Over a decade ago, I came across a quote which has stayed in my memory since:
"Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen.
Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light"
The quote has special resonance for me now, given how good I feel about this year, in contrast to the last. Incidentally, as I look back through my Instagram feed from the past couple of months, there are quite a few photos that play with this contrast between darkness and light. Above and below are a few – catch the full story behind each, over on Instagram.
Continue reading “In Pictures: When Darkness Meets the Light”
Maya Angelou lived such a full and creative life: poet, dancer, film and television producer, playwright, film director, author and actress. Not to forget the creative acts of educating and changemaking, in her work as a teacher and civil rights activist.
I remember reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings when I was younger and feeling like I'd found a role model who I could relate to. Maya Angelou's spirit of adventure, her prolific creative output and her positive mindset are all things that inspire me and that I aspire to.
Above – an illustrated tribute that I made today – to the phenomenal woman. Below – some more of my favourite Maya quotes:
"Nothing will work unless you do."
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
"If you're always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."
(Check out more powerful Maya Angelou quotes on policymic.com)
Illustration by Lulu Kitololo
Continue reading “RIP to the Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou”
Happy Monday everybody! I hope you're as charged for this new week as I am. This Saturday, Afri-love celebrates its one year anniversary! I can't believe it's arrived so quickly. I am so happy that I've maintained the momentum for this long – though there have been some busy times where I've posted less than I've wanted. I'm so grateful to all of you who read, take the time to comment, interact via Facebook or Twitter and sign up to the mailing list.
I came across this poignant quote last night:
Continue reading “One year doing nothing but working on myself (plus giving away a film!)”
"But please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. Or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labour so to bring into the world."
— Alice Walker, In Search of our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose
Who better than Alice Walker to kick-off Women's Week! How to describe her work? Many would say feminist, activist etc. … but I think ultimately, her work celebrates humanity in all of it's complex, layered, conflicted, hypocritical, beautiful, disturbing, amazing glory. That often involves talking about what a lot of other people don't talk about and it is there that I have found myself reflected in her work. As a woman, as a black woman, as an artist, as a seeker, as a complicated human being.
Her work reminds me that I am special, significant and interesting, just the way I am. It is with this same affirmation in mind that I have chosen today's quote. A reminder that we are all wonderful the way we are and that nobody should ever succeed in convincing us otherwise. Nor should we give them opportunity to try!
Here's to a fantastic week spent remembering our beauty and strength.
PS There are some truly beautiful photos of Alice Walker here.
PPS In Search of our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose is a great Women's Week read. It is a collection of essays celebrating women's stories and spirituality through the ages, their culture and their strength. From continent to continent and generation to generation, she explores the thread linking women writers through history.
To jump on the Valentine's Day bandwagon somewhat, I chose a quote that talks of love. Then again, ultimately, everything on this blog talks of love. Particularly, self-love. It is with that focus that I share with you this week's quote:
"When we can meet ourselves where we are and treat ourselves with compassion, then we are able to meet others where they are and to engage with the world with compassion.
… We are all capable of great things when we find our own authentic and unique place in the world."
— Marianne Elliot, Zen Peace-keeper and change-maker (definitely check her out)
Reflecting in my morning pages earlier, I came up with a new mantra for myself that is quite appropriate here. The context was largely work-related, being that my services are charged according to time spent. People who are not used to thinking of their time in terms of money, sometimes don't appreciate that mine is literally worth money. One related consequence is being shortchanged and another is that it's often challenging to find enough time for myself. So, by heaping and asserting all this value around my time, I can hopefully get across just how valuable it is. Long story short, this is the mantra and I think it applies to several other contexts as well: "By valuing myself, I confirm that I am valuable."
Indeed, by valuing ourselves, we confirm, assert even, that we are valuable. As our comrades in Tunisia and Egypt have recently shown!