Motivation for the Journey


I do not have children of my own, but when the time comes, maybe I’ll have a tribe. For now, these beautiful faces motivate me. Peace and Love, unconditional.


The innocence of a child is refreshing
When given nature, they run, and play
When given cold weather, they find a way to explore
They follow insects into cracks, and chase birds
skip over leaves, and dive into puddles

When given pain, they bounce back, forgive, accept,
extending a warm hug, a smile, a chance to love again
I used to be so sad at times, and they’d say, “it’s ok Auntie Shila,”
and they’d give me rocks, and flowers, and magic twigs,
and things they acquired in the park to cheer me up.
Hmmmmm……… What is it like to have a child?

By the end of the day, I am happy, rejuvenated, and encouraged by these smiles.
Empowered by these smiles. Sustained by these memories. I can feel the old souls of my ancestors tracing through the children, to greet me, to meet me, to wake me up. Peace.

Shila Iris 1.8.17

20161213_210235.png        Music 2

Healing Rituals: The Nguzo Saba Experience 2017


“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” -Rumi

healing-rituals-kwanzaa-mantra-copyYou attract what you are. It is important that you examine your own life, and choose a healing path when necessary. Otherwise, you are prone to counterproductive repetitive behaviour, and you may project your pain on to other people. You attract what you are. So, try to make you the best you, so that you can attract some real people and real love.

Define who you are. There is a point in life when one realizes that they have the power to change and to move mountains and to shift dynamics. So, define who you are. Write it down and practice being You. If you do not define who you are, someone else will do it for you. Do you really want that?

What is your healing ritual going to be?

Please share if you’d like. Peace and Love…. off to see:

Terence Blanchard feat. The E-Collective, Live Album Recording at the Bop Stop in Cleveland, Ohio. Please join me. It starts soon.

P.S. Dear Maulana Karenga, I am making the 7 principles a part of my daily ritual. I’d like to thank you for creating Kwanzaa. It makes me feel alive and it is helping me to heal from the past. I am better today. Peace and love.


Kwanzaa After Dark: Days 1-3 Umoja – Kujichagulia – Ujima


Although Kwanzaa is a holiday that is practiced across the world in a myriad of communities, I realize that many people aren’t yet accustomed to it, and that is OK. We can change this. It is an uplifting event, that transcends materialism, pacification, domination, oppression, isms, schisms, and negative vibrations. I am proud that I am learning Kwanzaa and using it to empower myself. It may take some time to get into the swing of it, but if you missed the mark, feel free to choose any week of the year to practice. There is nothing wrong with a summer Kwanzaa.

My first Kwanzaa occurred 5 years ago. It was with a group of 6 people. We committed to it, and it ended well. Soon after, I realized that what it represented is a part of me and I needed more of it, so it became one of my rituals. I printed out the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa and made them easily accessible to me on any given day.

To a beginner, Kwanzaa may seem like a lot because it is indeed a 7-day celebration, and it requires time and dedication. I suggest starting to prepare for Kwanzaa in November of each year, but definitely by December 19, you should have all your supplies. If you wait until the last minute, it may seem overwhelming and your plans may fall through. However, it helps to observe Kwanzaa year round. It’s distinctive principles are mantras and are affirming. Waking up to the Nguzo Saba is great for me, and it can be great for you too.

So, today is December 28, 2016, the third day of Kwanzaa, and I am excited to light the first green candle for Ujima. On day one, my partner and I talked about having Unity in the family first. Lots, of times we go out into the world and try to form bonds and partnerships, and our homes aren’t in order. So, we committed to Unifying the HOME, because once that is in order, we can truly go out into the community and plant some righteous seeds of love.

Kujichagulia, was yesterday. I can’t help but to think of the song K.O.S. by Black Star when observing this day. The lyrics reflect the principle of self-determination:

“That life without knowledge is, death in disguise?
That’s why, Knowledge of Self is like life after death
Apply it, to your life, let destiny manifest”

I lit the red candle and spoke to my ancestors. I thanked them for forming an unbreakable realm of protection around me. I have been through some things, but here I am, standing. I am even more determined to rise and become who I am meant to be.

