12.16.2010

uganda (reconciling ministries network)



lots of questions/issues here...

why are they so stuck on white american christians and their messages of christianity? wouldn't it make more sense to at least flock to some black folks for these "messages"?

what's with the emphasis on sex?

oh, and...gay folks forced hitler to kill...gay folks? ok.

there needs to be some education around the differences between fetishistic practices (the recurring poo-poo theme...) and other forms of sex/sexuality.

while we're at it, let's also get into discerning the difference between sexual abuse and what happens between safe, sane, consenting adults.

and, ultimately, is having more africans killing other africans (in africa, no less) in any way a good thing? guess no one thought about it that way. everyone just wants to help the children...

personally, i'd love to hear about what ugandans believed before the anglicans and the catholics came around, 'cause i have a hard time accepting the idea that homosexuality is somehow being thrust upon this nation, but the garbled "word" of a foreign, presumably white god wasn't. or is the bible more ugandan than i thought?

praying for true, healing enlightenment, respect for life, and a return to OUR ways.

12.13.2010

an unconventional love letter

hi,

as i was emailing a friend this morning, the idea of writing you a letter came.  i suppose it's time for me to consolidate some thoughts and say some things "aloud".

i have this thing about marking psychic milestones, and writing allows me to release and move forward.

so here i am. 

i've been through quite a bit in the last 16 months or so, and part of that journey has involved learning exactly how being with you changed me.

at first, it seemed like just about everything that happened was for the worst. deep down, i always relied on the understanding that rewards accompany all challenges; if i held out long enough, it would all bear fruit. i knew i could eventually turn the negatives into new strength, new opportunities. even as i berated you and myself for the time i'd "lost" with you, i knew patience was my best defense.

but initially, i was just angry. horribly, horribly angry. i wanted my life back. i wanted my heart back. i couldn't believe i loved you, stood by you, defended you. how could i ever think you were the man i was going to spend the rest of my life with?

that anger popped up in various spaces and places. i even thought i was going to have to disappear from the internet for awhile.  honestly, i'm sure i could still be triggered, but those moments are few and far between.  i use any residual anger and hurt as a reminder to never put myself in an emotionally lopsided position again.

i forgave you some time ago, but i will never, ever forget. i'm sure that's part of the reason a friendship isn't in the cards for us.

my boundaries are probably firmer than they've been in decades. only in my childhood journals have i expressed such a surety of self.  i suppose i've come full circle. 

i know it is not "cruel" that i am unwilling to love potential, that i demand actualities before handing over my heart.

i know love, on its own, is not enough. it is beautiful, it feels good, and it's always a blessed gift.  but love is only the mortar--it doesn't excuse you from making the bricks

similarly, i know i can feel, express, and receive love without over-giving, over-sacrificing, or over-committing.

i have always had a peaceful nature. now i understand the true depth of that peace, that it IS me, and no one can disturb it or take it away as long as i am centered in my true selfhood.

i live with my eyes open, using my gift for empathy to protect myself instead of constantly attempting to save or heal someone else (exceptions made for the deserving/reciprocal).  i stay aware of where people are in their various processes, and i listen to my intuition on how to deal with them. the unaware, the ill-attuned, the deniers and psychological procrastinators are easily recognized. the unworthy and ill-prepared are quickly removed from my life, and i let them go with gratitude.

i try to remain mindful that, if you cross my mind or someone else mentions you, i should think good thoughts. sometimes i succeed, sometimes i don't. still, if i come up short the result is more a detached indifference vs. "i can't stand that fool."  i continue to work on it.

i know my healing will continue for the foreseeable future. i look forward to the day when i can say i am running on my new legs with renewed confidence. i know i'm almost there.

i don't know who i would have been if i'd never loved you, but i can definitely say that i love the woman i am now.  pain can shape us with the same power and precision as love does. the heartache, heartbreak, tears, lonely nights and everything else i endured during our relationship molded me.

all that said, i can finally take a deep breath and, in a certain shade of love, say, "thank you for the lesson. thank you for the challenge. it made me better."

in that same breath--or the next--i also know i will never again submit to that same suffering in the name of loving.  

i'm looking forward to receiving the love that will complement, support, nurture, and care for me in all the ways i need and want.  until that day, i am crystal clear in the knowledge that i am enough, that i contain universes and worlds within me, that i know whose i am.  i can take care of myself--all my selves.  i have new trust in myself.

for those things, i remain continually and immensely grateful.

may you be led to the love, healing, and peace you desire. although i cannot walk that road with you--and no longer desire to--my highest self still wishes you the best.

in peace,

o.

12.11.2010

THANK you. FINALLY.

someone said it:
So it is extremely intellectually disingenuous to suggest that a specific critique is exactly the same as a fullscale attack. It seems that what you are really saying is that racism beats Black men down so much, that even when they do sh*t that’s clearly egregious, we should let it go, so that we don’t ally with THE MAN against Black men. And that argument is the height of whackness, not to mention the fact that it makes me think you’re living in 1970 and not 2010.

We make no apologies for critiquing brothers when they deserve it, or for speaking unapologetically about the concerns of sisters. We also don’t buy the logic that our failure to speak about every instance of sexist activity in the mainstream undercuts the legitimacy of our feminist politics or makes us call Black men into question. If you had actually checked out the articles on this site, you would see that in the last week, the most viewed article was a critique of Regis Philbin for grabbing Nicki Minaj’s ass. And the comments that we got from many brothers was that she deserved it.

So since many of you aren’t down for the cause, we are down for own. Unapologetically.

this is an excerpt from one of crunktastic's comments, but you can see the entire, fabulously executed post here.

12.03.2010

love energy

i was listening to an awesome radio show yesterday, and one of the hosts touched on the depth (or height, as it were) of the sacred energies created by a man and a woman dedicated to sacred relationship.

while i was glad there was no outright disparaging of same sex couples, it made me think of the energy i've observed with those relationships.

a few disclaimers: i'm staying within the binary because that's generally been my experience, at least to outer understanding.  also, i'm speaking from the standpoint of energy, not person-to-person dynamics as such. in other words, this is about what my "antenna" pick up when i strip away the "stuff" and get to the essence of the thing.  finally, for brevity's sake, i'm sticking to monogamy. 

i agree that man/woman complements create the highest vibration in the sense of creation, since this is the coupling where physical creation takes place. this is how the energy of loving comes together to create new, actual people. of course, that serves a crucial purpose.

womyn complements form an energy of creation in a different sense--art for art's sake, in a sense. there is an intimate, deep knowing, and a safety rarely seen in man/woman complements--with the possible exception of elder couples who have spent most of their lifetimes together.  womyn together seem to craft this space in far less time and at a younger age.  

complements involving two men form a cone of strength and manifestation. they emit amazing degrees of actualization, determination, drive and power. it is almost like being near the sun. i wonder if it is this drive, particularly when manifested by black men in relationship, that makes folks so uncomfortable.  because, you see, black men aren't supposed to be or do anything. put two of them together and in love, and...yeah.

this is why i've come to consider any intimate relationship rooted in a spirit of love, reciprocity,  respect, and mutual benefit as sacred, regardless of how the people in that relationship identify themselves.  it takes all kinds of energy to keep the world going 'round.


sidebar (or, blog 1.2): one of my major concerns is that there is an emphasis on tossing non-hetero relationships into the realm of abnormality or dysfunction--in ways both subtle and overt--with absolutely no analysis around the quality of relationships themselves.

yes, the "hedonistic gay man" can be a problem, but so can the straight "pimp/playa". making all hetero relationships automatically "ok" is highly problematic for its own reasons (see: marital rape apologia, domestic violence, and the acceptance of wholesale child abuse).  we have to become more aware of these dynamics so we do not fall into dangerous, false hierarchies that keep us separate from and oppressing one another.

