Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yirser Ra Hotep

A friend recently told me about this big event coming to the D.C. area soon. The Soul Yoga Fest will be held at the University of Maryland on May 25 - May 28.

Yirser Ra Hotep, a personal friend and founder and director of the Society of Kemetic Yoga, is one of the featured presenters. He will be speaking, conducting workshops, and you will get the chance of a lifetime - the chance to participate in one of his famously talked about yoga classes.

He is truly an amazing man. Yirser (Elvrid Lawrence) has taught Yoga for over 27 years. He is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the foremost masters and innovators of Kemetic Yoga (ancient Egyptian system of Yoga) in the world. He is the author of "Kemetic Yoga," a three volume set of Instructional Yoga tapes and "Journey to Amenta," an audio meditation and music CD. He has lectured and written extensively on the African origins of Yoga; stress management, health and wellness for African Americans; African American culture and health; Yoga therapy, meditation and spirituality.

Yirser has taught Yoga and lectured throughout the United States and in various countries around the world. He has recently been featured in such magazines and books as Yoga Journal, Yoga Chicago, Whole Life Health.Com, Houston Life, Chicago Parent, Healthy, Ebony Magazine, Chicago Tribune and Natural Living in Chicago and various TV and radio shows around the U.S. including ABC and WGN. He has been recognized nationally for his work with children with disabilities Easter Seals Headstart programs in Chicago.

For the past two years he has been a staff writer for Recovered Magazine in Chicago and is a professor of Stress Management and Wellness at DePaul University.
In 1979 he began a career in Social Work and counseling where he has used his knowledge of Yoga, Tai Chi and holistic health to develop innovative treatment programs for at risk youth, substance abusers, developmentally disabled persons, the elderly, AIDS patients, teen parents and many other populations.

In addition to his expertise in Yoga, Yirser is a Social Worker, has a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.

I'm so thrilled to have been invited and wouldn't miss it for the world. I'm so pumped up about it that I had to share it with you, and also give you the opportunity to come and share the experience with me. Click on the link for more information on The Soul Yoga Fest, or for more on where to register.



The Society of Kemetic Yoga and
The Belly Dancers of Color Association Presents:

May 25 to 28, 2007

University of Maryland
3501 University Blvd
College Park MD 20783

301 985-7300/800 288-9290

This festival of Yoga for people of the African Diaspora features teachers of various Yoga, Meditation and other internal healing and transformational traditions that have their roots in ancient Africa. The Soul Yoga Fest seeks to honor the unity of all internal systems of spiritual transformation including Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi, Chi Qong and Traditional African Spirituality. It the mission of the Society of Kemetic Yoga to bring together these systems of spiritual development from Africa and Asia and demonstrate their common African origin and the utility for ensuring health, wellness and spiritual transformation for all of us today.

Workshops Include:

Ausarian Yoga: Kwesi Karamoko

African Origins of Yoga: Yirser Ra Hotep

META Chi Gong: Professor Karim

Tai Yoga Massage: Angela Walker

Kundalini Yoga, Lazarus Emenogu

The 6 Healing Sounds, Wayne Chandler

Yoga for Partners

Yoga for Children

Pranayama and Meditation

Tantric Yoga, Professor Shakoor

Kriya Yoga, Professor Shakoor

Keynote Address:

By Wayne B. Chandler

Friday May 25, 2007

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM


Wayne B. Chandler has authored the book, Ancient Future: The Teachings and Prophetic wisdom of The Seven Hermetic Laws of Ancient Egypt

For Information Go to:

773 908 7074

or register at:


773 908-7074

Reserve your spot online now!
See you there,

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wayne Simmons and Levon kirkland

Both pro-ballers. Both lived lives many of us can only dream about. Both began their journeys at almost the same starting point, but their paths some how took them in much different directions.

I knew both these guys. Not very well, but I do remember my first impressions of them. I went to Clemson University in August, 1988. Levon was an upper classman, and Wayne was a freshman. I had a class with each of them, but during different semesters. Math with Levon, and I believe Sociology with Wayne. Both these guys were incredibly handsome with beautifully well defined bodies. And both of them were destined for greatness. Little did I know.

