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Doula lets it go: musings on service, women, and gates

Doula, is an ancient greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. She serves women mostly, as the word also meant hand maiden. She serves those who are bringing life into the world, she serves the mother as she is reborn through the rite of passage of giving birth, and she serves the woman during the postpartum passage as well.

A Doula also serves those who are on their death bed. She helps by holding space for the dying and their families. She helps to arrange the memorial, she brings the family food, she listens and doesn’t need to talk too much.

My teacher recently gave me homework, to find three people to serve on their death bed. She is a funny woman who tells it like it is. Shes sweet and hilarious with a funny accent. I find myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes in a class where we are talking about death and dying.

My god I love women. They are brilliant, hilarious, deep, mysterious, and can teach you so many things. Going through the death doula course has really helped me tremendously and apparently its rubbing off. My lover is far more open with me as I am more open with myself. I feel more here with my feet on the earth and I love air. Maybe it is all of the talk of not having things unrequited. Maybe its having your teacher tell you to make a bucket list and then making you revise it based on immortality. Maybe its being in a space with women who are unafraid to ask ourselves and answer these questions and who are willing to hold the hand of those who might not be here. I have certainly had plenty of Doulas in my life, women such as aunts and friends who have inspired me. Held my hand in general, been good examples, and really loved me that has made me see how many Doulas I have had. In this way they have served me and I have served them.

I have served them by not taking their teachings for granted. Thank you.

 

Diamonds in the Rough: Midwifery, Children, and Asia

I have a new book to read. It is all about connecting with spirit children. I am after a new movement. I would like to support women and children. One of the most vulnerable places a woman can be and is, is in the processes of birth. Prenatal, all through out the process, and post natal. Whats really wild on my journey as a doula is that I would really like to adopt a child. One who is already here, one who could really use so much love and attention. So much work to be done so I can feel like the child receives so much love for me yes but my attention that doesn’t wonder to how I will feed it but wonders more about education, nutrition, and how in the world I will be a good mum to anyone at all.

I am grounding in the fact that I do not care to nor want to compete with women. I think it is by time women joined together. Together to support one another. The talk is of equality of pay, who in the world has whipped out their breast to feed their baby on public transportation, and how women are being treated in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. My word if there is anything i care about so much in my activism besides making damn sure to treat people with love and respect so that there is more love and respect in this world it would be my observation as to how women are being treated and how we women are treating each other. So midwifery is right there for me to embrace. Because in order to truly represent the kind of woman I want my children to know my grandchildren to know I must become a better selfless servant to those most in need of love and care and that would be pregnant women and newborns.

I am excited, I am sitting with my girlfriends and we are sharing what we know of the processes. What the legislation is. We talk about the healthcare system and the sad fact that in such a country as developed United States women’s health during pregnancy is sometimes at risk because of utter neglect and abuse. Which it in its self is so hidden but new reports show that if a midwife could be apart of the process then the mortality rate would greatly decline. I admire midwives in developing countries because in some instances they have their shit in order. I cringe at what has been happening in Australia, that women have been turning on their own sisters having them sent to jail for offering up services during illegal home births. GET IT TOGETHER PEOPLE. The numbers, the lives, the need speaks for its self.

So I have my books to read, retaking classes, and sitting at the feet of women who are midwives with a stance a grounded affirmation. I will not compete against my sister.

By the way this country, Singapore is sooo clean. I went to China town, it was the cleanest China town I have ever seen. It was like I had flown into Ba Sing Se from Avatar the Last Air Bender. The library is in the mall. The past time is shopping and eating. Yet, I hadn’t seen an obese person. Statistics speak that Singapore is one of the happiest countries on earth. Wow. The food is amazing. There are diamonds in the rough here. The people are sweat. They helped me to get on the bus today to go to China town from another part of town. Here I am thinking and bracing myself for Mama China. I know it is a while off in the distance but I am thinking oh my word. I love Mama China and I am so ready to see her again. More beautiful diamonds in the rough please.

My dear friend Rex used to tell me to write everyday, just write, I find that the more revealing the writing is the better. My goodness how personal and yet so good to simply write. Keep writing people!

