February 2017 – Open Spaces: To Be Ready. To Share. To Sacrifice.

Open Spaces has been my theme lately; to use different spaces ( invisible to some and visible to others) to bring comfort and affirmation to individuals that are on the path of awakening and those individuals who are grieving a loss.

With this theme in mind, I have been finding myself in different spaces with individuals that continue to confirm within me that I must be there, wherever there is. To be ready when I am pulled. To share when its necessary. To sacrifice my story in service to others.

On a monthly basis, I will share these “Open Spaces” and the story that comes with it.

Venue: Anacostia Arts Center

Event: The Black Love Experience

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The event felt like walking into my own mind, where familiar ideas where given a space to run wild. Within the different spaces in the arts center entrepreneurs were showcasing their ideas, products and services. There was the IntellectuUCool, a conversational based idea that encouraged collective interaction by daring to ask questions surrounding black love. Mayasa Talfair was presence, a vegan health enthusiast who shared her knowledge on the subject of womb work. In another part of the center guests engaged in a self-paced vision board activity.  There were opportunities to laugh out loud while being entertained by Eddie Bryant, a local comedian and speed conversations, an interactive speed socializing segment. I was introduced to the hairpiq.com, a black owned search engine that has created a space for people of color to share their hair pictures and products–it’s the google for everything hair! There was plenty of entertainment throughout the night and it was wall-to-wall black people.

From the time I got out of my car, I reconnected, I engaged, and I made contacts. I witnessed my ideas being transformed and I was inspired by people that looked like me making it happen.

My Affirmation in this Space: I am doing what I am called to do without hesitation.

January 2017 – Open Spaces: To Be Ready. To Share. To Sacrifice.

Open Spaces has been my theme lately; to use different spaces ( invisible to some and visible to others) to bring comfort and affirmation to individuals that are on the path of awakening and those individuals who are grieving a loss.

With this theme in mind, I have been finding myself in different spaces with individuals that continue to confirm within me that I must be there, wherever there is. To be ready when I am pulled. To share when its necessary. To sacrifice my story in service to others.

On a monthly basis, I will share these “Open Spaces” and the story that comes with it.

Venue: Cosca Park Clearwater Nature Center, Clinton, MD

Event: Healing on the Page

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This space… allowed me to be of service in a way that I’m not used. My aim is to open up myself in these spaces and push boundaries. I am at home with private one-on-one conversations where I exchange ideas and information, but this was different. I feel that this is the next step for me on my journey.

I think back now on my personal statement that I created within a women’s circle that I was a part of years ago. It resonates even still; I want to use my hands to mold, I want to use my voice to heal, with everything that I have, I want to leave a lasting impact on those that I come across. To witness myself living what I affirmed years ago was a blessing. I really meant it, I’m thinking as I write this post. I spoke it. I affirmed it. I lived it.

I have always been at home when it comes to service, it is at the core of who I am. I believe that when you’re being of service to others there is little room for failure. I would say, there’s no room, but there is. Why? Because you have to operate in the mindset that although you’re giving of your time, space, finance, energy, etc., freely without want for a return, you must still prepare as if you’re being paid, you must dedicate time to sharpen yourself, you must still show-up fully and be willing to give 100% or more.

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For two hours, I facilitated my writing workshop, Healing on the Page. During this workshop we used expressive writing as a tool to approach childhood trauma. I find that there is power in writing through the hurt that opens up a beautiful space that leads to change in perspective, forgiveness, self-inquiry and healing. We explored excerpts of stories by authors that lent to the power of writing through the pain. We approached how we can being to rework memories and thought processes on the page with a understanding of how this could lead to healing in some form.

Healing on the Page, is built on meditation, setting the tone, sacrifice, and perspective. I got great feedback from the participants and I plan to forge ahead with four additional workshops.

Of course, if you’re in the D.C. area and would like to attend any of the workshops, please go to http://www.Meetup.com and search for Healing on the Page!

My Affirmation in this Space: I will trust my experiences.

December 2016 — Open Spaces: To Be Ready. To Share. To Sacrifice

Open Spaces has been my theme lately; to use different spaces ( invisible to some and visible to others) to bring comfort and affirmation to individuals that are on the path of awakening and those individuals who are grieving a loss.

With this theme in mind, I have been finding myself in different spaces with individuals that continue to confirm within me that I must be there, wherever there is. To be ready when I am pulled. To share when its necessary. To sacrifice my story in service to others.

On a monthly basis, I will share these “Open Spaces” and the story that comes with it.

Venue: Harlem Stage| New York City

Event: Can I get a Witness? The Gospel according to James Baldwin

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This space… offered me an opportunity to celebrate life. The performance took me all the way back to when I was dragged to church as a child. The space was church-like; there were pews, praise dancing, an organ and Meshell Ndegeocello herself on bass, a collection plate, communion, tears, a call to action, a lot of ‘um hum preach sista/brotha’ outbursts, testimony and speaking in tongue and by that I mean, English and Spanish.