So like I said, I didn't know them well, but you know that feeling you get when you're around someone for the first time? Well, it really is the most important clue into who they really are. Levon was quiet and had a soft, demure, almost child-like honesty about him. He was nice and courteous, and it was obvious just in his presence and how he carried himself. He wasn't the stereotypical college football player. You could tell that it wasn't his plan to bed as many girls as possible. Nor did he use his position in sports as any kind of leverage, except for his own personal dreams and career goals. He was a man on a mission, and his intentions were good.
I remember, he walked me home one night just because it was dark. No other reason than that. And he didn't even attempt to come in. Levon was always the gentleman.

Wayne was a nice guy too, but much different from Levon. His demeanor automatically made the people around him take notice. He was funny, out going, and out spoken. I can hardly remember seeing him without a smile on his face. I remember once, Wayne came over to our place with a friend. It was the first time I'd ever met him. Within an hour, he'd eaten some frosted mini wheats and showed us the new dance he was trying to perfect. The cereal, he said was, "kinda nasty, but one side was good as hell!" The sweet side of course. And the dance, it was so animated and contrived. Like he'd just gotten the basic steps, but not quite sure how to really put it all together. We were laughing hysterically.

But Wayne, like Levon, was at Clemson to play football. He was there to create his destiny. But what I didn't know then was just how bright he was. When I read about his childhood, it was so hard to believe that hidden beneath the smile I remembered, was a little boy who'd gone through so much to be there in that place back then. So he was also on a mission. A mission to make his life better, but also to fulfill a promise to his mom, who'd struggled all of her young life to provide for her children. When he was young, he'd found his mom crying. She told him she was going to have to put him up for adoption, because she couldn't afford to take care of him. She was working three jobs at that time. He asked her to please allow him to stay, and made a promise to her that if she did, he would make sure that one day she would never have to worry about money again.

Which brings me to my blog. I knew both these guys had made it to the pros, but I never kept up with them or their careers. I'm not a fan of football, and so I didn't know which teams they played for or how big they'd gotten. About a month ago, I decided to google them. What I found was that my initial impressions of them still rang true. Their personalities and talents had taken them both to wondrous heights.

Levon Kirkland was an all-pro linebacker in the NFL. A second-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992, he went on to play 11 years in the NFL including 9 seasons with the Steelers, and one each for the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles. He became a starter at inside linebacker for the Steelers in his second season, 1993, replacing Pro Bowler David Little. By 1995, he was recognized as one of the top inside linebackers in the league, and had a stellar performance in Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the season. In a surprise move, the Steelers waived Kirkland just before the 2001 season due to salary cap pressure. That year many star players were waived due the salary cap including John Randle, Troy Aikman, Jerry Rice and many others. Kirkland went to the Seattle Seahawks where he became a leader on the defense and had over 100 tackles. The next year he played his final season for the Eagles, becoming the veteran leader of a defense that ranked 7th in the league and advanced to the NFC Championship game before losing to the Rams. He finished his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. The latest information I found on Levon, who'd earned a bachelor's degree in Sociology, stated he'd gone back to Clemson in 2005 after being named coordinator of minority recruitment initiatives.


But when I googled Wayne, I was stunned and puzzled. I got a picture with an article and a epitaphial-like date (December 15, 1969 - August 23, 2002). I knew what a date like that usually meant, but it had to mean something else this time. He couldn't be dead. I felt such a sense of loss. And I couldn't explain why, but I did. I hadn't known him well, nor did he probably even remember me. I thought of the famous story by Hemingway and asked myself, For Whom Does the Bell Toll? I felt like I finally understood how someone could conceive that when someone dies, a little piece of everyone dies with him.

