Monthly Archive for August, 2010

redux: magic

i just wrote a whole long blog on the magic of time and how love and deep values and right people are all aligning at ruckus right now, and how much i cherish the time i have had there, and how grateful i am that ruckus is in the world and that i got to contribute to it.

i wrote it all up, and then clicked something and it disappeared – which never happens. so…

just noting i did that. and i’m letting go of the poetry of what was and just passing on the sentiments cause i have to run out the door now.
:)

an ode to routines

i have been ruminating much lately on the power of routines.

i admit on the front end that part of my comfort with routines comes from the immense blessing of being born a virgo with a scorpio moon (orderly, wilderly). but i see the benefits of routine in the life of every person i know who actually get things accomplished.

for me, being in a place of good, flowing routines opens up more of my brain for visionary, creative and complex concepts. instead of spending time picking out breakfast, i make a smoothie that i know will be delicious every day, and my first thoughts can stay focused on analyzing of the bits of dream my memory was able to catch in the waking process.

in fact, i could basically live on smoothies (rice milk, organic pre-frozen bananas, strawberries, water-soaked flax seed, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and occasionally other fresh fruit) and my lentil soup (red lentils, yellow split peas, red quinoa, 1 chopped vidalia onion, 2 bulbs worth of crushed garlic, and any vegetables you want to toss in – spinach, mushrooms, corn, kale, olives have all worked. squeeze 1/2 a small lemon on when serving, and add a cube of feta for non-vegans). this has allowed the part of my brain that used to spend all of its time thinking about the next thing i could eat to instead stay focused on whatever it is i want to be doing.

with physical activities too – when i swim i set the time goal, adding a few minutes every few days. my stroke is freestyle, and when i am done i do 5 backflips in the deep end and then float the pool length. my body knows to do this, so my mind and spirit can focus completely on breath and meditation, not switching up strokes or running around to different parts of the gym, watching TV or reading magazines while my body works. i have reached depths in meditation during swimming that i have rarely reached anywhere else – such deep quiet.

my work routines bring me pleasure as well – every monday i do email aikido *aka cleaning out my inbox* and then run through the to-do lists on my online work management systems (i use basecamp for my ruckus and personal work) and prioritize. knowing i am going to do this means that throughout the week i rarely have a moment of not knowing what to do, feeling overwhelmed, or even stressing too much about falling behind. and even if i need to procrastinate on one task, i can check the list and find another more interesting one, and still be accomplishing necessary stuff.

of course there are a lot of things that hopefully aren’t routine…while a healthy eating routine is wise, having exciting cooking and eating out experiences ensures that i stay connected with those most delicious aspects of living. while an orgasm-a-day routine is wise, having routine sexual experiences isn’t. and so on.

i’m blessed in that for years now i have been able to craft flexible home/office situations. that means i wake when my body wants to, i can do the long late-night work sessions my inner insomniac romanticizes. it means i can work out mid-morning or mid-afternoon if i want to. for me, a 9-5 office routine doesn’t serve my best creative life process.

but the routines that have emerged, especially in the past few years as saturn’s returning stripped my life of excess, exposed patterns and left me with a lot of fertile ground for the next couple decades…those routines are so fulfilling and simplifying and i am awakening all kinds of creativity! like – children’s books, collages, science fiction anthologies, sci-fi erotica ideas, life structure ideas for every organization i know, singing, somatics exercises and that’s just this week.

i feel like i write a lot of times about the exceptional aspects of life, but in some ways its the routines which give me more consistent, steady joy.

or – possibly even better than joy, peace.

an ode to tunde and tamara

in the past 24 hours, as i wrestled with how much i long to write more than anything else in the world, two people i respect and admire came out as readers of my blog.

tamara warren is an amazing writer-mama from detroit, living in NY, and she encouraged my sci-fi writer self last night. yay!

and then tunde olaniran is a super amazing singer-songwriter-star floating about michigan, a part of stereoluxx. he inspires me to wear feather earrings, neon and be more fabulous.

i just want to say that it means an immense amount as a writer to know that writers i look up to are reading this :)

antoine dodson

i have fallen in love with someone and i need to tell y’all about him. this is not normally the kind of thing i would share here, it’s (even) more personal, but i…i have to tell you.

his name is antoine dodson, and i feel like he is this moment in a nutshell. fabulous and angry, and smiling and lovely and authentic. i can’t remember the last time i saw such a real moment on television.

and the remix of his news story, the flip of it into an autotune, now has the most people in the country possibly ever bopping their heads to an anti-rape jingle. that’s what it is – he is the essence of how you feel when someone you love is sexually attacked. you want feel fearless on their behalf, you want their attacker to know they will never get another chance.

it’s not exactly transformative in the usual way i think of it, but there is power in seeing such a fearless black gay man on the news, defended as an important spokesperson for his family and community.

the follow up video shows him looking like a modern-day lafayette, sweet sweet sweet.

the song is catchier than anything on the radio right now – i know i can barely speak if i am not saying/singing lyrics to this.

p.s. AND there’s an extended version!

assata

8-17, how i know assata

i imagine Assata
sitting on her porch
in cuba – Cuba
watching vegetables grow

i imagine her now
that liberated woman
that symbol of our freedom
her days so deep; slow

i picture her now
ageless, so young
not far from a gun
and she knows how to use it

i picture her love
glowing beyond her
bright, our ephemera
saying,
but you can’t abuse me.