I’ve done a few things to prepare for Kwanzaa. At work, I created a Kwanzaa Book Display, in efforts of informing the community about the holiday, and at home, this is my altar for this year…

Posters in display from Created by Crosby.

I hear people often asking, why Kwanzaa? My answer to that is “why not Kwanzaa?” There is such greatness in this celebration. Completing the week is definitely an achievement because it means that you stuck to a plan, and followed through on a commitment. Be proud of that! Please do some research of your own and tailor the decorations and meaning to fit you. It is truly a joy to celebrate You, your roots, your ancestral lineage. What about it?

Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned.

Shila Iris


Restoring Balance


Resuscitating the lyfe force along my spine
cultivating higher virtues, a,
transcendental Supreme Being,
in need of a transcendental Supreme Team,
an army of Me, because we need each other to make this work.
at least 7, to get Us to Heaven.

Chant – at least, at least, at peace, at peace, release, release, release, succeed, define, what it is to be you, find out, what’s it’s like to be you. release, at peace. I am divine. I am.

I am a Graphic Designer, naturally…
42 Ideals of Maat

by Shila Iris, please clap ♥♥♥



Working on the “invisible” me so that the “visible” me can be better. 


Like the Sun, I rise. poetry… coming soon.

Shila Iris

Day 4 – KWANZAA AFTER DARK: Reciprocity


I am one of those people who truly enjoy supporting my fellow brothers and sisters. If you have a business of any sort, that I can use, I will come. Storefront, or online, in your house, or if you’re a vendor at festivals, I’ll be there. Musically inclined, I’ll be there. Seriously, I wrote a chant called, I’ll Be There! I will continue to come and offer suggestions when necessary, because it’s important to me. More so than the money that I spend, I believe that my time is most valuable, so even, when I come, believe me, I want to support you. study groups, community gatherings, book clubs, bonfires, cookouts- it’s all relevant to who I am, to who we are.

Furthermore, I’ll live amongst my people, and talk to them, and build them up in any way that I can. The peace of a suburb is too easy for me. I don’t desire it, because anywhere I go, my partner and I, and maybe you, we’ll make it work for us. WE MAKE IT WORK!


In 2016 I’ll need that same support, and although I haven’t asked for it before, I’ll ask for it now because I authentically need to feel the love of my people. The reciprocity, the balance is necessary.

Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.

Day 4- Instructions for Kwanzaa:  You should greet your friends and family by asking: Habari gani? (Translation: What’s the news?); and today, they can respond: Ujamaa! (Translation: Cooperative Economics) Learn more about Kwanzaa here.



Kwanzaa Day 1

Kwanzaa Day 2


Day 3 – KWANZAA AFTER DARK: We Can Get a Lot More Done Together


Ujima (oo-GEE-mah)

Day 3- Instructions for Kwanzaa:  You should greet your friends and family by asking: Habari gani? (Translation: What’s the news?); and today, they can respond: Ujima! (Translation: Collective Work and Responsibility) Learn more about Kwanzaa here.

Ujima 4Tonight, let’s talk about the 3rd Principle of Kwanzaa: Ujima, which means Collective Work & Responsibility. 

I had to do it alone,
for a long time,
I had to be this way, but now,
I can call on my partner,
what about you?   -Shila

Collective work can look like this: Àṣẹ Dance Theatre CollectiveUjima

In my travels and experiences, I have witnessed a lot of Us turning against one another, which causes us to break up group efforts. Personal feelings, incest, and dishonesty get in the way of many many good things. How can we begin to change this? I have some ideas, but what do you think?

  • Unity is strength, division is weakness. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb
  • It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb
  • Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb
  • Many hands make light work. ~ Haya (Tanzania) proverb
  • Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb
  • A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. ~ African proverb
  • If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African proverb

I am Shila. Thank you for visiting.

Ujima 3