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The Art Of Health ☥ Healing

Updated: 19 hours ago

There’s a long road between surviving and living. It’s equal to the distance between resilience and radiance. To leave trauma and the hardship of merely surviving day to day - to take the journey to radiance, where thriving is possible, one must prepare for the trip. Some things must be left behind and some things must be discovered. Art and culture are the roadmap for the journey. What a culture creates reflects the foundation for understanding its journey. Culture is a blueprint that signifies a people have learned how to live. Art is medicine - a sign of forward movement - an articulation of lived reality in an altar large enough to hold aspirations for the future.                                                                                                                                                                        ☥ WolfHawkJaguar ☥          

Writing in The New York Review of Books in October 2020, amid the renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd, Gary Younge observed, there is – within the arena of racial subjugation and exclusion – 'the violence that is inflicted and the violence that is implied … operat[ing] not separately, but in concert.' Similar sentiments were expressed in the wake of earlier periods of civil unrest and instances of black resistance – these crucibles of direct action brimming with myriad experiences of, perspectives on, and aspirations for black life. The overspill of some of the most resonant of these resistance movements has often been channelled into art, hence the Black Arts Movement in the US emerging during the advent of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and the British Black Arts Movement following the uprisings – in cities including London, Bristol and Liverpool – of the early 1980s.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Tara Okeke ☥ From, 'The Powerful Paintings Reframing Black Experience'

The art of health ☥ healing includes how we take care of ourselves while reading this blog. As this blog begins with digressions, I invite you to please get comfortable, have those healthy snacks available and enjoy yourself on your journey to radiance. When I worked in the corporate world, I developed a habit of arriving to our sales meetings early in order to get settled in my room, relax and see something of the city before the meetings began. Depending on the flight schedules and my responsibilities at the meeting, I would stay later, particularly if there was something of interest for me to see. One particular winter meeting was in Arizona. One of the sales reps recommended that I check out the Chapungu Sculpture Park (which has since moved to Loveland, Colorado) because she knew how much I loved African culture and how isolated I was at a very white-centered organization. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to spend an entire day at the sculpture park. The art was truly amazing, the park was serene, the weather was picture perfect, and I took lots of pictures (but with a mediocre camera) a few of which I will share throughout this post. However, my experience left a few splinters in my mind:

☥ I had never heard the word "Chapungu." Why did I have to hear about it from a white

person and why was the information so accessible to them? At the time, I lived in New

Mexico and the person who told me about the exhibit lived over 1,000 miles away from

Arizona. Yet, they spoke of the exhibit as if it were common knowledge.

☥ Why is a park that houses African sculptures located in Arizona where, at the time, the

population of Black People was less than 5%?

☥ The exhibit was very well attended and attracted ~60,000 people annually. During my

visit, I saw a total of two Black People in the arboretum.

My colleague and I paid for an extra night at the hotel so that we would not be rushed through the experience. We stopped off at the closest town which is in Superior, Arizona (no pun intended) to check out their Ghost Town which truly looked like we had stepped back in time. At the time, the Chapungu exhibit was at the Boyce Thompson Aboretum in the Sonoran Desert which is slightly longer than an hour's drive from Phoenix and is assessible by car. After being on display for more than ten years in Arizona, the exhibit has now permanently moved to Loveland, Colorado where the population of Black People is currently at .6% and the median income is $81,898 (2022, US Census).

Hollywood actor Idris Elba has a 'big dream' for Sierra Leone, the West African nation where his father was born - to regenerate a beautiful island off its coast and turn it into an eco-friendly 'smart city.'                                                                                                                                                                                      'It's a dream, you know, but I work in the make-believe business ... It's about being self-reliant, it's about bringing an economy that feeds itself and has growth potential. I'm very keen to reframe the way Africa is viewed … as an aid model.' (Elba)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ... This is an exciting prospect for Sierra Leone, where only 28% of the population currently has access to electricity - and rural areas like Sherbro Island have no mains power ... Elba seems doubtful about ever turning a profit - but as he said, it is about making it work.                                                                                                                                                                                      David Waddell, From, 'Idris Elba 'Dreams Big' With Sierra Leone Eco-city Plan For Sherbro Island' BBC News

The Chapungu exhibit needs an open space with ~300 acres of land to do it justice. So, I wondered what options would be available in gardens located within cities with a larger population of Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a lovely, spacious 392 acres. Here are some other options that would have been more accessible for Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People to travel to (families, school trips, etc.):

Longwood Gardens is located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It is one of the largest

arboretums in the US (1,100 acres) and at just 43 miles from Philadelphia, is accessible

by bus, car, train and taxi/ride share.

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois. Glencoe is about 24 miles from Chicago and

comes in at 385 Acres. I love this option as a fun family adventure/school trip because

it is a combination of 27 gardens that are spread across nine islands and is connected

by a tram ☥ accessible by bus, car, train, taxi/ride share.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Run by the University of

Georgia (making it an ideal location for additional educational opportunities), this garden      comes in at 313 Acres and is a 90 minute drive from Atlanta. As Atlanta is a huge airport      hub, Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People from all across the nation, can find their

way to this garden. In 2023, more than 312,000 people visited this garden.

I also found other options in areas with substantial Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant populations such as Michigan, South Carolina and New York.

Chapungu (Cha-POON-goo) is the name given to the monumental stone sculptures produced by the present-day Shona people in Zimbabwe, Africa. Chapungu is defined as the “Great Spirit Bird” or Eagle of Zimbabwe, which protects and warns of danger, often bringing an important message. Stone sculpting is a means of expression by Shona people, emerging on the art scene since the early 1960’s.                                                                                                                                                                  ☥ From The Chapungu Sculpture Park At Centerra Website ☥

My contemplation led me back to WolfHawkJaguar's quote: "What a culture creates reflects the foundation for understanding its journey ... Art is medicine - a sign of forward movement - an articulation of lived reality in an altar large enough to hold aspirations for the future." Currently, ~90% of African art resides outside of Africa. This means that Africans on the continent must travel, primarily to europe, to learn about their history and culture through art that is centuries old. However, in Journey To The Dream, we learn that it is not easy for Africans who are not affluent to travel outside of Africa. In How To Outsmart Our Monkey Mind, I share my personal experience of detecting hidden racism within the travel industry that is specifically directed towards African and Middle Eastern travelers. When we travel as Americans, it is understood that we will get the visa we need. However, Africans, even musicians such as MXO who was rejected three times before finally obtaining a visa, are often denied access. How then do Africans discover who they are and where they have been? What's the difference between African art that is not accessible to Africans and African art residing in America that is not accessible to Black Americans?

