Category Archives: Finding the Answers

Having What You Want

img_5958Do you really want to have what you want?

Do you even know what you want and not what the media or your neighbors or even your parents and what others tell you that that is what you should want?

Do you daily see yourself having what you want?

Do you have love and share love freely and daily with everyone you encounter?
Are you thankful for what you currently have?

Do you complain and put others down?

Do you envy or celebrate other’s accomplishments?

Does your joy and happiness feed others?
Do you marvel at the sun, moon, the people you see, the animals around you?

Do you spend quiet time reflecting on your life?

Do you eat what is right for your body because you have checked in with your body and not what is trending?

Do you exercise so you limbs and joints can rejoice at their power?

Do you keep all promises your make, regardless of how small or large?
Do you just speak thoughtlessly, saying all the things you can do, or are going to do, but forgetting the moment the words are out of your mouth?

Do you truly value yourself, thank your mind, your spirit, your heart, your body for contributing positively to life?

Do you feel connected to others, and are you willing to work with others for the greater good?

Do you feel empowered and that you, and you alone can single-handedly make a difference for someone other than yourself.

Are you willing to grow and change, when necessary, an out-dated idea, belief, action, way of being?

What are you thankful?  To whom are you thankful?  To whom are you accountable?

Who helps you to grow outside and beyond yourself?

Can you measure or demonstrate ways you have changed and grown in the last year, in the last two years, in the last five years?

Who have you helped lately, and in what way was the help tangible?

Having reflected on all of the above, go in peace, be peace and share your divine peaceimg_5945 with others.

Walk Good

 

2 Faces or 1

opal87The poem asks who is this child woman and where has she gone? Does her poems still grow in sun-flowers? Does she still dance in the rain?  How has she faced the disappointments and with whom does she celebrate the successes?

opal2016The poems asks who is this other woman?  Where did she come from and why does she have the eyes of the woman above? Are her poems still soaked in dreams submerged in molasses? Does she still hide among the tall grasses and interpret the shapes of clouds?
Are her songs still melodious and do birds sing her awake?

The poem really wants to know who are these faces and where do their truths intersect?

If poetry is the only truth and life is a lie where flows the water of our legacy?

Blessed and Doing the Work

I sometimes forget how blessed I am to have an endless stream of creativity, to care about the world and contribute to help make it better, to be alive at this time and know that right now is the absolutely best time of my life, that everyday I get stronger, better, more inspired, and that I have always been able to find people who love me to support my artistic expressions and my cultural activist work.seahibicusadisa16

Although it is not always easy to make my dream a reality, and sometimes I get frustrated and ask where is my help, why do I have to do so much of the leg work alone, where are the billions to fund my project –after all I want to do good in the world, I don’t want six cars and a diamond ring that cost millions.  I just want to create an amazing  artists colony with a profuse Caribbean garden with sculptures and an orchard with all the many fruits, and ponds and flowing water and wide open space to dream and think and create.

I want to leave my children a legacy of land and ownership, in addition to my writings, so each generation is not beginning from scratch so that we never make any ground way .  I don’t want to go out the same way I came, unknown, unheralded, without leaving monuments that document that I was here, I had dreams and plans which I implemented that will exist long, long after i have gone, and will contribute to humanity.

The Cock Crows Our Secrets Flier Final

I want it all.  I deserve it all.  I will live my dreams.  I will continue to create and leave a lasting legacy.  I will continue to help heal the world, and expose child abuse, and provide victims and parents with a voice to say no more enough. Our community must talk out, blare out, expose, eradicate and heal.  To this end I have written, The Cock Crows Our Secrets, to begin the dialogue.  I cannot do this without out. So support in all ways you can, spread the word, send contribution to the St Croix Foundation care of Moving Women. Raise the conversation with friends, family and colleagues, and most importantly do not be silent about these crimes that impact the entire community.

I am blessed and grateful and each day I am doing my part.  Join me in happinesses and wealth building to support all our dreams. Support Moving Women’s theatre efforts.

Force Ripe: A Painful Slice of Girlhood

Cindy McKenzie’s Force Ripe (2015) presents a poignant tale of parental neglect, community indifference, sexual abuse, isolation and ignorance of  Lee and her brother, Rally. Told through the eyes of Lee, who is not yet six years old when the books begins, and ends when she is in her teens, this story of Caribbean life in Grenada is not one you have likely read before. Honest and revealing, Force Ripe takes you on the journey with Lee, and you get to witness first hand, the uncertainty that is her life and world, replete with verbal and other abuses. It is sure to make you cry.  I recommend it to be included in Caribbean literature and sociology courses.

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OPA: This is your first book, what have you written before and where have you been published ?

CM:   Apart from a response to a letter published in Mslexia Women’s magazine and a star letter in Woman & Home Magazine- for which I won a hat box of lovely French Chocolates and allowed myself to bask (just a little bit) in the novelty of seeing my name in print – I had not been published before Force Ripe. Previous writings include bits of prose, some poetry and short stories prompted by various online Writing Courses.

OPA: Roughly speaking, how long did it take you to write?

