Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cancer Journals

The Cancer Journals
I was recently diagnosed with cancer and I am posting a series of blogs which I am calling "Cancer Journals", named after Audre Lorde's classic The Cancer Journals.  I'm doing this in order to process my experiences and my emotions, and I trust that it will be beneficial for you to read about my journey. 

Please leave your comments on my blog posts.  Thanks.  I have listed the first few blog posts below.  


You may also be interested in this one:  Why Are So Many of Our People Dying?

Cancer Journals

Cancer Journals

Cancer Journal 2: My Diagnosis

Cancer Journal 3:  Shopping for Green Candles.  Green is the colour of compassion, the colour of the heart, and the colour of health, growth and renewal. 

Cancer Journal 4:  Brain Freeze.  What happens when you receive a cancer diagnosis? 

Cancer Journal 5:  An Angry Life.  Black women have plenty to be angry about,  But what are some of the health consequences of carrying a lot of anger? 








Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Legendary Icon Anastacia

Brazilian icon Anastacia Escrava
Anastacia, known as "Anastacia Escrava", is a legendary historical figure revered in Brazil.  Having reputedly refused the advances of a white slavemaster, Anastacia was forced to wear an iron mask continuously. 

Check out this great blog post for more information. 

Just one more reason Why We Need to Heal


Monday, April 27, 2015

Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey on the Importance of History

Marcus Garvey
To quote Marcus Garvey on history, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots".

To quote Malcolm X, History is a people's memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.

We have been fed many lies and distortions about our history in order to make us forget who we are.  Our history has been marginalised, ignored and buried.  It us up to us to dig it up, uncover it and share it. 

Check out some of my recent Black history/African history blogs:


To find out about how Martin Luther Kind and Malcolm X influenced sci-fi movies, check out The Black History of the X-Men


African History Film:  Invasion 1897 - this links to some of my other African history blogs. 

Please share these with your networks.  And if you like my blog posts, please leave a comment.  Thanks. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Black History of X-Men

Wesley Snipes as Blade
As I have said many times before, I always learn something in presentations by Brother T. of London Black History Walks.  Listen below for more.  

How has Black history influenced science fiction and sci-fi movies?  Listen below. 


Check Out Books Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Zhana21 on BlogTalkRadio


Three points particularly stood out for me in this presentation.  

1) Dr. Wooter Basson - Brother T. has mentioned him in other presentations.
2) In 1999, the family of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held a civil trial.  Did you hear about this?  I didn’t.  The mainstream media buried the story.

3) Blade was the first Marvel superhero featured in successful moviesListen below for more. 






Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Conflicts Don't Get Resolved

Why Conflicts Don't Get Resolved
For more about NVC, check out my blog post:  How to Transform Your Relationships.  

I've been having a problem with this guy. This has made me so upset and so angry, although I have calmed down somewhat, thank goodness.

I am a very private person and it's important to me to maintain clear boundaries. When I think someone is trying to force himself or herself on me, I get very defensive. My barriers go up and they are not coming down! I know this because I know what I am like, and how I tend to react to this kind of situation.

I'm going to break this down. We have an NVC (Nonviolent Communication) group at the London Buddhist Centre and this guy came along. The group is for Buddhists, but we decided to open it up to include people who have done a Buddhism course. This could be anybody who has done a Buddhism course, they don't have to be Buddhists. 

This guy came along – let's call him Fred (not his real name).  I asked him if he is a Buddhist and he said he had done a vipassana meditation retreat.  So I told him we would like him to do a Buddhism course and he said, cool, he was interested in learning about Buddhism. 

A couple of weeks later, we updated the mailing list and, prior to doing a mailing, I asked Fred if he had signed up for a Buddhism course.  It transpired he hadn't.  So I said, you will be welcome once you complete a Buddhism course.

Then he started saying we were “excluding people”.  Remember, it has been clearly stated that this group is for Buddhists, and we meet at the London Buddhist Centre.

Later on, after a series of emails, Fred started saying he had done a Buddhism course. He never mentioned this before.  He also said he had done the vipassana retreat three times.

Apparently, he is now saying he did it six times.  I have stopped reading his emails and told him not to write to me again.   Of course, he continued to send me emails.  As I said, my barriers are up and they are not coming down.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that he keeps saying things like “I'm confused”, “I'm baffled”, and there's nothing confusing or baffling going on here.   My communication has been very clear.

Someone trying to argue and pressure his way into the group simply does not cut it with me.

To break this down, in NVC, we would not say something like “You are excluding people”. This is an interpretation.  We would say something along the lines of, “I am upset because I think you are excluding me”.

Also, I could say that he is lying, but this is an interpretation.   It could also be called “jackal speech”, i.e., speech that disconnects us from each other, such as blaming and labelling.  So I prefer to say, “He keeps changing his story”.

In NVC, we try to be as factual as possible.  Instead of saying, “Such-and-such happened”, we say, “I remember such-and-such happening”.  The truth is that people remember things differently.   I can only be responsible for what I remember. 
 
Similarly, for me to say he is “ trying to argue and pressure his way into the group” is an interpretation, not an observation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned from this is that if we want someone to respect our feelings and needs, we first need to connect with theirs – genuinely and from the heart.  If Fred had connected with my feelings and needs, I would probably have been a lot more willing to listen to his.  Instead, I just want to have nothing to do with him now. This is how conflicts go unresolved.

It takes a lot of practice to learn NVC and I am not always able to use or apply the level of skill I would like to.

As I said, I am calming down about the whole thing now.   Even if I don't receive empathy from Fred or from others, I can still give empathy to myself.   This can be a very rewarding experience.

For more about NVC, check out my blog post:  How to Transform Your Relationships.  

I welcome your comments below.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

MLK's "Lost" Newcastle Speech

MLK at Newcastle University
In 1967, Martin Luther King visited Newcastle University in the North East of England, where he gave a speech about his work in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for justice. 

He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by the university. 

Recently, a rare film of the speech was discovered in the university's archives and was broadcast by the BBC.  Click here to view the footage and read the text of his speech.  Click here for some of the reactions of African Americans who recently heard this speech for the first time. 

See also:  MLK:  Black Is Beautiful

MLK: Black Is Beautiful

"Don't let anybody take your mind".  This is what Martin Luther Kind reminds us.  We have been taught that everything Black is negative.  

In Why We Need to Identify as Black, I argued that black is the most powerful colour in existence.

Martin Luther King said it and it still is true - Black is beautiful.   
See also: Why We Need to Identify as Black.

Please leave your comments below.  

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Parliamentary members and staff Je Suis Charlie
I am in floods of tears as I am reading about the Charlie Hebdo shootings.  After all these millennia, can human beings still not find any other way to resolve difficulties apart from shooting each other and blowing each other up? 

Actually, we have.  Those of us who are committed to nonviolence appear to be in the minority, but that has to change or else the whole species is at risk of extinction.  I mean this very seriously. 

Nonviolent Communication gives us skills to relate to, and interact with, each other in a way that addresses everybody's needs.  We can connect and communicate from the heart, and from our commitment to life, to life force energy. 

I am leading an NVC session on Monday.  I hope you will join us.  Click here for more details

I have blogged a lot about NVC on this blog and this one, so please search for more info.

Peace be with you.