“Though the world forgets me I will say YES and NO.”
On July 9th, June Jordan’s birthday and the full moon in Cancer ten creative spirits gathered in love. We reminded each other that NO is a love word and that YES is sacred.
Our Sunday dinner gathering was based on Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s recent publication in Obsidian “Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist” from the recent Speculating Futures: Black Imagination and the Arts issue of Obsidian.
We gathered ourselves from as far as Brooklyn and Winston Salem. We washed each other’s hands in flower water. We fed each other with food and life-learned lessons. We wrote words on mirrors and walls. We sang about love as lifeforce and the light of the generations before us. We asked questions about breathing and forgetting. We redesigned our homes and our writing desks. We reminded the youngest person there a few too many times that June Jordan went to Barnard. We called on loved ones far beyond the room. We created an eternal-life serum by finding the chemical connections between the lessons we have learned so far. We thought about how we could share this intimate space with the beloved all over the world. That’s you!
We invite you to start with a deep breath and a question. What have you been breathing besides air?
We have been breathing tasks, grief, hope, forgiveness, resistance, grind, patience, worry, uncertainty, truth, intuition, self, fragile, light, trust, support&love, good grease&increase, creativity, capability and curiosity about who we’ve been.
What have you been breathing? Whisper it to yourself or write it down.
When we started talking we realized we had a lot of lessons among us that felt like answered prayers in the room and that might serve you on your journey to keep breathing and creating:
Here they are!
Be around people who see your fabulousness, who are thrilled, but not surprised by your brilliance.
by Julia Roxanne Wallace (Sangodare)
- Make a list of 7 things you want, but only after taking 7 deep breaths with your eyes closed.
- Look at the list and eliminate all material and physical items and ask what is underneath that item. (E.g. If you wrote “a mcmansion” –> “home everywhere I go.” If you wrote “a Tesla” –> “peaceful, beautiful and life-giving transportation.” If you wrote “a husband/wife” maybe “divine love filled relationship etc.”
- Make sure you have 7 things.
- Turn the list into 7 questions that begin with “Why…” (E.g. Why is it so easy to have divine love filled relationships? Or a romantic relationship? Or “Why do I have home everywhere I go?”
- Repeat the questions for 1 week.
- Listen to, read, write and say the questions every morning and every night.
- Be who you are. One divine tranifestation of love.
In other words
see the shadow
Love the shadow
and set it aside
See your desire
turning to face you
present and loving you
ask it why
in every way.
the object of
Recipe for Revolutionary Love Cornbread
by Michelle Lanier
*corn milled in the land of an ancestor
*egg from a happy hen
*2 kinds of leavening for 2 uprising souls
*cool spring water
*oil and milk of coconut
nana’s recipe for a good getting up morning
by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
*keep the book in reach
*start with a word
*pray for those you love
*pray for those who infuriate you
*pray for people you barely know at all
*pray for the loved, maddening, and as-yet-unknown parts of yourself
recipe for keeping on going when you want to give up
- take one step. curl your toes deeply into the soil
- uncurl your toes and wiggle them wildly
- take another step
- repeat steps 1, 2, and 3!
Another Reminder: Collaborating on life together makes family at home.
Recipe for the Where and What of You
by Michelle Lanier
Be still as chrysalis. Then break free again and again…then
…celebrate your gorgeous wings…then repeat.
Please feel free to share your own recipes in the comments. And if you want to participate in a collective process with renewal but you don’t live in Durham, sign up for July’s upcoming online intensive Becoming Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability
Mon and Tues July 24 & 25 3-6pm Eastern
This intensive is designed for those of us who are ready to deepen the practice of dedicated art-making, intellectual work, activist work and community building. Who is your work dedicated to? If your work is accountable to multiple generations, how do you generate practice, measures and resources that sustain that work in the moment? Based on “Xuihatl: Becoming Turquoise” a poem by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Imaniman (a recent anthology of poetry in honor of Gloria Anzaldua), this intensive is for old souls and young elders whose work would not be imaginable without deep relationships of longing and accountability to the very old and the very young, the dead and the not yet born. We will use individual and collective poetry, stone and crystal work and meditation and conversation to deepen and resource our intergenerational work. The course is limited to 9 participants. Sign up here.