Debrief After A Literary Pilgrimage

How do I start a gratitude piece for all the bountiful harvest that I have partaken in? That is the question that has been pushing me closer and closer to debriefing from a truly magnificent and perfect-in-every-form-ten-week-whirlwind of an American rendezvous. Well, as the trip fully and without any compromise demonstrated to me, perhaps I should start by thanking myself for the sheer tenacity, determination, courage, faith, and pure passion that has driven me to be still and hear, and be fully awake to see the signs as they presented themselves to me; to have trusted my perception instead of doubt it; to have shunned any inkling of doubt or fear; and to have honoured my own voice that has consequentially led me to my own truth.

I feel validated in my beliefs, gratified by my journey, closer to my relentless vision, and inspired to be extraordinary. I have seen in clear daylight the intensity of my own power; the unparalleled spark of possibility lying, dormant, seeking engagement with those driven by pure intentions to be creators in their own worlds; the spontaneous combustion between possibility and determination, initiative and faith, knowledge of self and passion; and the sheer magic that can be woven and witnessed in one whose higher self is in direct alignment with self. I am now possessed by a thousand thundering voices that speak with me, and through me. Where I once had shoulders I now have wings…

I am now more certain that ever that we are one with all living entities; the earth and its magnificent solar systems (this is no joke; the full moons and mercury in retrograde had me in full grips, begging for ‘normality’), the animals, plants, and human beings all form a cosmic and holistic part of who we are. I only exist because of all those living things. And there is no living without the dead—the persistent balance and harmony of life—so I have tasted the sweetest connections of them all; being awake in more worlds than this physical one; hearing, seeing, and feeling the intensity of the moment; but most importantly, trusting the moment and taking notes that I consequently use as a blueprint of my vision and dreams. Let no one succeed in convincing you your physical body is all you are!

I have grown spiritually, emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and cosmically on the literary pilgrimage I took from Amsterdam to New York, to Washington DC, to Chicago, to San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley, to Los Angeles; following and being followed by the footstep of a sage whose guiding hand, embrace, and mentorship—felt, heard and seen without his physicality—has led me to treasures of my own soul, of the larger cosmic world of our people, of the South African literary landscape, and of the broader black diaspora. The magnitude of the alchemy on this trip is to be fully experienced in the forthcoming months of writing this dissertation, this book, and producing this documentary. I have grown creatively too. I am decidedly embroiled in the cosmic world of the arts, where being a writer has so seamlessly and without any fear or favour led me to being a filmmaker: an art form that I have enormous respect for.

I trust myself more than ever. I am not the chosen one, but I chose myself to be the one for this task. Perhaps I should rephrase and say InI (I and eye—third eye perception and reception. I’ve explained this in detail here https://uhurumahlodi.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/ini-self-n-divine-self/ ) chose myself; perceived of self as capable, and received the ordained calling as my own. As the wisdom of the elders does state clearly, we exist in duality, like any product of nature and life—the yin and the yan, the body and the life force, the physical and the metaphysical—must be in unison. My life force and metaphysical self, the other ‘I’ in InI, are now lounging languidly with my physical self, at one, in perfect harmony, pregnant with larger-than-my-physical-body possibilities. My voice is stronger than ten weeks ago, and my resolve is only perfectly demonstrated by the image of being possessed by a thousand thundering voices. I move because I am moved…

What follows is a continuation of a photo essay that started here

https://uhurumahlodi.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/the-golden-years/

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I travelled to Washington DC to interview poet, legendary jazz critic and literary historian A.B. Spellman, who was warm and happy to walk down memory lane with me

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Karen Spellman was an active member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which Keorapetse Kgositsile joined seamlessly when he arrived in the States

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I went to meet my mentor, Professor James Miller, at the George Washington University. He was the first person who ever introduced the term ‘Black Atlantic’ to me at Wits in my Honours year, and I have been dreaming about conducting research in this field since he ran a fascinating course mapping the similarities in black South African and black American cultures in the 20th century

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Fall/Autumn is pumpkin season and America has quite a family of them I tell you. All shapes, colours, textures, sizes, and flavours…

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…but what do you do with so much pumpkins? Well, they have all kinds of pumpkin yumminess like pumpkin chai tea/coffee, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, pumpkin waffles, etc. Pumpkin chai tea with hot milk really moved me to tears

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Of course while I was in town I thought I’d pop in and have tea with my girl Mitchelle, but the security guards had something else on their minds. They’ve since been fired 🙂

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Maybe something major was happening at Mitchelle’s house! I mean snipers on top of her house?? Really??

