The Power of Sisterhood, Service and Giving

I had the amazing opportunity to serve, to give and to Influence power in NYC’s most powerful young women through Gnep’s 6th annual Teen Summit on March 16, 2013. I had been introduced to Akua Sodawa the Founder and Executive Director of The Gye Nyame Empowerment Project and Lets Pursue You Company. I literally was connected to her 4 weeks before the summit and had been attending their planning meetings and was lending support anyway that I could. The week of the summit during the last planning meeting it was discussed that they had met and exceeded the number of young women that would take advantage of what the teen summit would offer. To meet the demand more workshops had to be added to accomadate the growing number of particpants. Internally I knew that I would love the opportunity to lead a workshop to lend my gifts, talents and abilities but I surrendered to be used as a vessel in whatever capacity was needed the day of the event. Right before I was to head out after the discussion, I asked what area needed the most help just so I knew how best to serve. In that moment, I saw passion meet purpose and again I “showed up”for it.  I was added to the schedule and the event as one of the additional workshop leaders they needed! I was more then happy, thrilled or excited. I felt a great sense of gratefulness and humility. God had divinely set up this moment in His time for me to be able to contribute to such a great movement of influencing the generation that is coming after us. What a honor it was. The charge I had was leading a workshop talking about forgiveness. God has no subtly, I laugh because last year this time, I struggled with forgiving my birth mother for abandoning me and being on drugs. Being that I had just had a daughter of my own, it had become extremely difficult for me to allow her to have a relationship with my daughter because I felt she neglected to have a relationship with me, so how dare she want to love my daughter more then I felt she loved me? Going through that process of forgiveness and  understanding the process I went through last year when it came to this particular subject and me having to facilitate a conversation with young women about it was God showing me that what I go through is Never for me but for the benefit of the audience that He has entrusted me to inspire, which is young women.

These are the elements of Sisterhood I learned that day:

Sisterhood Takes A Village 
When I went up to the room where I was assigned to conduct my workshop, I took the time to prepare for the young ladies and in the process, I could not help but give God the glory and Praise. When I was done I felt the nerves stirring up but I relaxed and let God be God in me.  Just as I was finishing up preparing, another workshop facilitator came in for a workshop as well. She had the same topic as me and was leading her workshop earlier then me. I then was told by the organizer to change rooms since the girls that were coming to the room would be in that room all day. So I packed all my things and went to another room where another workshop facilitator was leading her workshop. I was told to be a support to her and to just observe the climate of the workshop and to get an assessment of how workshops are facilitated for this particular venue. This worked out perfectly for me because it turned into a teaching moment. I was thrilled! I sat in and even participated in the workshop, which was great. When it was my turn to faciltate my workshop I was changed to yet another room however the woman whom I assisted came to support me! How amazing was that? With all the changes that needed to take place, it went seemless because we all took the time to support one another and lived out the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child”, in this case sisterhood was a village of support and encouragement, and that was needed in various circumstances and situations.

Sisterhood Is Healing 
While I sat in the workshop with my Fabulous Andrea the girls she had came with so much baggage and pain. You could not see it on their beautiful faces but as they shared their stories of forgiveness and unforgiveness that they carried in their hearts. Through the exercises they were able to release and let go of some of those things. When I facilitated my workshop one girl revealed a very violent act made by a family member and she felt like she could never forgive them. At that moment when she revealed that, I could see that a door was unlocked and that although she felt like she could not forgive them now, she opened the door for the possiblity for forgiveness to come in and that is the beginning of healing. I even had my moment for release of healing when I co-facilitated The Power of Sisterhood I cried in the arms of one of the elders who talked about being adopted and thanking her birth mother for giving her up because her life has been amazing and to share that with others is a blessing. I connected with that and I released that same feeling I had. So for that , I felt Sisterhood is Healing.

Sisterhood Is Love and Power 
As I walked through the halls of the venue and I had my ears tuned into what the young women were saying as I passed. Some expressed how tired they were but the majority of them were glad they were there and they talked about how they felt like it was changing them. I went into the auditorium to listen to the keynote address that would be given by Misty Copeland, one of the few African American Ballerinas in the American Ballet company. Before the keynote address the girls had the opportunity to share what they had learned so far. I was so encouraged to hear that the girls were inspired to inspire each other, that was a powerful revelation. Some also shared their experience and got emotional. Listening to them I could not help but feel the love and appreciation they felt from the day and for the facilitators and leaders they had already encountered. We were there to serve them, but at that point they were serving us. There was an activity we did for the power of sisterhood and we stood face to face with one another and shared something we were stuggling with. I had a young woman who shared some advice with me that was truly helpful with what I was struggling with. I was so appreciative of what she offered. That showed that the power we were giving to them they were already giving back! To top that off which I believe was the most magical and powerful part of the day was when a group of young boys saw all of us and were inspired by the energy that the young ladies exhibited.  They wrote wishes for the young women to continue to be the light they saw radiating through them and the women. I was so touched and overwhelmed with the confidence and the recognition they gave to the girls and women, and it really showed that as young men they indeed had the ability to recognize the beauty on the inside of those lovely young women. It also showed that these young men saw these young women for who they are in the inside and not the outside, which was amazing. I believe that was a boost of confidence to the young women that as long as they continue the work, the inner work on themselves others will notice them from the inside out. Those young men and the inspiration of the young women was not only inspiring it showed the true essence of love and power of the day.