Point A to Point B

When I walked into the gym I was simply excited to be there. I was half of a salad in with sprouts added and thought for sure I had time to let it continually digest before class was to begin at 6pm. Tariq, the instructor, was sitting next to the front desk. When I said my name to the attendant he looked up and said oh you are Sabrina, turns out when I was emailing the gym to let them know I was coming since I was in Australia, I was emailing Tariq. I brought along a new friend from my hostel, he thought the class sounded like a lot of fun so he came along. Actually he drove us there on his rented motorbike.

 

Tariq was to instruct us and he began with the philosophy of parkour. Overcoming obstacles. Especially the mental ones so that the body responds physically performing feats we never considered doing. No time for the rest of my salad and sprouts to finish digesting. I was scaling a wall by my fingers with my feet helping me move along. I was leaping to catch a bar and swing feet to the area ahead of me. We were moving like animals. Then the one practice I wanted but I will admit was a task for me to overcome.

When I was a little kid I loved climbing trees and running around. There was one day when I decided I would back flip but I landed on my head and since that day (this was around kindergarden) I hadn’t done backflipping unless it was on a trampoline and even then it was to the side. Or I would slowly curl backwards and try to throw my feet over. No jumping and tucking for me. However It was apart of the class. So what was I going to do. Tariq was showing us how so now was the time to overcome. I turned around on the raised platform. He told me to throw myself backward and just land on my back without tucking into the styrofoam below. I didn’t like that at all, but I did it. He said it was the beginning. Then he said raise your hands in the air and leap upwards into an arch when I felt I was high enough raise my knees and my body would do the rest for me. OH MY WORD! but…I did it. granted each time he said I was getting better but it looked like my body was doing it sideways. But i did it! Then he taught us the front tuck flip. I did it! It was really great. Me and the guy from the hostel was flipping over and over again. It was so much fun! There is still so much to do because i usually don’t land on my feet but the point is that I am back flipping.

The art of Parkour is brilliant. Get from point a to point b in the most efficient way possible. If there is something in your way climb it, leap over it, and move like an animal to get over it to get to point b. Humanity has looked to our animal cousins for so long to teach us. The circular philosophy of Tai Chi, the brilliant animal moves of qi gong. My teacher told me he used the philosophies to move from being behind a desk to now teaching in a gym, the art of parkour and over coming obstacles in a gym, which by the way glows in the dark if your turn off the lights.

By the time we returned to the hostel I was drenched in sweat my tank top soggy wet.

 

Over There: A Story of Finding Folks to Hang Out With While Journeying

I am in my hotel room. Very affordable by the way because in the bed over there, I mean about less than 7 feet away is a total stranger. The hotel attendants have brought us two extra beds because also accompanying us are two women from Holland. All of this began because I wanted to bike solo to the rice paddies.

It all began…(love when a story begins this way)…when I was in a small area outside of Kuta town. I was in a hostel and reviewing the best ways to get to where I wanted to go when two women walked in. We said hi to each other and they said they were going to Ubud. The next thing I knew I said to them, want to rent bikes and journey to the rice paddies. They looked at each other and said something to the tune of, yeah we can do that. The very next day, being today, we got on a shuttle for Ubud. In the same shuttle was a British man. Once we arrived in Ubud we decided to try the same hotel that another two women were staying at. When we got to the other women hotel (which was quite a walk by the way and I had to pull out the “are we there yet”) we realized the place was too expensive. So me, the women from Holland, and the Brit decided to trek back towards where we were dropped off. A man standing outside of a Villa started yelling at us. We ignored him at first but we realized with the four of us, maybe if they could let us all be in the same room, we could pay hostel prices for a nice space. The attendants were okay with that in the end and so there is a stranger in the bed not too far away. It really actually pays to say what you feel when you feel it.

I am sitting here thinking I rarely do these things. Just felt right to me so I am going with the flow. Going with the flow also landed me at an ice cream parlor with vegan ice cream and a gluten free cone for a good price.

Flowing with it.

Forgiveness Bound: Parent’s Finally Understand

I was in the kitchen talking to a new volunteer. A sweet family from Texas actually, all the way in Australia. My mom had been sending me messages to my phone and when I checked again I was smiling. Let me paint her for you.

My Mom is a 50 year old angel. I mean this. She has the moods of a human but the sweetness of an angel. She loves to laugh, watch westerns. I run.  The other day my friend tried to get me to watch a western and I thought no thank you my mom has been trying for years, and by the way yuck. It actually turned out to be a good movie.

