Inspiration from Black Messiah

It was 1995 and my brother and I were taking one of our trips to the record store. It was a monthly visit, more of a treat that we allowed ourselves. Being college students at that time, we had to pick and choose how our money was spent.  My brother was a music connoisseur. I listened to a lot of music for sure, but sometimes my criteria for what to buy was simply based on the cover of the CD. 

I purchased two things that day. One was a CD by Kenny Loggins (yes, Kenny L) and the other was D'Angelo's CD, Brown Sugar. I thought the cover was cool, retro and it was cheap.  We got back to our apartment and my brother was bumping his music and I was feeling the base through the wall. I opened this new artist and by the first 8 measures he had my attention. By the last song (SDM), I was a pure fan. It had been a long time since I experienced music. It was simple, musically layered, spiritually familiar and highly intelligent writing.  I got on my brother's last nerve because I played it for weeks over and over and over. D'Angelo truly changed how I selected music.

2015: Last night, I got a chance to go to one of his concerts. This was one of those unplanned blessings.   It was a rainy day and my plans were to hang with my nieces and nephews at the park. Simple plans including a picnic and maybe kite flying. You can't fly kites in the rain and soggy sandwiches and hot dogs are not appetizing for anyone. Once my plans were altered, my thoughts went to others and I remembered that I was suppose to call one of my college friends and catch up with her. I text her and she texted me back asking me, "You want to go to a D'Angelo concert?" What the what? Hell yes. The person that was suppose to go could not, leaving a ticket open…just for me. Whoa! Thank God for rain right?

The concert was amazing. The crowd was all in (Detroiters of course. What do you expect) and the music reminded me of the day I purchased Brown Sugar. It also reminded me of church. It really did. I found myself clapping like I was in the spirit. It was strange but comfortable. It was wonderful to see D'Angelo enjoying life. Enjoying what he does and everyone enjoying it with him. 

I got home late from the concert and woke up early, writing, drawing…inspired by what I saw, what I heard and experienced. D'Angelo is a life soundtrack for me and can't wait to hear the next movements. 

LGBTQ and the Black Community

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This week the Supreme Court made it lawful for people of the same sex to marry.  This is a huge win for America.  Everyone would not agree with me. There are people who feel homosexuality is a sin and to pass a law for same-sex marriage is a step closer to damnation for America. We all have opinions, but what is hard for me to digest is the large population of African Americans against same-sex marriage are African-American. Us, a group of folks who have for centuries dealt with degradation and inequality in this country, have the audacity to support the inequality of others. The question is why do we do it. The answer is all in the name of God. How wrong we are. 

First, let's talk about the Bible. Let's understand that what the Bible is referring to is sexual acts and not sexual orientation. Next thing we need to understand is many of the verses that are used to support the condemnation of homosexuality are actually about the act of rape. Rape is not a homosexual act, it is a violent act.  Thirdly, these same verses focus on men. Nothing is mentioned about women.  If homosexuality is "wrong" it should be wrong for all genders not one. You can go here to read the verses, but I suggest reading the chapters before and after the listed chapters and even grabbing history books to get a better understanding of the people, culture and the timeframe that these verses are written and translated.  I grew up in church. My mother is a minister and my father a deacon and I don't know about you, but the God I serve see us all the same and love us all the same. Inequality is a human-made concept and needs to be eradicated. 

Next let's talk about how utterly crazy it is that any person of color is against same sex marriage, especially African Americans. It wasn't until 1967 that African Americans could legally marry people of other races. Even then, the Bible was also used to support why we were less than human and curse. The Bible was used to defend laws against interracial marriage and inequality.  African Americans against same-sex marriage need to take a step back and put yourself back in those shoes we were wearing just 50 years ago (Loving v. Virginia) and see that this type of thinking comes from a place of fear and is not of God. 

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I am very glad that America has turned the corner on are opening questioning and changing things that limit our people and our society. Let's keep the positive changes going. 