Wayne had been a linebacker in the NFL, who was drafted in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He signed a 3.2 million dollar contract and earned a Super Bowl ring in 1996 with them. He later played a year with the Kansas City Chiefs, and one with the Buffalo Bills. Wayne retired from football in February 1999. {Simmons was the 15th pick of the first round by the Packers in 1993 and went on to play six seasons and 90 games in the National Football League.}

He was young and he had lived some big dreams. He'd been a successful ball player. He'd gotten a Superbowl ring, which some of the credit was due largely to him as a player. He'd kept his promise to his mother and had gotten her way out of the path of poverty. He'd opened up a trendy restaurant in Kansas City called, 50/50 on Main. From all the information I've been able to dig up, it seems that he lived a fast, and sometimes very loud life. But his character still remained true to the person I met at Clemson. He had still been the life of the party, and his sense of humor had remained just as infectious as ever to everyone around him, except of course for those he was making fun of. Wayne was just Wayne. And I really think that's the best way to be.

Of course he had his share of drama in his last few years. Some of it, his own doing. He was who he was, and apparently some people were not okay with that. I read a article, and a man very close to Wayne for most of his life, said that Wayne had told him that he was going to enjoy his life, because he was going to die early anyway. I wondered if he really knew this, or if it was just one of those off-handed comments we sometimes make when we're trying to answer some really hard questions or trying to rationalize our own realities to ourselves.

Wayne had some career set backs following his team's Superbowl victory. He and his coaches didn't get along well, which inevitably led to a downward spiral that ended in death. Wayne died in a one car collision in Independence, Missouri. Gone at 32. Damn!

In an instant I was forced to face my own feelings about my own mortality. Once I got over the initial shock and had done some self reflection, I left the experience feeling blessed to be able to appreciate where I was at that very point in my personal and spiritual journey. I felt overjoyed that my creative and industrious spirit had returned. I felt invigorated. I felt inspired. And it's all because I decided to google a couple of almost perfect strangers. But their lives (and in Wayne's case - his death) have touched me in a profound way. And I believe they will continue to touch all those who are open and receptive enough to understand the lessons.

So what did I learn from them?

Live like today is your last. Dream like you have forever. Work your passion until you're no longer able to. Work on Fulfilling your promises to yourself and whomever else you truly care about (you'll be surprised at just how many you accomplish). And when your time comes, you'll leave not just an epitaph, but also a legacy. And...even in death, you will continue to inspire others.

-- Vee Jefferson (Jowaje Philosophy)


can't turn a seasonal friend into a forever friend.
can't turn a forever friend into a seasonal friend.
whether it's a season...or the whole life long,
won't know the difference until you realize that the season has come and gone.

some blessings take a life time to earn.
some lessons take only a season to learn.
so I welcome each into my life.
and if the season does change, I stop for a minute and cry if I must cry;

all the while, remembering it was knowledge and wisdom that I yearned.
and while my world continues to turn
I'm going to be my best me,
while discovering and becoming who it is I'm supposed to be

I couldn't stand 24 hours of daylight?
I definitely couldn't stand 24 hours of night?
but they each have their purpose,
offering growth and understanding.
working together to make sure everything's balanced just right.

If only I could send the overstanding I have now to me back then.
I would stop and tell my two best friends,
who have remained true through thick and thin,
how happy I was that we were making this life long mend,
cause our forevers were starting then,
And a little birdie told me it would never end.

Coretta and Gail, I Love You.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Peace is Priceless

A friend of mine is going through some personal problems in his marriage right now. I truly respect him for his honesty and integrity. And at the same time, I'm very honored that he was willing to share with me. Instead of acting out of frustration, he decided to sit down and write down his feelings. Speaking your thoughts and writing them down can be very therapeutic. You're better able to internalize the problems, allowing room for growth, instead of just reacting to them in a negative, and sometimes very unhealthy way.

So he decided to blog, although he's not officially a blogger. When I read it, I asked him to please allow me to post it. I invite you to read it. It's funny. It's real. It's relatable. And he shows a vulnerable side that most men are afraid to reveal.

You know it's true.
Women are always given a platform to voice their problems. Everything from physical abuse to just plain being disrespected by the men in their lives. And men are considered weak for taking on the 'feminine' role of talking about their feelings. Men are stereotyped as being hard and closed-lipped when it comes to talking about their pain and the realities of their relationships. We ask them to talk to us. We ask them to be open with us. We always say that this is what we need from them, but are we really willing to listen?

