Wednesday, November 30, 2016

On Discipline

Can do whatever basic instincts allow
However,
Will not let self go back
Back to base/basic.

Took work and a lot of light
To elevate to second nature
Will not retreat now
I’m watching me.

For the Love of Books

I can't get no, oh, no, no, no, hey, hey, hey / That's what I say / I can't get no satisfaction, I can't get no satisfaction ...

Excited much! Going Rolling Stones on the blog this morning, innit? Went to bed last night without bothering to set an alarm, and just trusted that I'd both get enough sleep and make it up early enough for work.


Boom boom boom! Came a pounding on my front door. I rolled out of bed and went to see who it was. Postal service delivery person, hey now! Might have been a woman, a tad too sleepy too excited to notice. The time was some thirty or so minutes after 7am - conveniently served as my wake up call. My books had arrived!

I was awarded at work early this month (yes boss) and that came with recognition points which could be redeemed for merchandise, entertainment and travel awards. No brighter idea than to grab these three books - two of which had been idling, cooling off in my Amazon cart for a while, and the third I heard about last week when the author (Jane Bryant Quinn) give the keynote at the Athena Awards reception which I was attending.

HOME! Finally! Got me a copy of Toni Morrison's Home. w00t! And then Seneca, Letters from a Stoic. What a rush!

I already know what book I want next. It's one from Bill Gates' list called, How Not To Be Wrong: the power of mathematical thinking authored by Jordan Ellenberg. Bill reviews it on his blog as a book but it’s really about how much math plays into our daily lives without our even knowing it. Sounds lush, doesn't it?

What are my/you readers reading these days?

Not My Real Face

Hilary Clinton's official Facebook Q&A campaign page
Most days, I go to work without wearing any make-up. Lip balm is a regular, because for me, having crusty lips is practically a health hazard. Must keep lips moisturized always. Make no mistake tho, I take proper care of my face, skin and body, with regular exercise, healthy dieting and preventive check up routines. 

Anyway, yea, no make-up most days for me is nothing to overthink or obsess over. Wake up, get up, stretch, clean up, read up, eat up, get out, and get my day moving. At times, I'd slap on my Mac Rebel lipstick when I felt like it. That color does wonders for my shade. Outside of work, I'd swatch between their (Mac's) Heroine and the fiesty Ruby Woo hues. Definitely NSFW. And as far as powder and foundation go, there have been one too many occasions where my face got in the way of a bear hug, leaving disgruntled men with brown patches on white shirts and agbadas. LOL! I ditched the powder after a while, because those hugs were just more important :)

So when the thought that my face was "naked" crossed my mind today as I drove to an alternate work location, I thought back with a *Kanye shrug* Not a big deal, ain't nobody curr. And then it hit me. It’s actually called make up. Like make up - compensate as far as definitions go? Was this a suggestion that we should be compensating for something? Ugliness? Low self-esteem? Traces of domestic violence? Or is it the other definition that means to concoct a story or tell a lie? I don't know, man! I'm not boycotting anything, and this is not one such message. Apparently, make up has a history of impacting women's relationships and even paychecks (see link below). On the other hand, this Forbes article claims that in 2013, the US prestige beauty market (makeup, fragrances, skincare included) raked in $10.6 billion in sales. *Ahem* What do the numbers look like for 2016? All I'm saying is know what you're doing, and as always be & do you. Will probably revisit this topic. Until then, read more here:

Emmanuela: Date 360ng
  • The Makeup Tax: Women who wear makeup earn more and are treated better. This has steep costs, in both money and time. The Atlantic goo.gl/zf21A1 
In other news, I'm actually really fascinated at the nature and quality of questions these people in developed countries countries ask their presidential candidates, as seen in the rest of Hilary's Q&A.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vibes and Algorithms: Mali Music

Is it just me, or does Mali Music have too much energy going on in his albums? 

I don't know much about about his work, except that his Contradiction usually pops up in my Spotify search bar when I'm typically going for Controlla (Drake). I probably gave it a listen one day, and that was it. Anyway, lunch break today was music monday, and my bright idea was to search through song titles on Spotify that had the word "light." Too many randoms, a couple goldies, and too little time to filter through all. 

