Sunday, September 4, 2016

For Eagles Only...Rebirth at 40

Up until five months ago, I was stuck in my story.  I told myself, I was playing it safe for the sake of providing my daughter the one thing I never felt as a child - stability.  Last year the Universe jolted me with the truth - I have the power to create my story.  At 40 years of age, a window (of time and space) opened up for my rebirth...

One Sunday afternoon my phone dinged with a "Whats App" message.  Daddy, as I affectionately call my daughter's grandfather who lives in Ghana (West, Africa), sent me a morning affirmation.  The message was a video of the eagle's rebirth at 40.  It watered a seed deep inside of me; one that was in danger of drying up completely.

"The eagle has the longest life-span of it's species.  It can live up to 70 years but, to reach this age, the eagle has to make a life or, death decision.  In it's 40's, the eagle's long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food.  It's long and sharp beak becomes bent.  It's old-aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, become stuck to it's chest and make it hard to fly.  Then, the eagle is left with only two options: die or, go through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days.  

The process requires that the eagle fly to a secluded mountain top and sit on its nest.  There, the eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out.  After plucking it out, the eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back and then, it will pluck out its talons.  When its new talons grow back, the eagle starts plucking its old-aged feathers.  And, after five months, the eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years."  

Some say, this story is a complete myth.  Even if this is just a story and eagles can't really regrow their physical body parts; truth like beauty is in the mind of the storyteller.  For me, at least, the eagle's story of rebirth at 40 years of age held me completely captive with its absolute parallel to my life, at the exact age of 40.

Unbeknownst to anyone, even myself - I was about to make a life or, death decision.  Daddy Theo's video message stirred the anxiety in me so much so it forced my courage, by combustion.  I realized my talons were failing me. Somehow my hands could not grab nor feet take me to my purpose.  I could not feed my soul.  I had stopped challenging myself along time ago.  Why?  I was backing away from the unknown; ceding to ordinary familiar stories I memorized from people in my life who gave into their fears rather than, reach their greatness.  Therefore, all I could grab were lies and excuses; a slow but certain death.

P.A.I.N:  Pay Attention Inward Now
Iyanla Vanzant, 2016 Oprah Lifeclass Tour, OWN Network

With my words (beak) bent out of shape I was unable to call or name my truth.  I was afraid to fail at reaching my highest potential.  I was in serious pain but, I would not look inward.  Instead, I externalized my descend by telling myself "well, maybe if I had this job and made this much money and could afford to live in this type of house and educate my daughter in this type of school, maybe if we lived in this neighborhood...maybe if I had this kind of mother, father, sister, brother, cousins, man or even these kinds of friends," I would be happy.  I was in a vicious cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy because what you speak is what you actualize. In saying I didn't have what I needed to grow in my life I was perpetuating it. I was handing my power over to external variables and, this could not lead me to be self-empowered.

I had a head-on collision with my truth but, it was not like winning the lotto.  I didn't jump up and down screaming "I know the truth! I know the truth! I'm free!" No.  My truth caused me (to) Pay Attention Inside Now.  Truth came in my stillness so I was able to hear the quiet but, clear voice.  Only in the stillness of my truth was I able to hear my courage say "I have been here long enough.  I am ready for my next phase; my journey to my true purpose." My thoughts were crystal clear about what needed to be my next step but, that's all I had - one step.  You see, that is the secret, magical moment many of us pass up - taking the first step or, believing.  Believing is that pivotal moment when you decide to put your thought into unwavering action.  For the first time, I looked at the aesthetic of our home and thought "this is luggage; it's weighing us down."  I thought of all the people I knew of or had a relationship with, and thought "they are not responsible for nor able to provide what I need, right now."  I knew my will was all I needed to move forward.

Once I spoke my truth the Universe made way, after way, after way, for us.  I called my sister-friend Patrice, in North Carolina.  I did not want to put my daughter through undue stress and thought it prudent to have a contingency plan but, the Universe showed me I was only unbelieving.  I was so determined to sell everything I could to fund my travel, I put most of my furniture up for sale on Craigslist.  When the furniture didn't sell right away, I decided to post pictures on my facebook feed.  On the first day, one person bought about $700.00 dollars worth of my personal belongings; it was like getting a head-nod from the Universe.  Then one evening, Jacquie a woman whose home I was invited to a year and a half before for what she and her husband Warren call a "talking circle" reached out to me via facebook about my furniture.

