Last Call: Closing the Shop, February 1.

This is one of my 6 a.m. posts. Meaning, I have been awake since The Witching Hour (that’s 4:20 a.m. for me; I have no idea why I wake up at that time when I am integrated the big stuff) and need to write in order make meaning of my present life in transition.

I recently attended a gathering of people in a community I have socially inhabited for over 20 years. For three hours we shared our individual dreams and visions for next steps in a terribly dysfunctional U.S of A. OpeyemiRitual

I call myself a healing artist and and artist, healing. Back in 2007–when I woke up to the fact that I could not in any way support allopathic medicine “from the inside” any longer– I shifted to the social service end of the conventional medical model.

And over the past seven years,  I have learned and experienced that it is WAY WORSE than the MD part.

A statistic shared at a presentation on women and economic justice by the Vermont Commissioner on women simply floored me.

How much does the average woman in the health professions/ social services earn?

About $60,000 a year.

And how much does the average man in the health professions/ social services earn?

$488,000 a year.

We AmeriKKKan women, equal rights amendment-less as we are, expect a gender gap. But that one is truly astonishing. In fact, it is obscene. The only way that I can make sense of it is to conclude that my country continues to rape and pillage the souls of women. We are raised and conditioned to caretake others way beyond our emotional, physical, and fiscal  capacities. And my country continues to reward men who rape and pillage the system; men who move contentedly through their lives as robber barons and privateers.

Yes. Robber barons and PIRATES.

The evolution (devolution?) of managed care and of “for profit” medicine over the course of my career has been ethically unbearable to watch. 

Total Truth: no nation anywhere else in the developed world has a health care system as broken as ours.

And everything that is factually true for women with respect to AmeriKKKa, health, wealth and privilege is exponentially worse for Black women.

So my creatively maladjusted response to sharing the tools of my very expensive and complex medical education has been to improvise…

I inventoried the strengths from  my conventional training (medical diagosis, anatomy, understanding of HOW and why conventional treatmemts work or don’t work). I inventoried the weaknesses (little in conventional training regarding sexuality, sensuality or spirituality as tools for healing) and got supplemental training/life experiences.

As a result, I have presence in the world as a healer and as an artist in these places:

www ceremonyheals.com

“The Doctor Speaks” channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8VPUZFLSArsXTfzLG52XAg?view_as=subscriber

Temple of the Healthy Spirit on FB:

https://www.facebook.com/Temple-of-the-Healthy-Spirit-254916400027/

Channeling The Muse (1 hour radio podcasts, available at www.archive.org)

Dr. O’s Wellness show 15 minute podcasts  (which I hope to make available through archive.org as well, since it is an open source public library)

And last, my patreon site.  No link to that one… but to a “Go Fund Me” page, instead:

Patreon an idea with a pretty straightforward model, but the stats say it simply does not work.

I continue to be hopeful that I can swim into a NEW PARADIGM on “income”/wealth/and my actual “social security, as I explore new ways to exchange money for services rendered/ gifts exchanged/ideas shared, with gratitude.

So you are my last hope. Whoever you are. If you are reading this, you are in my sphere of influence and can help me in the next two weeks either meet the dastardly new goals for monetization on these creepy consumer surveillance social media hotspots:

” under new requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Opeyemi Parham, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days”

Or, not.

I intend to focus on my Temple of the Healthy Spirit Facebook site and my “The Doctor Speaks” YouTube channel.

If you can click on these links, and start the video:

THIS ONE, from Opeyemi Parham Channel:
Aboriginal prayer:

It’s easy… it’s short… Please link others to this, as well!
And, this one, from The Doctor Speaks Channel:
Love your BREASTS
I believe it will raise my number of “hits”; whether or not you listen to what you find there!
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Loving BLACKNESS Kwanzaa Day 4 UJAMAA 

Which translates Cooperative economics. With the current Awakening in this country to the #metoo movement and its reverberations I have to begin with the experience of black women.

This morning, I woke up and listened to this 15 minute story on the relationship between harassment of women by men in power and the consequences to the women’s careers and earning capacity:

 Listen to: Where Does The #MeToo Movement Go From Here? – http://one.npr.org/i/571199923:571371416

And, it was clear from this  conversation that the world is much much worse when the women are any color other than white and the men are white and privileged. That should be nothing new. Just a point of emphasis, on this day dedicated to looking at Cooperative economics. Black women remaining. “Da mules of da world” ( Zora Neale Hurston)

Then, I went for more in-depth information on John Hockenberry, someone who’s NPR radio program I have admired. Another Fallen Idol:

The man in the photo above not only harassed 3 black female co-hosts incessantly but had the chutzpah to say to Farai Chideya,

 “You shouldn’t stay here just as a ‘diversity hire, … And you should go lose weight.'”… “That a white man, albeit a disabled one, ended up being alone at the top of the diversity show was definitely ironic, but for some of the women at the ‘The Takeaway,’ it was more than that. The message, according to Kristen Meinzer, a culture producer for eight years, was: ‘If you speak up, you’ll disappear.’ ”

https://journalisms.theroot.com/themtoo-black-women-break-their-silence-in-media-1821163416

Wow, this is bad. And this guy was
perpetuating his salacious bullying from a WHEELCHAIR.
 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/04/business/media/john-hockenberry-sexual-harassment.html

Which certainly tells me how deep white supremacy goes.