(thanks to dream for putting this to my mind tonight)

it looms

ack!

my future is getting a little loomy – its looming in my face. i feel like my brain is beginning to fragment after years of careful focus. every idea that is coming to me is…decentralization, emergence, abstractions and theories and radicalization.

my reading list:
- tananarive due’s the living blood
- beyond resistance: an interview with subcommandante marcos
- selu: seelking the corn mother’s wisdom
- epileptic (a graphic novel)
- an essay on nina simone’s journals and love letters
- uses of a whirlwind (a book on movement, movements and contemporary radical currents in the US)
- 20 us social forum reports
- 212 emails

and people keep asking me, what’s next?

i should sit at the feet of detroit elders and learn about movement for the next 5 years.

but i want to write.

sci fi erotica.

no i want to read – study all the great philosophers again with a new, 32-year old, post-ivy league eye (almost 32 year old, never-quite-graduated eye).

i should write something – an autobiography. which is pretentious at my age. just shy of justin bieber. i should write a how to guide – how to grow into a network. how to hold a us social forum. how not to build movement. who can i engage in writing those?

no i want to do organizational healing, facilitation that reaches the root cause of dysfunction. but am i an expert at that – what am i an expert at? how do i put being curious and interpersonal conflict resolution on a resume?

i should focus on my own health and healing. swimming, cooking, taking care of the chickens and learning to garden for when the apocalypse comes.

i should write an essay on black women obsessed with the apocalypse. i should edit that anthology actually. that’s morose – i need to be positive right now.

no i need to do something with the last decade’s worth of work learning.

or maybe i just need to move in with my sister and be super-auntie to my niece and nephew.

except i have to be in detroit, because i love detroit and i want to document – no i want to be a PART of – the renaissance that is absolutely afoot here.

i want to be a part of everything new and evolutionary in the culture – from how we communicate and heal to fashion to sustainability to magic to intergalactic localizing. i want my own personal health to be a reflection of the health that is possible in the species – and the change that labors to birth that possibility.

i feel like that salman rushdie novel midnight’s children – the voices of my generation in my head, intimately tied to the fate of my nation and home planet, important and negligible and responsible and helpless at this particular moment in history, on the precipice of the next great evolutionary leap.

i feel like my future is in the mirror i keep avoiding in the dark, standing right next to me and like arundhati roy said – i can feel her breathing.

i believe that love is the path to deeper and deeper radicalization. it is impossible to stay on a rigid, conservative, destructive path when you let love open you to the fact that difference is a mental survival process, not a reality. that is to say, you are not a mistake, you are part of the whole, so destruction and hate are self-defeating behaviors, and not worth your miraculous time.

maybe i need to spend the next year meditating. or in silence. but blogging about it. an overdocumented spiritual journey. which, i am arguably already doing.

thank god for my to-do list, tethering me to the reality that in this moment, at this time, all i have to do is finish what i started. i have finite lists, finite tasks, a finite immediate future.

and beyond that?

it looms.

through african eyes

i just ran over to the Detroit Institute of the Arts as fast as i could to catch the last two hours of the Through African Eyes exhibit.

it broke my heart in all kinds of ways.

i got to meet the curator Nii Quarcoopome, who worked for a decade to pull together this collection, which offers a range of African responses to colonization. the question we are asked to begin with is – are we looking at representation, or mockery? was this art a way of honoring spirits, or understanding outsiders?

the first pieces show how white colonizers were viewed as they first came. the ocean was a home for divine power, and whiteness up to that point indicated a spirit – so white men in boats coming in from the ocean were seen through a perspective of potential divinity.

my education is as a descendant of slaves, so my story has always been one of imagined tragedy – surely when Africans saw whites arrive they ran, they defended themselves, they fought to the death to keep their own from being ripped away, and they mourned for the lost, and still long for us as we feel that deeper longing for home…

no? it wasn’t like that? it was so so much more complex and manipulative and patriarchal – it was colonization AND slavery, it was cultural hierarchy and paternalism and heartbreakingly, deceptively, permanent.

i don’t know how, but i hope you see this exhibit if you can.

opening up about love

i just got the honor of road tripping with sterling toles, a detroit music and spiritual legend. sterling knows an immense amount about love, and we had 24 hours in a car together to explore the content. it was a beautiful reminder that love is not a secret, a point of shame, something done in isolation. love and intimacy are constant, all around us, deserve our attention and deconstruction.

in between the two 12-hour trips with sterling were 10 surprise days with my family. i worked every night on my ruckus and ussf stuff, and spent each day packing my baby sister’s life in ny up to ship to mn. my other task was holding my niece, and/or keeping my nephew completely engaged.

my niece is 1000 years old and her eyes already look right through you:

i brought nephew a book called Space with pictures of the planets, the Milky Way, galaxies, astronauts, rocketships. together we learned all about it, and my joy was listening to his two year old mouth wrap around these new words – galaxy? “galagy” astronaut? “uhnauto”

he learned the word adventure – “ad-Ben-ture”! and called it out every time we left the house. going to the store? “adbenture!” going to the park? “adbenture!!” going to eat? “adbenture!!!” what a fantastic way to experience life.

the best was that he learned to say i love you. his only was of saying it was to yell it at the top of his lungs: “I LUH DO!”

it’s great to scream it.