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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Photographed Words

The color purple regals me with serendipity, and I become one with all that I see, a SistahGyrl Walt Whitman, eyeing and being eyed under the evening skies. If I sit statuesque, not batting a lash, the bluebirds may dash across the soft ground to find the the organic peanuts The Duck Man tossed amongst the greenery. In silent contemplation, I recall his one-sided sermon and stern command for me to zip my lip, just listen to him rip what saith the Lord. And when I could not oblige, even with Knee-Baby Sis in my ear, on my celly, advising me to adhere, I invisibly disappear, then send him off with my voice unwilling to ban itself into an imposed silence...

I love the feel of a camera, the sleekness of a pen. With them, I photograph my thoughts in Stone Mountain wind and hide in friendly shade to frame my thoughts. And color my dreams with gratitude.

I am usually brimming with elation to be alive and free to walk and wander, think and ponder. On my clock and not one that tick tocks my days away engaged in someone else's lists of things. Free, I greet pups and trees and stop to stare at what others might think meaningless, inane and decidedly banal.

My church pews are stone walls no higher than my thighs, so I bring my little brown cushion and get comfy to worship in stillness. Listen to the wind. Appreciate a chorus of quacks quacked near the bevy of rods bobbing off the stone bridge in the distance. I am a fisherwoman. My rod is this camera, this pen. My words reel you in. Where we abide for a moment in which we are magically one.

Pink blooms adorn my locs and smear my smile. I have always nursed a penchant for the color. Elusive, it plays peek-a-boo with your skewered attention, appearing and disappearing to reappear in luscious places, in sweet crevices, between lime leaves and warm golden columns.

I imagine I can see forever through the silent sentry of the trees. Across water deeper than mythological rivers in my mind that remind me of Hughes-deep rivers, I come down with tunnel vision, see my love, see her see me, and I wade out into cerulean glass, waving, blowing kisses, thankful she recognizes me.

Together, we walk into a tomorrow in which you are free enough to be you, and me be me, free just like the small bird that sings loud though I know he's small and sweet back off in night woods on Stone Mountain. At times, I remember fear and tell him to be quiet lest something larger hears and comes to call, silencing his melodies faster than my footfalls tap a path to my car in a deserted parking lot.

A sisterfriend can be found amongst the sunset
Leaning on her bike
Her brown eyes ablaze with
talk of mothers and triumph
and welcome mats they toss
before they crowd the house
with the smell of walled
fish grease

On the paths of Stone Mountain, I am at home, comfortably ensconsed on stony pews looking across water rippled with Goddess breath. In the sunshine, amongst the shadows, away from the walking, riding, running, skateboarding throngs, I wrap myself in gratitude. Divinity caresses me, undresses my heart, demanding I part with worries and cares.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome Special Guest on Dating...Miss Kiya!!!

Bienvenido Senorita Kiya!

Good morning GoldenGoddess Family,

A top of the morning and heartfelt blessings to you and Kiya!

Kiya is joining us for a discussion on the joys and challenges of "Dating After the 40's and 50's."

Please feel free to join in, Family, and ask Kiya questions and share your views.

Sooooo, Kiya, tell us a bit about yourself before we begin.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Dating After 40: Let me count the challenges?"

I was sitting on my blue floral office sofa one evening, just thinking to myself....hmmmm, what does the dating scene look like to women after their 50th birthday.
Shucks, let me get a range going here. For that matter, what does it look like for women on their 40th birthday and beyond? There! That's it!
Is it better? Worse? Lonelier?
More adventurous? Less chaotic? Sexier?
I considered the various online dating site. The mag articles about dating do's and don't's. Advice one gets from friends, family, strangers.

The investigative lady under my FBI cap, that darling resting in my red and black Stone Mountain-climbing gear, with her nifty little black intelligent glasses, desired to KNOW what other folks, 40 and beyond, had to say about the topic. What 39 and under had to say? With those thoughts percolating under my Sisterlocks, my friend Sunn zaps me an e-mail with a note indicating that she'd found a woman with an engaging---I think those were her words---smile, and she thought I should meet her online.

