Creating a Success Circle through Shenu Yoga

The Khametic word for success is neferet. It also means good; beautiful.

Life brings us all a series of challenges. Some of us experience trauma, setbacks, and disappointments more than others.

The Khametic proverb, "Pekharit pu ankh / The Circle is Life," speaks to the energy patterns of life, their correlating lessons, the repetition of patterns in order to "get" the lessons, and the karma we create. I have met people who were nearly identical twins to folks I discarded or avoided in the past. Same face, same energy, same drama. Most often for me, it means I have unfinished karmic lessons. What do I need to learn about myself through this person? Did I handle the circumstances in the best way? Did I take the coward's path in avoidance, and am I strong enough to assertively face the situation now? Have I grown into clarity, or am I stuck in the mud? The greatest question is usually, "How did this person get here in the first place?"

Whenever I've relaxed my standards and intution, the wrong people entered my life. As a Piscean, I tend to have more tolerance than most. I do have my limits though, and when I've had it, I've had it. Then I'd find myself having to figure out how to get rid of each disreputable person that didn't appreciate or respect me, or assumed I was a patsy.

I've had to work hard to rebuild my circle of friends and associates. How did I do that? I remembered the saying, " Water seeks its own level." All of the folks who have flowed into my life who maintained the same ethics, who worked hard to better themselves, who were high achievers, who were open-minded and adventurous, who were loving, sharing, fun, and serious about living a good life. With, again, integrity. These qualities make for loyal friends and associates. In spite of the varying differences in backgrounds, those who make up my circle are a reflection of me, of where I've been, and where I'm headed. Unfortunately, there are many who don't hold the same values who try to pry their way into your world.

In 1952, ex-executive Sheperd Mead wrote the best-selling, tongue-in-cheek book, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune." Based on his own experiences in corporate America, and later turned into a Broadway musical, the book makes a statement about how desperate and coniving people can be in taking shortcuts to entering success circles. Much of forward progression is, indeed, about "who you know." A highly unqualified individual can charm his or her way into lofty positions. What can happen though once they have "arrived?" They can humbly yield, own their limitations, observe, learn, ask for help, and excel. Or, due to pride, fear, and arrogance, they can insist that things go their way because they don't have knowledge of how things should be. Therefore, they become a threat to the well-being of the rest of the circle. I always observe how new people enter the temple. Folks who disregard protocols, overtalk others, try to assert their limited knowledge, and try to change how we do things to fit their comfort level, are always difficult students, and don't stay when they can't get their way. Then there are those who do nothing at all. This still means that they aren't pulling their own weight, or contributing.

The late motivational speaker Jim Rohn was quoted as saying, “You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” Actor Will Smith's interpretation, which I'm more familiar with, is, “You can tell how far in life you'll go by the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with.”

A several years back when I first read Will Smith's rendition, I broke into a sweat. My days were full of people calling to dump their issues on me, the compassionate minister and "friend." Yet these folks offered nothing to me - not even a kindly donation for my time. I also came to realize most of them were either able-bodied career welfare recipients who spent more time worrying about how to beat the system instead of progressing forward (for the record, these welfare folks were not Black). That was the same year I started teaching Khametic phone classes, with a stream of angst-ridden prima donnas who were accustomed to being given a pass, or physically healthy folks who were big talking lay-abouts that smoked weed all day (hilarious because I don't even smoke weed). Like it or not, this was my circle. I had believed that being a minister meant I had to minister to and put up with everyone. Minister's collar or no, I had to make changes quickly. The problem was, I changed people, but not myself.

Last year my doctor informed me I had diabetes. A surprise to him because he saw me ride my bike to the office for my my previous visit. "You're already doing all of the things we try to get folks to do! You exercise, you teach yoga, you eat right... Diabetes is indeed hereditary in your family, but I suspect your problem is stress. I'm not putting you on meds. Get rid of the people who are stressing you out, drink more water, increase your yogic practice, and you'll beat this."

He was fully aware of my life as a minister to financially fickle students, who had pulled me down to the point where my electricity was shut off. It was humiliating. "You don't deserve to have your life dictated by people who don't hold the same values you do," my doctor said. "You've paid your dues. You should be comfortable. Do what gives you joy. And get rid of the deadbeats."

At that point in my life, teaching yoga, being an artist, and researching/writing about/living Khametic culture and spirituality gave me joy. With the exception of a few trustworthy, loving students with integrity, teaching back-to-back Khametic seminary classes over the phone to folks across the country that I could not be in the physical presence of did NOT give me joy. There is little or no accountability when people just think of you as a voice on the phone, not a person with bills like them.

That episode in my life was actually a blessing. I learned who my real friends were amongst my students. They are still in my life. The rest are part of my past. I'm glad for the lesson. I also found that as I stepped up my yogic practice, not only my health vastly improved, but my circle improved too. I wasn't going to let anyone control my fate. I owned my self-worth.

My life today is different than it was a year ago. Increasing and refocusing my daily yoga routine opened new places within myself. I got the courage to reconnect with dear friends and family I'd neglected because of my ministerial life. As my energy changed with each intensified Shenu Yoga session, I found myself connecting with positive new people, new challenges, new goals. Then there have been the familiar karmic faces with the same old drama. I got the lesson, so, they did not stay. The Shenu Khametic Art & Yoga studio is my gift to myself. As I share Shenu classes, create my art, and provide Khametic Saturday Sabbath with yoga as the core modality for teaching Khametic culture, I feel joy. Above all, I feel loved and appreciated. And I know that when I give, it is reciprocated. It took a lot, but I have reclaimed my circle. I have reclaimed myself.

Who is in YOUR circle?

Queen Mother Imakhu's Shenu Yoga classes are taught at the Shenu Yoga Temple. 972 Broad St., Newark, NJ. (Ask the guard to direct you to the studio downstairs). Her classes and workshops are also given privately, in corporate settings, and in community centers. Shenu Yoga is also the core of Sharaym Shenu True Living Waters Temple services on Saturday mornings. 646-228-1185. Purchase Queen Mother Imakhu's CDs of Khametic chants here.

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