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Episode 9 Anna Msowoya Keys, Humanitarian Entrepreneur

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Release Date: 02/19/2018

Episode 242 Nugget show art Episode 242 Nugget

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

This week I feature my new best friend, who takes slowing down to a whole new level. While visiting our dear friends Hilary and Carlo in their Massachusetts cabin in the woods, I bonded with their sweet pet bird, Nugget. Nugget, is an orange breasted wax bill, a tiny, precious bird in the finch family. Nugget is teeny, weighs 7 grams and is just over 2 inches long. This adorable 2 inch finch reminds me that there is nothing more important than the present moment. And when Nugget rests on my finger or wrist, I can’t help but drop into full presence.   These winter days are a great...

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Episode 241 Slow Down show art Episode 241 Slow Down

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

On this week’s episode, I reflect on some of those helpful reminders to slow down. The narrow spout of my electric tea kettle provides an opportunity to slow down, even when I don’t think I need to.  As the water slowly, gently pours from this thinly curved neck, I relax and smile. Be present…breathe…slow is good…focus on gratitude… all is well. May we honor the internal and external reminders to slow down. May we be nourished and replenished as we slow down. May slowing down help us delight in being more present, more tuned in to ourselves and all the richness of life...

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Episode 240 MLK: A Day On, Not a Day Off show art Episode 240 MLK: A Day On, Not a Day Off

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Today marks the national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr., a day to acknowledge and honor MLK’s birthday and legacy. The mottos for MLK day are: “Remember, Celebrate and Act” and “A Day On, Not a Day Off”. I care about living into those mottos. How am I not only remembering and celebrating MLK, but taking action that honors him? How do I not simply treat this day as a day off, but a day on, where l focus on King’s wisdom, courage and inspiration? How do I integrate what King stood for, not just today, but throughout my life? So whether you are attending a MLK celebration,...

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Episode 239 Heart Yearning show art Episode 239 Heart Yearning

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

On this week’s episode I offer two prompts that help us reflect on last year and tune into the coming year. They are more heart-centered than the typical setting of resolutions and goals.  It’s a mindful way to start off the new year in these early weeks of January. I invite you to reflect on what you were proud of in 2022 and then explore what you are yearning for in 2023.  After focusing on the these two prompts, I saw an IG post from Suleika Jaouad who authored these prompts plus 3 additional questions that might be helpful to reflect on as well. Whether you ponder the...

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Episode 238 Reflections of 2022 show art Episode 238 Reflections of 2022

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

On this week’s episode, as we start off 2023, I acknowledge our 5 year milestone and reflect on this past year. We launched the podcast in January 2018, so here’s to completing 5 years of Enlighten! January 2023 marks the beginning of our Podcast’s 6th year! We had a total of 9 guests in 2022, 3 re-released previous guests, paid tribute to 2 people who died last winter, and shared over 30 brief personal stories or guided meditations.  I know many of my listeners join me in seeking to be spiritually connected, grounded and centered, in the face of life’s challenges. The desire to...

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Episode 237 Graced show art Episode 237 Graced

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

On this week’s episode, I  reflect on GRACE - the word, it’s multiple meanings and the energy of GRACE. The concept of Divine Grace means that we are loved for who we are, as we are, not from our actions or efforts to prove ourselves worthy. Whether we are describing the fluidity, flow and effortlessness grace of a dancer, or the pause to give thanks, or the courteous goodwill of taking responsibility for one’s behavior or granting special favor by extending a grace period, or the ultimate gift of unconditional love, grace is thankfully woven into our lives. May we be graced by...

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Episode 236 Owl Wisdom show art Episode 236 Owl Wisdom

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

On this week’s episode I share my fascination with owls, a recent up close and personal experience with owls and highlights of what owls can teach us. Owls ground me, quiet me, remind me to slow down, be still and listen to the my own inner wisdom. According to Ted Andrews, "Owls represent the Mystery of Magic, Omens, Silent Wisdom, and Vision in the Night. No bird has as much myth and mystery surrounding it than the owl. The owl is the symbol of the feminine, the moon, and the night. It has been believed to have great healing powers both in North America and on other continents. The owl is...