Last night at my Kwanzaa West, a black man commented on the economic system and the time a dollar spends in the black community. That factoid on the 6 hours turnaround for $$$ in Black community carries a LOT of baggage:
2015/12/does-a-dollar-spent-in-the-black-community-really-stay-there-for-only-six-hours/

But there is something to the idea of African Americans having survived slavery, survived our own pogroms with the destruction of Black Wall Street, never seeming to be able to have this country treat us as the entrepreneurs and capitalists of that elusive AmeriKKKan Dream.

With that being a lot to think about on one day each year, I dream of a Cooperative economic model that has women out first. It comes out of the third world with micro financing, noting that when women are given money it goes to Community Development (not always the case when men receive loans). Not being a fan of capitalism in the first place, this entire conversation is challenging for me.

But it can be easy to forget that sexual harassment is a form of illegal workplace discrimination. The law against it is intended to allow women to do their jobs and pursue their professional goals with the same freedom as men.

Women of all colors other than white have been deeply hobbled in trying to move forward professionally. White women less so,  but everyone is speaking up. 

Finally.

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LOVING BLACKNESS 2 through 8: Kwanzaa

How to share my story, of my complex and rich relationship with this holiday?

I will get there, in early January, when I focus on “How I Stayed Alive, While My KKKountry Was Trying To KKKill Me” creative work.

For now, Kwanzaa, a day at a time:

UMOJA:

Umoja-UNITY
I have never felt further away from this concept as an AmeriKKKan.
So, I will use my creative maladjustment skills, go beyond that identity, and see myself as a human.
On the human sphere, I can embrace “peace on Earth Goodwill towards all sentient beings” and actually believe there is a possibility of us getting there…
US humans.
Not necessarily the U.S. of these UNTIED United States.

As a human who believes in intention experiments, prayer, and creative visualization, it is good to remember what I am focused on.

For me, self love came in it’s deepest forms when Io with FRO

1. put my hair into a big afro, in the 7th grade

2. belly danced in front of a group of about 40 folks at a DNE middle, for my 40th birthday/celebration

NOT ME, but ain't she gorgeous? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQOg6x10ETg

NOT ME, but ain’t she gorgeous?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQOg6x10ETg

3. tattooed my belly, at ages 50, and 55:

It was all about the physical. That has been my biggest work; to feel– as a woman, as a BLACK woman, that I love myself looking exactly the way that I am. Towards that end, I have pared down my own ego issues, and addictions, and insecurities, and now only do 2 of the 28 things women tend to do to ourselves, to “look good” (from shaving various parts to Brazilian waxes…)** So was astonished to become aware that each of those three events held an immediate level of “othering” trauma, that only today have I linked to corrosive stories in my head (STORIES SHOUT IN MY HEAD (THERFORE THE CAPITALS AS I WRITE THEM):

I tattooed my belly, the outline at age 50 and the colors filled in, at age 55 AND THE MORNING I TRAVELED DOWN ROUTE 91 FOR THE TATTOO A RED FOX WENT BOUNDING ACROSS THE HIGHWAY IN FRONT OF ME AND–AT THE OPPOSITE LANES– RAN SMACK INTO A BIG TRUCK, INSTANTLY DEAD…

WOW. “No more camouflage” was the message that I heard, there!

I belly danced in front of a group of about 40 folks at a DNE middle, for my 40th birthday celebration AND A WOMAN CAME UP TO ME IN THE CHANGING AREA, CONGRATULATING ME WITH GREAT EARNESTNESS ON MY BRAVERY TO DANCE WITH “A BELLY LIKE THAT”

OUCH. “I am still living in an intensely ‘look-ist’ culture, that will continue to humiliate me, and attempt to intimidate me”

And, the Big One.

I put my hair into an afro in the 7th grade grade AND MY FATHER DIDN’T SPEAK TO ME FOR A WEEK AND THEN MY MOTHER TOOK ME TO A BEAUTY SALON TO TRY AND “TAME” IT, AND I IMMEDIATELY WENT HOME AND DEFIANTLY WASHED MY HAIR BACK INTO A (SHORTER NOW) KINKY NAPPY AFRO, LEAVING MY FOREVER SCARRED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT NEITHER MY FATHER OR MY MOTHER LOVED ME IN MY NATURAL PHYSICAL STATE.

Which leaves me with the freedom of breaking through these old internalized oppressive stories…

And commits me more strongly to breaking such legacies, and freeing my mind and heart.

Because Nappy Kitchens is here to stay. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQuJv1s79PA

Ashe!

**scary thing is, that number 28  is based on Andrea Dworkin’s Woman Hating, and over 30 years ago… I think we are worse, now: http://www.feministes-radicales.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Andrea-DWORKIN-Woman-Hating-A-Radical-Look-at-Sexuality-1974.pdf

Posted in Loving Blackness, One billion Rising, Phoenix Rising, Temple of the Healthy Spirit | 1 Comment

Pouring GASOLINE, on Existing Fires

What’s the next “holiday of lights” during the Hollow Days, here in AmeriKKKa?

