Updated: Apr 21
We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as 'wild'. Only to the white man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was it 'infested' with 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. ☥ ... But we were wise. We knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard. ☥ ☥ Chief Luther Standing Bear ☥ Chief Of The Oglala, Lakota (1905-1939)
You'll find the following unconventional descriptors on every page of phyllishubbard.com:
☥ A Mixed Media Hammam
☥ Pictures ☥ Storytelling ☥ Video
☥ A Cross-Cultural Healing Haven
We must expand our awareness in order to elevate ourselves to the level of the solutions to the challenges that we face in life. Life experience taught me to follow the pathway of unconventional thought as an indispensable pathway to healing. That said, the descriptors are not a random selection of words. They were chosen to reflect the purpose of this website.
☥ A Mixed Media Hammam
Look at the image above. What do you see? Now click on the picture. Where does it take you? This image is an example of mixed media, which can include images, art and video. Phyllishubbard.com uses mixed media to communicate healing messages that transcend the written or spoken word. You can have a deeper understanding of healing through a feeling, a thought or an insight. Mixed media allows phyllishubbard.com to present a customized exploration into and experience of self-care at a pace determined by each individual. No one knows you better than you.
Hammam is the traditional Islamic practice of cleansing the body with steam or water. It is a beautiful public healing space that can include a variety of steam rooms, saunas and warm baths. I chose the word “Hammam” because of its Islamic origins – and because of a travel planning experience that uncovered a need for detoxing our minds.
I was planning an international trip with an older family member. Because we lived in two different cities that were thousands of miles apart, it was challenging to find a way for us to fly together. I was super excited to finally experience Qatar Airway’s innovative “Q Suite.” After many hours of searching, I found a way. We would meet in Doha, and then fly together to our destination. I was thrilled, but when I spoke to my family member, she said that she didn’t feel comfortable flying to Doha by herself. Ignoring her hesitation, I enthusiastically explained that she could wait in the lounge because we were flying business class, she would only have to wait about 90 minutes before my flight arrived and the airport was beautiful. Finally, she admitted that she was afraid of terrorism in the Middle East. As I was determined to take our conversation to a healing place, it went something like this:
“Have you ever experienced terrorism from a Middle Eastern person?” No. “Have you been around Middle Eastern people most of your life?” Yes. “Didn’t you tell me that you were the first generation to integrate an all-white school?” Yes. “And you explained to me how the White kids threw rocks and bottles at you while you were trying to enter the school, that they spit on you, taunted, teased, hunted you - about the history of Red Summer and that White extremists were bombing Black churches, profiling, intimidating, assaulting and murdering Black people ... ”
I could have gone on with more examples, but the lightbulb went off in her head and she said Oh my God. I never thought of it that way. I continued, "Do you realize that for most of your life, you experienced microaggressions, molestation and harassment from a group of people who have stereotyped Black people as dangerous? Do you also realize these same people created a stereotype and applied it to an entire region of the world?" We sat in silence for a little while. I asked her to explain to me how she has been treated by Middle Eastern people, and if any of them gave her a reason to feel unsafe. She couldn’t come up with an example and was upset by her feelings of fear. Unfortunately, we ended up having to cancel the trip for other reasons, so I still have not experienced the “Q Suite.” America has been the place where I have felt unsafe. As far as I can tell, there is no monopoly on microaggressions, molestation, harassment or terrorism.
When I visited a Turkish Bath House, my first experience with a Hammam, I explored different steam rooms and hot tubs. I could go to the cold room, if I felt overheated, to stimulate my lymphatic system. People of all cultures came to have their own experiences of detoxification, cleansing, praying, meditation and rejuvenation. I coined the term "Mixed Media Hammam" while grappling with the best way to describe phyllishubbard.com.
☥ Pictures ☥ Storytelling ☥ Video
Public speaking has been a part of my work since my first corporate job out of college. I encourage a high level of interaction and engagement by including representations of my audience through images and video. During my presentations, I would see the look of surprise and pride of the Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People. They would often wait in line to thank me after the session.
I was often the only Black employee or manager and felt the pressure to conform to company culture. However, all nationalities enjoyed my presentations which made it difficult for White people to ignore the inclusion of Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People or the positive feedback I would receive. Over time, the pressure to conform transformed into the courage to speak truth to power, and inclusion became my mission.
While preparing for a presentation for a group of youth leaders, I struggled to find empowering images of Black, Indian, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian, Caribbean and other students to include in my PowerPoint slides. Because I teach Qigong, I wanted a picture of a Black male taking a deep breath. Every picture that I found was of a Black male smoking a cigarette. I was horrified to see a plethora of images of young Asian girls in bikinis when I searched for a picture of an Asian student. I was especially disturbed by the lack of Indigenous and Pacific Islander images – a challenge that I still work to overcome. Although, my image searches have improved over the years, I consistently find myself spending hours sifting through images of White people to find relevant images of Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People.
Because I grew up around many different cultures, I knew that Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People had fun, demonstrated excellence in their personal/professional lives, ate great food, loved each other and explored new opportunities, but I couldn’t find evidence of us on TV, in the movies, in magazines or online. I couldn't find an accurate representation of the people who lived in my multicultural neighborhood. I was baffled by teachers who said that Egypt was not in Africa because I grew up with Africans who walked me through a map of Africa. Before they were destroyed by the British, the Great Walls of Benin were 10,000 miles long, some parts of which were 60 feet high.
Africa is 11.7 million square miles which is much larger than the U.S.A. (3.7 million square miles) and Europe (1.6 million square miles), yet my history classes focused solely on Europe, and especially Greece which is about the size of Alabama (3,219 square miles). If Africa was not worth studying, then why does Europe earn millions of euros each year on the art that it took from Africa?
I didn't learn about my history in school, but a family member gave me a small deck of cards that taught me about great Black inventors. Because the inventions of Black people are a vital part of our everyday life, such as traffic lights, open heart surgery, an almanac, blood banks, etc., I wondered why I never learned about them in school. In high school, I could easily name Tolstoy, Whitman, Kafka, Faulkner, Browning, Frost, Hawthorne, Melville, Alcott and Dickens.