When Wind and Water Get You: Surrender in the Face of the Storm

pedagogies-pic

All day yesterday I was in a panic.  Hurricane Irma was battering the islands in the eastern Caribbean, specifically Anguilla and St. Martin, islands on which every single person is literally my cousin.   And pictures were flooding my timeline.  Pictures of actual floods, buildings torn apart, trees uprooted, cars tossed around like playthings.  The cemetery where my grandparents and father are buried? I would have to dive to get there. The buildings on Rendezvous Bay where my family lives? Unrecognizable.  My family has not even been able to afford expensive hurricane insurance, has not even rebuilt from the last major hurricane in the area.   Why should all that slave trade rage stirred up of the coast of West Africa dispossess the descendants of the enslaved again and again.  Yesterday as I anxiously awaited news from relatives I felt betrayed by every hurricane ever, by wind and water.

But two weeks ago I was writing with a community of artists, poets, scholars and activists about what it means to surrender to wind and water.   And this poem that we created together was what I needed to revisit in order to remember that even in the most volatile circumstances wind and and water have got me.  They have got us.  Our society trains us to believe that the systems that we have created out of fear are eternal and they are not.  Capitalism has trained me to believe that man-made structures are what make my life possible.  This has never been true.  Join me in revisiting a poem we created with deep knowing and without knowing why and how it would be relevant right now.

 

When Wind and Water Love You

by the participants in the Briliance Remastered When Wind and Water Got You Intensive

 

“if wind and water got you that means wind and water got you. there is no little bit about their lashing love.”

-from Dub: Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs 

when wind and water love you

you have everything you need

when wind and water love you

there is no distance between you and the past

when wind and water love you

you can hear the ancestors teaching

when wind and water love you

there is no place they will not be with you

when wind and water love you

you are surrounded by love wherever you go

when wind and water love you

all your grandmothers are dancing

when wind and water love you

your doubts dissolve like tears

when wind and water love you

you don’t have to know your name (and you can)

when wind and water love you

it’s still okay to be afraid

when wind and water love you

you can trust that you are supported by the ancestors, always

when wind and water love you

you can trust yourself

when wind and water love you

coyote and wolf will trust the bones of their ancestors to you

when wind and water love you

turtles will trust their babies to you

when wind and water love you

you know the trees have your back

when wind and water love you

trees bend and are yet still beautiful

when wind and water love you

you feel so clear about your worth that you never have to compete with others again

when wind and water love you

you see the isolated ones and reach out

when wind and water love you

there is abundance. there is no hunger.

when wind and water love you

you will overthrow all oppressive paradigms

when wind and water love you

you will have visions of the formations of crystals

when wind and water love you

you will be invited into the iridescent cave

when wind and water love you

we sparkle like amythest

when wind and water love you

all is in motion, in storm formation

when wind and water love you

there is peace

when wind and water love you

you sleep in sacred sound

when wind and water love you

your daily life takes on the quality of ritual

when wind and water love you

everything thought to be lost, is found

when wind and water love you

you are in the crossing and carrying the crossings of your ancestors

when wind and water love you

you are always listening, always heard

when wind and water love you

the Elders and the unborn are singing together

when wind and water love you

your hands are made ready to catch the new world on her way

when wind and water love you

you will remember your childlike sense of wonder at this miraculous world

when wind and water love you

you are inspired to fearlessly share all your revolutionary dreams

when wind and water love you

you carry the adventure inside and every place is also home

when wind and water love you

everything they touch, touches you

when wind and water love you

the poem is everywhere

when wind and water love you

it is possible

when wind and water love you

you will always be at home

 

when wind and water got you

you can see from mountaintops and feel as deeply as the sea

when wind and water got you

knowing, magic and mystery are your guides

when wind and water got you

you don’t gotta do nothin else

when wind and water got you

you good, fam

Outlasting Everything: A Breathing Affirmation in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

pedagogies-picLast week during Brilliance Remastered‘s  When Wind and Water Got You Online Intensive, the seven of us who gathered and the nine of us who held the space had no idea what wind and water would do in the next few days.  As we closed the session and I packed to fly to Texas, I certainly didn’t know.   As we logged in from our various locations we noticed wind and rain communicating with us.  We noticed patterns from our past coming full circle.  We noticed the transformations we had dreamed of and worked for coming to fruition.  We noticed that we had new and deepened ways to describe where we had been and what had gotten us through.