Hanukkah. And this year, I find myself without any Jewish girlfriends to celebrate with.

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTISIT UNKOWN

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTIST UNKNOWN

This doesn’t surprise me, given the fallout from the Trumpacolypse. Some of the issues are complex, like the Islamic women who don’t want to have me support them in solidarity by wearing hajib– a practice they see as patriarchal.

My ethnically Jewish women aren’t so into a holiday that seems to have gotten blown up to sub in for being non-Christian at Christmas, in this hardly secular white supremacist nation. And the effort it takes to grate all those potatoes for the latkes, oy veh!

 

Women, as usual, in the kitchen. Jewish this time.

Now The Trumpocalypse has decided to “Mussolini it”

and announce moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men? I don’t think so.

So my personal prescription for maintaining sanity involves much creative maladjustment, and imagination.

First, imagine, that the lyrics to “Light One Candle” are words of power, and that we are actually heeding the lyrics:

“Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks their light didn’t die;
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied;
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand;
And light one candle for the wisdom to know
That the peacemaker’s time is at hand!

Chorus:
Don’t let the light go out,
It’s lasted for so many years!
Don’t let the light go out!
Let it shine through our love and our tears!

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe;
Light one candle for those who are suff’ring
A pain they learned so long ago;
Light one candle for all we believe in,
That anger not tear us apart;
And light one candle to bind us together
With peace as the song in our heart!

[Chorus:]

What is the memory that’s valued so highly
That we keep it alive in that flame?
What’s the commitment to those who have died?
We cry out “they’ve not died in vain,”
We have come this far, always believing
That justice will somehow prevail;
This is the burden, This is the promise,
This is why we will not fail!

[Chorus:]

Don’t let the light go out!
Don’t let the light go out!
Don’t let the light go out!”

And this year, as the Season of Lights of meaning to Jews approaches, I have a novel idea. Watch this excellent production of a dramatization of Anita Diamant’s book “The Red Tent”:

Because this movie and the novel that it is based on is about WOMEN’s relationships, under patriarchy. Starting way, way back. Based on one chapter in Genesis, from the old testament:

“Within Genesis 34 itself, they suggest two layers of narrative : an older account ascribing the killing of Shechem to Simeon and Levi alone, and a later addition (verses 27 to 29) involving all the sons of Jacob”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinah

And this movie covers all of the issues of Rape culture and Patriarchy, in a mini-series of 3 hours duration. Great fodder for conversation. Possibly, over your potato latkes…

I prefer sour cream...

I prefer sour cream…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever we are going, whatever gets us through this critical time (crisis as dangerous opportunity), Stay Awake.

They want us to divide, and it has been working to conquer us. Here’s to the work of INTERSECTIONALITY, everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Loving Blackness (#1)

Having a week of MUCH introspection, I was reading bell hooks, and really breathing into the quote below. She is processing an entire classroom of progressive college students Black and white alike “missing the boat” on an idea she was attempting to explore:

” I had witnessed a ritualistic demonstration (in her Yale classroom) of the impact white supremacy had on our collective psyches…the most frightening aspect of this was the extent to which (students) fascination with the topic of black self-hatred was so intense that it silenced any constructive discussion about LOVING BLACKNESS”

https://aboutabicycle.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/bell-hooks-black-looks-race-and-representation.pdf

Well I feel ripe for exploring how it feels to promote my love of Blackness, and my challenges at the ubiquity of white supremacy in this AmeriKKKan life. So I’ll just let the juices simply flow…

And, I am starting with The Lion King. Not sure how many people are aware of the fact that the Lion King Disney cartoon is based on HAMLET?

When I saw the Broadway production (at the largesse of my aunt who purchased tickets while we were in Los Angeles California), I was immediately transported back to my first experience of Disneyland at age 11. The Lion King was The Tiki Room, all over again!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/…/Walt_Disney%27s_Enchanted_Tiki…

Oops. Clarification. Not QUITE Tiki Room. Cultural appropriation of South African Traditions not Polynesian!

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVED The Tiki Room. It was the most magical experience that I had at age eleven. So this entire blog began with me reminiscing about times when I saw “other than AmeriKKKan white” in ways that felt sparkly, and powerful.

Below are two songs that speak to Spirit, courage, and strength in difficult and challenging times (for political correctness, change pronouns in the first song to WTF you want: “she”/”it”/”they” or “none of the above”)!

https://youtu.be/eNy6IC85iuA

And before you ask me, yes, it bothers me that this song in all it’s power must be placed in the character of a witch doctor BABOON. But, hey, I am starting with what this country gives me…

https://youtu.be/zVw3jDhWF8E

The lyrics, translated
https://youtu.be/hnBvGjnIgkQ

Does the melody remind you of any OTHER “cultural appropriation DEFINITELY an issue” song, running through your childhood memories?

Maybe this version:
https://youtu.be/4jeooKgTPxk

Or, this one?
https://youtu.be/GxwoxWOd_dc

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_Sleeps_Tonight

Things that make you go, “HMMMMM”…

For those who love dance and movement:
https://youtu.be/tc97XZLPAaA

This is my contribution to the season of love and light; a reminder that Blackness is not the opposite of light. And, that themes that are AFRICAN have fed this AmeriKKKan culture since (before) it’s inception.

