In Columbus, Ohio there was an incident with a Red Robin employee, who received a racist gift basket by secret santa for Christmas. In this gift basket Richaud received; Sun flower seeds, beer, cigarettes, cocoa butter lotion, Ramen Noodles, kool-aid, watermelon, fried chicken and laffy taffy candy. “It looked like it was a collective effort from everyone with a donation from each person. They thought it was funny. He says they’re always telling him black jokes. He’s afraid to rock the boat from fear of losing his job.  After we posted this online they started pressuring him at work to make us take it down!” – says Sabrina Thompson, Aunt of Richaud. Everyone else received their gifts for christmas except for Richey, his gift was waiting for him at work on January 6th, 2018 believed to be a part of the joke to insinuate that black people are always late. I personally spoke with Richauds mother, Richale, who is very knowledgable and more aware of how this truly affected her son. Richaud has a learning disability, and although personally he didn’t know where he stood with this situation, there was a valuable reason he informed his mother about it. Richaud is known to be a very laid back guy who comes to work to do his job and return home to his 12 year old son who has also been affected by this incident. As of now Red Robin has no response to what has taken place in their business by their employees. It is currently unknown who actually gifted Richaud this extremely offensive gift basket that showed a lot of inconsiderate thought and effort. Personally, without anyone to come forward and admit the wrongdoings of their coworker, it is ultimately a collective effort to make one feel uncomfortable and disrespected. Richaud should have the freedom to go into work without facing any adversity from anyone, less alone his coworkers. Richaud and his family are completely blown away by how far people go to be of poor service to another and wish to know who was responsible and what consequences they will face. Richale said that management of Red Robin have inquired about her phone number, received it from Richaud but have yet to contact her.

The significance of this story is deeply rooted in many of the obstacles we face today in this country. As a human being who happens to be a person of color, I can sincerely relate to this pain. The reality of all the emotions that are engulfed in this circumstance is stifling. It’s like having PTSD and hearing a gunshot. You’re immediately reminded of all the past turmoil and its like you’re right in the middle of it again. I used to joke about my PTSD (Post Traumatic Slave Disorder), only because it’s easier to swallow in that context, but it is a harsh reality. A lot of things will never be what it can be to other people because they have not been victimized or traumatized by it. To a certain extent I’m happy that people don’t understand, it’s not a good feeling to always wonder what people mean when they say or do something. It puts you in a very bad space as a human being. It is very clear what message is trying to be sent here and even still it seems hard to believe someone would do such a thing.

It’s 2018 and a decent man was stereotyped and degraded in his place of work. It’s 2018 and Libya is in active slave trade right now since 2012. It’s 2018 and Refugees in Israel are being sent back to their homes in ruin where they face rape, torture, slavery and captivity all because of the color of their skin. Today, right now, in America immigrants are being deported when they’ve worked, lived and created families here all to make room for pregnant Russians looking for American Citizenship. We currently have a President who not only supports but encourages hate between the people who make this country as great as it is supposed to be. We’re backsliding as a nation and it’s because we aren’t standing up for what is right! We have a responsibility as citizens to advocate for what is right for the people! We ARE the people! We’ve been lied to, deceived, manipulated and blindfolded. It is time that we open our eyes and stop believing/feeding more into labels, stereotypes and stigma than we do fact and physical evidence! Reality is, when we advocate for others, we advocate for ourselves.

Right now, today I just want to focus on affirmations for 2018. When you read, you’re exercising your ability to create in your mind and in your energy. If you reread these affirmations over and over (in your head) you will begin to raise your frequency closer to the reality of these things. Once you believe it, that’s when you see/achieve it. I like to use affirmations when thinking about my goals. I was always taught to claim my blessings before the time came to even have them. So I️ use the same idea with my goals. I’ve worked hard without believing and achieved what felt like nothing. I’ve worked minimal with believing and achieved what felt like everything. I encourage you mostly to believe that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself and that will in turn give you what you need to begin moving in the right direction toward those goals.

