Sunday, December 25, 2011

Maat E's Mental Health Message

Establish your own traditions!!

Within the African diasporic cultures the practice of creating traditions and ritual is very important. Many communities make a point of marking occassions like births, the change in the seasons, food harvests, and age-based rites of passage with special events and celebrations. These activites establish traditions that are shared and provide for advancement of communal knowledge, emotional healing and renewal of commiment to what matters most.
For all people of African descent Kwanzaa (Dec. 26- January 1) represents the perfect opporutnity to establish tradition in the home or community. If you have not done so already start your preparations. Decorate your home with the colors red, green and black. Use cloth, art work or anything you create. Set up the symobls of Kwanzaa using a mkeka (mat), a basket with fruits and vegetable, ears of corn (one for each child in the family) and a Kikombe cha umoja or unity cup. Add the kinara, the special candleholder with the seven candles, one black, three green AND THREE RED and your celebration is set to begin. Spend each day in the ritual of lighting a candle and remember the past and celebrating the future by reflecting on each of the seven principles....Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperation), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), Imanni (faith).
May we have peace this Kwanzaa season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Maat E's Mental Health Message

Hope for the best and prepare for the best!

Many of us go through life living in accord with the saying "hope for the best and prepare for the worst." This is useful advice to prepare us for how to deal with the unfavorable events in life that we sometimes have to deal with. Unfortunately too many of us spend more time focused on the worst case scenario rather than the best possible outcome. Sometimes we prime ourselves for the disappointment and forget to prepare for a great outcome. We then end up not planning or putting ourselves in the best position to actually get what we want. In fact research shows that people tend to seek out the negative information pertaining to themselves more than the positive information. So hope for the best and prepare for the best. Be ready because things might just turn out as you hoped.

Dr. Ma'at E. L. Lewis