Keeping Mind, Body & Together: Centering Down and Finding the Real You

By Davis, Kimberly | Ebony, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Keeping Mind, Body & Together: Centering Down and Finding the Real You


Davis, Kimberly, Ebony


Think about it. When was the last time that you focused on yourself? When did you last take a ment to do a wellness check of your mind, body and spirit?

If you're like the millions of women who are on the go--grabbing for the brass ring, focusing on the family or trying to shatter that glass ceiling--it's past time for you to take a step back and concentrate on finding the real you.

Those who've mastered the mind-body-spirit connection say that it's essential, particularly in today's stressful society, to take care of yourself. Black women can have it all, experts say, with a bit of planning, pacing and putting self first every once in a while. (Men should take heed as well.)

"What happens, for Black women in particular, is that we get somewhat dislocated when dealing with the everyday stressors of life--spiritual, physical and social" says Sigrid Kennebrew, a licensed psychologist and president of Diverse Counseling & Psychological Associates in Atlanta. "We become fragmented and it affects our states of mind to the point that our lives can't be in harmony."

One solution, says Kennebrew, who holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Georgia, is to focus on spending time with yourself, either in meditation or in prayer--no TV, personal digital assistant or cell phone-every day.

That's a practice that Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie of Baltimore maintains. She became the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2000, and somehow balances her husband and children with a demanding professional life.

McKenzie says that too often people don't admit that they can't do it all and have it all at the same time. The hectic pace we set for our lives builds up an almost unbearable pressure and "creates a kind of pain" within us that is difficult to heal without a real commitment to living differently. She suggests focusing on what you can do and what you can't do in order to maintain your personal boundaries.

"For me, personally, I'm able to maintain a balance because of my spiritual life. I practice a daily sabbatical, where I pull away emotionally and mentally, in prayer and quiet time, so that not only can I share God, but I can also hear myself think," says McKenzie, author of Journey to the Well: 12 Lessons to Personal Transformation. "It's during this daily sabbatical that I have an opportunity to prioritize, by taking a look at what I need to do and what things I need to delegate to others."

Another way to keep mind, body and spirit together is through relationships, says Chicagoan Winifred Scott. An organizational consultant with a doctorate in philosophy, Dr. Scott says that her friends and family are key pieces in the puzzle of her life. Without them, she says she could not achieve the balance that is so necessary for her well-being.

She meditates and prays daily and occasionally visits the spa. …

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