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With the best articles on caring for natural hair, Curly Nikki is your source for inspiration and advice. Find out about the latest styles and trends today!

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    Nekkid. On the Inside. 

    So #SecretLifeOfNikki-- I've meditated daily for 3.5 years. Not all lotus position on the floor, on a mat with an altar, but more like sitting in a chair, or even laying on my back when I first wake up in the morning.  Early on, I'd find that after about 10-15 minutes into a session, a very tangible experience of peace would wash over me-- like a light joy, or easy bliss... kinda tingly, wavy... definitely pleasurable.  VERY noticeable.  I never gave it much thought until I began to see references to it in almost every book I've read (more than 150 in the last year actually, everything from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita, from Lao Tzu to Sri Ramana Maharshi).  There are constant mentions of a 'light within' (Jesus said 'your whole body will be filled with light'), or a presence inside of you that is 'the real you'.  Many of the books refer to it as a formless, boundless presence, that when you become aware of it (or rather, when it becomes aware of itself), your 'outer reality' becomes more harmonious- abundance replaces lack, imperfections dissolve, and 'problems' are resolved.   So spoiler alert-- simply turning inward and focusing on this loving presence within you, will manifest awesomeness and perfection in your life and in the lives of those around you.  #DoNothingAchieveEverything

    Dope, right? But can it really be that easy? 

    Now, I've greatly summarized and simplified things here, but that's the gist. I've shared a number of articles with you in the past year about releasing tension, smiling more and choosing happiness to manifest the life you want to live. It's easy to say 'choose happiness' but difficult in application and also, sadly, it can be misleading. Because I'm not talking about the kind of happiness you experience when you ace an exam or get a new car, what I'm talking about is 'the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding'. It's always present and is completely disconnected from your 'outer circumstances'. For example, this blissful, loving inner presence was just as present as when I looked out over Copacabana beach as it was when I gazed upon my grandma in her final moments.  It's unconditional. It's our foundation. And by simply choosing to rest in it, over and over, you'll begin to see your seeming 'outer circumstances' begin to reflect this new, peaceful/joyful inner state (i.e. your life gets dope as shit). 

    There are many ways to access this peace (including prayer, meditation, etc.), but Eckhart Tolle's 'inner body' exercise is one of the most effective, in my opinion--
    "If you are not familiar with “inner body” awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don’t ask your mind. It will say, “ I can’t feel anything.” Probably it will also say, “Give me something more interesting to think about.” So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. It is there. You just have to go there with your attention to notice it. you may get a slight tingling sensation at first, then a feeling of energy or aliveness. If you hold your attention in your hands for a while, the sense of aliveness will intensify.

    Then go to your feet, keep your attention there for a minute or so and begin to feel your hands and feet at the same time. Then incorporate other parts of the body-- legs, arms, abdomen, chest and so on--in to that feeling until you are aware of the inner body as a global sense of aliveness."- Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
    Eckhart goes on to say, "It is your essence identity. Inner body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself."

    If you do this often enough you'll eventually see that the inner body is actually a field of alive presence that could never fit 'within' the body.  We just use the body to get to it :)  It's also ALWAYS present, even when you're unaware of it...  like the sound of an air conditioner or refrigerator-- it's there in the background, and you become aware of it as soon as you place your attention on it.  Pretty soon, you won't even have to close your eyes to become aware of it-- I'm aware of it as I'm typing this, now.

    So the next time you're worried about something, or your mind is reeling with negative thoughts about someone, or you're simply feeling stuck on your path, turn within and find your inner body... or your vortex, or your eufeeling, or your magic feeling, or whatever you want to call it-- and only then take action... and see how many more blessings come your way!  Your life will become positively unrecognizable. 

    Later Gators,

    p.s. as always, use an app like 'insight timer' to remind you to turn inward throughout the day until it becomes more stable! 

    p.p.s. see what I did there? I just gave you some of the best books that talk about the same 'inner body' experience using different language/definitions! Enjoy! #ThankMeLater

    In the exercise above, could you feel a presence or tingling in your hands or feet? Share below!

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    Hola Chicas,

    I'm giving away 6 Conditioning Baskets(worth ~$90 each) this month (March 2016) to question askers and answerers!

    If you see a curly-in-need who has asked a question under a post, answer it! If you are a curly who has a question that needs an answer, ask it! Not under this post, on all the posts! 

    The first three baskets will go to the three curlies with the highest number of posts this month (3/1-3/31, comments from previous months don't count) and the next three will go to three randomly selected commenters.  Past winners are eligible!

    Which posts/articles count for the contest? All of them!  Good luck!

    *contest ends March 31st, 2016 at 5pm EST*

    *Please only post comments that spark conversation and further discussion. Free products are EVERYTHING but this is really about strengthening our community and helping other naturals!*

    *US citizens only
    Later Gators,

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    by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

    Recently, Misty Copeland, sat down with President Obama and Time Magazine for a thought-provoking discussion regarding the confluence of race and body image and how it affects black girls and women.


    It’s a topic she is all too familiar with, considering the fact that both the color of her skin and the shape of her body have had a tremendous impact on her career. Neither has held her back, as she continues to prove that she can, she will, and she is changing the perception of what a ballerina should look like. Indeed, Misty’s drive is just as powerful as her impressive pair of calf muscles.

    Since becoming the first black principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater back in 2015, the name “Misty Copeland” has become synonymous with incredible talent, perseverance, and resilience. Her fearlessness and determination to remain true to herself despite any disregard that societal standards have thrown her way make her a role model for black girls around the globe.

    The common thread between Misty Copeland and President Obama is clear: they are the first African Americans to transcend the racial barrier in their respective fields. Having such an important platform has created the opportunity for the both of them to have an immense impact on African-American culture—and there is still much work to be done.

    President Obama has stood witness to the societal expectations of black women and remarks, “When I was a kid I didn’t realize as much the enormous pressure that young women are placed under in terms of looking a certain way. And being cute in a certain way. And are you wearing the right clothes? And is your hair done the right way. And that pressure I think historically always been harder on African American women than just about any other women.”

    Misty has dealt with these pressures firsthand and refused to succumb:

    “I didn’t want to pancake my skin a lighter color to fit into the court of ballet. I didn’t want to have to wear makeup that made my nose look thinner. Being African-American has definitely been a huge obstacle for me but it’s also allowed me to have this fire inside of me that I don’t know I would have or have had if I weren’t in this field.”

    As she embarks on her first season as a principal dancer, the world will be watching. Young black girls will be watching. And the bottom line is: black girls need and deserve positive role models who show them that remaining true to oneself is more than possible: it’s necessary and rewarding. Black girls need role models who inspire them and relate to them, who encourage the fire inside of them that’s already burning, who help plant and water seeds of confidence and self-worth.

    Seeing Misty Copeland in the White House discussing these issues with President Obama forces us to acknowledge our role in this interplay between race, body image, and perception.

    Let’s keep the conversation going.


    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at

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    by Mike Orie of

    "You can’t confuse what you do for a living and what you do for money. You have to figure out how to sustain yourself. I realized that my PhD was no longer directly tied to my purpose and that I no longer had to find a job of that magnitude to feel okay.”

    For many, there comes a point in your life where you have to make the important decision of defining your passion and following it. Regardless of how much training, education or background you have to support whatever this may be, for some, it’s simply creative freedom to do whatever it is you want to do when you want to do it. A recent survey from Deloitte discovered that two-thirds of millennials express a desire to leave their organization by 2020. Enter 29-year old Dr. Rhea Perkins. In September 2014, her life would change for the better, or so she thought. Just months away from completing her dissertation, she decided to quit her job with no back-up plan. She was forced with a decision to choose happiness over complacency. It’s a very common predicament that post-graduation leaves many millennials feeling while in the pursuit of happiness. But Rhea Perkins wasn’t your typical student. She was just shy of completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Research from LSU. “I completed the degree because initially I wanted to have a high ranking position at a university. At one point, I wanted to be president…so I knew I needed the degree.”