-I affirm for us in 2018 that we will heal from our past pains and pay forward with an abundance of love and light.
-I affirm that this year will be the year of reaping blessings and harvesting fruit from the seeds we’ve planted and nurtured throughout the years.
-I affirm this year we wake up from dormancy and we are propelled forward by the energy we have manifested.
-I affirm that toxicity be removed from our beings so we can utilize and evolve into our full potential.
-I affirm we become more connected with ourselves so that our connections with others can be strong and full of growth.
-I affirm that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

In closing I would like to share another form of affirmations that begin with “I Am.” What I️ really like about these is that it truly feels as if you are embodying these truths by identifying with self. When praying/affirming for others along with myself I say “We are.” But for the sake of individuals I’ll present I am;

-I am a being of light and abundance
-I am strong and capable
-I am eternal
-I am blessed
-I am because (s)he [God] is.
-I am a product of the most high.
-I am healthy
-I am alive
-I am loved
-I am free
-I AM!!!!!

Affirmations can be put together however you like. It’s just a form of speaking positive to yourself, believing in the good of the world even if you don’t always see it. The beauty of the energy you create while saying these things inside your being is the law of attraction. You WILL begin to see/feel a product of your energy more and more as you manifest it. I affirm nothing but blessings, peace, love, health and abundance over us all year!! NAMASTE.

As a young, independent and thriving female trying to make her place in such a big world, love is something I’ve yet to truly figure out. Love is a very powerful feeling that shapes the way people respond to one another. I feel as though we categorize Love in order to regulate how it’s given. Maybe it’s because I’m young but I feel like love is something that should be more normal. We generalize love in a romantic way when in reality it’s just a way to reflect one’s admiration and respect for another. Oftentimes I find myself in an awkward position with people that combine love with affection when I’m just genuinely trying to express gratitude toward them. Love is something that comes natural to me in abundance because I do my best to reflect the God in me at all times. Im a firm believer that love is all we need in this crazy, sick, twisted yet beautiful world we live in. The lack of love and misconception of it is where I see the opportunity for all the madness. I think of love simply as a penetrating force that sheds light on even the darkest places. I was always told that to love someone is to understand them. As a result of that and my empathetic nature, I’ve been molded into a very compassionate person. The instant my mind goes to a place of judgement, I’ve conditioned myself to instead consider the possibilities of what said person may be going through that’s led them to where they are now. Instead of thinking of them as a stranger, an acquaintance or any other label that would cause me to love them a little less, I reflect as if it were me or someone I love. If it was someone I loved being bullied, I would say and do something. If it were someone I loved on the street hungry, begging for money or food, I would feed them or give what I could. If it were me… I’d want someone to love me enough to help. I don’t think love is at all closely related to the way it’s portrayed in society. Love is something you have to just do and be, it’s not something you pick and choose when to use. Even in romance, love is something you use most when you come across the flaws and potential of another. This brings life to more specifically, unconditional love- which is the love of God. I struggle with staying in tune with my reality of love because of how others perceive it and/or use it against me. I believe a lot of people use love more as a manipulation tactic than a genuine act. Love becomes conditional when we only love with expectation. Whereas, in my natural state I just love. I am love. It’s all love. The idea is to plant a seed, be sure to water it from time-to-time, let life shine on it and watch it grow to fruition.