So I decided to give a brother the spotlight. And boy did he have a mouthful to say. It's honest and real, and was very enlightening to me as a woman. So open your minds and listen as you read his words.

Love...$50 at the candy store. $150 at the Florist.
Happiness...$2,500 for a night at a posh hotel.


When I was young I was told by many to seek love, peace, and happiness. The funny thing about that is the fact that most people say it without ever seeking it. The other thing is, we as people always seem to put emphasis on the love and happiness, but not the peace. Al Greene, one of greatest singers ever, made a #1 hit song called, "Love and Happiness." The song takes it's listeners on a journey through the highs and lows of a love relationship and what two people are really capable of. One verse I seem to recall very well, "Love will make you do right. Love will make you do wrong. Make you come home early. Make you stay out all night long. Oh, talkin' bout power. The power of love."

Back to the matter at hand...Peace!
Why does everyone forget to put a emphasis on the importance of peace? How can we enjoy love, and how can we recognize happiness if we don't have peace? Many of us have learned to adapt to such hectic and stressful lifestyles that peace becomes a sacrifice for greater tangible gifts. The gifts we hold in high regard are at best material, replaceable, and temporary.

For example, we may think that staying on a job that affords us the ability to pay our bills is worth the extra stress. Well if you have enslaved yourself to a job by acquiring things that are far above your means, then yes it might be worth the stress for you. But it would be wonderful if everyone could have enough financial security and/or family/friendly resources to come to their aid in the case of an emergency. I think taking time away from a job or anything else that may be stealing your peace should be labeled a dire emergency. And it should be handled fast, because what a lot of people fail to realize is that the very things we claim to live for can also be the things we end up dying for. "I'm here to tell you, it ain't worth the stress."

You know what else ain't worth the stress?
Well let's begin the list.

1.)A spouse that you can never please because she is unhappy with who you are at the core.

The core is the depth of your spirit and the essence of who you are. Fortunately, and at times unfortunately, what you see at the core - good, bad, or ugly - is what you get in the end and possibly for a lifetime. We need to realize, after a certain age, people really don't change, so why not change your environment if you're unhappy? If you're in a environment that is sucking the peace out of you, then guess what? It is also sucking the energy out of you. And once you lose the energy that makes you who you are, then you are basically useless for your God given purpose. Maaannn, I've been beaten down to the point of feeling like a zombie. What good is having a zombie for a spouse?

You may have guessed it by now, but just in case, yes this article is by an angry, married, man. It's purpose? To shed some light from the testosterone point of view. Everyone hears about the woes of the angry woman, but in the background you have a man silently screaming to be heard. But there's a problem. If we complain to anyone outside of our wives or the marriage counselors, which by the way always seem to be WOMAN-sided, oops, I mean ONE-sided, then we are criticized and ridiculed for taking issues outside of the marriage. It seems that only our wives have the right to speak of, talk about, or complain about their marriages.

I believe that the marriage vows need to be rewritten for the sake of honesty and openness. For men It should start off more like our Miranda rights.

--You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in any court this woman decides to take you to.

--You have the right to retain a lawyer. If for some reason your wife has taken all the money out the account before you, and you can't afford a lawyer, then one will be appointed to you by the state.

--You also have many other rights, but just like the legal system, we won't tell you about any that might benefit you in this marriage until it's too late! GOTCHA!

--Now do you understand your rights?

--And even if you're unsure about this marriage thing - still trying to figure out how you've made it thus far - say "I do" anyway.

--You may now kiss the judge, because this woman is going to judge you for the rest of your life,in spite of what you say or do.
No amount of money in the world, or anything else you think your money can buy, will please her. No amount of love you shower on her will ever make her believe she's really fortunate for having you in her life. She will always make you feel inadequate based on her own insecurities with herself. She will always suspect you of cheating when she puts you on poo poo punishment, because she can't conceive that you're actually disciplined enough to be without her and maintain your respect for the marriage, since she truly does not believe men can go without sex for long periods of time. And somewhere in this sick, twisted mental game, she may actually want you to cheat,so when she catches you, she can use the defense: My husband's a cheating dog!

