Being Still Can Bring Success



I had a challenging week. I was going through my project list (visit to see what I have been working on lately); looking at what I have completed in the past months. I sighed really really loudly and kind of slumped down in my chair. I wondered if what I am doing with my urban projects, my art and library stuff means anything. Am I wasting time and energy?

We all have this vision of how things should turn out in our lives. Simply, if we do this, we should get that. If we get that, then we can get this. But lately, this formula does not work in my life. I think that the uncertainty is also screwing with my emotional state. Another truth is that I have been in a fog since I came back to Houston, which makes it very hard to see anything clearly or know where I am going.  I have been more angry than I have ever been in years. I feel myself feeling jealous of other people's achievements and comparing myself to them. This is not me. This is not how I normally function. Something is wrong and before I do anything else, I need to know why I am feeing this way. I am sure these emotions connect with my lack of achievement. The combination of my project list (i.e. my failure list), my cloudiness and my emotional disfunction was making me anxious. Uncomfortably anxious. I felt like only crying or screaming could release it and then something happened.

God must have felt bad for me, and for a moment, in between an inhale and an exhale, I heard very clearly, " Stop trying to make things happen. Be still, meditate deeply and more consistently and it will come to you."  And just like that the anxiety went away and my anger went away. Things started making sense. I have been asking for months, why I am where I am, and that moment, in that breath, I was clear enough to hear the answer.

You know that saying, "Be still and know that I am God." To me, this means, that there are moments that we must be still so that God/Universe/Source can work and ready the environment for our vision. Life is a partnership between us and God. There are times we are working in unison, but there are many times when we are are work and many times when God is at work and they are happening at opposite moments like some ying/yang action. I have been working out of turn. It is time for me to be still. That is difficult for someone like me and that is why it is so important to do. I must trust my partner as my partner trust me. When I do this, the success that I envision will come. It will.

Inequality Exist. Ask Neil DeGrasse Tyson

I have many different lives before I decided on becoming an artist and a community supporter. There was a moment that I wanted to become a musician in an orchestra. I still play my clarinet in community band, but I decided that being a full time musician would take the fun out of it for me.

There was also a moment I wanted to be a chemical engineer. I love science and math. I am still very good at both. I have promised myself, in my 50s, to focus a part of my life to mathematics. Because of my love of math and science, I am a fan and follower of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, one of the best known and most interesting astrophysicist in the world. He is also one of the few African Americans that have been very successful in science. He is a hero for me in that respect.

A few days ago, I was on and came across this video where a gentleman asked why there aren’t many women in the world of science. Tyson answered by sharing his journey as a Black scientist.

It is true that hard work, determination, a strong belief in yourself along with a great support system can help you achieve anything you ever want to achieve. I have experienced some of this. Yet is is also true that there is inequality in this world and we tend to dismiss it everyday. Inequality exist and it is a huge reason the world, America, our cities (especially my hometown Detroit) is the way it is.  We need to stop dismissing this truth and talk about it so that more people can move beyond that invisible wall and actually make better lives for themselves.

It is psychologically damaging to tell a person that they aren’t successful JUST because they did not work hard enough when really it is more than that.  Now, granted, there are some people who use the victim stance to their advantage (or disadvantage). But there are so many more who work hard everyday to do good, be good and change the world who hit a real wall and are told that wall isn’t there. They are told that wall was removed in 1964. It was removed when Obama became president. The fact is Obama’s presidency should show more than ever that the wall is there. Honest  and loving conversations about this inequality, specifically in America, can change this world.

My new project, Middle Detroit/Middlemovement is about this wall that we do not speak of. A wall that at times keep some talented people from being seen and fulfilling certain visions and dreams. With this project, I will change that, but my job would be easier if more of those who benefit from the invisible wall of inequality would stand up along with those hitting that wall and say, THIS MUST CHANGE.

I always knew that Neil Tyson was like one of the most super duper smartest people in this world, but this video has confirmed that his intelligence goes beyond science and   delves into humanity.

Middle Morning Discussion


I went home this weekend for my second of several conversations that are a part of my Middle Detroit project. It was good to be home. No snow on the ground and most people wearing small jackets and getting ready for the upcoming festivities for the Detroit Tiger’s Opening Day. It was also good to be around people who were ready to have an open and honest conversation and that is what happened.

The discussion to place at Always Brewing Cafe, which has been open for about eight months and resides in the Rosedale/Grandemont area of Detroit. People came in grabbed coffee, grabbed some wonderfully sweet breads and began to discuss topics like, education, safety, race and class. These topics were written on cards, and like a fun card game, everyone picked a topic that they wanted to discuss and from there it was all an hour and a half of truth. People wanted to hear what other people said and thought. They wanted to hear solutions for the problems.

The most talked about topics were education and safety. We had two people in our discussion who had lost people to the violence of the city and others are trying their best to guard themselves from the violence by arming their homes and themselves.  It sounds like we live in the wild west, but even with the violence, we talked about the beauty of this city.

Other ideas that came up in the conversation connected to education was the need for more parent participation in a child’s education and the need to also lowering the expectation of teachers who are sometimes believed to have the job of raising children instead of educating them.

Lastly, this discussion talked about the new entrepreneurship that is happening in Detroit by new Detroiters and how in too many instances, the entrepreneur does not take the time to connect with the community nor support the community before starting a business in the community. This group discussed ways to get community buy-in and support while also teaching the community how to become entrepreneurs themselves.

This was a great conversation that I know will grow and include more people, more opinions and even more solutions. Thanks to Amanda Brewington for having such an amazing and comfortable place to have an open conversation.

The following are photos from the discussion.