Showing posts from 2021

The dock

This morning I stood on the small dock.  I accommodated my concerns for a few minutes. Then I cast them into the murky depths of the lake.  I meditated upon God’s will and my getting out past the harbor into the great depths of knowing things for myself. Growing and developing spiritual discernment.  Happiness is the joy you feel, when moving towards your potential. Onwards and Upwards! What do you do? What tools do you use? To meet the demands of your dreams? xoxox

I am Woman

I am woman. I am not a strong woman I do not have girl magic I am more vast than strength and magic. Sometimes, I want to be protected, to be vulnerable, to be desired, to be understood; within contexts that display the depth and scope that I am. Because #BlackGirlMagic does not Always help me in my day to day. But I do strive to use all of my might and ability to be fully present in order to capture snapshots of brilliance within me. Who is the woman I am becoming? My Truest Authentic Freed Self.

Music As A Form of Transportation

Not everyone got admitted into the DJ Booth back when Club Harambee dominated the nightlife in New York City.   I did, and it felt special, cool and exclusive.  This was in the late 80s, early 90s and the highly sought after DJ Beto, had a permanent the gig at hottest African spot in town.  His music was kicking every weekend! It represented a variety of countries from all over the continent.  It transported us back to the motherland, with our homesickness. And we felt a sense of belonging, even if for a few hours, like we were beneath African skies. Shaking our bodies, dropping our bones to our ancestors. Those were powerful days in our thriving as newbie immigrants in America.  Never to be forgotten. We were babies in this photo. In our twenties, all decked out in grand style.  Every week, we'd show up at Club Harambee to have a couple drinks, dance and network with so many amazing people.  We had the good life.  And decades later, DJ Beto is still kicking it with the best Africa

Shifting Identity

When I have time to think and dream... I think about my novel. It is about geographic and social mobility.  It is about characters who try to find their rightful "place" in post-colonial Africa. And immigrants in America who try to find "belonging." It is about Outsiders and Insiders.   The stratification of society, Caste, Class, Culture, Ethnicity. It explores trust, adaptability and creativity.  Passages and Boundaries. It is about duality of being (fence-straddling) and the ambivalence (unsettledness) of it all.   Do you know what Identity does to people?  According to Seth Godin: "Identity is often used against us.   Identity feels permanent, powerful, emotional and fragile.  Evolving our choices and our tastes is part of being human. Establishing your identity as someone who is not static, open to change and eager for better makes it far easier to engage in a world where some would prefer us to do precisely the opposite." Part 1 of 3 is underway and


What I have learned is that vibrancy comes from wellness, wellbeing, good health, and confidence, to name a few elements. As I approach my sixties, I am more self aware than ever. Four years ago, I took charge of my own health, and began my wellness journey. Of the multiple roles I take on in my daily life, number one is now to put myself first. Self care is not selfish. “Put your mask on first,” hubby always used to remind me. Or, “if I had what you have, Hana, I’d be so far...” I never quite GOT what he was talking about. But I’m glad he stuck with me long enough for me to get it. Let’s see how much light we can shine on things. It’s like a song. You hear the words but you cannot memorize them, but every cell in your body gets the melody. And your body vibes to it until the words sink in and become the soundtrack of your life. Lawyers need CLE. Doctors need CME. Nurses need some kind of continuing Ed. Professionals in general. And we all are professionals: we earn our “living” from

Watercolors and Roses

I complete the front of the card. I lift it carefully and carry it out to the yard.  The sun is high in the sky. It will take a short time for the watercolors to dry.  I set it carefully on the grass. The divisions between the colors are barely discernible. But in the clarity of the sunlight, I can see where the fresh brush strokes collided in a damp spot and forced an irregular fusion of colors. Creating a darker composition than I intended.  The two shapes look like teardrops, swimming towards each other. The story I am telling is of an unplanned course that I had to embrace.  I did not plan to separate myself from home for more than four years.  But when I met my husband, the son of a career diplomat who was accustomed to establishing belonging, we found comfort and love in our commonality of status.  We married, started a family and settled in New York. **** I've had these dried roses for over two decades; they have outlasted any longevity predictions...aren't they beautifu

