Tag Archives: Daily Musings

Recognizing The Ones Who Will Make a Difference

 The plain truth is that not every child is the future even when they are loved and protected and live in an environment that has resources to provide them with a good education and opportunities.

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The sad truth is that this is not the reality for the majority of the children of the world who lack basic needs such as running water and electricity, who have no access to medical or dental care, who have a slim hold and outlet for educational advancement, whose parents, despite their hard and industrious efforts, can barely eek out a living.

The wonderful truth is that despite all these odds there are numerous children all over the world determined and imbued with self-confidence that defies the odds.

What distinguishes these children?

From where do they harvest their zeal?

What allows them to continue, forever scaling hurdles, sprinting around ditches, moving resolutely towards being more than.

If I had the answer, then I would sell and bequeath it to all children.

If the answer was simple and apparent, it could be replicated and when we say children are the future we would know that means all children.

If it were that the ones who make it were only those loved and cared for we could see that is where the work begins.

But transcending one’s lot to rise above the others is in some ways mysterious– enigmatic.

Yet, luckily some children just have what it takes, it is in their eyes, the way they hold their heads, the gait of their walk, the clarity of their eyes, the assurance of their smiles.

I know these children. I see them everywhere and I saw them in Kisii, Kenya, among their peers and family, on the roads, and at schools.

Even among all the rest vying for the camera, peering out curiously at me, these faces, their eyes, their spirits foretold: watch me, pay attention, I will not be deterred, I will not be turned back, I will be the one!

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I am the one you have been waiting for and I will help to turn the tide of opportunity for others.DSC01554IMG_1949

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The Value of a Residency

DSC02040 I have arrived in Assisi, this picturesque town, framed against the blue-green verdant mountains, where I will reside for the next three weeks.

The house where I am housed is up a gravel road, far away from any other houses and quite a trek to arrive here on foot. Luckily, I was picked up by car.

I am told there are wolves, foxes, wild pigs, and in the rooms at night the bees are as big as the width and length of my middle and index fingers combine.

I am told neither the bees nor the wild animals are harmful, but when I was going for a walk this morning was given a stick and told to always have one handy just in case I encounter any such animals. I only spotted a deer, but woke to the sounds of unfamiliar animals.

I was also told there were no snakes, but on the way back from my walk, I saw a dead snake in the road, a foot long. No poisonous snakes here either.DSC02152

The land is welcoming. The silencing is encompassing.

It is hot and hot and hot, and I love the heat as a Caribbean woman, but it is hot.

A church, somewhere in the two rings its bell at noon and six pm. Otherwise time means nothing to me. The day is irrelevant. I am present to what is here and here there is much.

The mountain range, which is like a wall, demands my attention, my homage, and it comforts me as the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, my homeland. When I sit here on this balcony it is before me.DSC02076

DSC02053This is the desk in the room upon which I am writing and upon which I will write for the next three weeks.

Already it says sit down. Attend to your task. There is nothing here to distract you. I embrace your words and ideas and will provide the clarity you need to string them into a pattern that piques the senses and assures the heart that there are endless tomorrows awaiting you…

When I glance out the window I see beauty. I inhale the peace and privilege that this place provides.

DSC02055This is the moth that perched itself on the wall last night behind my bed and refused to leave, bidding me to sleep well and be comforted by its orange wings that nurture dreams.

I am happy and grateful to be here. I will write here and accomplish my goals.

I have brought Haiti here, its stories and its people to help make sense and show its resilience.DSC02098

I am quenched here, and did not realize until I arrived that I was thirst.

I have already engaged in dialogue here with the other artists and found affinity.

I write knowing that writing is my job, this is what feeds my soul, and this is what I was born to do.

A residency provides an artist with the space and place she needs to create and be free and brilliant in that creation…affirming the legacy will continue.

The Rift Valley

DSC00916I wanted to see The Great Rift Valley, which I had hoped, despite the winter and the heavy blanket of fog that draped the environment as we departed Nairobi, would be visible.

As we drove further I was doubtful, but slowly the fog drifted, and we were there, seeing behind and below the fog. All along the way the people were draped in the colorful, now factory manufactured Massi blanket to keep warn. Inside the car, we had on socks and sweater, and I had a scarf wound around my neck.

The Rift Valley runs through Kenya from north to south, and is part of inter-continental ridge system. Famous for the Cherangani Hills and a chain, of still active volcanoes, it is a must see sight.

We stopped and I held my breath. The escarpment was slightly visible, but the ground was too wet with dew and fog still hovered, however slightly to really see, plus we were too high up.

From there we drove to Lake Naivasha and went for a one-hour boat ride, where we paused and watched families of hippo raise their heads, a splendid array of birds, and the beauty and tranquility of this historic site. Also, visited the island on which Out of Africa was filmed.

Before returning to Nairobi, we stopped in a little town and a very delicious and satisfying Kenyan lunch…great array of vegetables and a fish stew.

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Trees, My Ancestors/Sentinels

DSC00783This morning, as I sit on the patio of my host in Nairobi, I am semi-sheltered by majestic trees, directly in front of me and to my left. I feel so at home, so loved, so familiar.

No matter where I go, a tree is always close by, providing comfort and connection to the universe. I love trees and need to be in their midst.

DSC00789When I pause and reflect on all the great and ancient trees, all the trees whose branches provide shelter in the form of homes, furniture, firewood, and what our lives would be like without them, I am rendered silent, grateful.

DSC00784In spiritual language, a totem is a sort of a charm –its power to protect or affect any impact is really based on belief. I regard trees as my ancestors/guards that are always

present to shelter and soothe me from any or all of life’s challenges.

