Monday, December 30, 2013

The Genuinely Nice Bus Driver Who is Looking for Someone Nice

I wonder if the emotions we project are the
same emotions we get back, no matter what time or place
we are in at any given moment. 

(photo by Tameca L Coleman, 
found on Colfax, graffiti in chalk, Denver)
On my way home tonight, I was greeted by a happy and polite bus driver who complimented me on my smile and manners. I told him thanks and went to a seat. He seemed nice. This made me smile more.

We talked for the length of my bus ride home or rather, mostly I listened and answered when an answer was requested. He related that he was ex-military and had moved from the city of Lost Angels because he couldn't find women there who were anything but hostile and mean. He spoke of the '70s and of how women seemed to be different then, maybe even people generally.

"There was more politeness. People smiled more. They complimented each other," he said.

He then related that he had been on a search for a wife for many years. He hadn't found her yet, not even after having moved to Denver, a city which upon first visit he considered much more polite than L.A. His move was sixteen years ago, probably many years after he had first checked out Denver.

Today, two ladies on the bus, myself and a girl in her early twenties had shown the bus driver that nice people still exist. I was happy that I was not in one of my grumpy or despondent moods.

So, I continued to listen. He went on and related that even here in Denver, women had become a bit sour sometimes and though polite, often distant as if their politeness was a face that they had put on with their makeup.

I wasn't sure what to make of all this but I was reminded of a video I had seen, maybe a couple of weeks ago, of a Q&A section on an episode of Soul Train. It was from the seventies and it seemed that every person who had gotten up to the mic to ask the band questions was soft and well spoken and coming from a place of utter genuineness. Also, no one pushed to the mic but listened and waited gently. Of course, this was television. It may or may not have had something to do with it.

I remembered the Q&A session because to me, it was so different than the way I see people portrayed in media now, or even at my work as a barista. Often, it seems that people tend to be more direct in such a way that seems quite rude, even for us Americans. We live in a fast paced world with many distractions, interruptions, and much noise. Cutting through it all perhaps has become a necessity (?).

I wondered then, if it was just a different time. The episode I had watched looked like it was from the seventies. Everyone in the episode seemed to take great care not only in their speech but in their dress. Despite them all being on air, it really felt as if the people here were indeed more gentle somehow, even with all of the things that were happening during that time, historically.

Proof that sometimes I am maybe not nice. If looks could
kill, right? 
Then I tried to remember back to places I have lived and visited and it seemed to me that there were nice people everywhere, mean people, too. It didn't matter if it was on the East Coast or West, the South or the mid-states. It could be small towns or bigger cities. Still, everywhere I've been, over 3 decades and then some, places seemed to feature all kinds of people, mean, nice, and of varying degrees. It didn't matter where they were from.

People seemed to interact with others by way of whatever experiences and interpretations of those experiences that they carried. To me, this seems to point to something. Despite changing times, despite tumult, being held in comfort or harms way, depending on what and how people carried things determined whether they were generally nice or not. Sometimes that meant inconsistency as each day carried perhaps different stresses or boons. Further, whatever perceptions were received probably had something to do with it.

I'm used to tired and over-worked bus drivers who say nothing to their passengers and are sometimes very curt and mean if they speak at all (depending on the route and how much they have to deal with) so it was a nice surprise to me tonight to be received onto a bus where the driver was smiling and happy and wanting to engage with me, a total stranger! I was more than happy to have a conversation with him. It was so easy, and just because he smiled and engaged.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Counting on My Word

Selfie with a blue Billie
Many years ago, I'd picked up Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements. It was a recommendation from a friend, one which I deemed as a good one. The agreements were so simple and still quite powerful. Powerful enough even to write a song  melody and lyric based on the first agreement.

The agreement goes like this:
Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Lately, I've made moves to make room for the work that I want to do , as well as the collaborations that have been forming. I've decided to follow a best friend's advice, "Just Do You." That means despite certain opportunities that I may be shirking, I am turning in and focusing on the promises I have made to myself. I can't keep promises outwardly if I can't keep them with myself. I have been having a hard time consistently delivering the kind of work that the projects I love and want to support deserve and part of that is because I have not been working on consistent delivery in my own life.

