4/23/17

SOUL FOOD

Exercise

Meditation

Good Food

....then repeat

😊😊

Even happy people get sad...

Yes, overall I am a pretty positive person. One of the young homie's put it best "Raven, you have such a happy disposition." Yes, this is true. My outward facing is positive, easy going, free spirited human being. However, I battle low moments also. Feeling not confident. Feeling inferior. Feelings of confusion. Feelings of negativity. Feeling like, "why must I live this type of life?" And what I am learning more and more, that is also me. Because even happy people get sad...

This is something I cannot run from. Life throws us all kinds of twist and turns. Put us in situations that pushes our thinking of what we have imagined ourselves to be, And sometimes, when these moments occur, we are not sure how to react. And for me, a lot of times, I can easily just shut down. When I shut down, it is very hard to function. Very hard to be productive. And even more hard to remain positive. 

When I have these moments, the logical person knows what it is that I have to do. However, sometimes you just want to sit in it. You want to have a moment to embrace what you are feeling in order to let it all out. But, I am good at putting a time constraint around that "sunken place." Because it isn't healthy to stay in it for long. So, I do what I need to do, in order to ground myself. 

BUT, the key is consistency. And what I am learning about myself, is that I can no longer go on these hypes of "fixing" myself. I need balance, And in order to stay in balance, I must make self-care a way of life instead of a temporary band-aid fix. 

So today, I am dedicating myself to myself. Dedicated to loving Raven, And to love Raven, to really love Raven, I must take care of myself. I cannot depend on others for that. This is not to say that I do not need help from other people, because I do. Even more than ever. And I have allowed myself to be vulnerable  and ask people for help. Never be afraid to ask for help. However, know that all people have their limitations. So, make sure that you do not expect no more from anyone, than they can give you.

Okay, back to self care. Its called soul food. Mind, Body and Soul. This girl needs wraparound services. A holistic approach. It is a journey. But I am ready for it. And I working to have folks around me who can be supportive to this journey. In a way that holds me accountable, but doesn't push me where I am not ready to be pushed. 

Today, I smile. Today, I feel renewed. Today, I focus on self. Today, I love me. Why, because I am a beautiful person. I am a great contribution to my community and this world. I desire to be the best version of self. And that takes time, patience, and dedication.

Remember to love self, limit the "sunken place" and never expect more from people than what they can provide.

Raven Willoughby, I f*cking love you!!

2/13/17

You are my constant

You are my constant
When I was learning, growing and changing,
you were my present
I've always wrestled with the end goal of love..
..of companionship
not really knowing what that looked like
but through life experiences and learnings, I persisted
not allowing my past to dictate the future
but allowing the past to help direct
I've had many experiences
all that I am so grateful for
because I can now sit before you today
and say I am ready
I have been groomed
I have been refined
I know the purpose
and above all, it is to be loved
to be open to accepting love
to be flexible to other desires
I have ran to you
I have ran away from you
at times I have felt undeserving 
but now I run closer
with my heart willing and open
the only true constant in life is change
I'm forever evolving
As my constant, you know that more than anyone 
But i'll let my actions speak
However, hear these words...as they reflect the light I hope to shine
Just be mines and I'll be yours

A MC Dedication💘

11/28/16

Love





Boy do I miss it. I miss being in love. I may be having a hard time giving it, but I miss it. I miss when it comes so effortlessly. I miss feeling comfortable. I miss feeling butterflies. I miss feeling enjoyed. I miss looking at him nervously. I miss being in love. Its a wonderful feeling.

8/30/16

So as I am growing, as I am evolving and becoming more of my true self...I am working on becoming content with the fact that I may truly be a person far from the person that I am today...

Lets start with me being a trained academic.  Yes, this is apart of who I am. And I appreciate all the knowledge that I gained in that type of educational setting.  I enjoyed getting my degrees. Community Development is the field that I have studied for 6 years. I have worked in education for the last 4 years or so.  Both of these fields are heavily political.  College is a very political place. My professors would stress all the time that the "person" is political. You cannot separate your self from the political arena that we are in.  As a person, you are a citizen..political...a resident...political....and on and on. As for me, people have always taken a step forward with my being.  They have politicized me.  Always felt that I was interested in politics/government.  I suppose wanting to change communities and make a meaningful impact on Black lives, yea that sounds very political, LOL.  And I thought that way for a long time.  Believing it to be very important for me to be apart of changing or impacting policy in a way to help those most in need.