The Banner twins are the founders of The Descendants Project, a nonprofit that fights for historic and cultural preservation for descendants of enslaved people. It was through their nonprofit that they bought Woodland Plantation, the birthplace of the 1811 slave revolt.                                                     During that revolt, hundreds of enslaved plantation workers, inspired by the Haitian Revolution, took up arms and marched toward New Orleans, hoping to seize the city, free other slaves and establish a free state. The uprising was quelled by U.S. troops and local militia, leaving nearly 100 enslaved people dead. Scores more were captured and executed, while others were returned to their plantations, where some were punished.                                                                                                                                                                        From the article: 'Twin sisters buy former plantation to preserve and protect Black history.'

It is important to note that england houses a considerable amount of valuable African art. During my college years, I worked with three different airlines. Whenever I traveled, I did my best to avoid taking flights that connected through england because of the high taxes. In fact, when I was planning a trip to Africa, the option that took me through england was $500 more than the option through spain and Doha (one of the most luxurious airports in the world). I've been to heathrow and gatwick airports in london, and I would not consider either to have a reason to justify charging such high taxes. The taxes are so high that the airlines banded together to pressure the united kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority to require heathrow to cut their rates. When I first heard the term "woke," I loved the concept of "staying woke." However, I don't refer to myself as woke. Rickie Byars has a lyric in Genesis which more accurately describes my woke journey: "I was walking asleep, dreaming I was awake." I believe that I am waking, but certainly not woke. Who am I? What else do I not know about my ancestry, history and culture? How will I learn if the art of my people is not accessible to me? Fortunately, artists who have internet access can post collections to help us put the pieces of who we are together, but they need to be adequately compensated for their work. On the other hand, colonizers manage to get compensated very well for the art that they stole from us. A few of the way too many examples include:

☥ Colonizers got paid to steal the art from Africa

☥ Colonizers got paid to construct museums to house African art

☥ Colonizers get and continually get paid when we purchase a ticket to go to their

museum to see the art that they stole from us. The country who houses African art also

gets paid in airplane ticket sales, hotel accommodations, food, other attractions, etc.

and impress us with their beautiful city that was paid for by our ancestors and us.

Meanwhile, we are socially programmed as children to be afraid of/to go to Africa and

ashamed of its unpaved streets and "undeveloped" cities/villages which keeps

resources from getting to our people.

☥ Colonizers study the art and turn it/our Gods ☥ Goddesses into white gods and

goddesses, superheroes/sheroes/humans, villains, etc. and then make millions and

sometimes billions of dollars off of our appropriated culture. When we ask for our art

back, they claim that if they return the art, it would get stolen because of our corrupt

government full of politicians that colonizers fund/pressure, or by rebels that they

and/or their investors fund because they create situations of economic suppression

then steal hungry children and psychologically manipulate them into becoming rebel

soldiers. However, they covertly conceal the root causes of the corruption and

present themselves as "helping" to "preserve" history. Colonizers often make so much

money that by the time we figure out that the star of their show was actually an

African, they can afford to stall us in legal litigation for years while they attempt to

cover up their tracks or reframe their actions and spam the public with false rhetoric

until we forget what they've done. The reframes often involve turning Black ☥

Indigenous People against each other so that we have to call on the colonizer to swoop

in and rescue us or stop the conflict.

Oloya uses them as symbols of modernity and plastic waste from outside Africa, which contrast vividly with the organic bark cloth that comes from inside the continent. 'Much of our environment in Africa is not made in Africa. It is brought in and is rotting in Africa,' says the artist. 'But I put the dead phones on the dress to give people hope - we can recycle things, we can reuse things.'                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ... Oloya managed to escape after 18 months. And art became his refuge. In 2004, he graduated from Makerere School of Fine Art - paying his way by DJing at night and selling toys that he had been making since he was a child. Oloya believes in the power of art to change people's lives.                                                                                                                                                                      ☥ Penny Dale From, 'Peter Oloya - The Ugandan LRA Child Soldier Who Moulded A New Future In Art'

Chapungu Sculpture Park offers a self-guided walking experience rich in Zimbabwe history. A unique outdoor public gathering destination filled with handmade carved sculptures and home to beautiful natural wildlife, expansive botanical gardens, and annual engagement events to delight the community. Annual summer concerts, community fundraising events, weddings and special lighting celebrations surround the Great Lawn area ... The walking park is handicap accessible. Free admission and open to the public daily 6AM – 10PM.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ☥ From The Chapungu Sculpture Park At Centerra Website ☥

I'm sharing my experience with Chapungu because when I returned home from Arizona and excitedly shared my pictures/experience no one had heard of it. Yet, the sculpture park had been on tour since 1980. I have yet to share these pictures with a Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant Person who had already heard of or visited the sculpture park. If I were a white person who truly wanted to help our country heal, Chapungu would offer me an opportunity to express humanitarianism through efforts such as:

☥ Sponsoring school spring break trips (or a family) to attend the Chapungu exhibit

☥ Lobbying for the exhibit to travel or expand the exhibit to include a region where people

with African ancestry can more easily view the art. Chapungu sculpture parks also have

permanent homes in Harare, Zimbabwe and Leimen, Germany (Galerie Im


My father has always been an innovative problem solver. Once of his sayings is, "A problem is an enterprising opportunity." My affirmation is that as people learn about Chapungu, they will share and cultivate opportunities that reconnect Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People to our art.

We are surrounded by cultural signifiers - the narratives that carry and shape our reality. We can sit at the table set for us and be molded by the narratives of our inadequacies, or we can rise above the tide by the creation of art that creates space to create other realities. By taking control of our own story and art, we create the road for our continued Journey To Radiance. The inherent power of being creators is that we create not only the path on which we travel, we actively craft the legend of rising to meet and answer the challenges we face.                                                                                                                                                                                                        ☥ WolfHawkJaguar ☥    

Rafiki Coalition’s mission is to eliminate health inequities in San Francisco’s Black and marginalized communities through education, advocacy, and by providing holistic health and wellness services in a culturally affirming environment.                                                                                                                                                     Rafiki Coalition strives to achieve its focus by providing health and wellness services including, but not limited to, health education, movement classes, health screenings, advocacy, transitional housing and case management services for people living with HIV/AIDS, trauma resiliency and mental health circles, and other health-promoting activities.                                                                                                                                                                                          We dare to dream of a vibrant, healthy San Francisco, where health disparities among Black and marginalized communities have been eliminated and HIV/AIDS is a disease of the distant past. We affirm an informed, educated, healed, resilient, happy, united, productive, committed, respectful, empowered, mobilized and engaged community, where life is valued and the diversity of the African Diaspora is celebrated.                                                                                                                                                                                            Our holistic, integrated approach to wellness makes us a unique resource for San Francisco’s under-served communities.                                                                                                                                                                                                ☥ Rafiki Coalition Website ☥