I look around my little apartment and I see the writing which has been started and piled on the desk but not redrafted, let alone sent someplace or being read by anyone. It's collecting dust. The dishes are piled in the sink. The laundry is unwashed. The room is a mess. The bill collectors are calling. . . .

I was reminded then of the song I mentioned above and I imagined, for the first time since its creation, singing it to my self. I'm keeping my word because I am counting on it. How else can I be happy with myself? How else can I be a success? How else can I have plenty enough and more from which to give?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just Do You

 I walk with an aim for no fear and with movement
towards clarity, true love, and equanimity.
Doodle heart by Tameca L Coleman.
One of my new friends in music, Ahmad JP wrote the following on his Facebook page today: 
I'd tell you a personal milestone but my path is irrelevant to your own. So, just keep doing what you need to do for you and reap what you've sown.
I was annoyed at first. I loved the message but at the same time, it grated on me. 

I felt, and mentioned on his page, that there is power in telling stories. I'm thinking of all the times in which I have read something that hit me in such away that either inspired me to keep doing what I was doing, or to at least keep putting one foot in front of the other, while realizing that perhaps some of my stories might do the same for other people, as well. 

But that's the thing. I was inspired to keep doing my own do. 

I also wrote this in response to his post: 
Of course, most of us are too confessional, way too self-important. Our stories could distract others from their own due. Thank you, therefore, for the reminder that there's a gift, sacred and true, inside each and every one of us.
All any of us can do is speak to our own experience and tell how we did what we did. How we did something may not be true for someone else. We can teach our way and while there is value in that, there's more value, perhaps in getting to that spot within where the ingenuity of one's own essence can be sparked. This is a self-empowered light and I believe, the most powerful motivation and the most productive action. 

Ahmad's quote for me was compounded when I'd called my best friend for a check in and some help today. I told her, in frustration, about all the projects I was trying to do. Most of the projects weren't even my own. And you know what she said? "Just do you." 

It's not a message that is new. My Stepdad always said something similar while I was growing up, "'Meca, just keep doin' what you're doin'." 

Truth. I mean, what else can I do? It's more than fair to give my ideas a chance. If you want to hear about it, we can share. I might want to hear about your way, too. We can have tea and share our adventures and know that as long as we are walking in line with our own inner light and compass, we are doing our do, honest and true. In the meantime, I'm doing my work and perhaps my friend Ahmad is right about it. My experience is my own and the work is most important. We all have our own work to do and the prospects of that are simply beautiful (!).

I'm layin' down some seeds, and cutting loose the chaff for real this time

Also, if the message wasn't compounded enough, another friend who is becoming dear posted the following video by India Arie. I hope that it inspires you. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Never Was One of the Cool Kids

What can I say? Old habits die hard.
The back of my arm is apparently a
pertinent extension of my paper planner.
I used to use my hand. It was always covered with notes. Someone told me it was low class to do that and bought me a little paper notebook. I never did get the hang of it. I forgot all kinds of things. I need to get back to left hand scratch pad for notes technique; works much better for me. --Archduke Griffith.

In a previous post, I considered image and how it was affecting my communication effectiveness. Writing on my arm was one of the things that kept coming up and that I'd mentioned in the post. 

I had a recurring experience at work in which, while talking with say, customers,  I would notice them get distracted by my notes. Some would make a joke of it and I would play along. Some others would lecture me about how gross it was, or how it was dishonoring my parents somehow. Others would just stop in disgust mid-sentence and move on (and some folks really didn't care, which was nice).

Today, there were so many things that I needed to remember and I was running around without a pad or pen (save for the sharpie I usually carry in a pocket at work), so I again wrote the list on my arm. 

Old habits die hard and today, I made no excuses for them. I giggled at myself and continued to get my stuff done.