HOWEVER, in my spiritual growth, I am being more disconnected with the desire to be political.  To having opinions on the structures and the systems.  I remember being that person ridiculing others for not caring.  Wait, let me think about this.  Its not that I don't care, its just that it no longer governs how I see change.  How I see making an impact on my community.  I want to be more focused on elevating consciousness in others.  As I am working on my consciousness, I am feeling so much more control over my life. Over what I believe is valuable versus what society or my colleagues or my friends or my family think is important.  The beauty in being "awaken" is knowing that NO ONE on this planet has the answers to life.  This is my belief.  

I want to connect to people in a mind, body and spirit type of way. I want to care for the spirit first.  I want to elevate over the human structures, which in a lot of cases are very oppressive. I don't want these structures nor these types of conversations governing my life. Ohh, of course they affect me. I am not blind to that. Ohh, of course they affect the Black community, I am not blind to that. HOWEVER, as with anything, it is up to me to decide how I let these things impact my life. 

My mantra these days is: PEACE, PROSPERITY, LOVE, LIBERATION or P2L2.  I want to feel liberated and at peace.  And to truly do these things, I have to withdraw from these conventional governing systems. I decide to place the earth, land, consciousness above these human structures.  Because with all systems, with all infrastructures, there are mere humans running them.  And so my mission, as to spread P2L2 to the healing and progression of my people.

8/22/16

Love Louder!

Do you ever feel like sometimes you don’t love yourself to your maximum potential? Well, I know I do.  I go through some ups and some downs.  However, sometimes when I am experiencing my downs, I allow it to get me down.  I have been working through my depression for about 2 years now.  When I made the transition to the East Coast, I was still doing things to stay focused and balanced.  However, once I started working, it sort of distracted my purpose.  What is my purpose? Well I know right now, my purpose is to live a peaceful human experience.  I want to work to find balance in my life.  One thing I know is that I cannot run from the “down” moments.  I have to find the strength and endurance inside of myself to properly handle those moments.  I have recommitted myself to focus on my overall health and well-being.  To reconnect myself to my spirit.  To lead with love. To judge less. To appreciate all walks of life; however, more importantly to become solid in my walk.

Last week, my mom decided to pay me a visit.  That is what great moms do.  They see their children going through distress and they want to come to their rescue.  I just want to take a moment to appreciate my mom for being that way.  During her visit, I was able to re-start some things that I know provide balance: meditation, exercise, and good eating.  My mom recently shared with me a YouTube video by a guy named Preston Smiles.  I am not sure if Smiles is his real last name lol; however, that is exactly what he exudes.  I instantly was captivated and wanted to marry him lol. However, my mom instantly told me he was already taken. Good for her! Anyways, she ordered me his book “Love Louder: 33 Ways To Amplify Your Life.” Yea, some may say..ohh just another self help book.  Well sometimes it is good to be reminded about things that we may already know, but may not put into practice, as it is needed.

I enjoyed the fact that the book was a quick read.  It was also a great refresher to a lot of things I have learned over the years.  Like loving yourself.  Taking time to truly love you.  You must understand self and be whole in order to give yourself to others.  The importance of forgiveness.  This is so important. We walk around here mad or holding onto anger that we may have to others or ourselves.  Who does it help? NO ONE! The power of gratitude. Showing appreciation for all that is around us.  Taking full advantage of every step in your journey. Sometimes we are so rushed and hurried to get to the finish line, we are blind to our journey.  Preston talks about how important this is even on our journey for love.  I know I am so hell bent on finding the “one”; sometimes I am not giving my all to all those in between. What type of practice for the “one” is that? LOL. Making positive thoughts versus dwelling on the negative ones.  Boy, I have definitely learned that it is so much easier to think negatively than positively.  Preston concludes the book with this mantra “I will work for it more than I hope for it.”

Growth. Consciousness. Well being. Balance. Peace.  All of these things can be aspired Raven once you practice them everyday.  As we would say in the Bay “all gas, no breaks.”


I am excited for my recommitment. I will not beat myself up if I journey off the path. I will show more appreciation for the changes I make. I will reinforce positivity in my daily life. 