WolfHawkJaguar introduced me to the Rafiki Coalition because I was looking for places to share health and healing strategies. He was helping to organize Rafiki's 10th Annual Black Health and Healing Summit and lobbied for me to secure a few spots on the agenda as a speaker. I had never been to an event that infused art, culture and holistic health so seamlessly. By the end of the three day event, I was convinced that it was a model that needs to be replicated across the nation. It was a no-brainer for WolfHawkJaguar and I to create a podcast and webisode designed to help raise awareness and offer a platform for healers to share their wisdom. The theme for the event was, "Sankofa: The wisdom of learning from the past to build for the future." Check out Journey To Radiance Sankofa (blog and podcast) to learn more about the wisdom of Sankofa. I understood Dr. Michael Beckwith to say that the news represents the lowest (consciousness) common denominator of our society. It often uses fear to drive ratings, it spams us with "breaking news" (which technically can only happen once) and each network has a niche audience that it caters to which means that the news we watch is tainted by that niche. Fear is often contagious which is a major root cause for emotional addictions and helps to sustain TV ratings, but to what end? More importantly, where do we go to learn about the events occurring in our society that help our community to seek higher consciousness, solve challenges and heal?

Your potential is infinite and always bigger than the problem you are going through.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ☥ Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith ☥

The Art Of Health ☥ Healing is a journey to radiance through the wisdom of community healers from across the nation. These healers work consistently and diligently to cultivate a better world, but their voices ☥ efforts are not often covered on the nightly news. So, let's find a comfortable space with healthy snacks and enjoy the wisdom of the news that represents the highest common denominator of our society.

We began as a community-based organization, The Black Coalition on AIDS (BCA), that responded to the urgent needs of a Black/African-American community that was being devastated by HIV/AIDS. Our goal was to ensure Black people would receive appropriate services and be adequately represented in policy decisions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Over the years, BCA expanded to provide a wide range of health services for HIV/AIDS, including transitional housing, health education, advocacy, health case management and other health-promoting activities.                                                                                                                                                                      We also expanded our services to meet the needs of the broader community of San Franciscans who have limited access to health and wellness services. In keeping with our core mission and expanded menu of services, we changed our name to Rafiki Coalition for Health and Wellness in 2015. Today we are a wellness hub, dedicated to removing barriers to better health and wellness for everyone.                                                                                                                                                                                                 ☥ Rafiki Coalition Website ☥

Congo is not just [about] the problem, Congo is the solution ...                                                                                                                                                          Reagan Miviri Analyst, Ebuteli and Congo Research Group

It’s such a critical time that we’re in. It’s so much trauma, so much hurt, so much pain. But what Rafiki Wellness is doing is truly allowing us to celebrate in the midst of this … Celebrate in the midst of our healing, celebrate in the midst of the trauma … Some people are like, ‘How can you celebrate during those times?’ Well, [being from] New Orleans … this is how we get through trying times, how we get through the trauma, how we get through the pain. So, what Rafiki Wellness has done with this summit, aside from educating, aside from giving us breathing techniques, good food, togetherness, is coming [together] ... so that we can celebrate in the midst of this ... listen, there’s so much that we can look forward to. Because it’s truly a reminder of the importance of intuition, the importance of imagination and how those are not only needed but are appropriate tools for our wellness and for our healing. ☥ Sunni Patterson ☥ Poet ☥ Artist ☥ Healer

Being at Rafiki is reclaiming roots - is reclaiming the spirit of who we are, where we come from and what that means in our life. ☥ Dr. Sal Nuñez ☥ Healer ☥ Artist ☥ Instructor

Everybody has their calling, and I truly think that this calling - music - I call it medicinal music - musical medication, you dig it? Know what you’re doing, be true to your trade. It’s a pass down from one who knew it before we did. So, it’s our responsibility to pass it down again to the next being who is going to then pass it down and so forth. So, we want to try and give it as righteously as possible - as righteous as we received it, we’re going to give it in that manner. We ain't playing with it. We’re playing it. We’re having fun with it, but we ain’t playing around with it. We’re really serious about our trade, our genre of music and where we come from. The lineage between these two men right here that you see is very strong. ☥ MJ’s Brass Boppers ☥ Musicians ☥ Culture Keepers ☥ Teachers

We’ve got to change the narrative of the things that we like to outlet ourselves from. Music, art - these things are outlets, and we need to use them as positive outlets instead of negative outlets which is a lot of what we do in our culture. We use a lot of these art and health things and we use them in counterintuitive ways. This [Rafiki] Summit is [to] flip the paradigm, flip the narrative. So, now we get to make music about things like this and feel good about it instead of it feeling like a cliché or like something that ain’t supposed to happen. This is supposed to happen. So, it’s happening. ☥ Leo Mercer ☥ Artist ☥ Healer

[It's important for us to] focus on having a safe space, a healing space and spread healing practices amongst each other and the different organizations that are here, because one of the things we need the most in the Black community is healing. We go through a lot of trauma. We go though a lot of pain just existing in the world here in America, and, to get past the problems of health, incarceration, problems we face in society, we need a safe space to heal ... to make sure that we share best practices with each other.                                                                                                                                     ☥ Dr. Prince White ☥ Activist ☥ Teacher

☥ Kamau Abayomi ☥ Artist ☥ Instructor ☥ Healer
☥ Kamau Abayomi ☥ Artist ☥ Instructor ☥ Healer

Coming from the environment that we come from - it’s a way to keep focused on something that’s holistically positive. It’s about … The more you write, as a poet, as someone who writes rhymes … I have to keep my mind sharp. In order to do that, I have to be aware of what’s going on in the world. So, from the studying, I was able to keep my mind active and that keeps my mind healthy. Within that study you also learn about meditation, spirituality and different practices of spirituality and how to apply it to our life … to my life. And so as I’ve grown in my spiritual studies. As I’ve learned meditation, as I’ve started doing Qigong and these different practices, it starts to fuse into my art. ☥ Kamau Abayomi ☥ Artist ☥ Instructor ☥ Healer

Events like this are important because it allows us to be able to reclaim our health which is the most important thing. Our health, cleanliness is Godliness, ... so to be healthy is to be in tune with that creative source and to be able to be a creator.                                                                                                     Us having it in this time in particular is also vital because the sickness that we as Black People have adopted is generational and is something that is passed down. So, like us, as the fifth or sixth generation of whoever, now we are inheriting the lack of health from our parents, our grandparents, our great grandparents - all the way through. So, to have [the Rafiki Summit] is important now because we don’t have things like this and people are dealing with generational trauma, generational illness.                                                                                                                                                                                            With great power comes great responsibility. Why would we not use our gifts to heal? And it’s not necessarily like, 'OK we’re going to go save the world,' that’s a part of it but our music is a reflection of our self journeys, our personal journeys and us healing ourselves.                                                                                                           ☥ OSHUN ☥ Artists ☥ Activists ☥ Healers