Happy HOLLOW Days, to everyone; may you find your own creatively maladjusted ways to enrich this (increasingly shallow? consumer-driven!) experience!   black_nativity_set_lJ4050

Obama Hanukkah 2011

 

blackwomanstressed_zpsd351af61

kwanzaa

Soltice

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A Pre-Thanksgiving Inventory

What am I thankful for?

1. The gift of an education, and a life of enough privilege that I can prioritize ACTIVE DECOLONIZATION of my own mind and heart.

2. Enough emotional/spiritual stability that–even though I have bumped and bounced  from professional class to working class to actual poverty– I have only been moved to suicidality twice in the last 12-years. I do not mean to be flippant, but I do have a difficult time understanding how most AmeriKKKans aren’t in more despair than we actually are, day-to-day.

3. The courage I have cultivated, nourished by solid friendships and connections, that allows me to continue to speak my truth through my own vulnerabilities; swhether other people like what I say or not. 

4. Recognizing that resiliency, while certainly a good tool,  is over-rated for me–an African-American women.  I am thankful that I am learning to lean into my vulnerabilities and away from the amount of positive re-enforcement I will get for continuing to “suck it up”. Whatever “it” happens to be.

5. Knowing–deep in my bones, even deeper into cellular memory– that I am NOT AN ANGRY BLACK WOMAN. I am a full fleshed, AWAKE HUMAN BEING looking the question  “what do I look like when I am well?” square in the eye. And because “what I look like when I am well” is the opposite of what the country I have been raised in is expecting (manipulating?) me into feeling/ believing/desiring I find myself making other people uncomfortable. That is what “being counterculture” means.  

WTF, right?

6. I am thankful that The Trumpocalypse has lead me not only into a deepening exploration of the many feelings I have, but has allowed me to participate in ongoing dialogue with many kinds of people  (e.g. white people/ e.g. men). “When they go low”, responding with fragility or misogynistic defenses, “I go high”, and have an entire toolbox of creatively maladjusted ways to respond that keep the connections going. 

7. I am thankful that my psyche is currently able to hold a rudder through the chaos of being INSIDE an unravelling nation state: “The UN-TIED States of AmeriKKKa”

8. I am thankful that I have lived to see women around the world begin RISE UP, and to move the conversation beyond religion, ethnicity, race, nation-state, to gender issues.

Having inventoried all these things to be thankful for, I will be spending tomorrow at the Day of Mourning organized by the United American Indians of New England (www.uaine.org)

It has been happening for 48 years. 

This is the first year that I will be participating.

So here we are, folks. 

Thanksgiving has become a Hollow Day that I simply cannot stomach. Not even for thst trukey dinner. I appreciate that most AmeriKKKans have beautiful family gatherings/traditions at this time of the year. I confess that my own family Thanksgiving traditions have been deeply dysfunctional my entire life. They veered off into oblivion when my mother (the turkey baster in the kitchen all morning before the football games started) died 30 years ago, and simply never came together again for myself, my father, my brothers, my own children (when they came along)… Consequently, I am not sacrificing a wonderful experience in community for a separate political agenda. And, I am not asking others to give up their good parts of this holiday.

I am content that my blood relations seem to have “diaspora-ed” into many directions, and have a happy and connected experience of this time of year.
Please do not cast me in the role of Scrooge, as we roll into the high Hollow days of ultimate AmeriKKKan KKKonsumerism. I end with a most ultimately ironic “thankful”:

I am most thankful that I, an African-American slave descent woman, had progenitors who survived the horrors of The Middle Passage and came to AmeriKKKa. Because for all of my country’s  disgraces, I did not have my clitoris cut off of my female body, as an infant or as an 8 year old child.

As many West African ethnic groups were still doing, in 1957 when I was born. 

And, are still doing today.

May your personal inventory of grace, beauty and power in your life leave you on the high side of it all.

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KNOW YOUR PLACE

Remember the words?

“put on your face…/KNOW YOUR PLACE…/shut up, and smile…/don’t spread your legs…”

We all embraced it, as an anthem for the Women’s Marches that happened all over the world, way back on January 20th as the Trumpocalypse became REAL. So real, one friend represented the entirety of it, with “the scream heard round the world”:

Last weekend, I put my pink pussy hat back on, and stood as a busker and sang the anthem. Not one person passing by met my eyes. No one smiled. Several hurried past. And the saddest part of this story to me, is that I was at “Women’s Week” at Provincetown. Point of clarification: I didn’t “just” sing that anthem, nor did I expect to make money as a busker singing… I simply wanted the connection with other women. A sort of “where ARE we?” check in. As people actually averted their eyes, I knew that I had my answer.

We are nine months into this nightmare, and the troops are sagging.

This averting of eyes thing happened to me once before in the last nine months. I had walked into an ecstatic dance event, in Ashland, Oregon (I was passing through, on my way to Sacremento, from Washington state); and I was flustered by that lack of eye contact. But as the dance went on, I filled in the blanks and had quite an epiphany. This community had just experienced a major jolt. There was an altar at the dance, honoring a mother in that community who had lost her son.

