resolve in the face of chaos.

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2016 is almost at an end.

typing those words, would seem for many to be associated with a
sigh of relief. this year has been an absolute roller-coaster. tragedy
and shock and bigotry and loss reverberated throughout the year
and seemed unceasing. i had heard about how leap years bring about
more catastrophe and turmoil. never really put stock into it until
this year.

on a personal level, i went through a series of moments where
that rang true. a period where stress and anxiety caused a bad health
flare-up. dealing with racism in a subversive sense and overtly
due to a poem on this blog. inconsistent work flow. dealing with
people who i thought were cool but turned out to be only out for
themselves. family members going through it.

but that cloud lifted. and the remainder of this year turned out to
be tremendous. i got to leave one trying work situation and enter
into working relationships with awesome publications and sites.
i pitched a lot more, and got good feedback and encouragement.
i got to bear witness to the National Museum of African American
History and Culture. i got to see one of my sisters honored for her
work in the community. i got to volunteer over Thanksgiving. and
connect with great souls.

with that said, if you’re thinking that this post is going to be all
about New Year’s resolutions, you’re only partially correct.

i’m writing about resolve. in its main definitions whether used
as a noun or verb, it is meant to be a decisive course of action. a
firm state of mind. and as we exit this tumultuous year and go into
a year of uncertainty, it is what is needed to go into the year to
be bolder than before. to be more aggressive in holding onto what
has been fought for, to maintain what is needed for our lives and
those of others and those after us. resolve.

see, resolutions around this time have been denigrated to cute and
buzz-worthy topic lists or fillers for newscasts or bandied-about
social media topics. bump all of that.

this is a time where you take stock of everything, then re-calibrate
and gain new focus. now more than ever, as the masks have come
off of those in close proximity to us, we need to commit to having
greater resolve. how? have greater resolve in calling out others for
their insensitivity, especially as it scales up to outright racism, sexism
and other isms of hate and ignorance. even if these others are your
neighbors, or family. have greater resolve in valuing those who are
there for you. have greater resolve in checking your own missteps
and don’t prolong beating yourself up over them. have greater
resolve in not just standing by in certain times. have greater resolve
in exerting kindness. have greater resolve in saying no when you
need to, to whoever you need to. have greater resolve in letting go
of people and situations who do not consistently value you or only
seek to take from you without redamancy. have greater resolve to
not position yourself above whatever truth you’re trying to bring
about. have greater resolve to seek joy, and celebrate your joy and
that of those you’re close to. have greater resolve to call out bullshit
even if you feel that clamminess of fear well up in you. even if it is
from your close loved ones. have greater resolve to continue to define
who you are. have greater resolve to fight however you need to in
whatever fashion seems best. have greater resolve not to shame others
for doing what you’re afraid to.

let’s face it, we’re at a moment where every action in the previous
paragraph and others not mentioned is going to be needed. given that
the nation has elected someone who is inherently unfit for the office
of leading this country, given that there’s a rising tide of hateful
bile strewn across the ‘Net and directed at women, people of color,
LGBTQIA and others, it’s imperative that resolve be a highly active
word in your vocabulary. i realize that by stating this i’m one voice.
but one voice, planted in resolve, can do so much. look at all of the
lives that went to the other side this year alone, the famous and the
more impactful close to us that aren’t celebrities. look at what they
did. resolve. it’s powerful. it’s meaningful. it’s necessary.

if you’ve read this far, i do resolve to write more on here. to be that
radical hope and change that’s needed again. and i hope that you
will be too.

thanks for reading. walk good.

A New Year’s Write: Ritual As Revolution.

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(photo credit: Iwona Emes)

It’s a new year. And in the wake of all of the greetings, the
flurry of resolutions made and broken, there is still the reality
that the passing of time in this way affects most of us. With
all of that said, I began to think about the practice of leaving
things behind that no longer serve us in the past. Customarily,
I’ve taken to cleaning my home with sage to get all of the debris
that’s spiritual and emotional. I make it a point to get a longer
period of quiet time in on that day, perhaps get in a walk. I’ll
write down what I want to let go of going into the next year, &
destroy the list. We all have our own rituals. And sometimes,
those rituals are needed to keep ourselves grounded in the fact
that they won’t necessarily take away those issues we seek to
rid ourselves of.

Case in point? I wanted to instill an even better space for me
to further strengthen my writing and the spirit that feeds it.
What I had to realize, is that some of the angst I wanted to
exclude is what feeds it. It is part of the fuel that is a result of
dealing with troubles and conducting the inner alchemy to
turn it from negative to positive. I had set out to try to remove
it. And in the process, I found myself beaten down by moods
that were brought about by internalizing people’s comments
and actions no matter how slight. Being overly sensitive and
then analyzing heavily in order to get past that feeling quicker.
In the process, I find myself turning these things over and then
adding more onto it. Making it heavier than it is. I know that
this is a by-product of past doubts and self-inflicted pain. Things
I dealt with more head-on since 2011. Five years later, I can
say confidently that I handle these situations somewhat better.
And as a result, the words flow better. I move lighter. A fresh
conversation with one of my best friends brought up this gem:
(and I’m paraphrasing here) “we have to know how to navigate
our survival in relation to the people we know and how they
know us.” So far, this year has shown me that I have to further
refine the ways I can create healthy space not just for myself,
but my writing. Giving that to myself and having others see &
value it. That goes for family, friends, acquaintances. Doing so
by creating new rituals. Rituals that revive, and are a revolution
unto themselves.

If you’ve made it this far, I want to say to you – hold onto those
things that have helped you get to where you are. If they need to
be changed a bit or no longer serve you, recognize that and do
the work. Most of all, DO THE WORK. Talking about it isn’t the
same. Proclaiming it in the language of meme and other social
media isn’t the same. We are a body of rituals, a temple of soul
that should bring meaning every minute. Mostly to ourselves.
This is the truth that has to ring through for anyone, not just
those who are creatives and artistically minded. Whatever you
choose to do, however you choose to do it…may you make this
new year a year where ritual becomes the revolution you need.

As always, thanks for reading…walk good.