    Just two chapters shy of completing her dissertation, she accepted a job in Atlanta. The job provided free housing, unknowingly in exchange for her sanity. “The position felt like a 24-hour position and I didn’t like that. It didn’t fit my lifestyle.” Once she realized that this position wasn’t a good for her spirit, she quit. “I quit. I went in on a Friday, it was about 7:30pm and we were still working. Thankfully, my father taught me to save at a young age. I am a penny pincher, so I felt comfortable quitting.” But people usually quit jobs with the expectation that something better will come along eventually. After all, she was barely two months into this new position. For Perkins, this eventually didn’t happen until months and months of difficult times. Even with a PhD, she found herself working a couple of odd-end jobs well below her pay grade. One, in particular as a waitress only lasted a few days. “I didn’t find a job as quickly as I thought I would. February, March, April went by. Time was passing. I was running out of savings and getting very, very discouraged. By this time I had graduated, with a degree, and only a few years professional experience, but still good experience. Applying to jobs became a full-time job in itself. It became extremely depressing and I stopped for a while. Maybe I’m not supposed to be working right now. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I prayed for direction.” Perkins, very in tune with her spirituality, knew that something would come eventually, but she didn’t know when, and that it would happen when she least expected it. 

    She tells the story of how she discovered her passion. “One Sunday I ran with a running group in Atlanta. While I was running, I was listening to my pastor in Louisiana. I had not yet found a church home, so I would still listen to Bethany’s messages. While I was running, “and I don’t remember exactly what he was saying” but I thought it was very applicable to my relationship with my boyfriend at the time. I was talking to him about what I was listening to, and he asked, “Why were you listening to that and not music?” I like how my soul feels when I listen to a spiritual message. But I also liked how I feel when I did more physically than I thought I could. I liked to listen to good messages while I’m working out, because I liked how it made me feel.” This would lead to the launch of Fitual Lifestyle. She would develop a concept that incorporated both her faith and something she was passionate about. FITUAL is a growing movement that promotes spiritual growth, strengthens physical ability, and cultivates relationships. Its approach uses faith as a platform to ensure that you leave feeling physically energized and spiritually reinvigorated..“I started to dread the idea of going into work, asking someone if I could take the day off and go on vacation. Why should I have to ask somebody for my time? So, seeing other people living like that inspired me. That’s when I really started to question purpose. Since that day I came home from running, Fitual has always been a concept that I’ve constantly been thinking about. That’s really how Fitual started.” The name has a concept that aligns directly with how Perkins describes her purpose. “I was in the grocery store, rambling off random names and “Fitual Lifestyle” came out. I liked the play on fitness and spirituality. Lifestyle, because I really would like for this type of fitness to become someone’s lifestyle.” 

    Before launching however, Perkins had no business experience and has really learned everything from doing without fear of failure. She described her journey of entrepreneurship. “Trying to figure everything out. Thinking I had everything together, and finding out I forgot something. Having an LLC, and even considering having an employee identification process. Not people that I have to supervise, but people that “I” would have to pay. What am I going to do about providing benefits?” Despite describing marketing as one of her biggest challenges, Perkins says that the city of Atlanta has been extremely supportive thus far in her entrepreneurial pursuit. “Even though I didn’t do things on my end in terms of marketing, Atlanta has been extremely supportive. Because the city has many young entrepreneurs, a lot of people try to support each other. Here, the idea of entrepreneurship is very realistic.” While the journey has certainly been a roller coaster for Perkins, she offers very sound advice for those considering starting their own business, or considering a major career change. “You can’t confuse what you do for a living and what you do for money. You have to figure out how to sustain yourself. I realized that my PhD was no longer directly tied to my purpose and that I no longer had to find a job of that magnitude to feel okay.” For now, Fitual has two types of classes, Fitual Yoga and Fitual Bootcamps. You can find more information at Fitual Lifestyle on all social media. Fitual Lifestyle's classes start as low as $10. If you are in the Atlanta area, or know of someone who might be interested in joining Fitual, you can find more information here.


    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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    the camel gets it! #PositiveVibesOnly #Israel

    Simply choose good feels in the present moment and the 'future' will take care of itself.

    The end.

    Later Gators,

    ^^^^it really is that easy, tho.

    "But Nikki, my present moment sucks! I could never feel good about being stuck in this damn traffic..."

    Oh, but you can! Especially once you realize that every moment is essentially neutral and it's your interpretation of it, your thoughts, that create your experience... When you hear 'embrace the present moment', or 'be in the now', it doesn't mean to embrace your shitty interpretation of 'the now', it means to become aware of 'the now' BEFORE all of your shitty stories about it! #SubjectiveLivin'

    Let's take a closer look at a common, anxiety or at least boredom inducing experience-- traffic.  You always have 3 choices for how to experience the present moment of hella traffic:

    Read On!>>>
    1. from 'the story of your life' 
    if you tune into thoughts, you hear, 'Faaawwwk! I stay late. I can already hear the boss going in on me. My days at that place are seriously numbered... I wonder if my body is strip club ready yet.
    If you tune into the body, you are aware of tense shoulders, a clenched jaw and a contracted belly. You label these body feels as 'anxiety'.  (anxiety is just the gap between the now and the later)

    2. from the 'story you want'
    if you tune into thoughts, you hear, This is perfect! Extra time for me to practice my affirmations and listen to Kanye go in on 'FML'. My days at that place are seriously numbered... I can already taste the freedom of my new entrepreneurial adventure.  Life is so good. Thank you thank you thank you!
    if you tune into the body, you are aware of 'good feels' in the heart and stomach area. You label these body feels as 'excitement' or 'anticipation'.

    3. from 'no story' at all 
    if you tune into thoughts, you hear... *silence* *stillness* *nothing*  (the kind of silence you experience in that moment when you drive under an overpass during a rain storm, or when your eco car's engine shuts off when you're idle, or when the wind stops for a sec--- In those moments, you instantly register the stillness/peace-- and you get quiet too. Silence on the outside helps you recognize the silence on the inside.)
    if you tune into the body- you are aware of relaxed muscles, maybe even warm, tingly awesomeness. If you were to label these body feels, it would be 'peace'.

    Choosing #1, like you've been doing for the last decade or more, is only gonna give you more of the same old ick.  Because remember, the 'inside' of you is reflected 'out there', and just as you wouldn't frown in a mirror and expect the reflection to smile, you cannot be feeling anxious and expect to see awesome, joy-inducing situations reflected.  So choosing to feel good feels now, ensures that 'good stuff'will show up 'out there' in 'the future' (I'm simplifying here, 'cause know that there is only NOW and HERE--which is why feeling good now, ensures feeling good always, because NOW is what you are... more on that later :).  

    So by choosing #2 (a positive interpretation of the moment) or #3 (no interpretation of the moment), you can actually feel good in the present moment of hella traffic-- which means you'll see more 'good stuff' in 'the future'!  I often choose #3 because it's way easier-- choosing #2 often feels fake and most times, I'm just not 'cheery', haha!  But #3 is always accessible (it's the natural state) AND, instead of utilizing mental power to positively reframe your experience (and risk becoming anxious because your desires haven't shown up), you can simply focus in on your natural good feels and allow your day (and 'future days') to unfold in a divinely magnificent way (God already knows everything you want... you don't have to ask, and ask, and ask.  Just be thankful and feel your natural, good feels).  

