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Flash Forward Friday – Passage Four

“You have to be aware of all your surroundings!” Andrena came at Cora with her walking stick ready to be brought down in a crushing blow. Cora quickly ran and unfurled her wings and let loose an arrow in mid-flight. It flew exactly where she aimed it and yet still, her mother moved away just in time. “I am! Mother!” Cora was out of breath and yet still pressed on. “Again”. 

Andrena was a merciless teacher. She used anything she deemed fair in a fight and for her that meant any and all power she wielded. Her weapon of choice was a huge walking stick, the symbol of her people emblazoned on it. “Feel the current of the energy. Feel your feet on the ground, the wind at your back, the beat of your heart. Hear your breath. Now see what I’m going to do. See it in your mind before it happens and you will stop it. “ Andrena watched her young daughters’ eyes glow a subtle red before she closed them in concentration. “Harness it. Trust it.” The energy around Cora lit up and when her eyes opened again, her whole eyes glowed with blood red light. “Let’s go mother. I’m waiting.” The energy changed her daughters’ voice in a way Andrena hadn’t heard before and she had the lightest bit of hesitation in her movement that not even Cora could’ve picked up on. 
The two squared off. Andrena lunged as Cora ducked and managed to grab Andrena’s walking stick and turn it around to trip her mother in mid-lunge and place the stick above Andrena’s head in what would be a killing blow. Cora’s eyes slowly returned to their usual deep brown with no sign of what they had been only moments ago. Both women stopped for a second, surprised at what just took place before Cora extended her hand to Andrena and helped her up, returning her walking stick to her left hand and standing in conference of the morning battle lesson. 

“How do you feel?” Andrena said. “Like I just tapped into something greater than me.“ Cora turned to sit on a nearby rock. “That’s your power. You’re stronger than you realize. One day, you’ll be stronger than me.” Andrena pushed herself up and sat on a rock opposite her daughter. “I don’t understand. How can I be stronger than you?” Andrena caressed her daughters beautiful brown face with eyes that shown so brightly. The face that looked so much like her own. “You’ll innerstand it one day my love. Now, we need to get moving. We’re getting a visitor for dinner.” Andrena stood, stretched her long limbs and began to move toward their village. “A visitor? Who could possibly be visiting us mother?” Cora said with doubt. They never received anyone in the village. Everyone of importance lived with them. “Martol” Andrena responded, her back turned away from Cora as they walked. 
“My father?! Martol? The man you never even talk about, much less see? What would he be doing here?” Cora was shocked. “I see someone’s been snooping.” Andrena responded. “I know that you’ve known his name. But you’ve yet to meet him. That was my error. I feared that you would see so much of yourself in him.” Cora didn’t quite understand what her mother meant. “So much of myself. Is that…” she trailed off. “You’ll see” Andrena replied. 

Cora had only ever heard her father’s name mentioned once during a convened council that she snuck in on as a young girl when her powers were too great for her to control at times. She had used her abilities of sight to keep watch on her mother and that accidentally led to sneaking in on a council meeting and hearing the name of the man who fathered her. Martol the Warlock. She couldn’t imagine just what her mother was planning, but she knew it came from a place she couldn’t yet grasp. 
Cora woke to the sounds of the pilot exclaiming that they had safely landed at JFK Airport. She felt unsure and confused. What had she just dreamed? It had seemed more memory than dream and she saw her mother clearly. Martol, her father was there as well. There would be more time to think on it later and she slowly brought herself back to her surroundings with slow breath, removed her headphones and waited until the seatbelt sign flashed so that she could remove her seatbelt and retrieve her few belongings. She waited until it was her row’s turn to disembark and she walked as though in a dream off the plane and into the airport. It seemed to take forever for her to grab her bags and find the gate where she told her mother to meet her. Just as she was about to get frustrated about where to find her with a dead cell phone she heard a voice behind her. “Hello my love” Cora turned to see Andrena standing right in front of her, arms open. “Hello mother”. Cora slipped into her mothers’ arms and took in her scent, the feel of her skin and the warm stability that she always emitted. “Let’s get you home, shall we?” Cora simply nodded and smiled and allowed herself the time and space to enjoy her mother and the world of home. 

