Liberating Incarcerated Minds Continues in DeKalb County, GA!

Someone asked how the women’s class was today. Very nonchalantly I mouthed – It was good! No – it was “freakin” amazing. I have been teaching a Healthy Haiku Wellness Program for inmates as part of the Options for Living and Learning program offered by the Dekalb Sheriff’s Office. The majority of classes have been with women but I have had a couple of opportunities to teach males.

The course pulls together and uses the best of my training and experience as a health educator, researcher, author, speaker and global humanitarian. Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry that uses 17 syllables to tell a big story with few words.* We actually write poetry sometimes, however we incorporate lots of exercises and role-play that pushes them off into the great expanse and challenges them to redefine their reality and their futures. Always reinforced is the fact that jail time is temporary. Most of them are not hardened criminals heading to prison, although a few may be. The majority of my students have committed petty crimes and are in jail pre-hearing or pre-sentencing because they lack the resources for bail.

One young woman looked up at me during a class. I honestly do not remember the particular topic. However she looked up at me and said she had been trying to figure out why she was in there [jail] because she had not done anything. She then said that she realized why she was there, because she was supposed to hear what I had to share. The next week she told me that she was going home as all charges were dropped. I was so happy learn that this bright, talented and very intelligent young lady was going back to the community with some new tools to orchestrate her life.

My closest friends and family know that my class at the jail is perhaps the highlight of my week as I get to share and be creative from a space of caring and non-judgment. Due to the high turn over rate in the county facility, for many of my students I may have only one or two shots to make a difference in a way of thinking and being that will carry them forward in a more powerful and positive way.

This week’s exercise after meditation and reading of inspirational cards, was an interviewing exercise that had the women paired up and interviewing each other about their passions, skills and abilities and opportunities for improvement in order to “Step into their Power.” A room full of inmates was transformed into conference suite with a Manager, a Professional Author and Speaker, A Comedienne, a Chef, a Hair Stylist, a Singer, a preschool educator and so much more. I challenged them to show us what they had. We heard some really funny unrehearsed comedy and one young lady sang a beautiful rendition of His Eye is on the Sparrow.  The preschool teacher told us that she didn’t mind  changing diapers and wiping runny noses and reiterated that teaching infants and toddlers was truly her passion!

On other occasions we had a guest, Brigitte Keane who presented Laughter Yoga, which had the women laughing, clapping, crying (the kind of laughing so hard it makes you cry – cry) and having incredible healthy breathing fun. People in the facility were trying to figure out what in the world was going on that day! One of my repeat students who has unfortunately moved on to prison, smiled for the first time. I told her that it was nice to see her smile and I realized that her solemn look was due to missing upper front teeth. In this environment, no one judged – it was way too much fun! We have also done vision boards with power words to define their lives and futures, sessions on self-forgiveness, radical forgiveness of others, and Ho’oponopono.

Ho’oponopono (ancient Hawaiian healing technique) which has each person take total responsibility for everyone and everything and uses a clearing technique that consists of 4 simple phrases said to ones-self: I love you; I’m sorry; Please forgive me; and Thank you! Since learning the Ho’opononpono (described in Joe Vitale’s book entitled Zero Limits, (2007) about the healing work of Dr. Hew Len of Hawaii in a mental health wing of a maximum security prison) the women have shared experiences where they used these phrases to resolve conflicts with family members during visits and with other inmates as well. Earlier classes covered topics such as nutrition, violence, smoking, drinking and drug use!

This work, and the breakthroughs that occur feel like nothing short of magic. It is hard to explain. The repeat students enter the room with hands in prayer position on their chests greeting me with “Namaste” (The Divine in Me greets the Divine in You!) Wonder where they learned that?!  I share everything that I know to be helpful in building them up and expanding their world beyond the confines of the temporary jail walls. The occasional tears that are shed usually reflect a release and love of self that had been buried – for serving time for their crimes and for being mad at themselves for making bad decisions and for getting caught up and arrested. Self -love is one of the common threads of each class as well as Stepping into Their Power (I formerly had a Blog Talk Radio show entitled Stepping into My Power).

Perhaps my reason for writing this is not so much to revel in the success of my work at the jail as it is to reinforce the importance of loving yourself everyday in order to make healthy and right choices in all of your affairs. Life as we know it gets very complicated and downright scary sometimes. If we move from a place of love for self and understanding for others – because we are truly reflections of each other, we will see better outcomes and more people standing in their truth and in their power.

I will end this segment with a poem written in class by one of my former students:

I’ve been searching for the Light

But there’s too much smoke in between.

I’ve been searching for the Light

It seems so far fetched maybe too extreme.

I’m searching for the Light

Which seems beyond my fingertips.