If we want to heal, we can heal through energizing and loving ourselves and then spreading that love. It does not have to be, ‘I’m wearing myself down.’ So, have a conversation with yourself about that. Hit the reset button in your mind, and see what that looks like. When you check in with the truest part of yourself, there’s never going to be a, ‘I’ve got to abuse myself to help this person. I’ve got to give to the point that I’m about to drop’ … No. No. ☥ Dr. Phyllis SHU Hubbard ☥ Health Warrior ☥ Visual Healing Artist ☥

Interestingly enough, what makes me well is helping you be well. A lot of people don’t realize that there is a direct benefit. Sometimes you’re working to try to get yourself somewhere and, in fact, when you stop looking at you and start looking at someone else and help someone else, self-less service, you get what you need. Sometimes people are thinking, ‘I need this and I need that.’ Sometimes you need to stop looking at you. It’s not about you. And, you’ll find that everything comes to you when you stop directing all the attention at yourself. I believe that every child should learn to give selflessly -with no intent of anything in return. I think children need to be taught that very young. You’re giving because there is a need, period. Not because you’re going to get anything. Now, ultimately, they do, and they learn that there’s a reward from giving. And, it’s not always a material reward. It’s a spiritual reward. It’s a moral or intellectual reward - something you can’t even imagine. But I believe that this is something that needs to be taught. It’s almost looked at as a burden ... It’s not a burden though. It should be something you joyfully do. ☥ Dr. Joy DeGruy ☥ Instructor ☥ Activist ☥ Healer

You and the Creator are one. You and the Master are one. Therefore, you create masterpieces. So, we have to continue to bring that thought up so that it moves from our feet all the way on up and that we’re able to bring it out to our people in the best way.                                                                                                                                                                                                     ☥ Sunni Patterson ☥ Poet ☥ Artist ☥ Healer

Our Body Whisperer ☥ The Art Of Nudging

I hit my tipping point with white people in middle school. I was frustrated almost to the point of being suicidal because I couldn't figure out how I was going to continue living with them if there would be no consequences for their actions, and my efforts would be continually suppressed. By the time I got to middle school, I realized that the torment of the white students would not stop, and some of my teachers were committing crimes right in front of me. Their behaviors reflected an unacceptable reality that I had to grapple with in order to move forward. I'm not sure when I became aware of my body whisperer, but I distinctly remember being guided by something inside myself in middle school. I now realize that the "something that kept nudging me" was my body whisperer. After the devastation of seeing the results of a knee-jerk reaction that caused harm, I became more self-aware. I started to notice how quickly I would react to something, and felt this inner hesitation that would pause me long enough to regain control of my emotions. I noticed that I was attracted to the words "anger" and "rage" from watching The Incredible Hulk, and realized that other people were causing Dr. Banner to turn into the Hulk and certain people/situations would calm the Hulk down. white people were causing me to feel the same kind of rage, but I didn't want to cause the type of damage that I saw the Hulk commit on the show. I became aware that I was receiving nudges through my intuition. My body whisperer sent me a thought, "What would calm down the Hulk inside of me?" My bonus Dad gave me a microscope in elementary school because I was constantly analyzing things. My body whisperer sent me a thought, "What if I looked at my actions the way I looked at things I put in a petri dish?" I started to observe human behavior pluralistically, but I didn't have the language to understand what I was actually doing until I took a psychology course in high school. The question that haunted me was, "How was I going to live in a world with white people without turning into the Hulk?"

The price for freedom may be high, but the price that we pay for being imprisoned and cut off from the very root of our being is even higher. When you choose life, you must have the courage to sacrifice your old, worn-out, ineffective self.                                                                                                                                   ☥ Queen Afua ☥

Artist Galal Yousif managed to flee Sudan when conflict erupted earlier this year with only a few belongings stuffed into a small backpack. The turmoil and bag, in which he had crammed his passport, two pairs of jeans, five shirts and a car key, is depicted in his painting 'Man With a Heavy Heart.'                                                                                                                                       He first created the work as a mural in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, which he reached after a harrowing journey in June.                                                                                                                                                                               Having now found temporary refuge in Kenya, he has recreated it on canvas - a striking image of a man with a hand over his heart, surrounded by large circular red dots resembling gunshot wounds.                                                                                                                                                                                             ☥ Ismail Einashe ☥ Letter From Africa Series, Nairobi From, 'Sudan War: Heavy Hearts For The Artists Painting The Pain Of Conflict'

My body whisperer nudged me again, "If white people make me angry, then what makes me calm me down?" This time, the question hit me differently and changed the trajectory of my life. I kept going back to, "If white people make me ..." Why was that concept lingering in my mind? I struggled with it for a long time and kept watching "The Incredible Hulk" hoping that Dr. Banner's life would offer some clues. Then, my body whisperer nudged me in a slightly different way, "Why do I let white people make me angry?" This thought threw me down a rabbit hole. The question triggered rage. Let??!! Did I have a choice? The white kids did what they wanted to do. In fact, the one time I withdrew my hand from a white person to protect myself, I was sent to the principal's office (who confirmed that my need for respect/consent would not be honored at that school).

My body whisperer would not let up and sent me a thought, "white kids don't bother me as much now because I have grown taller than them, right?" Hmmm, well that was true. My body whisperer sent me a thought, "Practice modeling at school." When I was in middle school, my parents had put me in modeling school. They noticed that I was feeling awkward because I was about eight inches taller than most of my classmates. My modeling school was in Philadelphia, where the gorgeous tall Black women straightened me out before the teacher could get to me. I took the advice of my body whisperer and started practicing walking like a model in school. I immediately noticed a change in the white kids. I began to pay attention to this mysterious thing that would arise from inside me as a quiet thought or question. Was it God? It must be ... The white kids shifted their strategy, and their torment went from physical to verbal/psychological. My body whisperer was relentless, "If I'm no longer intimidated by the Black kids who are pressuring me to only have friends who are 'Black enough' for them, why do I care about what white people say?" Before I could consider an answer, my body whisperer sent me a thought, "white kids are sneaky and they want me to get in trouble. Ignore them and figure out what calms me down." No matter how much I wanted to complain, the thought kept at me, "What calms me down?" I kept thinking about the microscope, and somehow the idea came to me that I have to look closely at things.

