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Monday, August 24, 2015

Calling on People Who Want to Change the World

On August 29, I'm launching a 30 day Meditation Challenge, and I need you to join me.  Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a newbie this is for you.

Have you ever heard the phrase "Misery loves company"?  Well, good energy gets magnified exponentially when people do something positive together.

Many of us have been in upset about the attack on Planned Parenthood; on black men, women and children; and on our beautiful Mother, earth.  Well upset can accumulate and get in the way if we don't cultivate peace, compassion and spaciousness.  Join me.

If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one; if you are worried about finances; if your body is hurting.  Join me.

The 30 Days with Dr. Amanda Kemp Meditation Challenge gives you access to a conscious community of folks who are choosing to breathe, to be grateful, to notice what is happening right now inside themselves.  This is not a retreat from the world but a way to cultivate connection to your strong flexible core in the midst of the world.

Here's what's required from you:

  • Register for the Challenge.  
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes each day at any time that you choose. 
  • Stay in touch.

Here's what you get:

  • I'll email you a pdf of meditation and mindfulness resources; 
  • Invite you to the Facebook group (optional); 
  • and send you a few emails along the way to encourage you and check in.
  • Other gifts from the practice!

This is free.  Please invite someone else!  Let's make this community large.

Peace and love!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

My Aunty Is Here!

Great Aunt Bessie and the Good People

"You can't hoot with the owls by night and soar with the eagles by day."
--Mrs. Bessie Brown

Have you ever had an older relative love you steadfastly?  Have you ever listened to someone tell stories of when you were a toddler that embarrass you and warm your tummy?  

Well, my Great Aunt Bessie is here to visit, and the stories are flowing.  She's eighty-eight and regaled us with stories all night.  We listened in shifts.  On the ride home from the airport, she spoke exclusively to my husband.  About me.  She crooned that I was such a loving child.  When we arrived home she flirted with my stepson.  

Sitting on the couch, she spoke to all the teens athletes in our family about cultivating good habits.  "You can't hoot with the owls by night and soar with the eagles by day."  If you stay up all night drinking and smoking, you will not be able to keep up during the day.  Stay focused was her instruction.

Later over dinner, Aunty held forth about baseball, including the times she saw Satchel Paige pitch. My Aunty's father listened to baseball on the radio, and they would often go to double-headers in Cleveland.  Every time she said the words: "My father" her tone was full of love and respect.  I never met him in person but I felt his energy.  Her father, my Great Grandfather, gave her and her sister a deep sense of protection.

My daughter and I are not avid baseball fans so we went to do an ab workout.  When I returned, Aunty was telling my husband about facing down jim crow in Savannah, Georgia.  My aunt moved there from Cleveland in the early 1950s with her military husband.  On one occasion, she refused to buy a hat that she had tried on even though they called the police on her.  Fortunately, the commanding officer at Hunter Air Force base came and took her back to the base.  President Truman had integrated the military.  According to Aunty, "Truman wanted a salt and pepper army."  Today, Aunty still carries her military wife i.d.   As I listened to her story, I wondered if I would've had the courage to risk arrest and hostility in Georgia in 1951.

My Great Aunt Bessie reminds me that I come from what she calls "good people."  Not perfect people.  (She freely admits to getting falling down drunk --literally--when she went to a Ray Charles concert at a dinner club.)  Good people.  Not superior people.  But people who contributed to others. Not rich people.  Good people.

Here's the kicker:  My Great Aunt Bessie is not my biological aunt.  Her father was not her biological father.   Good people cultivate love, connection and safety wherever they go.  Let's be "Good People."

Peace and love!
P.S.--Meditation increases your capacity to love, connect and feel safe.  Join me in 30 Days with Dr. Amanda Kemp Meditation Challenge.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How to Get Back up After You Fail

How to Get Back Up After You Fall--3 Steps

Do you remember that moment in The Matrix when Trinity falls and is too terrified to move?  She tells herself "Get up, Trinity, get up!"  She jumps up, and she moves, risking her life to save her life.

