Music for the Spirit – India.Arie

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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India.Arie told us over ten years ago she would not fit into society’s narrow beauty boxes. “I’m not the average girl from your video,” she sang on Acoustic Soul (2001), without apology, “my worth is not determined by the size of my clothes…”

What? This made it on the radio, I thought as I listened intently. I remember those lyrics vividly; her words were living with so many of us brown girls. She unpacked our truth in one song: we, too, were beautiful, we merely needed to believe.

India.Arie’s music heals, elevates and nourishes the spirit. This is heart and soul music, transformative, life affirming, it questions your perceptions as all moving art should.

Perhaps more than any other point in my life, as I struggle with insecurities, fear and obstacles, I hear her most clearly, urging me to release those shackles and welcome freedom.

Here are a few of my favorites songs, with moving lines such as “I am light. I am not the things my family did. I am not the voices in my head. I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside.”

Live In Color! – Emelda

Watch Your Words

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
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“The tongue has the power of life and death…”
Proverbs 18:21

Words carry immense power. What you and I say to ourselves and others matters; it shapes our perceptions, and in turn realities.  Day by day, moment by moment, this principle becomes clearer in many ways.

Shannon (Live In Color blog co-editor) and I spoke recently about the weightiness of words. “You know Mel,” she said squarely, “we are word people. We really are.” When you are a lover of words, you are constantly wrestling with what you say, and taking in what others say.

Several years ago my husband and I sat in a crowded  auditorium, my niece’s excitement bubbled over; she pointed out her favorite Disney characters gliding across the ice. “Look Uncle Keston,” she exclaimed, grabbing hold of his hand. “Look!”

We smiled,  perhaps remembering how easily joy comes to us in childhood. And then, abruptly, another voice interrupted. “Shut up, you ugly little b*#%.” I turned around to see a young woman pulling at her toddler, hurling insults and laughing; Silently I wept for the little girl, her face, what I could make out of it in the dimness, filled with confusion and sadness. Her eyes seemed to whisper, “Why are you so angry?”

On days when I hear someone being particularly cruel, spewing vitriol and hatred, I am reminded of those incidents, and the lesson. Words impact us all. Forget that old-school rhyme:”Sticks and stones break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Grasping the enormity of what one says is deeply connected to awareness, stillness, sitting with your words after you say them. We can hinder or heal, empower or eviscerate the spirit of another living being.  Choose to use them in service of love and respect.

Two Ways to Watch Your Words:

1. Empathize – Yes, it sounds like a no brainier, but empathy helps us see the world compassionately. How do you like someone to speak to you? Do you enjoy being cut off, your words and thoughts discounted? None of us does, so consider that when communicating with others. We begin to see others perspectives, and our word choice reflects it.

2. Speak Solutions – Like most of us dealing with frustrations, I am guilty of saying, “I’m so sick of…” or “I’m tired of…” in an effort to relieve the tension. Lately, I am turning these words around and focusing on what I want to expand.  So, if you are tired of a particular situation,  focus instead on your solution.

Live In COLOR! – Emelda

How do you watch your words? Is it a struggle for you? Share with us!

 

Why Some Day is Right Now

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Time is a seductive mistress; we simultaneously chase minutes, while convincing ourselves there is an abundance of hours. Yet no one is promised the next second or even year. Periodically God reminds you of this inevitable truth subtly.

While scrolling fashion news a few weeks ago, I read about beautiful celebrity stylist and British native Annabel Tollman, found dead at 39 in her apartment. The words seemed to mock me over and over again: “Dead at 39.”

Photo Credit: nymag.com
Photo Credit: nymag.com

Fashion industry insiders saw her as an anomaly, a radiant presence whose genuine kindness touched everyone. Tollman once said “Make a fairy tale and go and live in it.” Dreams were urgent, not distant thoughts to bury or ignore.

One can argue Tollman’s obvious advantages (white privilege and beauty) shaped her outlook, but there is wisdom in this witty quote. Someday is not some distant mirage taking shape years from now.

Someday is now, and if we deny the urgency of our dreams and aspirations, we annihilate our legacy and opportunity to illuminate the world around us with our talent and ideas. Make today the day you begin living in the now.

Live In Color – Emelda