It's crazy how as a new mommy all over again, I live for the naps.  When I place that ticking time bomb in his crib, I can almost feel the peace wash over the house, if even for 30 minutes.


It's in these calm respites that I can steal a shower, actually eat, read a chapter or sneak in these few sentences.  Sadly, many live their lives this way... in that week of vacation, or on their lunch break, or on that too short weekend. It becomes a cycle of looking past this present moment in anticipation of some ‘better’, more relaxing, one. But the future never comes, ‘cause it’s always now… and now… and now. And what you don’t already have now, you’ll never have.

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The same peace that a Sunday morning offers can be found in the whirlwind of action and responsibility that a Monday morning brings. God is equally present on Sunday and Monday. You just have to look a little harder, but it’s always there, waiting for you to come home. And once you begin to practice this presence and become more consciously aware of this always-on, always-here peace, you’ll see that each and every moment is perfect and as it should be—even the ones where baby has pooped up his back. God is there, too.

Your other self,
Nik

What future moment have you been waiting on? Can you find that excitement or peace that that moment promises, now? 
gorgeous new Etnia Barcelona sunnies gifted from my friends at @atl.vision.studio

Hola Chica,

So about 3 months ago I deleted all of the social media apps from my phone and it was probably one of the best decisions I've made in my whole damn life.  I obviously still have to log on and post, because money, but it's nice using the internet like it's nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. It's no longer a mindless act. I actually have to sit down at my computer, cut it on and log in... or if I want to post to IG (which ain't often), I have to take the time to re-download the app and then proceed to share.  I promptly re-delete it too, haha.

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It not only freed up my mornings, allowing for an excellent pre-mommy duties meditation session but not checking my feed and emails first thing also keeps me in my chosen frequency or vibe.  After my morning meditation and before my feet hit the floor, I choose how I want to feel that day and I do my best to stay there no matter what shakes or pops off.  It's been working, especially on the days where I can make it past breakfast.  Speaking of breakfast, I'm still mostly doing my intermittent fasting.  It's worked great to help me get back down to pre-Max weight! I was 103 pounds when I got pregnant with him and I'm 105 now (7 months later).  I got up to 150 with both of them.  I'm still not working out like I should, but carrying his 18 pound self around the house is plenty.  What else... I'm taking aloe vera gel caps to prevent premature wrinkles.  We have a nanny so I get to spend a ton of time on the roof, in the sun, communing with nature and ish, and although I rock sunscreen daily (cetaphil), I wanted to take extra steps.  There was a study done a while back and they found that aloe vera gel, even in small amounts helps to increase collagen production which is what you need to keep your skin gorgeous.  I think that concludes my rambling... off to the roof to dive into an old favorite, Mooji's book, 'Before I Am'.

went to Magic Ground in DC to let Gia run off some energy.  Hadn't been there since I was 9 months pregnant so I was also motivated by my desire to hear, 'OMG, you look amazing!' from all the staff.  It was fun. And yes, Max is in the cesspool, but he really wanted to get in there and I disinfected his whole self immediately following. Strangely, he only wanted to taste the yellow ones. 

Fats.  He pulls up on absolutely everything now so we had to get him a walker to keep him from hurting himself! 

Boogie. 7 years old. 2nd grade. I don't even know how. 

Me and this bob. And how 'bout I'm wrapping it... like it's nineteen hundred and ninety-nine! 
I was pin curling it for a while, then bantu-knotting, trying to get some texture in it, but my hair falls flat fast.  Wrapping it is quick and keeps the volume on deck. Thanks @enigmatic_styles! 


Are you taking any extra precautions to maintain your sexy? 

When you wear a blow-out, how do you maintain it? Any wrappers? 

Hola Chica,

Let me let you in on a little secret--

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There's a part of you that has never aged. Never changed. It was with you on your first day of kindergarten, your first day of college and is with you, witnessing the reading of these very words right now.  It will be present at the birth of your first child. It will be there when your body dies. It's always here, and always now.  And you're intimately familiar with it, you just forget sometimes.

