8 Books & Podcasts Focused On Healing
A couple of years ago, I had significant breakthrough in so many areas of my life. At first, it felt overwhelming to process so much guilt, shame, blame, resentment, and anger. There was so much digging I had to do to understand my journey — let alone accept areas in my life that I felt deprived of and to see the lessons in it regardless. It was a rude awakening to see all the things I was carrying for years emotionally and mentally, and I never thought it was necessary to pause and find tools to work through a lot of my issues. However, this transformative experience made me hungry for healing.
From books, to podcasts and TED Talks targeting healing, being more intentional in therapy regarding the areas I knew needed more love, meditation, interactive workbooks on healing, journaling, and having more in-depth conversations with friends and my partner at the time about the patterns I wanted to change. My fresh awareness planted a seed that made me inclined to do the work. I said, "God, I know you didn't call me to see myself so clearly for no reason, reveal what I need to see to push me to do the work needed to live a more intentional and less emotionally heavy life." And thankfully, he answered my prayer request, he knew I'd work through the adversary no matter how difficult things got, and he provided me with just the right tools and people to guide me to new emotionally mature heights at the right time.
Every individual has a unique journey on this planet, but one thing we all go through is trauma, and the advantage we have in this generation is having access and an overload of information to healing! So whether you need to work on your boundaries, trauma bonds, codependent relationships, enmeshed relationships, emotional intelligence, inner child healing, self-awareness, and the list goes on, I got you!
Check out the list below regarding the most instrumental books and podcasts that have helped me work through healing in many areas of my life.
On Purpose Podcast by Jay Shetty
On Purpose Podcast
The first time I witnessed Jay Shetty's wisdom was on Red Table Talk, an episode in season two called "The Roadblocks Between You and Love", and I was exceedingly impressed. Shetty has such a unique experience, born and raised in London, U.K., from a high expectation South Asian family, and yet he became a monk at age 22 and retired that lifestyle around 25. The level of discipline and willingness to unlearn consistently being a monk is a scholar's mindset, but it's even more courageous that he transformed his experience to a universal lens of healing in every aspect of life.
His podcast On Purpose, started in 2019 and is the number one podcast globally in the wellness market. Shetty covers topics consisting of pragmatic steps on unlearning unhealthy habits, skills to raise your self-awareness, tips for combating imposter syndrome, coping with anxiety and depression, and my favorite is his stellar relationship advice. We can all benefit from his wisdom, stemming from his monk analogies to modern-day tools to cultivate a healthier and balanced you! Also, check out his profound book called Think Like a Monk, which provides interactive questions to dive deeper into self-work in every chapter. His podcast is available on all major streaming services!
'After the Rain' by Alexandra Elle
Alexandra Elle, aka Alex Elle, is an author of four self-help books, host of The Hey Girl podcast, and speaker. All I have to say is,After the Rainwas life-changing. It was one of the most gentle, compassionate, introspective, and accountable self-help books I've read thus far. One of my biggest takeaways from this read was the gentleness I needed to implement working through my inner child healing. Before I was able to tackle the areas I felt deprived of throughout my childhood, I had to get to the bottom of working through playing back uncomfortable memories filled with tears and despair to understand how I can nurture areas that still need tending to.
I held on to Alex's tender affirmations. I wrote my heart out throughout every journal prompt question at the end of each chapter that highlighted areas she focused on working through regarding identity, validation, love, soothing in suffering, change, and becoming. Alex opened me up to acceptance, and compassionate accountability that I think will come in handy to all of us going through this roller coaster journey called life.
The Homecoming Podcast with Dr.Thema
The Homecoming Podcast
The Homecoming Podcast is a mental health podcast hosted by a licensed psychologist and ordained minister Dr. Thema Bryant. I enjoy Dr. Thema's approach with consistent episodes highlighting combating unhealthy patterns like becoming more emotionally available, unhealthy attention-seeking, increasing accountability, being open to feedback, commitment issues, etc. In many ways, she equips me to heighten my therapeutic self-soothing lens; she makes me feel like I have autonomy over my life while quoting scripture from time to time which I'm very appreciative of.
If you're open to changing unhealthy patterns and you're a Christian, this is an excellent start for you to understand how God-equipped professionals like Dr. Thema can give you the tools to be open to psychological transformation. Her podcast is available on all major streaming platforms!
'Clarity & Connection' by Yung Pueblo
I came across Yung Pueblo's self-awareness work through his Instagram page, and then I stumbled into hearing him being interviewed on an episode of Devi Brown's podcast called "getting closer to home." And your girl was hooked to his work ever since! Pueblo is the author of two self-help books, Clarity & Connection and Inward; he's also a meditator and speaker. Clarity & Connection took my mind to new heights regarding emotional intelligence, and as a very emotionally open person, I was pleased to see yet another man of color tapping into this level of vulnerability.