Jacquie and her husband live on about 2.5 acres of beautiful farmland in Hadley, Massachusetts.  Bunny rabbits literally run around her front yard.  Apple trees frame their backyard which faces about two acres of corn fields.  The sunsets are stunning.  Jacquie inquired about a few of my items for sale and we agreed on a price.  But, Jacquie then did something no one else had done.

"You are taking on a lot Viviana. How are you doing?  Do you have a place to stay in DC?" Jacquie asked.  The truth was I did not have a job or my own place waiting for me, in DC.

"I'm holding up.  And, no, we don't. I've been applying for jobs for a few months now and I've made an excellent connection with another African-centered homeschooling mother.  I'm waiting to hear back from some folks about a house-share."  I replied.

I had no leads on a place to stay in DC but, I refused to affirm that.  I told her what I believed.

"All will be well," I assured (myself).  

A few evenings later, Jacquie called again to inquire if I had found a place to stay in DC yet.  I had not found a place to stay.  More importantly, I couldn't move until I raised enough funds to pay for travel and lodging expenses and I didn't want to pay for another month of rent.  I was so stressed, I could barely sleep.

"No, Jacquie we still haven't heard back about a place to stay."

"Well, Viviana I have an extra bedroom if you would like to stay for a few days.  You and Nani could rest before you leave to DC."  

I was stunned.  Not only was Jacquie purchasing some of my furniture but, was also now offering to be a reprieve for my daughter and I while we made our seemingly sudden and poorly planned transition.  So often, in life, events appear random when in fact, they are carefully orchestrated by the Universe to further our purpose.  My daughter and I stayed with Jacquie and Warren for about a month and a half.  Jacquie also allowed me to store some of my personal belongings and major pieces of furniture in her basement so, I could sell them before I left.  My stay with Jacquie was an amazing blessing and incredibly difficult for me.  I was grieving and did not know it.  I was grieving the loss of my false pride.  I could no longer stand in my facade of total independence.  I could no longer ignore that I could not do things alone; I needed help.  I had to ask for help and then actually, accept it; this was and still is the hardest part of my journey.

I have learned those of us who were raised in financially distressed and broken relationships are not afraid of rock bottom or working hard just to pay bills (which I consider to be mediocrity).  What frightens us the most is failing at our own greatness. I was afraid of putting everything on the line for the dream I had as a teenager to be "a writer" because then, I would have nothing left - not even my dream.  My truth severed me from all the false physical and mental attachments which kept me distracted from seeing I was the one holding myself back from greatness.  I felt completely vulnerable and naked in this truth.

Have you ever had a nightmare you are completely naked around strangers? 

Looking back, I was able to see how we both might of felt vulnerable.  I learned Jacquie's story and mine were not so different, at the core. In the common core of our experience with our mothers, siblings and conviction to pursue our highest self as wombyn and spiritual beings, we sowed seeds of fellowship and an earnest appreciation for each other's life journeys.  From conflict came compassion which helped us to overcome our vulnerabilities our nakedness our fear of judgement and perhaps even the shame of our shortcomings.  I believe we both grew stronger towards our purpose.  

Every week that passed without word about a lead on a house-share in DC forced me to muster more courage.  I had to literally block out the physical reality and just focus on my vision; these are the moments your brain experiences rapid growth.  I was nervous and scared but, I realized how just speaking my truth changed my whole view of myself and what I was capable of. I was more afraid of falling back into the powerlessness and that alone forced me to keep moving afraid.  I had no guarantee of what was really waiting for us once we arrived to Washington, DC. I simply kept believing in the vision I wrote to the Sankofa Homeschool Collective.  More than three months passed, no one responded.  Here's the thing, I did not even think of giving up.  Step two came to me crystal clear.  On my way to Knightdale, we would stop in DC just for 3 days, to show Nani where I've wanted us to live for the past 13 years.  Nani and I began looking at Air BnB.  Nani's excitement about our move was so important - it kept me motivated when the facts loomed over my truth.