12.02.2010

shadeism

you know why white supremacy sucks?

this:


Shadeism from Shadeism on Vimeo.

i can't believe that these beautiful, brilliant young women would think of themselves as anything less than divine creations.

i can't believe people of color are still hung up on this.

i am continually grateful that i grew up in a family that did not laud their light skin over others....even though many of us could have.

it makes me sick that we are so eager to "blend in" because the global minority somehow got this game on lock.

don't get me started...

12.01.2010

some thoughts on world aids day

for many around the world, no reminders are necessary.

this dis-ease has entered our communities, depopulated our families, affected our loved ones.

it is a presence. like billie holiday's heartbreak.

the good news is that we know how to prevent it. we have ways to treat it.

we can fight.

with education, compassion, and care, we will win.

11.23.2010

deja vu all over again

i don't think this season is going to be an easy one.

last year was a nice respite. i think i was ecstatic to not have to be worried about the annual fight/breakup. guess that high's worn off.

considering some of the breakthroughs i've been having, it's no wonder i'm sensitive all over again.  

i've gotta remember to keep my oyin ori handy.   

remember sweetness. remember sweetness. it wasn't always bitter...remember...

11.22.2010

singlehood chronicles #8

i am still stuck on this:
Over the weekend, I got to hang out with some CFs in Atlanta, all single, or kind of single, and primarily straight. Each of us found ourselves in varied states of relational ambivalence: loving or liking someone who doesn’t quite love (or like) you back, at least not in the way you deserve; fearful of trying to date again after years of disappointment and failed expectations; and recovering from heart break or at least deeply hurt feelings. Yet, we are all also unapologetically pragmatic about getting our needs met even when conditions prove non-ideal. As a pragmatist, I had to ask, “is it feminist to remain in a situation where you aren’t getting what you need or want, but you are at least getting something?” What I heard was a collective groan, as we all thought it through. And then after that, a painful, collective, and resolved sigh.

No, probably not. But it is what it is...

And IT is the condition in which we find ourselves. Perpetually alone. Needing love, needing companionship, needing sex. But willing to settle for less than, if only for a moment, even as the sermons, feminist and otherwise, play in the background. Is love enough? In the lonely moments of an otherwise full life, love definitely seems like the solution, like the stitching that turns a beautiful piece of fabric into the form-fitting number that accentuates the best parts of yourself. For all of us who don’t have the love that we so desperately want, it most definitely feels like enough.

But is it really?

i know it's not enough for me.

sometimes, the "close, but no cigar" moments leave me just as despondent, heartbroken, and sore as a ended relationship would.  still, like crunktastic, i find myself asking, "what would i have otherwise?"

sometimes i feel brave, loving how i can, where i can. but when i get frustrated, the part of me that needs one true, real love feels like i'm selling out.

i'm still trying to reconcile those selves...balance the needs with the wants, the reality with my dreams.

the only thing i'm sure of is that it has to be a sin that we cannot love better than this. that freedom, intelligence, and depth seem to make you a lonelier woman, rather than a cherished, genuinely sought after one. 

thus sayeth my moment of vulnerability.

*re-armors and picks up sword*

i'm still a soldier.

11.17.2010

singlehood chronicles #7

a few nights ago, i realized there was some (digital) evidence from my last relationship lying around.  as i destroyed it, i became keenly aware that that was the last time i was loved.

it's not that i want to go back.  or pick up the phone.  hell, i don't even get sentimental for the good days.  in fact, i don't remember very many details except what comes in brief, random flashes.

but...i do remember that i was loved.  and i loved back.  i was connected to someone.  connection is natural to me. easy.

my entire life, i never doubted that i would have a partner, someone to walk through life with.  it wasn't that i was overly concerned with having a husband...it was more than that--a birthright, a way of being.  later, when i learned how shamans and other spiritual people worked in spousal teams, i saw a new dimension in the  relationships that offered that level of connection, and  i longed for a partner i could work with spiritually.

fairly recently i read something about people with libra ascendants having an "urge to merge" that they need to translate into serving others.

i think that's bullshit.*

the older i get, i become less sure that i'll have much energy to do anything without a serious love beside me. 

loving fuels me. it is my air; it is my food.  the security and safety inherent in a good relationship, in the best love, does wonders for me.  it enhances the way i move through the world. 

i only need one.

and i have no idea where he is.


*serving others is NOT bullshit. at all. but to arbitrarily suggest my "soul work" is to throw myself into serving and ignore my need for intimacy and relationship is...questionable at best. and then there's this...

11.16.2010

brothas gonna work it out (?)

there are many gems in this piece, but this here?
...rather than continuing to blame Black women for the decline of the family, another one of Lawson’s really original ideas (side eye), why don’t we finally have an actual conversation about all the economic and social obstacles that impede traditional Black families. If the dude is expected to be the breadwinner, and black men are systematically underemployed, undereducated, and overincarcerated, there’s gonna be a problem. Black folks have been saying that since at least the 1940s; the only difference is that we recognized that we weren’t the ones causing the problem. Structural racism was and is. [emphasis mine]
ooooh wee.

always appreciate the perspective brought by the crunk feminist collective. i think y'all will, too.

11.15.2010

handle that fo' me

there was a lot i wanted to get done this afternoon/evening.  in the end i had to settle for getting the dishes done, doing a load of laundry, and changing the sheets.

on the other hand, i was just over 400 miles from home this morning.  wound up at my desk by about 1pm.  settled in at home at around 4pm.

i suppose that's not too bad for one day.

i'm learning not to berate myself for "failing" to stick to the insane mental schedule i sometimes keep.

often, my next thought is: "this is why i need a husband / steady."  if i could afford one, i'd hire some kind of assistant, but for now, a capable man-friend is much cheaper. 

there's a lot i have to do on my own.  and i'm only one person.  a pretty awesome person, but still just one.

i need the option to tag team some shit.

11.13.2010

the shadow scholar

this is mind blowing.

reading this, i can almost forgive a college professor who treated me as if i didn't write my own stuff for an honors course--although i still think that was on some "you can't be this smart, black girl" ish. my black teachers never assumed i was less than capable. and i was in boston.

i could also DO this. talk about tempting. that's just the kind of thing that would supplement my income quite nicely.

but it would eat at me. i know it. damn this moral compass.

but still...wow.

11.12.2010

fear, loathing, spiders and breakthroughs

today i'm remembering that fear often stands in front of the wisdom we need.

now, i'm too stubborn and proud to let anything "scare" me for long.  i'll hide and cry for a little while, but i quickly get tired of myself.  eventually, i'll crawl out, take a deep breath, and bulldoze over whatever had the nerve to frighten me in the first place.

generally, this works.

but not with spiders.

i've been terrified of spiders my entire life.  there was no horrible incident or movie that did it.  it just was.  they show up in dreams, and i scream until i wake myself up.

as a child, i would wake my father--something of a cardinal sin in our house, given his work schedule--to do it for me. he was always very compassionate about it.

if i had to deal with my mother, she'd click her tongue and chastise the phobia. she was into the "you're bigger" and "they're more afraid of you" method, but it didn't work. size didn't matter, and if they were so scared, how come they didn't move like birds when i made loud noises or waved my arms? 

if they show up in my house, that's a wrap. if someone else is there--particularly a man--i have them stomp the ferocious insect out.  'cause, you know, it takes me forever to find something large/long enough where i don't have to be right in its face to kill it.  and i can barely look at it to verify its demise, but i have to in order to be at peace.

god help me if i swat at it and it jumps. or runs away so i have no idea where it is. 