5/17/16

Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

Today's review is on Randal Pinkett's and Jeffrey Robinson's "Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness".  Wow, I couldn't have finished this book at a more perfect time in my life.  This book basically provides a holistic approach to mastering and redefining the game.  In this case, the game is the world of work or career or professional life. The authors speak specifically about being a Black person in a society that is dominated by our White counterparts.  Instead of following the motto of "work twice as hard", the authors focus is on working smarter.  Listed below are the strategies and some memorable quotes/paraphrases about them:

Strategy 1: Establish a Strong Identity and Purpose
One cannot really be successful in any aspect of their life without a clear understanding of who they are as a person, and how they fit within their surroundings.  As a Black person its important to know ones history and how that impacts their identity.  Purpose.  Why are you here? In what way do you want to make an impact? These are important questions that we must ask ourselves when considering success. The authors also reflect on the "Seven Kwanzaa Principles" as a guide for Black folks to reflect on their identity and purpose.  It inspired me to take Kwanzaa a bit more seriously, and I am strongly considering celebrating this year.

Strategy 2: Obtain Broad Exposure
This portion talks about moving beyond your comfort zone.  Pushing yourself to identify areas for growth.  When we acknowledge the areas in which we need to grow, we help to expose ourselves to new ideas and ways of thinking.  This helps to expand our world views and impact how we see ourselves and how we progress through life. 
"Cultivate a greater appreciation of yourself and others" 
"Expand your worldview"
"Build cultural capital"

Strategy 3: Demonstrate Excellence
I think this pretty much explains itself.  We want to work to be the best at what we do. In this portion the authors introduce the "Diamond of Excellence". The four facets are:
"Gifts (the talents and abilities you naturally possess)"
"Passion (the interests and motivations you naturally possess)"
"Discipline (the time, effort, and hard work you are willing to put forth)"
"Beliefs (the translation of your thoughts into empowering actions and outcomes)"

Strategy 4: Build Diverse and Solid Relationships
Now, we all know how important it is to build a network.  We do this all the time.  There is a famous saying "its not what you know, its who you know"...someone took this a step further and said "its not who you know, its who knows you!!".  All the above are true.  In building and creating your network, you must do this intentionally.  Take some time and examine who is in your networks: personal and professional.  You want to identify gaps.  You want to eliminate those who does not add to your progress and/or your personal agenda.

Strategy 5: Seek the Wisdom of Others
"Wisdom is knowledge combined with good judgement." We cannot do this alone.  And why should we? We have so many people before us who has walked similar paths on their own journey for success. Don't be afraid to fail. That type of fear first limits your exposure.  Also, if you only tried what you were successful at, how would you ever grow? This portion talks a lot about having different types of mentors in your life.  From those who can help guide you, to someone you see as a peer, to someone who can help advance your career, to someone you may consider a role model. Diversify your avenues of gaining wisdom!

Strategy 6: Find Strength in Numbers
This strategy focuses on the power of "group relationships".  At different times in our lives, we may or may not be apart of a group.  These groups can help us in our growth both personally and professionally. As we get older, we want to focus more on formal group affiliations that can help build "social capital". Here are some type of group affiliations one may consider:
Children & Families  -  Grassroots/Community - Alumni/Fraternity/Sorority - Professional/Industry
Affinity Groups - Religious - Political

Strategy 7: Think and Act Intrapreneurially
This strategy definitely presented me with a different mindset about what it means to be an "employee." In what way can we think like an entrepreneur while in the workplace.  In what way can we effect and impact change.  The authors present "The Three F's: Fight, Flight, or Forgo". And if this didn't speak to Raven Willoughby lol.  When an issue arise in the workplace, you must evaluate how you react to the situation.  All issues are not worth fighting for (something I am definitely learning).  We must be strategic in how we handle issues because we must remain mindful of the long-term goals.  Any position in the workplace, is a stepping stone to move to the next.  So be mindful, and think strategically, and evaluate the landscape to know how to move ahead.

Strategy 8: Think and Act Entrepreneurially
Pinkett and Robinson truly drove it home with this one.  It really help me to think about in what ways can I help to advance the social/economic advancement of Black folks.  One of the answers is to institute wealth in the community.  Wealth creation can be down in different ways: business owner, investor, self-employment.  I started to think about what wealth am I building for myself? What wealth am I building for my family? What wealth am I building for my community?

"the entrepreneurial mindset of passion, creativity, resourcefulness, courage, and resilience"

Strategy 9: Synergize and Reach Scale
As you are working to build, create, brand yourself basically, you want all these things to work in harmony.  We want to be reflective in our steps and ensure that things are coming together and working together.  We also want to reach scale. We want our efforts to extend beyond ourselves and our networks and spill over into the community at large. 

"we must create systems that address our social and economic concerns in a scalable way"

Strategy 10: Give back Generously"
"Life is temporary; legacy is eternal". In all of this hard work of doing for yourself, do not forget about others.  The overall goal for the Black agenda is to build yourself, while also working to build the collective.  

"what we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal"