Mindful Kwanzaa Reflection

Happy Kwanzaa! In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa as a reflective holiday that invites African Americans to celebrate their African heritage and support and strengthen their community. Kwanzaa reminds us how important it is to call on our ancestors and honor their legacy each day.

Umoja or unity is the first Kwanzaa principle. It reminds us to mindfully practice and express unity in our spirit, heart, mind, body, actions, family, and community. My yoga, meditation, and reiki practices support my practice of umoja. What supports your practice of umoja?

Kwanzaa allows me to be still and reconnect with my ancestors. They are always with me. They help me mindfully practice Kujichagulia, the principle of self-determination. When I tap into their presence, I strengthen myself from the inside out. Because of their love, wisdom, and sacrifice, I can BE my full self, live FREE, and speak my TRUTH with grace and ease. Deep bow of gratitude for their self-determination. It created me. Ase!

What does kujichagulia mean to you?

What are your favorite Kwanzaa principles?

How do you practice Kwanzaa?




Me and my father “J” John F. Leeke at the 13th annual Leeke Family Kwanzaa Celebration


Greetings All.

Here’s a photo of my dad John affectionately known as “J” in my world at the Leeke Family Kwanzaa celebration held on December 26, 2009. Our 2009 theme was Umoja (unity). Many thanks to my mom Tee Leeke for taking the photo. We had a great time planning and facilitating our family Kwanzaa celebration. It’s something we both love to do.


Peace. Creativity, Joy, and Umoja (unity the 1st Kwanzaa principle),


Happy New Year! Happy 7th day of Kwanzaa – Imani (faith)!

Greetings All!

Happy New Year! Happy 7th day of Kwanzaa! 

Today we are celebrating Imani, a Swahili word that means faith. Click on the Cinchcast below to hear my reflections about Imani and an excerpt from my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (2007 – www.lovestroubadours.com – availble on Amazon.com – http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq). The Love’s Troubadours’ excerpt features a scene from the main character Karma Francois’ family Kwanzaa event which celebrates Imani.  Enjoy!

Peace, Creativity, Faith, Compassion, Gratitude, and Joy,


Ananda’s reflection on Kuumba (creativity), the 6th day of Kwanzaa

Greetings All!

Happy New Year’s Eve!  Happy Kuumba (Creativity), the 6th day of Kwanzaa!

What does creativity mean to you?

How have you been creative in 2009?

What are your creative plans for 2010?

Click on my Cinchcast below to hear my reflection on Kuumba and an excerpt about creativity 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).  I also mention the way African Americans are using their creativity and social media tools (Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, etc.) to tell their stories on web TV shows such as my new five favorites: “Anacostia”, “Buppies”, “Kindred”, “The New 20s”, and “Wed-Locked.”  All of these shows represent a new wave of artistic freedom in 21st century visual culture.  They celebrate the independence of creative folks who are willing to tell a wide range of stories that document the many facets of African American life.  For me, they echo one of my favorite mantras: Black folks are NOT and will never be monolothic!  They also  remind me of my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com ; available on Amazon.com –  http://tinyurl.com/yfxtqyq) are also sources of inspiration for my next novel, Love’s Trouabadours – Symon: Book Two. 

Enjoy your day and New Year’s Eve!  Many blessings to you and your family in 2010! 

Peace, Compassion, and Creativity,


Ananda’s Reflection on Nia (purpose), the 5th Day of Kwanzaa

Greetings All,

Today is the fifth day of Kwanzaa. We celebrate Nia, the Swahili word for purpose.  Listen to my reflection on Nia  below.

What is your definition of purpose?

What was your purpose for 2009?

What is your purpose for 2010?

In 2009, my purpose was centered in my intention to take better care of myself.  My practice of self-care elegantly unfolded into a commitment to be kind and gentle with myself. Compassion was the elixir that fueled my kind and gentle self-care practice.  As a result, I was able to incorporate more kindness, gentleness, and compassion into my creative/yoga/Reiki healing touch/social media work, service efforts, and interactions with others.

In 2010, my purpose is to deepen my commitment to practice and promote compassion in my creative/yoga/Reiki healing touch/social media work, service efforts, and interactions with others.  I have adopted the Charter for Compassion, a global campaign created by British author Karen Armstrong (launched on November 12, 2009), as a guide for healthy, mindful, and balanced living.  In the coming months, I will mindfully weave the Charter for Compassion’s goals into my creative/yoga/Reiki healing touch/social media work, service efforts, and interactions with others.  To learn more about the Charter for Compassion, watch the video below.

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Purpose, and Compassion,


Happy 4th Day of Kwanzaa – Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics

Greetings All!

Today is the fourth day of Kwanzaa.  Ujamaa is the principle we celebrate today. It means cooperative economics.  Click on the Cinchcast Player below to hear my thoughts.

I encourage you to practice Ujamaa by supporting indie authors like myself and artists such as Eric Roberson – www.ericrobersonmusic.com.  What does cooperative economics mean to you?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Joy, Creativity, Gratitude, Compassion, Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, and Cooperative Economics,


Happy 3rd Day of Kwanzaa – Ujima (collective work & responsibility)

Habari Ghani!  Ujima!

Today is the third day of Kwanzaa.  Ujima is a Swahili word for collective work and responsibility. For me, ujima means coming together to serve and work for my community’s highest and greatest good.  I contribute my gifts and skills as service.  When I join with others in the spirit of unity – umoja and compassion, I am able to promote and create the reality of collective work and responsibility.

What does ujima mean to you?

Enjoy your day and week!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, Gratitude, Unity, Self-Determination, and Collective Work & Responsibility,