Friday, March 25, 2011

Lessons From Miss Celie's Blues

Sista, you've been on my mind...Oh sista...we're two of a kind...So sister, I'm keeping my eyes on you.
It's hard to watch our sistergirls struggle.  All of us have a friend or two that really struggle with life and living.  They are beautiful, loving, amazing women.  They have done things that may leave us in awe of their capacity to love, to endure, to overcome.  They have been our heros, expanding the way we think, the way we live, and the way we love.  They have stood up for themselves on the job in ways we only dream of.  Go out on the town with them and they are the ones that ain't taking no sh!t.  They will defend you, you, and your mamma too.  They can run a household like a Fortune 500 company.  Hell, they run a Fortune500 company.   Not only do they bring home the bacon, they slaughter the pig, smoke and cure the meat, bring it home to cook it and serve it with water that they have turned into wine.  However, when it comes to love and relationships, they lose it.  They become something else.  This Dragon Goddess turns into a damsel in distress tying herself to the railroad leaving everyone with a case of shock and awe.  Now, our eyes are on her because we are worried and the person who usually saves the day needs to be saved.
I bet you think I don't know nothing...but singing the blues...Oh sister, have I got news for you...I'm something.  I hope you think that your something too.
She was the one that we looked at and said, "If our friends reflect who I am or who I have the capacity to be...then I am amazing."  Now, this woman, that we have great admiration for, looks at us and our life and our relationship in awe.  She say's that we are lucky that we found a good man where there are none.  She says, "Well, you always have it together." Completely, forgetting the days that she was the one to pick us up.  She raves about our cooking when it was her that gave us the recipe for that cake.  Now, she's calling us to bake it.  We are tempted out an APB for our real sister because CLEARLY this one has been invaded by some alien from the planet of DAMsella.  We ask her about it and she just brushes it off, "you don't get it.  Things are always perfect for you."  Really?
And this is where the story can turn.  Suddenly, she is avoiding us.  Now, she can't come out, she's tired, she's sick.  Now, your relationship is upside down.  She's mean, or forgetful.  She excludes us because we don't get she says.  We all are not on the same page any more.  And we are TICKED OFF.  She can't break up with us!  She needs to break up with that fool we say.  We tell her that she deserves better.  We bombard her with  any relationship tool that we can get our hand on.  She has to get it together because if she is lost what does that say about us?  It says the same thing.  "If our friends reflect who we are and who we have the capacity to be...then sometimes I fall apart as well.  Sometimes I forget who I am and my power, too."
Oh, scuffling, I've been up that lonesome road and I've seen a lot of suns going down.
Before we throw this relationship in the wind and our hands in the air, let's pause.  Let's go back.  We've been down.  We've had a moment or two in which we did not feel the best about ourselves.  We've settled for less when we deserved more.  In those times in spaces, we may have done some things to others and ourselves that we are not so proud of now.  The only thing that got us through were the people in our lives who loved us anyway.

Maybe it wasn't a person, it may have been an animal, a dog or cat that still was excited when you walked through the door.  Maybe it was food.  No matter how "bad" you were, it was still good.  Maybe it was sex-for a few hours...or minutes...we could run away to version of bliss.  We still may be overcoming a habit developed when we didn't feel good about ourselves.  Many of us have looked for love and care in all the wrong places.  However, most of us have had a healthy dose of being loved through our pain.  Usually, it came from family.  Our sisters, brothers, our mothers, our fathers, our cousins, our nieces and nephews that loved us anyway.  If we were lucky, it was a friend who would look at you and love you even when you were acting ugly.  But it was love that gave us the power to say, "hold up!  Wait a minute!"  I deserve better.  This is not going to work.  Somebody loves me and I'm OK if you don't. 
Oh, but trust me, no low life's gonna run me around.  So let me tell you something sista...remember your name...
It is our job, to help her remember.  It is our job to love her ugly and all.  It our job to love her so she is reminded that not only does she deserve better, she has better.  It our job to love her in a way that does not allow her to forget what love is.  It is our turn to nurture, to be ready to help clean up the mess, to run the bath, to cook the food, to listen with love.  It is our turn to be firm and say, "Let's not talk about that anymore if it's not going to change.  Let's share something else."  We may have to say, "I don't agree but,  I am here for you."  We may have to say, "I know it's frustrating to be going down this road again.  I have been here with you.  You have been here with me and we will come back until we get the lesson."  We may have to cover our eyes when she doesn't get it again.  We have to remember the times that we didn't get it and we kept falling until we learned how to truly stand. It was love that made us sturdy.  This is our time to love.
No twister's gonna steal your stuff away.  My sista, we sure ain't got whole lot of time...
Love with conviction and without judgment.  Soon, the turning point comes and she remembers, like we remembered, that usually we gave our power away.  It was not always...STOLEN.  Now there is power in that!  Once she remembers that she also can remember that she can give her power and she can take it back.  Remember that moment when we realized...THIS IS MY POWER.  Then, remember that next level when  we realized that our HIGHER POWER was our supplier of power and our access to that power is immediate and endless.  Now, we are out of this world and we are free.  That turning point can come for her.  Don't you want to be there to celebrate with her?!  Don't miss out on the party because the planning isn't fun.
Being beside a friend, that you have walked with through the storm, when they have overcome adversity is the most beautifully humbling experience ever.  Remember how amazing you felt when somebody walked you through the storm.  Remember the gratitude?  It is cause for celebration when we or the people we love are triumphant.  It is the ebb and flow of life.  It a reminder of why we do what we do when we do it.  It is testimony that we don't have to be 360 degrees of amazing all the time.  However, we can be a vehicle of Divine love and that is amazing. Now, go and scratch that out of somebody's head.
So shake your shimmy, sister...Cuz honey, this Shug is feeling fine..