His words shifted my mind to turn more inward to understand my patterns and remind me that no one can fill my cup up like myself, and loving people without attachments is healthy for both parties. People flourish the most without being consistently judged or expected to be perfect when we're all flawed in our own ways. Pueblo didn't hesitate to dive into the depths of the subconscious mind, amplifying self-awareness to its fullest depths, exploring attachment styles, soothing our souls with being open to letting go what isn't for us and letting in what's for us. Pueblo's approach is an unusual way of analyzing emotions; he has a logical perspective on the depths of the most troubling yet fulfilling emotions we all experience.
Side Grace by Aliyah Grace Dean
Side Grace Podcast
The Side Grace podcast is hosted by Aliyah Grace Dean, podcaster, master's student of clientele mental health, powerlifter, and overall a beautiful soul speaking to the gen-Z market that's interested in working through healing. Dean walks listeners through childhood trauma, working through the loss of a family member and how it's changed her life, exploring different types of anxiety, tips on finding a therapist that fits you, and providing guidance for re-parenting yourself.
I love hearing her perspective because it speaks to my intersectional walk of being a first-generation Afro-Caribbean. She does in-depth research regarding our experiences, which is usually not amplified singularly. Each of her episodes is delivered with love yet assertiveness. She equips her listeners with tools to dive deeper into journaling intentionally, meditation, and validating their need to slow down to tend to their wounds because they aren't going to tend to themselves.
'The Language of Emotions' by Karla McLaren
The Language of Emotions is basically the encyclopedia to building emotional intelligence and emotional awareness. Karla McLaren is an empath researcher and takes readers through her life journey of researching the depths of understanding emotions. She goes in-depth about the significance of embracing your emotions, let alone understanding the underlying things they are trying to tell you. I'm really enjoying reading this book because I was often told as a child that I was "too sensitive, or too emotional," and this book normalizes being an emotionally open person.
More than anything, it's teaching me how to regulate my emotions and not let them consume me. If you're someone curious about the depths of your feelings or working through increasing your emotional availability, this book is for you.
Dropping Gems with Devi Brown Podcast
Dropping Gems with Devi Brown
Dropping Gems is hosted by Devi Brown, former radio personality, Chief Impact Officer at Chopra Global, meditator, and educator. Brown does a remarkable job taking us through walking through soul bonds featuring Yvonne Orji, learning the importance of being present, and planting intentional seeds with Charlamagne the God. I love listening to her podcast because she has a mind full of no limits regarding expanding, building her emotional and mental awareness. She speaks to the experience of Black women processing grief and the importance of getting more acquitted with understanding your emotions versus suppressing them. Dropping Gems is available on all major platforms.
'Set Boundaries, Find Peace' by Nedra Glover Tawwab
Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab was a significant game-changer for me because I've been working through emotional turmoil in many areas of my life, and I just got to the point where I'm tired of the cycles, so what better area to focus on than boundaries. Tawwab is a licensed Black therapist with over 14 years of experience, and every ounce of that expertise is shown in her book. She walks her readers through understanding the focal areas of boundaries, first for self-preservation and second to build healthier relationships in our lives.
Nedra's narrative is fixated on curating boundaries in every area of our lives, from relationships with yourself, family, friends, romantic relationships, work, and technology. She also goes through the adverse effects of codependent relationships, enmeshed relationships, and trauma bonds. After each chapter, she provides interactive questions to explore how to clarify boundaries in each area of your life. Understanding the importance of boundaries is essential to our healing journey; you can't combat unhealthy relational skills unless you're aware of them first. Get this book to learn that giving someone tools is all you can and should do, and allow others to do the actual work. Change only sustains itself when you do it for yourself, not for others. To all my fixers, this one's for you!
I hope some of the tools above equipped you with what you need to start or continue your healing journey. Be patient with yourself, and extend the grace you naturally give to others, to yourself. The only real change we can make in this life is being conscious, intentional, and empathetic individuals that are aware of our individual pain and not making it someone else's job to fix. Emotional intelligence doesn't have an ending; it's an ongoing commitment. The best scholars are always students.
Healing is not a destination; it's a journey you have to be willing to continuously work through — you never arrive, so don't get complacent.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Ajeé Buggam is a content writer and fashion designer from New York City and an alumna from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She specializes in writing about race, social injustice, relationships, feminism, entrepreneurship, and mental wellness. Check out her recent work at Notes To Self
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
A Cape Town Travel Guide: Black Girl Edition
If you haven’t been to Africa, this is your sign to go. My first time visiting the continent of Africa also happened to be my first time working on the continent of Africa. I worked there for a little over a month and did minimal research before I went. I was very well aware of the picture that America has painted of Africa since I was a child, so I wanted to go there without any additional preconceived notions, and I’m glad I did.
