American hip-hop artist, activist, father, certified running coach, and author Khnum “Stic” Ibomu just released his new book, The 5 Principles: A Revolutionary Path to Health, Inner Wealth, and Knowledge of Self. It explores Stic’s integrative, non-preachy, and humble approach to wellness. It also looks at how others can develop their own unique and customized wellbeing practices that work for them.
To celebrate the release of his new book, Stic kicked off the “STRIVE FOR THE FIVE” event series at Gifted BK (an art and culture space in Brooklyn, NY) this past October 8, 2022.
The event was actually a very enlightening panel discussion hosted by Marlon Rice (an advocate for community service in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn). The discussion featured Stic alongside four guest speakers (who he hand selected) to break down each one of the 5 Principles in his new book.
The Five Principles of Wellness
The 5 Principles are as follows: Knowledge, Nutrition, Fitness, Rest, Consistency. The event featured talks from experts on each of these principles. Here’s what they said.
1 – Principle of Knowledge
Moved by the idea of “mindset matters,” the first principle of knowledge was covered by contemplative artist, meditation guide, mindfulness instructor, and creative strategist Kenji “Zen” Summers. With 1,759 consecutive days of meditation under his belt (and counting), Kenji took us all through a powerful meditation exercise to assist all attendees in grounding themselves to the present moment.
Bombarded by distractions all day long (in the form of social media, news, ads, etc.), Kenji went on to share that mindfulness is about extending the space between stimulus and your response to it, so that you can return to yourself. Stic added that knowledge is the foundation principle, and it’s important to understand what’s going on in the mind as it will truly shape the overall mindset. If we know ourselves enough, we can use discernment to properly add and remove things to truly live our best lives.
2 – Principle of Nutrition
Known for being one of the most important pillars for overall health and wellbeing, guest speaker Charlise “Vegansoulicous” Rookwood was next up, sharing her wisdom on the second principle: nutrition.
What is unique about Charlise’s journey is that nutrition for her comes, sadly, from a place of survival, losing four relatives to stomach cancer. This experience armed Charlise with the knowledge of how vegan foods can be used not only for health, but also in creative and delicious ways that honor her Jamaican and Mauritian roots (and if you do not know that Jamaican and Mauritian foods are amazing by now, you are truly missing out).
Shocked by the lack of access to education available to the Black community worldwide (particularly in America), Charlise longed to create a space that the community can relate to without mundanely lecturing anyone into a healthy lifestyle. Being super intentional with the idea of veganizing Jamaican and African food, her show The Black Vegan Cooking Show was born.
Stic veggie-backed on the subject of nutrition to share that his journey started at age 21 when he was diagnosed with gout (from living an unhealthy life, he said). He realized that some major changes needed to be made and was inspired by his son’s mom, who shared that the body could heal itself given the proper tools to balance itself out. Stic stressed that we must be diligent to find out which plant-based foods are best for our bodies.
To paraphrase further, health and healing are not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach. We are all unique in our own ways with different health and medical histories, and it’s important we find out what can serve us properly for optimum health.
3 – Principle of Fitness
Calisthenics legend and special guest G.I.A.N.T (Hassan Yasiin) of the Bartendaz led the discussion for fitness, which is the third principle featured in The 5 Principles book.
He mentioned that the general public do try to figure out how to get their bodies moving, but are often met with feelings of dread. This feeling comes from the fear of not knowing how to perform movements properly, fear of failure, a lack of motivation/understanding and more.
What G.I.A.N.T said next was so revolutionary and overlooked that it made fitness seem very simple. He shared that fitness is simply movement. It is the universe’s movement because we are all pieces of it. We can find movement all around us from the cellular level (within us) and scaling that all the way outward to a planetary/universal level.
When it comes to fitness, movement first starts in the mind. If we can somehow turn off the TV, put the cell phones down, and learn how to move ourselves and the mind, then everything else in the universe will move with us. Applying this idea to actual fitness, G.I.A.N.T said that pull-ups allow us to pull ourselves up and get closer to the universe. We can also push up past negativity.
We should move and live our lives with the goal of being functional in our individual and unique bodies. The challenge is to think healthy thoughts which will lead to a healthier lifestyle which leads to healthier movements (movement of the mind, body, and more).
4- Principle of Rest
Reiki practitioner, initiated medicine woman, and founder of holistic healing group Minka Brooklyn, Aki Hirata Baker was next up to share what she’s learned via the fourth principle of rest. She encouraged us all to think about how we can pivot away from the idea that rest is necessary simply because of energetic depletion. And, how we can address the ways in which our minds are constantly pushing to achieve more, because we are collectively conditioned to feel like we are never enough.
She further explained that the Earth and nature provide us all with the resources we need to feel rested. Sadly, the fruits of colonization worldwide drill down the notion that we must continue to chase our goals, or else we will never be enough.
When it comes to ideas, material things, and actions, Aki asked us, what things can we leave behind so that we can start to truly rest?
Many of us are either active “grind-aholics” or recovering “grind-aholics.” In the busyness of our day-to-day lives, we do not often think about how we can respect rest in a way that gives our life energy a chance to catch up and replenish itself. To close out this segment, Aki taught us a form of Japanese intentional breathing for de-stressing called “ibuki.”
5- Principle of Consistency
Stic was the highlight of the panel discussion as host Marlon Rice steered the conversation his way to speak on the fifth pillar of consistency. Stic spoke about the ways in which he places things in his toolbox to stay inspired and consistent.
He revealed CT. Fletcher, David Goggins, and G.I.A.N.T are three people he follows to stay inspired via talks, videos, books, and more. Additionally, Stic went into the idea of finding a community – a friend or tribe of like-minded individuals who have similar interests and ideas that you have.
Consistency helps with building a community of support and vice versa. This community can help make sure you are consistent for your personal desires and goals. They will be accountable as your support system so that you can achieve what it is your mind has set out to do.
What was compelling about the this portion of the panel was that Aki shared how consistency is a bit malleable, adaptive, and looks very different for her. Consistency for her means acceptance that she is a multifaceted, curious, and spiritual person that needs the ability to frequently switch things up to explore other ideas, actions, etc. for balance.
I think a lot of us have curious minds, and it was affirming to hear that we shouldn’t default to beating ourselves up for not sticking to one thing for very long periods of time. As long as the parameters are healthy, it is okay to be consistent in exploring new or different things. After all, life is about learning and the only way to learn is to be open to exploring new things, ideas, etc.
STRIVE FOR FIVE
Currently, Stic and his team are looking to bring the “STRIVE FOR FIVE” book tour to LA, Atlanta, Oakland, Denver, and Miami. His overall hope/aim for his book is to help inspire healthy living. I truly feel he’s off to a great start, especially with such an incredible event in Brooklyn to kick things off. He brought together a cast of guest speakers who have all been pillars and leaders in the health and wellness communities online and offline for years.
This by far was one of the most potent and diverse conversations that I have ever experienced. It added tremendous value to his book release and additionally to the lives of all of the attendees as countless conversations anchored in love and enthusiasm sparked as soon as the panel discussion ended. Even if you didn’t get a copy of the book that day, the level of wisdom and love that was poured into you as an attendee listening to the discussion was truly nurturing. Authors who do very insightful events like these make you want to be their customers for life.