Putting the CL on that ASS!

A Bernie's Daughter Thing


March 2016

Why I Love Yoga

In 2000, I discovered yoga at my local gym. I’d heard of yoga before, but never thought anything of it. I dismissed it because I wasn’t flexible, and after all, you need to be flexible to practice yoga, right? Wrong. I also dismissed it because I ignorantly believed that it wasn’t a workout. During that time, I was all about the gym life. I didn’t believe I’d worked if I didn’t wake up sore and close to pain the next morning. I’m laughing as I write this because I almost can’t believe how far I’ve come. I went to the gym one day for my wonderful strength training class, only to find that there had been a change in the schedule. Instead of the hard-core, weight-filled strength training class, there was a power yoga class. Not really wanting to do the treadmill, as it wasn’t cardio day, I didn’t want to go home. I mean, I’d made the trip to the gym, after all. So I decided to stay for this yoga class. All I can say is Ooh Wee! I worked my tail off! I had never sweated that much before! I walked out of the exercise room, spent and intrigued. I realized I was wrong about yoga. I wanted to practice it more because it kicked my butt and I was not about to have that. So I kept at it. I even bought some VHS tapes (Yep, I still had a VCR in those days and bought VHS tapes) to practice at home so that I could look better in class. I also did what I had a habit of doing back then. I stopped. I’m not really sure why I stopped, but I did. It would be 6 years before I picked it up again–during my pregnancy. Once I had my daughter, I stopped again. And then I picked it up again after my dad passed away. I think that’s when I was truly ready to have a yoga practice because it’s then that I fell in love with everything that it stood for and the transformation it initiated in my life–physically, mentally and spiritually.  I began to understand that yoga is not some exercise fad.  No, it is a spiritual practice.

Once I became really serious about yoga, it brought up a lot for me. There were many things I had to work through, and flexibility was the least of those things. But I stuck with it and I am still a practicing yogi today. Here are just a few reasons why I love yoga.

Yoga taught me to stop comparing myself to others.  I remember being in class with an elderly woman who was near 80 years old.  This woman was so limber!  She gracefully transitioned from downward dog to standing split, to peacock with such ease.  I felt ashamed that my barely 30 year-old self was getting my tail handed to me by this woman.  I began to practice more intensely and I was able to do the poses better. But then, there was the issue of how others looked.  I don’t have a yoga body.  At least that’s what I told myself then.  Many times, I would be the only Black girl in the class and I would feel so inferior to the other women in the class.  It took me a while, but I learned to stay on my mat and concern myself only with what I was doing on my mat.  Now, I don’t care what anyone else is doing.  If I happen to glance at someone else, I simply admire the beauty of their pose and that’s it, because I know today that all that matters is what I’m doing on my own mat.

Yoga helped me to become flexible.  This seems obvious.  After all, stretching our muscles leads to increased flexibility.  However, I’m not talking about simple physical flexibility.  Now don’t get me wrong. I have become much more flexible than I ever was in my previous years. However, I’m saying that yoga helped me to apply the same concept of stretching myself on the mat to stretching myself off the mat.  Something new has come my way? Instead of resisting it, I learned to try it and allow it to stretch me.  If it didn’t work the first time, I’d walk away and come back to it.  I learned that there is a difference between being uncomfortable and being in pain.  Flexibility develops right in the midst of that uncomfortable spot.  Who knew?

Yoga taught me to simply breathe.  Je’Niece what do you mean? Breathing is involuntary, so how the heck did you learn to breathe through yoga?  Well, I’m glad you asked me this because I’m more than happy to give you the answer.  Yes, it’s true that breathing is involuntary. However, most of us breathe shallowly.  That means we really only breathe from our chest up.  In yoga, pranayama, or control of breath, is taught.  Ujjayi breathing, which is diaphragmatic breath, is taught.  You breathe completely into your lungs down into your low belly.  Doing so brings your body more oxygen, and it also aids to bring awareness to your body, and release of pent-up emotions.  Learning ujjayi breathing helped me to release tension when I became tense, afraid, or just down right uncomfortable.  It actually proved to be quite beneficial for me when I found myself stuck in traffic.  Yoga helped me to understand that as long as I’m breathing, there’s life. And life means that I have an opportunity to  find something to enjoy in this moment.  And once I get the next moment, I can move into it with grace.  That means  I have not been conquered by whatever seemingly unsurmountable obstacle I see before me. Breath is everything.  The minute I stop breathing, is the minute my game of life is over.  Perspective is a mutha, ain’t it?

