?Good afternoon my Gorgeous Starlights! It’s beautiful outside! The sun is flirting with us, but the crisp air still tells us it’s still winter…? Grab some warmth from Jasmine tea and pour into you a heart of grace, a mindset of joy, and an attitude of glee.

?Find a peaceful place for a stroll, let your mind wonder, and allow tranquility to be inhaled while you dream. Release the tension from your shoulders, neck, and back. Let your arms move with your body gracefully. Breathe. Walking aimlessly along a path allows you to unburden the tension, stress, and anxiety held so tightly inside of the body. You don’t realize how tense your muscles are when you walk, sit, and use a computer. Meditation is for letting go, finding mantras to focus on that offer relief, an outlet, and a place of solace. Practice habits that give your body optimum positivity in the midst of stress, frustration, and confusion. Changing habits in a pandemic is not easy, but essential to ward off mental exhaustion, physical fatigue, and weakened spiritual resiliency. We all need to fill our vessels with self-love, joy, happiness, energy, light, and love… Finding ways to do this in the midst of a crisis is challenging. Serving others, however, helps individuals grow their glow while our vessels overflow like uncontrollable fountains…⛲️

?The culture and climate of our nation has been under major transition. With any type of change comes chaos. Change is good but not everyone embraces it with joy. In any organization there is always resistance to change even if it results in positive outcomes. Transition yields an increased learning to advance skill development, new ways of knowing, and potential upward movement. It means personal and professional growth, mental and emotional expansion, flexibility, a reshaping of personal boundaries, and moving outside our comfort zones. These can seem like uncomfortable tasks for many who cling like glad wrap to the old and familiar ways of knowing and doing.

✈️But, change is movement. It’s opening our minds to possibilities for solutions. It’s gleaning new knowledge in order to aspire to a higher calling whether in advancing resolutions for environmental climate crisis, new COVID-19 vaccines, creating social justice on our nation’s poverty, education disparity, racism, discrimination, immigration policies, etc.  Lynn Williams cites in her article, “Lockdown has Led to Positive Change for Some People. Here’s Why,”

  • 83% of people reported feeling positive about the lockdown
  • 65% enjoyed being able to spend more time outdoors
  • Extra time to spend on more fun and pleasurable activities and less daily demanding commitments have given people a better quality of life
  • Groups or individuals not benefiting from the lockdown were older adults or those living alone.
  • 50% of those reporting positive outcomes were able to continue their pre-lockdown status after restrictions were removed.

The most robust post pandemic outcome of the study was that people became more aware of time, and how time had been taken for granted each day. They discovered time had been wasted by car travel, running errands, and for the mere fact of staying busy, as if busyness was expected of them in their pre-pandemic life.

We have been trained in society that faster is better, patience is of virtue, timeliness is next to Godliness, and a work well done is never done and is expected to be done 24/7. Many of us were taught that sitting down, reading a book, enjoying ourselves in some format is bad and is, in fact, against societal norms. In truth, it is NOT! Relaxing, reading, scrap booking, journaling, gardening, walking, or whatever fun activity that takes time out of your day and brings joy to your soul is called positivity, meditation, optimism. These are the mental, emotional, and physical pieces of stardust that expand your happy hormones, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins so you feel pleasurable sensations when engaged doing something you enjoy. So when the isolation wears off and getting reconnected is plugged back in, don’t forget to slow down and carve “play” time in your day for you. If you aren’t fully optimal, no one else can get you there but YOU!

?In keeping an optimum outlook, how do we rise with grace and move forward in the face of so much resistance? The anger, frustration, rage, desperation, and exhaustion cannot be overstated. The blending of tragic events during the pandemic have been harmful to our mental, emotional and physical well being. Even regarding to wear or not to wear a face mask is so conflicting. Health experts tell us to hang on and governors tell us to carry on as if Covid19 has disappeared. Whatever YOU decide for yourself, ensure you realize you are the one who gets the fall out from the virus, not those who directed you to play Russian Roulette with your life. You can’t buy your health so think wisely before showing up without a mask in close proximity to someone you don’t know. No one wins with COVID19. Be Smart, Be Safe.

