Category Archives: pause

pleasure is political

In remembered rapture, bell hooks writes of visits to Toni Cade Bambara shortly before her death. I want to share what hooks writes about the subject of their last conversation because so many of my friends – especially my friends who are teachers, activists, writers, and/or scholars, jobs that often involve constant work with and against and for political and ideological convictions – have at one time or another had to learn, and re-learn, the importance of making time for self-care. As Audre Lorde reminds me daily from my phone’s home-screen: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

hooks writes:

Toni wanted to talk seriously with me about her concern that I was working too much. She felt I was allowing myself to become too isolated, that I needed to get out more, to socialize–to have more fun. We talked about the fun times we had shared. We talked about the place of pleasure in our lives. She wanted me to remember that pleasure is political–for the capacity to relax and play renews the spirit and makes it possible for us to come to the work of writing clearer, ready for the journey.

from remembered rapture: the writer at work, page 237

bellhooks

Body Intelligence

Body Intelligence (an excerpt)
by Rumi

Your intelligence is always with you,
overseeing your body, even though
you may not be aware of its work.

If you start doing something against
your health, your intelligence
will eventually scold you.

If it hadn’t been so lovingly close by,
and so constantly monitoring,
how could it rebuke?

You and your intelligence
are like the beauty and precision
of an astrolabe.

Together, you calculate how near
existence is to the sun!

Your intelligence is marvelously intimate.
It’s not in front of you or behind,
or to the left or the right.

The beginning of a poem by Rumi, reminding us that body and mind are meant to work in harmony, neither being sacrificed for the other.

From The Essential Rumi (New Expanded Edition). Translated by Coleman Barks. Page 151.

As we approach the holidays…

…or as they barrel down on us, remember we have the option to do things differently this year. One option, as proposed by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, is to opt out of the shopping madness. In his post, “The Zen Habits Holiday Gift Guide,” Babauta reminds us:

The loved ones in your life are worth more than a few clicks online and a hit to your credit card.

If you’re feeling like opting out of the season’s shopping sensation, check out the rest of Babauta’s post for alternative ideas. If you usually go alternative and are feeling like spending more dollars and less time this year, don’t be afraid to embrace that difference as well. Because major shopping seems the norm, we forget that it can be a change of pace for a group of people who might be too exhausted to create a homemade gift or personalized experience.  If you won’t be putting yourself in debt, an hour on Amazon buying gifts might be the sanest option for you.

All this to say, before jumping on one or another of the gift-giving bandwagons, think first about what the cost of the season might be for you in terms of not just your financial well-being, but also your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

“mighty work”

Corporeal healing.

The image below is from dream hampton’s Facebook feed. For those of you who don’t have access, or don’t want to go to Facebook anytime soon, I’ve quoted her caption below the image. The pain here is visceral but, I’d like to think, so is the healing. The regenerating and readying to fight for change.

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Yesterday I got a call from my sister Cheeraz Gormon in St. Louis who was standing with poet Elizabeth Vega. They wanted me to know that a few women had created, on lawns, in the streets, healing stations, a place where the youth could come and scream and cry and be held and heard in love. Mighty work.

 

 

What do you love?

The folks at JacksGap, an online blog and video project, asked their readers and friends the question “What do you love?” Participants sent in Skype video messages to answer the question. JacksGap reports receiving “over 2500 submissions from twenty different countries in fifteen different languages.” The best part? It reminds us that there are so many ways that despite our differences, real or imagined, we have similar experiences of this being human…

I was an English teacher…

"I was an English teacher. The demands of the system required that I give out grades, but I never felt good about it. How do you grade someone’s writing? Writing is about revision. It’s about access to self. If a student writes a poem, and it’s the best they can do at the moment, how are you supposed to compare that to the student sitting next to them? How are you supposed to give one a 90, and one an 85?" Source: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/90761463721/i-was-an-english-teacher-the-demands-of-the
“I was an English teacher. The demands of the system required that I give out grades, but I never felt good about it. How do you grade someone’s writing? Writing is about revision. It’s about access to self. If a student writes a poem, and it’s the best they can do at the moment, how are you supposed to compare that to the student sitting next to them? How are you supposed to give one a 90, and one an 85?”
Source: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/post/90761463721/i-was-an-english-teacher-the-demands-of-the