Yoga taught me to slow down.  As I have grown in my yoga practice, I’ve tried many of the different forms of yoga.  I’ve found that I am partial to slow flow.  I love slow flow.  My slow flow practice has helped me to understand that I don’t have to rush, rush, rush all in the glorification of busy-ness.  I can actually take things slow and steady.  And I actually like taking my time.  My slow flow practice has helped me to relinquish my to-do lists and adopt the mindset of knowing that I can only do what I can do, as I can do it.  Even more, I’m more apt to do things better the first time if I take my time.  Didn’t the tortoise teach us when we were children that slow and steady wins the race?  Why did we not take heed?

Yoga taught me to release the need for all the bells and whistles.  When I first became serious about yoga, I was serious.  (See what I did there?) To prove how serious I was about being serious about yoga, I went out and bought all the expensive yoga gear–clothing, mats, sticky socks and gloves, and yoga bag to hold them all.  I spent so much money and the funny thing is that I didn’t like most of the stuff I bought.  The bags weren’t big enough to hold my yoga stuff, or I simply wound up repurposing them.  The clothes were cool, but I eventually began wearing them more outside of yoga.  You know what I wear to yoga now?  My clearance bought leggings and tanks from Marshalls and TJ Maxx.  I do have a lululemon mat, but that’s about the most expensive thing I have.  I found I didn’t need all the bells and whistles.  I just needed me and a mat.  And the same is true for my life off the mat.  I don’t need the most expensive clothes, makeup, or car.  I don’t need the biggest house.  My needs are quite minimal when I think about all the things I convince myself that I must to have.  The reality is that I already have everything that I need.  There goes that perspective.

Yoga taught me to become comfortable with seeking support.  When I first began my practice, I balked at the idea of using a block or a strap.  I would risk severe injury by forcing a pose rather than use the supportive tools available to me.  It would take some years before I realized that my body just won’t bend in certain poses the way others can.  It would take a little bit more time to become comfortable with that. No matter how much I try, right now, I just can’t do some poses without the aid of the strap or the block, and that’s ok.  That’s exactly their purpose–to support me.  The same is true for life.  I’m not meant to go it alone. There are people who love me who want nothing more than to support me.  Working over time to prove how big that S on my chest is has done nothing more than cause more harm to myself, AND deprive those who love me the opportunity to actually display their love for me.  And when I think about it, it actually feels much better to be supported.

Sometimes I think if I could just live my life on a yoga mat, I would. I think life would be so wonderful if that’s the way I could live. Then I’m reminded that is one of the reasons I love and practice yoga: so that what arises on the mat will transcend and become what arises off the mat.


Power in Empowerment

Happy Friday! It’s almost Spring and I’m happy about that. It’s a time for rebirth and I have to be honest and say I am excited about the process of rebirth taking place in my life. Life is all about cycles. We’re in a constant cycle of birth, death, rebirth. It took me a while to get comfortable with that. And now that I’m at that place of comfortability, I embrace each stage. I’ve learned that I had to get to the space of standing in my own power in order to embrace each cycle. I have been a very passive person in my life. I was just idly riding along the train of Life. And then would have the nerve to get peeved when I didn’t like the destination. I had some nerve, didn’t I? But I’ve learned what it means to be empowered. It means getting clear on what I want and making the choices that will aid me to getting what I want. Even more, it means accepting the consequences of my choices. It’s not about raging against a machine, or trying to prove a point to anyone else. That’s not empowered living. Well, at least not to me. See, at another point in my life, I wouldn’t have been empowered by sharing this video because I would have been too busy posting it in the hope that you would agree with me, like me or affirm me. It’s different today. While I would appreciate if you affirmed me or agreed with me, and I would be grateful if you liked me, I don’t need you to. I’m ok just as I am. I’m ok if you watch today’s video and feel like it just didn’t vibe with you and you left this space thinking I missed the mark today. That’s empowerment, baby; and I like it! I like it a lot!

