Monday, April 19, 2010

Poem by TaMara Campbell in honor of National Poetry Month

Heaven Never Kissed!

Heaven never kissed a soul the way you kissed mines
with tenderness as your lips gently pressed against my neck
lingering in the moment, I am lost in your eyes
captivated as I savor your sweet surprise
burning with an uncontrollable desire
moaning to feel you deep inside
I sigh….
breathing deep rhythmic breathes; my swelling lips beg to be hushed
let me soak in your delight as you caress my entire body exploring territory unknown
transcending reality into desire
I dare dream for this very moment
that we can escape on a voyage of ecstasy
allowing sexual passion to unleash
I seduce you….
conducting an intricate orchestration of eroticism
for you are my slave in this journey to the pinnacles of sexuality
and so shall it never end
such is the moment and the longing
I dream of this and wish for nothing more
than to be making love to you
and yes, my love I have been to heaven …

© 2006 by TaMara Campbell-Dillard for Love…The eXperience. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Interview with Poet TaMara Campbell

1. What was the first poem that inspired you?

The first poem that inspired me was Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelo

2. Who is your favorite poet/s? Why?

I really like Love…The Poet. Her delivery is amazing. I also love Jessica Holter. She has a powerful message that she shares through her poetry! Her content is very similar to mines. Her delivery and passion is nothing short of dynamic!

3. If you could have a conversation with a poet, who would it be? What 2 questions would you like to ask them?

Jessica Holter. I was very curious to find out the inspiration behind the Punany Poets. I also wanted to understand her passion for sexuality! Her matter of fact style is so in your face and that inspired me even more. She had passion that was very similar to mind. Her message regarding sexuality and HIV was empowering and I felt that we had a very similar message and mission in life. I actually had the opportunity to perform with the Punany Poets in NYC this April, and for me that was indescribable! Just to share the stage with someone that you honor and respect is very humbling!

4. What does poetry mean to you?

It's the art of eroticism appealing to uninhibited emotions and fantasy you so desire. It's the taste of the forbidden fruit quenching the thirst and hunger you never knew existed. It's channeling energy throughout your entire body, leaving you breathless and yearning for more. It's taboo. It's passion. It's expression. It's love. It's sexuality. It's sensuality. It's liberation. It's beauty. It's the art.

5. What type of poetry do you write?

I write sensual erotic and love poetry and short stories

6. What do you think are the basic ingredients of a poem?

Passion, love, intensity, energy truth, honesty, and connectivity carefully blended into a rhythm of perfection that evokes emotion from the depths of your soul.

7. What is your creative process like, atmosphere, etc?

There no real process for me, it just happens! I can be anywhere and the spirit will hit me and I write….

8. What is your definition of creativity?

Life in all its color and beauty is creativity! It's a beautiful process in which individuality is the foundation, free spirit is the heart and energy is the pulse! You are given a blank canvas to create and define who you want to be.

9. What inspired you to publish your poetry?

A friend of mine encouraged me to self-publish my collection of poetry.

10. On a typical day, how do you record your thoughts?

I record my thoughts on whatever I can grab from a piece of paper to a napkin or a journal…lol

11. What value do you feel poetry adds to the world?

LOVE, color, beauty, inspiration, understanding, hope, an outlet, and conversation that addresses stigma and debunk myths and breakdowns barriers and demystifies taboos.

12. What words of wisdom would you give an aspiring poet?

Embrace your craft, share it with the world. It's a gift that you have been given to change lives, hearts and minds. Celebrate it! Use your power for good!

13. If your life had a theme song what would it be?

There's so many songs that I love and could describe me on any given day. I can't pinpoint one, but it would definitely be something sexy!

14. What is currently in heavy rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/cd player?

I love all types of music and every song I play is always my favorite but I definitely play Maxwell, Raheem Devaughn, Esther, Maroon 5, Res, Erykah Badu, and the list goes on……lol

15. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?

Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

16. Are there any encouraging words of wisdom or favorite quote you would like to leave with our readers?

The fundamental change in life begins within the mind of he who thinketh….