When I got to high school, I took a psychology course that helped me to refine my processes of scientific observation. I noticed that attempting to solve the problem was something that "calmed me down," so whenever white people would attack or annoy me, I would attempt to figure out why. I observed, took notes and constantly conducted interviews. I also grilled my high school psychology teacher and spent time in the library searching for answers. Whenever I would get angry, my body whisperer would ask, "Why am I angry?" followed by, "Why are they saying/acting like that?" My experiments kept me busy, calmed me down, and created enough emotional distance for me to greatly reduce knee-jerk reactions. I ended up befriending a white male who protected me from the white boys at school, but I rode the school bus with a white male who was very difficult to manage. He would not keep his hands off of me, and the word "no" meant nothing to him. My body whisperer sent me a thought, "If I hold his hands, at least I'll know/can control where they are." So, he became an experiment, and although I felt like it was an unwelcomed compromise, I used the opportunity to observe, ask questions and test different ways to assert my boundaries.

After I graduated from college, I discovered that spending a day binge watching science fiction entertained and calmed me down. Although the Syfy channel showed way too many horror and B films, I still found myself reverting to it when I wanted to zone out. By this time, my body whisperer was sending more complex thoughts/questions such as, "Do I need friends? What is the purpose of friends? Is this person a friend or an energy vampire? If I can choose who to hang out with in my spare time, who do I spend time with?" One day, I remembered how much fun I had with my family "down south" when we spent the entire day watching old Black movies. I didn't realize that so many old Black movies existed. My body whisperer sent me a thought, "If white people are stressing me out, why not spend an entire day without white people?" So, I began what became a life long practice of spending at least 24 hours immersed in Black culture, especially when I was feeling stressed. I wouldn't watch the news, TV, or go outside. It was almost like a date. I would light candles, get all of my favorite foods so that I wouldn't have to leave the house and just hang out with my culture. I remembered that some of the best times I've had included:

☥ Dancing to calypso music in the Caribbean and at house parties

☥ Dancing to salsa music with Cuban/Indigenous friends in Miami

☥ African film festivals, cultural events

The pattern was clear, and I finally discovered what truly calmed me down. My soul wanted me to learn more about who I am. This practice of immersion in culture was the seed that eventually grew into my idea for creating as, "A Healing Space For Everyone That Centers Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People."

Black woman on a motorcycle

The Art Of Healing Hidden Trauma: A Double Down Digression

Between films about culture and science fiction, I had found a way to convert my home into a temporary healing space where I could immerse myself in culture and explore the galaxy. One day, I was in my science fiction couch potato mode when an older movie came on that captured my attention. It wasn't a Black film, and the special effects were cheesy (typical of an 1980's film), but its themes caused me to watch it occasionally over the years. The name of the film is They Live. Here's an abbreviated synopsis from Wikipedia:

Nada, a homeless drifter comes to Los Angeles in search of a job. He finds employment at a construction site and is befriended by coworker Frank, who invites him to live in a shanty town soup kitchen ... a hacker takes over television broadcasts, claiming that scientists have discovered signals that are enslaving the population and keeping them in a dream-like state, and that the only way to stop it is to shut off the signal at its source. Those watching the broadcast complain of headaches.                                                                                                                                                                                         Nada ... discovers the hacker and a secret group meeting at a church. He notices a box ... and discovers that they contain sunglasses that make the world appear monochrome, but also reveal subliminal messages in the media to consume, reproduce, and conform. The glasses also reveal that many people who look and act human are actually aliens with skull-like faces. Once Nada forces Frank to put on the sunglasses, they join the anti-alien movement and learn that the aliens are using global warming to make Earth more like their own planet, and are depleting the Earth's resources for their own gain. They also learn that the aliens have been bribing humans to become collaborators, promoting them to positions of power ... Nada figures out where the source of the signal is and destroys the transmitter which liberates the human population.                                                                                                                                                                                              From The Plot Description Of 'They Live' ☥ Wikipedia ☥

I understood Osho to say that metaphors are important because they help people to raise their level of consciousness. He gave the example that if a person saw a beautiful flower on another planet, how would they describe it to someone from earth who had never seen anything like it? The person would have to use a series of metaphors to help the person visualize and conceptualize the flower. Osho's commentary reflects one of my biggest challenges as a healer. Healing my body took me to the equivalent of the other side of a mountain. It is so much better there, but how do I get people to go there when they think they are fine where they are? Why travel into the unknown when we can take drugs to distract us, numb our pain and suppress symptoms? Why travel when all that we could want is available to us right here? I'm going to double down on a few of the plot themes from the movie "They Live" to help us explore the multidimensional aspects of the art of healing hidden trauma.

Even Africa’s wealthiest man has trouble traveling in his own continent. Despite doing business in multiple countries, Nigerian-born Aliko Dangote complains he faces far more hurdles crossing Africa than visitors with European passports ever do. CNN Travel ☥ Larry Madowo ☥

... a hacker takes over television broadcasts, claiming that scientists have discovered signals that are enslaving the population and keeping them in a dream-like state, and that the only way to stop it is to shut off the signal at its source.         ☥                                                                                                                       From The Plot Description Of 'They Live' ☥ Wikipedia ☥

"They Live" Plot Theme: Default Thinking/Behaviors

The first concept that jumped out at me from "They Live" was the idea of a sneaky alien colonizer who invades and conquers while allowing the conquered to believe that nothing has happened. People are allowed to live their lives, earn money, have families, etc. The aliens use deception via a transmitted signal that puts the humans into a "dream-like" state and prevents them from seeing the truth. The fact that people believe that they are progressing makes them less likely to seek the truth, even if they discover the manipulation ("ignorance is bliss" and "don't rock the boat" are spammed cultural idioms that can be traced back to english, roman and american colonizers). The movie also includes the story of humans who find out about the invasion, but choose to spy on/turn against their own people and collaborate with the invaders who, in return, offer them financial incentives and positions of power within society that promote the aliens' agenda.

The social program of comfort and luxury is used as a weapon of control to the point that many people begin to believe that the only way to obtain comfort and luxury is through pillaging, manipulation, sacrificing integrity, etc. We are spammed with propaganda that attempts to convince us that comfort is a result of what we acquire instead of the result of inner peace. We think that our problems will go away once we have acquired wealth, but if we obtain wealth without healing past traumas, we leave ourselves vulnerable to self-sabotage. We may make decisions based on a need to prove ourselves or hide from pain which can cause us to lose our wealth, health and more. How do we cultivate a healthy, balanced mind that evolves in consciousness as we acquire wealth? Our engagement with the distractions of competition, jealousy, envy, etc. causes us to forget that we can have inner peace ☥ comfort ☥ luxury if we heal past traumas and our lives are guided by our innate intelligence. Self-awareness ☥ empowerment attracts wealth and promotes win/win situations that generates a ripple effect of wealth around it. Inferiority complexes create hoarding that blocks the flow of wealth in order to create a delusion of superiority.

Listed below are a few basic examples of social signals that can keep us in a dream-like state. Notice how the social signals provide a way for us to bypass personal and social accountability/popularize habits that cause us to run on default in our thoughts, conversations and actions:

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Do we skin cats in our society? Then why do

we use this outdated cultural idiom? We can instead choose to use empowered

language that affirms our commitment to solving challenges pluralistically.