My Dad is a 53 year old play boy. He just goes with the flow does his own thing. He used to date a lot.

They met in high school. My dad was a class clown. (I was voted class clown in school also by the way). My dad has jokes for days. When I came out of the closet, which didn’t take long at all I wasn’t afraid to say I was queer, I didn’t think it was all that taboo although my family was very christian I never felt an interest in being afraid of my sexuality. My dad wasn’t mad but he had jokes for days which culminated in him showing up at my high school graduation with his girl friend at the time and yelling as I walked across the stage: “Go Dick!” “That’s My Son Up There!” If you know me you know that I am very much into my own world and as I was walking across the stage I hardly paid any attention to what was happening. I think I was more concerned with the mere fact that I didn’t get the memo that we were not supposed to be wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes to a formal affair. I was also concerned that my cap might not stay on my big fro. So as my dad was yelling, “Go Dick!” and his girlfriend was probably crying laughing next to him and applauding I simply thought it was a normal thing, got my diploma, and made it, thankfully, to my seat with my graduation cap still attached.

I hope that painted a picture of my parents for you. My mom, as I stated before, sent me a message earlier that she had a nice breakfast with my dad and that he had her laughing so hard her side hurt. She said he was kind to her and that this morning he told her he loved her. I was thinking oh geesh Mom, how cute.

They met in high school, they married really young, they had twins that didn’t make it and then me and my sister came along. They divorced after I was born. There is one thing about my parents which I appreciate and I use all of the time. It doesn’t matter what you did, you can and always will be loved. I have known for years that my dad would call my mom to check up on me and give tid bits of information on my sister. My mom and I lived in California, my sister lived in Texas where my dad was. He would call to see where in the world I was relying on my mom to know. She would call him to find out any information on Clarissa if she couldn’t reach her. There is something about having children together that will do that to two people I think. They talk far more now than ever since we are not little anymore, they talk more than when we were teenagers. The conversation is mostly still about their kids but it has finally started to lean in towards each other since we are independent.

So today my dad told my mom he loves her and my Mom sent me a message about it. Word on the street is when my dad saw my mom for breakfast he was beaming (well, that’s what Clarissa said and if you read my last post you know Clarissa is eccentric and has a joke for everything) apparently she weaseled her way into a free breakfast and of course had her opinion on the whole thing. I can just imagine it now, my mom and dad sitting there having a chat and Clarissa looking at them out of the corner of her eyes, and leaning in to interrupt the good moment for the butter 🙂 . My mom said she gave my dad relationship advice,now I know we have come a long way.

I am 28 now and my parents still call me their baby. It stems from a union they had and still in someway have.  I am now quite a grownup and independent in my own right but I admit, there is still something about your parents getting along and forgiving and loving each other that makes me smile and happy inside. I think Clarissa is happy too, she has jokes for days.

Phenomenally Phenomenal Woman: Eloquent History on the Journey to Language Learning

My sister Clarissa was one of my favorite orators in our drama club. She was hilarious during practice. We would all laugh as she joked around or did some funny gesture. The teacher sometimes didn’t like it because we tended to join in with Clarissa and her antics.I loved it.

At first I wasn’t even in the drama club. I just showed up to watch the performances. This was no normal club. All of us were black children and we did traditional black poetry; Langston, Maya, Countie. I loved Langston. Eventually Clarissa’s hilarious actions had me joining in on the fun with everyone else and the next thing I knew I had memorized something and was performing it for everyone.

I went to a famous historic black school. I mean old, it was the original Yates school before Yates became a school. Before the Civil Rights Era it was called James D. Ryan School for Coloreds. There was a worn out plaque in the entrance someone had tried to scratch out. I took a picture in front of it once, smiling and pointing with my friend Nicole. Our school was slightly modern but in the 3rd ward neighborhood there was certain things black children learned and did by way of tradition. How to Step, How to Orate, How to Debate, How to Sing a Gospel Song like you Deserved to Be On Stage, and How to Pray. All the keys to eloquence.

My teachers would put me in play after play. My family and my teachers would make me dress up to go to Museums to orate a speech or a poem. My friends and I would make up dances and step it out in front of the school. My Uncle would make us kids sing like we knew what we was doing at church. The frilly socks, the super done up hair, and the attitude to boot. Those were the funny, black traditions a young child was taught in the historically black neighborhood I grew up in and at the historically black school I went to.

Oratory competitions was my thang!

I think it helped me to be the person I am today. These powerful poems and the awareness of black history, it helped me along the way. It gave me a foundation of what I believed in, what I thought was fair, how I wanted to see the world, how I wanted to be treated.

I will make a grammar mistake like anyone can do. But when I really mean business, I can get my point across. I love to remember and perform poetry. My own now a days.

Even when I went to my first year of college I spent what money the school I was working at gave me for free books on Langston Hughes poetry. I loved a new poetry book from San Francisco’s Marcus Books which catered to black authors. I would sit in my living room remembering by heart Langston’s poetry and performing for myself since no one was around

Sometimes when the children were good in my class room, I taught visual and expressive arts in the historically black neighborhood of Bay View at an elementary school, I would perform for them. They ate it up, they loved it. One of my favorite poems I will never forget by Langston was called Suicides Note, it simply goes: The calm cool face of the River asked me for a kiss.

Not only because it was easy to remember, simply a sentence, but he brought the River to life and maintained that the River wanted him. The spirits in it’s depths wanted him and he kissed the River.

I don’t think I told the children what the name of the Poem was. 🙂

Our drama club, the one I was at first a spectator in at school, had only a few girls. Priscilla, Clarissa’s and I childhood friend was a helpful ringleader of the foolishness we drummed up. After drama club we would go to my grandmother’s porch and make up dance steps with the radio blaring and our ice cream melting and my bag of hot chips all over my fingers. Our drama club also had about one or two guys. I forgot his name for now but I know we had no since of what managomy or jelousy was. We used to practice kissing him and I tell you I only did it once and I don’t think I kissed another boy for a while after that because I thought it was so gross.

The girls remembered one poem in particular. I don’t think we could truly eloquently put into words why we all personally thought this poem was important to remember but we just did and kept it to ourselves. The poem was Maya Angleou’s Phenomenal Woman. We blared it, our hands on our hips as we performed it, walking sassy across the stage. I Am a Woman Pheno-na-ma-na-ly! Phenomenal Woman That’s Me!

My sister was really good at this poem. We didn’t laugh when she performed it, we watched. I think our drama teacher was calmer when she performed it. She certainly didn’t have an annoyed look on her face when she did. Another favorite of ours was Fire by Langston Hughes, the guy we kissed performed this one so well. Like he was about to get smote. His hands in the air over his head, a pleading in his loud clear voice. Begging and unbelieving that he could be burned by fire in hell.

However Phenomenal Woman, I will always remember that poem. How important it was for me. How important it is for me. I think I once shared it with the children of my art class. In front of all of those beautiful black boys and girls in my class. My voice ringing out: I am a Woman!

Now I am learning French. My tutor told me to do things I would normally do in French if I would like to become better at speaking. I love to read poetry. I love to read Alice, Tony, Tananarive, Octavia, Langston. I love to read. I love to read more than I would like to see a movie or video. So I pulled up this poem for you. A reminder for us all. No matter your race, age, or beliefs. No matter if you are a woman or a man or a transgender person. I think this poem has something to teach us all. I think this poem matters even to feminist and womanist (some might not like the note on high heels). It is a triumphant cry with defining verses opening doors or perception and the bare bones truth.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

And because I would like to get better and make myself and my tutor smile 🙂

Femme Phénoménale

PAR MAYA ANGELOU

Merveille de jolies femmes là toute mon secret. Je ne suis pas mignon ou construit pour adapter la taille de mannequin, mais quand je commence à leur dire :

Ils pensent que je suis dire des mensonges. Je le dis, C’est dans la portée de mes bras, La durée de mes hanches, l’enjambée de ma démarche, la courbure de mes lèvres. Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

c’est moi.

Je rentre dans une chambre Tout aussi cool que vous s’il vous plaît et à un homme, Les boursiers debout ou Tomber à genoux. Puis ils pullulent autour de moi, Une ruche d’abeilles. Je le dis, C’est le feu dans mes yeux, et le flash de mes dents, le swing dans ma taille, et la joie dans mes pieds.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Les hommes eux-mêmes sont demandent ce qu’ils voient en moi. Ils essaient tant de choses Mais ils ne peuvent pas toucher Mon mystère intérieur. Quand j’essaye de leur montrer, ils disent qu’ils n’est pas visible. Je le dis, C’est dans l’arc de mon dos, le soleil de mon sourire, Le trajet de mes seins, La grâce de mon style.

