This is the time of year when we reap what we sow during the festive holiday season, and we rely on New Year’s Resolutions – with a firm resolve – to get back on track. For many of us, getting back on track means shedding unwanted pounds. But this is one year that I’m not worried about weight because months ago, I put God in my diet.
If you want something delicious, calorie-free and certain to reduce unwanted inches, try God. God is guaranteed to get results, guard against any excessive indulgence and give you favor for the process. The right people will show up to help you reach your fitness goals; the right opportunities will manifest for your magnificence; the right methodology to keep you motivated will reveal itself; and the right decisions that you need to make to stay spiritually fit will guide you to success.
God only requires a one-day-at-a-time plan. All you have to do is put one foot before the other with prayerful purpose, and the sheer gravity of Spirit will pull you in the right direction. When you awaken, acknowledge with your heart that God is in every breath that you take. Stretch with the magnificence of God in your limbs. Rise with the boldness and conviction of God in your thoughts. Move with the passion of God in your purpose to be your best in your new day.
Have you ever observed animals and birds when they awaken? They stretch. They flex and bend their bodies because they have a constant diet of God in their lives. They know what to do. Birds, even the pigeons – who are jaded New York streetwalkers – take to the air in unison for their morning flight relays. I love to see them circling the air as I make my way to the gym.
Maybe like my husband Marlon, you prefer to ride your bike. Maybe like my brother Chris, you prefer to walk. Maybe like me, you prefer to lift weights. Maybe like my friend Vaughn, you prefer to run. Maybe like my friend Kelly, you prefer to practice yoga. Maybe like my friend Mary, you prefer the elliptical machine. It all counts.
If you don’t have a gym or a fitness class and you’re in the New York area, contact my friend Priscilla Upshaw-Wimbly at the New York Sports Club (718-643-4400). She will sign you up with a good fitness deal and expedite the Universe’s conspiracy to help you obtain your goals. (Tell her that I sent you.)
Putting God in your diet is about as simple as drinking water. Jesus said I will give you living water. Water is the most essential life-sustaining beauty treatment there is. If your urine is dark or you feel faint, you are not listening when Spirit tells you to drink enough water!
Putting God in your diet demands that you bless your food and be mindful in eating. You’d be surprised how small your stomach is: about two palms full. Mindful eating conditions us to listen to our bellies telling us that they are full or near full. As you bless your food, envision the body that you desire, see that ripped six-pack, see those healthy knees running and jumping like never before, see those flexible limbs.
Putting God in your diet is not about wearing yourself ragged, it’s about rest, rejuvenation and revelation. Rest will give us the rejuvenation that supplies the energy to achieve our fitness goals. Rejuvenation will give us the revelations that will show us how to form and shape our workout plans, eating habits, and fitness goals. Revelations will keep us focused on the upward prize – of which physical fitness is just one aspect.
Putting God in your diet requires that you listen to what God is telling you. Listening to Spirit is your most important meal of the day. God is always speaking, but we seldom take the time to be still and know what God is saying. We have to listen throughout the day: during our morning meditation, while we are journaling, in our prayers, through our study of truth, by our good deeds done with compassion for others. (For more on how to do this, see my book Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness on Amazon.)
Putting God in your diet demands that you maximize your potential beyond the mere festive mood of celebrating the new year. You see, the real party – the one that you don’t want to miss – is the one with Jesus Christ, who is here in our consciousness; with the Holy Spirit, who is here as our guide; and with God, who is here in every single morsel of life that we partake.
I was at a salad bar in New York City recently – that was so trendy there was a line salivating for chopped greens, cheese and chicken that extended down the street. As I stood in line watching the mating ritual between young blonds and brunettes, I could not help but wonder where the sisters were. We eat salad. We take lunch breaks. But when I looked around Manhattan (not everywhere but as far as the eye could see), I saw very few of us representing the well-heeled corporate work force.
Oh I see more of us in Carroll Gardens cast in leading roles as “The Help” — strolling down Court Street with our noses held high. Haughtiness is sometimes a coping mechanism for those who have the decent but thankless task of caring for white babies who will likely grow up to remember “the help” while refusing to hire the brown children left to raise themselves. (I’ve heard one — which was one too many — say that the only thing we can do for them is clean their houses.)