The Art of Detachment

Happy Friday to you! I am sending good vibes out with today’s post. I really feel like 2016 is stirring up some things for us. There seems to be a collective consciousness that is awakening. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing these themes of unrest and disruption in our world events. Whenever a change is imminent, we mere mortals tend to hold on for dear life to what we have known. There is some fluidity, also known as detachment, that Life needs from us in order for us to get to that “more,” “better,” “different” that we all imagine and yearn for. We can do it. We just have to be willing to detach (there goes that word again!), or let go of the reigns in order to get it. Hope you have a magical weekend!

Trigger Points

I can’t tell you enough how excited I am to be a brand ambassador for Nikki Woods Media. I’m thrilled for the opportunity. I struggled with applying. I told myself that I wasn’t going to apply. However, I have a great bestie who would not allow me to sit idly by. So, I applied. It took me 3 days to complete the application, but dammit I did it. Receiving the congratulatory email that I received days later sent me on a high. I was thrilled. I have felt that this is an amazing opportunity that will only lead to more opportunities for me.

However, having said that, I must be honest and admit that this opportunity has triggered some things in me. Foremost of my trigger points is my confidence–or lack thereof. When I say that I struggle with confidence, many people don’t believe me because I seem to possess the superpower of appearing much more confident than I actually am. But this opportunity has triggered my confidence point. I have been fearful every day with it. And to be honest, I’ve actually struggled with the feeling that I’m failing in some way. In my monkey mind’s eye, I can see Nikki Woods and her team looking over me with the disapproving eyes and careless cackles of a mean girls set. Now of course, my true mental mind knows this isn’t true. My true mental mind knows that they would not have chosen me if they hadn’t seen something in me. But isn’t it funny how they can see what I can’t see in myself?

The other thing this opportunity has triggered for me is my tendency to compare myself to others. Let me tell you something. Nikki Woods chose some amazing women to serve as brand ambassadors. Amazing, I tell you! They are smart, beautiful, talented, and funny. And I have compared myself to every single one of them in some way. I was overwhelmed with their amazing-ness (Yep, I just said that) during our first meeting. I listened intently to each woman as she introduced herself. I grew increasingly anxious with each one because I felt they were all so much more than I. I felt they were doing so much more than I. I mean they had job titles and everything! And here I was, simply saying I’m Bernie Mac’s daughter. My bestie laughed at me when I said this to her and told me, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, you can give yourself a title too.” Don’t you just love best friends?

But she was right. I could give myself a title. I could say I’m Je’Niece the Storyteller, or Je’Niece the Healing Architect, or whatever title I want to give myself. But there’s also the title of me: Je’Niece. And that title is good enough. Actually, I am good enough. That one sentence right there says so much. Woo, felt so good I need to say it again. I am good enough! There was no reason for me to feel small. I was the only person who was making me feel small. Everyone else has been welcoming, encouraging, and supportive. I am the only one who has been failing to support myself. I’m the only one who has failed to see how I’ve shown up giving my best every day. But that’s the beautiful thing about triggers. They show up–and sometimes when you least expect it–to show you what areas need your loving attention. So I needn’t get down on myself–which was my first response upon realization of my triggers. I just need to acknowledge them and give myself attention where it’s due.

I also don’t need to judge the fear. The fear is the sign that this means something to me. And believe me when I say it does. But in that, I need to detach from the outcome. I don’t need to put all of my energy focusing on the potential outcome of this. Maybe Nikki and team love me and decide to continue to work with me and refer other people my way, or vice versa. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they like me, but decide I’m not their cup of tea. And you know what? Either scenario is ok. I will be ok either way. Now, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t love the outcome to be the former one, but I am saying that I will not allow myself to swirl my mind into a frenzied state that renders me incapable of enjoying the journey. It’s only been two weeks and I have grown already. I’ve been doing virtual streaming through Periscope everyday. Every day, y’all! I found Periscope to be so intimidating and so outside of my comfort zone. Yet, I’m doing a scope every day. I’m truly owning my story. I am Bernie Mac’s daughter, and that is ok. I’ve said it before, yet there was still some part of me that struggled with that. I never want people to think that I’m resting on that part of who I am. I never want people to think that I want pity or attention because of it. But that’s the part of me who has been allowing the voices of others to rule instead of my own voice. My own voice is telling me to just be who I am because who I am is beautiful and worthy and those who get me will be drawn to me. From those people, the opportunities I seek will arise. Those who don’t get me will get out the way, which will just make more room for the ones who are drawn to me.

