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

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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

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The Golden Years

Decide

The last six weeks have been the most exciting, difficult, fulfilling, and overwhelming; on both my physical body and my mind. Spiritually it has been a time of growth, of validation, and of learning to be silent and listen to the flows and rhythms of the life I have crafted for myself. I arrived in New York with a master plan, a fancy high tech video camera, and a tripod, with plans to immerse myself in the cultures of Harlem, the sixties, and their attendant politics. The only problem? I didn’t know who or how to get in touch with the people I sought. But fortune favours the brave so I jumped on that plane and arrived in the New World, settled in immediately and got onto the mission: digging in the archives of the Schomburg centre for research in black cultures, and drawing up a list of who would benefit my research, and expressing that interest to the universe.

The memorial service of Nat Nakasa in Manhattan opened my heart and my sensibilities to just how painful exile was, how alienating and disconcerting it felt, perpetually, to be in this place called New York, with no hope of ever going back to your country which forced your exit and reinforced your banned status. Whilst at this memorial service not only my heart and mind were opened, but my eyes and vision too. It was at this auspicious event that I met my now-guardian mother in the U.S., Rashidah Ismaili, whom, upon hearing of my research which brought fond memories of special bonds shared with Keorapetse Kgositsile and the larger South African struggle, took me under her wing and blasted open all the locks that would lead me to the right people. She was my universe. She has been gifted to my enduring spirit, to guide my sail and be the wind I need to move forward.

After six weeks on the joyous and nerve-wrecking ride of my New York trip, I have finally amassed valuable information to start writing my book and thinking very clearly about a documentary (I am now a one woman show, interviewing and shooting the interviews at the same time, with much ease). As I now sit in Washington DC, only now, in retrospect, I finally appreciate what it means to be still and know that the universe is working. There is only so much you can plan, but further than that is out of your control. Listen and practice the act of vision instead of just looking, only then will the signs be revealed to you. I present to you in images the activities of my last six weeks in New York. Here’s to four more exhilarating weeks as I move from Washington DC to Chicago to San Francisco to L.A, and back to New York to fly out… The golden years are NOW! Always

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As much as work was central to my visit, it was great to meet interesting New Yorkers and form bonds with new people from very interesting backgrounds and passions… With Shanita and Koeksista

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Jeffrey Allen (centre) is a writer whose book launch it was at Quincy Troupe’s house. He’s hosting various writing boot camps and workshops in South Africa from February 2015

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With published authors Jeffrey Allen, Rachel Griffiths, and Mitchell Jackson (from left to right)

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It’s been a pleasure having many Harlem-dwellers open their homes to me. Most of them could easily be art galleries, libraries, or music stores. These artists’ houses are living testament of memory as a powerful tool. When you can access the materiality of where you come from then you become unshakable…

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This is downstairs of the same house pictured above

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When I moved to Brooklyn after housesitting in Manhattan, this retired cop – then stranger – started telling me stories of working in narcotics in the NYPD, and 6 hours later we were still there, with him retelling, countlessly, the horrors of September 11 2001 when he was on duty while his wife was giving birth.

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I also interviewed Jeff Allen for my interview since he has been working with Keorapetse Kgositsile on the continent.

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The day of Maya Angelou’s memorial service held in New York by family and friends. Pictured above is one of my favourite authors of all times, Toni Morrison, whom I’m shocked to see in a wheelchair. Her talk was inspirational.

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The Riverside Church where Maya Angelou’s memorial service was held

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Always job-jobbin’. This camera and tripod started killing my back then my guardian mother bought me this pulley

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Kurt has been collecting rare books for 25 years, and is sitting on treasure in his house. He has the entire African Writer’s Series collection, and collections of the most obscure publications coming out of the continent over the decolonisation period.

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This was an inspirational ceremony held at the Riverside Church. There was wonderful music, great orators who moved us with their speeches, and Angelou’s family who were full of mirth and great humour.

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I caught up on some laughter in Little Italy with friends from my world. Life is too beautiful. I am now staying with Rachel’s parents in DC. Rachel is on the right

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Quincy Troupe is an amazing all-round artist and ex-athlete. He is the biographer of Miles Davis amongst many of his achievements. Google this great legend. We had the most amazing interview

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Quincy’s house is a living archive. He has world-acclaimed painters’ works hanging on his walls, and first editions of many books one could only dream of

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Essence Magazine hosted an event for New York Fashion Week

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I’ve been enjoying capturing the human essence with my lens. I am captivated by the camera lens. There’s no turning back. In conversation with Quincy Troupe

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Amongst the tons of work in his house, this one moved em the most. The medium, textures, and timeless grandiosity of this piece haunts me.