While meeting folks part way towards what they need for communication in order to get the communication done in a successful manner is important, while understanding where they are, their culture, if you will, I believe it is also important to consider and respect your own needs. Today, I did this. What's on my arm would not have been remembered had I not found a method that worked for me. Had I been at a networking event, job interview, or family reunion, I might have been very thankful that today, wearing long sleeves would not have given me the profuse sticky sweats. It's Fall! Otherwise, being a barista who is bustling behind the bar with a sharpie and some stuff to remember, shouldn't receive the flack it's been getting from the customers on the other side. And if the flack comes, why should I worry about it? I'm learning what works for me and going with it, respecting where I am as I would try to respect where anyone else is. It's not getting in the way of my work.

For whatever that's worth. . . .  It's meant as no offence to anyone. It's really just a way for me to remember to get my stuff done. 

Also, you may disagree. I'd be happy to hear about it:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm Stepping Back a Bit from Many Things, and This is Why

sunrise: downtown denver
Over the last few days, I realized something about myself that maybe I've always known but was never really able to put into words. I have this tendency to fall in love with other peoples' dreams. I get high on others' excitement of their dreams and I want to see those things happen with them. I get carried away. I want to be involved and be a part of a team that sees those dreams to success. As a result of this, I add everything I can to those dreams, often multiple dreams of others at once, until I feel pretty depleted. Lately, I have been flaking out on many things (and by lately, I mean something like the last five years or more) and I have had to ask myself why the flaking happens.

see. i wasn't kidding. this is saved stuff to sift through and to work on.
I have boxes upon boxes of unfinished work of my own in the closet; recordings (scratch tapes, drafts, poem snippets, etc.), journals, parts of stories, images, and even more ideas I haven't even written down yet. I want to get in shape, be able to travel, and create something meaningful. I want a windowsill garden, and to take better care of myself. I want to create substantial means for myself, maybe even a name in music and writing, perhaps in some other areas, as well. I would love for the writing and music and other projects to bring in some of the means I seek.

The thing is, I have been giving away most of my time minus the time I spend making a small means and sleeping.

I had been doing a lot of unaccounted for free and gift-based work for some non-profits, friends, and other artists in social media management and consulting as a way to experientially learn the trade since about last winter. I called this my internship and I was pretty happy to do all that work. I learned a lot, gained some trackable results, and even gained some references, as well.  At some point, however, something in me changed. I felt that depletion I've mentioned. I felt a little used, maybe, a little taken advantage of as the demands of this work increased. I wasn't sure why I felt this. I'd chosen projects that I was really excited about, and I'd chosen people to work with whom I adored.  I wanted to give my all. Still, the depletion. I woke up mornings with dread and simply no longer wanted to do any of it, especially after I'd figured out just how much time I was giving.

some new work i have been working on. nope. you can't see it yet.
Two or three months ago, a dear friend gave me some tips on learning how to bill. I considered this the next step in my internship, as I wanted to figure out how to market the skills and knowledge that I had been accumulating, or at least keep track of my pro bono work for tax purposes. I took out a notebook and a pen at the beginning of the month and began keeping track. I logged the projects and the hours spent while learning about how much people get paid to do the work. I learned that while my paying job took up about 120 hours of my month (which barely sustains me at present -- last month I deposited my laundry quarters into the bank to barely make my rent) my unpaid work added up to just as much time, if not more. Further, I was paying some money out of pocket to accomplish certain things required of the volunteer and gift-based work.

What I was doing was not sustainable. While there are many things I want to support, I have to really pull back and pay attention first to my own needs. I have to figure out ways to self-sustain and better so that I can have more to give without depleting myself or pulling the carpet out of the role of any project I may be assisting or heading. Further, regarding my own dreams: How much should I give and for how long before I can finally sit down and get to my own dreams? I have work to do but it can't all be in giving it away no matter how much I love someone, their project, their goals, their agenda, their dreams. <3 br="">

Monday, July 15, 2013

Image (or when in Rome)

I hate to admit it but the way I dress influences my communication effectiveness.

It's not new to me that dress influences perceptions and can create barriers or openings to communication. For most of my life, I've taken a very nondescript approach to the way I dress. I have wanted to be approachable while claiming that I'm utilitarian (so as to not let on that I am manipulating my dress for the sake of approachability). My typical nondescript style of dress works for stages, working in coffee shops, working in offices, paying visits to important people, being a pedestrian, matching clothes in a pinch or in a hurry, and washing economically (always in cold!).

