For Amina, My booklist;-)

I like to read, but only recently have I been able to indulge for pleasure.  The following list includes some books that I’ve enjoyed and recommend, and others I hope to read soon.  Note my progression;-) Please feel enlightened to recommend a few of your own!

In Love and Light,








Read and Enjoyed

The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho

The Celestine Prophecy- James Redfield

Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul- Deepok Chopra

The Blue Sweater- Jacqueline Novogratz

Dance Lest We All Fall Down- Margaret Wilson

The Huey P. Newton Reader- Huey P. Newton

Letters to a Young Sister- Hill Harper

The Mis-Education of the Negro- Carter G. Woodson

Midnight- Sista Souljah

On Deck

Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body…- Queen Afua

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover- Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette

The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create…- John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan

Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace- angel Kyodo williams

We Want for Our Sisters What We Want for Ourselves… – Patricia Dixon

Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health and Society…-A. Breeze Harper

Parable Sower- Octavia E Butler

Parable of Talents- Octavia E Butler

The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature…- Peter Ralston

And your lists?


The Carnal Sin of an Arrogant Vegan

Okay, so I may lose a few followers, and may even cause a riot within the vegan/vegetarian community, but that’s fine with me because those who need to go will go, and those who need to receive this message will receive…

It irritates me (it really shouldn’t, but I have to be honest) that many (not all) people in the vegan and vegetarian community are so high and mighty when it comes to nourishment.  The quarrels over labels are confusing, counterintuitive, and quite simply, ARROGANT.  I’ve read blog after blog, listened to podcasts, videos, and radio shows where prominent people and regular joes alike in the “conscious” food community berate their brothers and sisters due to what they eat, how they eat, and what label they claim, and honestly it seems to do more to disrupt or turn away those wanting to live a healthier, more environmentally harmonious life.

Now don’t get me wrong, with respect to veganism, it is certainly a lifestyle choice–no animal by-products, no killing of animals for clothing, jewelry or consuming any type of flesh, or in general not consuming or killing anything with a heartbeat.  So to use the label vegan if you wear leather boots, well yes, it’s one of the most obvious offenses to the true essence of the word.  However, it is important to understand that each individual, especially someone transitioning into a new lifestyle, needs and deserves patience, understanding, evidence, and historical and present contexts.  These are essential  when dealing with a newcomer.  Not everyone chooses to forego meat, poultry, and dairy to become one with the Universe (although I think it’s beautiful reason;).  Some people do it for health and wellness, because perhaps their backs are against the wall and they know of no other way to turn their life around.  It is so important to assume the best and know that usually, one good habit leads to another, but support is a necessary ingredient.  Taking the first step toward being in control of one’s consumption, health, and responsibility to the planet (all life, not just animals, but plants, humans, earth, etc.) should not be met with arrogance or closed doors from those posing as gate keepers.

So help me understand, because I’m confused about what to call myself.  If I had it my way, I would say I am a fish eating vegan, but we all know that won’t go over well!  So what do you call someone who doesn’t eat or kill animals and their by products (so no meat, poultry, dairy–with the exception of fish), eats both raw and cooked whole foods (fruits, veggies, beans, grains), doesn’t wear animal skins, plants trees, recycles, buys organic food and clothing, and is a future composter, gardener, and herbalist?  Yes I eat fish, but not every day and  I say a prayer of gratitude and forgiveness over the flesh I have consumed…Does that count for anything in the eyes of a “vegan”?  Or am I just an animal (some would say pescatarian but this doesn’t seem to identify me either)!?

Personally, I don’t quite understand the arrogance of anyone claiming a vegan lifestyle.  Unless you grow your food or only shop at a fruit stand owned by fellow vegans who only sell organic produce, unless you only make your own clothing or shop at a stand selling only organic vegan clothing, or you walk to, work in, and exercise at an environmentally sustainable establishment, or you only consume natural remedies when you are sick or pregnant, how can you really be vegan?  You are surely supporting businesses who staff meat-eaters or animal killers, you certainly contribute to the demand and use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides on conventional produce; aren’t insects living too?  What about the fancy car you drive to yoga or Whole Foods, and all the CO2 being released into the same air that birds, reptiles, mammals, and other environmentally concerned or apathetic humans breathe?  Reality check, we are all contributing to inhumanity at this time!

