This morning I went walking … speed walking. During my walk, I thought about the sacrifices Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made for so many of us. When I returned from my walk, I read Nikki Giovanni’s poem “The Funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.” Giovanni wrote the poem on April 9, 1968. Click on the Cinchcast audio blog to hear me read the poem. I also read my poem “The Word” from my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery.
What is your favorite word?
Here are six of my favorite words: Poetry. Jazz. Earth. Soul stories unfold.
Enjoy your day and week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Dr. King and his teachings on love,
I started my morning with poetry about intention and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Listen to my audio blog below that celebrates U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan’s poem “Intention” and my poem “1968/2008” about my family on Easter Sunday in 1968. My poem comes from my new book That Which Awakens Me. Enjoy!
Do you have a six-word memoir that expresses how you feel today? Here’s mine: Poetry. Jazz. Earth. Resurrect my soul.
How did you celebrate Easter?
Have a great week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for poets like Kay Ryan and leaders like Dr. King,
In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I would share several videos featuring my brothalove poet Tim’m West. Tim’m is an amazing creative soul. He has been a major inspiration in my work. I wrote about Tim’m in my new book That Which Awakens Me. Check out the videos below featuring Tim’m and me reading a poem about Tim’m. Enjoy!
Do you have a six-word memoir for today? Mine is Poetry.Jazz.Earth. Baptize me today.
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for poetical souls like Tim’m,
My social media sistalove Faith Dow, founder of Acts of Faith blog, interviewed me this morning via Skype and Cinchcast. We talked about how I use social media to support my books That Which Awakens Me and Love’s Troubadours, and business. Faith also asked me about my writing process and career transition from attory to author. She gave me a new title to marinate on: lifestyle guru. I like the sound of it. What do you think? To learn more, click on the Cinchcast audio blog below. Enjoy!
Be sure to follow Faith on Twitter: http://twitter.com/actsoffaithblog. She is an amazing lady who serves as an editor, media critic, social justice advocate, and creative professional who uses technology and social media to empower women and children.
Have a great weekend!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for social media sisterhood connections,
I started my morning with yoga, meditation, and Reiki. My sun salutation practice was truly juicy. I listened to jazz musician Duke Ellington’sBlack, Brown and Beige CD, a jazzsymphony written for his first concert at Carnegie Hall, on January 23, 1943. I discuss Black, Brown and Beige in my debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One. His composition “Come Sunday” featuring Mahalia Jackson plays a key role. Click on the YouTube video below to listen to a part of the CD. It is one of my favorites!
Did you know Ellington’s full name was Edward Kennedy Ellington? He was born on April 29, 1899 to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Kennedy Ellington in Washington, DC. He lived a long, creative, and fulfilling life as a pianist, composer, and band leader. FYI He led his band from 1923 until his death on May 24, 1974.
Calling all creative women! Join me 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. I will use creative coaching exercises in my new book That Which Awaken’s Meto guide the session. Click here to watch the live show. If you miss it, don’t fret. You can watch a video recording. Just visit the web site for Ananda Leeke Live! on UStream.tv.
If you are in DC this weekend, consider taking my free kind and gentle yoga class on March 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park. Click here for more details. The class will be dedicated to National Women’s History Month, National Women and Girls HIV/AID Day, and National Nutrition Month. I will also share an excerpt from That Which Awakens Me during the meditation part of the class.
This morning I went walking in my neighborhood. During my walk, I thought about creative women who inspire me. So I recorded an audio blog when I returned home that includes my poem “21 Drops of Inspiration in My Creative Bucket.” It celebrates creative women such as Toni Blackman, Tanekeya Word, Sonya Clark, Jade Andwele, and Amber Robles-Gordon. The poem is featured in my new book That Which Awakens Me(available on Amazon.com). Click on the Cinchcast below to hear the poem. Enjoy!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for creative women who inspire me,
This morning I woke up with one question. Who lives inside of me? It made me think of the word archetype, a term coined by SwisspsychiatristCarl Jung. Archetype refers to the various personalities that live inside of individuals.
