REVIEW: Ladies First – From Superwoman to Self-Care

By Andrea Lee

This weekend’s Women’s Retreat was a multi-generational gathering of nearly 50 women of diverse backgrounds and from all different walks of life. The retreat was mindfully and lovingly guided by five women who are leaders in their own fields. We kicked off the retreat with a moving spoken word opening by TaNisha Fordham who brought nine teen-aged students to the retreat. Jillian Faulks-Majuta lead a Kemetic Yoga session that physically grounded guests in the power of self-care. The day continued with passionate workshops about caring for mind, body and spirit.

Kamilah Crawley, who organized and emceed the event, offered sessions about the intersection of mindfulness and women’s self-care and lead discussion groups on the complex and nuanced notions of the modern Superwoman. Michelle Beadle Holder explored mindful eating and the frequent everyday choices we make about how we nourish our bodies and helped us become more mindful of the environments where we break our bread and buy our food. Her presentation was followed by a nutritious and soulful lunch provided by Arelis Hernandez and Rabbit Hole Farm.

Aleah Gathings presented on the power of words and affirmations and guided retreatants in a symbolic ceremony to release unconstructive thought patterns. Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi facilitated a process to help participants “Stop the Story”, release narratives that hold us back and re-narrate our current truth. We ended the retreat by writing self-care letters to our future selves — to be mailed and opened just when we most need the reminder.

Throughout the day retreatants were encouraged to hold a non-judgmental space for everyone’s opinions and experiences and to self-reflect through conversation and journaling. Participants readily shared their own resources and several lists were compiled with books, websites, and places of interest for people to visit to continue the deep work that was initiated at this retreat.

Women! Drop Your Cape for the Day on March 31st!

Ladies First: From Superwoman to Self-care

It’s a wonderful line-up for the day. You can register for full-day or part-day. Here’s a quick listing of bio-notes of your presenters:

Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi is a trauma informed, evidence-based pastoral and spiritual counselor, wellness coach, and equity, diversity, and inclusion trainer. She is certified in mindfulness, yoga, and multiple somatic traditions. She received her training from Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Walden University, The New Seminary, and many teachers.

Michelle Beadle Holder, PhD, President and CEO, Food at the Center, Inc. is a medical sociologist dedicated to doing her part to improve the social and physical health of black families. Her research has appeared in the Journal of African American Studies, Substance Use and Misuse, and American Journal of Health Behavior. In 2018, Dr. Holder founded Food at the Center, Inc., an educational and research social enterprise that uses food to build meaningful connections, improve health, and celebrate the culinary genius of people of African descent.

Kamilah Crawley, MPH, CHES is a public health professional who has provided health education workshops and trainings for various populations. She currently focuses on the intersection of public health, mindfulness and meditation as a tool for healing and healthy living. Kamilah was born and raised in Newark and is an alumni of University High School. Her degrees are from Temple University and the Rutgers School of Public Health.

Aleah A. Gathings, JD, MPH is an advocate for children and a proponent of the medical-legal partnership model. Aleah believes in the power of hope, love, and the ongoing fight for social and health justice.

Jillian Faulks-Majuta, Founder and CEO of Majuta Wellness, is committed to bringing wellness to individuals, groups and communities who are interested in living their most fulfilling lives possible. Through journaling, Kemetic Yoga™ and Holistic Health Coaching (July 2019). Jillian creates spaces for people to feel safe enough to challenge their bodies, thoughts and habits.

For more information and to register, go to

A program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture co-sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation Family Success Center. ncmc logomark_square_rgb.png

A New Year’s Message for our NCMC Friends

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Dear NCMC Friends,

AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS NEW YEAR we want to take a moment of your time to let you know how much your support means to us. Without the support of our NCMC Friends — whether participating virtually in social media or physically at the programs — we couldn’t have provided the transformative programs that we’ve brought to the community.

This past year we are especially grateful to our longtime VENUE PARTNERS — Index Art Center, Rabbit Hole Farm, and Military Park Partnership. A new venue this year has been the Ironbound Community Corporation and it has been such a pleasure to work with them as well.

We also want to thank the COOPERATIVE ORGANIZATIONS who invited us in 2018 to present at their programs or held cooperative programs with us, including Greater Newark Tennis & Education, Hikeolution, I’m So Yoga Newark, Louise A. Spencer Community School, Newark Museum, Newark Yoga Movement, NJPAC, Rutgers Law School, Sis & Bro Foundation, Source of Knowledge Book Store, and The Spirit Centered Life. We enjoyed and very much appreciated the teamwork with these community partners.