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Quincy Troupe with his biography of Miles Davis. I can only hope to be half as good a biographer as he is. Then again, I have to dream bigger!!

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I saw these twins with my lens and could not ignore them

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Catching Saul Williams’ performance was ordained. It came at a time I needed to feel differently and be rejuvenated. I was half way through my stay in New York and was beginning to feel strong yearning for my home, my husband, my pillows, my tea and my olive oil. He’s a wordsmith

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This man’s presence captures all attention. He commands respect and does not fall short on delivering

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I had never heard of this Ghanaian high life-punk rock band called Osekre and The Happy Bastards. They sound like younger Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Paul Simon

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I’m also proud of this image. I managed to capture a moment and Osekre’s evident joy in what he does

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High life is somewhat continental. Any African can move to its rhythms, reminding me that we are connected by the power of sound. Even as he sang in his native Ghanaian language, I could follow and repeat

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I never used to get the hype around Saul earlier in my life, but now I am a believer

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I consulted with a leading researcher in my field of research, The Black Atlantic, and he, Brent Edwards, is working on a book on Jazz. Right up my alley

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It was a great pleasure to visit Columbia University, where Keroapetse Kgositsile received his Masters. This is Brent Edwards, a man whose work I constantly make reference to in my thesis

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Wonderfully-spirited women who helped me see the error of history’s ways in representing the fight for equality and freedom as a manly struggle. They reminded me of the role women played in the civil rights movement, and how gender politics are inherently part of struggle for basic human rights. From left is Barbara Killen-Rivera, my spiritual mother and guardian Rashidah Ismaili, and Amiri Baraka

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Sam Anderson is a well-rounded artist, educator, activist, and author of The Black Holocaust, amongst many others. In his interview he sounded like he was giving a sermon, and I just sat there basking in his light

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Amina Baraka is an activist and a pillar that rises. She is the widow of Amiri Baraka and mother of the mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka

I even managed to end up in the fashion pages of the New York magazine! Now that’s what I call researching in style:

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/08/face-chains-and-wild-prints-at-the-afropunk-fest/slideshow/2014/08/25/afropunk/afropunk-18/

It is my beloved husband’s birthday: my dearest darling, the mover of my worlds and the true celebrity in my life – I am constantly reminded of your transcendental spirit because wherever I am I feel you, I see you, I hear you, and I am enveloped in the safety of your love. I have put this album together, your expression of true love, sacrifice, and undying support, for you on this birthday to hold a mirror to you and show you the person you have allowed me to become. This is the greatest gift you can ever give me: believing in me and validating my passions and higher calling. I wish to celebrate you in this way today, and am in awe everyday of the man you are. You are the nectar that makes my bouquet blossom. 

NOW

Run-Faster-ComradeI am a full stop

I stop when I’m full

Pregnant for birth

Brimming at the rim

Empty as fulfilling

Pulse of life thriving

The end and beginning

Full stop stops the fool

Who feels with eyes

And listens with fingers

Dis-ordained heart

In the wrong place

Feeling but denying

The cycle, the moment

The now that is endless

Living in the fullness

Of the full stop

Perpetually changing

The exact sameness

Immersed in nature

Bounty without taste

Is pleasure without feeling

Numbed by consistence

Sleepful awekeness

Motion, motion, motion

Cyclic—lucid, eluding

Eyes unperceptive

Enlightened third eye

Witness generation

Crystal clear

Hands up

Whose crystals are for sale?