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Loved in the Light: Meditations on Retreat, Building & the Importance of Sisterhood

Hey Speakerz! THIS WEEK! This week has been incredible, with the highlights of  an even more wonderful weekend and retreat. When I was a little girl, I recall that my mother would go on retreats with her best friends, her sisters. What they would do on this retreat, I have no idea, but they would always come back with shining souls and tired bodies and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to go on my own retreat weekend. This weekend, I returned to a place of home, New England, specifically Rhode Island with my friends and sisters and together we explored retreat, soulwork, racism, solidarity, ancestral remembrance, self and sisterhood.

I’ve been on a self-love adventure for a while now, and with each year that passes, I find myself more and more in tune with the world and all it’s never-ending levels. I’ve always known that my ancestors walk with me. My whole life I’ve felt them talk with me, walk with me, love me, hold me up and sometimes hold me back. One of the reasons why I love art so much is because I feel that I can use it to express those feelings in safety and adventurous exploration.

With the world that we human beings live in, there are so many stressors. The stress that capitalism and greed bring to the world. The hidden truths of the past in the metropolis’ that sprang from the great hurt of oppression and continued active genocide. The stress of growing up and old, etc. However, with all these stressors, it is truly possible to simply tune out of the stress frequency and in to the soul’s truth. Mayhap that’s the reason for the origins of long-standing practices of hermitage, medicine people, active sports, etc. Caring for the body, brain and soul is a mission in this world. I’ve always been interested in the nature, the land, the growth, the act of tuning in and getting the healing. This week, I found myself deep in preparation and solitude. Deep introspection ruled my days and I didn’t know why but I knew that it was so very necessary. This is where my sisters come in.

I have some amazing sisters. No, they’re not biological and yet that makes them no less of my family. Our souls have lived, searched and flown together for millenia and as we continue in this life, it is as though we fall into a routine all our own. All queer women with passion for education and work in the arts, they constantly challenge me to be better and to truly embrace all of myself. How often in the world is there such a strong connection between multiple individuals? We are a force. A sisterhood that endures despite space and time. Spending 2 whole days together meant strength in elevation. We actively challenge each other to love more openly, to speak strongly, to move with more intention and to trust the process. It is so incredibly important to have a team to build with and to establish balance. Just how do we push ourselves to be our best selves?

Healing comes in so many ways. For me, heading back to a place that I experienced profound hurt and joy in, helped me to realize that returning somewhere doesn’t make me any less of the person that I am today. Healing is immeasurable. I can’t really measure how much I’ve healed in a year, but I do know that I’m different and that I know much more of myself today than ever before, except maybe in my childhood. I know that I mentioned it on this blog a while ago, but I did a performance piece last year around 3 enslaved African women. Phyllis, Rose and Fanny. They’re buried in Providence, Rhode Island and going back gave me a chance to visit them once more. I felt so incredibly connected to their spirits, despite the fact that they died 200 years before I was even born.  I laid on their grave in the greenest of grass and as I did, the sun shone on me brighter than ever and I felt warmed with love. They led me to find my own people. My own origins. They held my back as I cried and experienced such pain for the land stolen and the pain that is still palpable today. Ancestors have a hold on us. They guide us and teach us. I truly believe that there is no such thing as coincidence.

I’ve always felt as a sexual violence survivor, that I wasn’t the first in my family. There had to be a narrative of sexual violence, just as there is a narrative of patriarchy and male violence throughout history, thereby giving us the name “his story”. I was right. The strongest of themes from this weekend was love. I have been told repeatedly that I need to be “Loved in the Light”. Myself, along with the women in my family and ancestral bloodlines have been so accepting of being loved in the dark. We take love in the various forms but how often to we demand the level of love that we give, back? We deserve to be loved in the light. We deserve no excuses and action with truth and acceptance. I don’t know that I’m so comfortable talking about all I experienced this weekend with my sisters. Maybe it’s just supposed to stay between us. What I can say is that I’m calling for an Elder to help me discover and understand more of my Native American Ancestry. I’m excited to delve into documentation and artwork that calls upon all the energy I possess and to step into my light as a healer descended from power-filled healers. For the first time in a long time, I am excited for my life. I let the tears fall as they may and the love wrap around me as a warming blanket of comfort and I move on.