Still searching for the Light

I still can’t seem to see.

Searching for the Light

Which has always been within Me!

 

Peace, Love and Blessings Y’all!

Imani.new.pic8.2016

Dr. Imani

Updates and Coming Events: I have an incredible deal for new Wellness Coaching Clients which includes Six Months of Free Coaching. Yes, you read that correctly! Send me an email for details to: imanimaat@gmail.com.

Change Your Water…Change Your Life!  Learn how  Join us on September 9th and 10th at the Lou Walker Senior Center 2538 Panola Road, Lithonia, GA  30058. Free Health and Wellness Presentation Friday 7-9 (Don’t Miss it!)

*Learn more about the Award-winning Health Haiku Poetry series of workshops and publications.

Puppy Litter Reminds Me of the Keys to Natural Health and Wellness

Have you ever watched a dog deliver puppies? What an amazing experience! One of our soon-to-be 3 year old dogs had 7 beautiful puppies last night. Assisting and providing for her through the process was truly a privilege and a gift that I have never experienced in all of my years of raising dogs. I do mean privilege because I remember going through all-natural child birth 27 years ago as though it happened yesterday, Even though members of my family gathered around me, I kept feeling as though I wanted to be left alone and away from any on-lookers.

We have always received our dogs long after they have been weaned from their mothers. In preparation, she vomited prior to the delivery, but that signaled to me that she was almost ready deliver the puppies. She had labor contractions just like a woman and of course I recognized them right away. Her sides expanded and her body shook! She looked a little scarred and I could tell that she was in significant pain. However watching her dive in head first into pure instinct mode was simply amazing! After searching for a few minutes for a birthing location, she quickly decided upon the big dog house on the deck which provided sheltered space – a place where she could protect her puppies and deliver in semi-privacy. She delivered 7 healthy, beautiful puppies in the space of about 2 hours. Instinctively she released each from the birth sac and licked them clean for sanitation and to make sure that they were breathing and strong. After being cleaned, they latched on to her nipples immediately (or as soon as they could find their way to the spot). So yes, I was all engaged in wonder and amazement! What a beautiful natural process.

How close are you to being fit, healthy, and at your optimal weight? What if you are at the age of and ready to reproduce? Can you handle it? What would you need to do to prepare? I am not speaking of the obvious – suitable mate, husband, father, donor – no judgement – that part is on you. But what about your physical body? Have you been eating healthy, natural, organic foods rich with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that your body needs? Or have you been eating whatever your palate is yearning for at any given moment? Are you drinking a high quality of alkaline water to make sure that you are properly hydrated? We make life choices on a daily basis. Some support our highest good in terms of health and wellness and many do not.

In ancient cultures the term natural childbirth would have been considered an oxymoron! How else does one have a baby but through the natural process? Duh?? We are gradually getting back to a simple definition of natural health and wellness. One that includes a healthy diet, limited processed foods, limited dairy, limited wheat, limited meats, limited sugars. In fact the increased presence of these foods in our diets over the past 100 years, not to mention larger portion sizes, is directly correlated to present day trends of obesity, high blood pressure, cancer and kidney failure. A good rule of thumb with eating prepared food is to ask if it looked like that when it was growing? The further it looks from how it grew, the greater the chances are that it will not serve you well and may actually harm you.

During the labor, delivery and now nursing stage for the puppies, our dog ate very little and when she did take in nutrients she opted for water, our smoothie recipe loaded with nutrients and minerals and meat (no processed dog cereal).

In our community outside of Atlanta, Georgia, our neighbors are  95% African American. It is a predominantly middle-class area however the unsettling sound of blaring sirens – usually about 15-20 daily (I track them because our dogs howl at the sirens) continues to increase. As a Health Scientist who worked for many years to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I know that the leading cause of death of all Americans (including African Americans)  is hypertension, high blood pressure, and heart disease. We are talking about thick sluggish blood and clogged arteries. How did we get so sick? How did we get so far away from nature in how we eat and live?

We could take notes from the animals – who, no mater how domesticated we attempt to make them – they are guided by instinct. Instinctively We also know what to eat, how much exercise to get, how much water to drink.

The message here is simple, tap into your inner wisdom in terms of what is healthy for you. Tap in to discover the diet and lifestyle that will deliver you to optimal health and wellness and change your quality of life. Read and search for the information on line too. There is very little that is new under the sun! Get quiet and just think about it. Every time you take in something that is harmful to your health and well-being an internal alarm goes off. My challenge to you is to start taking notice – acknowledge the alarms – and make little adjustments by what you hear! It is not magic, but rather instinct and science all wrapped up in one.