Drawing on a poetic intergenerational map of Anguilla I made for the current issue of Ecotone, we created a sacred circle that allowed us to imagine a decolonial reclaiming of space, a space sacred enough that we could be in place without being entrapped in capitalist narratives, a circle wide enough to include named and unnamed ancestors, a circle deep enough to birth futures.

At the end of our time together we created a poem in honor of that which outlasts empires and lies.   We want to offer this closing poem to those whose lives are being most impacted by Hurricane Harvey (one of the names for what is happening).  We know that those most impacted are those people who we are accountable to, whose access to stability, shelter and safety is already undercut by the daily practices of the state.  We are dedicating this to ourselves and other survivors for whom each so-called natural disaster reveals the true costs of the ongoing social disaster that treats us as if we are expendable.   We are not expendable.  The indigenous, immigrant, queer, black, people of color, poor loved ones in Houston and other areas who are navigating this storm and the resulting floods are necessary.  We offer this as a mantra and a chant to honor the part of them and each of us that capitalism and doppler cannot see.  This is for the eternal in you. Outlasting everything.

 

Outlasting Everything

 

by the participants in Brilliance Remastered’s When Wind and Water Got You Intensive

 

“there was us. there was only us. meaning water and blood and bone and stone and sun and change and we remain. outlasting everything.”

-from “Map of Anguilla” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs (in Ecotone 23)

 

spirit.

outlasting everything.

ancestral brilliance.

outlasting everything.

intergenerational love.

outlasting everything.

revolutionary commitment.

outlasting everything.

determination.

outlasting everything.

iridescence.

outlasting everything.

healing.

outlasting everything.

resilience.

outlasting everything.

expansion.

outlasting everything.

blueprints of wind and water.

outlasting everything.

positivity.

outlasting everything.

breath.

outlasting everything.

heart.

outlasting everything.

community.

outlasting everything.

spirit.

outlasting everything.

 

To stay updated on Brilliance Remastered’s online and in person intensives join our email list

There Are Still Things We Know for Sure: Intergenerational Knowing from the Becoming Turquoise Participants

lordeLast month’s Becoming Turquoise intensive on intergenerational accountability was a necessary ceremony for those of us who gathered.  We danced with our generations, we listened beyond our fears, we gathered the traced of the connections we have, we traced the longing for the connections we don’t have and might not ever get.  We gathered together while in the midst of makeshift pilgrimages, at the end of major writing projects, after recommitting to our practices and with so much love.  And while we knew that many of the contemporary challenges we face at this time contain sinister echoes of oppressions our ancestors face, oppressions we don’t want to bequeath to younger generations, we could not have specifically guessed that Nazis and KKK members would openly harm people (so much like the 1979 Klan attack against peaceful economic and racial justice organizers in Greensboro) and that it would be explicitly condoned from the highest government offices.  And we sure as heck weren’t thinking that the president would be actively trying to instigate nuclear war on twitter.

At this time, we want to offer the wisdom we rooted down into then as a reminder, a healing salve and a resource in which to ground your necessary actions at this time.   I honor and affirm the knowing wisdom of the young black activists in Durham, NC who took removing a confederate statue into their own hands, and encourage you to contribute to the bail fund for those who have been arrested in relationship to taking down the statue and also in relation to showing up at court in solidarity with those activists.  You can donate here.

Also, sign up closes tomorrow for this summer’s last intensive When Wind and Water Got You: Place, Purpose, Past and Presence.  There are a couple of spots left.

