My Family, My Tribe

On North Wood Ave., in my hometown of Florence, Al., sits a two-story white house, with stained glass windows, steeped in years of character with a charming personality. Within these walls, on a regular basis, I meet with people from an eclectic array of backgrounds, belief systems, cultures, races, genders, sexual preferences, and differing ideas. We learn from each other and share our differences with open minds, open hearts, and non-judgment. It is truly magical.

Recently, we shared the experience of what we call “The Circle”. During this spiritual practice, we each write a word on a piece of paper and put them all into a basket, then one by one, we each draw a paper from the basket and proceed to share our thoughts about how our chosen word has affected our lives. Well, this particular time, I drew the word, Love!! Wow!! I was left temporarily speechless as my heart and mind started racing in confused circles, “What can I possibly say about this word? Seriously!! Love?!”


Outside of the birth of my daughter, this word has always seemed elusive in my journey of life. I really didn’t feel comfortable with the thoughts I was trying so hard to exit and delete from my mind — thoughts of insecurity, never measuring up, (so to speak,) and rejection. The word, “Love,” itself, didn’t carry any realistic weight in my mind or in my heart. The ideal of love had always portrayed itself as a controlled obedience, thick with conditions, rules and restrictions. How could this spiritual practice make me examine my inner doubts and fears on the spot? I was shaken internally, searching my thoughts for a couple of moments, still in disbelief of my blindly chosen word that hit my heart like a rock from a slingshot. As I tried to gain some control so that I could actually say something coherent, I remembered where I was. I could feel the presence of the beautiful people sitting with me in this sacred circle.

I remembered the day I walked through the front doors of “Living Spirit”. I remembered, how this group of people, without hesitation, accepted me with all of my brokenness, not only into the room but right into their hearts, with this genuine, unconditional, non-judgmental, elusive-no-more, LOVE!! Not only have they supported me in helping open my heart to others, they are currently teaching me the concept of self-love. This is definitely the most difficult and challenging learning experience. However, I know they have my back, as I absolutely have theirs.

“Our doors are open, with love.”

                                                                                                                     -Living Spirit

It has taken some time for me to grasp this idea that Love is actually real. Honestly though, sometimes it still catches me off guard and leaves me in a little state of awe at just the simple awareness of being part of Pure Conscious Love. We don’t need to pretend or put on an act with each other. We accept each other just the way we are, and that means we don’t always agree, but it’s perfectly okay. We really kind of’ like it that way, and we truly hold love for each other. We may not have biological blood shared through our veins, but we are, in every sense of the word and then some, “ Family!!!!”   This is where I feel at home!!

This is My Living Spirit Family!!!! This is My Tribe!!! I LOVE You All!!


– Marquetta Newell


Daughter, Ashleigh & Marquetta

Originally from Sand Mountain, AL, Marquetta has lived in the Shoals since 1979.  She is certified in Personal Reiki  and Laughter Yoga. As a Healing Energy Practitioner and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Marquetta has conducted workshops in both areas, and  her classes have been featured on local television.  The love of her life is her daughter, Ashleigh.  Marquetta’s cakes are to die for, and her affirmation is to infuse every moment of this journey with Love, Light, and Laughter.

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