i've been known to spend a night somewhere other than my bed after a failed squashing attempt.

yes, it's that serious.

i feel awful about this fear, particularly given my general indifference towards most other insects (i.e., i don't really like 'em, but they don't frighten me).  i often beg forgiveness before i smash them, aware that many cultures see spiders as good, helpful bugs and spiritual messengers.

i know grandmother spider is here to help me.  we've talked.  i know she wants to show me how to weave all my selves, gifts, and ideas into a self contained whole.  she's resourceful, living anywhere.  she's strong, and so is her web.   i've already been bitten.

who do you think taught you to make connections, weave thoughts? when you expand and your aura easily stretches across at least half a dozen pathways, who else do you think could have shown you that?

some of my greatest fears have been of my power, rooted in the notion that if i were to truly delve into myself, my deepest desires, dreams and ways of being, that'd be too much for this this existence.  i already feel alone enough; i need to be normal. 

as soon as i found writings speaking of spider as expansion, i understood a little more about my fear. 

even so, i've been floundering for some time, and, frankly, i'm tired of it.

i am more aware of my gifts than i've ever been, but i struggle with creating a cohesive whole. 

i know i need to center myself and begin weaving.

for me, in this lifetime, grandmother spider stands at that gateway.  if i'm going to pass through and gain the wisdom i need, she must be given her due.

*deep breath*

may the lessons be gentle.  and the apparitions few.

11.03.2010

here come the blues...

i admire folks who can love autumn.

when summer ends, i take a deep breath and start counting the hours of sunlight that disappear. i realize that by thanksgiving, i'm probably going to be something of a wreck.

on my little corner of the east coast, we're coming to the end of the first officially chilly week, and all i want to do is hide in a cave and cry. no amount of hot cider, butternut squash, specialty seasonal coffee drink, or pumpkin muffins (not that i like pumpkin muffins...) will change that.

yes, the leaves are beautiful, but soon they will be gone...and i miss being surrounded by green.

yeah, the "holidays" are kinda sorta something to look forward to. but...eh.

come ooooon, spring...

10.25.2010

one of these things is not like the other....

ok, so, lately my "radical/conscious/spiritual"* brothas and sistas have been pissing me off working my nerves around certain issues, particularly involving women, gbltqi folks, etc.

the latest mess started after tyler perry appeared on oprah.  apparently, he's the new poster man for how/why homosexuality is a "problem" amongst our folk, how the white man messed us up, and so forth.

as calmly and clearly as i can, i'm gonna try to break down at least part of what i think is wrong with the pictures i see folks painting.

1. while i admire mr. perry's willingness to talk about his abuse, i fully resent his and others' juxtaposition of abuse and dysfunction with queerness. full stop. anyone who shares his experience has a lifetime of healing to do. that's ok. within the context of that healing journey, what he does (or doesn't do) in his intimate life will likely depend on where he is in his healing.  and that's ok.  but to try to equate that process with ALL gay folks? nah, son.

2. along that same line, there are plenty of bgltqi folks who were NEVER molested as children, and are, therefore, no more confused or conflicted about being themselves as other folks are about being straight.  i've seen no evidence outside of fundamentalist religious contexts that says the majority of people who identify as other-than-heterosexual have been abused or otherwise "warped". behavior is not orientation, and the effects of abuse vary across people and cultures. people are complicated, and so is human sexuality.
(2a.) plenty of hetero folks have been abused in this same fashion.

3.when are we going to deal with the fact that SEXUAL ABUSE is the problem, and stop lauding the "victory" that at least some/most folks emerge from it "straight"?

4. apparently we still need to shout this from the rooftops: pedophilia is a psychological dysfunction involving a sexual attraction to children. the majority of pedophiles--regardless of the gender of the child(ren) they target--identify as heterosexual in their adult relationships.
(4a.) most children are assaulted by people they know, as was the case with mr. perry. you probably need to expose that "dirty uncle" in your family before you start worrying about the lesbian couple down the street.

5. this "population control" panic is nonsense.  we're not going anywhere. just about everyone's birth rates are going down in the u.s., for various reasons.  however, people of color are still the majority in the world. you know who gets paranoid about cultural/physical annihilation? you guessed it! whitefolks.  and now they've got us up in arms about their fear.  who's still talking about losing fam to the military and prison industrial complexes, gang life, and HIV/AIDS?  where's the mobilization around government corruption, healthy food, or better education? 
(5a.) this stance makes a LOT of assumptions, including that gay/lesbian and other queer folks don't have biological children. they do.

and, again, if you don't know any queer folks in the "movement", it's because you've shut them out of your view.  several of the folks you love/quote ad nauseum self-identify as same gender loving or otherwise not-straight. don't believe me? look it up.

if you wanna toss out their contributions to our people's greatness, be my guest. i prefer to stay great.

i could be shouting at the walls on this one. i really don't care. but i would love to see folks stop spouting--verbatim--the same hyper-masculine b.s. we latched on to in the 60s and 70s.  there is necessary work there, and it carried us to a particular point.  but now we know better, and we can do better.  much better.
 

*all of these labels, imo, involve avoiding the same white supremacist traps that have been laid for us for centuries.  we cannot continue to allow our need for esteem and self-worth to eclipse good sense.  

being radically conscious is about radical inclusion and a broad understanding of the range of human experience, identity, and loving--yes, even within african culture.  radicals should seek to understand the intersections of oppression and desire to stamp out a variety of -isms / -archies: heterosexism, sexism, ableism, patriarchy, kyriarchy, etc.  

chancellor williams' the destruction of black civilization does a great job of de-romanticizing historical africa, and can be studied alongside diop's cultural unity of black africa for a better view of the ways in which african societies were both similar and markedly different.  

10.21.2010

gone too soon

{addendum: it's likely that the story that sparked this post is a hoax. but what i said still stands.}

i'm sick of this.

yes, i know kids get bullied all the time. for various reasons. but it really CAN be this isolating, distressing and hurtful.

i've been through it...and, to tell you the truth, i don't even really know why i was picked on. but i know it made me wanna stop living, too. luckily i had other influences that helped get me through.

but while i had to deal with folks' misguided sexual advances, i also had the privilege of being straight. these kids are vulnerable on so many levels.  they are invisible twice, sometimes three or four times over.

on the other hand, i have to wonder: where is this deep, dark loneliness coming from? don't the smart/weird/freaky kids band together any more, or is everybody going for self?

when i was in school, the "outcasts" stuck together.  even when they didn't like each other, if someone got harassed/beat up/talked about badly enough, there was some measure of support.  whatever happened to that?

for the rest of us...

watch how you speak of gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

speak up when your kids harass peers for being "different".

befriend a kid who seems lonely.

listen openly, without judgment. be willing to learn.

you might save a life.