CM:   It was a long process. I can’t remember how long, but I think I completed the first draft in a few months. I started writing – what I then titled “Celestial Shades,” back in 2001. I have a “registered to myself”, two hundred and ten pages, double-sided first draft, dated June 2005. So much has happened along this journey I have travelled with this book.  And what took me a few months to write, took me fourteen years to publication.

OPA: Can you share your process of writing this novel? What are some of the ranges of emotions you experienced?

CM: The process. Hm. Writers have so many theories and rules about what works, how it should be done, when it should be done. And I have tried some of them. For me, it was handwritten notes of memories, ideas and then I drafted the chapters. Next, I typed them onto the computer. I still do it this way.

I knew nothing about rules or the fundamentals of writing at the time [I began the novel.]. What I had was this story. And I was very determined to tell it my way. I learned along the way –from the first terribly written draft– which I sent to Ian Randle Publishers, to the creative writing classes taken after the first draft, to revising, dealing with critique etc. And the learning continues.

Writing Force Ripe was therapeutic for me. I had to make that journey, all the way back and step inside Lee’s head- see through her eyes, listen with her ears, feel what she felt, talk the way she talked, walk with her again, so readers could also make that journey with her. And this journey evoked every kind of emotion in me. These emotions changed with every corner I turned, and every chapter I wrote.

OPA: This is not an easy subject, what prompted you to write this novel?

CM: This story has lived in me for as long as I have lived with it. And for a long time it has been nagging me, begging to be voiced. So I listened.

OPA: Force ripe is a Caribbean term that I heard it growing up in Jamaica.  How would you describe that term for non-Caribbean people, in particular as it relates to Lee, the protagonist?

CM: To Force ripe something, for example a fruit, is to ripen it prematurely, before it is fully matured and ready. In the Caribbean, the term Force Ripe is used to refer to girls who try to be mature, who act like grown ups, too early. In many instances, as was the case with Lee, the child has been forced ripe, having to grow up too quickly, not by her own doing or choosing, but because of circumstances, choices made by the adults in her life and because of neglect. Perhaps unintended, but neglect all the same. Lee was forced to do adult things, have adult experiences, look after herself way before she was ready, before she was mature enough.

OPA: Who do you see as the audience?

CM: Because of the language, and topics presented, I see Force Ripe as suitable reading for a wide audience – from the young adult, to the very senior. I believe Force Ripe has a little bit for everyone, especially our Caribbean audience, who will be able resonate with the scenes, characters, the places, the culture and the language. I want readers to want to read this book and want to share it with others. Selective parts can even be read to the very young audience.

Cindy McKenzie reading from Force Ripe

OPA: Are you inspired by other writers from the Caribbean, especially Merle Collins, a fellow Grenadian?

CM :I am not as widely read as I would like, however, I am inspired by writers who are bold and brave enough to step outside of conformity and write the truth, write about the taboo stuff which are unspoken and frown upon. I admire those who are not afraid to use our “Nation language” and to quote you on that, “… there are just some things that don’t have the same sense of intimacy or color if not said in Nation language…. I use nation language… to say what I mean from the center of my navel… to jolt readers to listen and read more carefully, to glean from the language the Caribbean sensibilities that I am always pushing, sometimes subtly, other times more forcefully. Nation language allows me to infuse the poem with all of the smells and colors of home…” I too believe this to be true. I thoroughly enjoyed Bake Face & other Guava Stories and Merle Collins’ Callaloo poem. When I was writing this someone very close said to me, “enough bakes and cocoa tea stories.” Am glad I didn’t listen, because bakes and cocoa tea to me is like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding to him! And I still Love my bakes and cocoa tea.

OPA: Are you currently writing or thinking about writing  another novel?

CM: I have to. I already have a few chapters, which I had cut from Force Ripe, so I have a start. I would like to get right to it now, but life happens in between.

OPA: What are you hopes for this novel — in other words who do you want it to reach, which in my mind is different from audience, what place do you hope it will have?

CM: I would like to see Force Ripe in the schools, especially the secondary schools. It would be great to have it on the school curriculum, and not just in our local Grenadian schools, but as far as it can reach, throughout the Caribbean. I really hope it will find a place on the shelf of book stores, in-spite of the self published taboo which hangs over it. And I would love to see Force Ripe as a movie.

OPA: Your children certainly were involved in the production of the book, how does being a mother inform the writing of this book?

CM: Being a mother has made me look at the characters with different eyes, especially the main character Lee. As I wrote about Lee’s experiences, I was able to compare her with my own daughter at different stages in her life, particularly at the age of 10. Being a mother has made me look at myself and where my children would have been had I make different choices, like my own parents did.

An excerpts from Force Ripe

“The convent girls gather up the front gate and line up the steps like a firing squad when they hear the Rastaman daughter coming. Me legs tremble. Me chest get heavy with fright. So I pull meself inside me like a soldier crab. I could do it real good now. And sometimes, I does even forget to come back out (p.272)”

Website:http://cindymac.info

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-McKenzie-Author-295573863938027/timeline/

 

The Rain of Life

IMG_0986 We depend on rain for our water supply.

We depend on oxygen to breathe.

We depend on day to work and play.

