Monthly Archives: September 2015

Whose Paradise?

The creator keeps coming back as a child because it has the mind of a child. The creator is still learning.

-Dr. Phil Valentine

Ever hear of the idea that the creator is experiencing itself through us infinitely or that it was of absolute necessity that humanity and it’s “world” be created in order that the creator should know itself? Because you cannot know yourself if you alone exist. You would not know you existed if there was nothing and no one outside yourself with which to recognize or mirror opposition. Maybe this is something like what we experience in the womb. We are surrounded by darkness, yet we do not know what darkness is because we have never seen light. What is that world of not knowing opposition or duality or consciousness? What is that state?

It’s where we come from. It’s where we return to. And in the middle, the experiencer learns and learns and learns and learns again until it knows.

How much learning do we have to do before we know?

I’ve asked myself that question a lot lately.

How much learning do I have do before I know?

Dr. Phil Valentine talks about the Garden of Eden as a death state. Yeah, a state of death.

Look, my mind was blown too! I’ve never heard the Garden of Eden referred to in this way. Every representation of Eden that we are exposed to is one of paradise and a state of total bliss. I named this blog Urban Eve after watching a documentary about the first human, an African woman, from whom all humanity sprung. I see her as The Real Eve, not the Eve from the Biblical allegory. Yet, still, like most good conditioned American born humans raised on the Bible, that allegory still clings to my imagination like a weed. It is powerfully influential like all good programming. And it is not without importance.

If Eve was the one to eat the forbidden apple then it was she who saved humanity from the state of death which we have been conditioned to think of as paradise.

Think about it.

What is paradise to you? What is happiness to you? Just the fact that Eden terminology is so deeply indoctrinated in us as a definition of “paradise” lets us know that it’s not actually our own definition of paradise. What is yours? Not what was given to you, but the actual reality of bliss and happiness for you?

What if the fall from paradise was a birth into knowing that from which we emerged?

What could the allegorical Adam and Eve understand about the nature of “Eden” if they had never experienced its opposite? How do we recognize we’re in darkness if we’ve never seen the light?

People of color navigate through a sea of racism and White oppression and violence on a daily basis, often without even knowing it. We wade in it’s waters and often don’t know that we are soaking wet, that we are drowning because so many of us have been made to believe that this drowning is the definition of life. I have to stay vigilantly aware that the idea of paradise or the American Dream that was given to me by those who wish to destroy me is not a paradise at all, but a construct for my mind.

If nakedness, warmth, lush vegetation and seemingly limitless natural resources was really recognized by White people as paradise then why have they committed genocide upon nearly every indigenous peoples they found in these paradisiacal surroundings as well as mass eco-terrorism throughout the planet replacing the true Eden with stories, words, ideas, currency? Everywhere they went preaching paradise in heaven there has been blood.

So what is paradise really?

I’m still learning…

So now, what-is-paradise really?

That’s one I really have to think about. I’ve never thought about it quite like this before.

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Give it up if You Didn’t Kicked in the Face: Why I like MTA Subway Dancers

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Like so many New Yorkers in the 80s, I grew up as a girl in NYC feeling that  that Graffiti was just rude and ugly vandalism thrust upon undeserving commuters. Maybe it was to some degree but it was also art, art of the streets and of the youth. And now when I look back I wish I had been able to appreciate the creativity, passion and intelligence behind it then, the ethnography, the historic record and narrative it would become. I notice graffiti now wherever I go. I even seek it out when I travel because it tells me more about who has imhabited the are then the story the developers would like us to believe.

I won’t miss out on it this time around.

The subway dancers. You love them, hate them, or don’t care about them at all but if you live in NYC and ride the MTA, you probably have had to tolerate them several times in your journeys. Young African American teenaged boys who travel in small goups with the odd girl or two sprinkled in on occasion. They come on the train with a radio or some music playing device playing something with a hot contagious beat. One of them yells “Showtime” and claps his hands while they each take turns doing gravity defying flips, twists, kick and somersaults all while on a moving train. And I have never seen anyone get kicked in the face.

I can barely keep my balance on a moving train if I let go of the pole or bar for four or five seconds.

So they’ve got skill, stamina, strenth. They’ve rehearsed their routine. And they are charged up with energy, passion and excitement. They’re comedians, Mc’s, promoters. They’re self trained dancers. And for the most part they’re veyr polite because they’re doing this for money. They go around with hats collecting money saying “Show your love, not your hate.”

I not only like watching them dance but I also like watching the ways in which they transform the subway car and change the energy around them. Kids always look on with wonder and amusement and return the extended fist bumps. Tourists usually love them and show it with cash. The girls they flirt with often drop their stiff faces and break into giggles. Some people ignore  them, move away, stay in their own worlds. Others like older people who you think might not like them clap their hands in support. Some people look at others for some idea of what and how they should feel about this. Others give the dancers pounds, smiles, laughs. Some hit record on their cell phone video cameras. I’ve done it once or twice when I’m on the mood.