Lately, I've become a bit lazy about the way I dress, however. My typical nondescript dress has transformed, I suppose, into a bit of a rebellion where I let my clothes wear out to shreds. I pull my hair back in a messy little bun and wear my shoes into the ground. I even write notes to myself on my arm.

I've been reading a lot lately about effective communication. It's become important to be able to communicate with many kinds of people because of the different kinds of work I do and because of the many different circles I run in. In one of the books I have been reading (Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere by Gayle Cotton), I learned that there are only two kinds of communication: effective communication and miscommunication. Dress can be a form of miscommunication. For example, if you want to connect with people and you are slovenly in an environment in which slovenly is not the norm, people may have already decided whether you are worth listening to or not. This could be a crucial thing in some cases.

I also learned that in order to effectively communicate, one must be proactive, which sometimes means dressing the part when in Rome (to your level of comfort, of course). If I want people to open up, perhaps I should take more personal care in the way I present myself. If I want to be taken seriously, perhaps I should nix the crib note taking on my arm and find a proper pair of shoes. If I go to certain parts of India, and I want to proactively communicate, it may prove helpful to dress in the native dress to show that I want to be active in that community. If I go to a rock concert, it might be a good idea to not wear my business casual meeting attire but perhaps instead, a rock concert t-shirt.

I feel that many friends will say that this is a load. I think I have been saying this, too. Why should I change to fit someone else's expectations? Lately, while at work or wherever I am, I have had this sinking feeling that I am not taken very seriously or that I am somehow unapproachable (see rebellion cribs above). I would love to be able to just talk with people without having to cater my dress to whatever environment I might find myself in. It does seem, however, that the world doesn't really work that way. A first impression in most cases can make or break us, open us up to new conversations and bring on some strikes that are difficult to remove once pitched. I have to be proactive if I want to make an impression and further, the way I dress is a sort of communication.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Furthering My Geekery in Music: Researching the Concept Album

because i have no records in the house, i'm posting an old picture of thrown away tapes
from umpteen million years ago
My friend Matt Channing and I talk  a lot about music ideas, history, and techniques in our band rehearsals for Month of Sundays. One of the ideas that keeps coming up is the idea of the concept album. We've been talking about the concept album, really, because we want to make one (or maybe more than one! who knows!).

I've found that I don't really know a whole lot about the concept album. I mean, it makes sense to create a slew of tunes and also related performances around a theme. I get all of that. I just have never really thought about the concept album in depth until round about now. I'm suddenly smitten and curious. As a result, I've decided to do a little research and make it collaborative and interactive to those who might want to participate. Here's the link should you want to read, conversate, contribute, or offer insights/feedback/comments/etc.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The New Poetry Journal

old poetry journal cover featuring some of the poets
whose work I studied during the course
It's been almost four years since I completed my undergrad in writing. 

Many friends from the program I attended have gone off and on to amazing MFAs, have published pretty significantly, or have become technical writers, content writers, slam poets of note, blog writers, adjunct professors, poetry award winners, and writers on the sides of many other things like myself. 

I feel that I have lost my academic discipline, rigor, and mind-set to the point that even keeping to a simple writing schedule has been challenging because of all the transitions of life. I think that discipline and rigor are important. Write, draft, write, draft, etc. and all the reading and living and absorbing that goes along between the writings and redraftings. . . and then of course there's the finishing and the sending off part (because too many of us never even try publishing, even in a world where publishing has become as simple as this blog post). 

Writing needs to be a practice. It needs to have some sort of routine or anchor. 

example pages from old poetry notebook featuring found poetry
and one of the poetry experiments form the class

I've been wanting to get back into writing in a disciplined way, with goals and deadlines, projects and brainstorms, research and more research. I especially have been wanting to get back to this work because I feel obligated. I make claims sometimes that I am a writer, a poet, and there are people who are asking me to either perform work or submit something, and there are still others asking if I might host a workshop, salon, or another non-sequitur exquisite corpse party. I feel obligated, not only to those calls and inquiries but to my own call which becomes an anxious one if I am not doing this work. That call trumps any fear that my work might suck or that it might not mean anything to anyone.