The Waterfall

It was all too much for her to consume.  A waterfall of sheer satin plunged over rocks lined with a draping of moss. Was the doorway behind the curtain of water? The gates to heaven that Rahab had told her about.  Where the washing away of sins took place? She looked at Mo. His arms were crossed over his chest - his right hand cradling his left elbow, his left hand cradling his right elbow.    For as long as she could remember, that was how he opened up the airways to his asthmatic lungs with his stomach drawn in and shoulders lifted.  His eyes were as luminous as the silvery light penetrating through the canopy of trees above. "How did you find this place, Mo?" She asked. "Clement found it. He made me promise not to tell anyone. It is his hideout for him and his chicks." "You won't tell anyone..." Mo smiled. "I won't." - a snippet from my book. *** My photographer friend Diane and I visited Freeman's Mill Park (Gwinnett County) this

The Prayer Trail

Twigs creaked beneath my feet as I emerged from the shady path onto the clearing. And my chronic homesickness resurfaced. Before me were twelve tree stumps, just like the ones we sat on at the Gallery during bonfire nights, circa 1975-1980. Bonfires that were lit to unleash the creative energy of those gathered - artists, writers and poets. When the sky was so black and life seemed so simple. Everyone was at peace. Or so it seemed. When we would sit and listen to owls hooting, crickets, tree frogs and cicadas chirping in a bewitching chorus... ...and the three figures that appeared to be retreating into the darkness, not moving forward. Sculptures carved from the trunks of trees. The sensuous woman, the man and the child. *** There is a strong magic about this trail I found two miles from our house. I will return often as I write my novel. xoxo Hana.

Roads and Trees

  I am writing a novel. As I walk through my already written work, rewriting - scenes to be added or taken out - it is a revelation to me how many times roads and trees come up.  Tarmac roads, murram (dirt) roads - which way do they lead? Inwards or outwards?  Roads are a force, static yet powerful, causing movement.  The major conflict in the book is duality of being. The cultural, spiritual, psychological, emotional identity of the protagonist and others. Identities are revealed through the setting.   *** Spring is upon us here in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Dogwoods are in bloom.  This photo reminds me of my childhood in Nairobi, when the Jacaranda trees and their purple trumpet shaped blossoms littered the roads... It pulls me to my center, the subconscious, my muse. 

A Sneak Peek of Spring

The birdsong is louder than usual this morning. I think the birds are excited about Spring, and all the bugs they are going to eat as it gets warmer...  We are also excited about Spring! xoxo

Game Face

"There is no moving up and out in the world unless we are fully acquainted with the person we are meant to be.  Whatever your calling, it is already rooted within, and while those roots may get trampled on or tugged at, they can never be removed." - Oprah. As I rewrite my novel, I am revisiting shadow work that I have needed to do for awhile.  Not with a trained specialist, just with my Father above, my journal and my meditations, for now. Today I came upon a chapter I had written over seven years ago entitled "Don't Judge Her Shadows."  I had forgotten about that chapter, but now I am so grateful for it.  I realize how important it is to explore my shadow(s). I believe it will lead to greater clarity, greater authenticity,  beaucoup creativity, and beaucoup energy to get the work done.   I am ready!  xoxo

I am an International Woman

The time of day when the sun is high above the horizon, is my favorite instance of time.  Today is a day remembered especially for women. I add my voice to the thousands praising. As we pause to take stock of all that we have accomplished for the good of man and wo(man), I pause to pay homage to Mama Shujaa, my blog.   We launched in November of 2008 and I called her Mama Shujaa (Mother Courage, in Kiswahili). I did so because I knew I needed courage, it was not something I naturally possessed. I intentionally sought it and over the years, I have learned that God is the greatest source of courage. I am thankful today, for courage. I trust God completely with his plan for my life. Be like the midday sun with its renewing energy that shimmers and kisses, and brings things into focus.  Things that must be done with joyful anticipation of new days and new dawns.   xoxo  Mama Shujaa

The Time Comes

Yes, the time comes when you must write that letter to yourself.  Because only you can. In this digital age we live in where a lot of communication is via Facebook, Twitter, instant text messaging and emails, write a missive that bears the hallmarks of great correspondence .  Break it up into digestible chunks that will become slices of social Herstory.   Start with your childhood in Kenya and Tanzania.  Continue with your Decades in America. And keep going... "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." - Terry Pratchet. Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful truths in your instructions. xoxo.

Wellness Accountability Partner?

When I received that check in text from my coach, why did I feel like sprinting? Phew! Let me get to work! Who is your Wellness Accountability Partner? I have got lofty body goals so I am thankful for mine. Hana. 

