Making Room For My Shadow

As a child my shadow fascinated me. Every time I saw it, I would strike a pose, jump, dance, twist and turn, like I was on stage. In reality, growing up in East Africa’s oldest art gallery was a huge stage, full of mesmerizing characters: artists, writers, poets, refugees from East Africa.

The daily adventures initiated my teen years into a world where my imagination ran free. I was the favorite guide to tourists from all over the world, telling the stories of the rich catalog of art exhibited at the gallery.And the annual festivals - from Resurrection Easter to Mother Christmas - were the best of all! What a lucky girl I was, growing up in Nairobi, the City in the Sun, where my shadow represented regularly.
At 21, I arrived in America. I dealt with the culture shock (i.e. the abrupt ways of New Yorkers). I dug in my heels and blended into the melting pot.I bit into life and kept going; gritting my teeth, holding my breath, bracing myself when necessary.I used avoidance theories when de…

Take Only What You Need

I have always been one to pack too much for a trip.
I pack things I may need, just in case.
Today I ask myself: why?
I realize now...
because I am anxious about what I am leaving behind.

Pack the just-in-case suitcase NO MORE!

Envision where you are going, know what you DON'T need.
Leave it behind.
Defy the gravitational pull of
the way things were...

Soar and breakthrough to higher ground with your suitcase lighter.

unpacking = unlocking creativity.

Mama Shujaa

Sunflowers and Bonfires

It is Saturday night. The bonfire is crackling, flames roar and fan the black sky. The kanga that your big cousin sister taught you how to drape over your head, leaving only slits for your eyes, is caressing your cheeks. You've grown used to draping, not to protect from chilly nights, but to watch kissing scenes on TV when Baba and Mama are in the room. And for Bonfire nights because you never know where conversations might lead, with all the artists-in-residence, who are now family. That way you can blush in private. 
You and the artists are seated on wooden stools in a taught semi-circle.  Tonight there is one question smoldering. Will Gregory be punished for his rebellious act?
Thud! A log gives in. Hiss! Sap foams from a wet branch. Battles fought and won. All eyes fixed on the coal, pearls in a bed of fire.
Do you remember when Gregory first arrived from Denver, Colorado? Everyone was excited to welcome the first cultural-exchange-program-artist-in-residence to the compound. Tha…

Walking Blind

Nairobi, 1978 Don't open your eyes until I tell you to open them, he said.
I squeezed my eyelids tight.
I have a surprise for you, he said. He clasped my hand as we walked. The crunching twigs beneath our feet The scent of bougainvillea Bazooka gum at the corner kiosk The chatter of the passersby My senses were heightened even though He tried to distract me with the Convoluted circle we walked.
Logs, branches came. We veered off the main road Ducked under a fence.
Then I heard it.
Humming, splashing, and gushing. The scent of water lilies saturated the air. Water drizzled on my arms.
Now! His voice echoed in the clearing.
I opened my eyes. Before us was a waterfall Water, like satin curtains dropped over rocks draped with moss. Water, like the gates to heaven where sins were washed away.
I looked up at my brother.  His arms were crossed, right hand cradling left elbow, left hand cradling right elbow.
He smiled. Eyes as luminous as the light slating through the canopy of eucalypt…

The Shirt Waiting In The Closet


A Moment of Kindness

I feel like I changed the course of my day.

This morning on my way out of the neighborhood I spotted a small turtle crossing the road. I slowed down to a halt. Gave it a thought, and then drove around it. I looked in the rearview mirror. A car was approaching at full speed and I watched in horror as it road over it, without crushing it.

At that moment I made a u-turn and returned to the turtle. Just in time to watch its head re-emerge from its shell. Just in time to watch four other cars ride over it, almost crush it. I whipped my car into position in front of it. I put my hazard lights on, jumped out, popped open the trunk, grabbed a towel and scooped it up onto the safety of the lawn.

Something in my act changed my morning. As I went about my day, I felt vibrations around me. Still cannot put it into words. But I am glad I did not shrug off my immediate instinct to help the turtle. I did not succumb to the reasoning that I normally do. I attended to my first desire.

I shared my experien…

Surrender - Journal Entry