Coaxing Calypso from Life’s Indentations —

Been grappling. Money. Quilting projects into coherent proposals. Truly wondering if focusing on happiness contributes enough during the concussion waves of Trump Time.

Been doubting. Transitions. Riding countdown to my late April birthday. Honestly awed that after turning Page 60 four years ago, I am still energized, creative, hungry, curious, sensual, and generating my own waves that dawn like Frankie’s Golden Time of Day.

Got me thinking of steel pan players, who coax music from indentations!

Got me remembering voices I heard once, while watching the sun rise in Bahia, Brasil:

Surge… Do everything! Do everything! [Do what’s ‘doable,’ in the words of Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai!]. Seek democratic reverence to fight terrorisms, intimate and social! Seek Nobility. Just Be Eternal.

Four years later, feeling devoid of funk, I tell myself – WILL myself – to think, to laugh and to swoon. Forge imagination, dreams, visions, and poetry into tools, into strategies, for living my happiest life!

And when I find myself tripping, these tools of uncensored self-expression help me push back against brooding with a discerning introspection. They help me maintain equilibrium against what’s pushing down on me. They keep me from settling for the easily branded, the empty ‘it’ll be alright,’ the generic Namaste. They help me stay kaleidoscopic!

In all the work, I want it personal and I want it political. I want it to laugh and I want it to weep. I want it to pose questions and I want it to attempt elemental answers. I want it conversational and I want it poetic. I want it sober and I want it to slip you into trance. I want it bold and I want it vulnerable. I want it BLACK AF and I want it to engender robust cultural exchange.

At whatever volume, I want to consolidate concussion into bass line that keeps sanity on the One, and helps me pivot, when head winds slap me upside the head, when wind shear slashes me across the face.

Embracing my 60s, I’m still learning to bend and blend, critique the workings and abuses of state power, and distill sweet honey from the rocks and hard knocks.

I’m still learning to cultivate my IQ – Inspirational Quotient – so I stay supple, humane; so I tap inspiration, renewal; so I hold my confidence, in crisis or celebration.

Wreaking Happiness is more than a notion. I want to live life fiercely and with resiliency. I want to neutralize the corrosion of this ugly social moment. I want to cast counter spells that defuse violence, intimate and social.

Standing on that beach in Bahia, I got chills. I felt the flow of my blood synchronize and swell and surge with the planet’s orbit, rotate and wobble. I swooned as our movement slowly unveiled the star of our solar system.

I was reminded to nurture my inner sunrise. Gaze at the sunrise in others. Wield my voice. Transcribe life’s indentations into my song. Coax Calypso from my cacophony!

Then … Get up, get down, get funky, get loose

BONUS EXCERPT from my book, Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right’ : “…I’m making happiness the key enzyme, the untapped catalyst, the missing ingredient, to all of my individual, organizational, and community social justice work targeted at (choose one): THE BLACK MAN, MEN AND BOYS OF COLOR, AT-RISK YOUTH. With all due respect to religion, to the greatness of the STRUGGLE, with much respect to valuable social service of every kind, getting beyond our pursuit of happiness to actually claiming happiness is the necessary 21st Century mission to refuel ourselves, to tap the cultural creativity bequeathed to us by the African American Odyssey, and to tap our own unique personal endowments. Then we can work this wave of digital media, evolving family configurations, and demographic shifts. We can multi-task to get past survival. To thrive. We can bundle effective strategies into a supple suite of approaches to living that gets into our emotional crevices and sweeps away the residue of the gross oppression that once served to fire our notions of resistance and mutual salvation….”

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