 

Love Always,

 

Damali Speaks Xx

Hello, Goodbye, Is it a Forever Thing?: Meditations on Human Existence & Saying Farewell

Hey Speakerz! So this week, I was surrounded indirectly with a lot of death. I personally am not as much scared of death as intrigued by it. When I scrolled through the news, there was so much of what seemed to be death and despair, but what I was most drawn to was the fact of human frailty. Today’s topic is on the human existence, death and rebirth.

From the time human beings are born, we’re forced to say both hello and goodbye to so many things in our lives. We say hello to our immediate family members when we’re born and then goodbye when they pass on. We say hello to our friends and as we grow and change, sometimes we leave them behind and move forward and new people come into our lives and stay or go. Every day, we wake up and say hello to a new day and the new possibilities that it brings in its wake. You’d think that we would’ve perfected the art of death and rebirth already. But maybe the question is, how does humanity embrace death and rebirth instead of perfecting it?

We live in a world that strives for perfection, yet human beings are undeniably flawed and that’s what’s so beautiful about us. We make mistakes. We breathe, we reason, we find meaning in each season. Yes, I know, I rhymed purposefully. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with striving for the best that there is. That’s realistic. It leads me to question how it is that we set goals and then set out to achieve them. How is being intentional with all that you do important in creating balance?

I always set “impossible goals” for myself. This summers’ impossible goal is a short film and believe it or not, it’s actually unfolding, mostly through sheer will and determination. My point is that what seems to be an “impossible goal” can actually be very possible. It’s the challenge that matters. The striving toward and not the completion of a job perfectly done. Why is it that we strive toward the end result? It isn’t just the “hello” and “goodbye” that matter as much as the life in between.

With the end of friendships and relationships, come lessons. When people walk out of my life, it’s generally through no ones’ fault, but just that it’s time to move on. It’s the journey that matters more than anything. When I watch a film, I don’t want to watch just the begging and the end, I want to see the arch. 

I went to Barnes & Nobles the other day and saw so many books on getting through missing a person. I thought it was strange and so I set about the dig for what it all meant. Then, I sat down to speak with a friend and they talked about how hard it is to end things or to let someone go. Does it all come back to self worth? Do I have to love myself enough to choose me every time? How much growth is in each goodbye? Literal death forces us to let go and begin a grieving process, but what about the walk away? How do we handle each goodbye no matter how or when with grace and acceptance?

I never did resonate with “Goodbye” but instead leaned toward “Farewell”, the idea that though our journey together ends here, I hope that on your journey as it continues, you fare well with home in yourself, completeness, and a self worthy of all that you are. 

Farewell until next time,

Damali Speaks Xx

 

Self Love: The Importance of Romancing the Soul & Old Ways

Hey Speakerz! This topic came about one late sober night as I sat by myself, romancing my soul and I thought it would be cool to elaborate on with y’all! Today’s topic is on romance, and the emergence of “old” ways and how they can play a part in self care and self love.

When I was little my mom would always say that I should learn how to play by myself. Let’s just say I learned the lesson too well and now I’m a lot bit introverted. I appreciate the outside world and its inhabitants, I just love my own solitary space so very much that I have a hard time giving it up on odd days and maybe even too. The more I speak to elders in my life, the more they talk about how important it is to have a “self care routine”. This routine is all about getting deep into your own soul and while it is in fact work, it can also be a soothing, cleansing release from the everyday conditioning of the world.

I’ve always been sensual. Aware of all the senses and wanting to use and explore each one. This lead to being a serious romantic. For a while, it was a secret. I hid it under lock and key. It seemed that in the world I lived in being romantic and or sensual needed a monogamous relationship and without that, there was no place for my sensuality. I don’t mean to say that sensuality and romance are inherently mutually inclusive. They can be, but don’t have to be.

I’ve learned in the years of adulthood, just how to be romantic with myself. Usually, when I get home after a long day, I light some sage and incense followed by candles and of course string lights. After the ambiance is set, I pull out jazz music because my soul loves jazz in the best of ways. Most nights,  I’ll make my own tea from herbs that I pick up here and there with almond milk and agave and just sit and revel in what I’ve created. (If anyone wants a recipe for teas, hollar at me!) It may seem like a little old lady and I don’t mind. It gives my soul completion. So what do you do? What’s your self care routine? Does self care come instinctively?