I corresponded with the woman. Her e-mails unveiled a distinctly original voice, tinged with humor, and a healthy critical view of online dating. I read her words and giggled. She was good. Had personality. Some of her views mirrored mine. We exchanged a few more yahoo e-mails, and then she found me, I think, on MySpace, and by that time, the idea to dialogue with her on the issue of dating blues after 40 formed like shifting clouds in the horizon of my mind. So I presented the idea to her and she accepted.

That is how my Special Guest and I have come to agree to meet here, on this Saturday, June 20th, 2009, in the morning, whenever she rises, to appear electronically on this very hallowed blogging site. We shall pour ourselves into honestly discussing this luscious issue.

Hopefully, you will join us and invite your friends. Drag everybody to the table. Some of our younger dears date older lovers. Their opinions are invaluable. Some of our older sweethearts adore younger mates. As usual, I welcome everyone--lesbian and straight women alike! Whatever rocks your boat floats mine! All I want is to see you here reveling in good talk, and if we generate enough furor, I'll schedule a blog talk radio show on the subject, on the, and we'll charge forward the issue held high above our heads as we gallop atop the bucking steeds of our thoughts!

On Saturday, I suspect you should check this site around 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. EST, considering my Special Guest isn't a morning person, and if I stay up late on Friday night, I won't be as fresh as sunflowers myself. So...there you have it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In The Healing Presence of Women and The Men Who Love Us

On Thursday, June 11, 2009, I had the distinct honor of attending one of Imani Evans' Women Healing Women, Inc. workshops. I love her slogan "Healing Women's Lives...One Heart At A Time." To attend one of Imani's sessions is to participate actively in healing women, starting with one's self if you are a woman. And if you are male, and blessed to be sitting in her restorative meetings, you, too, will experience the soul-stirring essence of self healing. In the session I attended, men were well represented in the presence of Sir Jesse and Elder Tony Jones.

"Love doesn't hurt" resonated throughout the discussion with participants reacting to a recent Internet article of a young, lesbian, Statesboro couple dying in what police described as a murder/suicide. One of the women transported her mother-in-law to a safe place outside of the home, (the couple had married in Canada) and returned to shoot her wife in a downstairs bathroom before going upstairs to kill herself in her bedroom. The couple was said to have had a history of fighting and arguments.

A noted therapist and the Executive Director of Women Healing Women, Inc., Imani Evans clearly defined domestic violence, also called "intimate partner abuse" or "battering" or "wife-beating" as "physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse that takes place in the context of an intimate relationship, including marriage." This type of assault is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence, Evans said, and is marked by long-term patterns of abusive behavior and control.

Around the long conference table of women, I saw and felt and heard how the issue hit home with us. Stories, intimate and heavy, found their way to the middle of the table, where we considered them solemnly and thoughtfully. In the telling, somehow we realized how therapeutic testimony was, how the honoring of one's truth liberates.

Additionally, Imani provided us with a working definition of sexual violence, which referred to sexual activity where consent is not obtained or freely given (rape, sexual molestation, and fondling). Some instances of sexual violence did not include physical contact. These were noted as sexual harassment, threats, intimidation, peeping, and taking nude photos.

When our conversation marshaled the issue of emotional abuse, the discussion took on a second wind, exemplifying an electric life of its own. We provided examples of 10 major components of this type of abuse, which was defined as "any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults." Our stories and testimonies flew like missiles out of a canon. Under the intensity of our words, the air grew thicker, our voices more excited, with the more talkative members of the group laying burdens down easily, articulately. Others, more tacit, related with nods and knowing eyes. Together, we bounded and became one in experience and healing. If the story proved emotionally difficult to retell, quietly, the group sent the speaker love, and the testimony came forward and took shape before us.