In my opinion, archetypes are windows of self-discovery. They invite me to explore, embrace, and accept myself. They bring me closer to myself in ways that allow all of my personalities to serve my highest and greatest good. That’s why I have to take the time to identify, nurture, and welcome them into my life. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as team players who use their strengths and share their gifts with one goal in mind: healthy living. I promise them I will listen to what they have to say. I reassure them I won’t pick favorites or judge their commentary, creativity, communication style, criticism, and concerns. I try to honor their presence with gratitude daily. I do my best to accept and bless who they are because without my chosen eight I would be lost (they are featured in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery – http://amzn.to/4GKXiZ – available on Amazon.com).
So you might be wondering who are my chosen eight? Let me introduce you to the main women in my life.
Ancestor is my wise woman and griot a/k/a storyteller. Her presence greets me every day I look in the mirror. She reminds me to embrace the beauty and complexity of my African, Native American, and European heritages. Ancestor tells me stories that connect the meaning of my life to my family’s past. She calls me to surrender my ego and live from center in the present moment. Her voice convinces me to open my heart daily so I can love and forgive myself and others freely and easily. Her words inspire me to use my gifts of creativity to transform my life and the world in positive ways. When I listen, Ancestor responds, “Well done my child, well done! Now go out and serve with an open heart.”
Ananda is my spirit woman and metta (loving kindness) mother. Each day she helps me turn within to dedicate my mind to meditation and baptize my body with yoga and Reiki healing touch. Her mission is to connect me with the oneness of humanity from the inside out. Ananda nurtures me as only a mother can. I feel her warmth, metta kindness, and unconditional love. She is faithful and loyal, caring and comforting, honest and present. When I doubt myself and act smaller than I really am, she reassures me everything is going to be alright. Ananda tells me over and over again what abolitionist Harriet Tubman said: “You have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.”
Kiamsha is my creative woman. In the dead of my life’s winter, she emerged from a womb that was tired of giving stillbirths filled with lawyer dreams. Her presence taught me how to move forward by trusting my intuition. Kiamsha helped me plant healing seeds from a portfolio of sacred practices, vegetarianism, go green living principles, creative expression, and the healing arts. We nurtured these seeds with loving and kind words. They bloomed in the company of the sacred feminine and laid the foundation for my current life as an artist, poet, and writer.
Madelyn is my CEO woman. When she walks into a room, her five foot one inch stature translates into epic proportions. If you miss her cat walk entrance, then check out her business card. It is smooth and clean, and has one message: Madelyn C. Leeke is a lawyer, capitalist, opportunist, brazen careerist, and CEO. Her presence disturbs some folks. Others long to know what she is all about. She isn’t concerned what people think, but she knows how to play society’s games. Madelyn represents herself well. Socially adept, she makes full use of her intelligence, beauty, and Black American Princess pedigree. She walks with a determined ladylike grace. Madelyn executes without error. Her persona is best described as aggressive, authoritarian, action-oriented, rational thinking, and analytical. Her concept of power is rooted in protection against the vulnerabilities of her identity as a woman with brown skin. That’s why she wears the red Mardi Gras mask to keep unwanted folks out.The problem is that she cages herself in. This fierce femme lives to achieve money, status, and security at all costs. Her playbook on life strategies comes from years of studying chess, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. Girlfriend has mastered the art of becoming her own Princessa. However, she prefers the title Empress.
Cheryl is my balanced woman. She is a cosmopolitan, savvy, well-dressed smooth operator, quietly jetting in and out of complex situations with the grace and ease of a diplomatic ambassador. Her nickname is “Switzerland” because she doesn’t pick sides. Her job is to negotiate, mediate, and create harmony and balance. How does she do it? It starts with a prayer and ends with her listening to all parties involved with an open heart. Her intention is to seek the highest good. So she doesn’t rely on her own counsel. Cheryl takes it to a higher source and delivers a truth that can be heard by all.