Crossed over to YouTube, chose Maxwell's Pretty Wings, and then Mali Music's Beautiful was recommended by the algorithm gods. I gave in, liked it on first listen and made a mental note to check out the rest of his stuff at the day's end. 

Got home later, tried some samples from his albums. Contradiction was decent, Digital was good, and that was it. The rest had a lot going on and didn't quite work out for me - at least not today it didn't. Maybe it was the post-workout fatigue. Maybe it was the hunger. Whatever it was, maybe another day. For now, I'll just stick with his Beautiful, and leave Contradiction for Bamz.

Mind Over Money, Money Over Matter

Put your money where your heart is
Well, you're probably already doing that
Just take two good looks at where your money repeatedly goes
And you'll see just where your real priorities lie


We invest our resources - time & money where our values are
And now that you see where you put your money
Did you know when/how your heart got there?
Are you okay with that being where your heart is?


Can you really be true to a self that you don't know
Take a mindful moment to figure out
How your values came to be(ing)
Whether they are yours, or if they were borrowed


Take the time to personalize your culture
Cultivate your own values
Keep the good, replace the shallow
'Cause where your heart is, your valuables will follow

Dialogues

Bamz: ... When you talk about your goals, all I'm really hearing from you is why they won't work.

Me:


Gif from Zikoko

Well, who knew?

Imole

(To) Love means to wake up!
Fire
To fill with fire
Light

To teach someone is to show them their light
Or their darkness, when purpose is abused, corrupt
Loving someone is like fire-hosing them
Lighting them up
Torching the dark

Light is essence
Essence is where you are from
Who you are essentially
Human beings first before humans doing

And when it's time to do
Can you truly work from/in the dark?
When even work is tied to light


Some Sunday mornings go deep, man.

Genius Waiting

Don’t waste your pain
Explore all of it
Your longings, emotions, fear
Use it to fuel your genius
Then wrap it in art


Don’t rush to cover up
To fix yourself
Be fluid with it
Face it, follow it
To your essence


When it leads there
Learn your lessons
And make more art

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Haiku: Roof Is Falling

Gold up in my teeth
If this is our song
I should probably floss


For Rufus Boy
Nov 22, 2016

Winter Is Coming

Heck, I’m a sunshine girl! I absolutely love summer, little shorts and dresses, warmth, playsuits, bikinis, and now that I think about it, nude beaches must be somewhere in my future. Covering up and sinking under weighty layers of clothes is def one of the reasons why winter sucks for me. On a serious note, thick woolly clothes actually irritate my skin after minutes of contact and leave me with rashes. For this reason, I've had to overhaul my wardrobe and bath products at one point. Winter could be such a brutal season, and I don't have enough mental stamina to psyche myself up for it. The thought of being in the North East with another coming winter alone could easily create depression tendencies. Ugh!

On Failure

"If you cannot fail, you cannot learn." - Eric Ries

Go

You're a free person today. Step out of yourself today, go read, learn about something outside of your daily conversations or thoughts. Go find out about others, women in prison. Go!

From Maslow to Mass Media

Millennials this. Ads that. Big Data this.

Media is powerful and represents a lot of things to different people. It's a platform for advocacy, feedback, marketing, income among many things.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I've come to realize that mainstream media is intentionally manipulative, exploiting our innate needs and emotions. Not all, but a lot of media outlets are generally in business to craft lusts, longings and desires. To prey on the mindless, hooking and baiting and making promises to fulfill anyone who will subscribe and consume, while they improve their bottom line.
People/you/we don't know that we are powerful, and can choose who or what to wield our power to. Know who you are, and what you need. I will use my mind and evaluate, so I know when to call bullshit. I will not just throw disposable income to the bottom line of said bullshit and marketing gimmicks.

..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
(Image: Wikipedia)
The concept of social media is appealing for more reasons than one. It feeds our need for intimacy, human connection and self-expression. And yes indeed, narcissism not excluded, so check yourself. However, it also feeds and even escalates status anxiety, [this is a plug for Alain de Botton's book] which is a sense or fear of deprivation where we tend to compare our condition with that of a reference group who we believe resemble us.





……………………………………………………………………………………………………….......

From the last US presidential elections, I can liken politics today - the campaigns or what have you, to ads. We already know what we need, what we have and what we want. If you don't, please take the time to find out. I don't know that political candidates are the ones who can give what people truly need. Ultimately, people need enabling environments for self-actualization. Is this what politics will do for/give to us, or is this what we must find or create for ourselves?