He's not Black enough for her. What is the definition of "Black enough?" Why are we

commenting on whether as person is Black enough for another person? It's their

relationship, so why not let them work it out? This perception can also cause him to feel

like he doesn't have a shot with her, and for her to feel pressured to not like him, when in

fact they could be a great match for each other. They will never know if they do not

She made me do it. She may have coerced, threatened or manipulated us, but we chose

to do it.

 Not before my coffee! When we cannot take action without a stimulant and cannot relax

without a sedative, then we are emotionally addicted to the social program of

celebrating dependence on an outside substance, and we are physically addicted to the

substance itself.

 You're too much woman for me. This statement is a passive/aggressive way of

fishing to see if the woman is interested, and is driven by a lack of confidence.

 They say that ... Who are they? What do they have to do with your life? Perhaps

something they say can provide a useful perspective, but as long as we are listening to

what they say, we are not tapping into and listening to our innate intelligence.

In "They Live," the resistance movement has found a way to transcend the manipulative signal in order to wake up the people by using sunglasses to "see" which is significant, because the aliens use light to blind people and put them in a dream-like state. However, in order to wake up the people, they must put on the sunglasses. I think I was attracted to this film because I find myself feeling like the "Nada" character, reluctantly fighting with people to encourage them to do the equivalent of "putting on the sunglasses."

Innately, we are healers. Innately we have all the medicine in us already. So, if we were just to play a rhythm, whether that be the first heartbeat - the drum that we heard from our mother, her heart, and if we just played that drumbeat and we allowed ourselves to work into rhythm with that, then we would start to hear our medicine. So, it goes from simply moving our bodies in rhythm to then how that can happen in our music, in our songs, but so much more ... When we did the Rafiki 10th Annual Black Health and Healing Summit - what I wanted everywhere was ... [for you to] see art, to see beauty, to see something that stamped in your unconscious access to spirit, access to culture, access to healing for yourself. It doesn’t have to be someone else giving you this medicine. It’s already within us. We just have … to tap into it. And, we also have to block out all of the barriers around it … that interfere [with] us accessing our medicine. One of the things that art - especially theatre - does for us is - we begin to, when we step into that as a modality, let go of other things and step into pure emotion, into pure spirit, into channeling and that allows us to move forward and let go …                                                                          ☥ Dr. Monique LeSarre ☥

"They Live" Plot Theme: Numbing Devices/Distractions

This part of the plot is significant because the headache represents the colonizers' attempt to stop the hacker's message from reaching the people. The headache is a distraction and serves as punitive action against those who could potentially set themselves free.

Here are a few examples of numbing devices/distractions that colonizers use through the social programming that influences our behaviors. Notice how many of these examples appear to originate as thoughts coming from inside of ourselves.

I have a headache, I need an aspirin. Why are we automatically reaching for an aspirin

without investigating why we have a headache? We continually repeat this behavior, as

    if we are in a trance, without considering that after the aspirin wears off, our headache

    returns, which could have been caused by factors that have nothing to do with taking

    an aspirin such as hunger, dehydration, toxins in the colon, improper breathing, lack of

    movement, etc.

I had a rough day; I need a drink! The drink is a distraction that keeps us from focusing

on solving the problem. After consuming the drink, we have weakened our liver with

alcohol and neglected to solve the challenges that arose from our "rough day."

I’m sorry you didn’t make the team, here, have some ice cream. This is yet another

example of distraction that also fuels emotional and physical addictions. After the ice

    cream, we are now full of calories that we need to work off, on a downer from the sugar

    rush and have no strategy for improving ourselves so that we can make the team the

    next time the opportunity presents itself. This mode of default thinking is especially

    harmful when we teach it to our children because they quickly learn to pacify

    themselves with an addictive substance, such as sugar, which could set them up for

    addictions/addictive behaviors later in life.

The art of health and healing in my being and spirit is really about … how African American People have survived and we’ve survived through our art. We’ve healed through our art, and I think that sometimes we forget that [art] is how we heal - through our creativity, through the incredible songs we sing, the movements that we brought from Africa that we’ve innovated here [in America] to different dances. The oratory gifts we have, and I think of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou when I say that - Paul Robeson … there are creative gifts that have followed us since we’ve come here [to America] that’s how we’ve survived this journey.                                                                                ☥                                                        ☥ Ty Blair ☥

Hidden Trauma Counterstrategies For Numbing Devices/Distractions From PHYLLISHUBBARD.COM

... sunglasses ... that ... reveal subliminal messages in the media to consume, reproduce, and conform. The glasses also reveal that many people who look and act human are actually aliens with skull-like faces.                                                                                                                   ☥                                                        From The Plot Description Of 'They Live' ☥ Wikipedia ☥

An owl wearing sunglasses looking at an alien disguised as a white male.

Currently, there is still speculation about this effect [of subliminal stimuli]. Many authors have continued to argue for the effectiveness of subliminal cues in changing consumption behavior, citing environmental cues as a main culprit of behavior change.[47] Authors who support this line of reasoning cite findings such as Ronald Millman's research that showed slow-paced music in a supermarket was associated with more sales and customers moving at a slower pace.[48] Findings such as these support the notion that external cues can affect behavior, although the stimulus may not fit into a strict definition of subliminal stimuli because although the music may not be attended to or consciously affecting the customers, they are certainly able to perceive it.                                                                                                                                                                                     Wikipedia

"They Live" Plot Theme: Propaganda/Psychological Manipulation

Here are a few examples of marketing strategies that use propaganda to promote convenience as the main selling feature instead of addressing and removing the root cause of the problem.

Periods are so 'yesterday.' Who has time for periods? These types of ads promote the

idea that having a period is old fashioned and that the new wave of the future is to

conquer nature and skip having a period. Periods are seen as an inconvenience and a

time waster. Most importantly, the ads are usually selling some type of birth control pill

that has a side effect of/can be manipulated to stop periods for months or even years.

These marketing strategies erupted during a time when many nonprofits were

attempting to reduce the stigma of having a period. Because the stigmas still exist,

they help to promote these products. As a Root Cause Analyst, I conduct investigations

until I locate the origin of a problem in order to remove it. Where are the ads that teach

people how to balance hormones naturally, such as through nutrition and emotional

mastery? Where are the ads that help us understand the natural processes of our body

so that we embrace who we are instead of suppress elements of ourselves? Instead of

focusing on stopping troublesome periods (caused by imbalances such as

    endometriosis), why won't we teach people how to heal the dis-ease that fuels the

problem? These ads created solutions that are tantamount to cutting grass to get rid of

weeds, which is good for business because it ensures that the weeds will continually

grow back.