To read more about TaMara Campbell follow the link to our website @ The Pearls Book Club


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Poem by Ananda Leeke in honor of National Poetry Month

Ananda Leeke shares one of her poems for her new book "That Which Awakens Me"

Yoga and Writing

#1

When I practice yoga, my ego disappears.
I merge into the Infinite.
We become one.
One Love.
One Creation.
One Vessel.
Messages pass through me.
They become stories, essays, poems, truisms, quotes, prayers,
affirmations, letters, e-mail messages, blog posts, and journal
entries.

#2

I inhale and raise my hands above my head, pressing the palms
of my hands together.
My gaze is focused on my thumbs.
My head is balanced on my shoulders.
My shoulders are rolled back.
My heart shines forth.
My spine is long and strong.
My belly is soft but tucked in.
My arms hang gracefully with splayed fingers.
My legs support my core as my feet ground themselves to
Mother Earth.
In this space, I breathe in and out five times.
On my next inhalation, I come into a forward fold.
The blood rushes down from my head.
I get a buzz.
It feels like nirvana.
I take a deep breath and raise myself up one vertebrae at a
time.
As I exhale, my arms find comfort by my side.
I stand in place for several moments, feeling the benefits of my
short practice.
The next moment encourages me to inhale and bring my
hands into prayer against my heart.
I close my practice chanting seven Oms.
Om in my spirit.
Om in my heart.
Om in my breath.
Om in my mind.
Om in my body.
Om in my thoughts.
Om in my writing.


To learn more about Ananda Leeke follow the link to our website @ The Pearls Book Club

Interview with Ananda Leeke- Yoga Teacher

One dictionary meaning of yoga is:

a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

What does yoga mean to you?

In Sanskrit, yoga means the union of spirit, mind, body, and breath. This union occurs when you open your heart and surrender to the present moment. Yoga also means
Your Opportunity to Graciously Accept yourself and life.™

1. How long have you been practicing yoga? What styles of yoga have you practiced?

I have been practicing Hatha yoga since 1995. I received my yoga teacher training certification from Flow Yoga Center (www.flowyogacenter.com) in 2006. I teach kind and gentle yoga.

2. Share with us what you feel are some of the benefits of yoga.

The benefits of yoga include:

· Awareness of your concentration, effort, and mindfulness;

· Articulation of truth in your intention and understanding;

· Authenticity in your speech, actions, and livelihood;

· Increased flexibility and toning of your body's muscles;

· Increased lubrication of your joints, ligaments, and tendons;

· Total massage of your body organs; and

· Complete detoxification of your body through the stretching of muscles and joints as well as the massaging of organs which ensures the optimum blood supply in your body.

3. Please share with us a defining moment for you in your yoga practice?

I knew yoga was one of the best spiritual, emotional, and physical practices I should use to navigate daily life when I was able to manage and reduce panic attacks and stress from unemployment in 1998 with yoga breathing exercises, mantra chanting, and poses.

And when you knew you wanted to teach yoga?

While I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon in 2004, I realized how vital yoga was to my life and running. I also witnessed how I relied on my yoga breathing and mantra chanting to get me through rough patches in my training. On the day of the Marathon, I hit a brick wall several times. My yoga breathing and mantra chanting helped restore my balance. That's when I realized I wanted to share the power of yoga with others.

4. Explain your philosophy of yoga and teaching style?

My yoga philosophy is based on three yogic principles: Iswara Pranidhana (surrender), Sankalpa (intention), and Abyhasa (devoted practice). When you surrender your ego, your heart opens and allows you to live in the present. Living in the present helps you create space in your spirit, mind, and body to set an intention for a devoted practice of self-care. A devoted practice begins with yoga and incorporates self-care tools that address your individual needs.