10.19.2010

caring can make you sick

heard a story this morning about folks caring for aging/ill parents, which detailed how care giving can be "bad for your health".

but what wasn't talked about--and i automatically wondered--was how much of that has to with people's feelings of isolation in the absence of the communal/societal support necessary to care for elders and children (see: sandwich generation).

obviously, if you're worried about losing your job while trying to take care of a sick parent and raise your own babies--and this is in no way your professional training or spiritual calling--that's going to cause skyrocketing stress levels. 

i also supposed that this is what happens when a culture that centers extreme individualism, independence, and youth worship finds itself having to care for vulnerable elders.

hell, why this is a problem at all, considering the constant posturing around heteronormative, patriarchal "family values"?  folks trying to keep the good ol' nuclear family together ought to be getting a bonus check in the mail, right?

problem is, we fight to keep people alive or force them into being born without truly understanding or respecting the cycles of life, death, and rebirth--both personally and spiritually.  then we refuse to talk about universal health care while clicking our teeth and sighing at "those poor people" we see profiled in these stories.

when are we going to learn we can't have our cakes and eat them too?

losing your job around caring for a loved one should never be a concern. family medical leave is a start, but obviously it's not enough.

we should be identifying people who want to be caregivers, nurses, personal aides, and home care professionals, and uplifting those careers as viable options over a variety of educational levels. these workers deserve to be able to unionize and earn fair wages.  they should also be trained as models of healthy self-care practices.

i don't know how to change societal attitudes around life/death/rebirth except to say that many non-western european and pre-christian spiritual systems appear to do a much better job of dealing with it.  i encourage folks to research the practices of their ancestors to see what wisdom you can gain there.  take the science as far as it goes, then allow the spirit to do its work.

finally, we need universal health care. period. the piecemeal laws and "protections" aren't cutting it.  without full access to care from womb to tomb and a legion of skilled medical professionals, we're shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot.  we cannot compete with the rest of the world's productivity, creativity, intelligence and innovation in our current state.  our omnipresent stressors and distractions around our general well being are major parts of the problem.  that said, we must include "alternative", holistic health professionals in this vision, not just allopathic doctors.

i don't understand why this is so hard.

no. wait. of course i do.

what i'm not sure about is how to dismantle the system in ways that protect the people it hurts the most.

10.13.2010

love/thought bursts

i am stretching in ways i could not have anticipated; new superpowers emerge daily.

i did not explicitly ask for this (or maybe i did), but i'm remaining grateful for the journey.

interestingly, i used to be completely focused on working to open my heart, to heal and accept love/loving as it arrived in my life.  i refused to let the pain overtake me or steal my joy.

today, i'm constantly aware of how heavily fortified my heart is...not from hurt and shame, but because i gave my heart to someone who dropped it.  from a very high height.

all those years of opening led to another closing; an understanding that i can only make myself available to someone with much steadier hands. until he appears, the fort has to stay in place.

it isn't ideal, but it works.        

i know precisely what i'm dancing around; i am keeping time with the music and measuring my steps.

i know loving fully and deeply again will not be easy for me, but i will face the new openings and fears when they come.

the right partner, the right loving will give me the strength.   

10.05.2010

church.

i recently discovered the daily love through a sistafriend, and today's email was just...wow.
Love everyone as best you can, but only invest in people who invest in you.


Your heart and dreams are precious things, they should be in hands of people who will help to guide them, protect them and nurture them.


As you embark out into the unknown on the Journey of your Dreams choose wisely your traveling mates. Your team and who you surround yourself with is one of the most important decisions you can make and a great influence on whether you will complete the journey successfully.


Treasure your dreams, follow them with trust and surround yourself with only the best.


Don't think twice about dropping the rest.

coming to the place in life where you can see this, feel this, know this...and live it...that place is a wonderful, invaluable gift; one that can never be taken away unless you choose to close your eyes.

choosing to keep mine wide open is the best decision i've made.

is it easy? hell emphatically no.  but it's real, clear, and keeps me on the road to my destiny.   

this is what i'm grateful for today.

another hallelujah moment...

they just keep on coming...

10.01.2010

whole lot of foolishness goin on...

i'm glad the crunk feminist collective took this on, 'cause i don't have the wherewithal right now.

as for this mess? no. just...no. not never.

and i can't deal with this, either.

i'll be back when my sinuses decide they're ready to show some love.  right now, they're in the midst of a painful and highly inconvenient secession from the union.

9.16.2010

the year of living single {part 3}

{if you're just joining us...part 1 and part 2}

being forced to dwell in the "inbetween" for so long and in so many respects has proven to me that precision, appellation, and specificity are not always the paths to understanding.

the japanese say flaws make things more beautiful. wabi-sabi.

there's also some quote floating around about the value in a cracked thing being its ability to allow light in.

that's how this phase of my life feels.

it is perfectly all right if things are incomplete, complicated, or blemished.  i can allow them to enter, sit with them awhile, then release them without committing myself to mending, untangling, or polishing.

in part,  the relationship has not emerged because i'm examining the beauty of the uncertain interim--and enjoying it.  the purpose has not arrived on a white horse, backed by fanfare and bearing gifts--at least not yet.  but nearly every day, i have a new strength to boast about. 

no matter what glittering temptation comes my way, my higher self and the entities that guide my steps and light my path give me the resolve to say "no" (or "yes"...) with perfect peace. 

i listen, and i am rewarded. 

that is in the agreement i made in orun.

i am wise enough to stick with what works, and refute what does not.

that is my gift.

9.15.2010

the big picture (cont)

glad somebody said it.

(for some of my previous thoughts on the topic, click here.)

9.08.2010

update: life

i fussed at someone else about writing recently, but i've been finding it hard to get back in the saddle myself.  so here goes:

the move went well. my bedroom is coming along splendidly, even without a proper dresser. got my eyes on this one. the plan is an elemental theme: ocean bedroom, earth/sky bathroom, fire living room.

 i'm cooking more and enjoying every minute of it. i'm also completely geeked by the create channel.

house porn still makes me inordinately happy.

i'm sleeping well and i love my new improved commute. it's far more befitting a sane person.

i'm enjoying family, friends and laughter.

work is pleasantly mellow. but that probably won't last long.  soaking it up while i can.  

recently rediscovered papaya juice. yum.

hope y'all are enjoying yourselves, too...

8.31.2010

a prayer for the babies

beautiful.


the year of living single {part 2}

since i wrote this, i've been thinking...

intially, i thought giving voice to that milestone would throw me into lamentations, but it actually gave me a rush. it was empowering to acknowledge my triumphs as a non-tragic, single woman.

this morning, a sistafriend presented an exercise that got me thinking about the year ahead. my heart raced as i shared dreams i've been keeping close to my heart--some i hadn't even put into words until that moment.  as i crafted each sentence, i felt, deeply, that it was all completely possible and well within my grasp.

put another way, i'd been (un)consciously working, striving, crawling and struggling to get to the point where i could articulate that specific, blissful vision.  i'm still buzzing from it.

this energy, this momentum wouldn't exist if i were still pouring myself into the energy trap my relationship had become, or allowing a less-than-optimal relationship to do the same thing.

i am absolutely certain that i cannot settle for less than real love, partnership, and reciprocity.  period.

i'm looking forward to my future.  now more than ever.    

8.27.2010

the year of living single

today it dawned on me that i've broken my singlehood record; i've been unattached for an entire year. before now, the longest stretch has been nine months. 

ultimately i'm grateful for this time.  i've learned a lot.

i am stronger and resourceful than i imagined myself to be.

i am self contained--not in the sense of being a recluse or pure selfishness.  i mean that i am full in myself, in my being.  i am ok with me.  i am whole.  i knew i loved myself, but now i understand that love far beyond the general concept of possessing healthy self-esteem.

i have deepened my self-love into a full, palpable reality.  i know just how far i can wrap my arms around myself--literally and figuratively.  there is comfort in that; an untapped well of power i never knew existed.

of course there are moments when i wish things were different. case in point: a huge cricket managed to find its way into my kitchen this morning.  i hate insects. i abhor jumping insects.  but i had to take care of it, because the cat was only dallying with it, and life had to go on.

physical intimacy is sporadic, at best.

an activity partner you can count on is a nice plus that i miss.  a friend maintains that the best thing about being married is that you "always have someone to do stuff with."  in some respects, i'm inclined to agree.

i don't always feel like doing my dishes, cooking for myself (or only cooking for one), rubbing my own feet, or taking in the groceries.  it'd be nice to have someone to supply me with new outfits, shoes, pedicures, and various other pamperings.  i certainly wouldn't be mad if a light bill or two was taken off my hands.      

still, i am grateful that i can do these things.  i've gained a superpower in turning "chores" into acts of self love and blessing.  initially, that was an act of self-preservation in the face of soul-ache and heartbreak, but the attitude change stuck, and it's been a wonderful thing.

i know who my friends are.  my family is a rock.  i've learned to lean on spirit and my intuition in ways that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

and maybe that's been the point.

i'm still gonna work on conjurin' up that love i desire. but i'm determined to have a ball 'til he gets here. 

