This week between Christmas and New Year's Day has always felt urgent to me. A time to look back over the past year and assess the things I have accomplished and the lessons I have learned while simultaneously trying to prepare for the coming year. It is the week that some celebrate Kwanzaa, an African American holiday that consists of 7 days and 7 principles.
Over the past year, I have pondered the 7 principles of Kwanzaa and worked to incorporate them into my every day life. This year I want to share my take on the 7 principles and encourage others to find ways to live by them as well
Principle #1: UMOJA
The first day of Kwanzaa is Umoja which is Swahili for Unity and is described as striving for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
I believe striving for unity should start with one's self. Understanding the self, our motivations and intentions, helps us to connect with our families making them stronger. So many of us are busy with careers and financial worries, or trying to move past hurtful and traumatic experiences that we are not living in the present and experiencing life as it happens. Seeking to be one with self and our spiritual being will help us to be better wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties and friends. (Same for my male readers, you will be better husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles and friends.) A therapist is a great addition support for doing the important work of self discovery.
Because there is strength in unity, we strive to be on one accord in our families and communities at home and abroad. Like the analogy of the fingers versus the fist. An individual finger can make an impact, but together the fingers form a fist that can strike a mighty blow.
As we move into 2024, discover your own strengths by collaborating with individuals who strive to uplift our communities, working together to open doors of opportunity for everyone. Gather together to share a meal, light candles, and exchange meaningful gifts. Reflect on the principle of Umoja and how it can be applied in your life throughout the year.
Let December 26 be the day you embark on your journey of self discovery and make unity a principle to strive for 365 days a year.