We arrived in DC on March 9th 2016.  This peak; this solace; this rebirth is not for the faint of heart.  I have been put to the test by the circumstances and also by my own tendency to revert to old ways. Just because you have a revelation doesn't mean you immediately start to grow out of all your, it's just the beginning.  I arrived to my nest of rebirth and almost immediately without much rest, the real work began.  Telling myself a new story every time someone underestimated me, judged or disregarded me.  Telling myself a new story every time my house mate and I clash or misunderstand one another.  Telling myself a new story when the actions of others are hurtful, toxic or destructive of self and community even when the actions were mine.  Telling myself a new story instead of justifying my right to retaliate when a member of my community's words towards me bruised, violated and damaged our trust and our sisterhood.   Telling myself a new story - of forgiveness.

This week my daughter and I were talking and reminiscing about our journey.  I read the valentine day card I bought her last February while we were still at Jacquies.  Amongst a host of "mushy" things I wrote was the following "This is our life; we get to dream it and make it come true!"  And, I drew a picture of our journey.
From top left to bottom left: We are leaving Holyoke, MA to Hadley, MA followed by North Carolina and finally, Washington, DC.  We don't have to be perfect for our children; we have to be brave in our vulnerability - No shame in my art.
As I held the card up for the both of us to admire Nani points to North Carolina and says "Mommy, we took a short cut!"  I didn't understand what she meant and my puzzled face reinforced it.  "We never had to go to North Carolina," she explained.  Again, our human frailty fails to see all that the Universe, has orchestrated.

Last week, I began to feel a dense nudge in my spirit to "write, write, write.  Don't succumb to your fear of failure; pour your heart out."

I've cried writing this piece.  I've also rejoiced because in the middle of writing this the Universe revealed that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be, right now.

I have promised myself the following...

I will not back away from my pain because it is my spiritual alarm telling me to
Pay Attention Inward Now.

I will do the work of plucking out old, destructive language patterns.

I will decide to see my truth; my story.

I will rid myself of negative old behaviors that weigh me down and don't allow me to spread my wings.

I will live in my new story.

I will soar.

For those of you who don't believe in the eagle's rebirth at 40....In the middle of writing this I was led to do something I felt was very random.  I divided 150 by 30 (or a month).

I am in my fifth month, in DC or, 150 days.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Connecting Cultural Landscapes Through Art

Why are the fine arts so important to our learning and lives?

NVIME designs
Sound, vibrant color, texture and themes further our self development and connect us to each other.  Photographers, jewelry makers, fashionistas, singers, interior designers, film makers, dancers, sculptors, turntablist and boutique owners connect our life stories...resulting in a greater sense of belonging - to each other.

Our Arts Journey this Saturday began at a quaint boutique NVIME nestled on 34th Street right across from the Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios in Mount Rainier where our Sankofa Homeschool Collective meets on Fridays from 9am to 2:45pm.  Brother Glandus Thorne one part of the family owned business proudly shares his family's humble beginnings "I remember when we weren't able to afford to purchase this property" where they now  successfully retail couture art, custom, hand-made unique accessories and clothing.  Bro. Glandus recounts how he built the boutique with his own hands "This space was too small so, I had to knock out the bathroom and reconfigure it to make room for our vision."  The chic and elegant showroom features refurbished vintage furniture pieces which serve as displays.  Bro. Glandus does more than just provide a new shopping gem on 34th Street in Mount Rainier, he inspires others to be confident and push past seemingly impenetrable walls.

Next we ventured across the road to the Gateway Open Studios Artist Incubator building where artist lofts serve as residences and working studios. I made a new acquaintance and community neighbor, Mount Rainier Artist Lofts resident and artist Nicole Moore. Ms. Moore's versatile creations include one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and handbags as well as two-dimensional artwork. But what I most remember about Sis. Nicole was how important her grandmother was in shaping the artist and woman she is today and, her grandmother's love and wisdom weaves through every one of her art pieces. Affectionately known as Moe Moe, she utilizes sterling silver, fine silver, semi-precious stones, wood, leather, crystals and shells in her art pieces. These semi-precious stones are not only appealing to the eye; they are used for their healing properties as well.
Moe Moe, Nani and I building community.

One of my favorite pieces.