"Those who consider seriously what they want to want will be miles ahead of those who remain reactionary to media, ads, and their blindly-chosen peer groups." - Art of Manliness blog

Pretty Wings

It took 30 years
For this wounded child
To see Life and Love as teachers
As I cycled over time
Lessons were tested, repeated, revisited
Relationships came full circle
When I finally understood


That hurting people hurt people
And I had to let all the hurt out
Until then I kept hurting my lovers
Bamz came and lit up the last trace
Cracked the shell one last time
Before it broke
(T)his work was complete
And when he left, I learnt to fly
And for that I will always, always love him


Hindsight is 20/20
I could be sad that we ended
And sadness and sense of loss I did feel
Or I could choose to be
Be happy, grateful, blessed
That he (and all of them before) happened to me
And that even though I missed him
Everything I did
From fighting a head-over-heart war
To choosing myself in the end
Was just what I was supposed to do


I would make my way back to my heart
But not after repressing it and putting my head first
And I finally learnt a hard lesson here
Where pain was waiting
As was growth
And like never before,
I was receptive and found so much healing
Best of all, Bamz said I helped him fly


They say when the student is ready, the master will appear
That when the student is truly ready, the master disappears
And I agree
That the master disappears, so the student can be tested
She puts what she's learnt to practice
Through pain and uncertainty
The student grows, steadies, and repeats until
The student becomes a/the master


Conscious music: India.Arie

I have been a fan of India.Arie and her work right from 2001, when I first heard Video.  That song had such a strong message that was just absolute chicken soup for my teenage soul. Phrases like, "Am I less of a woman if ...?" challenged my fifteen year old self to start thinking about myself as a woman in a "fuller" way. I have freckles, and so you can imagine what hearing a line like, "every freckle on my face is where it's supposed to be" did for my self-esteem at the time. Or how "my momma said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knows" nudged my geeky self to keep going and valuing knowledge. That song spoke volumes to me. And then she birthed other beauties like, "Little Things", "Ready for Love,"  the sultry"Brown Skin" and "Purify Me." Ugh! The quality of her work of art is so beautiful, authentic, and spiritual!

I got back from volunteering yesterday, and was in the mood for lame, cheesy rom com (it happens). Scrolled though Netflix, spotted one that had fine boy Jay Ellis, and my search was done. Tatyana Ali was in it, as well as DJ Qualls, and I thought, "even better." The movie was lame and corny, just what I was in the mood for, and happily met my low expectations, and as it ended, there came 'Chocolate High' as a soundtrack - an old favorite song with India.Arie and MusiQ Soulchild. I was ecstatic. Easily got my mood set up for some soul food, and I went in and got out India.Arie's albums on my Spotify.

I listened to everything she had that I could find on Spotify, and I could not keep calm. I looped back and replayed some tracks over and over because I could not get enough of her authentic connection that was lighting me up in the moment. The consciousness in her music is so powerful, that I "imploded" countless times. Her soul is so beautiful, and I love that she bares all in her work. So much love and lessons and light in her albums that I turned the lights off and "churched" into the early hours of Sunday morning. As I listened, I couldn't help thinking if she practiced yoga. There is no way she doesn't practise yoga. No way. And I know this because we yogis we see each other. And I see you India, I see you! Namaste.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sometimes I Think Tech Thoughts

A lot of the 'tech' there today is to support or enable business outcomes. Information tech. Or to "improve" lives that are already relatively comfy.

How about exploring areas that have nothing at all? People with real needs for help, not just Uber to improve transportation. You get? Those are definitely valid needs. However, that's one part of the ecosystem. There's other people and parts, like really alleviate poverty, hardship with tech. Let’s not leave the “economically disadvantaged, marginalized” out of the ecosystem.

#TechThoughts
Nov 14, 2016

These Are A Few Overrated Things 1.0

Sing the title in the key of the Sound of Music. Working on a list of some things that I find are just not worth the hype:
  • Alcohol.
  • Ads/News/(Social) Media.
  • Failure.
  • Coffee.

Your heart is showing, x

Q: The heart and mind, are they mutually exclusive?

A: In a way, but they don’t have to be. One is usually leading the other. 

