What My World's Like

discomfort in solidarity.

Dec
16

press play and continue to read.
[audio:http://www.whatmyworldslike.com/audio/solitude.mp3]

boarded a train in brooklyn today. the cars before the one in front of me were pretty packed, but this one wasn’t. just as i was getting on, i noticed a man covering his nose, and shortly afterwards, saw a few others clenching theirs. near the back of the car was a person covered in a coat, leaning forward, surrounded by plastic bags. there were stares of contempt, as if this person was disrespectfully sullying our commute.

when the train reached the next stop, many hurriedly moved to other cars. the thought to do the same entered my mind, but it was followed with another thought that made me pause.

discomfort in solidarity.

i was offended by the disgust some people seemed to have. not with the smell itself, but the ostensible disgust with the person emitting the smell. it occurred to me that as uncomfortable as everyone in that subway car was, no one was more uncomfortable than the person we all wanted to distance ourselves from. none of us knew that person’s story, and i’m sure very few even considered it. we know casualties of this culture exist, but despite that, we often blame and reject the individual, instead of pointing to our corrupt system as a highly plausible factor behind some of the uncomfortable social experiences we face.

in a moment, after having the thought to be uncomfortable with and not because of that person, i understood this. i understand how easy it is to enter or remain in poverty and homelessness. i understand pride and how easy it is to unnecessarily suffer because of it.

not only are so many jobs not offering livable wages, the jobs themselves are simply atrocious– repetitive, mind-numbing, body-numbing, spirit-numbing, dull. we are in a culture that seeks to numb and dull us. don’t let this system harden your heart. don’t let repeatedly seeing abject poverty and homelessness normalize those conditions. they’re not normal and they’re not necessary in a social system that is an entire human fabrication.

feel. connect. empathize. i’m all about feeling good, but there is a wholeness to the human experience that capitalism and class and media tell us that we can and maybe even should avoid. still, there is so much beauty in sometimes making the decision to suffer with people in solidarity.

“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we’ even illness becomes wellness.”
— Malcolm X

____
soundtrack:
above: “solitude” by derrick hodge, live today
“taiwa” by marc cary, focus
“you ain’t alone” by alabama shakes, boys & girls

make a path.

Dec
09

“we love fear”

Dec
09

written by erykah badu

Some day I will be free of this pain. The agony of fear. I am ashamed. It is who we have become. It has given us identity. We have inherited this thing.
It lives deep within us and is there to cradle our heads like a womb we know well. It is our familiar. The pain it brings with it has become a sweet unhappiness. We have become addicted to its ways .
It brings us to our VICES that keep us in complacency. It has defined who we are when our wills retreat . It has no mercy on the weak. It has introduced us to jealousy and hatred and self loathing and greed and prejudice and racism and hate and shame. It makes us old and ugly .
It covers our heads with bags and ties our hands and brings us to our knees.
It tells lies in a truth disguise.
We FEAR.
It has taken our Power.
It has chained a Champion..
Love has been forgotten.
We have become comfortably numb.
Even our worship of “GOD “has become an act to satisfy one another.
We hate together.

But there is A FORCE.
The GREATEST OF ALL.
That which turns KINGS TO SERVANTS and changes the face of time with nothing but a choice .
It belongs to you.
It wears a simple smile.
The choice to love.
Love has the face of joy, a happy child, a giving hand.
It is made of acceptance and encouragement and sharing and compassion And forgiveness.
It Does NOT JUDGE the weak nor the poor or those who are different. It does not hurt or embarrass.

We have lived . We have adapted to fear . We have forgotten.
We are innocent.
We are Good.

Because the two ( fear and love) can not occupy the same space at once, only one of the two can be applied in a single CHOICE.
It is ours. It is a journey we walk alone.
We are accountable.

Fear will not give in to easy tho.
It wants to blame others when WE Choose NOT to love.
It is a self ran program that has fooled us into believing we Need it to be identified as one of the ” many”.

But only the few know this:

FEAR FEARS YOUR LOVE.
It will die without your energy.
It holds tight like good loving fleeting in the night .

We must Fight.
And Never Give Up.
Free me.
Free me.
Free me.

E. Badu
3/2013

abbey lincoln on love, marriage and polyamory.

Nov
06


http://youtu.be/ZokBQsC4AdA

your life in one word.

Oct
25

yesterday was a blissful day. i went to see the amazingly talented jazz vocalist gregory porter and had a great time. smile all over my face pretty much the whole time great. behind me, stood a beautiful and lively couple. the wife was such a huge music fan and had so much energy that after porter played two songs, i looked back at her and said, “i want to go to a concert with you.” she laughed, but i was serious. at the end of the night, i gave her husband my information and reiterated the idea.

on the way out, the mass of people slowly inched out of the door. impatient to get to abc cocina to see a friend who works there, i wondered what was taking so long. near the exit, stood mr. porter himself, shaking hands and signing autographs. having provided me with a wonderful, heartfelt evening, i had to thank him. he truly and humbly gives himself when performing. the dedication to his craft comes across throughout each moment. his band is world class, and their energy was incandescent.

as soon as i arrived to cocina, i was greeted with love by several key staff members. i was seated, then the couple i just met called to tell me they were going to abc kitchen. coincidentally, i was right next door and asked them to stop by. we all enjoyed a wonderful meal. sidebar: yes to the guac and chips, cauliflower, mezcal cured salmon, brussels, beets, and mushroom and kale tacos.

the evening was full of laughter, warmth, and appreciation. there was so much open-heartedness and love. it was such a gift, and simply amazing. in the midst of these beautiful exchanges, i wondered what one word i could use to summarize my life at the moment. ‘charmed’ came to mind first and is actually quite perfect. it brings my attention to everything that’s right and working well and provides me with a certain clarity and optimism regarding everything else i would like to get in order. after realizing that, my bliss level shot through the roof.

so i ask you, what one word would you use to describe your life right now?