Lacking clarity while conscious

Handing your treasures to swine

To be trampled

You’re not a tramp

You’re the ink on the stamp

That officiates your worth

The broken seal of light

The forgotten window seal

In the gutted bedroom

Of your bludgeoned soul

Keorapetse Kgositsile is a living legend and literary giant.
Did you know this song is based on his poem ‘Red Song’?
I am privileged to have/be chosen to record his legacy
I am awakened daily to the impact he has made here in the U.S.
His name energises people and make them open their hearts
The journey he has walked has culminated in the NOW
Past, present, and future all cyclic and coming together
I humbly bask in his wisdom and gyrate in the gyre

Staying True to My Heart

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Greetings from Amsterdam on this fantastic sunny day. I’m in a fabulous mood. First I must apologise for being so quiet over the last week. I have been brewing something exciting for the past three months, and last week it reached its execution period, where I had to wait until this morning to find out if the plan is green-lighted. So without wasting any time, here it goes: I’m going to be living in the United States for three months from the 1st of August!! These are most fulfilling and exciting news to me and my work. It has been a trying time for me emotionally, so a quest into the unknown is the exact literal, literary and symbolic journey I need.

I can confidently and safely tell you now that my PhD research on South African poet laureate Keorapetse Kgositsile has been approved by my department of literature at the University of Cape Town to take the form of a literary biography. For my own creative exploration and indulgence, I am also shooting a documentary that will accompany the final book project. He lived in New York for 15 years between 1960 and 1975, and I am going to live in New York for 2 months from the 1st August to chart his literary journey, interview his contemporaries—I’m looking for one particular Pharoah Sanders; universe please align—and talk to members of his family and friends in the 3rd month.

New York SubwayThis work is at the very centre of my heart, and anchors me day and night when all seems to be destabilised. Planning for this trip has been a most sacred journey as everything I have sought has been met with a resounding YES! everyone I have spoken to has been so open-minded as to see the value of this project, and even though I have never been to the U.S., I have seen New York, Chicago, San Francisco—places I will visit over the 3 months there—with my third eye. The kindness and generosity of my American interlocutors has left me feeling at ease about entering this new phase of my research and life journey.

I believe in more work and less talk, I believe in letting my work speak for itself, and I believe that plans for great work are like an intricate process of birth. I will only speak about the birth once the baby is strong, stealthy, and able to take their position in the world. So for now I’m content to share these plans with you. There are very exciting things and people I’m meeting with, but I would not want to talk about them before I have in fact met with them and engaged with their wonderful minds. Work first, then enjoyment of its fruits later. The power of the mind will now function to create something out of nothing, and this will find its time to be shared here.

As you might or might not know, whilst interviewing Kgositsile and his contemporaries—I’ve thus far interviewed Mongane Serote, Lefifi Tladi, Muxe Nkondo, Tsitsi Jaji, Stephane Roboolin—I have been shooting a documentary. This has been a true blessing in my life, and I’d like to thank my best friend Mafadi Mpuru who has been so generous as to donate a full professional television crew for these purposes. I will continue with the work of shooting a documentary in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, and once again this is made possible by the generous spirit of a friend who owns an Amsterdam production rental company.

So those are my news. New York here I come in 15 days. I received my visa this morning, for a whopping 10 years!! The Americans are generous for such a paranoid country. Well good for me because this will be my first time there, but certainly not my last. This is my life work, and I will continue to invest my time here in (re)writing our beautiful literary history. If I don’t thank my husband for his gentleness and generosity then I will be doing a great injustice unto self first. Reinier has been, and continues to be a rock. All his connections are making this come true, and without him I would be found wanting. My family’s support has let me know: a pride of lions without a leader can be defeated by a limping buffalo (directly translated from Sepedi proverb).

I will say, last but not least, when you do what you love a world of possibilities opens up and the essential things of your heart’s desire become attainable. If your dreams do not scare you it means you have not fully explored your true potential and thrust. Nothing of value can come out of comfort; we must leave, as we have left our parents’ house, that which makes our growth graph stagnant, and pursue that which makes our hearts race, guided by faith, courage, hope, and passion. There is no greater fulfilment than to create something from nothing, to live with a clear vision that propels you forward in your everyday life. Productivity equals growth, and vision equals purpose. Without productivity, vision, and purpose, our growth is stifled…

KK

Our very first meeting in 2012. I was not nervous. But I spoke a lot, which probably means I was nervous 🙂

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Ntate Lefifi Tladi has been most inspiring to engage with. He was part of Medu Arts Ensemble in the 1980s in Botswana, together with Keorapetse Kgositsile, Thami Mnyele, and Dumile Feni. His house is a living and breathing music, literary, and visual arts library. He is a writer, musician, visual artist (he made a Sistine chapel-like ceiling in his house), and performer.