My yoga instruction is based on Hatha yoga principles that concentrate on the practice of postures and breath control. Hatha is a Sanskrit word that is derived from two roots: 1) ha is the sun which represents action and 2) tha is the moon which represents reflection. Together, they create a union between the ability to act and reflect. In my yoga classes, I offer students an opportunity to experience intention setting, breathing exercises, meditation, mantra chanting with mala beads, chakra tuning, reiki healing touch, aromatherapy, and kind and gentle yoga postures (aspects of eye, laughter, office, and yin yoga are included) that address their individual bodies and health concerns. Students also learn about the Yoga Sutras including the yamas and niyamas as guidelines for conscious living. Wisdom teachings from world religions, sacred traditions, healers, artists, poets, leaders, and philosophers are also included.

5. How do you help students stay interested and motivated in their yoga practice?

I remind students that yoga begins with the breath. So when they are breathing mindfully and deeply, they are practicing yoga. I also suggest students use mantra chanting and mudras in their daily practice. One of my favorite suggestions is to practice one to five poses that can be done in bed or office. Additionally, I share yoga articles, magazines, blogs, online videos, podcasts, DVDs, books, and event notices with students. I also encourage students to practice at local studios and visit yoga studios in cities they travel to.

6. Who inspires you in your craft?

I am inspired by my yoga teachers:

· Gloria (made her transition in the 90s),

· Faith Hunter of Faith Hunter Yoga and co-owner of Shakti Mind Body Studio (appears on the May cover of Yoga Journal),

· Debra Mishalove of Flow Yoga Center,

· Mari Alonso,

· Yael Flusberg of Yelements, and

· Tazima Davis of Compassionate Renegade.

I am also inspired by Caroline Arewa Shola, Jana Long of Power One Yoga, Maya Breuer of Santosha School of Yoga, and Krishna Kaur, the founder of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers.

Yin yoga teachers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers, Kemetian yoga teacher Yrser Ra Hotep of Yoga Skills, laughter yoga founder Dr. Madan Kataria, Cyndi Lee of OM Yoga, and Kimberly Wilson of Tranquil Space also inspire me.

7. How do you recommend someone get started with yoga? What style would you suggest for a beginner?

My recommendations begin with writing down the reasons you are interested in yoga. These reasons may shed light on the type of yoga you want to practice. The next step I recommend is to use the Internet to learn more about yoga and the various types. About.com offers information: ttp://yoga.about.com/od/beginningyoga/a/whatisyoga.htm.

The Yoga Journal web site is another resource: www.yogajournal.com. My next recommendation is visit yoga classes at the local YMCA, YWCA, gym, and yoga studios. Check out the beginner classes. If the classes are too big, consider hiring a yoga teacher to help you learn one-on-one (that's how I learned and prefer to teach!). Beginning yoga DVDs, online videos, and books are also resources.

8. What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be a yoga teacher?

Treat yoga as a gift. Keep a beginner's mind in your home practice and teaching. Identify a yoga mentor(s). Teach from your heart. Be yourself. Listen to your students. Dress appropriately. Take good care of your feet and personal hygiene. Communicate in basic terms. Take yoga classes and workshops. Stay in student mode when it comes to learning about yoga. If you earn money from yoga teaching, treat your services like a business. Have fun with yoga!

9. What characteristics do you feel are most important for a yoga teacher to develop?

· Open heart

· Willingness to keep learning

· Commitment to service

· Direct and intentional communication

· Knowledge of yoga through study and practice

10. What do you find most rewarding about being a yoga instructor?

Helping people get in touch with their body, mind, spirit, heart, and breath. Watching people discover how yoga helps them release stress and strengthen their bodies.

As a woman of many interest….

11. How do you feel yoga motivates you in your other areas of interest in life?

Yoga is a soul necessity. I start and end my day with yoga, meditation, and Reiki. It opens my heart, grounds my spirit, and prepares my mind and body for whatever happens in life. It gives me space in my spirit and heart for self-love. It also affirms my self-care commitment. When I get off-balanced emotionally, yoga brings me back to my center of calm. It also makes me more aware of my thoughts and actions. That awareness helps me make better choices, forgive myself and others, and release negative energy and situations.

12. One of your other interest is Reiki…tell us what lead you to this practice?

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word that means universal life energy in the human body. It is a form of healing touch that involves the transfer of energy from practitioner to client to enhance the body's natural ability to heal itself through the balancing of energy.