    So while #1 and #2 would have you focused on past or future, #3 would allow you to be fully present... there'd be no thoughts to cover up your view of the steering wheel, the hands holding the steering wheel, trees going by (quite slowly), other cars, red lights, clouds, breathing, etc.  There would be no story about 'you' or where you are headed or where you are coming from or how late you are or whose gonna be pissed off.  Without looking to thought, there would be no story at all!  And with no story, there's nothing to be anxious or depressed about! #JustPeace  

    So how can you experience #3, the peace of 'no story', in any situation, all the time, all day, no matter the circumstances?  View the world as if you were a camera!  Right now, grab your phone and cut the camera on and scan the room. The camera is registering the scene, but it's not labeling anything ('look at my struggly computer')... it's not providing commentary ('it's been running really slow lately'), it's not judging (I need a new one). It's just 'looking'. Be #LikeACamera!

    Unlike the camera, your thoughts are incessantly judging what's on display, critiquing, commentating. Thoughts are kinda like a narrator. Do you remember Beavis and Butthead and how they'd talk over music videos? It's like that... life is happening and all the while you have this really loud, quite judgmental, sometimes funny soundtrack laid on top of it. And just like with your TV, you can mute that ish (you can't silence them, but you can choose to place your attention elsewhere, like on your inner body!). And when you do... #NaturalGoodFeels 

    Being #LikeACamera will change your life, and pretty soon, amazing, smile-causing stuff will show up in your viewfinder, effortlessly.

    Later Gators,

    p.s. to remember to look out at the present moment #LikeACamera, download insight timer or a similar app and set it to go off every 15-30 minutes as a reminder!  Pretty soon, viewing the moment #LikeACamera will be as natural as breathing. 

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    Part 2: The Ingredients and the Methods

    by Susan Walker of Earthtone Naturals

    How do you know if your deep conditioner is good or not? Do you rely on price? Not necessarily as an expensive product doesn’t mean the product is good, nor does a cheap product mean it doesn’t work. So what should you look for? The answer to this question is to become ingredient savvy. Having an understanding of ingredients will help you determine, at least at first glance, if a deep conditioner is going to be effective for you or not.

    Look for ingredients that attach onto to the hair

    Remember we discussed the fact that conditioning agents ADSORB to the hair? ADSORBING means that the ingredients attach to the surface of the hair. This phenomenon is responsible for helping to soften the hair, temporarily repair the hair, smooth the cuticle and reduce flyways.

    The main types of ingredients you’re looking for are cationic surfactants, cationic polymers, emollients, oils and silicones.

    Read More!!>>>

    What are surfactants?
    Surfactants are molecules that have water-loving and water-repelling segments. There are many uses for surfactants and they are mainly used for their cleansing ability. Surfactants can carry a positive charge, negative charge or no charge. However, when it comes to conditioning, cationic surfactants - or those with a positive charge - are extremely important. Since hair carries a relative negative charge, if you use a cationic or positively charged surfactant it will be attracted to the negatively charged section of the hair and bind to the surface of the hair. The surfactants will also form a film that smoothes the cuticle resulting in reducing static, tangling and improving softness.

    Give me some examples...
    What are some main cationic surfactants? Behentrimonium methosulfate, behentrimonium chloride and cetrimonium chloride. Other ingredients that adsorb are conditioning polymers like the polyquaterniums and cationic guar gum. Lastly emollients such as cetyl and cetearyl alcohol, some oils and silicones also have the ability to attach to the hair and convey benefits.

    Look for ingredients that penetrate 

    Some ingredients can penetrate into natural hair at a temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This corresponds to the temperature that would be reached if you applied conditioner to your hair and covered it with a shower cap.

    These ingredients include hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed silk protein, coconut oil, cetrimonium bromide, panthenol, some silicones.

    Many can penetrate in between the layers of the cuticle and into the cortex of the hair. Each ingredient has its own time for penetration ranging from minutes to hours. This time can also depend on the condition of the hair often with damaged hair resulting in faster penetration than hair that is not damaged.

    So what are the best steps to deep condition curly hair?

    1. Shampoo with a product containing negative surfactants or cleansers.
    Look for these ingredients: SLS, SLES, sulfosucciantes, and betaines. These are most commonly found in your clarifying shampoos. Remember, this is just before you deep condition. It's not recommended to use a clarifyer on a regular basis. Rinse the shampoo from the hair and then apply the conditioner with positive surfactants. This is the best method for getting the most amount of conditioner to adsorb onto the hair, while allowing the maximum penetration of key ingredients into the hair. The reason you want to shampoo the hair first is that high carries slight negative charge which is enhanced with the use of shampoo with a negative charge. Opposites attract so when hair with a negative charge encounters the positive charge of the deep conditioner there will be more adsorption onto the hair and better penetration of active ingredients. It’s important to rinse out the shampoo because if not, the negative charge of the shampoo could interfere with the ability of the conditioner to adhere to the surface of the hair.

    2. Apply enough conditioner on the hair to completely cover and saturate the hair.
    Put a plastic cap over your hair and then apply heat for up to 30 minutes. The time the conditioner is left on the hair combined with the application of heat increases the penetration of some ingredients into the cortex. If you don’t have a heating cap you could theoretically use a hair dryer or blow dryer or, steam or boil some towels in hot water, carefully remove them from the water with gloves, remove excess water and wrap your head (covered in the plastic cap) with the towels for the required time. The point is that the warmer your hair is, the deeper the penetration into the hair and the more effective the conditioning treatment.

    3. Rinse with cool water. Cool water helps to seal the cuticle.
    After you have effectively deep conditioned your hair it should feel softer, moisturized, shiny and more manageable. If your conditioning treatment results in this then you’ve definitely found a product to keep. If it doesn’t then get rid of it, read the ingredient list and invest in a product that is really going to do something for your hair.

    Beware of over-conditioning!

    Some women love to leave a deep conditioner on their hair for hours at a time for various reasons. While conditioning is good for the hair, too much of a good thing is not necessarily better. Conditioning for hours at a time can result in softer hair and this likely occurs because of a change in the keratin forming a different configuration than normal. Hair that is softer will be weaker and more prone to breaking if manipulated. This change in keratin is temporary and your hair will return to its stronger state but you'll need to be careful how you handle it until it does.

    How do you deep condition your hair and what ingredients make a huge difference in the way your hair looks and feels after deep conditioning?

    For part I, see HERE

    This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

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    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    Let's keep it 100.

    We've all questioned Will and Jada's choices when it comes to their kids. The fashion choices. The social media. That picture. But we whipped our hair back and forth with Willow like she was our own, and we applauded when both children became the faces of major fashion campaigns. Key word? Children.

    New York Post writer Kyle Smith weighed in on Will and Jada's parenting style, calling them the "most horrible parents on Earth." And then? He came for the babies. He referred to Jaden and Willow as "überentitled, brainless, self-adoring, twaddle-spewing little munchkins."


    These children (there's that key word again) have been afforded the freedom to express themselves creatively, something that often gets stifled in a world of business suits and status symbols. They're living their lives--their authentic, artistic, unbothered lives. And, they're kids. Kids who have grown up in the spotlight on red carpets, movie screens, and runways, but kids nonetheless.

    Sure, the Smith kids may be spoiled. And a little strange. But what Hollywood kid isn't? No one's calling out the Kardashians for their überentitled, brainless, self-adoring, twaddle-spewing antics on social media. And Willow and Jaden are actually talented. They sing, act, model, and apparently, they write, too. As Willow told New York Times' T Magazine in a 2014 interview, "There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing."LINK

    We loved Will as The Fresh Prince (in rap and in Bel Air), and the majority of his movies have been box office hits. Jada's been our girl, from the time she was kicking it in the kitchen at Hillman with Mr. Gaines to when she Set It Off. And their marriage, however open or closed it may be, is an example of lasting love.

    So don't come for Will and Jada, and definitely leave their creative indigo children alone. We may not understand the Smith family dynamics or Jaden and Willow's artistic expression, but that doesn't mean it's open to be attacked.