This was the event that led to his death:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/27/530351468/2-dead-1-injured-after-stabbing-in-portland-ore

A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole Saturday at a memorial for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore.

A heart-shaped wreath covered with positive messages hangs on a traffic light pole Saturday at a memorial for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Ore.

And, this is what his mother said, in response:

“Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, My dear baby boy passed on yesterday while protecting two young Muslim girls from a racist man on the train in Portland. He was a hero and will remain a hero on the other side of the veil. Shining bright star I love you forever.”

And I– being the only person in that room in Ashland of any color other than white– was a reminder of the tragedy. That is why no one looked at me. That is why people averted their eyes. Too painful, to make the connection. To risk that I might “look back, with ANGER”. Too scary, to be reminded, and to have to THINK about/ feel into that incident, and to wonder, “what would I have done, if I had been on that bus?”

I thought a lot about what I could have done.

Being Black and female myself, I start with the fact that I might have been the target. But if I wasn’t, and was simply a witness, going to sit next to the women and immediately begin a conversation (what I decided I would do, when the “safety pin pledge” happened) would just be pouring gasoline on that critical moment.

artwork by Pam Wagner

artwork by Pam Wagner

So, I would have screamed.

No, not actually scream… but used my voice in a big, BIG way. My favorite way to scream as a distraction, is to shout “BACK OFF!” and I learned it from watching my daughter as she took a model mugging workshop as a 14 year old: http://modelmugging.org/

Padded-Assailant-makes-a-rear-approach

Another effective use of my loud voice has been to sing. Except, something is happening to the morale of my sisters that is keeping us quiet.

Out West” (as I will refer to my time in the pacific Northwest, as I “blog” from “Back East” here in New England), I was a part of a Wyld Women’s Choir.

We conspired/inspired/respired (that would be breathing)/and aspired together, weekly. I learned to deepen my listening, to listen for harmonies, to make space for Spirit to “come by” and help me move from striving to thriving.

As I have been “back East” for just over a month, I have had my concerns (reasons that I left, in the first place) confirmed. The culture that I embrace in New England has a few standards that don’t work well for me. One is that it is better to be polite, than to be authentic. True dat. An acquaintance described the difference between The East and The South as “Easterners are open minded and closed hearted/ while Southerners are closed minded and open hearted” (stereotypes yes, but so much truth in there!)

I know my place. As AmeriKKKa removes the veils from our collective eyes and sees not only the white supremacy BUILT INTO our “democracy”:

And “me too” goes viral around social media sites…I recognize that my very presence is making white people uncomfortable. My work therefore becomes being a symbol and a reminder of how bad it actually IS…day to day…as a person with many identities under attack (black/female/integrationist with biracial offspring/bi-sexual/solo polyamorist/former genital mutilator turned intactivist/abortionist/pagan) to try to move as an authentic person and to make connections with others. So okay… I am NOT in the best environment for matching my temperament; but I have found ways to be resilient, to keep on moving forward, and to STAY LOUD. stay loud

I’ll continue to hone my skills at “leaning towards the lyrical” even though those around me experience that energetic loudness as migraine inducing.

How are YOU doing, these days?

taken from tWAT FB page (...the Women's Action Team in Vermont)

taken from tWAT FB page (…the Women’s Action Team in Vermont)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Healing Artist, and Artist, HEALING

gloria-steinemGloria Steinem, in “My Life on the Road” described herself as “an itinerant community organizer”. I thinking that is a great phrase that describes so much of what I have done since I left medical practice. But you might want to know more…

What do I DO, as a healing artist?

Some examples from the last six months are:

I attend protest marches as a sacred clown– loud and brash and creative– awake and aware of how to calm down crying children (always bring a bubble wand). I can respond with street medic tools, and calm down escalating situations with the power of my voice as a distraction.

I create circles of song, sharing stories of freedom and hope. I regularly take this tool to “Black Lives Matter” vigils and encourage the vigilantes (talk about RECLAIMING a word!) to deepen their presence with the task at hand by singing, and risking more connection with passers by.

I publish weekly a 15 minute wellness podcast, using principles from Mary Ellen Copeland’s WRAP program, and emphasizing my personal motto: “the best revenge is to LIVE WELL” (live-streamed at www.kavzradio.org at 9 p.m. Mondays and 1 p.m. Fridays EDT each week). Topics of recent podcasts include the red tent temple movement, breastfeeding, racism, tools for addressing fear and anxiety, and urinary incontinence (that’s right; something to really get “P.O”-ed about)!

In my “Tea with an M.D” role, I meet with individuals and, within a confidential container, support them through specific physical and mental health crises. Not needing to pause and negotiate payment options for the last category is critical to the evolution of my role as a new/ old style of healer. Everyone who needs help at this level of connecting is reduced to about the psychological age of 6. We wouldn’t ask a 6 year old what insurance they have, and whether they can set up a payment plan. But neither do we have a system where healers move from village to village, with a welcome, a place to stay, and a meal offered in a gift economy model.

And, what do I do, as an Artist, healing?   chakra_healing_print_cropped

I sing, I dance, I create visual art,  I write poetry and prose: reclaiming the fact that we are all born with these talents, but seem to lose connection to them, here in AmeriKKKa.

