Monthly Archive for September, 2018

Alana Slays Dragons

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my friend Alana needs your help. she is well into the miracle phase of her life. we all know that we are going to die, but most of us don’t know how, and we can pretend the time is far away. for two years now, Alana has woken up every day knowing that cancer is inside her body, too far along to be stopped, the number of her possible days spoken aloud. she shares each step of her journey, finding the humor, the pleasure, the connection in each battle. she reads Harry Potter, and she plays scrabble, and she slays dragons. it’s never fair when someone gets sick in this way, at this young age. but Alana’s fight is especially unfair, because my friend is in the kind of love that humans long for at the cellular level, the kind of love that deserves forever, the kind of love that cannot be quiet. her love and life are a benefit to all who cross her path. please go and read her incredible, vulnerable blog. it ends with this donation link – give her more days to live, more days to love. give her family space and time with this badass angel. give give give!

I’m upset! #usopen

Ooh. I watched the US Open today.

Ooh!

I’m upset.

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I feel like Serena was not robbed, she was disrespected. This feels like Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, where a white man did something he wasn’t supposed to do and an incredible Black woman gets shamed in front of a massive audience.

It’s shame. Shame when you ban a player’s functional outfit that fits her incredible black body, when you make the best athlete alive wear a skirt. Shame when you beef with her over her coach’s actions. Shame when you punish her in a measure incongruent the US Open. Shame when you distort the first major victory of Naomi Osaka (the first Japanese player to win here, in a championship over an idol) with unnecessary drama.

Serena was so clear each step of the debacle: this is wrong. She had a right to be mad, she was up against a worthy opponent and struggling. And she’ll be fine, she has saved her own life, she has forged her own path many times. Osaka will also be fine, she’s an incredible player and I wish her all the unmarred victories in the world.

Who/what may not be fine is the US Open itself. The US Open needs to catch up with the race and gender dynamics of their victors. Real adult women are emotional under the pressures of the game, just like men players. A Black woman’s rage at being insulted is not irrational. If you don’t evolve, you will continue to make calls that are sexist, patriarchal, and racist.

The way Serena defended herself though – on her baby she wasn’t going to be called a cheater!

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To his credit, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou was like “yes I was coaching,” which we already knew cause cameras. He added, “everyone does it”, with a shrug. Serena – if she saw him or not – also knew the culture, we all knew that. We’ve all spent years witnessing coaching on the court (so much so that I didn’t even know it wasn’t legal), as well as tantrums. It’s so important that everyone has the right to express righteous rage, to stand up for themselves. Serena has transformed her rage into some of the most incredible victories of all sports anywhere. She could have done that here, given a fair chance. Or lost on her own limitations.

This was wack.

White supremacy decides when to enforce the rules, and who will pay the price. Serena’s rage, it ached to witness. It wasn’t fair to her. It wasn’t fair to Osaka – she was heading to victory without this drama.

I’m upset!

birthday blessing

we have now entered the sacred window that only comes once a year, between BeyoncĂ©’s birthday today and my own on the 6th.

a lot of people have asked how they can support me in my new IRS situation, which involves paying the govt more money than i have. every month. (i was a war tax resister, i reflected on my learnings on my blog)

any money given to me will just be more taxes to pay later. but what really matters to me is supporting and protecting the work of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute. i don’t want the work to drift because i’m being made to feel scarcity. i’m feeling clearer than ever that it’s time to offer emergent strategy facilitation training, i want to answer this call. monthly or one-time donations to make sure that this budding little institute can actually cover my salary, let me hire someone brilliant to grow the work, and let us focus on making the offer of facilitation training for 2019, this is the birthday gift i want.

if you have been moved by emergent strategy, by the thinking and writing and facilitation, if it can come from the heart, please give. in the memo put “ESII birthday donation” so i can thank you all for being my birthday blessing.

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lightning guidance

i’ve been traveling for the last month, and in almost every place i’ve been, there’s been undeniable lightning and thunder.

lightning in the woods over Minnesota.
lightning over the sea in Pantelleria, Italy – i may have been naked in it, singing and praise dancing.
lightning from a plane flying through Chicago – so fantastical that I hardly resented the ten hour delay in travel. hardly.
and now, lightning in Idlewild as i write this, long horizontal flashes followed by rolling thunder.

it’s my birthday month, and this is the beginning of my birthday week. i turn 40, and i’m ecstatic, taking nothing for granted, surrounded by brilliant artists and thinkers, letting the number be both random and miraculous.

i looked up the meaning of lightning, since i’ve seen more of it in the last few weeks than i have in the last few years. aretha is the research soundtrack, because i’m grieving her, and because she clearly understood lightning. i found/learned many things:

lightning means a loss of ignorance.
the arrival of truth.
fertility and creativity (if those are different).
it marks a sacred place, or a sacred time.
the union of fire and water in power.
the sign of the coming storm.

there’s so many variations to it – the singular bolts, the wide sky rolling and bursting with light, the split bolts that come in twos and threes, the horizontal ones that seem like rainbows of white fire.

i know less and less about the general, the universal. perhaps everything is connected, even though there are paths of humanity i can’t feel at all. i’m less certain.

i’m getting clearer and clearer about what is true for me, true in me. what i can trust and what i can live without. who gets to measure my worth? i’m learning this. who gets to shape my future? i’m learning this. who do i live with and for? i’m learning.

the way comes through in clear ecstatic explosions, in connection, in a moment where i can do nothing but be present. lightning calls me into the present moment, and i arrive again and again with an undeniable shriek, expecting mass wonder. so i linger in delighted reverence. i watch storms roll in until i feel the spray on my face. i watch near open bodies of water and from under trees, risking proximity until i can smell it, feeling inside that i am safe – if some day i’m not, it will be a spectacular miscalculation. and i’ll die happy.

at the beginning of this year, i had a different relationship to every major area of my life than i do now. it has been a year of deep thunder quaking me open, and bright illuminating light showing me my limits and my memories and my self.

i read American Gods during this period and have been reminded of the thunderbirds, their lightning of the eyes, and what storms can obscure. i was reminded that i am fickle about god in this way – any time i feel awe i see god.

i don’t want a god who doesn’t live in the heart of all this wonder.

i accept the gift of all this birthday lightning as guidance about my work, our work at this time: be nothing less than awe inspiring.
bring light.
move against, but in a way that illuminates the clouded places.
be truth.
cast off ignorance.
cocreate the sacred here and now.
make fire.