    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    The reason you feel bad, frustrated or generally stuck in life is not because you haven't reached your goal yet.  It's because the larger part of you (the 'I am', aka everything that ever was, is and will be) already has it, is it, and is simply waiting on you to realize it! If life caused you to want something, it's already yours.

    The moment you ask, it's yours. You don't even have to ask, actually... but we like to, 'cause it makes us feel like we're doing something :)

    It's 'ask and it's given'... 'not ask, figure out how you're gonna do it and it's given', or 'ask, check and make sure your friends and family are okay with you doing it and it's given'.  If it already exists, and it's already yours, do you need to know how it's going to happen? Your work is just to realize that it's yours, and rest in the faith and knowledge that it's here now, even though you can't hear it or see it yet... but you can certainly feel it, on the inside, in the form of those good feels.  That's the only proof you need.  The dope part is that once you come to rest (and trust) more and more in those good feels, the more your actions will be divinely inspired... the work 'needed' to see things through to fruition won't feel like work at all!

    Remember that God wouldn't give you a dream that you couldn't achieve. You have never conceived of or imagined anything that you couldn't bring to fruition (the dream was given to you by God/Consciousness, your imagination is God/Consciousness!).  It's up to you to find the courage and the passion to see it through. It's up to you to have more faith than fear. And when you choose faith, confidence and good feels, you'll realize the kingdom is yours (it's always been within you) and everything you want and need will be added onto you. #LevelUp

    Later Gators,

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    by Christian Byshe on

    So we all know that infant hair snaps right off if the wind blows too hard, but what about toddler hair. Do you feel like your toddler’s hair is breaking or balding? I know my toddler was and that is why I had to really sit down and see what was causing her hair to snap off instead of grow out long like I thought it should be.

    After thinking through our routines and looking at our habits I finally figured out 5 reasons that my baby girl’s hair was more prone to breakage. I definitely wanted to share them because I know I couldn’t be the only mom dealing with toddler hair breakage.

    Reason #1
    Tying a head scarf on a toddler before bed and expecting it stay on is like tying floss around a boat and expecting it to stay docked at the harbor. It just doesn’t work. So to get around this nonsense, I have opted for child size hair bonnets and I also use satin pillow cases on Mackenzie’s pillows now. So even if she somehow slips out of her bonnet which usually happens, she will still be laying her curls on a satin pillow case so we’re all good there.

    When she was sleeping on cotton pillow cases, I noticed that her hair at her nape was very dry in the mornings and roughed up. Now it’s much the same as when she went to bed.

    Reason #2
    Your toddler may need more protective styling. I used to go for the two huge puff balls because hey let’s be honest, they are easy to do in the mornings when I am rushing. Those huge puffs were leaving the back portion of her hair so vulnerable though. So when she laid down at daycare, she was creating friction on the hair at her nape and then the puffs were also easily becoming tangled, so it was basically a mess.

    Now I style Mackenzie’s hair on Sundays. I install small two strand twists in the back of her head and then do three ponytails in the front and twist that hair up as well.

    Reason #3
    I had to finally take a look at products. So when I was doing those puffs on Kenzie’s hair, I was using a few spritz of leave in on her edges just so I could smooth her hair up into the puffs. It was definitely not doing her hair any justice. Now when I twist her hair up for the week. I thoroughly cleanse, condition and moisturize her hair and then throughout the week, I mist her twists with a good leave in to make sure they are still moist and not drying out.

    I am really focusing on a low manipulation healthier care routine for her hair now and I am anxious to see the results of this change. Taking a moment to really think all aspects of her hair situation over allowed me to really take stock of the various factors that were hindering her hair growth or causing breakage so now I think we are well on our way to Rapunzel style hair.

    Written by Christian Byshe on

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    by Sabrina Perkins of

    A new study presented a couple of weeks ago at the American Academy of Dermatology's 74th Annual Meeting in Washington show that black women are more prone to hair loss.The also found that even though we are prone to hair loss, we are less likely to seek professional help about the problem. 

    Board-certified dermatologist Yolanda M. Lenzy, MD, FAAD, clinical associate, University of Connecticut, Farmington, Conn. stated that the number one case for this in Black women is a condition called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA). This disorder causes inflammation and destruction of hair follicles that leads to scarring and permanent hair loss.

    The braids, weaves and relaxers are big culprits to this problem. Yes, our styling products whether natural or relaxed are to blame.

    “Women who use these styling practices tend to use them repeatedly, and long-term repeated use can result in hair loss,” says Lenzy, who worked with the Black Women’s Health Study at Boston University to survey nearly 6,000 African-American women about hair loss.

    While only 47% in the study claimed to have had hair loss at the top of the scalp, more than 80% had not consulted a doctor about their hair loss problems although steroid creams and antibiotics greatly help the regrowth of hair in those areas.

    Visiting a dermatologist or a trichologist when suffering from hair thinning or hair loss needs to be your first course of action. Also know that styling practices may be the main reason for these types of hair losses in Black women and that they can be corrected.

    Dr. Lenzy suggests that avoiding tight hair styles that put tension on the follicles, like braids and weaves, and limiting their use of chemical relaxers can great manage or reduce the risk for hair loss.

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    by Tiffani Greenaway of

    It’s pretty safe to say that Obama administration has been the most lit in our nation’s history.

    From rallying the millennial generation’s votes to hanging out with Jay, Bey, and Kendrick Lamar, Barrack and Michelle have been the real MVP’s. For little brown boys and girls across America, the Obama family has proven that hard work and dedication can take you anywhere you want to go—and Michelle’s new single proves it.


    While FLOTUS doesn’t spit any bars, she and songwriter Diane Warren do bring together a powerful group of women on “This Is for My Girls,” an inspirational anthem for the Let Girls Learn initiative. Featuring Electric Lady Janelle Monae; Destiny’s Child alum Kelly Rowland; hip hop superstar Missy Elliot; "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson; "Glee" star Lea Michelle; teen sensation Zendaya; YouTube songstresses Chloe and Halle Bailey; and actress, singer, and dancer Jadagrace, the song spreads melodious encouragement for the almost 62 million girls globally without access to education. To show their commitment to girls’ education, the artists have waved their royalties and fees so that all proceeds from the sale of the single go to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund.

    "It's kind of like 'We Are the World' meets 'Lady Marmalade' with these strong voices and strong women," Warren told Billboard Magazine in a recent interview.

    From her fly fashions to getting us into the groove with her“Let’s Move” initiative, the First Lady has always made us proud—and with this epic song, she’s making a difference in the lives of young women across the world.


    Tiffani Greenaway is the wife and mom behind MyMommyVents, a New York city parenting blog. Her tips have been seen on Yahoo Parenting, Mommy Noire, and Fit Pregnancy. Find more of Tiffani's work at

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    by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

    After accepting her Kid’s Choice Award for favorite female star in a kid’s show, the 19-year-old star of Disney’s “K.C Uncercover,” Zendaya, hardly had time to celebrate before having to address being skinny-shamed by “Difficult People” creator Julie Klausner.

    The up and coming actress was attacked on social media via a random series of tweets from Klausner calling Zendaya a “thinspo model for your impressionable tweens” and making false claims if her having an eating disorder. After Zendaya’s fans rushed to her defense, Klausner pledged to “be more thoughtful going forward,” but not before Zendaya made sure the world heard her two cents:

    “Do you find this funny? I will write another paragraph to educate you as well #youreallywannabenext?”


    But this isn’t Zendaya’s first #clapback concerning her image—the “paragraph” she references was in response to Giuliana Rancic, who infamously mocked Zendaya’s faux locs on Fashion Police back in 2015. Rancic publicly apologized, but her distasteful comments made a huge impact, helping catapult Zendaya’s career while also opening up the floor for a much-needed dialogue regarding race, culture, and stereotypes.

