Developing and Recognizing Your Own Principles that will lead to Self-Improvement and Healing
After the research, What Happens Next?
After a few weeks of allowing the words I had written to rest in a notebook, I finally decided to type away and brought the post to life. Usually, I felt a sense of accomplishment after writing and finishing a blog post. The post focused on how I did extensive research about the principles of Kwanzaa and decided to actively participate in the holiday last year. However, this time was different. Right before deciding to publish this post, I felt it was essential to do additional research about the founder of Kwanzaa, Dr. Maulana Karenga. During my research I learned in 1971 he was convicted of torturing two women and the actions were dehumanizing and brutal. Later, Dr. Karenga was released from prison by 1975. People had campaigned for his release by writing letters that were sent to state officials (www.dailycaller.com/2017/12/24/reminder-kwanzaa-was-concocted-by-a-deranged-felon-who-tortured-naked-women-with-a-karate-baton-and-a-toaster).
After reading about this newfound information that others might have been aware of, I sat at my desk in a complete daze. It was Friday, January 18, 2019 at 12 am in the morning, and I was unable to move. I wasn’t confident about publishing the post anymore. Everything around me was a blur. I knew I needed to rest, because I had to prepare for work in a few hours. However, I couldn’t. Since December 26, 2018, not only had I completed research about Kwanzaa’s principles, but I had recently participated in self-reflection exercises that helped me evaluate my life over the past 25 years. I had a multitude of questions that were dancing in the air. Each question lingered off beat because I was trying to become in tuned with myself. First, I asked what about Kwanzaa, because the principles were deep and what I had learned wanted me to invest more in my community. At the same time did this newfound information change my views about the seven-day celebration and its principles, because of the founder’s past? It is ironic because, this question led me directly to a recently published article in the Los Angles Times entitled, The dark side of Kwanzaa’s founder can’t extinguish the holiday’s beacon (www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-griffin-kwanzaa-20181223-story.html). After reading the article, I thanked the writer Chante Griffin even though she couldn’t hear me. I promise you she must have heard my thoughts, because it expressed how I felt at that moment. Though the author indicated she didn’t celebrate Kwanzaa last year, I had already celebrated the holiday before reading the articles and was still indecisive about the holiday’s future for myself.
Self-Reflection Should Lead You to Self-Correction
It was amazing how time was racing and it was getting closer to Friday morning, because each minute was slowly passing me by. This blogger girl was going to be exhausted for work the next day. I couldn’t feel the pace of my heartbeat. My whole body was heavy. So, I asked myself the most important question. What about the person I was and the person I had evolved into? If people knew about all my faults, destructive behavior, failures, how I disappointed others, or my selfish actions that caused hurt and havoc, would that stop family and friends from loving me unconditionally? Would they want to stop reading my blog, follow my You Tube channel, support my events, or believe in my visions? So, I just sat there at my desk staring at the computer waiting for it to give me the answers I needed to move forward, to post this article, and most importantly to continue healing.
Though I can’t change the past, I can share what I learned while celebrating Kwanzaa and from the self-reflection exercises, I indulged myself in. First, I realized that if you are sincere about becoming a better individual you must look within yourself and commit to find the tools to teach you how to heal. Some of those tools are prayer, meditation, counseling, and connecting with people who have a positive outlook on life. Secondly, though we can learn and adapt principles from others we need to go beyond that. We must develop and recognize our own principles that will improve ourselves and lead us to self-healing. This is imperative if we want to have healthier homes and communities. Third, if you have strong leaders or ancestors in your life that have taught you principles about choosing what is right from wrong then don’t stray away from them. My family taught me numerous principles about life, and ensured I was spiritually rooted and grounded. However, I am the one who drifted away from what I was taught. I can’t blame anyone, but myself. Don’t let others allow you to compromise your character for selfish gratification. Fourth, learn from your past because it can shape you into becoming a better person for your future. So, now a few days later I have a revised version of my written post. I finally decided to press send.
Learning about the principles of Kwanzaa and the importance of self-reflection
Kwanzaa Display at the Charles H. Wright Museum with Kinara Holder representing the Seven Principles: Black represents the People / Red represents the Struggle / Green represents the Hope and Future that ultimately comes from the Struggle
It was another year of habit. In the past, I had carelessly practiced the protocols of an annual celebration out of habit instead of honoring the ritual for internal growth. Christmas was officially over and the spirit of Kwanzaa was slowly drifting in the air. “Happy Kwanzaa,” but the celebration for me ended before it even began. I sat down and decided to evaluate the seven principles which were; Umoja – Unity, Kujichagulia – Self-Determination, Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa – Collective Economics, Nia – Purpose, Kuumba -Creativity, and Imani – Faith. I also, decided to participate in self-reflection exercises that would help me develop my character and strengthen my own principles. It was important for me to confront my character because it needed an awakening about the principles I was taught in my life. My family had done a phenomenal job raising me, but it was I who had failed over the years. It was time to develop my own principles while not taking away from what I had learned as a child. It was time for self-improvement. It was time for healing.