We can’t say enough too about our WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS who have consistently been patient and provided diligent assistance for us over the past year. We can’t name you all here, but you know who you are!

Wishing you all the very best in 2019!

Your friends at NCMC,

Kazi, Marcie, Cornelia, Andrea, Ihsaan, Kamilah, Javier, and Jennifer

A great start for our Fall Session of Free Meditation Classes in the Ironbound

New Location, New Time, New Day!

 Thursdays, September 13 – November 15 | 5:30-7:00pm | ICC Family Success Center, The Wellness Room, 317 Elm Street, Newark, NJ


Above: On September 20th, we had three english-speaking students and one spanish-only and our meditation circle was ready to go. Mindful moments of students practicing walking and sitting meditation. But wait, where’s the men? Donde esta los hombres?! Oh, he’s taking the picture!

In these on-going weekly meditation classes with NCMC instructor J. Javier Cruz and assistant Jennifer Becher you will learn basic meditation and how to apply mindfulness in daily life to live with more ease, more joy, and less stress. Sessions include meditation, light yoga stretches, readings, and discussion. You are welcome to join in at any time. Translations to Spanish and Portuguese as needed.

Contact us at for more information.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Ironbound Community Corporation.


September 8-9: Farm Meditation, Book Signing, and People of Color Retreat

With Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita of Uganda

Farm Meditation • Dharma Talk • Farm-to-Table Lunch
Saturday Sep. 8 | 11:30am to 1:30pm
Free: Donations welcome
Rabbit Hole Farm Newark
RSVP | Details: Keven/Arelis at

Book-Signing • Meditation • Talk • Vendors
Saturday Sep. 8 | 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Fee: $15
Source of Knowledge Bookstore
RSVP | Details: Greg 973-388-4900 or Ayanna 862-944-8860

People of Color Full-Day Meditation Retreat
Sunday Sep. 9 | 9:30am to 4:30pm
Meditation • Talks • Movement • Art • Healing • Affinity
Suggested Donation: $30
Atrium Room at the Early Learning Center
Register | Details:


OPTIONAL DAY-LONG OR PART-DAY PARTICIPATION (morning or afternoon session)

Sunday, May 20, 2018
10:00am to 4:00pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave.
(absolutely no walk-ins/no calls please)

Meditation teachers Ib’nallah S. Kazi and Cornelia Santschi will lead this donation-based NCMC program.  (Bios on Leadership Page of website.)

This retreat will help the community to understand the need to cultivate the insight, instincts, and focus needed to navigate the growing uncertainty and instability manifesting in our world. You will take home meditation tools that will help you to reconnect to the inner guidance previously lost in the incessant noise of modern society.

Included will be guided meditations, qigong and yoga movement, an art as meditation session, a visual presentation, and discussion. NCMC instructors J. Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher will provide assistance. The program is intended to be appropriate for beginners through experienced meditators. A seasonal vegan Medicine Meal will be prepared by Arelis Hernandez, a Newark urban farmer-meditator.

If the weather is nice we plan to spend much of the day in the spring breeze of the adjoining outdoor courtyard! It will be a unique opportunity to experience the setting of a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building. The venue is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Wheel-chair access.

Please, absolutely no Walk-Ins and no Phone Calls to the Early Learning Center. Call NCMC at 862-227-3288 with inquiries or by email at For more information about Newark Center for Meditative Culture go to the website at

Registration Required on Eventbrite at:
Suggested donation is $20 by PayPal/Credit Card when you register or Cash or PayPal/Credit Card at Door.

A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.


DOWNTOWN: Mindful Meditation Workshop In Four Parts

downtown-meditation_event.pngSundays, April 15, April 22, April 29, and May 6
Starts at 10:30am
I’m So Yoga Newark, 1186 Raymond Boulevard

A peaceful way to start your Sundays. Learn and practice the basics of meditation and mindfulness. It’s a workshop appropriate for simply the curious, beginners, and intermediate meditators. Experienced? You’re welcome to come and brush up with a group. Instructors Andrea Lee and Kamilah Crawley of Newark Center for Meditative Culture will co-teach the classes. Come for all four sessions or come as you can, though we recommend a commitment to attending all four workshops to benefit yourself the most. Contact us at with any questions.

ISYN Fee: $10 per session.
Registration/Payment at

An I’m So Yoga Newark fee-based sponsor program held in conjunction with NCMC.
An ISYN fee-based sponsor program held in conjunction with NCMC.