    Now we have the same opportunity regarding body shaming, the act of making or having “inappropriate negative statements and attitudes toward another person's weight or size.” It happens constantly in Hollywood, where the spotlight is always on, but it is a practice that average women have adopted as well, constantly body-shaming other women, and it needs to cease.

    There are far too many different expectations being set for us to succumb to, when being and loving yourself should be the standard. And as a teenage girl, Zendaya should certainly not have to respond to the harsh criticisms of a 37-year-old woman.

    Let’s end it.

    And in the words of Zendaya, #thickgirlswinning #skinnygirlswinning #weallwinning.



    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at

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    by Jensine from Jungle Naps

    For all the bun lovers out there, here’s a new twist on a tried and true style. This easy natural hairstyle is versatile and perfect for the workplace or school. As a plus, it is work out friendly. I usually sport a headband and keep it moving.

    You will need the following: flat twisting skills, bobby pins, hair tie, (optional: gel, hair donut)

    Watch the video below to see how to execute this style.


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    'Our perceiving self is nowhere to be found within the world-picture because it itself is the world- picture'- Erwin Schroedinger 

    Hola Chica,

    I wanna show you something.

    I'm assuming you're checking-in via the mobile CN site, so bring your phone up a little closer to your face, like you're about to take a selfie.  A little closer... a little closer.   Okay. 

    Now, take a deep breath and drop all thoughts.  Don't refer to your story (your name, race, sex, age, job, bae or nah, etc.).  Just look.  #LikeACamera

    Now without moving your head or eyes, take stock of your surroundings.  Beyond the phone you may see a desk, or a lamp, a window or even another person.  But in your direct line of vision, there are these words appearing on a white screen (hey boo!), a phone, a pair of hands holding the phone, arms leading up to shoulders, and then, your neck and that gorgeous face of yours.  Wait, no.  That's not right.  Let's back it on up.

    my view

    Keep that phone up in your direct line of vision.  Now, if you turn your attention away from the phone, 180 degrees in the opposite direction, back toward what you are looking out of, what do you see where other people see your face? 

    Not a got damn thing, right?  No face, no head, nothing at all! You think you see what others see there (that beautiful brown face, with those big brown eyes and that new red lippie), but you actually just see an open, clear space... empty, aware capacity for the world to appear inside of.  #DeepAF #IKnow #Headless

    **if you didn't do the activity, go back and do it, I'll wait. It's essential. Then watch the video!**

    This has always been your vantage point.  The first-person perspective (like in that Kanye West video, All Falls Down where he only sees his head/face in the mirror or in Stacey Dash's sunglasses, ignore Stacey tho).

    Usually you feel like you can see what you look like while you're shopping or while you're talking to people (which makes you awkward and self-conscious as hell!), but that's not the case.  Things happen in that space-- people, groceries, shopping carts, your arms, your hands, the beach, your office-- but you don't see your face or head until you come across a reflective surface.  And although it may seem mundane or even childish, living from your faceless center has huge implications (thanks Ye)--
    1. Keeps you present- You know how I know when I'm truly 'living in the moment'?  My face is no where in the picture!

    Ernst Mach's 'self-portrait'-- way more accurate than drawing his face, right?! He drew his view out, instead :) 

    When driving, there's the steering wheel, hands, road, trees, other cars.  When shooting TV, there's the camera, camera men, and faces in the audience. When typing (like right now), there are fingers moving, words appearing, a computer screen, and the dope shit around me. When talking to Boogie, there's just her face, not my face and her face. Just her's.  I experience everything from this open space.

    with my bestie a couple of years ago... I'm experiencing her face (and the surroundings), but definitely not my face.  I'm the open space, the empty container for her and the surroundings to appear in. 

    In each situation, the moment is allowed to unfold more naturally, more fluidly, without my ego getting in the way, without my ego's interpretations of the moment getting in the way.  Thoughts get quiet (it's like, automatic mindfulness) and the 'peace that surpasses all understanding' becomes an actual living experience.

    So whenever you find yourself anxious, frustrated or self-conscious, turn inward and remember what you're looking out of.  You are already whole, perfect, abundant and just forgot.  (oh, and you suddenly realize that all those damn affirmations-- 'I am abundant', 'I am worthy', 'I already have everything I want'-- you've been repeating, hoping they'll be true some day if you repeat them enough, are actually true right now and have always been true.  The whole world is in you. You are that. You are all that #AndABagOfChips) 

    2. Keeps you from going the hell off- So since there's never a 'face to face' convo, only 'face to no-face'or 'face to space', it keeps your Petty Pendergrass, Petty Labelle and Tyler Petty in check. When you realize that you're the space that allows everything to appear, even your 'frenemy' is loved unconditionally.  You realize she's appearing in you and is therefore not separate from you... is you. Seeing this raises your consciousness and conflicts appear less and less.  
    "Two-way attention is practical. The solution to challenging situations or problems comes from being consciously open to the One who, after all, invented those challenging situations!"-
    3. Keeps you 'in communion with God' (ceaseless prayer)- We've talked about different ways to discover the kingdom within.  This is just another way to climb the mountain (for the exact same view from the top)-- some people like to meditate, others pray, others place their attention onreal happiness/their natural good feels, and still others look out from their 'original face' (the one you had before you were born).  That's what we're doing here.  You can call it pure awareness, I AM,  spirit, THIS, or God.  It's omnipresent and omnipotent... it's always here, always now, and it's what you are, what you always have been and what you always will be.
    'Closer to you than your hands and feet and nearer to you than your breathing is the One, the Source and Container of all things. When you see this One, and live consciously as this Reality, you find peace, freedom, beauty and love, inspiration and guidance.' -Richard Lang 'Seeing Who You Really Are'
    THAT's what you are, chica. 

    For those of you in the'mind blown af' camp and want more, check out Douglas Harding's Headless website and book, On Having No Head. There are lots of experiments on the page to help you see what I've briefly touched on in this article.  The one that blew my world open was THIS ONE.  I also like Richard Lang's book on the same topic and J.C. Amberchele's The Light I Am and Cracked Open.  I stumbled across my headlessness back in 2013 (while in PA) and feel so nekkid sharing it with you today.  It resonated with me because it allowed me to actually 'see' what all the non-dual (oneness) books, like Power of Now, were talking about.  And while I'm sure some of y'all are in the, 'what she on, tho?' camp, I hope this post will inspire you to take a fresh look at yourself.

    Later Gators, 

    p.s.  If you remember your first person status frequently enough and for longer periods of time, you'll come to see that you're not aware of this space where you thought your head/face was.  You are the space.  And the space is aware of itself and all the different moments that appear and disappear within it.

    p.p.s. if you see dangling curly tendrils, or a blurry smudge (that you take as your nose), or even glasses, when you look out from this openness, know that these are just the first 'objects' obscuring your big, open, crystal-clear view into the world.  

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    by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

    Obama didn’t just go to Cuba to make history—he went there to make a difference.
    And that’s just what he’s doing: it’s the first time a sitting president has visited the country in almost ninety years, but Barack Obama isn’t just any president. He’s the first black President—a point isn’t lost on Afro-Cubans in particular, who hope his visit marks the beginning of a new era regarding relations between the United States and Cuba and vast improvements in the quality of life for all Cuban citizens.


    Despite significant backlash from the GOP for his visit, Obama has been confident that it will be productive: “I’m focused on the future, and I’m confident that my visit will advance the goals that guide us —promoting American interests and values and a better future for the Cuban people, a future of more freedom and more opportunity,” the president said.

    Cuba, a country rooted in African and Hispanic culture, is still marked by prevailing prejudice, racial inequality, and discriminatory hiring: “Afro-Cubans are underrepresented in the ranks of Cuba’s political and economic elites and make up a disproportionate number of the urban and rural poor. Black Cubans have benefited less than their white counterparts from closer relations with the United States. Relatively few hold coveted, lucrative jobs serving foreign visitors.” (Associated Press).