#grateful

Oct
23

your power is yours.

Oct
15

your power is yours to keep. it exists within your thoughts, feelings, and choices. it belongs to you. don’t give it away. and don’t condemn others when you choose to give your power away because they chose not to. choose again. empowerment never comes from an external source.

suffering is a decision.

perception defines the inward experience of anything. choose better.

sit with that. feel it out. take it in.

to imply that choice alone is the difference between feeling bad, good, or great, or between feeling powerless and powerful is almost tauntingly, if not deceptively, simple sounding. however, it is simple, but not necessarily easy. the trick is that a half-hearted commitment won’t suffice. there is no middle ground.

here are some things that have helped me retain my power:

  • decide to feel good by being appreciative. thank your way through whatever you’re dealing with.
  • create meaning for yourself, your circumstances and life in general.
  • keep your focus on your goals and what makes you feel good.
  • smile anyway…just because it actually makes you feel better.
  • here’s to happy living!

    love&light...leandra

    a web of sorrow. a plea to act.

    Jun
    27

    My heart, filled with sorrow, is heavy right now. Something about the Trayvon Martin case touched me from the beginning. I was in Nicaragua, sitting in a tree, looking at a volcano, when my sister told me about his murder. After we got off the phone, all I could do was cry. I didn’t know him, but he could’ve been anyone I knew or was related to. That recognition drew me to him and made me so sad and angry that he was killed and that the case was being ignored in the media.

    Fast forward a year and some months later, Zimmerman is on trial and as much as I want to watch it, something in me draws back, scared for my sensitivity.

    At the same time, Nelson Mandela is in a hospital on life support. He may not make it to see his 95th birthday, but he’s lived a very full and meaningful life. He dropped out of college to join the African Nationalist and anti-apartheid movement and eventually spent 27 years in prison for fighting for what he believed in. For being true to himself and standing with himself. Twenty-seven years.

    Race is such a muddled conversation in this world, but especially in this culture where it’s implicitly acceptable in every faction of the culture, thus omnipresent, but explicitly discouraged, thus rampantly covert. A video of celebrity chef Paula Deen revealing her racism was made public and she lost her job and several corporate associations. There is no honest conversation about race happening, how it originates, permeates, recreates and flourishes; just a very public and expensive slap on the wrist.

    George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he was suspicious of Martin, not because of any suspicious activities the boy was engaging in necessarily, but because the mere presence of black men, specifically, was a cause for suspicion, prompting the automatic belief that they were up to no good and that the situation was unsafe. This situation essentially repeated itself only months later in the same state of Florida with the 17 year-old Jordan Davis and 45 year-old Michael Dunn, who also refers to the Stand Your Ground law in support of his professed innocence. Where did these men get that idea from and how can/will we work to change that thought association?

    Black people are not safe in a world with white supremacist ideology and systems. Children, born with no say over their life circumstances, are not safe. There is an assault on their bodies, minds, and spirits, so even if they aren’t physically eliminated, they are psychologically and psychically damaged.

    As Mandela lays in a bed, in critical condition, I review his life and the meaning he attached to it. This man made a sacrifice and he sacrificed himself for his ethics. There are so many people who wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice 27 hours, days, or weeks to stand up for what they believe in, even when that essentially means standing up for themselves and this man sacrificed 27 years.

    What are we giving? To whom? And for what?

    We are worth the investment of our own time and our own lives for our own benefit. You are worth the investment of your own time and your own life for your own benefit.

    Let it not be in vain. Let it not be for mere comfort and its illusion. Fill your time and your life with meaning to make a positive difference. Some are never fully given that option. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were completely robbed of that opportunity and if we care, then we have to do something more than sit in the comfort of our homes being outraged. We need to act and take advantage of our gift of life.

    move your body.

    Feb
    17

    PE isn't important? Physical inactivity costs 2 times the federal budget for the Dept. of Education

    This generation of children growing up today are expected to die five years younger than their parents. Why? Because of inactivity. The benefits of exercise are so many that it seems silly not to. Yet, so many of us still don’t. I haven’t been to the gym since October.

    Don’t judge me.

    Still, movement is fundamental. An organization called Designed To Move has created “a physical action agenda”. Check it out here. We have to model healthy behavior for the youngsters to pick it up.

    While I’ve fallen off my beloved fitness game for a while, I’m committed to getting back on track, not just for myself but because I want to be in the population of people that’s a part of the solution. Growing up, my mother used to say, “if you aren’t a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.” It annoyed me when she said it then, but it’s true.

    The children are the future. Let’s teach them well.

    the art of stress-free productivity

    Feb
    01

    The heart of my efforts right now center around productivity, so I’m sharing productivity expert David Allen’s TedxTalk with you. Enjoy!

    “If you do not pay
    ATTENTION
    to what has your
    ATTENTION
    you will give it more
    ATTENTION
    than it deserves.”