I wasn't sure how to start. I own more than 2000 books, at least two bookshelves of which contain poetry anthologies and chapbooks, books about craft, books about poets, books of letters from poets to poets, etc. It's just too overwhelming. Aside from the library, there are the local poets I want to keep tabs on, the poets from the hub of my home town, friends from school, and I of course want to keep up with and continually hone my own craft. 

In college, one of my professors had us make a Poetry Journal in one of her classes so that we could really marinate over poems and poets we learned about during the course of the class. In the books, we tried out poetry experiments, looked for and pasted in found poetry, pictures of things, pictures of poets, and works of theirs that we had copy-changed. We listed quotes that we liked from the poems, pasted in lines, stanzas, wrote our thoughts about them, wrote letters to the poets we admired and asked them questions, told them what we thought. . . .

a collection of favorite lines from some of the
poems of Mina Loy.
I have thought about that journal off and on since then. I have even posted a couple of things from that journal onto this blog with the intention of posting more (see "Accessible Poetry First," as an example). Things have been transitioning for me so I haven't been able to scan what pages I really want to include but I have many blank notebooks and lots of pens. 

Last night, I opened up Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey's book Thrall and I couldn't get past the two first quotes on the page preceding the contents and the poems. I was reminded of my old poetry journal from class, found one of my blank moleskins and made my very first little entry, the quotes, my thoughts about them, and soon, there will be snippets featuring lines that I like best, quotes from the poet, and perhaps even some of my own work as response. I am excited about this because it feels like direction. It's an assignment, self-assigned, and an anchor back into the discipline, an anchor of study that relates directly to craft.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How Natasha Trethewey's Chapbook Thrall Begins

I just found the following quotes as the introduction to the chapbook called Thrall, which was written by Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey:

What is love?
One name for it is knowledge.
    --Robert Penn Warren. 
After such knowledge, what forgiveness?     --T.S. Eliot.

What a beautiful beginning to a poet whose work I had not yet read!

I haven't much to say yet about the work that is inside. To be honest, I stopped at the quotes. While I understand the quotes have other significance in context, they also have significance to me without their context. Further, the quotes bring together two of my favorite poetry forms which are the found poem and exquisite corpse

Monday, February 25, 2013

Self-Made Internships are Still the Best!

I have always been a really big fan of the self-made internship. I have even written a couple of articles about it for college students ("It's Not Just a Catchphrase! Get Involved!" and "Starting a Club Equals Your Best Internship."). 

Over the last little while, I have been working with my friends over at the Shiva Mandir Center for Vedic and Yogic Studies, helping to edit, create and consult on blog content, and work on social media management. This has been quite the learning experience for me as I didn't know how much I knew already from my personal usage of blogs and social media. I didn't know how valuable these skills and services were to people, either. Also, I didn't realize what wonderful tools existed that I didn't already know about. Further, writing, editing, and even just reading the content that I am fed to post, has been enlightening,as I am very interested in Vedic and Yogic knowledge. 

I am also very excited about all this because it may very well turn in to some much needed work for me and because it utilizes skills that I both seem to be really good at and really enjoy. It also fits in to some of my other interests such as yoga, music, and even massage therapy. Further, I now have references for the work that I have been doing (and I didn't even know it could be called work until maybe a few months ago!).

I thought I would post a guest blog that I had written on the site, late January (which you can view HERE), as well as a link to the blog generally(which you can view HERE). Please check it out! There is a lot of wonderful information there, coming from many of the teachers and students who are in and out of Shiva Mandir. 

This has been one of the best and most rewarding internships I have had, and I didn't even know it was going to be such a thing!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Can't Afford to Be Sick! What Do I Do?