I recently just moved out on my own and I’m experiencing the real struggle of balance. I had to get a job in order to pay my bills. Story of our lives, right? I know. One thing that was repeating in the back of my head before this journey had really begun was to “stay focused.” There’s a goal I’m trying to reach that extends beyond financial freedom into eternal happiness. I want to be able to live the life I want to live but unfortunately freedom is so far away from free. So, I embarked on a warehouse journey as a temp working mandatory 12 hour days, 6 days a week for a duration of 3 weeks. I signed up for this job to gain a lot of money in a short period of time to open up room for my independent endeavors. The job was fairly easy for the most part but working from my heart to not even so much as using my head for a job starts to get old really fast for me. I always knew from the beginning of my laboring days that I’m particular about the things I take part in. My time and energy is very valuable to me beyond words and ultimately as a young girl I knew I needed to create my own legacy in order to truly be satisfied with my work and work environment. I noticed that I work hard and get a lot done for companies that don’t even appreciate the slightest bit of effort I put forth to propel their business. The irony is madness on numerous levels because you know that your existence is valuable yet you never truly get to feel it when the result is credited to someone or something else or not credited at all when due. I’ve seen staff become angry with workers in unfortunate situations simply because they couldn’t be in attendance to work but then turn around and harass them while they’re there working hard. Anyhow, long story short, I’ve really missed writing and learning through my work. While in the warehouse it was hard for me to even try to tune into my creativity or organize my thought patterns. The distraction is so real. My work didn’t even require much brain activity yet my creative nature had a very hard time kicking in. The balance I’ve had to really work hard on is the “necessary norm” of working for someone else to keep money rolling in, and working for myself to create my own material that will one day be self sustainable. My mother really conditioned me to have such an open mind and understand different concepts and perspectives of life. She really wanted me to be able to stay home in her care so that I could focus more on my own material than have to think of those extras. I was really grateful and continue to be grateful for the foundation she has laid for me. Without her I would have a much more difficult time believing in my own potential to make my dreams a reality. Independence is just something that kept tugging at me and ultimately I felt that in order for me to grow in all other aspects I had to step off the porch and take her rearing thus far really seriously. My home was my safe place. I could be myself and didn’t have to feel the oppressing energies of others. Although my antisocial, isolating behaviors can indeed become unhealthy at some point, for the most part it was beneficial for me. In my solitude I work on myself from the inside out. Its my time to be completely honest with myself about any and everything. It’s a time for reflecting and healing. I learn to truly love myself and believe in my abilities. During this time of healing, things that I am really passionate about come to surface. What makes me genuinely happy begins to reveal itself. Inspiration is at an all time high and I’m motivated to teach myself things and create my own version of what’s presented. I feel that my solitude is what regenerates and sustains an abundance of energy for me. I noticed I go out into the world and there’s things I give my energy to and then there’s things that just take from me. I feel stripped of everything good that I have to give when I leave it to others to do what they’re supposed to do with my energy. I can’t say that I’ve got life all figured out but one thing I am very in tune with is my own being. I feel it slip away as it goes and I feel it rejuvenate me as I become one with it again. The one thing I, myself can rely on is the way that I feel deep inside. this three week journey of not being able to blog or just write or think in my creative nature has been torture. I was working hard, getting a lot done and making decent money but felt I was making absolutely no progress. Ultimately there’s a force compelling me to spend my time investing in my unique characteristics. Making room for my gifts so that they can make room for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to fight every day to keep things in perspective for myself. It’s easy to lose sight of what I know I’m capable of. I want to learn self sufficiency and real skill. I think of life like a game of chess, making specific moves to open room up for more moves. My mind is constantly organizing and operating in that manner. I’m not fond of cycles, it bothers me to know that I keep coming to the same understanding over and over again. I don’t trust other people with my well being and my life. Not doctors, nor lawyers, banks, colleges or anything else that seems to “provide” for the general public. So that just means that I have to become self sufficient. I have to know how my body works to heal myself, I have to learn how to manage my own money through in and throughout, how to make money on my own for that matter, legally. I have to know the law and how to protect myself with the right words. I want to know how to build my own house, repair my own vehicle. Which means I have a lot of work to do on my own time in order to obtain these things. It doesn’t mean that I have to pay thousands of dollars in college or technical schooling to learn these things, no. It means that I have to invest my time, energy, and money wisely in order to do it on my own.It takes a lot of courage to do what you want to do and believe in yourself because you know you’re capable of it but you’re afraid of a bunch of nothing you’ve created into something big enough to prevent you from going after your dreams. What happens to a dream deferred? I don’t want to find out.