I model living without clear knowledge of what my finances are like each month. I participate in Underearner’s Anonymous

http://underearnersanonymous.org/

(because the stereotype of “starving artist” sits deep in my AmeriKKKan-born psyche). I cultivate my skill as a storyteller (5 public presentations while I was exploring a new life in the Pacific Northwest, one set for “back East” this coming Friday night –10/6 see https://www.facebook.com/events/175263423048520/?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22dashboard%22%2C%22mechanism%22%3A%22calendar_tab_event%22%2C%22extra_data%22%3A%22%7B%5C%22dashboard_filter%5C%22%3A%5C%22upcoming%5C%22%7D%22%7D]%2C%22ref%22%3A2%2C%22source%22%3A2%7D). I commit to buskering, at Brattleboro’s monthly gallery walk, at Provincetown for two weekends this Fall, and wherever opportunities arise.

And most relevant to the present moment, I am writing my memoirs: “How I Stayed ALIVE, While My Country Was Trying To Kill Me” with an intention of having edited and publication-ready copy by spring. I am currently on schedule, as I complete Chapter Three.

I seek 120 units, at $20 a unit, of support for my work in the world. The timeline? Now, through December 2017 so a three month commitment.

And, then we will see what the New Year brings!

www.patreon.com/DoctorO

Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Temple of the Healthy Spirit | Leave a comment

“I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks”.

Every once and a while, there’s a perfect moment to dig down deep and expose a splinter. My language uses medical metaphors, because I am a MAD doctor…

And a “little bit crazy” due to my ongoing dance with a schizophrenogenic culture (go look it up).

splinter... fireworks... you all get the image?

splinter… fireworks… you all get the image?

 

 

The founder of Burning Man  is the man quoted on that title line of this piece.

A new level of "Don't know Nuthin' 'bout No Black people"

A new level of “Don’t know Nuthin’ ’bout No Black people”

This is what wikopedia has to say, about Burning man:

Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by 10 main principles: “radical” inclusion, self-reliance, and self-expression, as well as community cooperation, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy, and leaving no trace.”   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Man

I have been, once. my brother goes every year. We are both Black. Burning man

The Guardian article (from which I took the quote from Harvey) goes on this way:

“According to the most recent Black Rock city census, compiled yearly by a team of academic demographers and anthropologists to determine the makeup of the festival:

87% of burners identified as white; 6% identified as Hispanic, 6% as Asian, and 2% as Native Americans (figures rounded)

– on the latter of whose ancestral lands the event occurs. The smallest demographic of burners – 1.3% – identified as black.

 

Why might so few Black folks make it out to Black Rock? Well, Mr. Harvey, let me speak for myself.

I love camping. But Burning Man isn’t about “camping”.

I attended my one and only Burning Man when it was about 10,000 people in a desert environment. I followed all the directions on how to attend and have a good time. I portaged in enough water. I had a great tent, and good camping support, in the partner I had traveled with. I brought no money; I was excited about the idea of barter, and brought an “alternative to cash option’ that was perfect for the desert.

Tootsie rolls.tootsie_roll_small

They didn’t melt, but they were chocolate. And, I figured ahead of time that I had a good idea, because already traveled in communities of Wyld and Edgy Bohemian-Sourcing Alternative Minded Cultural Edge-walkers, and chocolate is always a treasure!

My partner got dehydrated and overheated within the first few hours of our arrival. Being the very selfish human that I was back then, i chose to wander the festival alone, rather than nurse him in our tent and lose out on the first night of our (only registered for the weekend) 3 days of fun. never had I seen such free and varied expression of ART. “Capital “A” kind, and small “a” kind. I have always had a great interest in cultural anthropology, and this was a fascinating community.

But, Who were The Burners?

1. Essentially, they were young. They were wanderers into a desert environment, and were playing at the edges of something…spiritual? art? “More Would Be Revealed…”

2. They loved fire, and were using the element as a huge metaphor for personal empowerment, and transformation.

3. Their form of “free expression” (back in the 10,000 people attending days) included a HUGE amount of cussing/cursing/”fuck you!” speak. On the local radio stations. In face to face communication.

4. Their form of free expression in their bodies was all about BDSM piercings/cuttings/ and pain.

5. And, they were overwhelmingly WHITE. And from privilege. I’ll define privilege with a world perspective, meaning, “had a roof over their heads/went home to a refrigerator to put their food in/and a closet for their clothes”**

I SAW them.

But, I don’t believe that THEY saw me back then. I have always been a Black person hanging out with a lot of crazy (like me) white folks. No biggie. Just means that I have learned to pay attention and to notice things.

Like the fact that– before the “Big Burn” there were white guys driving around drinking cans of beers and getting pretty reckless in their cars. And that– as The Big Ritual– got closer– an entire community of religious/ spiritual people were holding SPACE for the ceremony. Really. kind of clumped up together, hari krishnas, and rabbis and monks.

The Big Burn Was very peaceful that year.