DSC00786More importantly, trees steady me, remind me that I am on solid ground regardless of where I am, even in a foreign land, where I neither speak the language, nor know the intricacies of the culture. Yet I belong.

I belong. I have roots. I am sheltered. I will not be moved from doing what is my divine plan.

The Nairobi National Museum

DSC05468 DSC05515Yesterday I went to the Nairobi National Museum, and it was jam packed with school children, K-12, and they were loud with excitement, but polite and their faces were clean with hope and promise, clad in bright uniforms in various colors of purple, red, yellow, green, blue and white; it was a joy to squeeze between and among them, and to see Africa’s future.

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It is an extensive museum, with a snake park, a gallery of modern local art, and it takes about 3 hours if you want to get all the information it contains.  A very large section of the animal life, the history, culture and music.  A must visit whenever you are in Nairobi.

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From there went to the Village Mall, behind which is the Massi Market, with its incredible array of art in so many forms, so much talent, so much desire, so much restraint, so much questions about who owns what and whom, and who can afford what, and why are these people so evidently prolific, creative and master crafts persons and artists, with so little material means, and many lack basic, domestic necessities that I and so many others take for granted. DSC05518DSC05524

Accept all Gifts

This morning as I sat on my host’s patio in Nairobi, facing the tree that frames and shelter the spot where I sit to meditate, I was lost for a moment –not really disoriented, but thinking to myself I am here but could very well be there or there, meaning Jamaica or St Croix or any island or any country in Africa or even elsewhere…DSC00431

It is all so familiar, so the same and yet so distinctly different, and I have the wonderful fortune to experience it because I decided to accept the gift that came in the form of an invitation. I said thanks even though when saying so I wasn’t sure where the money would come from to make it possible.  I said thank you and so it is and will be.

There was a time I didn’t always accept gifts without some kind of protest or  false humility, which sounded like, “You really didn’t need to…” What was that all about? False manners taught and accepted without question.  What an insult!  I now apologize to all whom I made such remarks.

Thank you is the only response even when the gift is not something you need or like.

Thank you.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness.  Thank you for caring.  Thanks you for taking the effort.

Thank you.  Period.

All gifts are about both the giver and you the receiver, and it sets an abundance flow into the universe that benefits all.

So accept the gift and travel from St Croix to Ethiopia, then push further east to Kenya and on the way you wiDSC00519ll be gifted familiar flowers and lovely little girls whose sharing stamps laughter on your heart.

Travel is a Must!

IMG_1538I was born to travel and I have never considered it a luxury, rather an essential part of my life. At the end of my first trip to Ethiopia, the beginning of all beginnings, the birth-place of all life, the importance of travel is once again confirmed.

I suspect Ethiopia is no different from the rest of Africa, or even other places in the world in terms of modernity and antiquity and where they meet, collide and separate.

I was thrilled to go to The Blue Nile in Bahir Dar, with its lush greenness, and its people who exist in a world far removed from Addis Ababa.

Of course, this being the rainy season, the water was gushing to overflow, 75% of which is being redirected towards the dam. My guide, a college student, studying Business Management, working this summer to secure his tuition, explained that the Blue Nile was so named by the European who camDSC00404e during the summer when the water fall appears Blue, similar to the White Nile in the Sudan, but this being the rainy, winter season in Ethiopia, the water is muddy as it overflows the banks.

So much to see, to understand, to learn, to measure out, and certainly not enough time to absorb or discover it all. But it was a happy note to end my six day Ethiopian whirlwind trip at the University of Addis Ababa, the former palace of Haile Selassie, and to stand in front of his bed.DSC00710

My goal is to visit all the countries in Africa, so having only visited seven, I have a long way to go, forty-seven.

I often wonder about those people who claim they have travelled around the world, and have only visited one or two countries in each continent – which world have they seen.

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surrender

surrender to love

surrender to joy

surrender to the dayDSC00249

surrender to the questions & challenges

surrender to the

answers & solutions

surrender

surrender

surrender

quiet the noise

now listen with new ear

for the wondrous truth

listen for the roots sprouting

within your belly

listen for the singing of the birds

within your bosom

listen for what is yours to do

listen

listen

listen

you are being called

to be present

to the unfolding

of your life

as it aligns

with the moon and the planetsDSC00256

 

All You Need Is You

IMG_3710In case you didn’t know

–well actually you do

although you try to forget that you know–

you are the only one who is

going to lead you out of the desert

crawling on your belly

to find water stored in the cacti

or buried under the hot sand

that you will have to get at

by digging and clawing

with your fingers

Truth is

most of us

want to be rescued

we’ve been damaged

by the same glass slippers story

with a fairy godmother

waving a magic wand

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Bt we forget

we are our own very capable

godmother

and the magic wand

is our minds’ ability

to leave the quagmire

behind and shove our heads

into the sunlight and bask

in the cool breeze

We don’t need any glass slippers

as they will only brake and bleed our feet

and we have too many places to go

and are far too sensible to wear such

impractical shoes

plus we know our charming prince

is really just a metaphor

for our keen ability to make

decisions that benefit us

while not harming others

so truly

it is what you have always

known

all you need most of the time

is you knowing you have

no intension of perishing

in the desert or elsewhere

as you are the tale

and the unraveler

of the plot

A Little Goes A long Way

Small steps

eventually lead to the topIMG_3571

while if you wait until

you can take one giant step

you might pull a muscle

rip your pants

or slip and fall

Do not loose sight

of your dream

be mindful

life seldom

happens in one giant leap

like anything else such as

building  a house

you must lay the foundation

before you can erect walls

because you are wise

you know a little

goes a  long way

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so daily take a step

towards the legacy

you intend to leave…