What’s more powerful than you? The only limit you have is the one you set for yourself. You have the power to make change. You are the creator and the world is your canvas. I know that money (or the lack of) is holding a lot of talented people back. I came here to tell you today, to let that detail go and believe in yourself. You have to be intentional about what you do. Be steadfast and dedicated to your vision. The resources you already have are more than enough. Invest in yourself, use your money and time wisely. We’re in an age of entrepreneurship because people are tired of capitalism. The integrity of business has declined drastically due to people losing track of who they are and what they come from. We’re not happy in our 9-5 jobs, we let money determine our self worth. Although money is necessary, shift the perspective to work in your favor. In reality, it’s printed and we’re in trillions of dollars of debt as a nation. So, take money off the pedestal you’ve set it on and think of it as something that comes and goes. What’s in between is what is important; things/resources. I believe personally, trade is the most humble way of business, but we’ve progressed into a systematic strategy in order to separate the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. I imagine money being a result of that mentality. We all have qualities and we’re made to create from the inside out to represent ourselves. We’ve progressed so far into a consumer perspective, we’ve lost touch with our creative and innovative nature. Be mindful of this and start training your mind to be more of a creator than a consumer. We support each other. Be knowledgeable about where you spend your money and how. We’ve been inadvertently supporting child labor, communism, capitalism, low wages, etc. This is imperative to understand because there’s enough money to go around. We don’t have to depend on specific brands to provide for us when their integrity is compromised. It’s all connected, If you support them, your integrity is compromised as well. We have the power to control what succeeds in society based off how we spend our time and money. Invest in yourself, make room for your gifts and your gifts will make room for you!

There’s 1 million different ways to get to the same place. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. Our habits make us complacent due to comfortability. If/When we reflect, we’re justifying ourselves with illusions. We’re not completely honest with ourselves, which will create a disconnect from the being within. This disconnect will result in mental illness, physical sickness, and emotional turmoil due to our toxic cycles. So many of us are spaced out and disconnected from the world. We’re insecure about ourselves and our lives and have no idea why. We change jobs, find new people to be around, different things to do and still feel stuck in life. If you can relate, your root chakra is out of balance and you are not grounded in the right things. The sad thing about this common issue, is that we are not in tune with our instinctive energy that was manifested in the womb to the age of one year old. This gives you an idea of how early the pollution of our bodies and minds begin.

Many circumstances and variables of life will give and take energy from this chakra at any moment. An energetic blockage at the muladhra chakra can be caused by anything that instills panic, fright or extreme worry, including being homeless, losing your job or the divorce of your parents when you were too young to understand. Life-threatening situations obstruct the flow of energy. If you feel disconnected from your body, live in a fantasy world craving constant change and frequently resorting to escapist activities, then your Muladhara energy is deficient. If you feel preoccupied with routine and fear change, stuck in life and think in terms of black-and-white; you see others as being with you or against you, are frequently depressed and/or obsessed with physical security, then your Muladhara energy is excessive.

The Muladhara chakra is located at the base of your body and governs your skeletal and auto-immune systems, as well as your bowels and teeth. Along with the universe, our body is constantly telling us what is wrong. When this energy is out of balance you may find that you suffer from frequent problems with your; legs feet, knees, base of spine, butt and sciatica. Working with this chakra will allow you to connect with your body again and enhance your ability to eliminate what you no longer need or want in your life. Reflecting on ourselves and our lives is beneficial because we find solutions within our problems. If we get past the uncomfortability that we feel, we will create and use the necessary energy to rearrange our thoughts in a more effective manner. Be honest with yourself about the things you’ve normalized that are not beneficial to your growth. This includes but is not limited to; people, thought processes, actions, substances and ideologies. Our foundation needs to be re-evaluated constantly, otherwise we will resort back to the same things that limited us in the first place. Along with specific yoga and meditation practices, reflecting is the strongest way to connect with inner knowledge. Your brain and body are designed to work in your favor. If you continue to poison what you are made of, what you create will continue to be tainted. To ground yourself with meditation, mentally repeat the following affirmations while planting your feet firmly on the ground:
-I am exactly where I need to be
-I am nurtured by the energy of the earth
-My body supports me with its strength.
This will begin to surface, expel and utilize the necessary energy to reveal the answers you seek regarding your imbalances. Consistency is vitally important. You absolutely have to manifest the correct energy to start seeing the correspondence it has within the universe. if you return to bad habits, you’ll continue to see the same results, inevitably.

Work Cited:

Saradananda, Swami. The Essential Guide to Chakras. Watkins Publishing Limited, 2011. Print