Thanksgiving – Shel Silverstein Style

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One day, I will write a wonderful book that make people smile just like Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” I have been reading the poems and enjoying the drawings all week. They have tickled my funny bone and open my creative heart to ideas for my next art project.

One of my favorite poems from Silverstein that fits this Thanksgiving occasion is titled ” I Must Remember”

I MUST REMEMBER

I must remember . . .
Turkey on Thanksgiving,
Pudding on Christmas,
Eggs on Easter,
Chicken on Sunday,
Fish on Friday,
Leftovers, Monday,
But ah, me—I’m such a dunce.
I went and ate them all at once.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy your family, your friends and be thankful today for all the great things that are in your life.

Thinking over Coffee

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My first taste of coffee happened when I was five years old. I was sitting on my grandmother’s lap. I asked here “What is that in the cup?” She said it was cocoa. I wanted some. I thought she meant chocolate coco. I found out that the bitter drink was far from the sweet coco I loved. I could not understand why someone would drink that crap on purpose, until college. That is when drinking coffee happened in college. I am sure of it, just not sure of the exact day or what have you. That is when I started getting the invites to go to cafe’s and found that the potent drink kept me alert when I was too tired to do it naturally.  For a while I was drinking way to much of the stuff. It didn’t even keep me up anymore, it became an unhealthy habit that I did to keep from thinking or to procrastinate some inevitable. Once I was okay with the things going on in my head and around me, I was able to  balance my coffee habit to maybe two cups a day. No longer did I use it as a tool to stop listening, but to help me listen and stay still.

I love the ritual of drinking coffee because in many cases I am either intently listening to a friend tell me stories, dreams, desires over a cup, or I am sitting alone, thinking about what I will do next once the cup is empty.

Today, I am thinking, alone, over my cup of coffee. I am thinking about the two paintings I am going to start during Thanksgiving holiday. I am thinking about the date that did not happen a few days ago. I am also thinking about my nieces dance event today. It is happening at my parents church. I am thinking I wish I could go, but visiting my parent’s church for any cause ends up in someone trying “saving” my dreadful soul. I am thinking that someone will film the event and life will go on.

I am thinking about how very cold it is outside and how I love it. I am thinking about so many things.  Some thoughts are going in and out  like smooth car traffic while others loiter like the neighborhood pharmacist in front of the corner stores; making themselves seen and more obvious than they need to be.  Sometimes I think about work when I drink my coffee, but in most cases, work is not allowed during my coffee think breaks. Today, work kind of fell into one of my thought streams. I shook it off with another sip.

Life happens over coffee and life is discussed and thought about over coffee. It is a restful space for me. I do not have that much. The quiet and contemplation. This world throws me into action, even when I am not ready. Today, though I am going to take it slower. Sip slower, think slower, enjoy the coffee break and be okay with the world passing me by.

 

Asking for Help

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I was up until about 3 AM last night (or this morning). A friend of mine is going through some tough times. She is a very strong person and is one that, when you are in trouble, she is there with answers. Now she needs answers and she started looking for them. She went to her friends and her mom. That didn’t turn out well. The last thing she did was set up an appointment to speak to a clergy person and the day before she was to go and have a talk with this clergy person, she received a call from the clergy office asking to reschedule the appointment to later the following week. That is not what you want to hear when you are in need.

I don’t know if this sounds familiar to anyone reading this, but I have been in a place where I needed to talk to someone or be around people and at that time, I could not find anyone to talk to. I am made to stay in my misery. It is an awful feeling. It is more awful for a person who is not use to asking for help and support to reach out for help and get back nothing.

Why does this happen?

I think that people like my friend and myself; people who tend to take care of things all the time and seem to be more self-sustaining have a belief that they started believing very early in life. That belief is that you will not get help if you ask for it. If this is your belief, then you tend to take care of things yourself and not ask for help. As you get older you understand that the world is filled with people for a reason…to connect with them and to help each other through our journeys. You cannot do everything yourself or get through things on your own. If you are smart enough to understand this, you begin to ask for help and initially, you will find yourself getting, what seem to be, rejected. No help at all.

I believe that is us being new at requesting things. I think it is our own beliefs getting in the way of our needs and the only way to get beyond that is to keep asking for the help needed until you get it. Ask and you shall receive. I believe it. We have to believe it.

My friend told me that she was not going to ask for help again after the clergy person rescheduled, but our talk changed her mind. She will continue to ask until she is comfortable with asking for help and until she get the help. I hope that she and I get more comfortable asking for help so that we can have more fulfilled lives with people who want to help us and love us.

The Mayor Has Been Chosen – Now Let’s Get Going

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Now that it is official and we have a new mayor, it is time to put the talks and the arguments and the likes and dislikes aside and get to work. You know, Detroiters are very opinionated. They are. And they are very straight forward, which I love. This election has been a lot of open opinions shared in a straight forward matter, but the lovely thing about Detroiters is after they are done talking they are ready to work.

That is the feeling today.  Some people may be disappointed that their choice for mayor did not win, but in most cases, people are like “okay, now what’s next.” So what is next? What will the new mayor tackle first. He is coming into a similar triage situation like Barack Obama and so he has a lot he could tackle first, but I think he will start with services (lights, water, safety, etc). Upgrading our services touches a lot of Detroiters first hand and that in my opinion could be an easy win for those Detroiters that may be in a space of doubt.  We will see where Duggan begins.