8.18.2010

false media

{title track}

tonight i had a bit of an epiphany about competition-based reality shows. i'm sure i'm not the only one, but here goes:
if there are enough top models/top chefs/brilliant designers/gifted decorators (and the list goes on) to perpetuate several years worth of these shows, why does it matter who's the "top"?

now, i understand that there are prizes, career advancement opportunities and various other carrots at stake.  i also don't mean to imply that there's anything wrong with honing your craft and being the best at what you do.  that's a great thing.

but, beyond that...

it should be quite obvious that there is no dearth of beautiful women in the world, so why do we need a "top" model?  

if you can cook, and you enjoy cooking, why subject yourself to an insufferable prick of a man (or, at best, someone who enjoys playing that role), all manner of stress, and the scrutiny of millions of strangers just to "prove" how good you are?

see my point?

talent isn't rare.  giftedness isn't rare.*

there are many of us on this planet. each of us is born in a particular corner of said planet, with these gifts, talents, and abilities. 

please understand: expansion and exploration is a wondrous thing. i'm not saying spend your life in a one horse town if that's not what you want to do.  sometimes you're not born at home.  go out, see the world, have a great time.

but, in that world-seeing, if you find a niche that contains family, friends, joy and abundance, what does all the stress and the scrutiny matter?  what are the real reasons we get caught up in all this competition and hierarchical thinking?**

what's wrong with being an awesome force in your community, shining so brightly that you bring the world to you instead of forcing yourself on the world?

how many bloggers who make livings from the breakthroughs and breakdowns are living vicariously instead of using their talents to the fullest? conversely, what does it say when the only viable outlet for gifted satirists and social commentators is a sort of vicious voyeurism?

there is no need to create false hierarchies and artificially unattainable goals.  we have what we need.  

who has the audacity to tell us that we don't?  m.a.c.? nike? walmart?

please.  those things should be icing on the cake, not the alpha and omega of our lives.

let's get real. for real.


*dr. estes makes this point beautifully, often and well.

**i highly recommend reading yuruguone caveat: i do not see euro-descended folks in the 21st century as a monolith; i firmly understand that there are whitefolks who "get" it.  that said, "getting it" almost invariably involves an immersion in either an african culture or one (e.g. native american/indigenous, asian, etc) that is fewer degrees removed from humanity's ancient african ancestry.  also keep in mind that much of what we think of as "european culture" is western, anglo-saxon and/or northern european.  eastern europe and the moorish-influenced nations have some marked differences.   

8.13.2010

...but am i really american?

"american" is a brand spanking new identity. one that is only about 230-400 yrs old for whitefolks (mayflower status proper), and MAYBE about 145 yrs old for blackfolks.

put this up against the millenia human beings have been on this planet.

this is one of many reasons songs like this - while i understand the attempt, sentiment, and meaning - frustrate the hell outta me.



in my opinion, this is one of the major differences between descendants of voluntary immigrants and the descendants of enslaved africans and indigenous american peoples (continentally speaking).

it is not a bad difference. you want a better life, i'm all for it.  come on thru and get your piece of the pie.

but while songs, imagery and sentiments like this may do wonders for soothing white guilt--especially when being sung sweetly by a woman of color (yeah, i said it. run tell dat.)--i don't know that they do much to address the cat-back-raising complexities the statement, "i am an american" holds for those of us who have...um...complicated relationships with this place.

or maybe i'm just being an angry black lady again.

i dunno.

8.07.2010

marked

i've noticed that folks seem mesmerized, surprised, wary or otherwise curious about my serpent tattoo.

i understood the issues that might arise around the design when i was led to it, particularly since it's my most visible tattoo to date.  i thought about how the snake's gotten a bad rep in this culture, what with the whole temptation of eve thing, yadda yadda. to be honest, i'm grateful i haven't gotten many outright inquiries from strangers.

still, serpent's story goes much deeper than eden, particularly for african and other indigenous people, and i knew it went much deeper for me.  

if you've been reading for awhile, you know i've written about my spiritual relationship with serpents. in the last few years, that understanding has widened and deepened, and all i can do is stand in gratitude for its role in my evolution.  

over the years, i've learned that serpents have always been friends of the goddess, symbols of sacred wisdom, rebirth, and resourcefulness.  when you consider the development of the major three western religions and what they needed to suppress in order to spread, flourish, and--let's face it--control, you can understand why the serpent had to be denied its prominence. 
Healthy snakes usually have little or no difficulty with shedding and tend to shed their skins in one entire piece. Exceptions to this include snakes with injuries to the skin and/or scales resulting in scarring, and snakes housed in enclosures with suboptimal temperature and/or relative humidity levels.


The stresses associated with shedding can be substantial. Sick snakes, those suffering from malnutrition, or those whose health has been directly or indirectly compromised by poor husbandry experience delayed and incomplete sheds. These snakes tend to shed their skins in pieces. In fact, many of the pieces remain adhered to the underlying skin and eyes (retained eye caps).


The shedding process is preceded by a period of relative inactivity. This period usually lasts 1-2 weeks, during which time the eyes begin to exhibit a dull, bluish-white appearance. During this period, the snake's vision is impaired, which causes them to be rather unpredictable and sometimes aggressive. The skin during this period tends to have an overall dull appearance. The underlying new skin is soft and vulnerable to damage while the outer layers prepare to slough away. (source)

...now think about that symbolically, emotionally; what it would mean to manifest this lesson while inhabiting a human form.

this is the gift in studying animals you are attracted to or that show up in your dreams.  it's what should always be in the back of your mind while you're watching pbs or enjoying "shark week".

refuse to stop at the "scientific" level.  go deeper.     

snakes--although worthy of respect because of their potential danger to humans--are not any more evil than any other creature. they are bearers of a particular kind of wisdom, as are all animals. that is why we all share this earth-space.

our four-legged, scaled and winged relations are living, breathing illustrations of nature's beauty, diversity, and conscious design--just as humans are.  

examine what you've been taught to demonize.  question what you idolize.  you might surprise yourself.

8.01.2010

mutant


At some point, Rogue grew close to a boy named Cody Robbins. During their flirtation, she impulsively kissed Cody, at which point her latent mutant power to absorb the life energy and psyche of others with skin-to-skin contact emerged. Rogue was traumatized by the experience, and Cody was left in a permanent coma. Hence, Rogue wore body-concealing clothing that eliminated the possibility of accidental skin contact. She wished she "did not have to cover up so much around folks," to protect them from her. She thought her power was a curse.

7.31.2010

the problem with labels

when you're truly about your business, they're not necessary.

srsly, if the common definition for feminism [is] to be treated equal to a man. im not interested in feminism. that is not the goal of the women with whom ive worked. 1/3 of black men are in the prison industrial system. i am working for a different world for my daughter.

word.

7.24.2010

breast ironing



this angers me. for many reasons.

why punish girls for being the victims of rape and sexual assault? 

where is the men's responsibility? their maturity? sense of dignity?

i get that the mothers are doing what they know to try and protect their daughters. i am not passing judgment on them.  

but...have they forgotten their magic?

where are the ancient social structures that would have prevented this? they're pretty standard in original african culture.  has the infiltration christianity and/or islam eroded any sense of the rightful status of women?

obviously, i have a lot of questions.

