.

Summer Wisdom Collage

Happy Wednesday All,

This morning I woke up with a lot of energy. So I made several collages for my Sisterhood, the Blog site and a summer wisdom collage.  The wisdom messages that selected me (that’s right … they selected me) were exactly what I needed.  Check them out below.  Do you have any summer wisdom? 

Peace and Creativity,

Ananda

AKML-personalwisdom

Summer Wisdom collage by Ananda Leeke

Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke.

 

My Summer Wisdom Messages:

1) What I know for sure … love your body!!!!

2) Better health means more energy to do things you want to do.

3) She’s got the power.

4) Change, in all shapes and sizes, can definitely bring out our deepest fears–but it also offers us vital new encounters with the bountiful magic of life.