Well, there I was lying in bed last night after a failed conversation with a very important person.  My thinking was getting me more and more anxious and was weighing me down.  Thoughts like:  I shouldn't have... I'm screwing up... I'm gonna lose them..."  You get the flavor!

And then I started doing what Tara Brach calls the "Two wings of awareness."  She says notice what you are experiencing--feelings and physical sensations.  As you distinguish each one, gently and lovingly accept each one.  Noticing is like the masculine act.  Accepting with love (not necessarily approving but accepting what's there in a soft way) is a feminine act.  Do them together and you get back into the present.

So I noticed I was feeling alone.  Yes to feeling alone.  I noticed I was feeling mad.  Yes to feeling mad.  I noticed I was feeling scared.  Yes, I accept feeling scared.  Then I noticed that I felt safe.  Yes to safe.

Then I fell asleep which would typically NOT happen without DISTRACTING myself.

This  morning I talked with the important person and admitted that I was trapped by my thoughts.  I shared some of the flavor.  I said I was sorry for causing suffering.  I got defensive.  I noticed I was defending and said that out loud too.  I noticed when my chest felt heavy and  I GOT UP.

Then it hit me.  I'm defending from my own self-condemnation.
I paused to practice noticing again:
I feel sad.  Okay sad.
I feel with myself.  Okay with myself.
I feel anxious.  Okay anxious.
It's okay.

So here are the 3 steps:

1.  Notice what you are feeling.  Distinguish one sensation or feeling at a time.
2.  Accept each feeling or sensation with love or a softness.
3.  Do what comes next out of feeling present.  

Please let me know if this helps by commenting on the blog page and sharing.  

If you want support as you practice this kind of stuff, I hope you'll join me on my 30 Day Meditation Challenge.  We're going to start on Saturday Aug. 29. Register here.  There is no cost, and I'd love to have you.

If you want to stay in touch, please Sign up for Dr. Amanda's Inspiration Newsletter, like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

Peace and Love,

Friday, August 7, 2015

How to Stay Healthy when Black Lives Don't Matter

Self-Compassion Nugget #3

When I see yet another email about the killing of a Black human being; when I see yet another video on Facebook about a Black woman being threatened; when I am asked to sign yet another online petition asking the Justice Dept. to protect Black children--I feel like throwing up, raging, and crying.

You, too might be feeling this way.  In fact you might experience post-traumatic stress disorder--if you don't take steps to care for yourself.

This Washington Post article warns about the vicarious trauma experienced as we encounter degradation of Black life on our social media feeds.

A Black psychologist recommends unplugging for a while if you start to get overwhelmed.  

I urge you to go a step further.

Please write out how you feel.  Just set a timer and write without stopping, editing, arguing, censoring.

I did this and found out that the societal violence against Black women and girls was triggering my old wounds.  The video of the police and Sandra Bland and the photos of the young teen who was thrown to the ground in a two-piece bathing suit while the policeman put his knee in her back and pulled her hair hurt. They took me back emotionally to times when my voice did not matter, when my "No" was ignored, when I could not breathe.  I let this free association flow onto the page.

Writing it out gives us a chance to bear witness to our experience and to comfort ourselves. After I wrote, I recorded myself reading it.  Later, I shared it with Michael. Later still, I began to share it with two friends after meditating.  I prayed for guidance.  And it got lighter.  I didn't have to share the whole thing.

Now I'm going to work on it as a spoken word performance piece called #Say Her Name.  Here's a snippet.

The first step is to care for yourself and notice what is happening in you.  You may choose to stay away from social media or the news for a while.  Write out your feelings--not about your feelings.  Share with someone(s) you trust.

In these traumatic times we must know what's going on AND we must care for ourselves.  Let's not mirror this larger society's degradation of Black life.  Let's tend to ourselves.  

Here's something else you can do!

Peace and Love,
Dr. Amanda
Please share or comment.  Let me know how you are faring in these TRYING TIMES! #blacklivesmatter  #togetherwestand