Let’s face it…the health and wellness of black women is not a priority of the society that we live in. Black women face the intersection of gender and race minority (double minority). If you are an immigrant, such as myself, you stand in the center of a 3-way minority junction. The term “intersectionalilty” highlights intersections such as these very well for people of color. Health and wellness for black women is an area that is sorely needs more support.
So, in this month – May – we celebrate Mother’s Day in the United States and parts of the Caribbean. Many of us will be heading out to seek out the perfect Mother’s Day presents, scheduling our Mother’s Day specials (brunches, dinners, massages, etc), and generally obsessing about the perfect Mother’s Day for our loved ones. So, as a mother myself, and surrounded by my own mother and mother-in-law, of course, I will be doing the same!
Of course, I had to join the Mother’s Day festivities. What can we say about mothers? They are awesome. We know there are mothers who have this name in roles only. But we have to give thanks for the women in our lives that love us unconditionally and support us. Most of these precious women tend to care for everyone but themselves. Society has taught women that caring for themselves is selfish and inglorious. But, we are here to dispel that myth and remind all the mothers out there that taking time for yourselves is essential to practicing proper mental health. We cannot pour from an empty cup. Period.
Once we have made the decision to improve ourselves and our lives, changes must be made within ourselves and our lives to accomplish this goal. One of the issues that I have identified with the black community is that we do not take the time to educate ourselves about how the world works. We know that there are obstacles that stand in our way because of issues beyond our Circle of Influences (reference to Steven R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), however, we should never let obstacles or fears stand in our way of pursuing the lives we want for ourselves. The universal law affects us all. Instead of holding on to the victim mentality, it is necessary for us to change our mindsets and focus on what we want rather than on the things we do not want. After all, focusing on the things that we do not want is a sure way of getting those very things because we get what we focus on.
“And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”
1 Samuel 3: 10 KJV
When I was a child, God was this person that everyone around me prayed to. As most Christian children are told, we should pray to God but never quite knowing why or who this person was. I had my first personal encounter with God when I was 19 years old. I remember having dreams of a voice calling to me; the voice was always quiet but somehow powerful enough to take up the space all around me. It happened a few times enough that I was nervous and shared with my mom. That first exposure to God was the first of many personal interactions with God. But like many people who hears God’s voice for the first time, I felt that I was not ready because of all the things in my past that I was sure to be punished for. I tried to stay put but I must admit that I got scared. And when things started falling apart in my life, well the newest member in my life who was supposed to be powerful was most definitely to blame for it.
Mental health and spirituality are factors that affect our daily lives. Our community has longed viewed spirituality and a relationship to God as the sole answer for dealing with difficult times. However, I am a firm believer that faith without works is dead. Mental health and spirituality share a close relationship. Hence, the push in recent years to include spirituality in therapy. Clinicians are ethically bound to address cultural concerns that affect clients. Spirituality does not relate to religion – which is institution based – but focuses on the broader understanding that humans are spiritual beings and possess a soul that is connected to the larger universe.