Je suis une femme Phénoménal.

Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

Maintenant vous comprenez Juste pourquoi ma tête n’est pas courbée. Je ne pas crier ou sauter sur Ou dois parler vrai fort. Quand vous me voyez en passant, Il devrait vous rendre fiers. Je le dis, C’est en cliquant sur mes talons, la courbe de mes cheveux, la paume de ma main, le besoin de mes soins. Parce que je suis une femme Phénoménal.

 Femme phénoménale,

C’est moi.

 

Merci.

Babel: Stranger than Fiction

When I carried a smile on my face all the time. This ever-present part of my costume, look, wardrobe, and expression. It was my white flag.

“Look, I like to just be, I want to talk to you but don’t bring your shit, opinions, and too much violent babel over here!” That is what the smile was about. I didn’t need another group of cowboys, outlaws, and sass talking women in my life. I have a family. They had shown me a lot of that already.

My smile was also my way of hiding the beast, the shadow, and the opposite in my clutches. The smile was an innate room for the sadness, disappointments, and rough housing I had inside of me that looked like me. The critic who let me know when something was wrong. I ignore just about anything now. To some degree I must. I must come stepping back into my eyes to peer out and see what is going on. I have gone on a soul retrieval before to go and get the little girl that tried to hide in the underworld below the trees in a room, thinking she might be safer there. Even when I placed her in safe keeping inside a part of me I knew she would like- I still have to meditate constantly and walk very slowly sometimes to stay behind my eyes.

How I am feeling and one thing I have learned is not to listen to no one. I will listen to my gut, but I don’t take opinions lightly anymore because I have realized those who give opinions are probably afraid of something I am or could do. They want things to be designed their way for their comfort. Women I looked up to, the men who did things I wanted to do. The people I loved but walked away from because I didn’t need another disappointment and i could leave just as fast as they could.

Power says that doing such things will make you lonely. Indian gurus and Mexican sorcerers say that doing such things will make you detached, ready, and happy.

I am both.

I came to another country town with my backpack too heavy for some reason. I walked into another man who had far too much clothing in his sack. Toys to play with including his shaver. The most I brought I gave away recently. I won’t speak too far on these things because what I did has already been done. I gave away my Uno cards. I gave away my hacky sack play toy, because there is no one to play it with. A few articles of clothing I had to be brave and cry a little have also crossed the counter at the local thrift store. The bag they came in went to and I still have a heavy backpack because I refuse to get rid of my hand blender which has a food processor and attachable mixer handle. A woman wants and needs her smoothies.

We, me and the stanger, had been at a local man’s house pulling weeds out of his garden for room and board. What a kind stranger he gave me a pair of his pants, which are very comfortable by the way. He gave them to me and I wear them a couple of days throw them in the wash and put them back on. So comfortable. I just change my shirts.

A few days of fun and then he wanted to spend a major holiday in a bigger city. He’d met someone online and he wanted to see the fireworks. I felt I might miss him but when he left I didn’t so much. I helped to drop him off at the bus station and went with the local man to buy mouse traps for his home. I wanted him to buy the humane ones that catch them and you drive a bit away and let them go. He doesn’t like to listen to anyone either much so he brought the ones that you put the cheese in the middle of the trap and the trap snaps and kills the mice. When we woke up the next morning I think he made the mice really angry. They had bitten a few apples, thrown the walnuts, and pooped on the stove. I thought damn! You made them mad!

I haven’t really been singing. I used to but they were the same songs and I had gotten tired of them. I felt like I wasn’t giving it my all. I stopped singing the same old songs with hope that I would find new ones to sing and that I would sing them out loud so that the spirits I like would have songs to hear.

I have been in my own world. I figure this is necessary for me to come to my eyes. I have been helping foreigners improve their English. They have been teaching me French. I have even signed on to help a man who speak Arabic. Yesterday a man who speaks Portuguese reached out to me. He wants to improve his English and asked if I would talk to him. In return he would teach me Portuguese. Well first he asked if I was interested because he didn’t see it in my profile. I wanted to say no, I am not interested in Portuguese. But then I thought here is an opportunity. Here is a free opportunity to learn a language you don’t know. A language you haven’t cared about. Maybe you could use it some day or at least have it around. So I said yes. I need to say yes more.