It's faceless. It's formless. It's who and what you really are. This presence is your awareness of being. It's your 'I am-ness'. It's consciousness and it's not 'yours', it's absolutely universal. My sense of 'I am', the simple and super apparent way that I know that I'm alive...  is the same as yours and the same as your mothers and the same as Beyonce's! There's only ONE, but it appears as the many. It appears as absolutely everything! It's what man calls God.  We are God appearing as humans... God expressing as magical Black girls and our main task is to become transparent enough to let God work through us to serve each other. You came here to experience and play and forget your power in order to remember and become it once more. And you tasked your other selves to remind you from time to time of who you really are. I'm one of your other selves. And this is your wake up call.  You've been dreaming that your only this girl, sitting here reading these words, wondering what Nikki is going on about.  God has been dreaming he's you.  But you're so much more. Don't go back to sleep.

Before you were aware of being you, you were just aware. There was just awareness of being. Period.  And you can become aware of that unconditioned presence right now by stopping and listening for a sound that you can't hear.  Alternatively, you can ask yourself silently, 'I wonder what my next thought will be?' and wait in gentle anticipation, listening for it (a la Eckhart Tolle), like a cat watching a mouse hole.  When the next thought comes, ask the question again and wait. Listen.  The silence you experienced waiting for the next thought is always there and it's not empty-- it's absolutely full. It's the source of everything and is experienced subjectively by you as a feeling of peace and joy. Stay there.  You're becoming aware of yourself.

So let's take this one step further. If you're God appearing as Lorie or Nadeira, then what could you possibly fear? What could you want or ask for? It's already yours. You created it! God is appearing as you and knows and fulfills your wants and needs before your conscious mind can attempt to beg or pray for them. He knows what you need more than you do. God is source.  Which means your abundance, your health and wealth is already here, right now. So again, your only task is to stay connected to the presence by staying consciously aware of the peaceful, loving silence.  And that awareness will take the form of the outer things you need to live and rock in this world-- be it a plane ticket, a new job or a 6 bedroom house.  Note--you can never actually lose your connection, you are THAT... there's not two-- there's not you and God, there's really just God appearing as you... you just need to be consciously aware.  Think of it like electricity.  It's powerful and everywhere but absolutely useless unless you're plugged in.  So when seeming problems arise, turn to that presence. Love it.  Appreciate it.  Feel those feels. When everything is all good, turn to the presence. Thank it, appreciate it, love it, become even more familiar with it.  Pretty soon, you'll come to realize that you're not just aware of the presence.  You are the presence. And everything is you.

Marinate on that for the rest of the day.

Love,
Your Other Self, also known as Nik

Hola Chica,

Mostly typical day yesterday.  Had brunch with a friend, ran some errands and by the time I got home, found that Gene had relieved the nanny and was watching the Firestick.

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He was deeply absorbed in what was clearly a pretty good movie.  I still had some stuff to do so I didn't demand that he take it all the way back and re-watch it with me (haha), I just caught the end.   But when I cut it back on later that night, I obviously had a completely different experience than Gene did earlier that day.  He was probably up and down with the characters, probably nervous for them at times not knowing their fates and totally on the rollercoaster of emotions the writers wanted him to experience.  Not me, though.  I'd seen the end, so while I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, I was able to watch with a gentle detachment.  Despite all the drama and tumultuous circumstances, I knew the characters would be happy in the end.  You see where I'm going with this?

Let's say you have a goal to finally start your own business.  Spoiler alert-- it's already yours!  That's why you 'want it'.  If you can see the desire as a promise from God, then you know it's already yours and you live in the feels of thanksgiving and appreciation (literally, ask yourself how it would feel if you had what you desired, right now... wait for the feeling to automatically bubble up and STAY THERE).  That successful business is already yours.  So it doesn't matter who says no, or how bleak the circumstances look or how many doors close in your face-- you know that's just the drama, the plot twists to keep things interesting!  You know the ending, you can feel it, so you take inspired actions and walk in the confidence that all is well and working out for you.  That's faith, y'all.

'Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark'.  
Rabindranath Tagore-


By Alma Hill 

I remember the day I realized the grocery stores in communities of color sold a completely different kind of food than the grocery stores in “better” neighborhoods.

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I used to live in a small suburb of Orlando called Winter Park. The population was pretty diverse, both in skin color, and income levels, mostly because of a few schools in the area. Winter Park as a whole however is known as one of the wealthier suburbs. Our local grocery store had a produce section took up half the store.

My fiance worked at a mall across town in a lower-income neighborhood predominately Black and Latino. One day he had a short shift so I decided to stay in the area and do my grocery shopping instead of making the 45 minute commute each way.

“It’s the same grocery store.” I thought to myself. “Can’t be THAT different.”

It was what I found inside the grocery store that made me question my surroundings.

In this neighborhood, I walked in and was greeted by a literal wall of Cheese Puffs. While searching for the produce section, I found an entire portion of the store dedicated to junk food. It was in its own corner, and had three aisles plus a wrap around wall filled to the brim with chips, candy, popcorn, cookies, soda. It took me a full ten minutes to find the produce section. It was tucked away in the back corner of the store, and had one wall of green veggies, and two fruit stands. Those were the only vegetables.

I wish I was exaggerating just a little bit, but the sad fact is, I’m not. There is a genuine disparity between the quality of food in Black and Low Income neighborhoods and wealthier, predominantly White neighborhoods. I won’t speculate on the reasons WHY this is, but the fact is, this is the reality. This lack of access to healthy food actually directly affects the health of Black Americans.

According to a study published by FoodTrust.org, “Since 1990, numerous studies have proven that low income communities and communities of color have less access to healthy food than higher-income and less diverse communities.”

The same study also found that living closer to healthy food retail is associated with decreased risk for obesity and diet related diseases. These SAME diseases are the ones that run rampant in Black communities. Diabetes, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol. All of these diseases are related to poor eating habits.

It’s fair to say that the evidence suggests that available markets have no vested interest in the general health of Black Communities. It’s come to a point where we have to realize that it’s time for Black communities to take control of our health and end the inequality of food. Time for us to grow and buy from our own locally sourced communities.

Now many reading this may be thinking “It sounds easier than it is.” which is true, but it’s also true that there are Black Americans who who are proving everyday that it can be done, cheaply and efficiently.

Take the Libertad Urban farm community located in New York City. The South Bronx is the last place you’d expect to see a black owned farm, but the Libertad Urban Farm is here to challenge your expectations. Tanya Fields, the founder of the the small farm, worked for six years to get the rights and the land to grow her own food for her community.

“This is about human rights.” Fields said to The Root, in a video interview. “We should all have the right to eat food that does not slowly kill us.”

Fields was inspired to grow her own food because she realized there was a lack of healthy food options in her community. According to National Geographic, the Bronx has the highest rate of food insecurity in the country, with 37% of it’s residents not having access to adequate nutrition.

Figures like this can be found all over the country, but they mostly appear in low-income communities and communities of color. Fields, and others like her, are looking to end these kinds of statistics at the source, and have become the face of the Black Food Revolution.

Fields embodies the mission, and the mission of all those who want to take control of their health with one simple phrase.

“The ability to say, I grew some of my food, and I had some control over what went into my body, and I made the decision as to what that was going to be. That is radical. That is revolutionary.”

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Alma Hill is a freelance journalist, actress, and mother living in Orlando, FL. A frequent contributor to online and print media publications, she believes that the words from our mouths will change the world. Born in Charlotte, NC, she's a millennial with an old soul who appreciates a good meme as much as a Miles Davis album. Brave souls can follow her on Twitter @_mynameissoul,but you have been warned.