7.21.2010

above ground railroad

i'm really sick of this.

and the fact that rachel maddow has to waste her time with this--although i'm glad she does, 'cause if she didn't, we'd be just that much more ignorant. 

shirley sherrod and van jones are prime examples of why i'd never want a {serious} government job.  i don't wanna do anything that would rescind my right to speak openly and truthfully--particularly to my own folks.

obviously my vision will have to manifest outside "the system".

7.18.2010

the power in modesty

i used to wonder why any woman would want to cover.

however, as i learned more about the Divine Feminine, i began to realize that some of us are free wheeling love goddesses, others are modest "virgins". 

there are women connected to the earth and Her elements, to psychic power, to mothering and crafting.

all are necessary. all are empowered.

knowing that, i figured that as long as the sista is doing the choosing for herself, it's all good with me.

too bad the french government doesn't agree. 

7.11.2010

6.29.2010

let our girls be girls

right on.


marching on

still trudging through the "muck"...i'll be REALLY glad when i start bleeding. and that's not something i say often.

some clouds have cleared, though...gaining insight into my next steps. maybe by the end of the week, i'll feel more encouraged about this work.

there are some not-so-useful thoughts and feelings surfacing.  one of the more disturbing ones is that a fully loving, enriching relationship is out of my grasp. of course it isn't. but "crap" can rear its ugly head in all sorts of ways.

i'm reminding myself that the moon is waning--a great time to get the lies out and push them away.

6.23.2010

some thoughts on respect

i don't respect just anybody. i might be polite, but you have to earn my respect.

i've been hearing this a lot lately--the form of the statement changes slightly, but the sentiment is the same.

it bothers me, particularly coming from folks who are about 13-25 years old.  some folks even make a slightly dubious distinction between "respect" and "common courtesy" that i don't really understand. 

now, this boondocks episode brings home the fact that not every elder--or person--is to be "respected". 

similarly, i realize that some folks have been raised hearing some version of, "respect your elders" in response to having to put up with some bullshit.  sometimes clearly abusive bullshit.  that's unfortunate.  but as we grow, we should come to understand that the mistakes of our elders shouldn't result in a defiant disrespect of nearly everyone.  it means we should put them and their actions in their rightful place while attempting to gain a clearer understanding of what respect actually is.


respect is NOT
  • kissing ass
  • glossing over silly/unethical/wrong behavior because someone is older than and/or holds some position of power over you
  • confidence (e.g. telling all your business) 
  • intimacy

respect IS (in part)

(a) esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.

(b) deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly. [emphasis added] (source)

in my humble opinion, (a) defines the kind of respect one could argue should be "earned".  and, of course, intimacy, confidence and respect are not necessarily mutually exclusive; respecting someone can lead to those things, depending on the circumstance.

however, if we expand the hierarchical language to a more inclusive view, (b) defines the basic respect i feel we should extend to all sentient beings we share space, time and energy with, essentially because you don't know one's position until or unless they tell you.

that old woman you met on the bus stop could be a queen mother in her homeland.  that child you sneered at for vocalizing too loudly could  be a prodigy.  that local celebrity who was just rude to you--the one you adored a half hour ago and now you're tearing apart on your blog--could have just lost one of her parents, but had to come to an autograph signing anyway.

you simply do not know.

before you talk about how someone needs to earn your respect--or when you hear someone say it--ask some questions.  what are your goals? are you working towards something that will result in your being respected?  who taught you about respect?  were they really worthy of it, or were you just fearful of them?

i'm gonna hop off the soapbox.  what do y'all think about this?

6.22.2010

evolving...

finally got the ori altar up and running, just in time for the solstice.  i still feel like it's missing something, but i'm not quite sure what.  i'm sure it will come to me.

iyalosa olaomi suggests getting up at sunrise for 8 days after constructing the space.  thankfully, sunrise at this time of year is when i'm supposed to be getting my lazy self outta bed anyway.

in any case, i got up on time and said my prayers...wrote down dreams.  i'm hoping to keep this going, despite the pre-moon ebbs and flows. 

i also have some healing tea i need to brew...

i'm gonna get clear.  by any means.

6.17.2010

green cleanse: conclusions

day 11 was really more one of incorporating different foods...but by the evening, i just figured i could eat what i wanted, and did. day 9 was my last fully "green" day.

this morning i had green juice, green pills, and fruit salad (varied).  felafel for lunch.

overall, i'd have to say that juice or water fasting is more suited to significant revelations and clarity.  this felt like a break for my body, but not much more than that.  still, it's definitely a good alternative in the absence of a juicer, and incorporating more green and whole foods is always a good thing.

i also noticed that it was difficult to keep up my energy levels, despite all the chlorophyll and spirulina.  with juice fasting, after i hit the wall, that's less of a concern.  this may be because as long as i'm giving myself something to digest, i need a variety of fruits, veggies, and protein to stay up and alert.

in particular, b vitamins are very important to keeping my energy regulated.  my ideal breakfast most days is a banana and glass of orange juice.  during premenstrual/menstrual times, i typically need a b vitamin-fortified drink to get through the worst energy slumps.  given that most of the foods on this list aren't green, it's no wonder i wasn't very energetic during the cleanse. 

if i want to devote myself to a 2 week cleansing in the future, i think i might do a week of green foods, then directly follow that with 3-4 days of juice fasting.

green cleanse: day 11 (winding down)

breakfast: chlorophyll water, fruit salad (green grapes, clementine, strawberries, bananas)

lunch: "mediterranean wrap" filling (hummus, cucumber, sundried tomato relish, mixed greens, feta. only ate about 1/4 of the wrap itself). green apple

dinner: trader joe's pad thai bowl, spinach w/ TJ goddess dressing

sigh. left my grocery list AND recipes sitting on my desk last night. will grab some more stuff tonight.

i think the butter last night aggravated my sinuses. good to know.

6.15.2010

green cleanse: day 10

lunch: green salad (spinach, romaine, cucumber, sprouts) w/ oil/vinegar dressing & sunflower seeds, honeydew melon

dinner: spinach pasta w/ raw spinach, fresh parsley, basil; clementines*

growing weary...i've had a lot of variety with this, but just goes to show how easily bored i can get with food. next time i do anything like this, i hope to have a wonderful new juicer to help out. it makes all the difference.

i feel pretty good, though.

making a grocery list so i can get to the store tonight.  also hope to grab a pepper grinder for my yummy alligator pepper.

will definitely pick up some kale and try this. more avocado isn't a problem. there are pine nuts left over from making pesto, and my kelp powder's arrived.

i also don't tire of spinach easily. will get more of that tonight, too.

these collard wraps sound awesome...i don't know about making the sunflower pate, but i'll play with it. outside the cleanse, i think some kind of brown rice concoction would be absolutely fabulous for that.

*i put some butter on the pasta, and i've decided to start mixing in other fruits with the green ones. i want to start easing myself back into a regular diet.

6.14.2010

green cleanse: days 8 and 9

during the day yesterday, all i ate was some honeydew melon, store-bought green juice, iced tea, and water. i spent the day at odunde, so the cold iced tea was a necessary deviation.  too hot for anything else. 

had a late dinner of the spinach pasta & pesto. kiwi for dessert. 

this morning, i made more of the avocado mash for lettuce wraps, adding salsa (tomato-based) this time instead of the raw garlic and chopping up the spinach into the mix. also started back with the green pills.

taking detox tea for the ride to work.  missed a day sunday, but did have a cup on saturday.

for lunch today, i'll have sauteed green beans and spinach with ginger/garlic/scallion mix for seasoning. probably heavy on the ginger.

don't know what to do for dinner;  won't be able to do any grocery shopping until tomorrow. but i still have a zucchini in there. maybe have that with the last of the romaine & cucumbers for a quick salad. 

dinner: green lentils with zucchini, tossed with pesto (kind of like a stew)

skin is doing well.  bra marks under my breasts are fading.  feeling more energetic and clear.