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Prof. Muxe Nkondo lifted the veil off this whole research. He is a literary scholar par excellence, and helped me reveal the core intentions of this study. I am forever indebted to him.

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Ntate Mongane Serote is a living literary legend. He is also the CEO of both Jo’burg theatre and Freedom Park. He was Keorapetse Kgositsile’s student of Creative Writing in the U.S. in the early 1970s, and they lived together like gypsies, travelling to jazz concerts all over the country (U.S.)

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This man is full of humility and brilliance. Dynamites do indeed come in small packages…

GIVE…

Le Inspiration

My definition of living a full life is living in service of others. Let’s not mistake servitude with subservience—those are the exploitations of today’s capitalist world bent on constructing a pecking-ordered society instead of a communal and symbiotic one—servitude is a humble disposition that finds its source in those of light, discipline, humility, faith, and courage. Living a full life is using self as inspiration to others; it is sharing your inner light with fellow sentient; it is the perpetual resort to the third eye that connects our higher beings: respect for every fellow human, not only listening to them but hearing them, not only seeing them but acknowledging them; it is the virtue of honouring everyone’s right to freedom and integrity; a strength to expand and accept in your heart others’ differences; and an open heart that can offer a sanctuary to the downtrodden. A full life is that of servitude: in service of your body-temple, in service of your Qi and chakras—this brings about lightness, as opposed to both darkness and heaviness; in service of the god in others—this bring about discipline to honour your words and actions; in service of your dreams/vision with ultimate recognition of their service to others—this is the seat of humility and courage, for without fear we are propelled by faith, in whose company we are but humble and guided by our higher selves; and in service of the triumphant DNA of our ancestry, in whose wisdom we shall be guided and protected, in our dreams, our consciousness, and our divine paths…

And finally, don’t let the destructive behaviour of others destroy your inner peace!

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Life is not a Race

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It took me a long time to realise and fully believe that life is not a race. The reasons for this delayed epiphany are unknown and very unlike me, because I generally do focus on enjoying the journey itself and not just the destination, in everything I do. Except for my career-driven goals thus far. So many times we tell ourselves that we would like to achieve something before a certain time, as in the case of yours truly, emphasizing that I want, or actually need, to finish my PhD by age 32. Or I’ve heard so many people saying things like they need to get married by 30.

What are these numbers to us? As much as it is good and encouraged to have goals and dreams, I often wonder how it benefits us to ascribe arbitrary numbers as a benchmark to achievement. What does it mean for me to finish my PhD at 32? What does it mean to want to be married by 30? I’m struggling to attach valuable meaning to these numbers, than if I had goals to, for instance, write a prominent and outstanding PhD thesis (according to my measure of perfection) that will make an impact on the development and archiving of African literature for many decades to come, no matter how long it takes me to do so—given the unwavering support I receive from my institution and family.

Instead of making a deal with myself that I will invest passion, arduous research, and valuable time into this PhD, I have instead looked beyond the process of writing it itself, and focused on the end time, not even the end product. Why? Is it anxiety? Is it the pressures of undertaking such a remarkable project? Or is it due to the under-experienced nature of youthful thinking? I think the latter certainly applies to me. Why would I want to achieve something at a particular age, preferably closer to 30? Because when I set those goals it was then important for me to see my achievements being associated with a number that impresses everyone, and furthermore comment on my greatness – call it inundated hubris of youth…

However, with time I have learnt that life is not a race. It will not help first of all, to place your dreams adjacent to your family’s reactions, or how they are celebrated in society; number two, even if I push myself to finish my PhD at 32, which mind you I can very well do, is it more important that people celebrate the number or the work itself? It is like that other dream of getting married by 30. Is it about the wedding or the marriage? Is it about the graduation or the thesis; the academic contribution?  What is this number that is adjacent to our dreams? Is it a necessary evil?

The achievements of this nature should be viewed as some sort of rites of passages. You work hard to prepare for the graduation ceremony, for the ritual and the passage from one stage or your life to another, but in the midst and jungle of preparation, you should never lose focus of what happens after the ceremony itself, on the other side of the passage. Unlike rites of passages, the period before the graduation ceremony itself is not liminal—it is not a period of waiting, but rather a period of hard work and small achievements, of progress, to prepare yourself for the next chapter in your life. It is important that you are inward looking during that time, with no care about the exteriority of your dream: it is not time to focus on the ceremony itself.