Sisterhood Is Connection 
Throughout the day I was able to meet, connect and reconnect with people I had not known and some that I have not seen in years. One of the women I met was the woman I facilitated with . She has a charm school for young women and she offered that we do some work together. I also reconnected with a high school classmate who is interested in doing work with young women as well. Even sitting in the audience and enjoying the keynote address from Misty Copeland, The Rhyme Like a Girl women, the founder of Black Girls Rock , it was powerful to see all these amazing black womem come together and share with each other amd lend their talents gifts and abilities was just remarkable. I also met the young woman, Zewiditu Jewel who started the “A Tea Takeover”and started a movement of girls and women who wanted to make change within fashion and activism. I met some of the facilitators who are doing great things in the city and in the world. I was inspired and felt completely blessed to be in the space with such women and to now have a connection with them. Without being connected to Akua, I would not have had the opportunity to be connected with these women.

Everything is relative and you have to be ready for when opportunity comes but more importantly you must know that everything has a divine order to it. The power of connecting with other women with like minds charges the atmosphere amd produces greatness. That is the true depiction of this years summit. Overall, the summit exceeded what I thought it would be. More importantly it was the start of my life In and On Purpose. I want to take an opportunity to showcase some of the phenomenal women I met:

Akua Sodawa Founder of Gye Nyame Empowerment Project : http://www.empowermegnep.org

Zewiditu Jewel Founder of A Tea Takeover : http://www.ateatakeover.wix.com

Raeven Western Founder of Pushy Dreamers:www.pushydreamers.com

To get full details of the day check out Gnep’s website and be sure to follow them on Twitter @EmpowerMeGNEP

I hope you all enjoyed the blog and the inspiration of the experience I had in interacting with the women that I met. Dont forget to like and follow My blog and follow me on Twitter at @InSXSIouT and , check out my website http://www.TakimaHowze.weebly.com. I will chat with you soon in the week as I continue to be SXSI in the City!

Signed One SXSI Lady

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The "A&TT" Connection: A Right Relationship at the Wrong Time

A few years ago I met a guy that I thought was The Guy for me. We both had a passion for the same things, we both at the time worked in he same field, we both worshiped at the SAME church, I was like LORD THIS IS MY BOAZ!!! I was so overzealous in my mind, I was planning the wedding, inviting guests, and at the time I had 2 conversations with him, SMH… I KNOW I AM NOT ALONE HERE LADIES! 🙂 In getting to know him, I was on one page and he was on another. I began to see that he was so controlled and structured and I was more care-free and in some ways he balanced me out. What I did not see however was my “desperate” need and want to be in a relationship, that I did not realize that I was not looking at the issues I was bringing onto myself, and then not taking into consideration the issues that he had as well. In a lot we became each other’s distraction of not dealing with the things that were pressing in our lives. Because of that we conflicted on a lot things, struggled in communication and were on total opposite ends of the book. I wanted a relationship but I was broken, he could have wanted a relationship but he was not ready for that because of things he was dealing with internally. What began to happen was our issues played out in our behaviors and it became toxic and negative. I remember one particular event when were at a place and we began to argue. The argument got so intense that we both were insulting and hurtful to one another. I remember being home after and crying about it. I felt like he was the worst man in the world and how the Hell could I have wanted to be in a relationship with someone so controlling and not willing to deal with his crap but always pointing out my stuff. It was then when I heard God saying to be, “What about your issues and Your demands?”. I sat up and was said “what”? What God began to show me is that I not only was demanding something of him he was clearly not ready for, but wanted to be prepared for (I messed that up… so I thought) but I was being extremely selfish because I wanted something from him that he could not give me at that time because it was God’s job to heal my broken places and a relationship with him would just be a bandaid and if it had progressed to marriage it would have been completely miserable, two broken individuals cannot make a whole, no matter how many of both pieces you put together. Fast Forward to the present, we reconnected after not speaking to each other for almost two years. Within those two years, he had dated other people, so had I. I actually had a baby within those years(but thats another blog 🙂 However in reconnecting, we again found ourselves in the same situation, at the same time, with the same goals, same passions BUT with a different mindset and healed heart. Time apart had allowed us to get with who really could “fix” us and change us from the inside out. We relate better, understand one another better and have a deeper respect for one another. You can truly see the transformation that has taken place because we each took the time to work on ourselves. We both took that break to understand what our needs Really were, took them to the one who provides ALL our needs and was able to come back to one another in a more peaceful and communal way. I appreciate that we both have something to give and that we connect on a level that could not be attained before. Our passions match and we can help each other stay accountable to each other, Our Mission and Service to God. Lesson Learned: Relationships-Friendships are often tricky. YOU have to take the time to look at the purpose of the connection and act accordingly. Sometimes what you have for someone, they are not able to receive it right then and there. Sometimes the connection is not about romance, its about the gift of learning, understanding or just having that person take you to the next level of yourself or pushing you in the Fire to be “Refined” a little more. Thats what I learned. At the time we met, my heart and mind was not in the right place. I wanted the wrong thing for the Right relationship. He was not meant for me in that capacity, and at that time especially that was not his purpose. What I did get from him was he taught me how important it is to know YOU before you connect to anyone else. Its important to fill in your gaps, and voids before you connect with anyone else. Now I understand that relationships are give and take. I have something I can give to him without an ulterior motive, or preconceived thoughts and he is able to give to me what I need for this season in my life. I am grateful to have him, especially at this particular time. I understand that this could not have happened before and God was gracious enough to clean us both and then to put us back into the same pond to find each other to swim together again. When you know who you are and what you have to give you can recognize those who are meant to be in your life and why. Dont mistake a lesson that has to be taught for a relationship out of selfish want, I guarantee you will miss out on the bigger blessing. BeInspired, Be Blessed Signed- One SXSI Lady