THAT year. Unlike this year

May he rest in self-immolated peace

May he rest in self-immolated peace

But when I wandered The Playa– expanded into an open heart by MY particular magic medicines (NOT alcohol), I moved as far away from the center of action as possible, when the band playing around the collapsed fire after The Big Burn broke into “Dixie”:

Something that makes a Black woman like me– who LOVES camping– go “Hmmmm…

For Your Information (since we are all about the “teaching moments, right?), here’s what a neutral source (wikopedia) has to say about “Dixie”

“The song presented the point of view, common to minstrelsy at the time, that slavery was overall a positive institution…”Dixie” made the case, more strongly than any previous minstrel tune had, that slaves belonged in bondage. This was accomplished through the song’s protagonist, who, in comic black dialect, implies that despite his freedom, he is homesick for the plantation of his birth” (bolding mine)

Don’t know what “minstrelsy” is? Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit

Look. It. Up.

So my one and only experience of Burning Man was wonder-filled. And “artsy”. And full of free expression.

And, also a place where I needed to maintain vigilance regarding my welcome. Vigilance, as a Black woman in the space.

Vigilance, regarding who was around me and what they might do next (that year, one of the workshop was on “How to Make a Molotov Cocktail).

So, Larry, just for the record… I didn’t ever come back, primarily because your fucking festival got bigger and bigger, and more and more expensive, and more and more elitist (based on those 10 principles you SAID you believe in) AND has an “element of unexamined ‘freedom of expression’ ” that could tip– at any moment– into white mob/lynching/blood lust/dangerous to women and any minorities behavior, especially on Sunday after the Ceremony.

Burning Man– as a vision of “Utopian Society” at it’s essence– hasn’t got a CLUE how to actually build that vision across any lines…

And Burning Man is just an extreme example of a phenomenon that leaves me getting a little more crazy with each passing day of Life in AmeriKKKa.

Just like the Occupy Movement. Which seems to have ended with a whimper, just as it got the “aha” about this class/race thing.

And, my Rainbow Tribe. That found it’s way to LGBT tolerance/celebration ahead of establishing the BBC Camp (originated at the Green Mountain Vermont National– anyone know how it went in Oregon, this year?)

And,  like my pagan communities. Who seem to be getting the hang of it, finally.

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

The Earth Spirit community supports SANE free speech

And, like my ecstatic dance communities, who sit in the present moment at an apocalyptic opportunity. Where veils can be lifted from eyes that have chosen not to peer into the Dark Too Much.

All are counter-culture communities  originally “fueled” (translate funded) by wealthy whites of privilege. Mainly male. When women ARE involved, we are often putting in the labor, because we DON’T have the money, honey.

So Larry, some Blacks don’t like camping, I am sure. Your over $300,00/year attendees don’t like camping– they bring all the amenities of The Urban Silicon Valley Life with them. But they aren’t risking a Bad Scene due to “free expression” clashing with racial awareness; FUCK TOLERANCE– we are just talking common sense, and self awareness.

Speaking my truth to power, as someone who will never again go to Burning Man. And, on behalf of a brother I want to be safe AND WELCOMED at future events.

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

Me and my bro, at the New York fairy Festival

 

** that simple question, asked in the Awaken the Dreamer social consciousness raising program, makes the AmeriKKKan who answers aware that they are beating out 87% of the world’s population, with that answer.

Posted in Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Race Relations Commitment, Thirteeth Fairy Stories | 2 Comments

Taking it to The Next Level?

I call you all “Opeyemi’s Avengers” because they say that the best revenge is to live well…I am cultivating a community of 120 “units” that I can safely midwife through current and future crises as the global heart awakens, and We All Fall Down (Through?)

6 min intro, below.

http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-z9ewb-7175f1
6 signed on,  of 120. That’s 5%…

And, sometimes I wonder if this whole idea is just sort of an fathomable..

But another way of looking at all of this is to review my various supports, already present:

–420 “likes” at my Facebook “Temple of the Healthy Spirit” page:

https://www.facebook.com/Temple-of-the-Healthy-Spirit-254916400027/
–44 subscribers to my “The Doctor Speaks” you tube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8VPUZFLSArsXTfzLG52XAg
And, 40 donors to my “Go Fund Me” campaigns, since the Trumpocalypse.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-me-writing-down-the-bones
I also travel in communities of kindred souls: Dance New England, Earthspirit, Quakers, U-U’s, the  Haydenville Congregational Church all back East, with bridges West through the Alternative Library, Echoes, Southfork Valley, and the KAVZ radio station in Whatcom County.

I hope I am gaining more clarity on how to communicate what I hope I am offering my communities:

Reciprocal beneficiary support.

 Exposure to each other’s lights and shadows, with greater authenticity.

Awakenings, with grace.

A growing tool box of Wellness practices.

I welcome feedback on how I can manage putting all of these  into one box other than my patreon site. I’m using it now (and my  PayPal account) to allow me to keep track of people easily; to be able to press one button for group messages that go to “my entire crew”

So here are the websites for donations and signing up (can be done with a contribution as little as $1) below:

www.patreoncom/DoctorO
www.ceremonyheals.com/services

Opeyemi’s Avengers arise!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As Houston Drowns

houston 2
Going Rogue…
But not at all certain that I actually got SOUND with this video…
Fear not; the action is enough…
And the poem under the description comes from my SpiritFire tribe on the East Coast: http://spiritfirefestival.org/
“to ALIGN my design
With the rhythm divine…
I dive into the Cosmic Serpent Mind
Where I rise from its depths,
From my roots,
Spread my wings,
And I open up my HEART…
And this FIREBIRD sings…”

REMEMBER TO BREATHE.

