[Source: Working Mother Magazine]
Interviewed by Niedria Kenny
Over 10 years ago, I decided to make Houston my home. I can’t say that I did it with the overall intent of staying any longer than I had stayed in any other city prior to the move. What I do know is that it was a smart move at the time, and giving credit to the creator, it was a planned and very necessary move. While I only had in mind, to stay as long as I needed, and to always be prepared for the next move; there was something even bigger brewing. Aside from a career and things that followed, it was meeting meaningful people, and developing strong relationships with individuals/organizations/groups who would greatly impact the next journey of my life. One of those individuals, named Ebony S. Muhammad, who has become a friend and sister in spirit; has been there every step of the way. She is a businesswoman, and an entrepreneur, with a strict set of dedicated values to her success.
Our introduction was brief, but in little to no time, we were sharing life stories and almost immediately fostering health and growth in each other lives, without knowing it. While I entered and exited realms of many trials, I always had a source that remained constant, in her friendship. Ebony possessed something valuable, and extremely rare, that I recognized instantaneously. That was her ability to listen. It was her ability to take in all of what you are saying, before speaking. Her attentiveness in all conversations, even if it were no interest to her, you would never know. She was willing to at least hear you out, especially if you were asking for advice and opinion or expertise on any subject matter. She “got it” She had a vested interest to do the work on her part, of listening carefully and processing diligently before speaking. In naturally harboring the concept of “studying to shew thyself approved”, Ebony researched and learn… to ensure that she was delivering quality speak. That has been paramount and unwavering in our continued friendship, as well as a contributing factor to her success.
With that, I congratulate my sister in the spirit. I am delighted to highlight her success, as a Working Woman; as she has always humbly and unselfishly given credit to everyone else around her. Speaking with her today is a full circle moment for me. It is with pleasure that I spotlight someone who’s always empowered other women and carry the plight of healing women everywhere, through auditing (pathways to inner healing), the Hurt to Healing process of (Turning Wounds into Wisdom) via discussions in her Magazine (www.b40.55e.myftpupload.com) and the background experience she has in Thanatology as well Massage Therapy via her salon (@OriginsDaySpa)
Niedria Kenny (NK): Ebony, share with other working women your background in how you began your journey on the path to assist others with things that may affect our daily lives, that greatly impact our quality of life.
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Wow…first let me thank you from the depths of my heart, Niedria, for being someone I can truly call a friend in the very essence of the word. Thank you for being that constant in my life and the ear and shoulder I needed throughout my trials…goodness, we’ve been through and seen a lot together and I thank Allah (God) for you daily. Thank you for the honor of this interview and to Working Mother for the beautiful platform to speak to other women with evolving lives.
To answer your question: The turning point in my journey occurred immediately after graduating from college, and that was joining the Nation Of Islam (2005) under the leadership and guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. While I was seeking to help others in the career path I chose, the Nation Of Islam was saving me! Every question I’ve ever had relating to spirituality, religion, relationships, economics, politics, health, justice etc. was answered the moment I made the decision to accept Islam as my way of life which is a part of my very nature. That decision saved and still is saving my life. That decision gives me my purpose. That decision enables me to give back in a way, and on a level that I can only describe as divine. I am learning who I am because of this decision, and I am in love with what Islam has and still is opening up for me spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and physically. The decision to accept Islam has also improved my physical health due to our amazing dietary regimen that anyone can study and practice via the book How to Eat to Live. I haven’t been to the doctor in years! I can’t remember the last time I had to go in for being sick. My level of discipline and confidence and mental clarity, all because of the decision to accept Islam as my own and to be myself, has increased tremendously. I’ve never been more respected, honored and protected as a woman than I have being in the Nation Of Islam. This was the catalyst and the turning point in my journey. Islam gave me my journey!
I’ve always wanted to help people and it was while attending the University of Houston – Downtown, in my “Death and Dying” class (thank you Mrs. MacGregor) where it really hit me that I wanted to help people who were grieving. Minister Farrakhan teaches us to find a need among the people and seek out ways to provide a service that meets the needs of those people. Therefore, with the above I didn’t want to close it off to just the loss of life, but any loss whether it was a relationship, job, health, someone who was violated and lost a sense of feeling safe, loss of freedom and a loss of hope. I studied the subject of death, dying and loss further and joined the Association for Death Education and Counseling (2007), became a voting committee member and obtained my Certification in Thanatology in 2008 (the study of death and dying and how we psychologically and emotionally cope with loss).
In the process of that, I was invited to assist with organizing the Hurt 2 Healing march against domestic violence and sexual assault that was actually spearheaded by two brothers, Jesse and Deric Muhammad. That was another turning point in my journey. That event, which hosted a lineup of women who have survived domestic violence, sexual abuse and assault, has forever impacted my life because it gave me another glimpse into what I believe is my purpose and reason why Allah (God) brought me to life.
From that event, Hurt2Healing Magazine was born (2009). It allows women and men to receive real testimonies from other survivors of not only domestic violence and sexual assault, but also drug addiction, depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones, self-esteem, spirituality and other areas of life that experience turbulence. Most people are hesitant to seek out counseling, so the magazine was a non-invasive method of that where people could go in at their discretion and read and receive what they were looking for and what they needed.
Hurt2Healing Magazine has featured community, national and international events including live coverage. We’ve published various profiles of other great women doing wonderful work, and interviews of men who are doing great work.
In December 2014 we hosted the second Hurt2Healing event entitled: Turning Wounds Into Wisdom – The Women of Transformation Summit. It was a women’s only event that featured three dynamic speakers (Jillian ‘JJ’ Simmons, Kelly Sergeant and Mavis Jackson) who shared very personal stories of their fight with emotional abuse, sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence and drug addiction. We also hosted a panel discussion that featured topics on the above subject along with stalking abuse. It was the most intense event I’ve ever witnessed, yet it was so liberating, inspiring, and empowering to see what healing looks like face to face in those women. They gave everyone in that room hope, despite what they were going through. That event was streaming live via All Real Radio, founded by ZIN, and it was video recorded by Shareef Shabazz.
We had guests from a woman’s transitional facility of women who were recently released from being incarcerated. They were recovering prostitutes, recovering drug addicts and a few murdered their abusers or the abuser of their children. It was an honor to have them present. That following month, we began holding Wounds2Wisdom classes with the women of that facility. For nine months straight we facilitated classes on self-esteem, knowing your value, healthy relationships, setting boundaries, spirituality, and more. It was another turning point in my journey. Those women made a great impact on me and further confirmed my purpose for being here.
This year, Wounds2Wisdom launch a free e-course, “How to Change the Way You View Yourself In 5 Weeks” that focuses on how important our view of self is and how much it plays into our ability to truly love ourselves despite what we’ve been through or told throughout our lives that was abusive.