During the 90s, I explored alternative therapies and learned about Reiki and yoga. My yoga teacher training convinced me that Reiki would compliment my personal yoga practice and business.

13. Why would you suggest someone learn the methods of Reiki?

Reiki can help people relax, become centered, relieve themselves of stress, and manage pain.

14. How would you suggest someone get started with Reiki?

My first suggestion is to do research online and/or visit a local library or bookstore to read about Reiki. The International Center for Reiki Training is a great resource: http://www.reiki.org/faq/WhatIsReiki.html. My favorite Reiki book is Essential Reiki by Diane Stein. I would also recommend contacting natural healing centers, yoga studios, acupuncturists, massage schools, and/or health food stores in your local community to obtain Reiki practitioner recommendations. You can also use the Internet to identify Reiki practitioners in your local community (use google). Here is a great checklist on what to look for in a Reiki practitioner: http://reiki.7gen.com/choices.htm.

Interesting tidbits about Ananda….

15. What is normal day like for you?

I start my day with yoga, Reiki, and meditation. I usually eat oatmeal or granola for breakfast with tea. Monday through Friday involves working nine to five. I also do work for my business and research for my book projects during the week and on weekends. Hanging out with friends and families is also included. Reading books, listening to music, and walking are also included most days. I attend church on Sundays at All Souls Unitarian Church (most weeks). I also participate in a monthly meditation sangha (community) for people of color (most months). Visits to museums, art galleries, and movie theaters are also incorporated from time to time.

16. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?

I love books. So your question is hard for me. I have several books that have been vital tools in my life.

They are Opening to Spirit by Caroline Arewa Shola, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay, remembered rapture: the writer at work by Bell Hooks, Belonging: A Culture of Place by Bell Hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love by Bell Hooks, The Art of Power by Thich Nhat and Hanh, and The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

17. What is currently heavy in rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/cd player?

Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Deva Premal, Eric Roberson, Susana Baca, Omar Sosa, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Meshell Ndegeocello, India.Arie. Fertile Ground, Amel Larrieux, Sista Shree, Krishna Das, and Nina Simone

18. If your life had a theme song what would it be?

"Strength, Courage, and Wisdom" by India.Arie

19. What story would you like your body to tell to others through your movement?

Be kind and gentle with your body and self. It will allow you to take care of yourself with compassion and acceptance.

20. Are there any encouraging words of wisdom you would like to leave with our readers?

Be love, love light, and live as the spirit of life! Namaste (the light in me salutes the light in you.)

Special Note: Members of the Pearls book club will receive a 10% discount on Ananda's Yoga and Reiki services.

To learn more about Ananda Leeke, visit our website...The Pearls Book Club


Interview with DeBora M. Ricks- Author of Love Addicted

1. How long have you been writing? When and why did it all begin?

It was 1985 when I started writing. My sister, confidant, and friend had abandoned me for the sun, water and mountains of Jamaica to share a new life with a white man she’d met while vacationing there months earlier. I missed her. Just as I was about to get married, I was now had no one to help me sort through the many love and life challenges. One day while sitting alone in my studio apartment I picked up a black and write spotted notebook and began to write. Onto those pages I confessed my fears, longings, hopes and dreams. I got hooked when I saw how journaling cleared my head and healed my heart. The summer of 1998, on the Sony PC that I’d bought for my four year old, I started to pen Love Addicted.

2. What inspired your first project?

Love Addicted vibrated in my soul and wouldn’t loose me until I surrendered to the pen. This was a book that insisted upon being written. I felt led by Spirit to give voice to my story. A well known radio personality once said nobody wants to read autobiographical books by non-celebrities. At first that stalled me. Then I decided to ignore that and instead chose to believe my story was as worthy as any. Finally, upon my death I wanted there to be at least one thing that wouldn’t die with me. Black women and love addiction? Who talks about that? The tendency to seek approval and validation from men, the impulse to avoid one’s own pain by jumping into a relationship, I sensed, wasn’t unique to me. There are hundreds of thousands of people—women and men—who are love and relationship junkies. Love Addicted is proof that healing happens.