    In his speech during a joint news conference in Havana, Cuba on Monday, March 21, Obama addressed controversial issues concerning relations between the United States and Cuba and differences of opinion about human rights, while Cuban president Raul Castro appeared resistant and uncomfortable, even, at times.

    But Cubans remain hopeful. ““It totally satisfies my soul to be able to have lived to see this moment, a moment I never thought I would have seen,” said Carmen Diaz, 70, watching Mr. Obama’s arrival from her daughter’s living room. “I feel this visit of an American president to Cuba is being done in the most elegant way possible.”

    Of course, one visit from President Obama won’t put an end to the problems that Afro-Cubans face, but it is certainly a step in the right direction—a step that has been decades in the making.


    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at

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    by Kanisha Parks author of Love Letters from the Master

    If you didn’t get a chance to see this beautiful piece of artwork on Google’s front page on Monday, you missed out on a seriously rewarding and thought-provoking visual experience.


    The piece, entitled, “My Afrocentric Life” was created by high school sophomore Akilah Johnson, who said she was “surprised and overwhelmed” upon being informed that she was in the running to win the national “Doodle 4 Google” contest.

    The theme of this year’s contest was: “What makes me… me,” and there’s no denying that Akilah is proud of her heritage and her culture. She used black crayons, colored pencils, and Sharpie markers to create her Doodle, and says it only took her about two weeks to complete.

    In an interview with the Washington Post, Akilah shares what inspired her, saying: “One of my teachers from Roots, Baba Camera, is really [who] made me look at art in a different way. As I grew older, I … realized that the black people [who] came before us … made us into what we are today, so of course I had to include them in some way.”

    And on Google’s site, Akilah writes: “Of all the things I chose to include, the six most special to me are the Symbol of Life [the ankh], the African continent, where everything began for me and my ancestors, the Eye of Horus, the word ‘power’ drawn in black, the woman’s fist based on one of my favorite artist’s works, and the D.C. flag — because I’m a Washingtonian at heart and I love my city with everything in me!”

    In addition to seeing her winning artwork on Google’s homepage, Akilah received a $30,000 college scholarship and won $50,000 Google for Education grant for her high school. She was also invited to Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California, where she discovered she had won, and will have the opportunity to meet with some of their professional artists.

    Seeing Akilah’s heart caused me to feel an immense surge of pride and excitement that black heritage was being honored on a platform like Google, which is frequented over 3.5 billion times a day. And really, it’s not even the word “Google” that first catches your eye when you view the image, but the elegant and powerful profile of a black woman.

    Akilah Johnson, thank you for sharing your talents with the world and honoring black heritage in the process. We salute you!


    Kanisha is a Christian writer/author based in Augusta, GA. Other than, she has also written for BlackNaps.organd Devozine, and has authored a book of poetry entitled, "Love Letters from the Master." Kanisha can be contacted for business inquiries at

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    Bantu knots and the resulting bantu knot out are my favorite hairstyle! Any hair type or texture can do bantu knots – for some, it’ll create looser waves, and for others it will have a cute “curly q” effect with a head of tight, springy curls. Since it totally changes the look and curl of your hair, it’s perfect to do on multiple day hair to change up your look mid-week. To do this style, follow these step-by-step instructions:

    Read More!!>>>
    Setting the Style - Creating the Knots
    • Divide into manageable sections. Those with longer hair need fewer sections. Also, the curlier you want the bantu knot out to be, the more sections you want. It’ll take some trial and error, but to start, use the same number of sections you usually use to apply gels or do twist outs.
    • Moisturize. Whether it’s a simple spritz of water and yummy oils or a complete co-wash, hydrate your coils! It makes it more pliable and it will hold the shape of the bantu knot better.
    • Detangle or smooth out your hair. This is optional, as some naturally curlies don’t use hair tools, or your hair may simple be very stretched or tangle-free already. This step is just to ensure you get a smooth, shiny curl and that your ends look neat. Hair should just be damp, not sopping wet. Otherwise, it will take forever to dry!
    • Apply a styler or curl cream. I suggest something with medium hold, because crunchy bantu knots are a pain to fluff out the next day! Here are some styler suggestions. Smooth the product down from root to tip.
    • Roll-twist each section of hair and wind it on top of itself. The goal is to create tiny buns (they’re not really “knots”) on top of your head a la Lauryn Hill or Scary Spice from the Spice Girls. Once you get to the end of the rolled section, you can tuck it under the bantu knot and the pressure should keep it in place. If not, use a bobby pin or hair pin to keep it from unraveling. 

    Do You Blow Dry or Air Dry? 

    At this point, you have a choice. You can wear the bantu knots as a style themselves or you can blow dry or sit under a dryer to set the style immediately. I usually do this style at night, and by morning it’s air-dried.

    The Take Down - The Bantu Knot Out
    • Lightly lubricate your hands with your favorite oil or anti-humidity serum. This will prevent frizz if you’re a bit rough taking down the bantu knots.
    • Gently unravel each bantu knot.
    • Gently separate each section and fluff. Try not to cause frizz by constantly pulling apart each section, but manipulate the hair enough to cover the parts in your hair. Some people use an afro pick to lift the roots and hide the parts. If you have a looser texture, just run your hands through your roots and stop when you get to the curl formation.
    • You’re done! Enjoy your new ‘do!

    For those who need visuals:

    What's your Bantu Knot or Knot-Out routine? 

    This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

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    It's an inside job, ladies and gentleman.  #GoodFeelsOnly

    I like practical shit.  

    Which is why I resonate with some authors more than others.  You can wax poetic all day about the importance of mindfulness and presence, but unless you can actually give me concrete ish to do, I ain't got time.  

    You can't just read about spirituality.  It has to become a tangible experience, a moment to moment remembrance, a consistent, ceaseless practice.  Because if you don't actually start looking out at your world #LikeACamera, or seeing your facelessness, or perceiving your real happiness, nothing much will change.  

    Eckhart Tolle and his inner body exercise, quickly became one of my favs for just this reason.  So imagine my elation when I came across a couple of gems wherein he confirms (for me personally, lol, 'cause I could feel it in my bones) that the Law of Attraction (you create your life) and non-duality (not two, not even one, either...) are just two sides of the same damn coin.  It is my personal opinion that you need the foundation of non-duality (and experientially seeing the oneness) to even begin positively manifesting the life you want.  At any rate, cheek out Eckhart Tolle's views on meditation, prayer, affirmations, visualization and stillness.  

    Eckhart on Prayer and Affirmations and Stillness 

    Q: From the time I was a little girl, I was raised as a Catholic. I went completely full circle to denying God, not believing in God. And now, thanks to a large extent what you teach and share, I know that connectedness is there, awareness, Stillness is there. But I got the thought, why do I pray? Because if God is all-knowing, omnipotent, all-loving, and so on, I don’t think he/she/it needs me to say, “Psst - my friend is dying of cancer, can you help her?” I don't think it's necessary, but I enjoy praying. I’d love to hear your thoughts; what would be appropriate to pray for? Do you believe in prayer?

    ET: Perhaps you can upgrade your prayers from petitionary prayers (“please make this happen”) to little mental pointers, towards peace for example. Little mental pointers still use concepts, because every prayer consists of words and concepts – to point, to help you go beyond concepts. You could say, for example, an affirmation – like what Jesus said, “I am the light of the word”. It’s an affirmation – it’s a concept, it points to a reality far deeper than the words. You can say, if you still want some petition, “please let me know that I am the light of the world”. Duality is implied usually, in the usual prayer. It implies that there is God, and here is me, asking God. That duality is ultimately an illusion, because you are an expression of God. You and God merge. The deepest prayers, then, are no longer prayers as such. They are when you adopt a listening attitude rather than a saying of words. As long as you enjoy it, that’s fine. But gradually get away from asking somebody to do something for you, because that keeps you stuck in duality.