I learned so much, saw so much, and unlearned even more. Africa is rich in culture, views, traditions, and many more. In talking to the citizens there, it is clear that their love for the U.S. and the perception of who they think we are runs deep. However, their adoration for America was a hard pill to swallow for me sometimes because America/Americans are often looked at as the prize. While I can understand their viewpoint, I will respectfully have to disagree. That’s a story for a different day, but I will say that I am so thankful to have experienced Africa first-hand and that so many of my previous ideas and understandings were debunked.
Most people who’ve visited the motherland will talk highly about Ghana, Kenya, and Liberia (as they should). But Cape Town, South Africa, should be held to the same standard. From the food, the views, the activities, and most importantly, its citizens, Cape Town has fast become one of the most popular places to visit in Africa. If you need a good head start on where to go, this list of places below should give you a good head start.
Places to visit in Cape Town
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Bo Kaap – This beautiful residential neighborhood in Cape Town has quickly become an Instagramable favorite for many tourists visiting the capital city. Many people enjoy taking pictures in this neighborhood because the homes are so colorful and vibrant. Visitors are also welcome to tour Bo Kaap and learn about the neighborhood and its history.
Aquila Private Game Reserve – What’s a visit to Africa without touring one of their most notable safari’s? Aquila Private Game Reserve is also where they house “The Big 5;” elephants, lions, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. This location also offers horseback riding, among other festivities.
Quad Biking – ATV’ing is one thing in the States, but in South Africa, it’s a whole other experience.
Newlands Forest – If you’re looking for a good walking/biking trail or for some good views, Newlands Forest is a must-stop. If you’re driving, just be careful. The street entryway is right off the street and can get a little dangerous if you’re not careful.
Kloof Street – Kloof Street is a popular street in Cape Town. It’s full of various restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and so much more!
Soi Bar – A personal favorite of mine, Soi Bar is a semi-new bar spot infused with various Asian dishes. If nothing else, you must try their creative drinks. Be sure to ask for the drink they offer on the hidden menu. Included with the drink is a security escort.
Green Street Market - talk about supporting Black businesses. Be sure to stop by Green Street Market to find the latest jewels, hand-stitched fabrics, and more! Cause what’s a trip without souvenirs?
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
Chapmans Peak - Be sure to take your time and drive slowly as you’re en route to Chapmans Peak. Also, note that it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Table Mountain – You’ve not been to Cape Town if you haven’t visited Table Mountain. For all my SpongeBob Squarepants fans, you’ll also be able to learn a little back story about The Flying Dutchman. Most, if not all, people who’ve gone will tell you to take the cable car up the mountain. One, it’s a five-minute glide-up, and the view is worth it. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike up the mountain. And I mean hike! Depending on where you start, hiking up the mountain will take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours up, and be sure to release your inner Meg knees for that walk down. It’s the hardest part!
Canal Walk Shopping Center - If you’re looking for more urban or modern attire, then head on over to one of, if not the biggest mall in Cape Town, which is located at Canal Walk shopping center. It’s even got a grocery store inside.
Banana Jam Cafe – As for late-night festivities or if you and some friends just want to wind down for some drinks and good food, Banana Jam Cafe is a great place to start. It’s a nice Caribbean vibe. They brew their own beer, and the music is just right. You won’t be disappointed!
Boulders Beach – I’ve heard of horses at the beach, maybe even pigs, but have you ever seen penguins on the beach? You will at Boulders Beach!
Whether you’re traveling solo or with some friends, you’ll get bonus points if you know some phrases and words to help you along your journey. Here are a few words and phrases that I picked up while in Cape Town:
Photo courtesy of Chivone Smith
- Kushushu (Koo-Shu-Shu)- Hot
- Iza (E-za) - Come
- Izapha (E-za-puh) - Come here
- Imma (Ee-ma) - Wait
- Bamba (Bam-Buh) - Hold
- Tata (Tah-Tah) - Carry or take
- Langa (Lan-guh) - Sun
- Amanzi (Uh-man-zi) - Water
- Puza (Pu-zah) - Drink
- Ewe (Eh-wei)– Yes
- Hamba (Ham-ba)/ Vaya (Vi-ya) – Go
- Ke Sharp (Ke-Shap) – It’s good
- Ndilambile (Dee-lam-bee-leh) – I’m hungry
- Lala (La-la) - Sleep
- Mzanzi (Mm-Zan-zee) – South Africa
- A con (A-con) - Air conditioner
- Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you
- Chomey (Cho-me)/Mikey (Mikey) - Friend
- Baie (Bai) Dankie (Dan-kee) - Thank you very much
- Cheers – Goodbye
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Feature image courtesy of Chivone Smith