When Grandma Comes to Visit: Exploring How Communion with Our Ancestors & Nature Deepens Our Capacity for Healing, Restoration, Resilience, and Resistance


  • Phyllis Jeffers-Coly Diasporic Soul


heritage, healing, nature, Spirit, Senegal, ancestors


I am not quite sure what they are officially called—these itty bitty brown seeds that show up in white whispy whirls in my home. I see them as special and sacred because they give me a way to feel tangibly connected with my ancestors, specifically my maternal grandmother. The magic, the delight, the awe, the sense of wonder that I associate with these seeds that show up in white whispy whirls is what I hope to share when I integrate invocation, which is typically familiar for our visitors, and yoga, which might be less familiar, into the Heritage and Healing experiences my husband and I offer to Black Americans in Senegal.

This piece, using the recent reflections of some of our guests, addresses the ways that their first trip home, their pilgrimage to West Africa, specifically Senegal, as contemplative practice fosters a sense of well-being for Black folks in part because it offers us a chance to be more aware of our union and in deeper communion with Spirit, specifically in terms of communion with our ancestors and nature, including the magic, perhaps, of white whispy whirly seeds. I am interested in how they have and continue to deepen their relationship with their ancestors and nature in ways that have allowed them to stay grounded, rooted, and centered, and to tap into a sense of expansiveness and possibility even in the face of adversity. I have witnessed how these Spiritual connections allow them to deepen their capacity for healing, restoration, resilience, and resistance.

Author Biography

Phyllis Jeffers-Coly, Diasporic Soul

Phyllis Jeffers-Coly (500-hour CYT) is the author of We Got Soul: We Can Heal: Overcoming Racial Trauma Through Leadership, Community and Resilience and Founder, Diasporic Soul, which she founded with her husband in 2016 in order to offer Heritage & Healing experiences for Black people that integrate culture (SOUL) and contemplative practices.


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