My mother and a good many mothers and grandmothers were “the help,” so that we could get advanced degrees and earn the right to good-paying jobs that gave us the opportunity to contribute the “book sense” education gave us and the “good sense” our parents gave us – informed by the “God-sense” the Holy Spirit gives us. But when I look around, I see fewer of us in the big city at the big company holding down the big job. So what happened?
Well The National Women’s Law Center says more black women lost their jobs than any other segment of society since 2007. Even during the so-called economic recovery period (2009-2011), the unemployment rate for women actually increased rather than decreased. Black women, the Women’s Law Center reports, who are at the head of the black workforce and at the head of most black families, continue to lose jobs. At least 475,000 sisters have lost their jobs since 2007 and those are only the ones who had one in the first place. Few of us went to go work for Oprah. Even the one who was hired to run OWN (meaning Oprah’s own network – not yours) was kicked to the curb. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming O for not doing for us what we can do for ourselves. She’s a living testimony that we have the power to build our own empires.
The surveys indicating no job growth for sisters never give a real perspective as to whether we fell on our behinds, got pushed to the edge or kicked to the curb. It seems to project the behavior that one white male New York Times writer urges: use the “recession” as an excuse to do what you never had the courage to do in the first place (e.g., fire people you want to get rid of and perhaps never wanted to hire).
But God is a Brown Girl Too is not about what other folks can do to help us. It teaches that we have the power to help ourselves. So the challenge this current dilemma blesses us with is figuring out how can we “help” lighten our load, help ease our burden, help enlarge our territory and help step into our greatness. The question carries within it the assumption that whatever we do for others, we do for ourselves – and vice versa. I help everybody; it doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is. But my sisters and brothers are definitely at the top of my list because I know that we need help the most.
This is the first part of a seven-part series on what we can do to “help” ourselves: help us reach our goals, help us recreate ourselves, help us build the empires that we are destined to build.
This is not about semantics. It’s not even about religion. There will be different religions as long as there are different personalities. I don’t argue religion; it’s a losing proposition. But I do urge us all to realize that we are here to love one another.
If you call yourself a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, or affiliated with any other faith, you should know that God is Love. We have to love ourselves because in so doing we realize the presence of love as us, reverberating through every aspect of our being. We can only be as loving to others as we are to ourselves.
Love is the only thing that will heal every wound, ease every pain, and conquer every enemy.
This means that we can’t be hard on ourselves. We have to love every inch and every cell of our beautiful bodies – every delicate hair on our heads. We have to love our minds and all of its attention to detail and memory.
We have to love our souls and our mission, our purpose here on earth. This sounds more simple than it is. But if you see, hear or read anything in the media, it does not support our love of ourselves. Black women are marginalized or even demonized rather than celebrated. We are not cast in most television shows or movies. We are seldom in books. And most of the images of us are not flattering. We are usually denigrated as less than, unworthy, lusty, nasty, addicted, assimilated beyond recognition, or just “the help.”
That’s why I love what Toni Morrison said: write the book you want to read. Tell the story you want to hear. Make the movie you want to see. Otherwise, you won’t be starring in it — unless you’re The Help. (Footnote an exception to this is my all time favorite Halle Berry kicking butt as Catwoman and making love to Benjamin Bratt — I know why some folks didn’t like her strutting her stuff, for the same reason I watch it everytime it comes on — cheering Halle on through every powerful butt-kicking scene.) We suffer from fibroids and high blood pressure and diabetes and so many other ailments – because society has blatantly kicked us – the “help” to the curb and we are so busy celebrating our starring role that we fail to realize the joke is on us.
We kick ourselves to the curb — repeatedly foresaking our own power rather than embracing ourselves with so much love that our uniform falls off. We need to love ourselves enough to at least realize we don’t need flat butts or skinny thighs or blond hair to be beautiful. We were all born as beautiful children of God.
We just need to start loving one another — as well as ourselves without a single ounce of contempt. There never has been any room for hatred — especially in this so-called enlightened age.
If you don’t love yourself – with all of your imperfections and your hopes and your wish lists, you cannot love your sisters, brothers and all humanity.
[To be continued in Part Two . . .]
The rise of negative name-calling – not only in reference to other people but also to ourselves – made me raise a question that should be considered by everyone: what are you calling yourself? So often we use words and phrases that are popular without considering what they mean. How many people really internalize what they mean when they scream “I’m not worthy”? Why does a woman who strives to be strong and independent call herself a “B-“? Can ABC really succeed with a television show called “Good Christian B—s”?How can Kim, the blond housewife of Atlanta, call her assistant “b–h” – and even more questionable, how can the twenty-something black nanny/personal secretary answer such a call – without protest? What we are calling others is a reflection of what we call ourselves. Profanity and phrases like “poor thing” and “poor me” are equally offensive. We raise a ruckus over taking God‘s name in vain, but aren’t we temples of a living God?
