Inspiration For Yours Ears & Soul: Poet / Singer Jamila Woods, New Hip Hop Artist Naji & Nuturing Friendships 

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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Jamila Woods via Soundcloud
Photo credit: via jamilawoods.com

Can I be real with y’all? Stress threatened to annihilate my joy this week. I didn’t know if I could post this series. But then I started to think about God, and how through all the chaos and challenges, His spirit brought me serenity and beauty.

I am still digesting Sarah Jakes-Roberts powerful sermon about renewing your mind for the miracle.

I heard about Jamila Woods’ music, but this morning was the first time I had a chance to listen, and I am in awe! She totally and completely restored my musical life, y’all.

Blk Girl Solider, an ode to the epic resilience of black women is on repeat. These lines: ” She don’t give up… Rosa was a freedom fighter, and she taught us how to fight. Assata was a freedom fighter l, and she taught us how to fight…” Listen to the whole album on Soundcloud (it’s free).

Speaking of musical inspiration, heard of Naji? He is a thoughtful young Hip-Hop artist whose latest piece focuses on a range of issues from the violence in our communities to police terror and the legacy of systemic racism.

Hip-Hop artist Naji | Image via YouTube

I love this beautiful piece on the daily devotional website Our Words Collaborative by Andrea Marlowe on standing in our faith and remaining true to our relationship with God, no matter what others think.

Loved this podcast on Black Girl In Om about truth in sistahood and friendship.

I am inspired by the Sioux tribes of North Dakota who are resisting construction of  the Dakota Access Pipeline, and instead  calling on us to honor nature.

6 Things You Can Do Now to Reclaim Your Joy 

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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Graphic via Mallory Cruz’s blog

Years ago I heard a minister say don’t wish for happiness because it’s based on happenings, instead seek joy.

One of my good friends and I talked this week about some of our frustrations, and she mentioned how exhausting social media  becomes – managing your profile, keeping up with comments, but mostly she despises how miserable she feels after looking at everyone’s seemingly ideal lives. But are they perfect? Not really.

No one, no matter how intelligent, beautiful, or wealthy escapes issues or struggles. Some folks are just better at camouflaging.

Our conversation and my own week (an emotionally rocky one) prompted me to consider reclaiming joy, and what simple things (starting with 6) we can all do throughout our day-to-day lives.

Here are my thoughts: 

1. Practice Gratitude – Staying grateful (especially during difficulties) is transformational. It’s an instant mood elevator. My bestie Shan and I discussed this last night.

I believe what we focus on expands, so looking towards our blessings and thanking God for them ushers in more abundance (whether it’s through finances, relationships, etc.)

And when we put it into practice daily we permanently shift our mentality to a higher vibration.

2. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else – Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the theif of joy.” Ever since I heard those words years ago, I held on to their power. Each one of us is at different places, and stopping to compare ourselves to others only breeds misery. Focus on your unique gifts, your voice, and you will illuminate the world.

Photo Credit: Roksolana Zasiadko

3. Take Regular Social Media Breaks & Filter  –  Our brains are miraculous, but there are limitations. They can only hold so much. Sometimes, actually quite often, we need a break from the incessant rate of images and text bombarding us on social media platforms.

No one says you have to scope, tweet, etc. everyday. And if you’re one of those folks who compares your life to others (or the version they show us), all the more reason to step away for a minute (particularly if you are in a tough season).

Filter what you ingest, too. Skip  dismal news stories some days, or debating with someone of an opposing political or religious view. I am not advocating living in a bubble, but we have to know what we can tolerate on an energetic level. It’s really that simple.

4. Rest –  I know this is a tough one, but your body and mind will thank you. I usually have to force myself to sleep, but when I do, the next morning I am much more capable of taking on the world.

As a Mom, I know there are times when it’s particularly challenging. Work towards devoting small chunks of time throughout the day   (5, 10 or 15 minutes, etc.) for rest, and do absolutely nothing.

My good friend Michelle over at Surviving a Creative Life is excellent at reminding me to take breaks and rest. I think accountability partners are key in this whole commitment to rest. Have someone in your life challenge you when you’re not resting enough, and then listen. Rest.

5. Take in Natural Beauty – Sounds easy but in the age of iPhones, Androids and other electronic devices this is difficult for many of us. Go for a walk, take a long drive, mediate in the park; allow the beauty surrounding you to nourish your spirit.

Photo Credit: Shannon Braxton

6. Read or Listen to an Inspiring Story Misty Copeland, Bessie Coleman, Lisa Nichols, Angela Davis and countless other women inspire me with their determination and strength. In pieces of their story, I see my own.

Bessie Coleman, pioneer aviator. In 1922, she became the first African-American woman to stage a public flight in America.

I am reminded that no struggle is eternal and I am equipped to walk and live in joy!

🔽

How do you reclaim your joy? Don’t be shy. 🙂 Share in the comments.