Love always

Sista Docta Lex

 

i know

 

by the participants in the Becoming Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability intensive

 

ancestors are holding us always

i know

dancing is sacred

i know

my ancestors love to dance

i know

the sacred sounds reverberate

i know

the funk is lasting

i know

the cosmic dancefloor is LIT

i know

sunshine is healing

i know

clouds have lessons for me

i know

monsoon rain is my favorite rain

i know

the thunder is not the danger

i know

the oceans are calling

i know

the whales are finding us

i know

i am both saltwater and freshwater

i know

we can swim anywhere

i know

animals, plants, birds are our medicine

i know

all the stones are singing

i know

broken jaws heal

i know

purple light is healing

i know

what one of us heals for ourselves heals for all of us

i know

maplessness leads to treasure

i know

even haplessness leads to treasure

i know

private property has never made sense

i know

giving love to the babies is an answer

i know

it is safe to love unconditionally

i know

dirt water fire rock come down the mountain as they always have and always will

i know

Gwendolyn Brooks was right

i know

the third eye beams like a searchlight

i know

love is life-force (i better act like)

i know

i am an alchemist

i know

every move is guided

i know

turquoise is a gift

i know

turquoise stones, turquoise waters, turquoise sounds

i know

all of me is a gift

i know

giggling is magic and contagious

i know

time to be unabashed in our love and in our joy

i know

Accountable to You: A Cosmic Commitment Poem

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Yesterday was the first day of this month’s online intensive Becoming Turquoise: On Intergenerational Accountability.  We created an altar that transcends space and time, we reclaimed and renamed who we are and what and who has shaped/is shaping us.  We wrote, we laughed, we remembered.  We taught each other about our ancestors given and chosen.  We playfully called to the future.  We drew on the wisdom of generations of texts by women of color . We theorized the embodied and non-binary work of the word “her.”  We activated the oracle.  We looked in the mirror.   We learned new words and honored the power and pull of what we don’t know.   And together, we wrote this expansive poem about our accountability to give an account to you.   Enjoy.  Again it is best read aloud and even more divinely read together.

P.S. Don’t forget to send your questions and or sign up for tomorrow’s Q&A for Current and Future Grad Students!  You can get your questions answered even if you can’t log on tomorrow night.  Sign up here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/because-brillianceremastered-qa-for-current-and-future-grad-students-tickets-34931279397

 

accountable to you

 

by the participants in Becoming Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability

 

accountable to the oceans

accountable to the sea snails

accountable to horses

accountable to trees

 

accountable to night

accountable to moonlight

accountable to breathing

accountable to being

 

accountable to the moment

accountable to this moment

accountable to the bigger mysteries you will never fully understand

accountable to little mysteries

accountable to the land

 

accountable to Elders

accountable to truth-telling

accountable to the little people

accountable to ancient transformers

 

accountable to those who died in revolutionary struggle

accountable to the smiles of all the children

accountable to petals

accountable to rain

 

accountable to heartbeat

accountable to the places where turquoise happens

accountable to stewards of the land

accountable to the beauty and silence and wisdom of caves

 

accountable to dolphins

accountable to whales

accountable to coral

accountable to birds

 

accountable to chasms

accountable to wind

accountable to salt

and all other crystals

 

accountable to the not-yet-born who are waiting

accountable to dreams

accountable to you

that is all: last words from the beginning

tyson-mic-dropLast month’s cosmic online Brilliance Remastered Intensive “Begin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist” was on some Alpha and Omega intensity.  Yes.  Because of the Solstice.  Yes. Because it was during Octavia Butler’s birthday.  Yes. Because it invoked the recent afro-futurist issue of Obsidian. And also because we committed to be reborn and renewed.  We created a chorus of affirmations for each other out of our deepest and most nagging fears. And we emerged from the intensive with some clarity we want to share with you.   So we are offering our final poem to you.   Once again, it works best out-loud. It works even better out-loud with a group of people repeating the refrain.   But if it’s the middle of the week and you are already ready to drop the mic, this is the poem for you either way.