It’s New York City where anything can happen and I know that one day these subway dancers will be a thing of the past, relegated to photographic record, part of a cultural narrative of NYC’s past. But I like to enjoy them now, in the electric present where they belong, the voice of today’s youth channelled through physical expression, pushing the boundaries of performance. The streets are where so much of our popular art comes from.

And I love a museum exhibit as you well know but I like just as much when art suddenly happens like an accidental wrong turn, dirty, unsolicited and occasionally disturbing. It doesn’t always have to be sterile and meticulously selected or curated and pinned behind glass. You can touch it, smell it, taste it, feel it, sometimes without wanting to.

Keep your eyes on it while they’re still on this side of the gallery. Feel it. It’s free and It won’t last forever.

I can hear some of you yelling “Thank God!”

LOL!!!

He Kneads Me

Around 2:00AM I get out of bed ot pee. My husband is still asleep. But guess who is not?

Our kitten Jet.

Not only is he up but he’s purring like crazy and is pawing my leg. I, half awake, go take of business, come back out and pick him up because I know if I go back to bed and close the door when I’m done he’ll be at the door mewing. This has been happening more often lately.

I pick him up in my arms and walk over to the sofa which he has basically claimed and hold him while he touches my face with his cold nose, paws my face lightly and kneads into my arm, thankfully with minumal claw bearing. I’ve read that cats do this instinctivley as a way to express comfort and familiarity. It’s something they do when they nurse in order to stimulate their mother’s nipples. It makes me feel very special, like we’re bonding. I know cats are nocturnal but for the life of me I’m still always surprised to see him up so early. It occurs to me to be annoyed but I know he’s just a kitten and doesn’t understand our sleep cycle.

Plus, I like feeling kneaded. It quickly outweighs my slight annoyance.

Heehee…

I guess I can always sleep on the weekend.

Supporting Black Owned Businesses Saturday

A few weeks ago, Soulsistah4real invited me to partake in all Black and African owned businesses Saturday starting with a visit to Zuvaa’s pop up shop on the Lower East Side. Even though my wardrobe budget was not on fleek this weekend I was super excited!  I bought a pair of beautiful fabric wrapped bracelets and enjoyed being surrounded by amazing handmade collections, women of color bustling around me and searching through racks exploding with color and creativity. I’ve always loved fashion and it’s a treat to be able to see fashions handmade in Africa up close. The textures, the fabric choices, the way garments are cut are all of interest to me.

ZUvaa Braceltes

As we waited for the pop up shop to open that morning, an interesting conversation rose outside among us at the front of the line about sewing our own clothes. Some of us have mothers who sewed all the time and never showed us, or like me, had mothers who tried and we resisted it. There was talk about passing this important craft on to the youth, as well as the knowledge of braiding and styling our children’s natural hair. These are conversations I love to witness and be a part of. They are important conversations that don’t always occur to me unless I’m in communal space with women of color.

Curly Dew After the Pop up Shop, we headed over to Vivrant Beauty, a new Beauty Supply shop in Harlem which sells products for hair, make-up, nails and skin that are made for and by women of color. Khalilah and I both sampled nail polish colors by Mischo which is owned by Kitiya Mischo King before making our purchases and vowing to return. I bought this amazing smelling shampoo by Soultanicals which I cannot wait to use this week. It’s called “Curly Dew Earthy Poo.” LOL! Looking at their site, I discovered that many of their products are named in this whimsical rhyming way that I get such a kick out of reading out loud.

We walked out of Vivrant looking for a nice restaurant and literally ran into Angel of Harlem bar and restaurant right around the corner. We got a table for two outside across from the Harriet Tubman statue, ordered brunch, talked Mercury Retrograde shop with two sisters bunching nearby and discussed making time for a day like this at least once a month!

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We wrapped up our day in Brooklyn at the Zodiac Lounge, getting readings and kicking it New Ancient Bougie Black Girl Style. I predict that these outings will happen more often among us as Afrikan people in a move towards creatimg community, shifting conciousness, self love and awakening to our true purpose and power as we remember whom and whose we our.

Cultivating Safety

Maybe it’s just because I’ve had such a laid back Labor Weekend, but lately when I’ve thought about or jotted down blog ideas, I can’t manage to complete any of then because they’ve all been about contentious issues, like systemic racism, sexism and hatred. And I’ve just been feeling so relaxed that these subjects start to lose steam for me within a few paragraphs. I just don’t feel like being angry right now. I really don’t ever want to be angry and sometimes it seems as if the world feeds on reactionary anger to the point where you feel like and idiot if you’re not anxious, angry and bent our of shape about something…

Especially if you’re Black.

And a woman.

I am both, and at the present moment I just don’t feel thinking about all the ways in which my very existence is a threat to a psychopathic, blood-thirsty White ruling class. I’m on a break. God knows all that shit will still be there when get back to it.