?People are tired, sick, broke, and want some sense of normalcy back in their lives. Normal… is a setting on a washing machine. How does a society truly define normal after a pandemic? Will we ever get balance, harmony, decency, respect, dignity, and love back as the norm in our society or was that a false superficial perception of whiteness? Hidden just beneath the surface was the anger, devisiveness, hate, racism, and discrimination that have been churning over centuries like the air we breathe. Not everyone understands this philosophy about our nation, but as a woman, I know full well the impact of gender bias, discrimination, sexual harassment, oppression, and inequities in trying to just climb a career ladder meant for men, let alone try to get educated for it. Abuse, oppression, racism, discrimination, sexism, and inequities have been part of the infrastructure of our nation since forever.

“It was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male citizens, but we, the whole people, who formed this Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people-women as well as men.”-Susan B. Anthony (ELIZABETH CADY STANTON, 2 HISTORY OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE: 1861-1876, at 632 (AmoPress ed., 1969) (1881).

“Under the common law of both England and the United States, a married woman enjoyed a legal status only slightly better than that of a slave. Until the mid-nineteenth century, in no state could a married American woman own property, make a will, inherit, sue or be sued, enter into a contract, or exercise any other of her most basic civil rights. Even single and widowed women, many of whom owned large amounts of property, were deprived of political rights: they could not vote, hold office, or sit on a jury. The gradual dissolution of women’s inferior legal status began with the passage of married women’s property laws, beginning before the Civil War and continuing throughout the twentieth century.

In an even more brutal fashion, the institution of slavery stripped Black Americans of all their human, civil, political, and social rights.’ In Dred Scott vs. Sanford the Supreme Court determined that, even if Blacks were “free,”they were not “citizens” of the United States. This Supreme Court ruling was superseded by the passage of the Thirteenth and the Fourteenth Amendments in 1865 and 1868 respectively, in which Congress emancipated Blacks, expressly granted them citizenship status, and sought to protect their civil rights.” (U.S. Reports: Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1856).~By Sandra L. Rierson

⛓Mental and emotional abuse are just as invisible as physical abuse when covered by clothing, sunglasses, makeup, or death. These social injustices erupted like raging volcanoes as people endured these oppressive tortures for years and still do today by organizations who believe they are superior to people of color, gender, race, and ethnicity. Abuse eats away at the soul of our nation. It breaks our mental capacity for thinking justly, and darkens the purity in our souls. Abuse removes our human dignity, our human rights, our basic freedoms and brings us to our knees. We are a hurting and broken nation of pain, suffering, and injustice. But, like air…we WILL rise.

?Those who choose to be blinded by the tragedies of the past will not choose light over darkness because their mindsets have been negatively altered. Their fears of people who look, sound, live, believe, and behave differently than them is greater than the sum of their parts. FEAR alone ignites confusion, uncertainty, paralysis in judgement, and a follower-ship mentality. These individuals have lost their strong code of ethics and morals. They are no longer grounded in self-love, self-confidence, self-esteem, and justice, so are more willing to lean into leaders of narcissists or bullies who can easily prey on them to become followers. Those brainwashed by narcissists will be used to insight deceitful actions of lies, falsehoods, using gaslighting, and condescending behaviors as if by doing so their aggressions will be pardoned. They will not.

✨Those who believe in change, positivity, and the good-will of all mankind will choose light over darkness because it offers a transformation of grace, mercy, light, and love. These are the dreamers, the change agents, the ones with imaginations who carry the crown of jewels adorned on their heads. These individuals will challenge us to our highest potential. They will find ways to offer opportunities that seek unity, fairness, equity, and justice for all people. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if we choose to work toward a common goal. We must choose to be united for a common purpose to reach a higher potential outside of ourselves. Instead of me, it must be ME TOO! Change starts with ME and YOU…?