Get rid of your back pain + depression! In The Pain Remedy Hidden In Plain Sight, I share

the story of one of my clients who was trapped in a cycle with an antidepressant. He felt

    sick while on the drug, but had suicidal tendencies when he attempted to get off of the

    drug. I found a healing strategy for him that allowed him to work with his doctor to

    safely transition off of the drug, while I taught him how to make himself strong enough

    to no longer need the drug. A few years later, I was especially disturbed to see ads

    running for this drug promoting it as a feel-good muscle relaxant. The side effects were

    carefully framed in a deceptive fashion that downplayed the dependency issue. My

    client struggled to liberate himself from the drug for 10 years before making an

    appointment with me, and I saw first hand how the drug affected his life. The goal is

maximum profits because once the first sale is made and the person starts taking the

drug, they will give up and default to continuing to pay for and take the drug even

though they are miserable.

Many, many other examples exist in just about every aspect of our culture including predatory lending practices that increase debt and cause people to lose property, marketing white women as the standard for beauty and selling skin lightening creams, etc.

Hidden Trauma Counterstrategies For Propaganda/Psychological Manipulation On PHYLLISHUBBARD.COM

One of the primary presenters that we had was Dr. Joy DeGruy, talking beyond ‘Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome’ and beyond those pieces that divide us - into solutions - into building the village - into moving forward because we’ve been able to host her several times now around the ‘Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome’ and we wanted to move into the next piece. One of the things that happened with the way that medicine operates is that it splits us up as people. So, here’s the Psychologist over here, here’s the Allopathic doctor over here, here’s your Nutritionist over here, here’s your gym over here … All of these pieces are so separate that what we are really visioning is that our health is all connected. It’s connected to our spirit. It’s connected to our psyche. It’s connected to what we eat. It’s connected to how we move. It’s connected to how we love. It’s connected to how we feel about ourselves. And so bringing in the psychology piece and really claiming that psychology is really about our health. So, we know through Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, which ... normed a huge study on thousands of typical middle class white folks that the amount of exposure to trauma led to early death … That’s not even including systemic racism. That’s not even including what happens, the shootings, the domestic violence, the addiction, the incarceration, the heavy policing in our community, so that is not even included in that study - in that ACE experiment. So, now we’re looking at Black folks who have toxic stress, and in that toxic stress, we can’t relax. We can’t heal ourselves. So, what I’m trying to focus on is how it all comes together. The body is just the symptom. The problems. The dis-ease. The way that we are not at ease, dis-ease, how that comes together is a symptom of all of the things that have happened to us. And we are NOT [what] has happened to us. We are so much more. And so that is what [our Black Health and Healing Summit] has been about.                                      ☥ Dr. Monique LeSarre ☥

Owl with sunglasses and a map of Africa with a white hand examining a diamond

... the aliens are using global warming to make Earth more like their own planet, and are depleting the Earth's resources for their own gain.                                                                                                                    ☥                                      From The Plot Description Of 'They Live' ☥ Wikipedia ☥

"They Live" Plot Theme: Exploitation + Colonialism

The greed of colonizers gave birth and continue to augment our current climate change challenges through subjugation, exploitation and violence. A few examples include:

☥ The deaths of hundreds of millions of Black ☥ Indigenous People through murder and

infectious diseases

☥ The deforestation and desertification of land

☥ Burning of fossil fuels

☥ Pollution and irresponsible waste management

Exploitation colonialism involves fewer colonists and focuses on the exploitation of natural resources or labour to the benefit of the metropole. This form consists of trading posts as well as larger colonies where colonists would constitute much of the political and economic administration. The European colonization of Africa and Asia was largely conducted under the auspices of exploitation colonialism.[19].                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wikipedia

Hidden Trauma Counterstrategies For Exploitation Colonialism From PHYLLISHUBBARD.OM

It just shows you what the possibilities are. If we think of things differently, we really can change the way we build and the way we design our buildings ... As architects we tend to stay focused on people, but we share this planet. When we start to think about accommodating other species, it's also a very powerful narrative. (Oshinowo)                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ... the exhibits from Africa, a continent disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, showed how designers were starting to work in 'better balance with ecology.' (Ndukwe)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tosin Oshinowo Nigerian Architect ☥ From, 'What African Architecture Can Teach The World' By Ijeoma Ndukwe

They also learn that the aliens have been bribing humans to become collaborators, promoting them to positions of power ...                                                                                          ☥                                                                                 From The Plot Description Of 'They Live' ☥ Wikipedia ☥

I experienced a deep, deep betrayal from a white male whom I thought was a friend. I had to sit with the betrayal for a long time. We were friends for a number of years which gave him plenty of time to gather intel and ease his way into my inner circle of relationships. On the day of the betrayal, he stood by my side, knowing that he was responsible for the pain I was experiencing. I experienced another betrayal from a Black woman whom I was helping to establish her work with a group of professionals. In both cases, the mighty sucker punches knocked the wind out of me. However, as I healed, the wind returned to me as Shu ☥ God Of Air ☥ Sustenance Of Life. I invested a lot of time in my Kamitic Yoga practice and, after five years of practice, I developed the stamina ☥ discipline to practice for four hours each day when I managed my time properly. By the time I began the process of awakening, my mindvision was clear, and I could recognize insights, wisdom and empowering suggestions that were coming to me from my innate intelligence.

Towards the end of "They Live," Nada was stunned by a deep betrayal that ended up costing him his life. The woman who betrayed him also killed Frank and was in Nada's inner circle of relationships and under the influence of the aliens' psychological manipulation warfare/terrorism which used fear, scarcity, financial incentives and competition to turn humans against each other. I remember hearing Osho say that understanding is the only discipline. I understood his words intellectually, but now I believe I can deeply feel the lessons in his message which helped me to unpack, heal and release the deep betrayals of my past. Listed below are some of the universal lessons that helped me to heal ☥ take inspired actions → self-awareness protection (notice how some lessons overlap/are connected to other lessons).

☥ Lesson #0 - My ancestors lost their land, people, history, culture, art, language and so

much more because of deep, deep betrayals. I need to understand my history ☥

culture, but I also need to understand the anatomy and physiology of the colonizer

mindset so that I can develop effective counterstrategies to thwart their actions. My

ancestors heal as I heal. Decolonization begins in my mind and through my actions. It is

OK for me to feel angry from time to time, as long as I process that anger and transform

it into wisdom + inspired actions.

☥ Lesson #1 - Every red flag is legitimate and must be investigated, no matter how small

or insignificant it may seem on the surface.

☥ Lesson #2 - Do not underestimate the power of jealousy to drive behaviors. Jealousy          (envy, etc.) shows up in many forms and often hides behind seemingly friendly    

    behaviors. When I notice it in people around me, I need to address it immediately.             Suggestions include empowering reframes that help people around me to recognize

the unique value they bring to a situation, refraining from making comparisons and

never suppressing my power/potential to make other people feel comfortable.