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Episode 235 Myles Aronowitz, photographer & filmmaker show art Episode 235 Myles Aronowitz, photographer & filmmaker

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Myles Aronowitz. Myles is an extraordinary photographer, filmmaker, animator and artist. From his unusual childhood surrounded by music legends, to making movies in NYC’s East Village at age 11, to a successful career as a photographer for film and television, Myles respectfully allows whoever and whatever he is filming to reveal its true nature. He has honed the gracious skill of being a ‘fly on the wall’ to capture the wonderment in humanity and nature. He tells visual stories that invoke transformation in the story and the viewer. Myles treasures collaboration, his...

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Episode 234 Gratitude with Patrick Heffernan show art Episode 234 Gratitude with Patrick Heffernan

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

Fitting for the week following Thanksgiving, this week’s episode is a conversation about gratitude. In whatever way you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you can tap into a list of what you are grateful for on a regular basis. I am part of a wonderful yoga community called Journey to the Peak (we use the initials JTTP). The co-founders of JTTP, Shawna Emerick and Patrick Heffernan, both have been guests on my podcast and are treasured friends. They recently started recording conversations with members from our JTTP community focusing on the theme for the month. I was delighted to be invited...

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Episode 233 Lydia Ignacio, Holistic Therapist and Coach show art Episode 233 Lydia Ignacio, Holistic Therapist and Coach

Enlighten: Uplift & Inspire

My guest today is Lydia Ignacio, a holistic therapist and coach, who is on a mission to awaken, heal and inspire humanity to reach higher heights. She integrates intuitive, energetic healing modalities and cares deeply about the health and vitality of her community. Lydia calls herself a transformational ascension coach. The concept of ascension, is both personal and metaphorical, with Lydia’s roots in the northern tip of Manhattan - Washington Heights. It’s fitting that the name of Lydia’s business is “Reaching Heights, LLC” helping people reach higher heights and bringing her...

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For February's Black History Month we are featuring 4 amazing African-American women. This week's guest is Anna Msowoya Keys, a humanitarian entrepreneur and community organizer. She began her career as an advocate for women and children in African conflict areas, first through Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and then with International Refugee Committee (IRC), that took her to Burundi, Rwanda, Mozambique and Malawi. She witnessed the heart-wrenching turmoil and crisis during the genocide in Rwanda. 

She eventually dated her best friend and colleague at IRC, John Keys, who later became her beloved husband. After Anna and John married, Anna left her African homeland and moved to the United States - something she had not imagined she would ever do. Anna opened the unique shop Chibekeni, in her new community of Nyack, NY, which showcased beautiful handmade works from African artisans. The shop helped Anna bridge her African roots with her new American home. Chibekini allowed Anna to raise funds for her home country Malawi, as the AIDS epidemic wiped out a whole generation of young parents, leaving thousands of children orphaned. Four of Anna’s sisters died of AIDS, compelling Anna and John to take financial responsibility for the education of 10 of her nieces and nephews.

Anna shares the story of attending her fourth sister’s funeral, where many children she didn’t know arrived. She discovered that these children were orphans and showed up because they were starving and they knew there would be food at a funeral. That inspired the beginning of Maloto, a non-profit, community based organization that started out feeding a meal to 20 children once a week, and now feeds 350 children a warm, nutritious meal 3 times a week. Maloto has expanded to include after-school programs, an early childhood class, a primary school and an international secondary academy. Having just celebrated its 10 year anniversary, Maloto’s mission is to feed, educate and empower the children and women of Malawi.   

Anna expresses her deep gratitude for the support of her Nyack community, as well as people like the NBC broadcaster Tom Brokaw and his wife Meredith Brokaw, who have served on her board of directors and devoted time, resources and love to support Anna’s vision.

Links:

www.maloto.org

Kwithu CBO

Mzuzu International Academy

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

NBC Today Show Feature: Maloto's Kwithu Kitchen in Malawi

NYTimes Magazine “Portraits of Reconciliation: Rwanda 20 Years Later”