And just think this has only been triggered with two weeks worth of working with Team Nikki Woods! I’m onto something beautiful here, and I’m so thankful for it.

The Spotlight Conference

Happy Saturday! I’m writing today to offer a wonderful invitation. As I’ve announced last week, I’m a brand ambassador for Nikki Woods Media (Team Nikki Woods go!) This has been a wonderful opportunity that has been stretching me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. As such, I wanted to offer an invitation for you to do the same. Nikki Woods is hosting a conference, The Spotlight Conference on March 19, 2016. This is definitely the conference you want to attend. You want to attend if

You have a brand and don’t know what to do with it
You are a published author looking to establish yourself in the marketplace
You want to gain more social visibility for your brand and message
You want to know how to get booked for local/national media

Nikki Woods is a master at these things and at the Spotlight Conference, you will learn the tools you need to take your brand, book, or message to the next level. To learn more, visit For tickets, go to

To The Finish Line

Salutations! Naw, that doesn’t sound happy enough. Hey! I’m sending all my good vibes your way because I appreciate you so much for joining me here on this space. Today is good. It’s cold in Chicago, but the sun is out. So I’m taking my silver lining. Today’s video was inspired by a conversation I was having with one of my besties. She and I are so in sync we actually activate one another. We’re like the Wonder Twins . . . Activate! So whenever I’m thinking about something, it tends to come up in our conversations and I take that as confirmation that I’m on the right track. We were talking about life and relationships and how we mere mortals have such difficulty with the endings of a relationship. We all know they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But something about that end gets to us. We just don’t like it. But the reality is, every relationship we create in our lives won’t be one that we ride all the way to our physical death. And I’m not speaking of merely romantic relationships. What is it about the end of things that make us so uncomfortable? And we needn’t fret. No we need not. Because the end usually signifies the beginning of something else. Hmmm . . . let’s ponder that for a minute, shall we?

Daddy’s Little Girl

People love to ask me what it was like growing up with Bernie Mac as my father. I still don’t really know how to answer that question. It’s all that I know. He was Daddy. And while his story seems quite extraordinary to some, life with him seemed quite ordinary to me. I will say that it wasn’t anywhere near as hilarious as others seem to think it was. Don’t get me wrong. We laughed a lot. I mean, he was just a naturally funny guy and he had a great sense of humor. He passed it along. However, he took his responsibility as a father very seriously. And as his daughter, I can tell you that fatherhood, as far as he was concerned, was no laughing matter.

I tell people often that my father and I were soul mates. I know that the popular idea of soul mates lies in the romantic. However, I’ve always believed that a soul mate is that person whose connection with you is unparalleled. Your soul mate is the person (or persons) who are there to reflect you in your truest essence. They challenge you in the most life changing ways. That was my father for me, and I him. We were mirror images of one another. While I wouldn’t admit it when he was alive, I proudly say today that we knew and understood one another better than anyone. There were things we just “got” about one another. The flip side to that is that we also had the super power of being able to drive the other crazy.

People ask, “What do you miss most about your dad?” It makes me laugh now, but the truth is, I miss the way he got on my nerves. And he did get on my nerves. About 90% of the 100 billion estimated ones I have in my human body! Hearing that may sound odd to you, but it’s a comforting truth for me. Oddly enough, it’s not the tender moments I miss most. I miss his idiosynchrasies, his bad habits. I miss the little picadillos that made him Daddy.

I found one of my old journals that I kept as a child. I had to have been about 10 or 11 years old when I wrote in the journal. Almost every entry is about how much he got on my nerves and how I will never, ever, ever be like him. Now, those who know me well can appreciate the humor of this. I am like my father. Always have been. In fact, I think I was the last person in my life to recognize it! I’ve known one of my best friend since we were 4 years old. We’ve never had an argument. We were about 14 the one time we came close to blows, and it was because she told me that I was like my father.