☥ Lesson #3 - It is not possible to negotiate with a narcissist. They must be identified and

removed from my inner circle, and they must clearly remain behind strong healthy

boundaries that I define, set and enforce. If I relax my boundaries, I will experience

another betrayal.

☥ Lesson #4 - No one will think or behave the way I want/expect them to think/behave.

People can only be who they are, and if they don't know how to heal, they will engage in

sabotage of self/others, almost by default. This doesn't excuse their behavior, but it

needs to inform how I respond to their behavior.

☥ Lesson #5 - I must heal my emotions in order to transcend the pain of the betrayals so

that I can understand the lesson ☥ self-correct, because if I miss the lessons (which

includes behaviors that I need to change), they will repeat in another form.

☥ Lesson #6 - Most people have not been taught how to process and heal emotions, so

they have become masters of distraction, deflection and suppression. These behaviors

are celebrated and reinforced through social programming/herd mentality. It is vitally

important that I do not judge or take the behavior of others personally. At the same

time, it is imperative that I cultivate benchmarks for trust and enforce healthy

boundaries to prevent them from engaging in substandard behaviors.

☥ Lesson #7 - Because I am still waking up, I don't know how deeply I've been affected by

social programming. I need to protect myself by making an unwavering habit out of

questioning my thoughts/perceptions and improving my behavior based on my new

growth/what I'm learning.

Burkino Faso-born architect, Diébédo Francis Kéré, has become the first African to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, which is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture. His highly esteemed work, including permanent and temporary structures, has been erected in his country of birth, but also across Africa, Europe and the United States. (BBC Afrique)                                                                                         ☥                                                                              'I grew up in a community where there was no kindergarten, but where community was your family. I remember the room where my grandmother would sit and tell stories with a little light, while we would huddle close to each other and her voice inside the room enclosed us, summoning us to come closer and form a safe place. This was my first sense of architecture ... Architecture is an instrument we can use to create better cities, to create space to inspire people, to create classrooms which inspire the best generation.'                                                                                      ☥                                                                                                                                     ☥                         Diébédo Francis Kéré From, 'Diébédo Francis Kéré: The First African To Win Architecture's Top Award' BBC Afrique

☥ Lesson #8 - Colonizers use economic suppression, social programming and herd

mentality to shock Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People into silence or acquiesce. I

must have a daily practice that keeps me calm, grounded, centered and alert so that

when the shock appears, I can respond instead of knee-jerk react. Here are a few

basic examples of times when I was shocked into inaction/a knee-jerk reaction:

☥ I had made it to the last round of interviews for a remote job that I really wanted with

an organization that provided mental health services. I had a Zoom interview with an

executive who was a white male. He had left his job as a surgeon to help run the

organization. When the white male started the Zoom call, he was in bed and wearing

no shirt. It was obvious that he had just woken up, and he made no apology for his

appearance. How much money would I have needed to make a formal complaint that

caused him to be accountable for his actions?

  ☥ I was looking through some paint samples at a local hardware store when I felt like

someone was watching me. I looked up and saw a white woman staring. I ignored her,

        but then she took a step in my direction. I gave her the, "Don't even think about

        taking another step in my direction look," when she said, "I want to tell you something,

       but if I tell you, it could endanger your life." I responded, "Then don't tell me." I walked

away, but I would have preferred to have followed through/reported her to security.

☥ I was standing in the First Class line getting ready to board, when a white woman

        pushed her way past me while saying out loud to no one in particular, "Is this the First

        Class line?" She used her rushing as an excuse to go to the beginning of the line. It

        happened so fast, I just let her go. But, when I got on the plane, I had a window seat

        and guess who was sitting in the aisle seat? She jumps when she sees me and says,

        "Oh! Are you sitting here?" I said, "Yes" and waited while she got up so that I could

take my seat. She attempted to be friendly, but I was too annoyed to deal with her. I

would have preferred that I addressed her behavior instead of festering.

The dehumanization of Blackness and its effects on Black females are rooted in the harsh history of slavery in America. Attributes such as race and gender impact their life and educational experiences. Examining the historical implications of dehumanization through the lens of Critical Race and Black Radical Feminist Theories provides a foundation for understanding issues surrounding gender, race, and identities of black females in society.  ☥ From 'Spaces for Difference: An Interdisciplinary Journal,' Volume 1, number 1, pp. 65-85

When we do the equivalent of "putting on the sunglasses" so that we can "see" the covert strategies of colonization, we can see how Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People are gradually socialized to dehumanize each other. I was at an event that included a book signing. I was standing in line to have my book signed by a Black male celebrity that I would put into the "well-known, sex symbol" category within Black communities. He was signing books, taking pictures and conversing with people. However, just before I approached him, he turned his head to talk to a few other Black males who were standing by. He continued talking to them while ignoring me. I was quite surprised by his behavior and was considering walking away, when he suddenly reached over, grabbed my book, found the chapter he had written, signed his name and returned the book to me all while his head was turned and he was laughing and talking to the other Black males. The moment shocked me into inaction. As I walked away, I regreted not calling out his behavior. I didn't want his signature in my book, and I sat with the way his behaviors dehumanized me for quite some time. The only difference between me and the other people in line was that I was quite a bit taller. Though this Black male was taller than me, I got the impression that he somehow felt intimidated by my stature and used the moment to assert his power in the only way he knew how (lack of confidence that he was attempting to hide through overcompensation). This is very typical of Knight behavior. I later learned that he happily took a picture with the person who was standing right behind me, so there was something about me that was triggering for this man.

Other ways that colonization gradually socializes us to dehumanize each other include:

☥ Funding work that dumbs down our culture

☥ Funding music that dengrates women (i.e. Hip Hop music branding Black women as

"bitches and ho's")

☥ Funding TV shows, movies, etc. that trend barbaric behaviors and present them as

either socially acceptable or as behaviors that give people "status"

Do we see the common demoninators? We represent a $1.8 trillion dollar market that is growing steadily, but our unresolved trauma and unwillingess/lack of knowledge to heal causes us to reinvest in the perpetuation of these behaviors to go along with the herd instead of taking back control of our mind and emotions so that we can invest in the fulfillment of our potential. When we don't know how to heal, we play "hot potato" with our pain and suffering which is a coping mechanism that sustains cycles of pain within our communities.

☥ Lesson #10 - When in doubt, ask, "What would love do?" Not the socialized,

     commercialized or superficial versions of love that are promoted in the media, but love

     as the source of all there is.

An owl with sunglasses and disconnected power source with people protesting in the background

Nada figures out where the source of the signal is and destroys the transmitter which liberates the human population.