Last year I went to Charleston, South Carolina. It was the first time I had visited the South in any meaningful way, and the first thing I said when people asked me about the trip was, "I have a whole new level of understanding about slavery" along with the Civil War and the current state of our country. (And yes, the food was great too!)

That may sound naive, but it was pretty profound coming from someone who had extensively studied, had personal experiences and done work in this area ever since I watched the TV series Roots as a kid . (You can read about some of my journey in the PGG All Roads: Same Place and how I come to understand white privilege in my PGG Carte Blanche ). There was something about being in the epicenter of the slave trade in our country, and visiting a plantation, that made me "get it" in a more visceral and broader sense. We still have a long way to go in reconciling this part of our past, but I'm happy to see that Juneteenth is being celebrated today in a more visible and official way than ever before.

One way that my passion for race relations and intercultural understanding manifested was creating The Women's Mosaic back in 2001 which offered ~100 programs over a ten year period to connect women to themselves, each other and the world around them. One of those events in February 2006 was My Life as a Black Woman , where we invited diverse African-American women to share their stories and have an honest dialogue about what it means to be them. You can read more about that event in our Inspirer Newsletter here.

Today's PGG was written in 2013, but the accompanying photo I added today is of Angel Oak, the 400-500 year old tree I visited when I was in Charleston, and thought was perfect to share with this essay. You can see a little video and description of this special tree in my Instagram post for some additional inspiration.

For the PGG Video of the week I talk about the importance of listening , which is what the Black community has been asking of us (i.e. through the "Share the Mic" campaign on Instagram). For this week's Instagram post you can read freed slave, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass' powerful words. As a bonus, if you're wondering what you can do to help usher in a better future , you can watch my answer to that question here . (Full recording of the talk here ).

As always, please feel free to contact me with any comments about anything I'm doing.
Big hug <3 Kristina

P.S. Need a little guidance and one-on-one support at this time? For info about working with me check out the website for my individual coaching services .
Also, since I have my first group Zoom talk under my belt and we haven't been able to meet IRL, I'll be offering virtual group coaching soon, so stay tuned for details!

And in case you missed these, you can read my PGG's that specifically address the current crisis: Quality Control: How to make the best of these times of quarantine and questioning, How to cope with (and benefit from) what you can't see during the time of corona , United We Stand . and Anatomy of Awareness . You can also check out The Pain of Being which talks about the George Floyd/BLM protests. Feel free to share those links (or any others) with anyone who could benefit <3
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" I love your PGG newsletters - one of the only ones I actually read in its entirety. They are excellently written, and spot on. Thanks for being so inspirational and reflective!" ~ Tom D .
Originally published February 13, 2013

With the release of films like Lincoln and Django Unchained , and BET’s bringing the acclaimed ‘70’s TV series Roots out of the vault, [and more recently 12 Years a Slave and Birth of a Nation ] , there’s been a spotlight on and discussion about this essential part of our nation’s history both on screen and off.

Whether or not you are a direct descendant of someone who lived or worked on a plantation in the 19th century, all of us in the 21st century, no matter who or where we came from, can check in to see which areas of our lives need to be emancipated from the tyranny of whatever is keeping us down, holding us back and making us feel “less-than” in both subtle and overt ways.

Oprah expressed it perfectly when she called slavery “A machine to create inferiority.” You can only imagine what amazing strength, utter self-belief and profound self-worth was required to break out of that mentality, to really know who you are and be able to simply exist, let alone thrive , despite others perceiving you and often treating you in, well, let’s just say a most unfavorable way. What it would take to preserve and protect your self, your spirit and your soul under such circumstances is beyond comprehension.

We certainly continue to struggle in a variety of ways with the legacy and repercussions of slavery in terms of race, while at the same time have come very far. But regardless of the color of our skin, there are more inconspicuous ways that we are judged — much of which has to do with what we think of ourselves when we look in the mirror, are alone with our thoughts, and by the choices we make in every area of our lives.

The foundation of who we are reaches far and wide throughout our work, relationships, health and everyday life , so the stronger and deeper your tree grows, the more you can weather even a storm like Sandy. Yes, you might lose a few branches along the way, but you won’t be knocked out for good! So take some time this month to connect to the root of who you are, using this last part of of the [summer] to develop, heal and love yourself so you can blossom more fully come [Fall].

You might have some family roots to dig up or some grass roots to build up in the process, but the bottom line is that if you look at any problem, challenge or change you want to make and trace it back to its ultimate root — if you’re honest with yourself — will find that the buck stops with you. Remember, this is always good news — because that means you can do something about it.

Having a little trouble connecting all the literal and metaphorical genealogical dots of your career and life? Give me a buzz, and I will help you get to the root the matter , so just like Alex Haley searching for Kunta Kinte in Africa you can shout, “I found you!”

Looking for some quality content while social distancing?
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to my YouTube channel :)

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If you like what I write, you'll love what I have to say in person!

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If you're looking for some compassionate candor and a dose of tough love, Kristina is the coach for you.... I came into this really lacking clarity and walked away with a sense of relief. Can't recommend her enough. ~ Kevin R.

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Now is a great time to use this pause to take stock of your career and life so contact me to schedule your session today!


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