  Just down the corridor we met yet another neighbor...Bro. Jeremy Mines is a Multimedia Producer with a diverse career in film making and photography. Founder of Jeremy Mines Films LLC since January 2010, Bro. Jeremy is a Producer, Director, Cinematographer and Video Editor.  Such a talented artist yet his humble, soft-spoken, easy-to-laugh spirit made this "giant-in-the-making" easy to identify with.  We learned Bro. Jeremy was home schooled, is father to a three year old and works with youth in the College Bound program.  Here's to future collaborations with Bro. Jeremy and the dynamic families at the Sankofa homeschool collective!
Laughter is healing.

Learning about each other's life stories
Next up, Sis. Alison Carney.  This singer, songwriter, fashion designer, and educator is truly a "Jackie" of all trades.  In one corner of Alison's showroom loft DJ GUDO (also a producer and musician) cut, looped and mixed a juicy musical cocktail of  beats that spilled out onto a maze of long-stemmed roses welcoming us into Alison's Wonderland...yeah she's what we 'ol school heads call "dope".  Check out her newest album: AlisonWonderland Here's a quick video of our experience.

Walking down the corridor of Gateway, I felt a stronger sense of familiarity not just with the streets I've been traveling to and fro' (WDC) for almost two months now, but with the people and families who live, work, play and create in Mount Rainier.  On my way to the Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios' 4:30 drumming performance I was greeted by Anne L'Ecuyer, Founder and Phase 3 Project Director at Art Lives Here. Before I realized it, Anne was sharing information about summer arts camps for Nani who is a budding visual artist and fashion designer.  Notwithstanding Anne's extensive arts management portfolio which, includes everything from published research scholarship on funding and development in the arts to teaching at American University and her work with Americans for the Arts, Anne's demeanor was personable and warm.  I parted knowing I would be returning to Gateway City Open Studios to learn how I can contribute to the work resurrecting desolate spaces in our new home - The DMV.

The Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios (ACAS) located at 3804 34th Street, Mount Rainier, MD is The hub for African-centered mind-body-soul well-being and living.   Because of ACAS the Sankofa Homeschool Collective and Little Genius African-centered STEM program have a place they call home.  At ACAS Little Genius and Sankofa home school families from all over the DMV area come together on a weekly basis to cooperatively empower our children through co-op classes in math, STEM, pan-African history, journalism, sewing and drumming.  If you are an African-centered homeschooler come check us out!   Here are some pics of Djembe players ranging from 8 to 11 years old accompanied by dancers.  More info to come on the beautiful vibrant culture happening on 34th street, stay tuned.
Farafina Kan May 14, 2016 Gateway OST Performance
After the drumming performance we jumped in the car and drove down Rhode Island Avenue less than five minutes to the Brentwood Arts Exchange at the 39th Street Gateway Arts Centers' 1st floor studio for a pop-up fashion show.  Did you know that Washington DC has a Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce (GWFCC)?  Yaaaasss!  I've never heard of this before! I must say that is a pretty innovative idea.  For more info on the GWFCC click here: Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce

I'll let these images speak for themselves...

Have you ever broken down the word Heart?

I believe Love n Vision = Art 
And, Art is the Heart of the Community


Stay tuned...

Monday, May 9, 2016

When Life is Your Classroom, The Learning Never Stops

"If the truth is told the youth can grow, they'll learn to survive, until they gain control, nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes, Read more, learn more, change the globe."  (Nas' I know I Can - from God's Son Album)

Life will go 360 degrees if you follow your vision...

For the past three weekends Nani and I have immersed ourselves in DC culture via our newest learning outlet Words, Beats & Life, Inc.  Living up to its name, Words, Beats & Life is about more than just a roster of free courses to keep youth and young adults busy and off the streets; its mission is true to Hip Hop -  taking what you already (got) know to create your highest self and, innovate your world.   

On April 23rd Nani and I volunteered for WBL's annual Fine Lines Paint Jam.  Alongside a dozen other volunteers we primed a massive 900 ft. long wall, to create a bubble gum pink backdrop where stylings of dozens of artists from around the country would completely transform a highly trafficked walk-through.  The best part is WBL Academy students also bombed the wall taking their rightful place in the beautification of the community in which they live, work, learn and create.  Being part of the prep crew was so much fun and truly an honor.  The next day, a back alley walk-way was transformed by murals, food, music, chess and drum bands - art fleshed out in a kaleidoscope of color, dimension, sound and movement.     

