Onward! Interesting the wording of this Learning Log prompt..."understanding" and "self-care." My leadership goals have been moving forward even though I have not been able to move into my Fellowship as I desired. I wanted to facilitate more race relations and social justice conversations that lead to action and I am. I wanted to expand my own understanding of the divide between elders and youth and I am. I wanted to explore the power of food culture and I certainly am. In wonderful ways, each of these things has happened in "real" work, in "real" time during "real" pandemics. The pandemics shifted me out of my well-planned and long-awaited Fellowship lane. My Fellowship lane is no longer being steered with clarity due to COVID. At times I have been furious about that - not being able to travel as I'd planned. Then I stop, take a look at the mess our society is in due to the intensity and amplification of white supremacy and the escalating cases and deaths due to COVID. My ability to coordinate and facilitate ten huge community conversations and get accepted to facilitate two national conferences, and be featured in two national magazines back to back - Readers Digest in October and in Guidepost in November is not to be taken lightly. It has been a very busy and yes stressful time. Leading conversations about race are painful and tremendously draining. Yet, these events energize me when I see the impact and the difference made after people do the dialogues. The hours that go into the planning are excruciating indeed. I'm often asked, "Are you taking care of yourself?" Actually, I feel great because of the outcome. Admittedly, I'm eating more, but I'm eating comfort foods that allow me to relax. I should add, I so share some of that comfort food. A couple of weekends ago, I made two large pots of collard and mixed greens, four cast-iron skillets of cornbread, and four sweet potato pies. No, I did not eat all of it myself! I took these caring food items to my Mayor who was diagnosed with cancer, to Elder Josie Johnson because she checks on me so often, and to Julia Freeman and her husband Al. Julia's health has forbidden her to leave her home due to COVID. That splurge of soul food cooking was energizing because of how well it made the recipients feel. That is the power of cultural food. What was well-thought-out and with a plan of action that included travel, national networking, and what I considered as personal growth, has now become unpredictable due to damn COVID yet I will continue to make the best of it each day. I am working with my coach and being pushed or urged or encouraged to think more nationally as I focus locally. My leadership capability still needs growth that I believe can be developed from broader networks. As I typed these words, it made me re-examine my what I just said. What really is important? Not so complicated...I will remain authentic to caring, healing, and service. I will continue eating soul food and walking outside on the regular. Onward!