3. What genre of books do you write? Are there any other genre’s you may consider?

I love writing non-fiction, inspirational and self-help books about love and relationships. Although I’ve edited fiction, that genre doesn’t speak to me as a writer.

4. Do you have a particular writing style?

No, I don’t. I only insist that my writing be honest and clear and meaningful. I want my readers to be touched, moved and inspired to become the best version of themselves.

5. Who or what has influenced your writing?

Author Toni Morrison once said, “Write the book you’d like to read.” Well, that’s what I set out to do. I did that with Love Addicted and with my next offering, Why Did He Break Up With Me? I’m driven by that advice.

6. What has been the most rewarding part of being an author?

One day a young woman walked up to me and said, “Your book changed my life!” Another woman posted a message on my Facebook wall, it said, “Love Addicted was instrumental in helping me to change the course of my life! To have given the world something that inspires another soul to grow and change is gratifying beyond words.

7. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your writing career?

Fortunately, one of the most significant lessons that I learned before publishing my first book I learned from the missteps of other authors: Always hire an editor because no matter how much of an eye you have for detail you can never catch all your typos and mistakes. Edit or regret it.

8. You’re not only an author but also a speaker and facilitator, what is the most rewarding thing you get from your speaking engagements?

I absolutely love engaging with people, speaking and facilitating affords me that opportunity. When I speak, I get to share what I’m learning on this amazing journey we call life, connect with women and men committed to growing and expanding, hear their wisdom and learn from them.

10. What characteristics do you feel are most important for speakers and facilitators to develop?

Speaking isn’t about impressing your audience but about connecting with and inspiring them. So a powerful speaker isn’t necessarily she with the fanciest credentials but about she who has a love for people, has a passion for sharing and inspiring, and is committed to speaking the truth as she knows. If a person desires to serve humanity by speaking, there will always be someone who wants to hear her.

9. If you could have one author as a mentor, who would it be? Why?

Willie Jolley. He earns more than 10K to speak. Whatever he knows, I want to learn it and will!

10. What is normal day like for you? What do you do daily to stay motivated and keep your creativity flowing in your craft?

I’m an attorney for a recovery center; I spend my weekdays assisting men and women recovering from drugs and alcohol in untangling their legal issues, speaking to probation agents and judges, accompanying clients to court and troubleshooting. As one who writes and speaks about the dynamics of human relationships, everything and every encounter inform my writings. I people watch and engage in conversations that feed my curiosity about love and relationships. Everyday I learn something that helps me better understand what builds strong, elastic relationships and what drains and tears them down. What pearls I glean I share with my audiences. Early mornings, evenings and weekends you’ll find me working out, speaking, signing, writing, spending time with my teen daughter Adia and networking.

11. What book is currently on your night stand?

Hill Harpers’s The Conversation, The Writer on Her Work, edited by Janet Sternburg and Street Shadows by Jerald Walker

12. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?

For those looking to self publish, Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual is a must have. Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write helps writers find their authentic voice and The African American Guide to Writing by Jewell Parker Rhodes is an excellent resource for non-fiction, autobiographers, and memoir writers.

13. What is currently heavy in rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/CD player?

Accompanying me on the treadmill is any music that inspires me to move for 30-60 minutes—the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am., Michael Jackson and Beyonce do it for me.

14. If your life had a theme song what would it be?

Mary J. Blige’s Work That when haters try my nerves. Jill Scott’s Golden and will.i.am. It’s a New Day the other 98% of the time.


15. What words of wisdom would you give to an aspiring author? Speaker/facilitator?

Read, read, and read some more. Readers make better writers. Keep a journal. Journaling sharpens your writing skills. Write and speak about what matters to you. Don’t imitate others. Do you! Your uniqueness is a gift to the world. Remember that courage is not the absence of fear but action in the face of it. Do the thing that scares you. Cease to wait for someone else to give you the green lights, give them to yourself. Go!

To learn more about DeBora M. Ricks visit our website, The Pearls Book Club