P.S. Sign up closes FRIDAY for next week’s online intensive “Become Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability” you can find out more or sign up here.

that is all

by the participants in Begin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist

“it meant that life was precious and could spill. it meant spirit was sticky and could stay.

and actually that was all i was trying to say.”

-from “Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Obsidian Vol 42 Speculating Futures

 

that is all

by the participants in Begin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist

 

let play move through you like prayer

that is all i was trying to say

all truth comes out in the cipher

that is all i was trying to say

we didn’t arrive here all greedy

that is all i was trying to say

we have three billion years of knowing in our bones

that is all i was trying to say

the function of all our organs is love

that is all i was trying to say

water your spirit regularly

that is all i was trying to say

trust your heart

that is all i was trying to say

you always get to keep yourself

that is all i was trying to say

redevelopment for whom?

that is all i was trying to say

home is where the homies are

that is all i was trying to say

the ancestors have instructions for revolutionary social change

that is all i was trying to say

love is the reason and the remedy

that is all i was trying to say

love wins

that is all i was trying to say

magic momentum movement manifestation

that is all i was trying to say

black feminism lives

that is all i was trying to say

black girls keep making art even when no one gets it

that is all i was trying to say

listen to sly and the family stone and all will be revealed

that is all i was trying to say

you already earned the stars

that is all i was trying to say

if you allowed your brilliance to shine it would power the world

that is all i was trying to say

Mama Octavia said “but there are other suns”

that is all i was trying to say

we can’t not deal with emotions in trying to make a revolution

that is all i was trying to say

there is so much more beneath the commodification

that is all i was trying to say

vanilla, sugar, rice and breathing are brown

that is all i was trying to say

poems and pyrex are both containers. fill them up. pass them around.

that is all i was trying to say

there is enough food and poetry for everyone

that is all i was trying to say

let prayer move through you like play

that is all i was trying to say

begin: a poem from the dark water of renewal

bigstockphoto_Reading_On_The_Beach_589631Last month I had the honor of facilitating the online intensive Begin: Seven Possible Futures for Black Feminist Artists and what do you know?  We were all being reborn.  Was it the demand of the Summer Solstice? Was it the moon in Cancer?  Was it Octavia Butler’s birthday?  Maybe it was all of that.   Or maybe that’s just the nature of showing up. We are all at the end of something important, and at the beginning of something that makes us vulnerable.  What a joy and a resource to support each other in that.  During the intensive, I revealed that I am at the beginning of a relationship to my creative practice that requires MUCH more trust.  I am at the end of series of patterns that have led to me to believe that I had to make everything happen by myself.   Some of us were at the ends and beginnings of relationships, new career paths, transformed relationships to community, embodiments of love.  What about you?

We know this Summer is transformative for you because you have reached the end of something that used to seem to work just fine and you are opening yourself up to something possible, based in your beliefs, that may also be challenging and scary.  So today, we offer the poem that we created to guide ourselves through our process.  And if you want to join us for this month’s online intensive:  Become Turquoise: On Intergenerational Accountability, there are still some spots left.  The intensive is July 24-25 3-6pm eastern.  Sign up here by Friday (July 21st).

Enjoy the poem.  It works best out loud.

Love,

Sista Docta Lex

 

“this is the dark water of renewal. offering only one message:  begin.”-

“Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist” by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Obsidian

 

begin

by the participants in Begin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist

 

prayers unlocked and loaded

begin

early morning everything

begin

shining alchemical desires

begin

connection to the earth, connection to the sun

begin

knowing happens in the dark

begin

black body radiance all love all directions

begin

harvesting goodness from the shadows

begin

harnessing ancestral magic

begin

unhesitant confident musings

begin

root work, root chakra, root vegetables

begin

reciprocal relationship with my creative self

begin

purple crown energy clearing

begin

love as lifeforce simply sustained

begin

green heart chakra lights

begin

peacefully profound precise presence

begin

quenching confidence. radiant being

begin

being breathing becoming

begin

Big News from Brilliance Remastered: Summer Offerings and All the Questions You Never Asked