 

 

 

His Eye is on the Sparrow

I have a hard decision to make. It is not hard to make but the decision is one that will make me seem totally crazy, at least in this physical world that we live in day to day. I have been trying to find other ways do as my spirit say and commit to this decision while still being somewhat status-quo. Everyday it is clear that the decision is not status-quo but status-whoa.  It must be done.  Everyday I become grounded in who I really am and  everyday I get closer to doing what is right. I get closer to doing what is clear and walking the path I was meant to walk. 

I have thought about how things will get done. How will I live once I make the decision. The only thing I can think of is how I am living now, filled with anxiety and sometimes fear for something I care little about. That is insane. This will free me. No, I am already free but this decision will be my personal confirmation of that freedom. I, my family and friends will be taken care of. I go back to scripture:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? – Matthew 6:26 

God's eye is on the sparrow and takes care of them without asking anything of them, why would I believe that God and universe will ask any less of me.  

Violence in America

 

I grew up in a city that has been considered one of the most dangerous in America. Living in such a place gives you a keen sense of danger and opens up your intuition greatly.  I am grateful for intuition but I rather have gotten that out of a sense of love and not danger.  

Yesterday, I was in a cafe getting a coffee and I looked up at the screen to see that nine people had been shot. Shot, while they were in church praying and praising. No matter what, you should feel safe during worship and in your place of worship. The reality is that the danger and violence of my city is bigger than Detroit. It is an American problem. Look at all of the major stories in the paper this year and it is only June. Many of them with racial overtones others showing the lack of care we have for each other. 

America is a violent place. We have the most people in prison, the most people walking around with guns and too many people in thie country feeling they are entitled to something. Entitlement and lack of love have been major causes of death in this country and it continue.  I could not help but think of the church bombings that happened during the Civil Rights Movement. Done to scare and terrorize a people. The killings in Charleston were done for the same reason, but it is not just black people who are scared this time. More of us are becoming aware of the violence. Blacks like myself are unfortunately use to it and tired of it and  wait for the day for more people to wake up to the truth. The truth is simply we must stop hating each other and learn to love one another, starting with ourselves. 

I do not want to belittle race here in America. That is a big problem with this country. Race and the racism  in this country is swept under the rug. That is the American way of hiding one of its biggest shames and pretending it does not exist. With a black man in the White House, that has been more challeging for our country to do. Everyday Preseident Obama works as other black leaders to do things right and all it brings is misery. When the four children in 1963 were killed in that church bombing, blacks were angry and hurt but yet we tried to do things right and we forgave and carried on.

I saw a video of the boy responisbile for taking the lives of the black worshippers in Charleston and in that video you hear victims telling this murderer of thier hurt and yet forgiving him of what he has done. That is what blacks have done for ages. We get trampled, we get rediculed, treated like shit and yet we forgive. It makes us stronger. It makes us flourish in a world that can sometimes feel filled with hate.  But this can't keep happening. America will not last in the world of color treating its people of color like shit.  We Shall Over Come…No. We MUST Over Come. 

Hector’s Happiness

Hector and the Search for Happiness is a movie made in 2014 about a psychaitrist looking for the real meaning of happiness. It is based on a book of the same name by author Francois Lelord. It is a nice uplifiting book and movie. There are a couple of quotes from it that I want to share here.

  • Listening is Loving
  • Many people only see happiness in their future
  • Happiness is to be loved for EXACTLY who you are

There are several other quotes that you can see below but these three, listen, be happy now and be you made me happy to hear and are easy to do. Be Happy. 

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Walking Through the Red Sea

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Moses is an important figure in Jewish, Islamic and Christian traditions. The exodus from Egypt is a well known story and the excited moment when the Red Sea opens so that Moses and his people can escape the Egyptians is a miracle and memorable part of this story.  But, it really was the end of one thing and the beginning of an even bigger moment. When you escape the bondage of an opressor, the next bondage you must escape is the ones we put on ourselves; our unreal beliefs, our unreal limitations. 

The past months have been this very internal transformation for me.   I see myself looking out into my life and see the financial challenges and challenges with family, friends and love. I see the world and some of the complete craziness in it that make following rules and staying honest challenging. I see it some days and I am paralyzed by the stupidity and evilness of it. But lately, I find myself walking through these things as though they are no thicker than air. It no longer keeps me from the vision and purpose I was brought to this earth to create and to experience.  

