India.Arie’s Journey To ‘Worthy’: “I’m Gonna Be All Of Me”

India Arie Worthy

Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

….my first heartbreak and I couldn’t understand how you would ever be able to forgive a person. I wanted to but I couldn’t do it. Which is [why] my album Testimony: Volume 1 has all those songs about forgiveness because I was trying. And they both gave me very sage advice, obviously. Some of that is in the SongVersation Practice Journal. But what I learned really from both of them is that it’s a process and it’s a little bit at a time, and you just do a little bit at a time.”

“I pray for all my songs – I pray a general prayer and a specific prayer. My specific prayer was I want to write something that will help people understand how to forgive, because to me that’s the hardest thing. How to forgive, how to let things go, how to forgive themselves. I wanted to be able to listen to this song and get THAT out of it.”

BlackDoctor.org: What does self care mean to you and what does it look like for you?

India.Arie: “I think that self care on a deeper level is first of all, knowing who yourself is and then caring for that self. Because a lot of people, I’m being general, a lot of us in our culture we don’t really have a culture where you are impressed upon that your soul is a part of yourself that you are not always connected to. And so people move out into their lives from their mind. What other people think, what you think and what your parents think or what the world thinks about Black women or what the world thinks about Black men and we’re so involved in that that we forget that there’s a deeper part of ourselves that is connected to God is where we find all of our wisdom.”

“And so when I think of yourself, I think of the full self. It’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual, and that spiritual piece is what a lot of us are missing.”

“For me, self care is paying attention to all those parts of yourself. It’s like deciding you’re going to put on your makeup but not brush your teeth that day. It doesn’t make sense. There’s a part of you that’s stinky. You look good, but you smell weird. So for me, I feel like a lot of us on a spiritual level are not taking care of [ourselves], but I also think that there’s nowhere in our culture where we’re taught you need to take care of all those aspects of yourself everyday.”

“For me self care is care for all parts of yourself. My great-grandmother, she was 100 when she passed away in  2011, and she used to always say “Look after your soul.””

“The only celebrity that I knew that she knew was Oprah and so she would say, “I know you’re out there with Oprah and singing your music, but I want you to look after your soul.” If you listen to my album Testimony: Volume 1 you’ll hear her. I recorded her one time and I put it on my album.”

“She would also say, “Your soul is as real as the teeth in your head.” So even though it’s something that you can’t see, it’s there.”

India Arie Songversation Medicine“Even if a person was going to pick one, and you were like, ‘Imma have a self care day,’ and you were going to pick one part of yourself that you were going to look at, for me it’s your spiritual self. If getting your nails done really touches your soul like that, go get your nails done. If you’re getting them done because this is the only time you have to do it, that’s not what I think self care is. If walking by the beach makes you feel something in your heart, or walking through the woods makes you feel something in your heart, or talking to an old person that you love in your life, if that’s what touches your heart, that to me is self care.”

“Even when you’re talking about Black women and the journey that we’re all on where we’re starting to understand that nobody is going to take care of you; it’s YOU. When you realize that, I always loved the concept of going to the deepest part of you, which is not your fingernail, it’s your soul. Or the deepest part you can access. So even if you’re a person who never takes time to feel; you don’t ever cry; maybe that’s where you need to go. But the deepest part that you can access, to me, is self care. For me, it’s going right to my soul.”

SongVersation: Medicine is Grammy nominated for “Best New Age Album.” Tune into the 60th Grammy Awards January 28, 2018. India.Arie’s next album, Worthy, is scheduled for March 2018 release. Look for SongVersation: Medicine workshops (and the Practice Journal!) in a city near you soon.

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