    Affirmations, if they are done rightly, can be very beautiful substitutes for prayers. “I am healed and whole and at peace”. And after that, let there be a space. And really, the power is in that space. In the space, you experience that you are already whole. The outward form might tell you something different – “I am holy”, A Course in Miracles says. You are, and so it’s simply an affirmation of how it is. Healing, for somebody else – you are either with that person, or that person comes into your mind, that person may be ill. The most powerful healing, I find, is to hold an image of that person and then go deeper into yourself, where the wholeness of life lies. Where nothing is needed, nothing needs to be added. There you find the wholeness also of that person – they are already healed at the deepest level, beyond form. So you go from form, into formlessness.

    That is the healing that was practiced by Joel Goldsmith, he has a lovely book called “The Art of Spiritual Healing”. That is really not to dwell at all on the condition that needs to be healed, but to focus on the essential reality of that human being which is one with your essential reality, and go into deep Stillness where nothing is needed. He would often get phone calls, sometimes in the middle of the night. Someone would desperately need healing, and they would tell him the name of the person and what they were suffering from. What he would then do is immediately put the phone down and go into absolutely no thought. For a moment he heard the name of the person, he heard what was wrong with them, and immediately let go of that, then for two or three minutes went into no thought – just absolute presence. There is absolute perfection in the realm of the formless. And that is the essence of the person who needed healing. So you take the form into the formless, where the form is no longer. No condition to be treated, nothing is needed, just go into that. That was his way of healing. He was quite a powerful healer. That is the ultimate form of healing, and that really is the non-dual kind of prayer. It’s going beyond prayer where you say “Please God, heal” – you go to the very Source itself, that is inseparable from who you are, and is inseparable from who that person is.

    Prayer can gradually become listening to God rather than talking to God. What does listening mean? Listening means there is a field of bare, pure attention. Listening does not mean that you are waiting for some answer, because then you are not really listening. In listening you are not waiting for anything – there is just a field of pure attention. That is a much deeper prayer than any words. True prayer is where prayer also becomes meditation. Not even wanting an answer, it’s enough to be in the silence. Sometimes an answer comes, or the thing becomes resolved, sometimes, suddenly. Listen. Any trouble in this world, any disturbance, and they happen all the time – people around you, or a disturbance in the mind, goes into pure aware, listening presence. Listening is a way of speaking about presence. When you are present, it is as if you are in a state of listening. Now, listening is usually associated with the auditory sense perception. But this listening goes beyond the auditory sense perception; it’s the state of consciousness that underlies the auditory sense perception. Everybody knows what that is like – because when you are really listening for some faint sound, what is the state of consciousness that underlies this listening for the faint sound? It’s a state of absolute, relaxed alertness. So when we say listening, it’s a helpful thing because everybody knows what listening means. I am just pointing out that it’s not the external sense perception that is the essence in listening; the essence in listening is the underlying state of consciousness, of absolute receptivity and alert presence.

    This is why I believe that Jesus had parables about the servant and staying awake, because he doesn’t know when the master is going to come home. Many of the things have come down in a somewhat distorted way, because it was transmitted verbally, and then written down, and in the process some things got turned around or went missing. I think he was talking about the attitude of that - a state of consciousness, the servant waiting just to hear the master come home. It’s waiting in a different sense from the normal thing that we call ‘waiting’, which is the mind saying “When is it going to happen? Why isn’t it happening yet?” – he uses waiting in a completely different sense. Many times Jesus talked about staying awake, that’s a very important part of his teaching – stay awake, don’t go to sleep, stay present. Any words you use in prayer, use them as pointers toward that. You could say “I am listening”.

    Eckhart on Affirmations/Reality Creation 

    Does your spiritual practice involve prayer and meditation, or is it more a state of being?

    Tolle: It is more a state of being. I don’t pray for anything, but I have used affirmations in the past a few times. They are really a bit more like realizations in that on some level they have already happened.

    For instance, before I wrote The Power of Now, I had a vision that I had already written the book and that it was affecting the world. I had a sense there was already a book somehow in existence. I drew a circle on a piece of paper and it said “book.” Then I wrote something about the effect the book had on the world, how it influenced my life and other people’s lives, and how it came to be translated into many languages affecting hundreds of thousands of people. But I didn’t draw it because I wanted it to happen —it was more like I was writing down on this piece of paper what I felt was already a reality on some level.

    This is what I think people would call true manifestation and visualization. It doesn’t really work powerfully if you think you need to bring something about or attract it to yourself. It works most powerfully when you realize that it is already a reality on the unseen level. It’s already there. And when you fully realize it’s already a reality, you feel the power of it. Then the feeling you have when you look at a treasure map or a vision board is no different from the feeling you have when it actually comes into manifestation.

    Digest this today and tomorrow, we can break this on down! 
     Share any thoughts and questions in the comments below to help me write the post tomorrow! 

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    by Aziza Glass of

    I’m a scientist. With most problems I encounter, I tend to solve them as if they are an experiment. If I know that certain predictions should come to pass and do not, the problem is most likely located within my protocol or process. Fast forward to the moment I realized my hair just wasn’t growing the way it should. I decided to attempt to identify the culprit.


    So I have some questions for you:

    Have you been stuck at the same length for months? Does it seem like it is going to take a decade before you reach your hair length goal? Are you trying to find the miracle product that will solve your problems, but it remains elusive?

    I have a suggestion–troubleshoot.

    What is a troubleshooter? Answer: an expert in discovering and eliminating the cause of trouble in mechanical equipment, or person who tries to find solutions to problems.

    Now you (the reader) or I (the writer) may not be experts in hair, but we can definitely attempt to figure out what is going on with what grows out of our scalps. Therefore, when I was trying to figure out the cause of my poor length retention, I decided to dissect my hair regimen.

    #1 Remove heat

    This may seem like common sense, but common sense isn’t very common nowadays. High heat has the potential to make your hair brittle or destroy your curl pattern by burning the cuticle. When I transitioned, I continued to flat iron my hair (I mean my wonderful beautician). When I moved away for school, it was difficult to trust someone else with the care of my hair, and I could never get the same results as back home. I tried to recreate it myself (sort of failed). I also realized that some of the new hair products I used might not have been created for direct heat application. For instance, if I’m trying a new leave-in conditioner, that conditioner may not be designed for direct heat from a flat iron. So I may be frying my hair in my effort to straighten it.

    Results – Besides limiting a potential contributor to my poor length retention, I was also forced to become more creative when styling my hair. This freed me from my addiction to direct heat. Initially, I gave myself a challenge of going one year heat free, which eventually (and effortlessly) became two. The only time I used heat was for deep conditioning.

    #2 Pay attention to the ingredients

    Once again you might say, “Duh.” However, for newbies in the natural hair game, you might not know how much you should read the fine print on hair products. With so many hair companies jumping on the natural hair bandwagon, there are a lot of products now that are marketed for “naturals” or “textured” or “curly” hair. In addition, there are people on YouTube and bloggers who make a living out of reviewing hair products for you. It’s easy to be lazy and give in to the advertisement. I know I’m guilty. When I started transitioning, I knew there were people who refused to use certain products if they had certain ingredients in them. But I thought, “Seriously…it doesn’t take all of that.” Well in following my troubleshoot method, the next potential problem I eliminated was products that contained ingredients that were often listed on the “Stay clear” list. This included alcohols, sulfates, glycerin, silicones, and mineral oil. Once I committed to removing these ingredients from my life, I was able to clear out my bathroom of all the product junk I had amassed. For every bottle or jar I kept, ten were given or thrown away.

