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Nothing Feels as Good As Becoming Who You Are Meant to Be!!!
I am the Best Version of Myself!!
FAMILY, FRIENDS & SOUL TRAIN MUSIC: THE MAGIC OF NOSTALGIA
Two weekends ago I spent the time celebrating with childhood friends. And I had the time of my life doing so: dancing, catching up on childhood memories and laughing till the tears flowed.
My husband and I traveled to Atlanta to attend my life long friend’s birthday anniversary party which was based on the seventies Soul Train theme. The music, decorations, and disco lights took us back to a special place in time and the nostalgia was pure magic. Winning the [Party Shop] Soul Train trophy along with a life- long friend was as thrilling as winning a coveted writing award. As I reminisce and savor the memories, I recognize how important it is to take ownership of my deepest yearnings; those seemingly small elemental desires that shape our mood and often deeply impact our demeanor. The disagreements, the tug of war over where to go, what to see, and what & where to eat were all part of the circle of events of a weekend that we aimed to make the most of. In as much as we disagreed, we also had moments of celebration and sheer delights which have left me thinking. I cannot, should not, assign responsibility for my feelings to my husband, my friends, my family, or my children. There were several times over the weekend as we arranged to go site-seeing, prepared for the party or even while at the party that I was tempted to give in to the moment when something posed a challenge; when the moment wasn’t quite what I desired or expected. When my husband or someone in the group disappointed me, I was tempted to give in to my emotions and cast blame, holding someone else responsible for my feelings. I soon found however, that when I stepped outside of the box and refocused there was a special delight in the moment. Several plans didn’t work out the way we [I] intended: my husband refused to go site-seeing on day one. On day two my BFF’s partner refused to come on board while this time, my husband joined us. [Lesson learned-Men are as temperamental as women are.]
In the midst of it all, we negotiated and made space for possibilities. On the long train ride to down town Atlanta, my friend and I recalled childhood memories that had us laughing like middle school girls. Once we recognized that we had missed our way and wouldn’t get to the Aquarium as we had planned, we detoured and stopped for dinner at the first restaurant we saw. It turned out to be one of the most scrumptious meals I ever had. Worried that we might get back late for the party, we chose an expensive cab ride back to the hotel. At the party, we danced, posed for photographs and bonded with friends. The next day, we toured the King Center and were poignantly reminded of the wondrous possibilities that dreaming presents. The graphic imagery of the portraits of Dr. King and his gorgeous wife, the walk along the freedom boulevard, hearing Dr. King’s words at Ebeneezer Baptist Church stirred something deep in our soul that pushed us to let go of petty preoccupations and simply enjoy the day and all the possibilities it presented.
My Dear Friends, Thank You For Your Delightful Source of Friendship & Wisdom!
It has been my greatest wish to foster a creative community of practice which allows the space for empowered women to fellowship and support the creative outpourings of each other. And so I have been steadfast with my community of friends, Circle of Friends International, an inter-generational group that reaches out and uplifts each other. My friends and I hold dear to Picasso’s words: If I don’t show up at the canvas , there is no muse that is going to come get me. We have come to realize that living a creative life requires focused and consistent work. Even when the muse doesn’t show up, we have to work steadfastly at our practice. There is potency in such a philosophy and with this approach, I believe, comes joy. Joy in experiencing the support and oftentimes, the fanfare of good friends. Joy in the little steps attained & sometimes, the milestones. With my friends and family, I have chosen to consistently create, receive and celebrate joy especially when I have to step upon the rubble of disappointment and move with determination and claim that joy. As 2014 comes to a close, I am shouting out to my friends:
Let the world see who you are fully, truthfully, and without apology. Take risks and seize the moment to go after your wildest dreams.
This coming year as I move to step boldly onto uncharted terrain I want to do so with full expression of my heart and soul. Instead of a resolution I have whispered a promise to myself, which I share with you now: Celebrate Everything!!!
SHARE YOUR LEGACY & ENRICH THE FUTURE
Share Your Legacy & Enrich the Future
Why We Should Write: The Miami Book Fair International 2014
How exciting and I must admit, also emotional for me, participating as a panelist on the African/Caribbean Diaspora Genealogy Panel at the 31st session of the Miami Book Fair International. While this was my third time presenting in the 29 times I have attended the Book Fair, this occasion was especially significant as I joined a team which sought to explore the roots of our heritage and I had the opportunity to share research on my Dressekie family roots from the manuscript in progress, The Dressekie Legacy: The Roots of Life-Writing & Identity in Post- Colonial Jamaica.