Questions


One important thing to me right now: Questions.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Can I kick it? Yes you can.

What did you do with your Black Friday?

I lost track of time during the day, journaling with my genius and reading for hours, which was great, and then picked myself up and went to practise yoga at the gym. Nope, no online or doorbusting shopping.

My day really started with an earworm that pulled me into a black hole of interesting discoveries. I woke up bright and early and shortly after my routines, I had A Tribe Called Quest's Can I Kick It playing in my head, which I first heard (and immediately loved) in September this year. I was familiar with the group but this was new melody to my ears. The album was listed on Virgin Atlantic's inflight entertainment, and I listened to the whole thing probably more than once on my 6+ hour flight to London. Bonita Applebum, an old fave single, was also on that album, as well as I Left My Wallet In El SegundoAt least one good thing about flying Virgin Atlantic after all.

I started to give in to my earworm, and as I type the song title in my browser, up popped some old unrelated browsing history from 16 weeks ago. That was a black hole entry point. I had a ton of free time, and gave in. Traipsed around the literature it led to, and discovered Nayyirah Waheed, and her superb tumblr playlist, which in turn led me to Daniel Caesar’s delicious work of art. She also had Yuna, Lauryn Hill, Asa, Mafikizolo, Jill Scott, Stevie Wonder, Maxwell, D’Angelo, MJ, Sade and Prince, among others. She's definitely my tribe. Had me letting loose and doing some random MJ moves in the middle of nowhere. Funny enough, Iyanya’s Le Kwa Ukwu was on there too, which is one song I jammed so much after my trip to Canada in March. I probably listened to it everyday for two straight months after then, or maybe six weeks, until it got lost somewhere mid-year when I got new rebounds. Until yesterday when the tune came back to memory, and then today, when it happened on Nayyirah’s playlist :) I’m just waiting for Spotify to show me my earworm stats for this year.

And yes, it's my bestie's birthday today! Happy birthday Lala Girl! x

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Enjambment: Post election thoughts Nov 16, 16

Wallahi sometimes it’s "safe" to not know. Because when you know, you know. That volcano must erupt. Clarity is so powerful, it wipes indecision away in an instant!

What is my constitution as a human being?
What is my government, what governs me?
As a resident, what are my rights?
As a citizen outside of my country, what are my rights?
My government gives me rights, can they also revoke them?
Your Rights as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident, you have the right to:
  • Live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable under immigration law
  • Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing. (Please note that some jobs will be limited to U.S. citizens for security reasons)
  • Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions
Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident, you are:

The Constitution, Domestic Law, and International Law.

Interesting. You can’t just design indifference into products anymore. There has to be responsibility and accountability integrated. I say good progress.

Influence and what it can and should do about it.
I came into this country with conservative views on the government. As at today, I can truthfully say that my views are evolved to reflect those of the liberal.

What are we saying about Ads?
Are companies able to find another way to monetize than to pressure and torment product users with ads?!
….

Ginni to the president-elect, “While IBM does not back political candidates and never has, we do advocate on the public policy issues that matter."

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bring Your Own Fire


One too many dead men walking everywhere
Stenciled, frigid, lifeless on arrival
But you, my man, are present and alive
Engaged with your mind, loving from your heart
Awake, from the slumber of indifference, you question,
from the sloth of apathy, you care


Chemistry is raw
but pales in comparison
To the mental sparks
From your strong sense of self
That rouses my fire


Giving all of that strong loving self of yours
With your body and soul
Never leaving your heart behind
You “home” me with acceptance
Being with me, who you are with yourself



#QueenOfHearts.
Nov 8, 2016. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Adichie on Nigerian Catholicism and Tribal Duty

Adichie is such a powerful writer, and I dare say, a kindred spirit. There's so much truth in her writing. I know this firsthand, also raised Catholic as she puts it, in Nigeria. I vividly remember being punished and excluded from Holy Communion one day when I had worn a favorite sleeveless dress to church. I was sixteen years old.
I was upset, embarrassed and offended but that wasn't why or when I left. I would leave the Catholic church some two years later, when my curiosity about religion needed practical answers.