IRONBOUND: Spring Meditation Classes Begin for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Groups

Ironbound_event.pngHispanohablante — Clases de meditación y atención plena para principiantes
Serie de 8 clases
Miércoles, 4 de abril – 23 de mayo
5:30 a 6:30pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave. (no walk-ins)

Aprenda prácticas básicas de meditación y atención plena con Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) que pueden ayudarlo a reducir el estrés en su vida y darle más tranquilidad. Estas clases básicas de meditación y mindfulness son impartidas por NCMC profesor, Javier Cruz. Las clases incluyen meditación guiada, estiramientos de yoga ligero, caminar atentamente, charlas con el maestro y preguntas y respuestas. A los estudiantes se les asignan tareas opcionales de atención domiciliaria fáciles y opcionales. Lo mejor es asistir a la serie completa, pero ven lo que puedas. Sin embargo, no hay walk-ins. DEBE registrar su nombre, email, y ciudad una vez antes de asistir. Registrarse en

Un programa de servicio comunitario gratuito con NCMC patrocinado por Ironbound Community Corporation.

Spring Session — Meditation & Mindfulness Classes
Series of 10 Classes
Wednesdays, April 4 – June 6
6:45 to 7:45pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave. (no walk-ins)

This spring session of 10 classes with Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) will have a focus on loving-kindness (metta) meditation practice. These continuing meditation and mindfulness classes are taught by NCMC teacher, Javier Cruz with assistance by Jennifer Becher also of NCMC. The classes include guided meditation, light yoga stretches, mindful walking, teacher talk, and Q&A. We’ll enjoy one class with an Art as Meditation Workshop. Students are given easy, optional home-mindfulness assignments. Parents/guardians are welcome to bring teens. It’s best to attend the entire series, but come as you can. However, there are no walk-ins. You MUST register your name, email, and city one time before attending. Register at

A free community service program with NCMC sponsored by the Ironbound Community Corporation. •



Letting Go and Loving

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A Special Loving-kindness Meditation Class on Valentine’s Day
(with “Heart of Wisdom” Valentine Art Session)
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
6:00 to 7:30pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave., Newark
(no walk-ins)

(Traducción en español a continuación.)

How do we let go of those we love, but at the same time love them? How do we learn to give our love more open-mindedly, with less judgement? How do we turn passionate love into compassionate love?

Join Newark Center for Meditative Culture for this special valentine meditation class with teacher J. Javier Cruz. He will guide us in the practice of loving-kindness (metta), an important meditation discipline to develop a finer, more infinite love for self, family, friends, enemies, and ultimately for all beings. The Karaniya Metta Sutta describes it beautifully:

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded.

This loving-kindness practice can soften the heart to not want to feel anger or hate any more — seeing how it not only hurts others, but it hurts ourselves.

We will also enjoy a Heart of Wisdom valentine art session to further express our intrinsic selflessness and love!

This class will be in english with spanish translation as necessary. You must sign up to attend this class at (unless you are registered already for the bilingual classes).

Sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation.

May all beings be happy!

Dejar Ir y Amar

Una clase especial de meditación de bondad amorosa en el día de San Valentín
(con “Heart of Wisdom” Valentine Art Session)
Miércoles, 14 de febrero de 2018
6:00 a 7:30 p.m.
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave., Newark
(sin visitas)

¿Cómo dejamos ir a los que amamos, pero al mismo tiempo los amamos? ¿Cómo aprendemos a dar a nuestro amor una mente más abierta, con menos juicio? ¿Cómo convertimos el amor apasionado en amor compasivo?

Únase al Newark Center for Meditative Culture para esta clase especial de meditación de San Valentín con el maestro J. Javier Cruz. Él nos guiará en la práctica de la bondad amorosa (metta), una importante disciplina de meditación para desarrollar un amor más fino e infinito por uno mismo, la familia, los amigos, los enemigos y, en última instancia, por todos los seres. El Karaniya Metta Sutta lo describe bellamente:

Incluso cuando una madre protege con su vida
Su hijo, su único hijo,
Entonces con un corazón sin límites
Debería uno apreciar a todos los seres vivos;
Irradiando bondad en todo el mundo:
Dispersándose hacia los cielos,
Y hacia abajo a las profundidades;
Hacia afuera y sin límites.

Esta práctica de bondad amorosa puede ablandar el corazón para no querer sentir rabia u odio, ya que no solo lastima a los demás, sino que también nos lastima.

¡También disfrutaremos de una sesión de arte de San Valentín de Heart of Wisdom para expresar aún más nuestro desinterés y amor intrínsecos!

Esta clase será en inglés con traducción al español según sea necesario. Debe inscribirse para asistir a esta clase en (a menos que ya esté registrado para las clases bilingües).

Patrocinado por Ironbound Community Corporation.

¡Que todos los seres sean felices!