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Sermon #051610: Unfenced Transformer

Getting out of the way and allowing divinity to guide me has been a radical experience.  I am learning that the fences I built to keep others out have locked me in.   While life cuts wholes in the gates, I realize that fences and walls have nothing to do with safety.  As I walk beyond and through this rubble formerly known as wall, I am learning my ability to choose peace and joy are my safety net.  It is my willingness and spiritual practice to choose peace no matter what that shields me. And that is work...on a physical, emotional, spiritual, astral and psychological plane. I am grateful for the process. It is a challenge though...

In addition, I am amazed at the beauty in people that I have denied myself just because they did not "fit" or I ass-u-me-d I would not "fit" them.  The beautiful thing about allowing yourself to see, think, and imagine as a divine being is that spirit does not need to "fit".

I must admit, this newness is troubling at times.  Seeing myself and others from a space of divinity challenges EVERYTHING I thought I knew about myself and others.  It requires me to be new in every moment with everyone.  It requires me to transform and transcend.

So my quote this week and song this week is by Gnarles Barkley.   A very dear person that I had the blessed opportunity to meet while working on At Freedom's Door (http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=13204) sent this song to me at the beginning of the year and it still resonates with my soul.  Thank you Aidah Rasheed.  This gift keeps giving.  May you be eternally blessed.


"Behold the beautiful and bold. Everyday I wake up to be new." Gnarls Barkley





(fenced in image from http://cracksinthepavement.com/)

Saturday Sights: Falling for Philly

 I might be falling for Philly. Amazing sights, sounds, people.  Thank you Philly for having me as a guest.  I had an amazing good time.  In two days you gifted me with a garden, an amazing spirit and artist Alan Bell (award winning documentary highlighting him http://www.youtube.com/user/ElanGep#p/u/5/EOiok8gpW4E), a rooftop sanctuary, a youth poetry slam (it was OFF THE CHAIN! http://www.facebook.com/PhillyYouthSlamLeague#!/event.php?eid=123779577636264), a vegan cheesesteak, Tom Kenyon (http://tomkenyon.com/), allowed me to be a witness to the beautiful spirit and artistry of Elan Gepner ( http://www.youtube.com/user/ElanGep), a circus in someone's backyard, a fire thrower/spinner, a sword swallower, murals, murals, murals, Fairmont Park (http://www.visitphilly.com/maps/category/fairmount-park/0/257), fresh basil, pick and eat strawberries, PIZZA!, I could go on and on and on...  Oh Philly...I will see you soon.  Here are just a few memories from my camera phone.  I am a little sore that I left my cameras at home. That's ok...next time!



Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Sermon #050910: Who is imagining you?

Quote governing my week:
"It is not what you imagine.  It is who is imagining.  Are you a human, or a Divine Being?" -Law of Het Heru from MAAT: The 11 Laws of God by Ra Un Nefer Amen

Lately, the question in the forefront of my mind has been "how would my life be different if I didn't do anything out of fear or past pain?"  In my attempt to answer this question, I have left a 10-year career teaching middle school students, manifested a new job within the arts and in my community, wrote a book of affirmations that I am now shopping to publishers, and worked to dismantle all barriers to love within me.  Shifting my quality of life from living in fear/pain to living in love/peace is wonderful and amazing work but it is work indeed.  I have found that claiming it and visualizing it is a very important step, but a fairly surface step.  This mornings meditations led me to a deeper understanding and a key component of the act of visualizing and manifesting. Tua Neter Het Heru.


The first thing that I must consider when I am imagining is who am I when I am imagining?  Am I imagining/visualizing what I want from a very human space or am I imagining/visualizing as a divine being?  Answering this question first often changes the context and the depth of my visualizations.  It encourages me to see myself through an elevated/spiritual eye and feel myself with a cultivated heart.    When I visualize from a place of love/peace I find that the things that I want speak to my oneness with others, cultivates my will and fortifies my patience with my plans to attain what I desire.  In addition, visualizing as a divine being aligns me with divinity and keeps me walking on a divine path.