6.12.2010

green cleanse: day 7

breakfast: orange juice w/ chlorophyll, kiwi/grape fruit salad

lunch: romaine lettuce "boats" stuffed with spinach & avocado spread* (pic)

dinner: spinach pasta tossed with fresh pesto, zucchini "fries"

last night was rough. i wanted eggs this morning, honestly. i love spinach/avocado omelettes...

but i'm hanging in.

tomorrow i'm sure i'll have to make some substitutions, but i'll get back on track monday.

i decided not to eat at all last night, just had a glass of mango nectar and some water and vegged out with a movie.  my body felt tired, but not hungry.  did some freewriting as well.

i'm feeling VERY emotional right now. wanting to cry, love, understand, grow....feel. my heart is slowly, gently opening.

the first rush of feeling is always jumbled...confusion is normal, although frustrating.  i just have to push past this and into the clarity...

i know now that i'm doing this at the right time for the right reasons.


*very simple:

1 avocado
sea salt
blk pepper
a dash (or more) of dried red pepper
lemon or lime juice (about 1 tsp)
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

mash the avocado, mix w/ seasoning, garlic & citrus juice, and spread! also yummy on sandwiches.

6.11.2010

green cleanse: day 6

breakfast: green apple, unsalted roasted cashews

lunch/snacks: green water, salad (spinach, romaine, edamame, cucumber, avocado) w/ balsamic vinaigrette dressing

dinner: ???

woke up with a bad headache, feeling irritable overall. detox in full effect.

my skin, however, looks remarkably fresh.

6.10.2010

green cleanse: day 5

breakfast: apple cranberry juice, soy yogurt

lunch/snacks: green grapes, chlorophyll water, cabbage salad, honeydew melon

dinner: cucumber, guacamole with broccoli for dipping, pear

one deviation: a sliver of red pepper to taste a (green) spread at a work function. spread was tasteless.  altho i'm not counting drinks, i also had a b vitamin smoothie for energy.

intensified cravings for snack food, particularly potato chips.  feeling a bit irritable, itchy. slight facial breakout.

i've hit the wall.

took a probiotic tablet after dinner to avoid any tummy upset from the raw garlic in the guac.  also probably need to get in more plain water, possibly with lemon. i'll work on that tomorrow and over the weekend.

6.09.2010

green cleanse: day 4

lunch/snacks: chlorophyll water, honeydew melon, mutsu apple (had them at the farmer's market...yum!), big green salad w/ avocado & green goddess dressing.  spirulina/hempseed/coconut water drink w/ honey.

dinner: pear

so i come in the office, and what's in the kitchen? bread and butter!

i love bread.

anyway, had a few cashews after i finished my brussles sprouts, which helped me feel full for the rest of the evening, particularly since i wasn't at home and couldn't just grab a handful of grapes or something.  i find that i really miss snack-type foods during these exercises. fruit is helpful, but i love potato chips, popcorn...that kind of thing.

i was running late and didn't make my detox tea or take my green pills. i did, however, have a small glass of orange juice and a probiotic chewable. i'm wary of taking green pills in the evening because they can amp me up and make it hard to sleep.  but, for the sake of consistency, i'll likely take them with dinner.

6.08.2010

green cleanse: day 3

breakfast: orange juice w/ chlorophyll

lunch/snacks: cabbage salad, green apple, green grapes

dinner: roasted brussels sprouts

a conversation at lunch has me excited about all the things i'm looking forward to eating...

that said, i'm not experiencing any real cravings yet, although i'm beginning to really want some bread.  

i would make the cabbage salad again, maybe for a spring/summer potluck. i'm not too fond of vinegar* , so i might use less of that, and a touch more sea salt. the amount of red pepper was just right and gave it a good kick.  it's also surprisingly filling. i had my apple for "dessert" and some more grapes towards the end of the day, and have not felt hungry. 

the variety's been pretty amazing.  i would recommend always going into a cleansing/fast with a clear regimen and/or recipes.  it helps tremendously, especially when you start feeling "bored" with the whole thing.  

i am experiencing deeper sleep, but there's a heaviness to it.  it's not the pop-up-at-5am-with-no-alarm clarity that tends to come a little later down the road.  i wonder if that's not something i can expect since this isn't a juice/water fast.

in the past, i've concluded fasts with a water-only day. i haven't decided if i want to do that this time around.  



*i use apple cider vinegar for just about everything involving cooking/consumption.  i keep white vinegar for house cleaning, but that's about it.


6.07.2010

green cleanse: day 2*

breakfast: slightly diluted mango nectar, green pills, soy yogurt, green delicious apple

snacks: fruit salad (honeydew, grapes, pear), chlorophyll water

lunch: big green salad (celery, cucumber, spinach, romaine, parsley) w/ green goddess dressing
(salad was also supposed to have watercress, but i accidentally picked up mint instead. gonna find something to do with it...)

dinner:  green beans sauteed with garlic/ginger/scallions, steamed broccoli, big green salad w/ regular (tahini-based) goddess dressing

noted this morning that the moon's almost new (waning crescent)...good time for this new beginning.  new moon's on the 12th, day before odunde. those will be powerful prayers! 

last night's yoga made me slightly sore and a little tired, but i'm grateful for it because it often lets me know where i'm holding tension in my body.  i'm feeling my inner thighs, upper arms, and wrists the most.

addendum: tummy rumbles started this evening. glad i had the mint on hand. i didn't realize you could just steep the leaves in boiling water for about 15 minutes and bam. tea. that's all tea is anyway...but we're so used to packaging and such...

i'm also enjoying the recipes on the site. i made the cabbage salad for lunch tomorrow.  will let you know how it turns out.


*pics of food and other info as i learn it on facebook.


6.06.2010

green cleanse: day 1

i decided to do this green cleanse after having a few friends mention it. people seem to have interesting results, and i am long overdue for a cleansing/fast/"conscious eating" practice.

i'm semi-officially starting today, and will continue eating this way for 14 days.  if all goes well, this will take me to june 20-21...right around the summer solstice.

i will need to variate from the plan a bit. i just finished a course of antibiotics for a sinus infection, so i need to maintain a probiotic regimen for at least the first 5-7 days.  

in the absence of a juicer, it's also unlikely that i'll only be drinking green drinks, although i will stick to water, 100% juices and herbal teas as much as possible. 

starting tomorrow, i'll be taking chlorophyll (in juice) and green pills as part of breakfast in the morning.  i also want to have at least one cup of "detox" tea every other day, if not daily.

this time will also be used to build an ori altar, continue some heart chakra healing, and narrow down my housing search.

first green meal/snack: roasted brussles sprouts 
dinner: large green salad with freshly made green goddess dressing

also consumed today: some "fruit and nut" trail mix, peppermint tea, grapefruit, soy yogurt, lemonade*



*i have some juices in the fridge that i want to get rid of in the first few days. same with the soy yogurt. after that, i'll just be taking chewable probiotic tablets. the grapefruit is the last of 3 i bought to help with the clearing of the sinus infection (they're great for getting rid of mucus in the body). ideally, in the next 3-4 days, my diet should be fully "green".