Utilizing Face Book as a major research tool, I connect with my family worldwide and focus my research on the contemporary lives of the members of the DRESSEKIE FAMILY. My story begins with my great-grandfather Sylvester George Dressekie who arrived in Jamaica from Scotland around 1858 and bought land and settled in St. Mary, Jamaica where the town was subsequently named after him. He met and married Elizabeth Martin and they had seven children including my grandmother, Enid Dressekie who named her youngest child, my mother, after her mother, Elizabeth.
The Dressekie Legacy: The Roots of Life-Writing & Identity in Post- Colonial Jamaica
Through my story, I question the textual marginalization of people of color in academia and literature and hold myself accountable to contribute to the global discourse on genealogy & share this story of empowerment –one that I think brings an interesting perspective of the Caribbean Diaspora and emphasizes that not only are we multifaceted but our stories carry themes of historical empowerment and contemporary achievement that are relevant to all people. It is one that tells a beautifully nuanced story that needs to shared and celebrated.
Tell Your Story & Empower Your Tribe
Every family has its stories; legacies that can inspire and empower future generations. Unless we write our stories, we won’t SHARE the problems they encountered; how they overcame them, their greatest happiness, and the wisdom they [could] have imparted with the passing of every generation. These ARE STORIES THAT CAN SUSTAIN & NURTURE US.
Unless we commit to writing them, Family Legacies are lost to us. Do you want your grand- children to know the lessons of your life? Will you share your wisdom? Will you inspire them to overcome their own challenges? I encourage you to share your legacy & enrich the future. Take the time to write your scribblings, collection of anecdotes, aspirations, your stories, family jokes and remembrances. This is an invaluable reservoir that you can tap into & IMPART A LASTING LEGACY TO THE FUTURE OF YOUR TRIBE.
Unless you record them, these stories won’t be available to pass on someday. I believe that every one of us has a book inside of us. I invite you to think about this and begin one of the most interesting and exciting chapters of your life: The exploration and recording of your life story. What’s preventing you from participating in this family legacy writing project?
A Festival of Books Words, Performances & Forging Friendships
The Miami Book Fair International 2014 was an exciting opportunity to enjoy the glorious world of books and words. Certainly, this festival of books reminded us of the power of words and that books are an indelible part of our lives. Most important, it reminded me of the value of writing in all of our lives. I am so delighted to be part of this enduring tradition.
Posted in African Diaspora, Family History, feminine leadership, creativity, Genealogy, Life Writing, Miami Book Fair International Tagged Family History/Heritage, Life writing, Mervyn Morris Jamaica Poet Laureate, Miami Book Fair International, Mitch Kaplan -Miami Book Fair International Leave a comment
Nature & The Life of Inner Peace
Rocks, Water & Plants: Let the Power of Nature Renew Your Spirit!
The Imagination is Everything. Einstein
I am always amazed at the power and potency of the land when I travel or even when I walk and observe familiar landscapes. I often wonder what is it about the land that allows it to exert such power over us. And how wonderful it is to be able to experience this power, to be charmed and captivated by it without having to answer to anyone or even pay a price, if we choose. On the other hand, ownership of land and access to it seems to imbue mankind with power that often leads to tyranny and oppression. Land ownership it seems gives us access to power, an opportunity to lay down roots and establish our territorial rights. Yet, the Native Americans believe that man cannot own the land; it belongs to all of us to be shared and enjoyed and of course, to utilize its healing powers to revivify and renew our lives. While this idea is appealing, I remain plagued by questions of how we may balance this noble idea with imperialistic notions of land ownership: How in this modern era bloody wars are being staged over land and our local geographic locations and zip codes determine the quality of life we live. Without answers to these questions, I find solace in the notion that my mind itself can be a landscape that no one else but me can lay claim to; that within this private internal space I can traverse vast depths and be as wildly imaginative as I want to be; that I can take wings and fly and settle in whatever corners of the earth that I choose. This, I believe, is true power!
Plant the seeds of your dreams today, tend to your garden daily & watch your life blossom. Anonymous
Turn Your Face to the Sun & the Miracles Will Come
Amidst the cliches and all the self help talk that abound one is challenged to determine what makes sense and how to focus one’s energy and attention towards achieving one’s most important goals. Oftentimes, disappointments are slung your way one after the other in such a manner that you are seduced by the notion of giving up, moving on, or retreating. This is the moment, my friend, when you need to dig your heels in and continue with your agenda for the miracle you want is just around the corner, waiting for the perfect blend of your own effort, optimism, and opportunity.