How Do You Overcome Imposter Syndrome: The Sacred Seed(s)

I practice remembering who I am. Daily.  I surround myself with people who will help fertilize and till the organic soil upon which I stand, the roots of my existence.  And for that I am grateful. The journey can watch the full 6 min video on my IG page @ mamashujaa. Blessings. Hana.  

We are constantly evolving

This morning as I was leaving for the job: Hubby:  “You forgot your wig!” ” No, I’m going in like this!” pointing to my freshly twisted locs.  Hubby: “cool.” **** Isn’t it amazing how we are constantly evolving?  A lot of us women did not get the memo for years…that our lives belong to us.  We’ve allowed that instinct to prevail, that we need a permission slip from the principals office to do anything in life.  But now I’m in my 50s (for a while now) and I’ve evolved and I am liberating myself.  I am taking ownership and responsibility for my journey in life. And my natural hair, silver grey in its hue is as purposeful as every other atom in my body, as the planet.  Hubby is unlearning with me, that habitual non-productive thinking.  Yes I have wigs. I don them like hats. They are standard accessories. They are called in for a purpose.  Just like we all get the call:  What have I come here to do with my life?  Our purpose is to thrive with love.  The privilege of a lifetime is being wh

It is World Compliment Day

THANK YOU for the many ways your lives have enriched mine.  For your love, friendship, intelligence, grit, resilience, irreverent wit,  courage, and the vibrant joy you spread.   I reach across this internet we share to say: Asante Sana , my impeccable friends! I am grateful for you and this wonderful world of special connections. Hana.  "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention." - Kahlil Gibran.

The Road We Have Travelled

I love looking up and realizing that 36 years have passed without my really noticing because all the while we have been immersed in raising a family, in pursuing personal goals, in a sense, we have been immersed in our book of life.  Transporting ourselves along, bumpy roads notwithstanding, gliding over the smooth tarmac, crunching through graveled throughways - With God's Grace Always. Love has invented and reinvented us. I am so grateful for you, my wonderful life partner, for good health, and for family and friends.  We thank God for all the blessings. Thank you for a lovely birthday celebration. And I look forward to the journey continued following the clouds, visions on the horizon, life's auditorium awaits our becoming... "Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more." Hana. 

To Thine Own Self Be True

It is the most validating thing you can do. Do you ever feel out of balance? Like you’ve been running ragged, trying to live up to someone else’s vision for your life? Juggling roles throughout life – daughter, son, father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, team manager, coworker, boss, friend volunteer… You can get into alignment. Just like tires need alignment, you can align and get to living your life like it’s not a dress rehearsal. With some personal development work, you can find your lane, live life “on purpose.” In Beyoncé’s words: "Long live the king, you a king, you know it. King already, already, you know it. Mind, body, soul, got a king body." Just Go Ahead and align already. xoxox,

Creative Adventure: My Crafts Business

It is always like this: after you start something you discover you love, you ask yourself why did I not begin sooner? The crafts business that I launched in November, 2020, is sprouting and stretching.   It all began with a friend's request:  "You must do something with your penmanship!" That led to intentional conversations...and the universe was captivated!  God put me in the midst of people who want to create and install fresh ideas. Three months later, cross-pollination is occurring.  Like a bee, moving from flower to flower, trailing pollen, borrowing ideas to create new ones,  my imagination is profiting and my creativity is soaring.  And my writing is calling me! "...openness to experiences can sometimes be related to creativity.  After all, being creative requires doing something you have not done before.  If you are not willing to do something new, then it is hard to be creative." Read More .  I have decided I am not going to ask why did I not start soo

On Voice and Dissonance

Can you trust what you see in your mirror? Yesterday, I was prompted to reflect deeper on Who Hana Is and Why she does what she does - from the most unexpected source. I had sought the assistance of a personal branding consultant with the intention of executing on goals I have set for 2021. Maybe I knew that personal branding delves beyond beautiful selfies and orchestrated photo shoots but that knowledge was superficial.  Within five minutes of the virtual meeting, there was a disturbance in the atmosphere of my heart. The swelling in my chest gave way to emotions welled up for: 1) the chronically homesick twenty-something African girl who was forced to work as an au pair for a single boss lady mom of a precocious five year old in Englewood, NJ; 2) the thirty-something year old wife, mother and (finally) college graduate whose dreams were still on hold; 3) the forty-something year old pre menopausal with emotions hovering a few centimeters above or below reality; who took a year off t