Now when I am talking to someone my languages have been mixing up. I say Hola, Guten Morgen, Comment vous-tu? Oh dear. But what I most love about it is that no one has an opinion about it. The only ones I hear now is the ones where someone is correcting my spelling or context. Far away in a land that I do not know I can be myself. I can speak my quirks. One man wanted to know why I kept a green hoodie on. I shared the quirk I have about my neck and ears being cold. He nodded. The guy I dropped off at the bus stop the other day, he has the same quirk. I didn’t share mine with him he said it himself, that he doesn’t like the wind at his neck.

He was the second person to share his babel with me. A list of words while he tried to convince me I should drink hard cider with him. I drank apple juice instead and asked him to write the list. I think he had two drinks. He wanted me to write it. He only got excited and really wrote the rest when he pronounce at the pub that I should learn a few cuss words to boot. The first one in German he shared was shit. We had a little in common. That’s my favorite cuss word in English.

A day and five hours from the country I called home I am embracing that I had better make promises to myself and keep them as best I can rather than not. I had better live life so that life doesn’t live me. I had better dance my ass off. I had better look and stop trying to atone for what I don’t control. Love now! Practice now! Learn now!

My paternal grandmother passed away last year. My Father put up some of his property and some of her’s to pay for her funeral. My cousin took it and the deal was he would be paid back in a year or he could keep it. The year past and my sister found out about the deal. Which meant the property we had been told since we were little kids would belong to us when my grandmother passed and my dad was no more, might not belong to us anymore. For some reason as I listened to my sister’s very violent rant about what she wanted to do and who she was going to cuss out in a more white way sounded so beneath what I wanted and how I wanted to deal with this. I want no more parts of it and the only thing I could think of was that I hope my Papa who made it so clear before he died that the only way land could pass from one person to the next in our family was through each other and there could be no outsides, wouldn’t be disappointed with me.

That’s why my sister was so angry, my dad has only his children and his land but no real male son to inherit his “place”. We are his “sons” to carry on his line. I was thinking as she went on and on that I would give my son my last name to be sure my great great grandchildren could find their blood line. My dad had passed the land to our cousin and once our cousin was gone it would pass to his children and in his line. Yep pretty biblical and royal I know.

My cousin tried to use his best speech to explain why this was a good idea. My sister tried to use her most diplomatic cuss words to explain to him why he could kiss her ass and be thankful she couldn’t hurt him. My great aunt just held her head a little low, I think because she has witnessed her family unravel and the new generation speaks to each other like so.

I snapped my fingers at my sister and asked her to let it go. I thanked her for dealing with it, somehow she felt that dealing with it she was protecting me. She said she will load and I can shoot and that’s how we are supposed to be. She said while I was over here with peace she had been dealing with those MFers for me. I thought I want nothing to do with this. I wouldn’t like to have anything to do with them. I wear a smile for them. My smile says look this is my white flag… mask. It is and it isn’t real. It is partly a I love you too much to come down to your level and underestimate you, it’s partly don’t come over here with that bull Scheisse, and it’s partly don’t make my beast leap out and tear you to shreds I am holding it back for your safety and the care of what some may call my karma. Trust me you want non of this.

100 turns to 6

I think art can span in any direction you want it to. I think even language is art. I am turned on by it now. I mean it in a way that someone might ask you What Breaks the Sound Barrier for You? Right now I would say language does.

It really began with memory. For years I was training in the art of presence. Memory matters. When I came across memory athletics in Cambodia I thought wow I really like this, these 30 words I learned in ten minutes could be words in another language. Context matters. In memory athletics you attempt to learn words in less amounts of time. To do this you create templates of what the words, symbols, cards, and numbers you are to remember could be so that when you see them it becomes a story you are building. You are the architect in memory athletics. Folks build whole buildings and place the things they want to remember in the rooms and spaces of the house. What is wild is that here is the first lesson you learn in school, playing with you imagination, and it will help you learn large digits, foreign languages, speeches, poems, and games.