Dreams and goals are good and well. A life without goals for the future is a life half lived. But in chasing our dreams we should never forget to invest time in the now. We should always nurture the present which will in turn nurture the dream itself. We need to celebrate our present selves: we need to celebrate the small victories, the unbreakable resolve we have, the unwavering clarity of vision, and the perpetually filled well from where we draw our strength to wake up every morning and face the challenges of our dreams. If your dream doesn’t unnerve you from time to time, then it’s not a big enough dream. On our journey to that dream we need to celebrate all our milestones, from which we can propel ourselves forward.

***Today I’m celebrating being Freshly Pressed by WordPress two days ago. It is a small achievement that encourages me to keep writing, both creatively and academically.

Creation, Memory, and Desire

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You’ve heard me on numerous occasions stating that memory is not always fixed in the past, that memory is time entangled, that it does not follow any linear pattern, that it is enmeshed with futures and presents alike. Our bodies are trapped in a time-space continuum but our minds can perceive things that we cannot touch in real life, our minds are able to construct in detail the desires of our hearts. Our minds are free to roam any space and time: we can see ourselves in distant geographical areas unseen by our eye (but seen by our third eye), and we can perceive a moment that is still to come, in our minds.

The mind is a powerful thing. The conscious mind works with the body; controlled by that space-time continuum that I spoke about. The conscious mind is related to logic and rationale, therefore you may not dare to defy nature and to go against the norm of everyday functioning. The mind however, is linked to the subconscious, or the higher self—the mind is linked to that part of you that can fly (in dreams); that harddrive of your existence where the power you were born with is still saved, where the limitations of the body are secondary.

In my everyday life I strive to let that higher self dictate the course of my passions and desires. How? I use my conscious mind as a recipient of input from my subconscious mind, so that the output or results may take place in real life. You have heard this before, somewhere, hidden beneath clichés. The mind, at least the conscious one, takes instructions from you in the form of your thoughts: if you choose to feel self-pity, your mind takes it as an order and makes it happen, you even start welling up; if you choose to go into a meeting and kick ass, the conscious mind takes that instruction and you go in there charged by positivity, you even notice others being infected by your energy. We give our conscious mind instructions every living breath; it is up to us to keyboard in some positivity.

ImageWhen I was writing my Masters I was full of confidence; I was writing on an issue I loved, I had great command of my subject, I had full financial support from the university, and I had the capacity to do it. I was left to my own devices to write it in two years and hand it in. I was very confident but I had moments when I whimpered with fear and sat in a corner. In those moments I would imagine failing and having so much money and time to pay back to the university. We all have that, our moments of doubts. In those times, and many more, I changed the narrative in my mind, I keyboarded to my subconscious mind a very clear picture of my graduation day, where the Dean would say once again (said during my Honours graduation), “With distinction, Uhuru Mahlodi Phalafala”; I would feel the emotions of walking the planks proud of my achievements; I would feel the intensity of that moment so much that I would cry each time (and I re-lived this moment a lot in my mind).

I used my subconscious mind to access a future, I freed my mind to function outside of a time-space continuum. I released my mind to go secure the future for me. I arranged to detail the ongoings of that day. I saw that graduation gown, I saw the eyeliner causing a callous mess on my face; it was real. In my future memory I am finished with my PhD and am Dr. Phalafala-Smit; I just have to get through writing it in physical time and space. This is my life. A life lived without fear, a life of courage. A life of faith. With faith and the power of my mind (which I was born with and which in inherent in every one of us), with my higher self I managed rope into being and existence an otherwise abstract thought. I brought it onto my lap, within reach—when the letter arrived to say I would indeed graduate with distinction, I wept because I nurtured that vision like a child, I treated it as delicate as it was, and moulded it into a strong physical existence. I was in charge.

This is my life belief system: I believe in myself before anything else; I believe in the higher self that has consistently shown itself to me; I believe in the power of my mind; I believe! That is the first hurdle, to believe. Once you believe, you can conceive, and consequently achieve. Start forming a different narrative in your head; send detailed and real life images to your subconscious mind and let it take care of the rest, through faith. Live a life without fear or doubt, and use the treasures and magic of your higher self to conclude meetings before they even happen. Take control of your magic, own your treasures, and set your mind free…