⚡️I do know that rising under pressure in a mental health crisis requires a mindset of courage, light, and the superpowers it emobies… Even I have moments when I am fogged under because of the stress and gloom. In these moments, it is only by digging deep to connect with the God spark that helps mitigate the darkness to find my shine. I am grateful He carries me until I am strong enough to carry on my own.

Choosing to rise out of oppression, abuse, trauma, PTSD, depression and addiction are willful acts of power and positivity. The mind is a superpower that can either glorify you with magnificence of brilliance or it can imprison you, own you and even destroy you if you let it. The dark side robs you of valor in the face of danger. It paralyzes you with fear. In fact, the mind’s cognitive processing can be altered severely if pathways have been broken, shaken, inebriated, addicted, or brainwashed by those who oppress, abuse, and control you in toxic environments. This happens when any person or institution strips you of your independence and your identity by removing you from your comfort zone, takes away your passport, driver’s license, and voice denying any choices that protect your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. They will inhibit your travels, block your friends, and deny you of health care and financial needs, etc. This is oppression and control at its apex to squash the light from within you until you break. Their purpose is to mold you into a mirror image of the institution or so you become trapped as their slave. NEVER give your power away my Starlights!!✨”Coming out of the fire is just as important as how you walked through it…” K. Lees

?Mental, emotional, and domestic abuse has risen exponentially during 2020 due to Covid-19. The Kaiser Family Foundation shows an estimated 4 out of 10 adults having symptoms of depressive disorder and anxiety. This is up from January to June 2019 when it was 1 in 10 adults. Other signs that people’s mental health and well-being have been at a tipping point brought on by the stress and frustrations of the pandemic are the increased numbers in trouble sleeping (36%), eating (32%), substance abuse (12%), and chronic conditions (12%). As we continue to endure the pandemic, mental health problems will continue because of disconnect from family and friends, unemployment, and loneliness.

Also, in December of 2020, 35% of those with incomes less than $40,000 reported a higher increase in greater negative mental health in worry and stress due to the pandemic as compared to 21% of those with incomes of $40,000 to 89,000 and 17% of those having income over $90K.

Furthermore, women were more likely to report greater mental health issues than men during the pandemic. In fact, 47% of women presented a higher record of anxiety and major depressive disorder compared to 38% of men. It has also been more pronounced among communities of color, especially for Blacks and Hispanics. Additionally, women had the most highest reported job loss in America, where one in four left their jobs to stay home with the children, causing more stress and anxiety and identity loss.

“Access to mental health and substance use care was a concern prior to the pandemic. In 2018, among the 6.5

million non-elderly adults experiencing serious psychological distress, 44% reported seeing a mental health professional in the past year. Compared to adults without serious psychological distress, adults with serious psychological distress were more likely to be uninsured (20% vs 13%) and be unable to afford mental health care or counseling (21% vs 3%).*9 For people with insurance coverage, an increasingly common barrier to accessing mental health care is a lack of in-network options for mental health and substance use care. Those who are uninsured already face paying full price for these and other health services. As unemployment continues to affect millions of people, who in turn may lose job-based coverage, some may regain coverage through options such as Medicaid, COBRA, or the ACA Marketplace, but others may remain uninsured. With an unprecedented share of people reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, the potential outcome of California v. Texas (a case challenging the constitutionality of the entire ACA) is important to consider.” KFF analysis of the 2018 National Health Interview Survey.“ *9(Serious psychological distress” is based on the Kessler 6 distress scale)

There is a global mental health crisis and America is high on the list. Even essential care workers are at a tipping point in care giving due to the constant battle with COVID19 and the people who continue to enter their doors for help and assistance while not protecting themselves by CDC Guidelines. It’s a cyclical manifestation of mental rebellion, exhaustion, the desire for freedom and reconnection.

With mental health being detrimental to women, people of color, low income families, front line workers, those living alone, elderly, etc., we must realize the impact that abuse plays on children, in families, among partners, and with trafficking in the U.S. Child and domestic abuse is on the rise. After the pandemic, severe injury related accidents and other childhood accident experiences (ACE) causing children to be hospitalized increased due to child abuse. Sex trafficking is also having greater opportunity and access.