Below are the 10 examples of emotional abuse we discussed. I include them to permit you to reflect on your own experiences, being no one is exempt.

Domination: The need to be in charge and control.

Verbal assaults: A set of behaviors that involves berating, belittling, criticizing, threatening, etc.

Abusive expectations: Placing unreasonable demands on you...never satisfied.

Emotional blackmail: Consciously or unconsciously coerces another into doing what she wants by playing into your fear or guilt or compassion.

Unpredictable responses: Drastic mood swings or sudden emotional outbursts for no apparent reason.

Constant criticism: Unrelentingly critical or always finds fault.

Character assassination: Blows your mistakes out of proportion or gossips about your past failures.

Gaslighting: "Jodi mind tricks"

Constant chaos: Characterized by continual upheavals or discord.

Sexual harassment: Unwelcomed sexual advances.

At the culmination of the session, we engaged in Imani's "Shame/Guilt" releasing ritual that required us to write anything that we were ashamed of and felt guilt about on a half sheet of paper. Then we folded the sheet and placed it in a glass bowl. On other occasions, Imani burned the paper. But for us, she and Erica Clark, her lovely Program Intern, ripped the papers into tiny pieces. Watching them, I wondered if the ritual would end there, but Imani led us in a valuable generation of ideas of things that we could do, individually and collectively, to bring about love and self healing in our communities.

Finally, I participate in one of the most self-affirming parts of the session.

Imani divided us into groups of three. One person volunteered to listen, the other two speak. In the toss up, I was a speaker, which was pristinely perfect for me as I have always enjoyed speaking, outside of the times I silenced myself in the dance of anger with others.

I joined my fellow speaker, Pamela, in whispering self affirming, loving thoughts into Pastor Marisa's ears. I loved the experience but wondered if the Pastor could clearly focus on running thoughts filling her ears simultaneously. After 10 minutes or less, we stopped and the Pastor looked into my eyes and thanked me, adding, "You can understand exactly what both people are saying!" I had to experience such a phenom for myself, so I asked Imani if we might do it for a third time.

And when I did, I was awed. Clearly hearing and understanding both whisperers, I felt a rush of love, as if I were strapped into a Six Flags ride, with a burst of wind breezing by my ears. My fingers gripped the edge of the conference table, and I animatedly painted my experience as best my words could color the group's consciousness. Needless to say, I shall long remember the instant high of Pamela and Pastor Marisa's loving impressions of me.

To witness the phenomenal Imani Evans at work, please contact her at, www.WomenHealingWomen, Inc. and

Wherever you are, Imani says, you are not alone. You can always receive help, even if you think your world is orbiting too importantly to slow for three-hours of baptism.

Ooooh but when I stopped my merry-go-round, my soul impersonated Jackie Gleason of the Honeymooners when he crooned, "How SWEET it IS!"

In truth, I'd read Imani's e-mail announcing the gala. I noted it on my calendar with only the time, location and a reminder to myself to go hear, speak and blog. Fine so far, except as the days ticked away, I forget what the calendar note denoted.

I second-guessed myself, making 1,000 excuses why I shouldn't go. But my soul nudged me, sweetly guided me, silencing my no's and pulling me from wrong turns on Austin Avenue and vehicle blues with my son having asked to use mine hours before the workshop started. All over again, I learned that what is for you is for you and all that happens to you is for your Higher Good.

I blessed it all. Even the young woman across the table from me who said she had never had a positive relationship with a man for years. Then, miraculously, it was her blessing to be paired with the magnanimous Elder Tony Jones for the self-affirmation activity. Elder whispered in her ear, an ear that hadn't often known a man's close proximity. She was altered before our eyes in Love's aura, and I was forever changed under the same refrain, thanking the Divine for Imani and the lovely souls who shared the healing experience with me.

And so it is....

The Golden Goddess