5.30.2010

mid-cold gratitude

my "summer" kinda sucks so far.

after a 2-day meeting at work, i was all ready to come into my 4 day weekend with a bang.

i did. or, at least my sinuses did.  the bad sort of bang. 

but, in the spirit of not complaining, i tried to think of the good in being stuck in bed for a few days.  that started with a couple of status updates on facebook. an extended version follows.

gratitude in illness

i'm inspired to own more kaftans. they're ridiculously comfy!

the weather's held out. it's been comfortably cool the last few days...barely even need a fan. i don't know WHAT i would have done if i had to be stuck in here in 90-100 degree weather.

i have a vision for my ori altar.

i made a yummy pot of soup for myself - even though i barely tasted it.
had some great, extended phone conversations.

although it REALLY sucks that i missed her & janelle monae, i'm glad i didn't buy advance tickets to the erykah concert. i probably would have been more miserable if i'd gone.

5.11.2010

scar tissue

the last few days have reminded me of the continual nature of healing.

once you truly, deeply begin, it's never really finished. you might go away for weeks or years, but eventually it will return to you, or you will return to it.

it's that scar your eye wanders to whenever you look in the mirror. you know it's there, but you check every so often to see if it's changed. sometimes you could swear it still aches or itches.  you might wince, fully remembering the original pain, the blood, how you thought it would never close.  most often, though, you just glance over it while you're putting on makeup or checking for dirt on your face, not even giving it a second thought. 

in the last week or so, i've had an epiphany or two, unintentionally shared some deep secrets, continued some old conversations.  i'm grateful, even though it's all left me feeling a little raw.

i'm reading a book that's speaking to feelings, dreams and experiences that i haven't shared aloud with many.  i'm still apprehensive about expressing all the thoughts it's sparking, but i know they'll need to emerge eventually.

i blame retrograde.  particularly since it came in taurus...a sign that's always evoked a deeply honest emotional and sensual response in me.   

through it all, i am still loved and loving.  expanding.  making connections.  refusing fear, even in the midst of being afraid.

gotta keep moving...

4.28.2010

malena

i watched malena last night, and it broke my heart. i found myself tearfully recalling all my sympathy for those other women.

to me, it was a poignant statement on just how deeply dysfunctional the madonna/whore dichotomy is, forcing us into boxes that cause us to hurt ourselves and one another.

[SPOILER ALERT: if malena's a film you think you might wanna see, stop reading now, 'cause i'm gonna give away some key plot elements...]

4.24.2010

cohesion

for a moment, i had doubts that the integration was working, that it was the right thing.

then, i actually received a couple of signs...

the first came from the billboard on a friend's church, saying, "live your resurrection". i almost took a picture.

the other: a spider crawling across my windshield. i have a serious case of arachnophobia, but i know grandmother is trying to guide me out of that fear so she can help me weave the threads of myself together.

all that to say, if you ask for a sign - or even if you don't - keep your eyes open. the universe is always conspiring to bring you what you need. 

4.23.2010

oh, henry.

apparently, skip gates is at it again.

having read this in full, i realize i don't have the desire to go fully in on this white supremacy - in the theoretical/academic sense - apologist.

as sista jo so aptly said, "...and this is precisely why they champion him. He tells their version of our story"; a perfect example of what happens when the hunter (or the hunter's minion) writes the history instead of the lion. 

i do, however, wish to point out a few things.
Advocates of reparations for the descendants of those slaves generally ignore this untidy problem of the significant role that Africans played in the trade, choosing to believe the romanticized version that our ancestors were all kidnapped unawares by evil white men, like Kunta Kinte was in “Roots.” The truth, however, is much more complex: slavery was a business, highly organized and lucrative for European buyers and African sellers alike.
right about the business (kinda), wrong about the reparations.

from everything i've ever seen, the common ground in the case for reparations is the disproportionate contribution free slave labor made to the bloated wealth america enjoys today.  that's what we're owed for. period.

to paraphrase another brilliantly obvious twitter observation, africa didn't profit from the slave trade. as with any other capitalist power move, a few elites profited from the slave trade - which ain't the same thing. the maafa initiated a severe brain drain that continues to this day.

most regular african folks just suffered.  just like the enslaved folks here.

moving on...
For many African-Americans, these facts can be difficult to accept. Excuses run the gamut, from “Africans didn’t know how harsh slavery in America was” and “Slavery in Africa was, by comparison, humane” or, in a bizarre version of “The devil made me do it,” “Africans were driven to this only by the unprecedented profits offered by greedy European countries.”

But the sad truth is that the conquest and capture of Africans and their sale to Europeans was one of the main sources of foreign exchange for several African kingdoms for a very long time. Slaves were the main export of the kingdom of Kongo; the Asante Empire in Ghana exported slaves and used the profits to import gold. Queen Njinga, the brilliant 17th-century monarch of the Mbundu, waged wars of resistance against the Portuguese but also conquered polities as far as 500 miles inland and sold her captives to the Portuguese. When Njinga converted to Christianity, she sold African traditional religious leaders into slavery, claiming they had violated her new Christian precepts.

speak for yourself, dude. these facts aren't difficult to accept, they are what they are. for anyone who's studied this history, we know that whitefolks did any and everything in their power to win over whoever they could to feed their machine, and some africans played along.

it's known that slave trading has occurred in africa since the arabs came and conquered colonized spread islam all up and through west africa.  before that, there were inter-ethnic conflicts. everyone who's ever read  chancellor williams understands that it's been eons since there was anything resembling african unity in a social sense, despite the various examples of cultural unity.

however, that slavery was nothing like chattel slavery in the west. typically, slavery was not a permanent condition, did not render you less than human, and did not apply to your children and their children.  enslaved people had a particular set of rights, and harsh masters were sometimes shamed socially.

no matter what these african monarchs and elites may have been allowed to see on a slave ship or when they arrived in europe, it is possible that they had no cultural/psychological grasp of how dehumanizing the systems of black enslavement were in europe and the americas.  it is possible that they literally could not even imagine it, given their life experience.   

but even if i give gates the benefit of the doubt here, the bottom line is that talkin all this trash without even a glance to the equally, er, "complex" history of arabia/islam in west africa is foolish, at best.

oh, i'm sorry. i forgot.  you're just looking to make another drop in the soundbite bucket of "post-racial" america. my bad. 

then there was this gem:
And there were thousands of former slaves who returned to settle Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Middle Passage, in other words, was sometimes a two-way street. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to claim that Africans were ignorant or innocent [emphasis added].

skip, sweetheart? the middle passage was never, ever a two way street. it was a one-way ticket to hell. whether that hell was reached through "willingly" (think of the social/economic/psychic pressures here...) relinquishing one's culture, language and spirit to supplant them with european ways, or being stifled in the cargo hold of the henrietta marie.

i see what you were trying to say, but...very poor choice of words.

now, the absurd conclusion:
Fortunately, in President Obama, the child of an African and an American, we finally have a leader who is uniquely positioned to bridge the great reparations divide. He is uniquely placed to publicly attribute responsibility and culpability where they truly belong, to white people and black people, on both sides of the Atlantic, complicit alike in one of the greatest evils in the history of civilization. And reaching that understanding is a vital precursor to any just and lasting agreement on the divisive issue of slavery reparations.

obama is uniquely positioned to understand the insanity of race relations in america. i believe that.  but all that there? you're trying too hard.

it's glaringly obvious that you'd do well to undo some of your monocultural, classist, seemingly "objective" thinking before attempting to speak on this again.  otherwise, you're only convincing the same whitefolks who have used this same, short-sighted argument time and again to deny their role in perpetuating and profiting from a system that traumatized the entire world.


for more on this, check out:
kwame shabazz
problemchylde

brother jesse's blog
the root (by michael gomez)
the griot (by dr. boyce watkins)
nigerian village square (by paul adujie)