“Insisting that the coronavirus pandemic had made matters worse for victims, the Geneva-based committee said that countries had seen a global rise in “trafficking in cyberspace” in recent months. Online, demand has been channeled “through social media, dark web and messaging platforms” which provide easy access to potential victims, but hide the identity of the perpetrators, the committee said. The panel of UN-appointed independent rights experts also warned against the increased recruitment of vulnerable people by traffickers for online sexual exploitation, along with “an increased demand for child sexual abuse material and technology-facilitated child sex trafficking”. (UN News Nov 2020)

It seems that having to be in the same household day in and day out with children from schools, colleges, home-schooling, working from home, giving day care, and without breaks especially if there’s no spouse to support a one parent house hold is mind blowing. After Megan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview, I was not shocked nor surprised by their “institutional” oppression. After Princess Di’s horrific battle with her own mental health and well-being inside the prison walls, I could only surmise what it would be like for a woman of independence and Black no less of American upbringing to be stripped of her identity, class, position, control, and livelihood and be thrown into a den of wolves.

To help you make sense of a senseless mindset that more women than men must endure, I quote a paragraph from the U.S. National Library of Science that explains the pandemic’s paradox: the consequences of COVID 19 on domestic violence. Unless you have walked in somone’s shoes, you have no right to judge them…EVER!

“Let us start with staying at home. Home is not always a safe place to live; in fact, for adults and children living in situations of domestic and familial violence, home is often the space where physical, psychological and sexual abuse occurs. This is because home can be a place where dynamics of power can be distorted and subverted by those who abuse, often without scrutiny from anyone “outside” the couple, or the family unit. In the COVID‐19 crisis, the exhortation to “stay at home” therefore has major implications for those adults and children already living with someone who is abusive or controlling. Stringent restrictions on movement shut off avenues of escape, help‐seeking and ways of coping for victim–survivors. Restrictive measures are also likely to play into the hands of people who abuse through tactics of control, surveillance and coercion. This is partly because what goes in within people’s homes—and, critically, within their family and intimate relationships—take place “behind closed doors” and out of the view, in a literal sense, of other people. Unintentionally, lockdown measures may therefore grant people who abuse greater freedom to act without scrutiny or consequence. Social norms and attitudes that suggest there is a “sanctity” to family life—to home, in a social rather than physical sense—can also make it difficult for people to speak out about, let alone leave, abusive situations as a result of feelings of shame and embarrassment. During the COVID‐19 crisis, it is therefore important to think critically about idealised representations of home and family and to make it possible for people to talk about, and where possible take action to counter abusive and controlling family life. Asking people directly, on repeated occasions, about whether they consistently feel safe at home is one way of doing this; however, it is also important that people asking this question have the time and emotional resources to listen and respond to the often‐subtle ways that people indicate they are scared and unsafe.”

Finding local, state, and government resources is critical during a mental health crisis. If you need to talk to someone now or feel you might hurt yourself, you can get immediate help by calling the…

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) OR

TEXT: HOME to 741-741 the Crisis Text Line

There are also individual UNITED STATES Crisis Lines available that can be located HERE.

?As with all things my beautiful souls, self-love plays a huge role in believing in your self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem, and your perception of self. You set the standards and dictate how others treat you. You are worthy of dignity and respect and should expect nothing less. If others choose not to rise to your standards, do not lower yours for them. That is what healthy boundaries are for. Only those who want to lift you higher, who aspire you to your greatest potential, and who want to create synergy, imagination, and cosmic light. Those are the thrivers, the dreamers, the doers, the givers, and the ones who are the limitless believers…? They will empower you, expand your mind, create unimaginative opportunities, and touch the stars with you. Living in the Magic Zone is so much sweeter to glow into…☄️

?If you need a hand to hold or you are alone and need someone to talk to, please contact me and I will be happy to speak with you. We are coming very close to the end of the pandemic. Please stay strong, be patient, and carry on with safety practices. You all mean the world to me and I hope to see you on the other side….??✨

In Light and Love,?

Kimberly Lees, Ed.D. xo




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