We may not use the b-word, but we still blaspheme the kingdom of God within us if we call ourselves or our sisters and brothers less than what God is. We still blaspheme the divine within if we undermine the unlimited power of God or fail to embrace Spirit’s inexhaustible supply. Since we are the image and likeness of God everywhere present, we need to be careful about what we say about ourselves, as well as other people. What name-calling ultimately boils down to is what we are affirming about the power in us.
In Luke 12:32, Jesus said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” But have your words provided the opening for your consciousness to receive the kingdom? Have you used words to decree God’s good in every crack and crevice of your life? Or have you used nay-saying, negativity and nastiness to deny the existence of Absolute Good? Are you speaking words that undermine or uplift your greatness? Are you taking your divinity in vain?
Jesus says in Matthew 12:36 that you shall give an account on judgment day for every careless word that you utter. But when is Judgment Day? It’s every day. It’s the period of reaping what you sow in thought, word and deed. You do that every day. Every day you choose whether to embrace a vibration of love or hatred. Whatever you speak, you decree. If you talk about being poor, then you wallow in the energy of poverty; you decree it. If you focus about illness, you create a connection to sickness – and inevitably, you decree it. If you linger in the toxic vibrations of bad relationships, you give them life through your decree. If you get stuck in the pity party of insecurity, loneliness or lack, you decree them in every word that you speak about them.
God is a Brown Girl Too decrees power. It’s one of those books that are courageous enough to refute negativity and strife toshift the paradigm with a new story. It dares new seeds to be planted in the vortex of unlimited possibility. God speaks, saying “Quit pretending that you are less than your true worth. Quit trying to play the universe with false bravado. . . . Now is the time for your own magic . . . . [I] did not give [you] a spirit of timidity or fear; but a spirit of power . . . . The sooner you recognize your power, the sooner you accomplish your goals, the sooner you step up to the plate and do what you were called here in this lifetime to do [and] make this world a better place.”
God says “There is power in your words. Everyday declare what you want in your life. Wake up and declare it. Go to bed and declare it. Stand up in your office and declare it. Look out your window and declare it. Walk down the street and declare it. Your words are where you take responsibility for what you want to see manifest in your life . . . . [W]ords are fertile; they contain the essence of life – [I] travel through the breath of each spoken word. The aborigines would say the tongue of Great Spirit resides in all things . . . . Power is your ability to celebrate who you are and what contribution you can make to this beautiful existence that you call life. It gives you the honor to take charge of you.”
But you must be inventive enough to tell your truth – a truth that exudes love rather than fearful name-calling – a truth that praises rather than condemns, a truth that knows fortitude rather than failure, a truth that realizes victory rather than defeat, a truth that exudes courage rather than caution.
God says “Only those who do not know the truth would call themselves or any of my sons and daughters less than who they are. I have given you the power that you need. When you stand on my shoulders, your spiritual roots will reach down to the belly of the earth – without stopping there.Speak from the depths of your soul with boldness and conviction. Reveal your awesome beauty. Listen to what you are calling yourself.”
About SPIRITMUV: Spiritmuv® is a trans-denominational church, which means that it transcends the confines of religion and teaches unconditional love for one another regardless of race, creed, culture, or religion. At the heart of its teachings is what Jesus taught — that we love one another, as well as the community that Mahatma Gandhi inspired when he said, “I am a Christian and a Muslim and a Hindu and a Jew.” Reverend Cecilia Loving is the founder and creator of Spiritmuv, which was formed in 2007. Services are held for an hour every Sunday, from 2:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. at the Unity Center of NYC, located at 213 West 58th Street.
Your freedom is inside your soul.
You leap in and out of spaces wearing the songs of endless creations.
You cannot be measured, defined or contained.
Your season is here.
Release the material. Be courageous enough to recreate your life with a new consciousness. You are emerging from old wine skins imply because they can no longer contain you. You are new wine.
You may be forced to discard old jobs, old conditions, old circumstances, old relationships, old places, old doubts. But your release of the old is merely allowing you to take a leap to new heights.