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The area between Capitol Hill and Lincoln Memorial gave way to an area of feeling deep in my heart. I was filled with all kinds of conflicting emotions from disgust to triumph

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I really really love how artists engage with the city, especially at the Washington Square in New York. It is a beautiful square with all kinds of artists, and they are well-respected if the tipping is anything to go by

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The student becomes the teacher. The interviewee becomes the interviewer

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On my last night in NYC I managed to score tickets to a Talib Kweli performance. What an amazing experience to hear him, feel him, and be entertained by him in his native New York…

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Kweli is a lyricist extraordinaire, and I was pleased that the sound at the legendary Blue Notes did justice to his flow

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I have been to quite a lot of jazz performances and festivals, but never have I seen a trumpeter display such barbaric devotion to his instrument – breaking all the rules

Common Sense Concert

I arrived in Chicago on the 20th September, and the next day I prepped to dance away at this dream line up. The special guest was Kanye West, and I have to admit that I absolutely enjoyed his performance despite my better judgement of the man

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In Chicago I managed to link up with my brother Ignatius from Polokwane. It was great to speak Sepedi in Chicago and crack ourselves over the mundane and magical

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Sterling Plumpp – the man who made almost everything worthwhile. He led me in the right direction and guided me gently into the very dense jungle that is the political and cultural life of Keorapetse Kgositsile. I am forever indebted to him

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During this interview with Keorapetse Kgositsile’s daughter, Ipeleng Aneb Kgositsile, we were visited by fireflies, hummingbirds, and butterflies. It was beyond magical. In that hot Oakland weather I was suffering (with pleasure) from chills

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The way I loved the bay area – San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley – was truly special. It will forever remain my dream destination and crush address

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Don’t even ask! Okay, I’ll tell you. I went into a shop, looked around, and next thing I know there was an impromptu photoshoot and wine #hides

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The beauty of the bay area. It reminded me of Cape Town with all its beautiful hills and mountains, winelands, botanical gardens, and laid back culture

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I missed this documentary to celebrate 20 years of Illmatic the album, and as I was minding my own business buying books I came across this poster and immediately heeded the calling

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Ipeleng Aneb Kgositsile

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We caught Fourplay at the legendary Yoshi’s Jazz Bar in Oakland; one of the most reputable jazz bars in the world. The owner, Yoshi, is a Japanese beauty of soul and spirit whom I’ve been fortunate enough to spend an intense afternoon with.

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The saxophonist and trombonist are from Oakland School of Arts, a public school where I have had the pleasure of teaching a literature lesson on Kgositsile. 51 Oakland, an NGO ran by Jason Hoffman and Yoshi, helps with putting arts and music back in public schools. These are the results of their work. These public school learners are playing with a legendary Latino band

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I felt the power of this NGO’s work. This youngster from a public school displayed so much skill on the trombone, and all the applause certainly gave him positive self esteem and motivation

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My lens caught this wonderful child

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Universe please conspire!! I need to live here, even if it is for a two year fellowship, or even better, getting a post at the Berkeley campus of the University of California…

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This is the NGO in discussion, 51 Oakland, and one of the co-founders Jason Hoffman. I met Jason through Ipeleng, and he was jsut so generous and kind enough to host me at his house during my stay in the bay area. There was something magical in our interaction, which has led me to my own treasures

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I helped out at the event where the students were playing; selling T-shirts and garnering support for the organisation. This has moved me to decidedly be more involved in the caring for others and making a difference in the less fortunate’s lives. A challenge I take on keenly

Mantra for the Divine

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I am with those whose time has come. Those unafraid to traverse a journey of their making, guided by courage, faith, hope, and passion. Those who listen intently to the whispers of their soul. Those who create.

I am with those whose period has come, in spite of patriarchy, racism and classism. Those who dance on the cracks of difference and laugh in the face of diversity. Those who plaster dividing lines with pure intentions of wholeness.

I am with those whose time is now. Those who wrestle the arms of time. Those who find value in creativity and collaboration. Those whose heartstrings compose songs of peace that ripple their effects to war-torn spirits.

I am with those who say yes. Yes to self and no to responding to the insecurities of others. Yes to tenderness and affection, to propelling the mission of love and light forward, and to their inner divinity.

I am with those who embrace sex. Sex of gender and sex of intercourse. Those who do not seek power or disempower in pre-determined labels of homo/hetero/trans/inter/cross, but embrace strength born out of gentleness.