The next year after Cambodia I was walking around in Ecuador paying attention to the street I was on. The four trees near the house I was staying at, I still remember how they lined up and the flowers on the concrete. I still remember the blue of the house, the abandoned basketball court. The rusted swing, I remember that too. I remember how many houses to arrive to the gate of the place I was staying. All of this matters because all of these sites could be attached to a word and it’s definition. It helps me to remember lists of words, cards, and definitions. Whole conversations,body language, and the look in a persons eyes. These things elicit feelings in us that we can call upon and it will paint the whole scene for you to remember it.

For language, I like to take a word and break it down in a way I want it to be broken down to. I add actions or pictures and place these images at a location on a route I remember. Walking, looking around for purpose in a living room. All of these things that are so personal can also be helpful. Language and memory they go together now. If I was to pick up the newspaper and tally up the number of words in it more than likely it will be about 600. Most people have a larger vocabulary than 600 but the words we use everyday even if we were writing an essay would more than likely be 600. If you can remember 30 words in less than ten minutes imagine what you can do to 100 words, in a few days 200 words. A few days after that try to get to 400 words. 600 is not that far behind. Next learn at least 50 verbs. Give these verbs a person, a place, and an action. Then learn the conjugation rules. Find people willing to speak to you in the language you would like to learn. There are so many ways. I would love to share with you that if you turned it into a game, relaxed, put a smile on your face, and really dove right in you would learn more.

A few fun list of words to learn:
Swadesh List
Jakarta List
Your own 100 wishlist of words
55 verbs

Here is a chart I put together for Spanish and French.
Start with these 20 600 words most used in English – The First 20

Learning is so much fun, especially when you play with it!

Additional Resources:
Anki cards: you can put the app on your phone. Find decks of cards you would like to learn. Practice everyday your Anki cards

Listen to audio like Michel Thomas and other audio programs

Cartoons! I love cartoons for language learning. I have the whole set seasons 1 through 3 of my favorite cartoon Avatar the Last Air Bender in Spanish. I put on the captions and relax, watch, and listen.

Watching the news, listening to the radio, looking at comics

Chatting with people from different countries on skype or whatsapp. Trading a language your English for their ____.

Talking and not being ashamed to make a mistake. I am not a big fan of this but I know it is necessary. Speak the language you want to learn as much as you can. Whoever is talking to you will correct you, go for it.

Practice at least 30 minutes a day

TAKE A BREAK WHEN YOU NEED TO, let it marinate

Relax

Be good to yourself! ❤

Clean the floors

I am gearing up to clean the floors of my friends house which she has dedicated to be a cultural center here in Huancayo. I wanted to make sure to leave the place better than I found it especially since I have been dog and  housesitting. A poem, a song came to me :

Half the Wisdom

You put a bat in your pocket
You were wondering why you were dying
Risen from the ashes
Another second only to shine

Like a cloth to silver
Magos girl turned to gold
Rusted copper still
Pour the water for your role

Milkened fat from pastures cows
Blood of birds disappear
Into the the darkened parts of the world
Seems set not to appear

Flor the flowers
Running
Stripped and eaten from the leaves
An entity holds the robes
Opens fences
Gives you ease

Over the head of girls
Longing for poetry from the dead
In places deep down in the there
Imagined in your head
To that world they live and walk a foot
Walks the stix without falling in
A flag that waves + acts to save
The ones who would rather not
Spend all their time walking the line
For half the wisdom of the other side

I’ve Heard Speeches

Speeches by Maya Angelou, read poems of Langston Hughes, and cried at written scripts meant to say something. I share a speech talen from the eulogy of Corretta Scott King written by Maya Angelou…I Will Never Cease

Many times on those late after — evenings she would say to me, “Sister, it shouldn’t be an ‘either-or’, should it? Peace and justice should belong to all people, everywhere, all the time. Isn’t that right?” And I said then and I say now, “Coretta Scott King, you’re absolutely right. I do believe that peace and justice should belong to every person, everywhere, all the time.”

And those of us who gather here, principalities, presidents, senators, those of us who run great companies, who know something about being parents, who know something about being preachers and teachers — those of us, we owe something from this minute on; so that this gathering is not just another footnote on the pages of history. We owe something.

I pledge to you, my sister, I will never cease.

I mean to say I want to see a better world.

I mean to say I want to see some peace somewhere.

I mean to say I want to see some honesty, some fair play.

I want to see kindness and justice. This is what I want to see and I want to see it through my eyes and through your eyes, Coretta Scott King.