    Results – I was forced to start doing research on why these ingredients were bad for my hair and which ingredients were good. My bank account was much happier, since I wasn’t spending money on everything with the remote promise of making my hair look like my favorite YouTube blogger. After I changed the products I used, my hair seemed to stay moisturized longer.

    #3 To comb or not to comb…that is the question

    It is the rule of thumb that in order for your hair to be untangled, it must be combed. Right?…WRONG. I strongly believe the way you untangle your hair depends entirely on your curl pattern and hair thickness. Those with loose curls can handle a wide tooth comb easier than those with the tighter curls. If you have thick hair, it’s harder to comb through versus hair that is thinner. What kind of hair do I have? …Tight and kinky-curly coils that are long and thick. For years, I had been combing my hair out using a wide tooth comb. I even bought the expensive seamless combs. I tried every kind of method to make detangling and combing my hair out easier and nothing seemed to work. Each time I would see my whole shower peppered with hair fragments–pieces of hair that broke out in my quest to thoroughly detangle my hair. Even more frustrating was knowing after all the time I spent combing my hair out, when it dried it seemed to tangle again. I thought I was just wasting time.

    A friend told me her sister had hair similar to mine and stopped combing her hair. I looked at her like she was crazy! That was like trying to tell me that a tiger makes a perfect housecat. She said she hadn’t combed her hair in two years and it was the longest it had ever been. I asked her why. Her response was, “My sister takes her time to finger detangle and remove hair that’s been shed. If there are fairy knots, sometimes she cuts them off and sometimes she doesn’t. She believes if she has already detangled her hair with her fingers, then the purpose of combing the hair out has already been achieved. Besides, when she’s finger detangling, she comes across knots that she patiently untangles. A comb would just rip through the hair without preference of what is a true tangle.” Although unconventional, the reasoning was sound and the results were promising. I decided to try it myself.

    Results– I proceeded to finger detangle my hair for several months and noticed shedding of long strands instead of the usual hair fragments. Later, I discovered my favorite detangling technique to date which you can check out here. After a month, I could see a significant difference in the length of my hair and a decrease in the amount of knots discovered.

    It’s been four years since I troubleshot my hair regimen. I’ve gone from being stuck at armpit length to (just recently) reaching my hair goal of mid-back length. If you have been frustrated by your lack of progress, I suggest you dissect what you are doing in your hair regimen step by step. If it doesn’t seem to be working, do not become stubborn and try to force it. Make some changes and move on. In the process, you will learn what works for you. After all, that’s all a part of the journey to becoming a naturalista.

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    by Mike Orie of

    When you’re a kid, there’s one question you’re commonly asked. What do you want to be when you grow up? For some, it’s the traditional response of doctors and lawyers, a reflection of what little they’ve seen. However, as you get older, you’ll look back and realize just how absurd of a question that is for a 5-year old. Society tells us that it’s completely normal for you to change your mind. Multiple times. But what if the answer your 5-year old self gave is still in line with present, 30-year old you? It’s a rare thing, but it’s the story of Andrea Lewis. Acting is literally all she’s every known. In kindergarten, her 5-year old self knew exactly what she wanted to be, and today she still manages to find new ways to fall in love with it all over again.


    The Toronto native has made a name for herself doing exactly what she loves everyday. For her, there’s simply no other option. “I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve never one, had the time to do a normal job. And I can’t even imagine doing a normal job.” It’s been a little over six months since she moved back to LA. Before that, she’s traveled back and forth between there, Toronto and New York. “I spent a year and a half moving back and forth from Toronto, New York and LA. In September I made LA my base. My producing partner lives here. I always said that I thought that LA had a similar pace as Toronto, just with more opportunities. LA is such a chill place. And there’s a lot of Canadians here.”

    But while she’s made LA home, there are certainly some differences. I ask her about the concept of why people from the US might consider moving to Canada if Trump becoming president ever became a reality. “In Toronto you’re very culturally aware. You know the difference between someone who’s from Thailand and Korea. It makes you more accepting because you’re taking more time to understand each other’s cultures.” This awareness of different cultures has also made her more in tune with her own. “I always call myself a West Indian Canadian. Where I’m from, you don’t really have a lot of people who aren’t initially from somewhere else. Your parents aren’t from the country that you’re being raised in, so they try to do your best. That’s the different between being a Black person in Canada, versus being a Black person in the states.”

    This year’s a busy year for her as well as her production company, Jungle Wild Productions. It’s a Friday afternoon in LA. Only a few hours shy of a gig she has with Black & Sexy TV. She’s been working nonstop on new material. Despite her impressive resume, people still remember Andrea Lewis mostly for her role as Hazel in Degrassi. We talk about how she’s balanced maintaining the notoriety this role has got her, while also encouraging people to stay current on her new work. “I haven’t figured out exactly. Every person will eventually do a role that people will associate you with. Aubrey is very successful, but some people still remember him as wheelchair Jimmy. I think that’s a part of the business you have to accept. I’m fortunate in the sense that the people who do follow me, they don’t see me as Hazel, they see me as Andrea Lewis. I think it would be worse to be ungrateful. When I was younger I used to be a little frustrated, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m just grateful to have something that people remember me for.”

    Late 2013, she introduced the web series Black Actress. Most of her work as of late has been a reflection of her reality. “I think what I realized with me, everything that I put out and produce, it’s about what I’m currently learning through life. That’s the common theme. Black Actress was written in a time when I was insecure. Beyond Complicated was based on relationships and things I’ve learned.” The concept of Black Actress was inspired from a moment while she was on set in Vancouver. It was a moment where she was introduced to another cast member as the urban/Black actress on the set. “The funny thing is, I’m still good friends with one of the cast members of the situation. That’s how strange that moment was, cause it affected him. He still brings it up. I think why I wanted to make Black Actress because I think everybody has had this experience, whether famous or not. I think he described me as this, because he saw me the way the script saw me.”

    This is her reality. She’s a culmination of her life experiences, and her work is a direct response to it. Over the years she’s developed thick skin, truly embraced self-love and developed into the person that she wants to become. She’s learned how to say no to opportunities that aren’t an accurate reflection of how she wants to be portrayed. Self-aware enough to realize that what she does is bigger than her. That means making the right choices over compromising for opportunity. She elaborates on this responsibility. “I’ve had a few auditions this year where the roles were, in my opinion kind of stereotypical. I can’t tell if it’s just my eye and my critical lens.” But ultimately it’s about where you see yourself in the long run. “These roles are sometimes great, but in the back of your mind, if I was to get this, how would I justify this. I think it depends on the type of artist you want to be as a person of color. Some of us don’t care. At some point it’s a conversation you have to have with yourself.” I absolutely loved that she got this, and it was probably my favorite moment of our conversation. Cultural accountability.

    Earlier this year she released a new web series titled ‘Beyond Complicated.’ It’s a show that I, an African American male relate to the most. It juxtaposes the male and female perspective of a complicated relationship. Only four episodes in, and I’m already hooked. “The show was inspired by my friends. I could understand the guy and the girl’s perspectives and understand why they couldn’t see eye to eye. When I thought about a series on dating, I wanted to see it all.”

    Imperfections and all, Andrea Lewis has come a long way. Just like you, or I, she sometimes doubts herself, but never enough to give up her dreams. She’s young, talented, and extremely self-aware. Life has taught her how to budget money in between gigs, and she’s remained her true self over all these years. Perhaps it was attending regular school despite being on set, or maintaining the same best friends since elementary school. She attributes her beginning in entertainment to her mother. “My mom put me in the business as a little kid, but I stayed because I loved it.” It’s been nearly 15 years since she first stepped into the character Hazel, and she shows no signs of slowing down. From Degrassi to Black Actress, this is the story of Andrea Lewis.


    Mike "Orie" Mosley is a freelance writer/photographer and cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the co-founder of music and culture website In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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