We depend on night to rest and sleep.

We do not create or have anything to do with any of these so called “natural” phenomena.

More often than not we take them for granted.

What or who else are you taking for granted in your life?

Where are you just showing up and receiving blessings without giving something in return?

In order to have water all the time, even when we go for periods without rains, we have to built dams and wells and cisterns.

We accept the oxygen by breathing, and some of us practice deep breathing as we have learnt that this habit expands our lungs and helps the oxygen to circulate more fully throughout our bodies.

Similarly, with the day and night, we have learnt how to harness and maximize both times, and the benefits and necessity of each for us.

So it is not really true that the good things in life are free.  Nothing is free.  Everything requires our conscious or unconscious reciprocal energy.

Therefore, if you want rain in your life, make sure you have a container to store it, and you plan for its uses so you will always have water when you need it.

Think about all the people and the plant and animal life throughout the world who die from lack of water.  Pause now and send them a drop of daily rain. You and your thoughts are that powerful.

Exploring the Violin: Harriet Wheeler

DSC02462Harriet Wheeler, British violinist, lives and works in Denmark, and was at Arte Studio Ginestrelle to work with Signe Lykke, Danish composer. Intense and committed to being a first class player, Harriet says, “I just aim to continue improving and evolving and bringing joy with the music I make.”

Harriet first became aware of Signe last year when she heard one of Signe’s compositions being played.  Although the piece was for the clarinet, she liked it so much, she contacted the composer, “and I asked her to write me a piece, and she did, “Blue Season,” which is a wonderful piece.” Harriet smiles at this memory, looking very much like a young Jacqueline Kennedy.DSC02552

As a result of listening to more of Signe’s compositions, and getting to know her personally, Harriet and Signe decided they wanted to collaborate, to explore how composer and musician can work together.  Once they arrived at this realization, they looked around for a space to begin this partnership, and learned about Arte Studio Ginestrelle, and were thrilled when they were accepted.

Practicing is fundamental to being a good violinist, and Harriet practices an average of 3-4 hours daily.  When practicing and playing, everything else ceases to exist, and she gets lost in a world of musical communications.  She is open and available to all.

“I don’t have a favorite composer; it changes too often and there are so many greats! I guess something about having a thirst for all styles of musical languages, especially classical?”

Although it is not usual for composers and musicians to work together on a piece, Harriet believes this should change.  Reflecting on an orchestra, Harriet says, “Contemporary music is created by composer, but Signe and I are combining the process, to explore what is possible with the violin, in a way that is natural for the violinist.”  Finding the possibilities and arriving at what is comfortable to violinists and other musicians is essential, Harriet states.  “It takes a lot of time, and we need freedom to experiment –try different sounds.  The process of us working on it together has been very rewarding. Signe would write something and give it to me, and she told me what she was thinking, and I was able to incorporate her ideas because she always asked me about things.”

Harriet and Signe will continue to work and develop this piece that will be performed -Spring 2016. “We will play with a young string ensemble in Denmark, work with young children to explore their instruments, and hopefully they will get more excited about playing.”

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To learn more about Harriet Wheeler, visit her Facebook page.


 

Forge Ahead

Sometimes

actually most times

you just have to do it

DSC05909cannot think about

what’s in place

what’s missing

not having all the resources

or support

or even know how

you decide that it’s

worth the effort

it’s a good cause

and you are willing

to learn by trial and error

so you do it

you could sit around

waiting for the perfect time

when everything is in placeDSC05903

when all the funds are available

when…

if only…

all the reasons and

logic others offer

why you should not attempt

it now

poor economy

people are burnt out

on and on

ad nausea

and years pass

decades come and go

hope dwindles

possibilities dry up

and what was a good idea

that could have made

a real difference

is no longer even an idea

DSC05919So don’t wait around

for the perfect time

and enough resources

just forge ahead

and make something

happen!!!

Kenya’s Poetry Festival For Youths & Adults: Irie Poetry Vibess

A Leadership/Training Program Campaign in Kenya, East Africa by Opal Adisa

Do Until – The Bridge

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I don’t know if most people give up just before their great breakthrough.

What I do know, is that to keep going without seeing any results is hard, and requires a specific mindset.

Each of us has to decide if we are okay looking at the ceiling above our heads or if we want to keep going until we burst through the ceiling and ascend into the sky.IMG_2404

There is no heaven above or below. There is however,  a place we hold sacred, where we believe everything is perfect and there is absolute ease and all our needs will be met.

It sounds great but also boring. The fact is every invention was borne out of a need.

Challenges keep you alert, exercise your mind and allow you to problem solve in incredible ways.

Sometimes you might have to rest for a little while before getting back on track, but never, never, never give up — completely.  That is the living dead.

Find a way to keep your dream alive and keep trying, especially when it seems hopeless. Take a break.  Regroup.  Recharge.  Own what you want.  Accept it and Demand that the universe supports you. DSC03346

P.S.  Make sure you don’t miss the signs of success.  Sometimes you already received what you asked for, but it looks different, so you overlook it.

Don’t be the dog spinning around to catch its tail.

Be the tree that owns is treedom.

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