Raised Catholic,  Chimamanda Adichie in The Atlantic Oct 14, 2015

Genes x Environment

When we first come into the world, we come with genes and a blank canvas. To a large extent, our minds are blank and highly impressionable. Before we can think or speak for ourselves, whatever or whoever we have for a home starts to fill us, to shape our perceptions and personalities. From that point, the home is our first model, our starting frame of reference.
We become a reflection of our first home.

Toni Morrison on Home




Monday, November 7, 2016

Uniting States

Cruising solo through the pretty landscape on a single lane road in Beacon NY, listening to Katy Perry on the radio and I sat there thinking to myself, "I cannot wait to be a California girl!"
Also looking for my Georgia driver's license which I have been missing for some two days now. Ugh!

And in other news, while I'm here uniting states, Election Day is upon us America! Go out there and exercise your civic rights and responsibilities. And um, vote for public holidays on Election Day, while at it?

Checking out the forecasts, NYTimes just updated a few minutes ago based on state and national polls here, which should be a live document, so keep checking for updates. Get it Hillary!

Old home, New Home

You remind me of a former place
A vivid and yet absent space
Filled with longing, and people, and yet empty
People had much to eat, but their souls craved even more

On some days it was timid, indifferent and brash
It was amusing, eventful, and wistful
On other days spiteful, stifled, and restless
I used to be one with this place
But I don't live there anymore


I've long made myself (into) a different place
Where I am a Love child
Here I am Passion, I am Love, and I express my being
I am a giver and I accept love. I am Love, I accept myself
I am Spirit, intentional, open, and I am an enabler


There was not much to see but cobwebs and dust
When I went back there looking for keepsakes
For puzzles of memories and pockets of childhood memories, 
For time warps, for history, for self
It will always be a part of me
But my return was proof that I was no longer at home there


I am human, home anywhere
Home even and especially when I travel
If home is my life, my person, my connection to another Home
I am my home

127.0.0.1

I was at this epic concert last night called Jam the Vote. I'd heard that the lineup was loaded, however I only knew QuestLove and the Blind Boys of Alabama from the dozen plus artists listed. Then again, it promised to be soulful night of Jazz, and I was not about to pass up on a Sunday night jazzfest, so my buddy and I went.

The fusion was soulful, authentic, legit New Orleans soul, blues and jazz + reggae & afrobeat that had me rocking the whole night. I went berseck, and thoroughly enjoyed live music from amazing bands and performers like Alex Ebert, Amayo (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra), Win Butler, Irma Thomas, Lee Fields, Matisyahu, Valerie June, George Porter (The Meters), and the Preservation Hall Band. And that wasn't even half of the lineup. Each one of them I was knowing/hearing (about) for the first time, and they were all phenomenal with their originals and covers of legends like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley. It was fire!

And suddenly, in the midst of my hedonistic frenzy, Alex Ebert (from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) took the stage and performed this song called Home.


Flashback to the past couple weeks, when the word "Home" revisited my mind, and started to leave trails of breadcrumbs around, and clearly even up until this concert. In one early morning meditation while traveling last month, I'd had clarity and wrote out, "... my intention for my relationship is one that is intimate and shared, and at the same time whole. Home. We are at home. I am his home, he is my home. Architects."

I had searched my thoughts and poured out the first things that came to my mind when I thought of "Home": Travel, Wanderlust, Family, Apartment, "back home", "going home", family members, groups, address, homeboys, live, leave, homie, permanent resident, residence.

I looked up the meaning of the word and these were some of the results: Where domestic affections are centered. Structure. Dwelling. Social Unit. Refuge. Origin. Security and Happiness. Native Habitat. Care.

Somewhere between decision and realization, I found it. That Home is a person, and home is a place, and this word or its theme has for a long time haunted me in many ways than one. Yes indeed, I wrote this post three years ago about it. About how sometime in 2012, a book review (article in the New York Times) about Toni Morrison's novel titled Home spooked me out for a year. Maybe more shook up than spooked out, but it was uncanny, and rocked a sensitive tenet that unnerved me.

I'll keep following the breadcrumb trail to see where it leads. Meanwhile, I owe it to myself to pick up a copy of this book now that the vibes are present.

Home

  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tinnitus

"You Ugly, You yo daddy’s son"

Spent a chunk of my Sunday evening learning how to Juju on that Beat. 

Yea, because teenage friends. They let me know the type of expectations they had of their Sunday school teacher. Lol!
And now the song won't leave my head.