A Handful of Remedies From My Friend Base (originally published at Yahoo Contributor Network)

In about a week, I am scheduled for an audition. Up until a couple of days ago, I was fine. My vocal chords were well-oiled and I hadn't caught the icky flu that's been going around. I was pretty proud of that. I even bragged about not really ever getting sick. And after telling everyone I do not get sick, I did! Needless to say, I am not pleased. I can't afford to cough and burn! I need to get rid of this ick in a flash!
Luckily, I can query friends for help and have. Below follow some of the responses I received to my call for best remedies:
Boil ginger in water, add honey, add cayenne: I like this suggestion very much because I don't have to go very far. I'm already feeling a bit feverish. Yay to the fact that the ingredients are all in my house! Plus, the brew is tasty. It's spicy and warms the body. Drinking it right away smooths the throat so I can talk on the phone a bit and it makes me warm when perhaps I had a bit of a chill before.
I found a recipe online for this: I thought I would give you one since I tend to throw ingredients into pots willynilly. I think a nice addition to this could be some fresh squeezed lemon juice and/or some green tea (which was another suggestion from a friend, "Drink copious amounts!").
Just a short note about the benefits of each of the ingredients (resources for where I've found the information appear underneath the links): The honey coats the throat and even can be used on its own as a cough remedy. Ginger reduces inflammation, strengthens immunity, and keeps the stomach tame. It has many other benefits, as well. Cayenne pepper helps to break up the congestion associated with the flu, also helps with keeping the stomach tame, is an anti-inflammatory, and as I've mentioned, warming. Lemon strengthens the immune system, provides a lot of that vitamin C we're always talking about during cold and flu season, and goes well with the green tea as it may improve the antioxidant properties in each.
To me, this sounds (and feels!) like a great elixir. I'm essentially drinking it non-stop.
Garlic!: Now here's a superstar in the flu-attacking world. It's an immunity booster and simple to incorporate into your life. It's great for preventing colds and flu and can be made into a tea when you've caught either of those. Garlic can open the bronchial passages and reduce flu symptoms. It's great if taken at the first sign of the flu.
Garlic is great used as a preventative measure, as well. I plan to increase its usage in my daily cooking. This is preventative medicine that tastes good, and it's another ingredient found right here in my kitchen!
Try this recipe to knock the ick out fast!:
1 cup hot green tea (see benefits above)
Juice of one orange (Vitamin C, Immunity Booster, anti-inflammatory)
1 inch peeled and grated ginger
1 teaspoon of Agave Nectar
1 drop each of echinacea, Vitamin C, and zinc
This looks like a remedy that doesn't mess around! I may very well be bundling up and trekking to the store! I've listed links in my resources below for more information on the benefits of each of the ingredients we have not yet talked about.
Black pepper, honey, and a dash of cayenne and turmeric: Here's another warming beverage which is a traditional familial recipe one of my friends has shared. I wanted to note the warming qualities of this drink (!). It reminds me of the fever that often accompanies the flu., I found that fever is, in most cases, a natural reaction of the body which is not necessarily dangerous in and of itself. Fever creates an environment in the body wherein viruses and bacteria cannot survive and prompts the body's internal defenses into action. Keeping the body warm during a flu, then, is no wives tale. With this recipe you can warm the body from the inside. Less shivers and all the heat!
Don't forget lots of water and sleep!: When we are not taking care of ourselves, we are more prone to have weakened immune systems. Sleep is an important aspect of immunity and water is important in flushing away toxins and keeping the body hydrated .
I hope this information helps you as it is helping me! I feel so much better already!

Sources Cited / For further information:
Alabi, Monica. "The 13 Health Benefits of Garlic." The Herbal Magazine RSS . The Herbal Magazine, 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
"Facebook Inquiry: What Are Your Best Flu Remedies?" Online interview. 21 Jan. 2013.
Feature, Denise MannWebMD. "Lack of Sleep and the Immune System." WebMD . WebMD, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
"Fever." : Health24: Diseases A to Z . Health24, May 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Hunt, Jennifer. "Using Proper Hydration to Combat Cold and Flu." Modern Alternative Health RSS . Modern Alternative Health, 26 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Parker-Pope, Tara. "For Cold Virus, Zinc May Edge Out Even Chicken Soup." Well For Cold Virus Zinc May Edge Out Even Chicken Soup Comments . New York Times, 15 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Regan, Dr. Kathleen. "Momâ s Homemade Flu Recipe: Garlic and Ginger." Regan Naturopathic RSS . Regan Naturopathic, 3 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
Rivers, Dee. "Raw Garlic for the Flu." LIVESTRONG.COM ., 22 June 2010. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
"Taking Echinacea to Treat Colds: Benefits & Side Effects." WebMD . WebMD, 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.
"Vitamin C for Colds: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses." WebMD . WebMD, 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2013.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to be Alone / Aloneness is a Freedom