As impossible as the story of Moses and the Red Sea seems to the world we live in everyday, the spirit has the potential of parting seas everyday. The only obstacles are the ones we see and believe in.  I get it. Now I am living it. The world we wake up to every day is so full of distractions. Prayer and meditation are so important to living a life of vision and purpose. Without a daily focused connection to the real you. The you that is connected to everything else in the world, your destiny is trapped in uselessness. I will not allow that to be my destiny. 

Love is Everywhere

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I am in the middle of big change. I needed some spiritual support and I pulled out a book from my arsenal. One of the books I always go back to is Marianne Williamson's The Gift of Change. You can tell by my cover that it has been read over and over again. 

I came across one section – Love is Everywhere and a particular excerpt from the books says "Who amongst us hasn't missed out on love because we were looking for it in one package and it came in another? Our problem is rarely a lack of love, so much as a mental block to our awareness of the presence of it."

This wasn't the nugget of enlightenment I was looking for when I picked this book up  but it resonated.  Ahhh relationships. This week I heard from many of my friends and the perils of relating.  Relationships and obviously everywhere, but its those "special" relationships that tend to make us put blinders on – looking for a specific person in a specific body with specific stuff – it makes a lot of us loopy. 

I am not a relationship expert, but I have seen a lot and heard a lot and I have come to Williamson's conclusion that to really experience love, we have to be open to it no matter what type of box it comes in. That is hard to do. We see all these beautiful people walking around and we go into imagination land. That's what I want, that's what I need when really, that is what you may be attracted to. Relating and relationships are way deeper than the initial attraction. Attraction has trapped many of us into some crazy nonsense right? 

Now, I am not saying, don't have certain standards. I actually believe if you are one of those people who want a special someone in your life, you should write a list of the characteristics and experiences that you want in that person. I think list like this puts energies in the universe and help in the manifestation process. The next step though is to trust God and universe that it will give you what you want and need. Our place in this process is to trust our list, trust the universe and be open and ready for the outcome, right? 

How much we miss because of our narrow mindedness and our superficial ways. Let's make an agreement right now – stay open to love. It is EVERYWHERE! 

Plain Gold Ring on His Finger

On my way to my apartment in Houston, I spotted a man. I seen him everyday the last couple months since I've been walking home. A black man, heavy with dirty clothes on. He sits near a Uhaul station and he writes in a notebook. I walked by him today and said hello. He mumbled hello back and looked up for a moment and my eyes went to his hands. On his left hand was a wedding ring. That was odd to me. 

The first thought that ran through my mind was that he was on the streets becasue he could not handle the death of his wife. I instantly became sad. There could be other reasons why he is on the streets with a plain gold ring on his finger. Maybe his wife kicked him out or maybe he found that ring on the street and wearing it was more important than pawning it. 

No, that ring was his. It fit too well and, of all the things on his body, the ring was clean. He takes care of it. It is important to him. Even before noticing the ring, I wondered why he was on these streets. His demeanor and spirit seemed so quiet. HIs outer appearance was of a homeless man, but his spirit said "this is where I am, but not where I belong". I am not saying anyone belongs on the the street, but, this man doesn't belong on the streets.

 

Magnolia

MagnoliaIt was one my calls to my mom. I was checking on her, seeing how she was feeling and what was new in life. She told me that my aunt moved to Texas. That was good news. I am back and forth in Houston all the time so maybe I will see my aunt in one of those Texas moments. That bit of news to us to remanicing about my aunt's late husband, my mother's brother. He has been gone for several years. My mom remembered a gift she sent my aunt. It was a blanket with magnolias on it. Magnolias are a favorite of my aunts. From what my mother shared, my aunt takes that blanket with her everywhere. 

I walked from my living room to my bedroom window at the magnolia tree that I see every morning. I love waking up and seeing the tree as it blooms. I shared with my mom that I wake every morning to a magnolia tree. I heard her smile. The magnolia connected me with my aunt. Now, when I look out of my window I will remember how my aunt loves magnolias and I will see her face. I will remember thearing my mother smile, which is always a source of happiness.  It is a small bit of magic how one thing that seem so small connects us. The sweet magnolia tree.