Celebrating creativity in the community
Left Picture: Host Momma Sol / Picture Above Performances by Shizzmane and Band The Zoo / Picture Below Performances by Michael Elliot and The Experience
I allowed my brain to become an empty vessel that was ready to learn about Kwanzaa and developing my own principles that could enhance myself, and surroundings. In 2019, my purpose was to enrich the lives of myself, children, and my city. Each day of Kwanzaa, I spoke the contents of every principle in the atmosphere. In addition, I shared my personal principles and stories with my children in hopes they were retaining facts, and life lessons like a search engine on the world wide web. By the sixth day of Kwanzaa, I was determined to take my children and nephew visiting from Georgia to the Charles H. Wright Museum to celebrate Kuumba in the community. This day represented Creativity. Yes, I was excited, because Creativity could really be an eccentric girl like me from the D middle name. The evening included an event hosted by Momma Sol who performed meaningful lyrics that educated the Soul. In addition, performances were given by Malcolm Elliot and The Experience and The Zoo featuring Shizzmane. It was enlightening to hear the vibes of young local talent who graced the stage with originality and positive vibes that grasped every creative fiber in my DNA.
From Left to Right My Nephew, Son, Self, and Daughter at the Charles H. Wright Museum
The most memorable aspect of this day of creativity occurred when my 15-year-old nephew who stands over 6’3 admitted he was hesitant about attending the event. He stated, “I am glad I went today. The music was good and I will have something to listen to on the way home.” He asked the performers for their info so he could download their tunes on Sound Cloud which is another lesson someone needs to school me on. While driving home my nephew made a profound statement that overwhelmed my spirit with joy which was, “I learned to believe in myself and to follow my dreams.” He then proceeded to inform me about his future endeavors. Let me tell every individual reading this post that Chellyz almost dropped a heart full of tears, but instead I gleamed with smiles of contentment.
Welcoming Faith While Living Life
Finally, I approached the last day of Kwanzaa, Tuesday, January 1, 2019, with anticipation. I said “Hello” to Imani which stood for Faith. What a way to bring in the new year with one of the most challenging yet prominent principles we face in our daily lives as it relates to having faith for providing peace and comfort in our homes, working a nine to five, raising children, building a business or career, paying the bills, developing and finishing projects, maintaining relationships, exercising our spirituality and understanding the checks and balances with our physical and mental health. Phew, and that is probably not half of the battles we face in this lifetime. Yes, I greeted the principle with arms outstretched and decided it was time to have the Faith to succeed, to build, to grow, to learn, to overcome and to soar to greater heights in Life.
One of my personal principles I decided to concentrate on in 2019 was self-healing. Also, implementing peace would be a guiding principle in my life. I am finding the tools to exert peace to help demolish unwanted battles, depression, or self-distrust that could lead to my self-destruction. Though it is difficult, I know it is time to keep evolving into a better individual, move beyond my faults, and accept the good the universe and the Holy Spirit is offering to me.
Do You Stand Behind the Principles, Proverbs, or Proclamations You State?
What principles, proverbs or proclamations are you standing by in 2019 and refuse to walk away from? When you state, “It takes a Village” will you contribute, rebuild, and restore to the sustainability of the community? When you chant, “Stop the Violence” will you show up for a local peace rally? When you state, “I’m Blessed and Highly Favored” will you walk in Faith and not place all your focus on doubt? When you shout, “I am My Brother’s or Sister’s Keeper” are you willing to make sacrifices or promises to ensure you will assist or protect them in times of distress or opposition? When you finally tell yourself, “I’m going to develop principles to make me better,” are you willing to self-reflect and make corrections to live a more meaningful life filled with overwhelming potential? Make a list of your own principles for self-improvement and healing, because your heart, health, family, soul, and community is depending on it. Evaluate yourself and answers and keep your girl posted!
-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!
Griffin, Chante. “The dark side of Kwanzaa’s founder can’t extinguish the holiday’s beacon.” Los Angeles Times, 23 Dec. 2018 www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-griffin- kwanzaa-20181223-story.html
“Reminder: Kwanzaa was concocted by a Deranged Felon Who Brutally Tortured Two Naked Women with a Karate Baton and a Toaster.” The Daily Caller, 24 Dec. 2016 www.dailycaller.com/2017/12/24/reminder-kwanzaa-was-concocted-by-a-deranged-felon-who-tortured-naked-women-with-a-karate-baton-and-a-toaster/
“10 Facts About Kwanzaa Founder Dr. Karenga.” Woldcnewsstaff, 2012 www.woldcnews.com/978964/10-facts-about-kwanzaa-founder-dr-karenga/
“The History, Principles, and Symbols of Kwanzaa.” Interexchange, 18, Dec. 2015 www.interexchange.org/articles/career-training-usa/history-principles-and-symbols-of-kwanzaa/