For the rest of Detroit, we have work to do. We have to do what we can from our homes and jobs and organizations to grow our city while keeping our government responsible for their part.  That is our job and we are more than ready for the task.

Personally, I will continue to create and tell the stories of the wonderful people of this city. I will continue sharing my own story as well through words or visual art. This is an amazing time to be alive in this world but definitely in this city. Congrats Detroit, now on to the next.

The Intention Behind My Vote

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I voted today in the local mayoral elections. Being a woman and African American, voting is a must. I have conflicts with it because I have conflict with politics as it is practice in America. I wish that it was okay more of the time for politician to be honest and open with people and for people to make decisions off of that honest and openness. Why the propaganda or showboating? Politics as it stands closed our national government for over two weeks? It is insane.

Today when I stood in front of my ballet, I had an intention of changing what is going on in my city by voting for people whose beliefs are closer in line with my own and more importantly, I voted for people who can get the job at hand done in a way that will help more people than less. That is all you can do. It is my intention to make positive change and I hope I did.

The conversations that I’ve had with others about politics and voting prior to voting today kind of worried me, you know. Especially here in Detroit. There are African Americans here that are voting based on ethnicity. They believe that color has something to do with the integrity of a person or the skill set. They believe that color or picking someone that is not black will get Detroit out of the hole we are in. There are many African Americans that believe that only a white man can change this city and that the city is the way it is because of African Americans. So there intention is to vote for someone white than to vote for the right person. In some cases, the right person just happens to be white, but the intentions soils the choices. The intention behind an outcome can create an energy that can conflict with the positive desires we have. Intention is important to our life direction and we need to be more aware of why we do things.

I look forward to the day where we can truly make decisions about our leaders based on the need of the people and the skills needed to fulfill the need  of the people and nothing more. It may happen in my day. I hope it does.

I am glad that I can vote and express my opinion and change things around me. I do hope that everyone goes out to vote today and when you do just stop and do what’s right for the people, your family and the future.

 

Can I Find Honor Here?

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I've gotten more patient as I've gotten older. I know that things take time and important things may take a lot of time. I am okay with these facts and the process of making things happen, but I think what I may be experiencing in my hometown is not just a slow process. It may be rejection.  Let me explain.

When I returned to Detroit a little less than three years ago I wanted to make a change in Detroit using the skills and talents I've been blessed with. I wanted to be part of the changes that were already happening in Detroit.

I got involved and I created. I made plans and went to action. The outcome has been more failures than successes. I know that this is part of creating too. But I must ask is my incessant failure process or is it that I am trying to make something occur that is not suppose to. This theory sticks in my mind most clearly when I see others successfully creating and succeeding with less effort.

I went to the Bible for answers. I am a church girl and though I do not go to church on Sunday, it is with me always.  I remembered a story about Jesus. This story was about his journey back to his homeland to preach the word. He had just began his first teachings and decided to teach at home in Nazareth. He was not well accepted. In fact he was rejected. The verses say (New Living Translation) Mark 6:1-6:

"Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Maryand the brother of James, Joseph,Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief."

I am not Jesus but maybe his story reigns true in my life a little. Maybe though I have a gift I want to share first with my family, friends and hometown; just maybe they cannot be able to see that gift or  hear that story from me just yet. And because of that, maybe I cannot do as much as I want in Detroit yet. That does not mean stop my vision. I just think it means I have to take another road to my vision. It makes me a little sad, but I do trust the process and am open to the po

I have a vision that will always involve Detroit. But I think it needs to be beyond this city to really be what God intends, you know. Just think if Jesus or Buddha or Moses or Muhammad did not go beyond their borders?  I may not find honor in my city right now, but I will find it, for sure.

A Heart is a Heart

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I really love Detroit. It is my hometown and it is also a place that has fed my spiritually and creatively. But it has been hard for me. There are so many amazing things I am doing and want to do in this city, but have not really been able to do them in a way that I want.  Its been disheartening at times, but I continue to go for this, because it is my vision to see abandoned spaces changed into creative space; to see people come together and transform themselves and their neighborhoods, together. I will see this happen.  But the question is, will this great vision come to pass in Detroit?

Recently, I’ve had this opportunity in a different city come into my world. It is something I really want to do and see the potential in the work. Yet, it will pull me away from Detroit. Its been such a conflict for me. I want to be this creative energy that dynamically changes Detroit into an amazing place, but it seems my role is somewhere else.  It is sad really to see the beauty that is going on in your hometown and have a realization that you won’t be part of it; at least not in the way you want and not at this moment.

I shared my thoughts and despair with a friend. How I want so badly to connect with the people of Detroit, share the magic of creating and transform myself, those who connect with me and my city through art. You know what she said to me? I am paraphrasing here, but she said something like, “A heart is a heart regardless of what city it is in. If there is a heart you can touch and change, do it.

She’s right.

I’ve had others tell me something similar, but today I heard it an listened. My vision does not change because my location changes AND the truth is I may not be part of the changes of Detroit now, but I will be at some point because that is part of my bigger vision. It will be okay.

I want to change not only Detroit, but the world, and now that I have stepped through the invisible limitation, I can do just that.