This is yet another thing I wouldn’t admit because a large part of me felt like he was larger than life. My dad was a superhero in my eyes. He was able to do the impossible. Hey, he took us from true rags to riches, so why wouldn’t I believe that? I never believed I had that ability. But, I also wouldn’t let him know that. No, I would say the opposite of whatever he said. If he said “Up,” I went down. If he said, “It’s going to rain,” I said “I see nothing but sunshine.” He was intuitive and very strong with his intuition. So he was right a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. He could tell you what you would do before you even thought about the act. And I’m not ashamed to tell you that I just got tired of him being right all the time. So yep, I was contrary on purpose just to prove him wrong. You probably don’t need me to tell you that it didn’t work out very well for me.

Again, these are things that I laugh about now. But the truth is, as much as I resisted my true self (which is so much like my dad), I’m appreciative of it now. I like that we are so much alike. I think my father was a wonderful human being and I’m proud to say that I know him. So here’s a brief list of some of the traits that we have in common.

We’re both extremely stubborn. I mean for real, for real. We will hold our stance forever. You’ll get tired before we do.

We’re both humanitarians and care takers. We’re the one in our circle who takes care of everyone. The unfortunate thing is that we both do so to the detriment of our own selves because we get so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves.

We both have a very, ahem . . . colorful . . . vocabulary. Now this one is really funny to me because I was timid about cursing until he died. Once he did, it was as if a part of him fused into my soul and brought his vocabulary stash with it!

We’re both natural leaders. We’re not interested in following a crowd. In fact, we’re more inclined to intentionally go in the opposite direction of everyone else.

We’re both very sensitive. This may shock some, but it is indeed true that the MacMan was very sensitive. He cared a lot about what others thought of him. He just had a great poker face to throw you off the scent of his sensitivity. I, on the other hand, never developed the poker face. Yet, I am just as sensitive–if not even more. Now, we’ll still go on to do whatever we want and leave you feeling like we don’t care, but we do.

I miss my dad. I miss him every single moment of every day. For so long I expected this almost magic day to arrive where I would be over his passing. I finally realized that there is no such day. You never get over it. You just get through it. I can honestly say that I’m through the grief, but I still miss him. I like thinking of him fondly. And I don’t wish to martyr him. Yes he was a great man. But he was also flawed. But the beautiful thing about maturity is that you learn to appreciate the people in your life for who they are instead of who you wish they were. And I appreciate my dad so much for who he is and was. It is said that children go through three stages when it comes to their view of their parents. They begin by idolizing their parents. I am no exception. I idolized my dad. I was in love with him. I idolized him so much that I pitied any man who wasn’t like him. I actually thought that any man who didn’t physically resemble him had some type of deformity. My grandfather’s and my father’s friends were the only exceptions.

It’s said after idolization, children then judge their parents. I can admit that I did judge my father. I judged him for things he did and things he didn’t do. For a long time I felt that he was too hard on me. I felt that he didn’t give me everything I needed from him. It would take me maturing and learning to see him as a man, apart from being just my dad to understand that he did the best he could. He did his best to instill in me the values he believed would help me succeed in life. He didn’t know how to be soft. He only knew how to be hard–even his soft was hard. But it was well intentioned. It was covered with love. And I appreciate that.

People ask me am I proud of my dad. I understand that for many who ask, their question is rooted in his celebrity. The truth is yes, I am quite proud of my dad. But not necessarily because of his fame. I’m proud that my father, without having his father in his life, chose to honor his actions and marry my pregnant mother at the tender age of 19. I’m proud that he remained in our home, leading us as best as he could. I’m proud that he had the courage to dare to dream (a huge dream). But more than just dream, he took the steps to make his dream come true–in spite of the many naysayers. I’m proud that at the height of his celebrity, he held fast to his values and never allowed anyone or anything to deter him from that path. I’m proud that while he may not have been able to soften up for me, he was able to give me everything he had. So I guess that means I’m in the final stage, which is acceptance. I’m proud to say he didn’t have to die for me to reach that stage. I was there long before.

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