In facing challenges and setbacks, I find I must work hard at being vigilant about acquiring more skillful and creative ways to deal with the pain and thereby circumvent or at times, even forcefully thrust off the habit of waging war on myself. I have learned to cast a critical gaze inward, accept the emotions for what they are, and gently nudge myself to rise above the pain and turn my face to the sun.
Open Your Door to The Excitement & Delight of Discovery!!!
The Best Day of Your Life
Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday.
I am not sure just where I read these words, nor can I claim them as my own. However, what I can do is to claim the simple message they convey and embrace it as part of the foundation on which to rest the pillars of my life. This powerful metaphor works to remind me of the value of embracing each day as a fresh start; each morning I wake up as the first day of my new life. As simple as this philosophical approach may seem, it is without question one of the hardest stances to take in life, for it seems that the challenges and the problems and the issues that confront us are always conspiring to keep us in their grasp, holding on so tightly that we forget the small and wondrous things that also inspire and uplift us and bring us joy.
Realizing this, I have decided to make a commitment to seek out and hold onto optimism and make that a deliberate focus of each day. It is simple. While I face the challenges, the disappointments and heartaches, I also examine ways in which I can tackle them and accept with gratitude, that there are strategies and approaches I can utilize to lessen their impact and perhaps even to conquer them. I now stand up to that nagging voice that insists that being a midlife adult I should have it all figured out. Confronting that voice, I hold myself accountable to examine opportunities for celebration in any day and to lift them up and enjoy the splendid pleasure of doing so: The feel of the sun on my back while walking through the park; the sound of a baby’s gurgle; the butterflies flittering around in my backyard and the unexpected words of a love song on the radio connecting to deep primal chords within. How wonderful that these sensory delights are abundant and free!!! Driving to work this week, anticipating a meeting I would rather not participate in, I turned the radio on to hear the uplifting refrain, “Gonna make this the best day of my life. Life…life!!!” I simply turned the dial up and bounced my head around to the beat knowing that this wonderful feeling was my mine to grasp and hold onto all day. And indeed, I did.
Posted in feminine leadership, creativity 3 Comments
Summer Travel Opens A Window to Creativity
Traveling outside of one’s culture has been known to be one of the greatest agents in awakening creativity.
Travel has the ability to take simple lessons and transform them into moments so powerful they can define a worldview forever. As we travel and investigate another’s culture, it seems we broaden our knowledge as well as learn some important lessons about ourselves. I began my summer rendezvous with a trip to my homeland Jamaica where I enjoyed time with family on the north coast before moving on to Portland where I participated in the 6th Annual Maroon Conference in Charles Town. The conference deepened my understanding of the Maroon society, a group that has withstood the effects of imperialism to hold steadfast to its African heritage and assert its identity.
During my time in Portland, I stayed at the Goblin Hill Villas, a place so beautiful and pristine, it seems lost in time. Goblin Hill brought me both spiritual tranquility and visual pleasure, reminding me of the how important is for us to step away from the often harsh routines of our daily lives and savor the simple pleasures of nature. The landscape delighted my senses with its magnificent beauty and charm. Truly, I have never before beheld such beauty.
Within a couple of days after returning from Jamaica, I jaunted off to Southern Europe to visit Greece and Italy and engaged in yet another experience which delighted the internal space of my creative imagination. In Europe I visited sites of ancient cultures that have exerted significant influence on the arts, sports, politics, language and philosophy of the rest of the world. Greece, a legend among nations and an inspiration for creativity held me spellbound. I reveled in the knowledge that this is the place where the gods of fire, wind, earth and sky once roamed the earth, and here I was, walking in their footprints.
In Italy, I experienced inspiration at every turn. As I viewed the grand monuments of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Rome, I was enthralled with the creativity of Michelangelo and his peers. I wondered about the hearts, hands, and minds that crafted such magnificence. My trek through the Coliseum evoked memories of school days studying Julius Caesar and learning about the lifestyle of great emperors and the glory days of Rome. Now I truly understood the phrase, Rome was not built in a day!
Not only did my travels disrupt the habitual ways of thinking that dominate my life but I was ever so gently nudged to pause, digest, and reflect. … And think about the creative flair I will bring to next steps in the larger journey of my life.
Posted in Athens.Greece, feminine leadership, creativity, Travel Tagged Rome, Vatican City 2 Comments
Poetry & the Power of Self!
Poetry Illuminates the Meaning of Life
Poetry is soca, calypso, rara, reggae.
It is the echoes of the abeng across the mountain top;
The cold smoldering seams between a couple’s silence ;
The hot passion of their midnight embrace.
It is the wondrous touch of a baby’s hand
And the last flower flung at a descending coffin.
..from Bridges to Memory: Poems by Marva McClean p. 50