Early am 900 ft. wall priming
Nani goin' at 900 ft. wall with a Roller - 

Nani in Street Art Class

One of Nani's Street Art teachers, Bro. John of WBL.

WBL's All Girl Bomb Squad

DJ RBI's DJing class

Nani chillin' with Grap Luva - Heavy D's cousin at WBL DJing Class

This weekend Nani and I ventured out to one of DC's most famed events in the year - The Funk Parade.  The Funk Parade is a one-of-a-kind day fair, parade and music festival, celebrating Washington DC's vibrant music and arts, the U Street neighborhood, and the Spirit of Funk that brings us all together. What a day!  Words, Beats and Life outdid themselves, once again.

Words, Beats & life hosts the DC public library Harrison Rec family funk pavilion turning it into an area the whole family enjoyed.  I'll let the images speak for themselves, on this one. 

Nani and Krystiana Bonheur's boy Jaedan rockin' WBL's Funk Pavilion Chess board 

Executive Dir. of WBL Mazi sweetening everyone's day with some Cotton Candy.

Eastern Academy's Band Dancers doin' tha damn thang.

Two nights a week from 6pm - 9pm Nani is at the Words, Beats & Life Academy; chillin' with some of the dopest individuals: artists, music producers, DJs, Master Chess players and equally live peers, in a safe, fun and family-friendly environment.  

Kinesthetic learning:
Tactile Learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations.

WBL's mission is to transform individual lives and whole communities through the training in and presentation of the elements of Hip Hop culture.  Fueled by four core values, WBL staff develops curriculum, projects, and programs to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness for DC youth, parents and area Hip Hop artists.

  • Education: Hip Hop is a valuable teaching tool that engages youth and adults intellectually, creatively and kinesthetically.  
  • Opportunity: Hip Hop culture consists of a set of elements (skills) and experiences that allow its practitioners to transform their personal interests into marketable skills.
  • Ownership: Hip Hop artist, scholars, and communities should be the primary owners of the cultural artifacts they create.
  • Creativity: Hip Hop is a set of forms (elements) that allow harmonious and divergent voices, beliefs, and experiences to be seen, heard, engaged and valued.
The WBL Academy is the youth development component. Classes are FREE to young people ages 5 - 23 who are interested in learning DJing, beat production, b-boying, emceeing, graffiti, photography, spoken word and, chess.  The goal of the Academy is to promote mastery of a skill, employability, and the pursuit of a post-secondary education by helping students make the connection between art and potential career/education routes that are associated with Hip Hop.  (Source: Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture, Vol. 5 Issue 1).

If you thought I wasn't...I did.

You be safe; I'll be dangerous.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Time Traveler on The Cosmic Waters of Nuun

In the fall of 2015 a fellow Afro-Latina and former full time homeschooler put me on to Sankofa, a DC based African-centered Homeschooling Collaborative. 

Sankofa is a Ghanaian Adinkra symbol meaning: go back and retrieve what was left behind; it also symbolizes the importance of knowing one's past (where you come from) so you can no where you are going - your future. I looked them up, on Facebook and, slowly I gained confirmation about the village I had envisioned many year ago - it existed. I saw beautiful Pan-African families (including single mothers and fathers) tailoring African-centered education for their children and families. My heart leaped every time I read a post on Pan-African children playing chess, winning debates, successfully pursuing a business or excelling in STEM; not as the "minority" or, exception but, as the rule, in a community of Pan-African (homeschooled) children .

In October of 2015, Frustrated by math curriculum entrenched in Christian/Anglo-saxon dogma,I reached out to one of the founders of Sankofa, Monica Utsey. Initially, we kept our emails polite, short and to the point about math curriculum. Meanwhile, a quiet voice deep inside me said "It's time; it's time to meet your village."

Visions and dreams I'd had as a child and, then again as young wombyn, came to remembrance...