Dear Bright Thunder,

I think we all learned a lot over the past few months.  We couldn’t help it.  Or maybe we made a commitment to be deeply transformed.  Or maybe both.  Brilliance Remastered is in transformation too.  First of all, starting this summer Brilliance Remastered will no longer be offering one-on-one coaching or office hours and I will be working on a resource guide (book and ebook) packed with customizable guidance for your revolutionary intellectual transformative life! So now is the time to ask every question you always wanted to ask.  Sign up for a collective Q&A session below!   Secondly, Brilliance Remastered is continuing to host transformative online intensives as part of our Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Transformational Summer School! These are small sessions (always less than 10 participants) so sign up ASAP.

All the Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask (But You and Alexis Were Too Busy to Ever Have Tea)

Alexis Gumbs I’ve noticed that y’all keep asking me the same questions at social encounters. And I love each and every one of you and your specific brilliant lives (that are shaped by the same systemic patterns), but as an evolutionary being and a Gemini I don’t really want to have the same conversation over and over again. So while we work on Brilliance Remastered: The Get Yo Life Guide (not the real title of the very real forthcoming book) over here, I am offering some recorded Brilliance Remastered Q & A Wednesdays Sessions so we can transition together and have so much more fun when I see you this (eternal) summer!  These special webinars  will consist completely of answers to the questions closest to your heart regarding intellectual life, community accountability and getting free in/from institutions.    Sign up for the session that best suits your life and offer a question.  Attend and hear the answers live or not.  Everyone who signs up will get the recording and your question will be addressed!

How Did You…?: Brilliance Remastered 101 Q & A Weds, June 7, 2017 6pm EasternThis webinar is open to anyone with any question related to intellectual work, community accountability, publishing, freedom, life etc. Sign up here.

Because…: Brilliance Remastered Q & A for Current and Prospective Grad Students  Weds, July 26, 2017 6pm Eastern This webinar is specifically for people who are applying to graduate school, thinking about applying to graduate school or currently in graduate school who are interested in clarifying purpose, strategizing freedom, finding balance or building alternatives. Sign up here.

At this point…: Brilliance Remastered Q & A for Faculty, Admins and Independent Scholars Weds, August 16, 2017 This webinar is specifically for people who are finished with school (at least for now) and are looking to craft a community accountable career or to transition from one institutional relationship to a different approach. Sign up here.

black-woman-on-beachSummer Intensives:  In the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind context, summer is a time to leave your comfort zone, make space for transformation and emerge renewed with insights that you will carry forward for the rest of the year.  This summer spiritual intellectual renewal feels more urgent than ever.  Here are the webinars for the next few months!

Water in the Desert: Brilliance Remastered Summer Intensives 2017

obsidianBegin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist: Weds and Thurs June 21st and 22nd 3-6pm Eastern

In apocalyptic times all futurists are artists.  This is for those of us creating despite everything.  Whether you are a self-identified “artist” or a self identified “black feminist” or a person identifying as some other creative force, some other version of black love you are welcome.  Based on Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s piece “7 Possible Futures” in the most recent issue of Obsidian ( which is an excerpt from her forthcoming book M Archive: After the End of the World), this is a space for us to activate a creative approach to our futures.  To face the apocalypse capitalism has created with exactly the tools capitalism can’t value.  This online intensive will use meditation, individual and collective art-making and a plethora of black feminist references (especially to Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing) to offer insight and energy towards your creative future.  The course is limited to 7 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by June 18th.