Sapphire is my warrior woman. She is a sexy goddess of destruction who never leaves home without her Russian Red MAC lipglass. Sapphire is a dangerous thinker and confident executor. She is also the daughter of three powerful goddesses: Oya, Kali, and Durga. Folks think she is a striking fashionista with minimalist taste! She struts her stuff in a strapless jumpsuit with black strappy sandals courtesy of Franco Sarto. Doesn’t she look like she is ready for a night of salsa dancing in Habana, Cuba? Oh and it’s true. She is ready cuz’ that’s what she wore on her 2004 summer mission to Habana spelled with a “b” instead of a “v.” Girlfriend speaks Spanish, French, and English. Did you know she travels extensively on secret missions? The red and gold Chinese dragon shawl draped on her shoulders was purchased during one of her mission impossible trips to Beijing, China during the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. Go on and say it. She is a bad mutha-shut-your-mouth kinda gal. This woman navigates multidimensional landscapes with great ease. She communicates directly and cusses like a sailor when it is necessary. But don’t get it twisted Sapphire is a lady. Her black Mardi Gras mask from the Crescent City creates an air of mystery and protects her identity just in case the business she decides to handle proves to be a bit risky. Some folks say that she is a comic book character. She’s real. Believe it. Call her name in the midnight hour on any full moon Monday and she will appear out of nowhere. Be sure to greet her properly by kissing her hand and bringing her gifts like a Godiva chocolate martini and twelve long-stemmed yellow and red roses to match her dragon woman shawl. Do this and she might be your ally for a minute or an hour. She will hold tight, offer peace, and mimic a diplomatic ambassador with urban debutante social etiquette as she strategically befriends you until something goes down. And if and when something messy and dangerous goes down that you provoked, run for your life! She takes no prisoners.
Broomhilda is my inner critic. Broomhilda is a recluse. She ain’t got no friends or fashion sense. That’s why she wears glasses that hang off her face with a plum velour running suit and winter hat all year long. She is only concerned about criticizing my choices. Her main focus is the almighty dollar. When I do things that don’t produce the kind of income she thinks I should have, she nags me into the next century. Her whining is nonstop. She always starts each sentence with why. I try my best to ignore her criticism, but every once in a while she raises a valid point that stops me in my tracks and causes me to rethink my position. I hate to admit it, but that’s when she can be an asset. Just don’t tell her I told you so.
Puf is my girl child. She is a Bohemian Black American Princess with a contagious smile. Step to her and dig her mad cool crazy vibe. Inhale the scent of lavender sprinkled on her reddish-brown locs. She loves to wear jeans and boots. Dig her casual chic fashion courtesy of her favorite U Street boutique, Trade Secrets, summer boutique discovery, Bombay Gal, on Sweet Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, and a vintage shopping spree at London’s Camden Market. Turn away for a second. Now look at her clearly. She epitomizes the essence of an urban debutante with sorority membership and two degrees from historically Black colleges and universities. She rocks without any fear cuz’ she’s a daddy’s girl and cultured southern belle to the core. Back in da’ day, her attraction for the good things in life extended to chocolate martinis and men from Morehouse College, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and New York City. Nowadays her geographic territory for male companionship encompasses folks from every shade of the rainbow that have forgiving and kind hearts, open minds, easy-going and nurturing dispositions, centered and peaceful spirits, intellectual curiosity, a commitment to serving their communities, respect for women as equal partners, a passion for culture and the arts, positive attitudes, great communications skills, and emotional availability. She is still the life of every party. Her mantra is let the good times roll. Dancing salsa and traveling are her favorite pastimes. Traveling gives her time to read books and listen to music on her iPod. Music helps her breathe. It inspires her to go with the flow as she moves through the present moment and into her next adventure. She is the best thing since sweet iced tea!
Now that you have met my peeps, consider who lives inside of you.
How many peeps do you have?
What are their names?
What roles do they play in your life?
If they are free next week, maybe my peeps can connect with yours on Facebook and exchange tweets!
Enjoy your weekend!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for my chosen eight,
My book talk and signing for my poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me was held yesterday at the Historical Society of Washington, DC. It was a lot of fun and a HUGE success!!!! Many thanks to my sistalove Karen Sallis for organizing the event with Rosemary Reed and the Society’s staff! Big thanks to everyone who attended the event!!!!
If you missed the event, watch the videos below. More videos will be posted in the coming days.