I’ve been busy at home, cultivating a sense of safety with my partner. making our home more homey, not just with things but with actions. I’m not sure safety is something that really exists anywhere except for as a feeling created by actions. ADT doesn’t actually provide safety if you know what I mean. The definition of a sense of safety is different for everyone. Some people feel safe when there stuff is safe, their valuables, there money, their property, capital etc. Some people feel safe when they can lay open their hearts without fear. Some people feel safe when they are comfortable in their own skin and allowed to be all that they are around those whom they care about the most.

I was privileged to have the kind of childhood where I felt incredibly safe the majority of the time. And I always cherish the memory of that feeling and understand how blessed I am to have felt it. You can’t buy that feeling, the sense that no matter what happens outside of your home with anyone outside of your family, when you come home, you’re coming home to peace, to ease, to a place where you can heal and recharge.

I felt that way when I first met my husband. That’s how I knew he was family. And recently since adding out little mammalian son to the family, I’ve begun to have that feeling again; a sense of comfort from a simple, loving routine that has grown from co-caring for an intelligent little living thing. Providing a sense of safety and comfort is deeply fulfilling. And I can’t focus on that and anger at the same time. The two simply cannot occupy the same space.

I am growing more aware though about whom I want to allow in the circle of safety and those whom I want to remain at a distance.

I don’t have time or energy to be a “We are The World” woman all the time anymore. Some of us are the world. Some of us just predisposed to destroy it.

And yeah…

more on that unfortunate fact later.

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Time Stopping Thursdays: Sperm to Fetus Video

If you like big budget adventure movies with unforgettable and iconic, emotionally manipulative scores you will love “Sperm to Fetus in 3D!” LOL!!

But seriously though, I was home this weekend on a Sunday evening after cleaning, eating dinner and winding down when I decided I needed to see scientific visual graphics of the journey of sperm to the egg. I had no idea that I was going to be watching “The Lord of the Rings” version of human egg fertilization on acid.

That being said, I was blown away. Much as I tried to be judgmental of the obnoxious over the top score, when the one sperm pierces through the egg I felt like getting up and doing a one-person wave. I mean it only takes one. Just one! And here we all are!

Yeah, I was feeling very present in that moment.

How miraculous we all are.

If only we all knew it.

Dropping into my Heart

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Let go of all sense of not being in your heart. The thought of a problem can become the problem. Ask yourself “If I knew what I might notice were I to listen to my heart, regardless of what anyone else might suggest, what methods of dropping into my heart might I discover?

I get emotional plenty. I cry in reaction to movies, books, babies, people I care about…orgasms. But I’m not always comfortable about all that. In a culture where intellect and smarts and thought processes are basically taught to us as the thing that will get us more money, power, position, attention and love, the heart is really only focused upon as a marketing tool, particularly on Valentines Day. But actually using our hearts is pretty foreign and largely marginalized  and looked down upon in our society, in much the same way as being feminine, soft, yielding, giving and vulnerable is attributed to weakness.

It’s hard to let go of primarily brain centered living when the whole of society tells you, you have to use your head to get ahead and people will take advantage of you if you “wear you heart on your sleeve.” However when it’s convenient, who are the people we turn to first when we are wounded and need to be held and loved and soothed and made to feel better? Usually some pretty heart centered people. Not the cold, distant, detached, aloof people. And I’m not ashamed to say that on occasion I have appeared to be or behaved as if I was one of those cold people but not because it’s who I really am. No one is really like that. We learn to be that way. We learn a lot of incorrect behavior on our journey towards becoming who are.

Thinking only when it’s necessary and feeling or dropping into my heart the rest of the time hasn’t been easy. This is going to sound weird but the kitten has really helped me with that. He’s all action. He likes to hunt, play, eat, sleep and be held. Simple. The moment I first picked him up out of his cage I also experienced something very simple, the joy of being needed in a way that for the first time did not feel like a burden. In fact the more I take care of the kitten, the fuller I feel. I’m really fighting the urge to say ewwww right now. Or I guess I should say, my ego is.

But honestly, my husband and I have the most fun watching him do really simple stuff, like dive at and chase cat toys, discover new ways to get to high pieces of furniture and sleep with the kind of abandon that we can only assume means he feels safe. I can only imangine that if we all felt that safe, not so much in our surroundings but in our own hearts and souls, life might not seem so scary. There’s no way to really be safe in your head because its meant to fluctuate to your detriment by design. So much of what goes on there is just the ego’s way of asserting it’s identification as you. And we are easily conditioned to believe that intuitive heart space is misleading, unreal, risky and unsafe instead of the other way around. There’s no balance, no cooperation. The head has been oppressively manipulative and monopolizing for so long. As a result we have faster, slicker, high functioning, specialized toys, degrees, positions, corporations and more with which to create and share information, to control and to commodify but not nearly enough regard for the feelings we have about our successes or lack thereof in order to address the accompanying emptiness.

All I’ve been doing after work for the past week and an a half is coming home, hanging out with my husband, cleaning, taking care of the cat and generally taking it easy. No lofty ambitious goals there. Very little anxiety either. Domestic contentment. It’s one of my new definitions of success.

Stay tuned for more. : )