When I was a very young child still living with my mother and siblings, I would have these terrible nightmares. I would see myself walking through desolate streets with abandoned buildings. The scariest part was that I was alone, completely alone. I knew no one in these streets; in these places. I could not recognize these places that felt so far away from where I lived. The buildings were hollowed out and empty. I hated these dreams because I didn't want to be alone. In 1998, I traveled to Cuba to do an independent study on Afro-cuban culture. As I looked out of the window of a beautiful 1957 chevy in Havana, Cuba I saw those same buildings. I knew no one there and no one knew me so, in that sense I was alone. Except, I did not feel abandoned. Instead, I felt fearless, protected and grateful. Those dreams were an foretelling of my future that I would bring life to desolate places.

I began to speak my community into existence more frequently; louder and louder - until they heard me. Remembrance came and escorted fear right out the door along with every emotional, psychological and physical attachment. In January of 2016 I reached out to Monica Utsey again. Our first conversation was a libation to our shared life, family and community goals. 
I knew it was time; time to jump back into the cosmic ocean and navigate time and space.  After that pivotal conversation, I wrote the following bio. 

"I am a time traveler; have been since I was a little girl...

As an emancipated minor in NYC, I overcame stereotypes, dead end statistics, homelessness and poverty. In college, I pursued my African heritage and traveled to Cuba and Senegal West Africa where I completed independent research and a thesis. I am a writer, truth teller, thinker, grass roots activist and curious citizen of the world. I need music, colors and people, but even more, I need the color and music of my people.

Empowering others is my health and wealth. I believe we speak into existence a world that affirms who we are. More than making a living, I want to make a mark. I envision myself part of a vibrant, fearless community where WE garden our highest selves, mentally, spiritually and physically. I believe we are the direct ascendants of the pyramid builders and, master navigators of the world’s waters. For some time now, I’ve been calling out to the Universe for my elders, my sisters, my brothers, my peers…my family fearless in their pursuit of self, family and community.

In the summer of 2000 I interned on the Hill for Dennis Kucinich. I felt asphyxiated by the corporate, handwashing status quo culture. One evening a co-worker invited me to “happy hour” and that’s when I entered the U Street Cardoza world of DC. I found my politics, my reflection in the people’s cadence and stride. I was never the same. I had found the language to describe – me. When I graduated from Univ. of Mass, Amherst in 2003 my immediate plan was to move to Washington, D.C. The Universe had other plans for my personal development.

The last 13 years have been an accelerated program of growth; burying false stories told by the fear that imprisons our people and birthing my truth. Through the birth of my daughter and passing of her father I have learned to doubt fear and trust possibility. Our testimony is strong; it announces our arrival well before we enter a room or a nation and yes, even a mind. Thirteen years later, I am on course to DC.

We are believing for a safe, loving, nurturing and fearless family to share and barter with for housing and support each other in our family and community goals. We are looking to move in by the first of Feb or, as soon as possible. This could be temporary or – we may be the missing branches of each other’s family tree.

Hotep Family."
Circa January 2016.

It had been at least 13 years since I had done something so bold - to write my vision with such clarity and confidence, put it on a kite and see if the wind would take it where it needed to go. Some said, I was throwing caution to the wind - but what else flies a kite?

I never met so many Pioneer Valley residents as quickly as I did in this that last trimester of gestation full of purging doubt and fear which, culminated in the selling of all non-essentials. Sold every material representation of comfort and status. So while my daughter and I watched all of our material possessions disappear out of site we became braver and more excited about charting this new chapter in our lives. Some were excited for us; while others could do nothing but look through their own inhibitions. To the physical eye I was gambling a facade of stability for a guaranteed unknown. Through, my Udjat (third eye) I saw a route to the next phase of my life; an illuminated path versus the overpowering shadow, where my daughter and I stood.

So what happened?

It was as if someone (much older and wiser than I) took me by the hand and said "If the mountain was smooth; you would not be able to climb it. Now, don't look down or, back. Just keep moving ahead; you will know when you've arrived to your destination." I did just that. I sold everything I could sell. My daughter and I both were so attached to the rocking chair I nursed my baby girl in and read books to when she only an infant. But, it didn't fit in the car so, I knew, it was meant to stay. So many lessons of letting go, of moving past my feelings, of shedding excess. A lesson which continues to the day of this writing. I did something I hadn't done in a long time. I bent time and space.

How did I bend time and space?