Things are getting pretty FREAKY out there. Second major U.S. city drowning… houston 2
Remember the good news: New York made it. Twice, now. 9/11 and Sandy.
Did that have ANYTHING to do with it being a predominately WHITE city still (unlike New Orleans and Houston)? I hope not.
I will remember that the “Occupy” movement had just had a Great Adventure with Organizing; and what they learned, they used: http://theweek.com/articles/470714/occupy-sandy-how-hurricane-sandy-resurrected-occupy-movement
What are the prayers for Houston, now?
Posted in Apocalypse Participaton, feral M.D. blogs | Leave a comment

About CHARLOTTESVILLE and Sororities

My daughter of the heart just posted the comment below from on Uju Anya on Facebook this a.m:

“Dear white people: COME GET YOUR COUSINS (emphasis mine). Seriously. Speak up and take a stand. This is not the time to claim individual responsibility, #notallwhitepeople, colorblindness, or whatever other lie that keeps you from feeling involved in this mess. Nazis, Klansmen, and other white supremacists are marching on a college campus and through the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. They’re not wearing hoods. They’re assaulting the few counter protesters that get close. Police is not stopping them. Armed militia are surrounding and protecting them. These white supremacists want to be seen and known, because their allies and sympathizers now hold the US presidency and major party leadership. If you are not actively and explicitly speaking, arguing, snatching wigs, and challenging your relatives, friends, social media followers on the topic of racism, inequality, white supremacy, hatred, and xenophobia, you are contributing to a culture that literally KILLS people. Stop hiding behind “respecting political differences and freedom of speech.” This is not just politics. You benefit every day from this shitty system. Now cash in some of that bonus and do some house cleaning.”12dyson-articleLarge

This issue of speaking up or staying silent hit me up close and personally three months ago in ways that are still reverberating through my life. I succumbed to terrorism, identifying eight facts about my life that make me a target for murder and mayhem here in AmeriKKKa under Trump.

My worldview with respect to race and white fragility, in a post Trump AmeriKKKa, led me to fish or cut bait…And, I let go  of membership in a women’s circle that had fed and nourished me for over 20 years. I divorced that most enduring support group this spring, just as I left to emigrate to Canada.

I was not the first woman to leave this group, over its  20-year history, nor was my leaving the most dramatic. But it was extremely painful. And, as I make meaning of it now, it had everything to do with my worldview clashing up against that of my sisters.

All of whom are white.

All of the language I use from this point on has to do with sororities. That is deliberate.

that would be ME, the BROWN one...

that would be ME, the BROWN one…

Urban dictionary definitions of “sorority” numbers 1 through 3:

1. “A group of girls who have come together because they look similar, and are now kind of friends.”

2. “A group of girls who pay to have friends.”

3. “A group of women who band together under a greek letter title. Often based in traditions, many sororities have rich histories. The girls call themselves sisters, and tend to have close friendships. Upon entering the sorority, each new member is assigned a “big sister” who will be her mentor and friend, ideally forever. As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty, partiers, nerds, prudes, or just average hard-workers.

By definition number one, I “never fit in”, with my women’s circle. I have always been the only black member of this group despite the ebb and flow of several other women joining and leaving. Since the Trumpocalypse of last Fall, I had come to realize that I could not tolerate the white women sharing from their hearts about the challenges of being in families where they were hearing racist comments from relatives. Just hearing their shares (understanding they did nothing and had no strategies for doing anything) left me traumatized. Yet for most of the winter, I had no words for my discomfort.

By definition number two, I was paying to have friends. Paying emotionally, that is. Biting my tongue and attempting to swallow indigestible pieces of the other women’s lives that gave me severe heartburn.

By definition number 3, I allowed myself to participate in a culture of emotional bullying.

GF 2

I shared here on my blog (in a fairly anonymous way) my response to words said in that sorority circle that challenged me deeply. The response to my use of those words was a furor of accusations of deep betrayal that shocked me at the time. But not any more. Under definition number three of a sorority, I had simply not understood the rules of the game:

“As in any group of women, sometimes the sisters are catty, bitchy, slutty…”

shhh... don't tell anyone.

shhh… don’t tell anyone.

For three months, I have wondered whether I was cutting off a vital source of solace and connection for a petty reason.

With this weekend ‘s events in Charlottesville, I know deep in my heart that I Did The Right Thing. The Right Thing for me, a black woman with many white friends, and biracial children, in a country  where the fires of white supremacy are threatening to burn us out.

I am a bohemian, bisexual,  pagan,  polyamorous, integrationist abortionst (those labels plus my black womanhood add up to my eight lethal identities).

Total Truth. With that much “oddness”, I am never going to fit into any formal group terribly well. At age 60 I am finding some peace in truly “grokking” that  fact.

I intend to continue to find resilience and meaning at the margins. And I embrace the ongoing work of decolonizing my mind. Alone. In small groups. And wherever humanly possible.

 


 

Posted in Thirteeth Fairy Stories | Leave a comment