I am with those who shun institution, dogma, and indoctrination. Those who suspect doctrines and uphold the spirit of thought and debate. Those who recognise the need for revisiting history. Those aware of the dangers of a single story.

I am with those whose time has come. Whose energy is aligned to the redefinition of self, family, marriage, friendship, spirituality, education, leadership—those whose energies are invested in the perpetual pursuit of their truth.

I am with those not defined by age, era, or moments. Those who respond to their duality and transcend life and death. Those whose concept of life is not flesh nor breath. Those whose fabric of being is multi-dimensional and receptive.

I am with the troubled and the content. I am with those who wage war with self, and strive for peace in time of war. I am with the robustly passionate, who drive the fire of resolve in every action.

I am with those who deplete the ego. Those who surrender to the callings of their higher selves. Those who find life in depleted selves. Those who create life from nothing. Those who triumphantly emerge out of fire.

Mantra

Simple Mathematics in our Lives

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There’s simple mathematics to our lives than informs the beautiful alchemy of our existence. Yes, mathematics, just like physical science, is everywhere; in the way we love, laugh, cry, and make decisions. It’s all about additions, multiplying balancing, dividing, subtracting, finding the whole, and being part of the whole.

Here’s the simple mathematics of life. If you give, your efforts don’t vanish into the ether—you are not separate from the whole—they are stored as highly charged energy, and the more you give the more you multiply that energy. The simple law of physics states that whatever you give you will get an invert direct proportion of. Needless to say, you must not give for those reasons, you must give precisely because you are not separate from the whole. You cannot enjoy the quality of your spiritual, mental, and emotional life within depravity.

I may even go as far as saying this applies to our attitude to the earth itself. We are not separate from the earth and there’s nothing more detrimental to the development of the human spirit than those who treat the earth like a void into which they can litter things. That litter does not vanish into space; it is stored up and will be directly fed to your spiritual wellbeing. You can’t litter and expect peace of mind. That does not balance the equation of life.

The simple mathematics and physics of life state that energy is transferrable at any given rate. If you show love, you get love. You may very well infect people with positive energy and laughter. Let’s never forget the condensed energies in love and laughter that threaten to erupt in everyone who encounters it. We can be infectious to one another. It should be our purpose when we wake up to touch someone, however minutely, with the positive vibrations that emanate from our charged hearts.

If you give love, love will show its face to you. If you give with the purest heart, inversely you will know how to receive love from the purest heart. You would have known its face—you would have revelled in the emotions of being one with the earth, wind, water, fire; one with the solar system, the animals, the plants, and the inner god. You would have experience nirvana by trumping fear and giving the best of you even in times that seemed less motivating to do so.

Those are the simple mathematics of our lives: to capture the textures of life through the exponential sharing of ourselves. Life is about procreation; but procreation does not only infer birthing another human, physically. We have the power to give birth to innovative ideas, concentrated masses of energy fields, which all can in turn rebirth other souls, who will also affect the rebirth of others. Energy gets transferred. Contrary to popular belief, life is not about breathing, it is about living a purposeful life that infects others with the very essence and nectar of life: love.

P.S Love is not romantic love. Love is the thread that ties us together. Love is what makes us not part of life, but life itself.

7chakras

I have written about the 7 chakras before, here       https://uhurumahlodi.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/the-seven-chakras/                If you have any questions whatsoever, please engage me, I’ll be happy to journey with you in finding answers.

One blessed love…

Human Nature

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There are colours we cannot see

Reverberations we cannot hear

Sounds we cannot perceive

Scents we cannot fathom

And universes we cannot touch

 

Lilac is not lilac until it bursts in morning dew

Turquoise is not turquoise ‘til the heavens part

The yellows and bellows of bees are unattainable

The blacks and charcoal of quicksand and clay

Human desires that promise to decay

 

The beetle moves in a thousand vibrations

The butterfly flutters secrets of nature

The termite’s unbreakable resolve builds

The earthworm releases concentrated earthly scents

Cosmic regeneration manifests through ants

 

There are miracles beyond the human eye

The cascading shades of mountain green

The harmonious turbulence of ocean waves

The wind that carries whispers from beyond

And the fires that give birth to a new world

 

There are colours we cannot see

Seasons we have not welcomed

Balance we fail to reach

Human contours beyond belief

Cycles of moons promise relief

 

There are humans in nature

Nature is bare and selfless…

Humans painstakingly cover nudity

Nature nurtures the human condition

Humans take, but never give

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