Have you ever pretended? Have you ever daydreamed? When was the last time you did so? To pre-tend is a very powerful metaphysical act; children who do it all the time are fearless and free. Have you ever been so deep in thought (daydreaming) that you couldn't hear another person's incessant attempt to get your attention. When I was a child the teacher would call my name three, four, five times before I snapped back into the room. Where was I? And, why couldn't I physically hear the teacher incessantly calling my name? Because you are wherever your mind is - literally. I was in my future.

So what is time and space?

Some say time is a measurement of rhythm or movement, as in the movement of the Earth around Sun, music, or consciousness, that is, awareness. Space is a measurement of location.

Now, back to pretending...what are you doing when you are pretending?

Pretend: To intend; to design; to plot; to attempt.

Pretend: To put in, or make, a claim, truly or falsely; to allege a title; to lay claim to, or strive after, something.

Pretend: To stretch or reach forward; aim; aspire: often with to.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

OE. pretenden, to lay claim to, F. prétendre, L. praetendere, praetentum, to stretch forward, pretend, simulate, assert; prae, before + tendere, to stretch. See Tend (v. t.)


If you meditate on the breakdown of the word pretend you will become fully aware of its true definition. When you pre-tend, you are stretching forward, (traveling, journeying) to your future, before it's physical materialization. You are summoning your, now. But, if it's only in your mind, how are you physically acting it out? Because, you are where your thoughts are. We are not confined by our physical body; we are light energy. We constantly move between time zones or through space. We are most aware of this when we travel by plane to a different time zone or, via a long distance phone or video call or, in our sleep. But, you can do it - with your thoughts.

I bent time and space because I envisioned my daughter and I living in DC amongst a community of fearless POC who create the family, community and world that uplifts and reflects our highest selves. I saw my daughter playing chess with children she could identify with culturally. I saw myself surrounded by sisters and brothers of the diaspora who are empowered by the truth of their Ancient African greatness and instill this in their children. I saw myself joining a community that actively reaches back to retrieve the ancestral legacy of the Ancient Nile Valley civilizations - master builders of the Pyramids, master navigators of the world's waters, master astronomists, healers and agriculturists. Because I saw myself with them, I pulled them into my existence. I did not know the finite details of how I would meet them. I just knew, I needed to start moving in accordance with my vision.

We arrived in Washington D.C. Thursday, March 10, 2016. My daughter and I still had no permanent or temporary address; we stayed in an Air B n' B for three nights. On Sunday, our third and last day scheduled to be in DC Monica, Nani and I finally had brunch together. I fully intended on proceeding with my contingency plan (to drive to NC, stay with another sister friend and work towards relocation from there). But, what I had spoken, materialized. My plan became obsolete.

Sis. Monica told me about Teresa Price, a recent widow and mother of two college student sons. As if on cue, her youngest son had just left for college..."She's leaving for Spain tomorrow," explained Monica. "We better go see her tonight." I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. I didn't know how it would all work out; I only knew I had to (pre-tend) stretch myself forward.

The whole way to Teresa's house, I did everything I could to overcome fear of rejection - I didn't look down, I didn't look back. Teresa is a seriously happy, tree-hugging, incense burning, animal respecting vegan - she is the real deal. While her physical health is impressive it is her spiritual health that has caused me to be curious enough to break some of my negative thinking patterns and toxic eating habits. Teresa is the wise, patient, big sister I never had; she is the loving, generous auntie Nani has needed and deserved.  I stand in complete awe of the materialization of my "village vision" for a nurturing home and missing branches of our family tree.
Nani navigating a virtual plane @ Washington Convention Center Science Fair.

Sis. Teresa, Me & Nani @ Dr. Frances Cress Welsings' Memorial.

Nani and I have accomplished in six weeks what we could not do in our eleven years in Western Mass. We are moving at the speed of light. I have inserted some pics to illustrate our journey.

Spring 2016 Little Genius STEM class 

Nani's Words Beats n Life Street Art Class

Words Beats n Life Bomb Squad 

Oops! I think we went too far into our future. Lol. Infrared lighting at Sci Fair.

Sister Monica is wearing that Sombrero, ain't she?
Sankofa's 1st Spring '16 Skate STEM field trip. 
Sankofa's Zuma Zuma Zimbabwean Circus field trip.