I am grateful for prayers and meditation.  I am grateful for my morning of dance with my Het-Heru sisters.  I am grateful for my experience and my family at KIMA.  I have left the building but that does not matter because our hearts and spirits do not rest in stone.  I am excited about manifesting/visualizing as a Divine Being.  I am grateful for being made in the image and likeness of God.  Let's go!


The Third Eye by Roy Ayers
Baby, Baby, Baby...look to the sky. Baby, Baby, Baby...look to the sky.  Seeking to find the third eye.  Seeking to find the third eye. Secrets of numbers.  Secrets of sound.  Secrets of sound.  Secrets of wisdom will be found.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday Meditation #050310: No Fear

Focusing on a prayer every week has brought me a lot of peace and opened me up to some wonderful conversations about prayer and spiritualized living.  Usually this post is on a Monday, but, I was up late on the phone talking to my mother about our favorite prayers and I think I JUST recovered from my 48-hours of film-making.  (REMINDER: Straight No Chaser's film shows at AFI on Friday night.  We are in GROUP H. Buy your tickets early they sell out fast.  We killed it! Come see it! http://www.48hourfilm.com/dc/


My mother loves the Psalms and I can see why.  They are beautifully written and you can find a psalm for any time and any situation.  Recently, I manifested a new job and experienced a little trepidation about moving on.  That's when I had to go back to an old standard.  


Psalms 27 has always been my FAVORITE Psalm.  When I needed to be reminded of my direction against adversity or in the winds of change- it is in Psalms 27 that I find solace and clarity.  Right now, we need to be courageous and speak up for our selves and our future in so many ways.  Whether it is about the environment, injustice, or just day to day living - we all need a shot of courage to move forward.  Here is what's in my glass.  I have posted two versions here.  Enjoy.




Psalm 27 (King James Version)

 1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
 2When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
 3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
 4One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
 5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
 6And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
 7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
 8When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.
 9Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
 10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.
 11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
 12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
 13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
 14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.



Psalm 27 (New Living Translation)

 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
      so why should I be afraid?
   The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
      so why should I tremble?
 2 When evil people come to devour me,
      when my enemies and foes attack me,
      they will stumble and fall.
 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
      my heart will not be afraid.
   Even if I am attacked,
      I will remain confident. 
4 The one thing I ask of the Lord
      the thing I seek most—
   is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
      delighting in the Lord’s perfections
      and meditating in his Temple.
 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
      he will hide me in his sanctuary.
      He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
 6 Then I will hold my head high
      above my enemies who surround me.
   At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
      singing and praising the Lord with music.
 7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
      Be merciful and answer me!
 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
      And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
 9 Do not turn your back on me.
      Do not reject your servant in anger.
      You have always been my helper.
   Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
      O God of my salvation!
 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
      the Lord will hold me close.
 11 Teach me how to live, O Lord.
      Lead me along the right path,
      for my enemies are waiting for me.
 12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
      For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
      with every breath they threaten me with violence.
 13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
      while I am here in the land of the living.
 14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
      Be brave and courageous.
      Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Sermon #050210: Music, muse & inspiration

Inspiration for the week:
 “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass…it's learning to dance in the rain.” - Unknown.


I got my quote this week from the end of an email from Mesi Walton.  She teaches an Afro Venezuelan dance class on Sunday's over at the Joy of Motion Atlas Theater location.  I have to get out there and check her class out.  Thanks Mesi for the quote! 


Music for the week:
"As the Rush Comes"

We drift deeper into the sound...life goes on.  We drift deeper into the sound...feeling strong.  So bring it on. So bring it on...Embrace me. Surround me as the rush comes!"


Something about this song makes me dig my heels into life, relax and enjoy the ride.  No matter what life brings you...relax and make the best of the ride. That is exactly what I plan to do this entire week.  Dig deep, relax and enjoy the ride.






Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Meditation #042610: Three Prayers

Prayers are being answered left and right...no need to stop now!  Here are three short and sweet prayers from Chief John Yellow Lark and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

I Come Before You
By Chief John Yellow Lark
Oh Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the wind, Whose breath gives life to the world, Hear me! I come to you as one of your many children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. May I walk in beauty. Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things that you have made, And my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things That you have taught your children-- The lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Make me strong, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy: myself. Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes, so that When life fades as the faded sunset My spirit will come to you without shame.






GIVE ME STRENGTH By: Ludwig Van Beethoven

O God, give me strength to be victorious over myself. Guide my spirit; raise me from these dark depths that my soul, trans ported through Your wisdom, may fearlessly struggle in fiery flight; for You alone understand and You alone can inspire me.


ONE THING MORE


We praise Your goodness that You have left nothing undone to draw us to Yourself; but one thing we ask of You, O God; that You not cease Your work in our improvement. Let us tend toward You, no matter by what means, and be fruitful in good works.