I didn’t learn about the show until Wednesday, Dec. 7, after reading an article via TheRoot.com. Lately, I have been sucking up all of James Baldwin’s work, so after Googling his name, I saw that this play would be happening. I learned soon after that all the tickets were sold out. It was set to run from Friday Dec. 16 to Sunday Dec. 18, but  I did not give up. Everyday for the next couple of days, I went on The Harlem Stage website and ignored the “Sold Out” message. I had already made up mind that I was going and that I would get tickets but to my surprise I didn’t have to journey up to New York and buy tickets from a scout, which was my plan. A ticket opened up on Friday evening on the website and I screamed.

On Saturday morning, I was on my way to NYC. I knew I had to be there, so when the play began I knew exactly why I had to be there. I needed this space to confirm that I was exactly where I needed to be at that time, that the universe will make provisions, and that trust is of utmost importance for the journey ahead.

I stood there as the music ramped up, we were encouraged to dance if we felt like it, to move if we were inspired–just to soak in the energy in that space. I was hesitant at first, but then I remembered, I came for something; to give and to receive. So I danced, I mediated, I cried, I let go, I hugged myself and others, I participated and I had an amazing time.

My Affirmation in this Space: I am exactly where I need to be at all times.

 

November 2016 — Open Spaces: To Be Ready. To Share. To Sacrifice.

Open Spaces has been my theme lately; to use different spaces ( invisible to some and visible to others) to bring comfort and affirmation to individuals that are on the path of awakening and those individuals who are grieving a loss.

With this theme in mind, I have been finding myself in different spaces with individuals that continue to confirm within me that I must be there, wherever there is. To be ready when I am pulled. To share when its necessary. To sacrifice my story in service to others.

On a monthly basis, I will share these “Open Spaces” and the story that comes with it.

Venue: The National Portrait Gallery| Washington, DC

Event: Strike a Prose: Me, Myself and I

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This space… brought back the importance of community and perspective. We are all aware of the importance of perspective and how that plays a huge part in how we move about in the world.

When we began the conversation after we were instructed to walk around the gallery and select a piece of artwork that spoke to us, we had an opportunity to then discuss in a group setting while standing in front of the portrait, our perspective and then the floor was open for others to share their perspective of the piece.

**The rules were to save the face and the artist statement for later.**

Title: Gilda Snowden in Her Detroit Studio

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Artist Donita Simpson, statement regarding the portrait above.

Donita Simpson’s portrait of the late Detroit-based artist Gilda Snowden portrays a woman with a forthright gaze surrounded by original art, projects in progress, and the accumulated ephemera of a successful career spent teaching and contributing to a vibrant art scene. For many years Simpson has been making portraits of local artists in their studios and homes, emphasizing the interior spaces as extensions of the sitters’ identity. She is committed to documenting the “real Detroit,” the part visitors never see—“the tight safe havens where the city’s spirit is created and renewed.” Simpson states, “I photograph them because I am interested in the pride and exuberance with which they share their art, teach art, and the welcome way in which they communicate what they do and how they do it.”

 

I was taken aback by the difference in perspective. I also believe that in our individual perspectives I picked up on how our perspectives are influenced by what’s important to us and our beliefs. We have all shared moments where we see one view of a situation or memory and some else recalls it differently. In those moments we question if we even shared the same space with that person. How could they not see it the same? Beliefs and values have a way of creeping into spaces and distorting our perception. This will often be the case but if we learn to value each other’s perspective and just be open to listen, we will understand the importance of community.

My Affirmation in this Space: I am broadening my view of the world by expanding my community and I ask permission to lean on my community for their insight when my view stunts my growth.

I discovered that my interpretation of Gilda Snowden was easily assessable. I could relate to her because she is black like me. I am in the company of people like her often. I see a person who has a lot to share and who is an artist and although her space seems cluttered, I believe she knows exactly where everything is. Artist have their own method and routine for expressing their message and so that’s the short of how I interpreted this portrait.

Now, another participant’s interpretation of Gilda Snowden, she stated that she appeared to be in pain. She gathered this from the way the women is sitting, legs open wide with the right leg propped up. She said that she looked bothered and the space behind her looked to be in a disarray. She also talked in detail about her clothing. Some of the words used to describe her appearance were poor, cheap, and dirty, etc.

Although I was taken aback, I appreciate her perspective because it shed light on how we must take off our blinders. We must engage each other in discussion, after all that’s the essence of community.

[Below is the portrait that spoke to me.]

Title: Caja De Memoria Viva II – Constancia Colon de Clemente. “The Living Memory Box” is a multimedia exhibit that represents the life of Doña Constancia Colon-Clemente a Black Puerto Rican who migrated to the United States in the 1940’s.

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Artist Adrian Roman (“Viajero”), statement regarding portrait above.

Adrian Roman’s Puerto Rican heritage and New York City upbringing inform his artistic practice. Traveling between the two places sparked an interest in exploring the disparate worlds of the tropical landscape and the overpopulated cityscape. His installations explore migration, race, and identity through memories of “observed and experienced events, repressed trauma, and childhood.” Caja De La Memoria Viva II portrays Constancia Colón de Clemente, a black Puerto Rican who migrated to the United States in the 1940s, in a three-dimensional multimedia installation that allows the viewer to literally enter Constancia’s head. This portrait and others like it permit Román to “embark on a quest to visually represent how precious our memories are and capture the dignity in the people’s struggle and validate their existence.”