Please come back and read some more.  I will be sharing free tips on how to achieve optimal health and wellness through diet, juicing, alkalizing, and so much more.  Also tune in on Wednesdays 10-11:00pm EST to the Stepping Into My Power Blog Talk Radio Show. Are you Stepping Into Your Power by being the healthiest you that you can be? Let’s continue the discussion.

Visit my web site to learn more about my health and wellness offerings and programs. Invite me to speak at your next event!

 

Love & Light!

Dr. Imani Ma’at

 

Haiku Tribute to Trayvon Martin…and Change!

  “Them against us and

Us against us ~ Something’s got

To Change or we’re doomed!”

This Haiku speaks about White on Black crimes (or systemic injustices) as well as Black on Black crime (homicides committed daily in the streets of major US cities). Yes, we have to address the systemic injustices by making it illegal to to kill a young Black boy for walking “while Black.” That goes without saying. And, we also have to look internally and do what we can to stop killing ourselves. More young black males die from murder than suicides, accidents and diseases combined. Since the murder of Trayvon Martin, there have been hundreds of young Black males killed at the hands of other Black males.   Do we care more when the aggressor does not look like us? Both types of crimes are wrong, senseless and have to be addressed and halted.

Healthy Haiku Productions is dedicated to making a change in the lives of youth and families.

     Vision: To raise self-esteem and the understanding of important health issues by youth and adults dedicated to improving individuals and communities across the globe.


Mission:​  To offer health-focused workshops, training programs and motivational speeches to teens and adults across the globe.


​     Values: ​ We each have unique gifts to share with the world and a specific path –proper training and skills building help individuals to discover their gifts and paths in life.

Here is a piece that I wrote about Change several years ago and can be found in both Healthy Haiku Publications

CHANGE

Change

     Of the heart, the mind

     The openness to love

     To challenges, risk, failures.

Change

     Of the opoprtunities

     To learn and to experience Life

     Through another lens.

Change

     Of our attitudes about change

     Stepping out of the box

     That is just an illusion anyway!

Change

     Of our Perceptions of time

     Knowing that tomorrow is a

     Day away from when we

     Must start activating our dreams.

Change

     From being victimized to

     Being Energized!

     Ghetto-ized to En-Grandized.

Change

     That makes us stop to breathe

     And be he embodiment of God

     That we were created to be

     In the First Place.

Change

     That makes us tap into our

     Brilliance in a way that

     Sends us whirling through space

     Igniting new stars

     And geniuses along the way!

Change

     So powerful that it makes

     Us realize that the place

     That had us stuck no longer exists

     So we are now freed up and fired up

     To achieve in ways that only mirrors

     The magnificence of our

     Creation on this earth!

Copyright @ Dr. Imani Ma’at

Contact Healthy Haiku Productions to schedule workshops for teens, training for mentors/teachers to learn the Healthy Haiku Approach and Motivational Speaking engagements for High School and College Orientation Programs. Call today! 404-702-4382

or email: drimani@healthyhaikuproductions.com

Help us to Bring Healthy Haiku Workshops to Youth Across the U.S.

Help us to Bring Healthy Haiku Workshops to Youth Across hte U.S.

Greetings Friends. GoFundMe funds will be used to bring this amazing workshop to schools, summer camps, mentoring organizations etc. all over the U.S. We are asking our friends and family members to donate just $5 and to share this with all of your contacts to support this campaign. We appreciate you so much and want the best for our children and teens across the U.S. All levels of support selected below will earn points for organizations to earn a free workshop. Thank you for your donation and support.

‘It’s not cool’: ‘Cinnamon challenge’ prank can scar lungs, lead to emphysema, study finds

Please spread that word to young people in your life that this is very dangerous for their health and definitely not coo!

National Post | Life

Don’t take the cinnamon challenge. That’s the advice from doctors in a new report about a dangerous prank depicted in popular YouTube videos but which has led to hospitalizations and a surge in calls to U.S. poison centres.

The fad involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water.

But the spice is caustic, and trying to gulp it down can cause choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble and even collapsed lungs, the report said. Potentially, the stunt could also lead to serious lung diseases like pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema.

Published online Monday in Pediatrics, the report said at least 30 teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year.

The number of poison control centre calls about teens doing the prank “has increased dramatically,” from 51 in 2011 to 222 last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control…

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Building Self-Esteem in Teens

31068_Imani Haiku ltr-half PB cover V5 exp

Every dream followed

By Action takes me closer

To Finding my Way!

(Have the courage to implement your ideas!)

Peer Pressure is as

Powerful as I allow

In my Life’s choices!

(I have the power to say no!)

Find out more about our books, workshops, trainings and speaking engagements.

Also take advantage of our huge 50% off sale of Healthy Haiku Training Manual and Poetry Books!

Look for Healthy Haiku on http://www.amazon.com