Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: From Valerie June to Writer Roxane Gay & Women Creating Change  

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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In honor of Women’s History month, I would like to highlight even more amazing women artists and change makers as part of this regular series, starting with singer Valerie June.

I discovered her work a few years ago – what a sound! Her latest album, The Order of Time, is beautiful. Workin’ Women Blues and Somebody to Love are always on repeat.

From Standing Rock to Oakland, CA women organizers are standing up and creating change.

Loving this article about great books for creatives to read.

Roxane Gay is such a phenomenal writer. I started Difficult Women yesterday, and the richness of these short stories…


Have you seen her TED talk on feminism and embracing all of the diverse ideas about what this means for all kinds of women with varied experiences?

The podcast Don’t Keep Your Day Job is always full of wisdom. Check out some of the latest episodes here – including a recent conversation with fashion designer Susan Lazar on unlocking our potential.

Nina Simone lived from her truth, and she had a deep desire to create change. I am always empowered listening to her speak. This clip, about the beauty of celebrating blackness, is timeless!

These young women are organizing to impact their communities, one day at a time.

Viola Davis reminds us all that every voice and experience matters.  And of course, we must never underestimate the power of imagination.

The Revolution Starts When You Turn Off Your Phone 

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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Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy Graphic created by Live In Color Blog

I did it, y’all. I stood in line for nearly twenty minutes, surrounded by the chaotic noise in a Chipotle on Saturday night, and I refused to scan my phone – no emailing, IG posts, tweeting or Facebook. Nope. I chose mind REST. I am escaping the land of overwhelm and productivity one bar at a time. Who’s with me?!?!

Is it easy? Heck NO! I felt myself fidget nervously, but then I looked at folks around me, heads buried in the captivating luminosity of their iPhones and Androids, and thought, if I don’t continue this mindful practice, I’m loosing thousands of hours of life to a device. Who has that kind of time?

Waking Up    

“A conditioned mind is not free because it can never go beyond its own borders, beyond the barriers it has built around itself; that is obvious. And it is very difficult for such a mind to free itself from its conditioning and go beyond, because this conditioning is imposed upon it, not only by society, but by itself. You like your conditioning because you dare not go beyond.

You are frightened of what your father and mother would say, of what society and the priest would say; therefore you help to create the barriers which hold you. This is the prison in which most of us are caught, and that is why your parents are always telling you – as you in turn will tell your children – to do this and not do that.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

A few months ago, my Dad hung out with us, and we were eating. He looked over at me, sort of befuddled, as I sat, chewing bites of food, pausing to post on Instagram and said: “Do you ever put that thing down?”

I brushed it off, mumbling something about a deadline but his sentence took root in my spirit,  becoming the catalyst for a kind of subtle inner revolution. No viral videos or Twitter hashtag announcing this cause, just a girl who is stepping into mindfulness anew.

How did I become a woman who jerks away from silence, choosing, instead to run headfirst into a suffocating busyness? Me. The little girl who dramatically announced to her family that she needed “quiet time to write.” Where is she in this era of constant communication, but dwindling connection? I am bringing her back to life, one mindful moment at a time.

What Reality TV Star, Writer & Stylist Daisy Lewellyn’s Death Taught Me About Life This Week 

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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Last Friday afternoon as I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I came across a photo of Daisy Lewellyn, reality TV star (“Blood Sweat and Heels”), writer and “Queen of effortless chic,” accompanied by three words which transformed a casual IG visit into much more: “Rest In Peace.”

What? Dead at 36? Really?!?! As I sat stunned, my mind moved rapidly to digest the weight of it all. I vaguely remembered hearing she had cancer, but assumed, like many of us, she would beat it.

Her infectious spirit and laughter illuminated the screen, week after week. And then, suddenly, as Daisy’s life overflowed with promise and accomplishment it ended.

  

Do We Know What it Means to Live Fully?

People often say “live life to the fullest.” But does any of us understand what this means? What living alive and ON purpose actually looks like? Have we unpacked it for ourselves?

Our society  worships adventure in theory (and vicariously through pop culture), but in daily practice, we shun dreams and vision, instead quietly training our children to die at 25 with this ethos: get a degree, work endlessly, procreate, and save responsibly for retirement. Exist, we insist, through our fearful reassurances, and leave the living to a privileged few.

Daring to Live Greatly 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt

But what if we lived each day as if it were the last, stubbornly clinging to unrelenting courage?  Priorities would shift; sitting in misery and sameness would become uncomfortable. Do we have to face a terminal disease to start living? Absolutely not! Begin your journey towards wholeness and being present in the now.

The longer I read articles and explored her social media feeds, I began to realize something. Daisy’s death taught me two vital lessons about living:

People Remember Your Energy, Not Your Words – We often think folks remember what we said, when actually they recall far more how you make them feel. 

The energy we bring to the world is the final and lasting imprint of our legacy. Daisy’s bubbly nature encouraged so many around her, like this young journalist at Essence who held on to an uplifting phone text from her for months. 

And so our question and daily challenge becomes are we birthing an energy of healing, love, and beauty? Are we illuminating the planet in our unique way? 

Be Led by Faith Always & Don’t Be Afraid of Stillness – Daisy’s Christian faith remained a cornerstone in her life. As she grew ill, her closeness to God became stronger. Instead of pushing away out of anger she got still, centered and connected to God.

Celebrate Moments, Not Destinations – Don’t wait until you overcome an obstacle or setback to celebrate. Honor yourself for showing up; consider your perseverence in the face of the odds to be victorious, because, lovelies, it is amazing! 

Talk to Me, Loves: 

What life lessons can you learn from others around you about living more fully?  Do you struggle to honor joy in the midst of struggle?