I always used to ask myself the question that if I don’t want to romance and fall in love with myself, why or how would I be able to do the same for someone else. While I love being able to romance other people that I have in my life, I always appreciate being able to do it for myself first and foremost. Onto the emergence of old ways. I know that myself and a lot of friends tend to make fun of each other for being “old”. Most of my friends have old souls and I like to think that it’s because vibration attracts vibration. In a society that values youth so very heavily, how does that make for being able to embrace the sensual solitary act of curling up with a book or coffee or even just staring out the window at the sky? Does it at the core have anything at all to do with age? Maybe we put too much on it. I have aunts and uncles who are older and although married, still value their alone time, their “self care routines”.

In romantic routine, is there something to be said for the old? I’m a bit of a purist. Although a staunch minimalist, I have an old cassette player and cassettes, vinyl, old clothes of my grandmothers and mothers, etc. I appreciate the old things that seem to carry so much history with them. It seems that in America, societally there’s an obsession with certain time periods and although I love what those time periods have to teach me, I’m not drawn to them for the purposes of re-living. I’m drawn for the purposes of remembrance and self exploration. I love jazz from the 40s because it pulls on my heart in a certain way, but I also love jazz from 2016. How do we establish balance between the old and the new?

Self care doesn’t have to involve romance. Your self care is your self care. What’s important is that you do take care of yourself. Develop your routine. Romance yourself before anyone else.

Love Always,

Damali Speaks Xx

Truth or Not: Meditations of Self Confidence & Failure

Hey Speakerz! This week’s blog post is about innerstanding the value of your own self confidence as well as leadership & failure. How do we use our self confidence, our self love, our self worth in the moments that really matter?

If I tell myself that I truly value my work as an artist, a hard worker, a soul-filled entity, but then I do something contradictory to those notions, how much do I truly love myself? How much confidence is “average”? What does it mean to truly have a purpose?

This week has made me think so very hard about who I am in space, mostly because I’ve been around so much wisdom. I love speaking with people who, as my mom would say “Got some years on ’em”. I had the great fortune this week to be able to sit and really listen to people who know way more than me and are willing to share the wisdom that they possess. As a young twenty-something I constantly feel that I’m deconstructing the programming of what is and isn’t true for me. As soon as I find one thing that seems to be true for me, it changes and is suddenly no longer true in the same way. It’s incredibly frustrating but also eye-opening. I can be all the things that I am. The confusing, multi-faceted human being inside of me is worthy of love and truth-seeking.

The theme for the week seems to be “What is your truth?”. If living in the world as it is, is something that no longer works, then what does work? This leads to self-confidence. I’ve always said that if I must fail, I want to fail big. I want to possess the self confidence to make HUGE choices and therefore huge successes or huge failures. How often can we trust ourselves to jump without a net? To hug without the assurance of receiving? To truly love without the guarantee of getting any of it back?

What is a leader? As I thought about that this week, I realized that many of the problems of “millenials” is that we’re new age leaders. We break boundaries without even realizing just what a boundary is. I’ve never wanted to be the worker, I want to be the boss. I’m not and never will be a good worker bee. I’m constantly challenging the status quo. Call it what you will, but I think it makes me unique. Let’s embrace our unique, our special, our truth. In it, we find freedom and isn’t that what all this is about anyway?

 

Love Always,

 

Damali Speaks Xx

Being Alive: Meditations on Alone, Alive & the Unknown

Hey Speakerz! Happy Monday! I hope that weekends were restful and cultivating and this monday isn’t about shaking off the blues but embracing a wonderful new way of life. I realize that on this blog, I talk a lot about self love, expression, artistry, aloneness, social justice, etc. I wondered why I “harped” so much on these topics and I realized that as a young 20 something in a metropolis, this is what I deal with in my day to day. This leads into our topic for the day. Our topic for today’s post comes from the song “Being Alive” from the musical Company. What exactly is “alive” and “alone”? How do we filter comfort in our aloneness while this society wants us to constantly have someone, not just in a romantic sense? Who are we?

I started to think, a few years ago about what made me, me. Am I this thought? Am I this emotion? Am I this work? What and who am I, exactly? The more I thought about it, the more secluded I became. I became a hermit. I stopped going out to clubs and bars unless it was to drink a glass of wine and draw by myself. Everything in my life became centered on myself. Many people around me, my family etc. began to say that I was “selfish” because of this newfound awakening and form of questioning. But let’s go back.