The Holiday Season 2012/13 was the worse it's ever been for me. My family resides in multiple states other than the one I live in. I haven't means at this time to visit any one of those places let alone all or some. Family isn't able come either. 

A good deal of my core friend base in the last year or so has significantly shifted. At the end of 2011, I really had felt a part of a community, a tribe, and I was happily looking forward to working within that tribe as this sense of belonging was something that I had been yearning for. I also felt that I had some direction because of that belonging.

But then chaos happened, misunderstandings, emotions, moves, mistakes, and other stresses which caused rifts in loves and friendships, and a more desperate scrabbling for means. I wasn't sure I knew myself, let alone what I wanted and even thought to run away from it all, despite the deepening sense of alienation that a move such as that could cause. 

The changes and transformations of last year left me in a despairing mess of loneliness that I was not sure I could shirk but lucky for me, my stubbornness kicked in and I realized what a freedom aloneness is. While everyone else was participating in the rush of the holidays, I had some space. I had some peace. I began remembering all the things that I had wanted to put in place for myself before belonging, before the chaos and the ripping apart of dreams. All was well and as it was supposed to be! I realized how much I had, what love I had around me, and I began to have a gist of all the things I have available to offer. 

I wanted to share this video because time and time again it shows up for me when I've forgotten the value of aloneness. It is beautiful, inspiring, and absolutely healing. I hope that I remember to watch it should I ever again enter a despairing and forgetful state of loneliness.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Latency is Pure Potentiality

  --old journal doodleby Tameca L Coleman

I have a confession to make: I'm scared. I'm so scared that I have taken plenty of time to hide. I have bottled up my words, and music, waiting for a time when I am no longer afraid.

I'm supposedly a writer, amongst other things. Frankly, I haven't been writing a lot since I graduated from my undergrad. I journal some but even that has been on the wane. Most of my published works have appeared in small or defunct journals and it's hard to see peoples' eyes glaze sometimes because they want to know someone who has actually done something, is doing something, or at least looks like they are doing something. Small and defunct journals are often only important to the people that are published in them. Further, my lack of consistency and fear has turned into boxes upon boxes of things to sift through in the closet and latency.

Just a bit ago, some friends on different occasions asked me whether I blog. I directed them here, kind of shyly, with a bunch of referring to the word "latent." I didn't realize it then but it turns out that the word suggests pure potentiality, something lying in wait, dormant, with potential for expression. I'm glad that I somehow knew to use that word. When I told my friends about my creative latency I was initially beating myself up about the whole thing, feeling that perhaps I was lying when I still considered myself a writer. Maybe I was hobbyist who spent loads of time and money on the fun! I am known by many to be a meanderer with a penchant for fantasy. However, as I write this, I can't get the image of a seed just sprouting and greening, pushing its little head above the earth to meet the sun.

"Slumbering Sun" -- old journal doodle by Tameca L Coleman
So, what prompts a post at all? This is Blogger. This is indie. I do not make money with these posts here and no one really knows me from the man in the moon! This may not be productive. I am not considered an expert on much. I haven't shown or proven anything. Blogs for most are public diaries. . . .

Well, there are the friends who ask me if I do this, and say that they will link what I do here to what they do. That's inspiring. Further, what I have been feeling has been reflected back to me in myriad emails and conversations from friends, teachers, and others in my community who have something to say and are timid about saying it. But here we are. We have to start somewhere, and who knows what can happen with consistent and small actions, showing up, putting a little something towards those things we say we do and those things we want and need to say.

Here's to that, and waking up, pushing our heads at last above the earth to reach the sun!