Now that we’ve leveled the playing field a bit, what do we do?  One thing is to check yourself.  The next time you have a conversation with someone inquiring about veganism, or using a seemingly incorrect diet/lifestyle label, start with patience, understanding, and sharing YOUR wisdom.  How much do your family, friends, and/or neighbors know about the their consumption and the bigger picture?  How much do they know about the food and how it got to their plate, what it means for the future of our planet if we continue down this road of ignorance?  How much do they understand or care that most diseases are preventable/controllable with diet changes, or that if we worked and shopped locally, planted a tree, or did a little exercise, we might have the energy and desire to do something to contribute to the healing of our dirt, waters, and sky?  How many of you have offered a Health for Dummies workshop to those living in poor, urban and rural areas, or upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods who may not know as much as you or about your vegan lifestyle?   How often have you argued the other side of the spectrum just to make sure you actually know what you are saying is the best possible solution?  Preaching to the choir is not enough!  Half the information that’s out their contradicts itself, so why not be a real ambassador, a real gate keeper and share your wisdom with those least likely to hear it?  No great change in this country was accomplished by sitting down and talking to the few people who already know what you know; awareness was raised among the knowing and the unknowing!  No powerful unity ever occurred by bashing those who embrace your culture or lifestyle, even when knowing very little.  Somebody, somewhere had to say, “You know what?  I am going to share with you what I know!  And I want to hear what you know so that we may understand and heal each other!”

I know I’ve said a lot, and I didn’t even get to everything I wanted to share, but I’ll follow up in another post at a later date.  I’m not faulting anyone for their lifestyle choices, but I think it’s important to greet each other in the spirit of understanding.  After reading and hearing so much dissension , I just had to write this post.  We have so much work to do, and we often turn those away who would have otherwise been a great asset to powerful work and true awakening.   I’ll leave you with this…


John 8

New International Version (NIV)

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.   2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

In Love and Light,


Diving Into Life

Since I can remember, I have always been in love with water.  Funny thing is, I don’t remember how I learned to swim.  I never had lessons and I don’t remember my parents having to force me to get in the pool or the ocean; they simply provided the opportunities, and I took them myself.  For as long as I can recall, I have simply been one with water.  The way I see it, the first day I met the wet, cool stuff, we were one.

Birth of a Mermaid by Vinh Dang Tuan

It’s been this way for a lot of things in my life: ice skating, dancing, learning languages, traveling, cutting my hair, falling in love.  I tend to just dive in without much forethought or hesitation.  Something on the inside encourages me to act, so I follow up.  I’m not sure if this is the most appealing way to learn new things, but it has always seemed to work out in my favor.

The same thing is true for lifestyle changes.  I’ve recently embarked on a journey of holistic living, one that honors instinct over agenda, prevention over cure, and growth over complacency.  I decided one day that this was what I wanted, needed, and deserved in my life, and like everything else, I jumped right in!  I’m not yet savvy on all parts of living holistically and I don’t quite know where this journey will lead me, but what I do know is that my health and wellness are important to me, and I’m going to spend all the days that I have becoming one with the Universe.

This can be true for you as well.  It doesn’t have to be about a total transformation or a life change.  It can be as simple as learning to sew or cooking a new dish.  Whatever journey you choose to embark on, whatever desires you have,  dive into it with your whole heart set on freedom.  It’s easy and comfortable for us to analyze everything, and make excuses for why we can’t or don’t do certain things.  But what about the desires of your heart that seem inexplicable?  Those urges that we get to skip town, or the voices that we hear to try something new are your spirits’ way of communicating with you.  Listen and respond accordingly.  Mistakes in life are inevitable, and there may be times when you feel like you are in too deep.  Know that your spirit has your best interest at heart and doubles as a life preserver; it certainly will save itself, if only we LISTENED.

Sitting on the sidelines or wading in the shallow end of life doesn’t yield fulfillment and will most likely leave you feeling empty or filled with regret.  You are equipped with discernment, intuition, and age old wisdom, all you have to do is remember.  Our lives have been spent unlearning.  We have been programmed to act a certain way, believe a certain doctrine, forget, accept, and not wonder about all the beauty and diversity of life, or the beauty we possess.  If only we remembered, if only we believed in ourselves, if only we saw the light within us and in others…

The ocean is vast; 70% of our world is covered in uncharted waters so there is plenty of opportunity o take a dip.  Don’t worry about your hair, don’t worry about your clothing, don’t worry about the other people watching you.  Chances are that if you dive in, you will remember how empowering it is to swim…

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