December 26th is the first day of Kwanzaa.
I love Kwanzaa…not necessarily for the traditions, but they are beautiful. I love that Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African but most importantly what it means to be human in the fullest sense. It reflects the best of positivite thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, and the well-being of family and community.
I like it.
In 2011 as we focus on doing good in the world let us use the principals of Kwanzaa to guide, direct, sustain and comfort us.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of the family, community and culture which first forms us, names, nurtures and sustains us, and teaches us upright and uplifting ways to understand and assert our-selves in the world. Our foundation, our rock, our source and our bond.Kwanzaa teaches and cultivates cultural grounding and principles and practices dedicated to the cooperative creation and sharing of good in the world.
We do not stand alone….not ever.
Kwanzaa gives us the Nguzo Saba, the seven principals. They serve as a necessary foundation and framework for grounding and guiding our relationships and community every day of the year.
Principal #1 Umoja (unity) calls on us to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race. We are urged to recognize and respect the foundation and nurturing framework of family and community; the relatedness and interdependence of the peoples of the world; and a profound sense of oneness in and with the world.
Principal #2 Kujichagulia (self-determination), is a call to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves. It teaches us to define and understand ourselves by the good we do and bring in the world, and by the truth we speak, the justice we do, and the loving kindness, care and concern we show towards each other, others and the world.
Principal #3 Ujima (collective work and responsibility) calls on us, to build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together. This principle teaches us the shared responsibility to work and build the good family, community, society and world. It takes a mindful village to prosper and it is a joy and blessing for each of us to participate .
We do not stand alone.
Principal #4 Ujamaa (cooperative economics) urges us to build and maintain our stores, shops and other business and to profit from them together. This principle teaches us an ethics of shared work and shared wealth and calls on us to engage in economic practices that are constantly concerned about satisfying our needs without exploiting or injuring others and the world. Where and how you spend your money matters.
Principal #5 Nia (purpose) This principle calls us together in collective vocation and the practice of building and developing ourselves in our own interests as well as in the interests of the world, seeing greatness in the good we do and share in the world. We are the world. As we go so goes the world. Hurt people hurt other people. Healed people help to heal other people. Its that simple.
We do not stand alone.
Principal #6 Kuumba (creativity) calls on us to do always as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. This principle teaches us a constant striving to make our community continuously better and more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited, but also and by extension, it speaks to our responsibility for using our creative gifts to help repair, renew and rebuild the world.
Principal #7 Imani (faith) tells to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory our struggle. It is a collective struggle. We stand side by side. So, believe.Believe that love will win over hate and prejudice. Believe in the transformative power of service. Believe in the power of your source to sustain you. Speak this truth to power.
In 2011 I will focus on FREEDOM. Freedom from fear, shame and guilt.Freedom from the emotional and physical chains that bind me and hold me back. I ask that you join me in using these principals as the foundation for your days and the life you design for yourself.
William Ward once said, The more generous we are, the more joyous we become. The more cooperative we are, the more valuable we become. The more enthusiastic we are, the more productive we become. The more serving we are, the more prosperous we become.
We can become more.
I wish you all a year filled with joy, value, productivity, prosperity…and love.
Always with love.