Well is a dog wrong for eating the neighbors dog food if his owner won't feed him? (Poor Hungry Dog)
Should a dog die of starvation because his owner has punished him?
These questions are concerns that both men and woman should be aware of. But the most important thing is your peace. Where's the peace?

I once read a scripture in the bible that stated, and with all thy getting get understanding. The verse went on to describe how precious wisdom is and how it outlasts all things. I think the verse could have easily been describing peace as well as wisdom. To me peace is precious and valuable, and more important than most things we put before it. How can we ever appreciate life without the peace in life it takes to enjoy it?

Sisters and brothers hear me and trust,
the mess really ain't worth the stress.

Your lover, your job, or anything else that you may feel indebted or committed to should bring you peace. And peace should naturally be just as expected as love and happiness. I remember watching a movie, Disappearing Acts, starring Wesley Snipes and Sanaa Lathan. One line from the movie struck me pretty hard. Wesley's character's ex girlfriend and "baby momma" said to him, "Well you tell her to call me. I'll tell her, 'honey the big d*#! ain't worth the stress'"

Well brothers, here's my version of that line. Oh yeah, I was working on a list wasn't I? Anyway...

2.) The big butt ain't worth the stress.
3.) The breasts ain't worth the stress.
4.) Her sex ain't worth the stress.

And fellas c'mon, I know you know by now,

5.) The pretty smile definitely ain't worth the stress.

Everyday you step out the door and you may see a sister that's a bit more blessed in certain areas than your baby may be. That's just the work of God and he has created the most diverse formula for what we call beauty and what attracts a man to a woman. Take me, for instance. I've never been a man to pay much attention to a woman's legs, but as I've grown older and studied the anatomy of woman, in all of it's beautiful femininity, I now can appreciate her from the root of her hair to the bottom of her feet.

I've learned something else. Once you find that special someone...the right one, all the things I said weren't worth the stress, suddenly become worth it.

Well the one for you - no, really the one God has for you - will be worth all that and then some. When you measure the amount of PEACE, LOVE, and JOY she will add to your life, only a fool would risk losing her over foolishness. You will then be able to make statements like "nothing is worth me losing my wife or family." "For the sake of our marriage, I'm gonna stop doing that thing she keeps complaining about, because it's not worth disappointing her." "I absolutely love making her happy. When her eyes smile, my heart smiles."

Those are just a few heartfelt sentiments I long to genuinely utter about my life with my wife. Over time, life teaches us what's important. The reason so many marriages are broken and bent is because we try before we buy. Once you try, the relationship begins to cloud your spiritual judgement about what's good for your spirit and what's not. The test-drive method has been the reason for giving someone another chance for the sake of "it just feels so good." Or the reason, in some cases, for not giving a good brother a second chance, because it wasn't quite good enough. And the same goes for women. Men sometimes try to hold their ladies to the standards of a lust affair he had with a stripper or his wildest fantasy, instead of allowing her to grow into that fantasy and eventually becoming his personal, private dancer.

I hope my venting helps somebody out there in cyber space. I honestly feel a lot better for haven written it. And it darn sure beats cruising the streets for trouble or digging up the little black book for a quick fix. Personally, I don't believe in quick fixes. I believe in all or nothing. And once I have given my all, once I've given everything I have and I'm running on empty, if my house still remains unchanged, I will tear it down and rebuild without hesitation, and without regret. For I will have learned a valuable lesson and gained so much wisdom in the process. I'll be ready, and the next time, my house will have a solid foundation, with sturdy walls and a leak proof ceiling, because the materials I will have chosen will be much better suited for my blueprint.

Hear me!

If there is a next time, the next relationship I build with someone will last forever. And if she ever attempts to leave me, then hell...I'm going with her.
Funny but true!

I'm signing out, but remember in all thine getting, along with wisdom, also try for some peace! I'm not an advocate of divorce or any other drastic measures, but these are my thoughts...the thoughts from the mind of an angry, married man who has not acted out wrongfully on any of his emotions. I will say though, that with each passing day of this marriage, I am learning how to treasure the simple, most basic pleasures of life and love and how to be complete within myself.

Sincerely my thoughts,
A Hurt, Angry, Married Man.