If we can acknowledge that the body that we live in is borrowed and we must return it when our time is up, can we also acknowledge that while the body dies, the soul lives on? Where we go isn’t as important as the discovery of just who this soul is that we exist with. Enjoying the little moments, the big moments, challenging ourselves to be better and bigger every day is one way that we learn who the soul is. Despite this, being a young millenial in 2017 is hard because I can admit that I don’t actually know anything and all the things I think I know are probably not in existence. So, in self discovery, being alive is presence. What presence do we have in our current position and how do we make it work for us? We are all alone. It’s true. We walk through this world in a singular existence looking out from our own eyes. But do we then have to be lonely? Does our purpose fill us enough?

How often are we as human beings trained to be people pleasers? From a young age, many of the people that I know, along with myself have spoken about how we are “recovering” people pleasers. I sometimes find myself wanting to do things on my own and then stopping. Sometimes I stop because of fear of the unknown, sometimes I stop because of the wanting to be “ready”. Are these all social constructions that cease to exist in reality? They seem to have the power that we give them. They only have as much grounding as we allow for them to have.

I’ve always heard the saying that someone is an “old soul”. This old soul status. What does it bring with it? A knowledge? A hunger for real, true and honest? Does it mean an understanding of the “aloneness” that seems to haunt us throughout our bodily existence?

How do we live in our alive? How do we love in our alone?

Meaning-Filled Meditations: On Choices

Hey Speakerz! 

You know it’s our Friday episode time! Today’s episode is about choices! How we make them? Why? When? & all the goodness! 

Enjoy!


Love Always,

Damali Speaks Xx

Truth: A Discovery of Meaning, Definition & Twists

Lately, it seems that the word “Truth” is following me everywhere that I go. I see it on bumper stickers, on titles of books, on clothes, on facebook; everywhere I turn, I see the word “truth”. This started me thinking about what the Universe was telling me. It was longer “trying” to tell me, but screaming it from every corner of existence. “Look up! Truth!” So, instead of ignoring the breadcrumbs laid for me, I decided to find Webster and start on an adventure.

Truth:

a. sincerity in action, character and utterance

b. the state of being the case; the body of real things, events and facts

In thinking about what is truth, I had to think about blanket truths versus relative truths. Can something that is true for me, not be true for someone else and vice versa? What if I come to a conclusion and it’s only true for me in the moment and then it changes? That’s just it. Being a human being on this plane is difficult partially because of the constant change. We are forever growing and developing, trying new things and failing, flying and instilling new thoughts and behaviors. The truth is that to find the truth, is to embrace change.

As the week went on, I kept finding more examples of truth. I found it in store titles, clothing, buildings etc. It constantly brought me back to my ability to accept change. If I can just live in the moment, I can work through it all. One thing that I’ve been focusing on is finding the truth in myself, on a personal level. What is my personal truth and how do I live in it. As an actor, we strive for living in the moment and being great at it. In addition, we have to know a deeper part of ourselves. I like to think that the characters that I play are simply a deep covered part of myself, and while I tap into them, I shed light where there was once darkness. In order to find those places, I have to embrace the constant change, but also find what is true for me in those moments. Isn’t that what living in the moment is? Not blocking the emotion, but allowing it to pass through, unhindered and find a way out.

I have a friend that says that poison bites two ways: On the way in and on the way out. If that’s true, than acknowledging our personal truths is like medicine that flows in and out. While it hurts, it also heals, if we allow it to. I remember being in my early 20s and how the big thing was the “hook-up  culture” mostly because it allowed room for no feeling. But poison bites two ways and so does truth serum. It isn’t blocking the feeling that human beings are made for. We are hard wired to feel and move on.

How do we twist the truth? Oftentimes, I think that we can either see the glass as half full or half empty and depending on our viewpoint, that’s how our life appears. In how we see the truth, as half full or half empty, we find the fight of the Ego versus the Soul. The Soul sees everything as one, whole and full while the Ego can always find something wrong. how do we learn to twist? To live in the soul? The fullness? If we each find our own truth, can we light the world with it together?

Find your truth. What’s true for me might not be true for you and that’s okay. Stand firm in what you’ve found and let no one compromise it.

Love Always,

Damali Speaks Xx