I am not the Only One.. Am I ?

Today had to be the most challenging and frustrating day of my single motherhood life. My daughter who is now 17 months has decided it is time to start her “terrible two” behavior early. She has the break outs of screaming, tensing her body, yelling at the top of her lungs, hitting herself or me if she is close and sometimes throwing herself on the floor. One of the most difficult things about dealing with this type of behavior is feeling like you have to justify or explain your child’s behavior, especially if you are in the midst of family, friends or worst in a public place among strangers. It makes me feel so, not just annoyed but helpless and angry because people are looking at me, asking me questions that cannot be answered because there is no answer! It kind of makes me feel so betrayed by my child who I feel, seems to do this when we are among people who are not normally with us or because we are in public and she decides she wants to put on a show for everyone. Today in particular, I wanted to cry. We were literally on the train and I had to give her everything from juice, candy, my lip-gloss, a toy just so that she would not scream and holler. We were halfway home and we were doing good, then she wanted my soda. I told her no, She Went Off! She screamed and stretched and hollered and screamed All The Way to our stop. At that point, people were shifting in their seats, looking at me, looking at her then looking at me. I knew she didnt want anything, I knew that she was fine, she was not hurt, she just wanted her way. Even though I knew all the facts of the situation, and everything in me wanted to spank her and scream at her to Shut Up, because I was so embarrassed and I couldn’t do anything to calm her down.I just prayed that my stop would hurry up and come to get out of there. I did not want to defend my case because there was literally nothing to defend. Having people look and speculate was hurtful enough and I wanted to cry so badly. Lesson Learned: I truly thank God for His peace, His Love and His Grace towards me because I believe and know that I would not have been able to make it through that train ride without actually losing it. I know I am a person in general who cannot tolerate noise or being embarrassed and even though it is a child, my child I felt like I just wanted to give up. At that moment, I wanted to just walk away and I could understand why some people just walk away from their children. I believe the lesson in this and what my daughter has been commissioned to teach me is the importance of exhibiting peace and calm from the inside and having it come out. Also that the behavior that is being played out by her is coming from a place beyond just screaming, yelling and stomping her feet, there is a bigger meaning and reason for her behavior. Maybe she has something to say that she cannot express or maybe she wants to express how upset she is that I said no, or wants to ask why or wants my total attention I am not giving her. Whatever the reason, I am learning to not react just because it is something I don’t like. I also am learning that everything does not need an explanation. Everyone will not understand what is happening, why you may not react or do things a certain way, and it is your prerogative to do what you want with your child. I know my child, I am learning her behavior patterns as she grows, and I am understanding how as her parent to handle them, no one needs an explanation, and other’s opinions does not have to matter. Its going to be a long journey as a Mother. I hope my antics, my raves, my triumphs, challenges through my stories will serve as an inspiration and hopefully I can get some advice, tips and Positive comments 🙂 My life is a testimony and I intend to share it to inspire those who may feel like, “ I am not the only one… Am I?” —-BeInspired – Signed The SXSI Single Mommy