Becoming Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability  Mon and Tues July 24 & 25 3-6pm Eastern

9781879960930

This intensive is designed for those of us who are ready to deepen the practice of dedicated art-making, intellectual work, activist work and community building. Who is your work dedicated to? If your work is accountable to multiple generations, how do you generate practice, measures and resources that sustain that work in the moment?  Based on “Xuihatl: Becoming Turquoise” a poem by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Imaniman (a recent anthology of poetry in honor of Gloria Anzaldua), this online intensive is for old souls and young elders whose work would not be imaginable without deep relationships of longing and accountability to the very old and the very young, the dead and the not yet born.  We will use individual and collective poetry, stone and crystal work and meditation and conversation to deepen and resource our intergenerational work.  The course is limited to 9 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by July 18th.

When Wind and Water Got You: Place, Purpose, Past and Presence: Weds and Thurs August 23 & 24th 3-6pm Eastern

ecotonemapresize

This intensive is for those us listening for place.  Are you listening for signs to guide you as you decide the place you want to live?  Are you listening for guidance on your place in our intersecting movements? Are you seeking more creative and spiritual technologies to use as you listen to the place you love, the place you live, the place that you are from?  Drawing on a forthcoming experimental map and series of vignettes by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in issue 23 of Ecotone Magazine (the vignettes are excerpted from her forthcoming book Dub: Finding Ceremony which draws on the work of the theorist Sylvia Wynter) we will use individual and collective mapping, poetry and meditation to face displacement, place ourselves newly and open our senses to what place is teaching us right now.  The course is online and is limited to 8 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by August 18th.

That’s all! Please have the best summer ever.  We need it!

Love,

Sista Docta Lex

Begin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist

obsidianBegin: Seven Possible Futures for the Black Feminist Artist: Weds and Thurs June 21st and 22nd 3-6pm Eastern

In apocalyptic times all futurists are artists.  This is for those of us creating despite everything.  Whether you are a self-identified “artist” or a self identified “black feminist” or a person identifying as some other creative force, some other version of black love you are welcome.  Based on Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s piece “7 Possible Futures” in the most recent issue of Obsidian ( which is an excerpt from her forthcoming book M Archive: After the End of the World), this is a space for us to activate a creative approach to our futures.  To face the apocalypse capitalism has created with exactly the tools capitalism can’t value.  This online intensive will use meditation, individual and collective art-making and a plethora of black feminist references (especially to Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing) to offer insight and energy towards your creative future.  The course is limited to 7 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by June 18th.

Become Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability

Becoming Turquoise: Intergenerational Accountability  Mon and Tues July 24 & 25 3-6pm Eastern

9781879960930

This intensive is designed for those of us who are ready to deepen the practice of dedicated art-making, intellectual work, activist work and community building. Who is your work dedicated to? If your work is accountable to multiple generations, how do you generate practice, measures and resources that sustain that work in the moment?  Based on “Xuihatl: Becoming Turquoise” a poem by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in Imaniman (a recent anthology of poetry in honor of Gloria Anzaldua), this intensive is for old souls and young elders whose work would not be imaginable without deep relationships of longing and accountability to the very old and the very young, the dead and the not yet born.  We will use individual and collective poetry, stone and crystal work and meditation and conversation to deepen and resource our intergenerational work.  The course is limited to 9 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by July 21st.

When Wind and Water Got You: Place, Purpose, Past and Presence Intensive

When Wind and Water Got You: Place, Purpose, Past and Presence: Weds and Thurs August 23 & 24th 3-6pm Eastern

ecotonemapresize

This intensive is for those us listening for place.  Are you listening for signs to guide you as you decide the place you want to live?  Are you listening for guidance on your place in our intersecting movements? Are you seeking more creative and spiritual technologies to use as you listen to the place you love, the place you live, the place that you are from?  Drawing on a forthcoming experimental map and series of vignettes by Alexis Pauline Gumbs in issue 23 of Ecotone Magazine (the vignettes are excerpted from her forthcoming book Dub: Finding Ceremony which draws on the work of the theorist Sylvia Wynter.)  We will use individual and collective mapping, poetry and meditation to face displacement, place ourselves newly and open our senses to what place is teaching us right now.  The course is limited to 8 participants.

Reserve your spot with your $50 deposit towards the sliding scale ($150-250) fee here, and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by August 18th.