Thursday, March 31, 2011

If it Doesn't Fit.. You must Remit

Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it.~-- Maya Angelou 


Looking through the Window in the Mill -ECO Village at Sabres in the Landes France ~Photographer Jackie Walker 

Ok y'all I am getting ready to do some serious "cyber kicking booty" today! I was writing something to a group of  amazing friends today when something struck me that was said which I've heard many a day from many a person and that is in regard to when things go bad people will beat themselves up for having a "pity party". 

As I am reading I am wondering so what in the world is wrong with a pity party? 


Noun: The feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others. 

par·ty: A group of people who have gathered to participate in an activity. ... 

re·mit: Verb: Cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment) 

I know having any sense of anything but a keep a stiff upper lip is reminescent of the Christian-Puritan pull yourself up by your bootstraps there are people who have it worst then you  hysterical background of the U.S. but c'mon now.  People get rewarded somehow no matter how perverse it is if we suffer but suffer silently, don't bother me by showing your grief.  If we cannot be kind, merciful and yes pitied our circumstance how on earth can we show it for anyone else? 

Shucks, man if I had that kind of pain, anxiety & sorrow that some deal with I would have a massive blow out of a party. It is a painful, no pun intended, that some circumstances are so horrendous for some that anyone of us under the same situation would go running screaming into the woods. 

Each one of us have our own challenges that we have to contend with each and everyday.  Some are so awesome it would take one's breath away.   I am always encouraged & excited when I see or read of each and everyone of you as you find a way to manage to have some sort of a life each and every day! 

Whether perfect or ideal, don't matter, you are living! Your humanity shows!

Having compassion is important. 

And its legal... 

And its alright...

And should be done, regularly...
It is pity with power and who better to empower yourself but yourself? And sometimes that means g'wan and have that party, have that sorrow, blow it out big time , then put it away, clean up and get up! 

I was thinking the other night as I was in my bed in my new place & thinking "wow I am now a year with no discernable income how on earth did this happened? How on earth did I managed to survive not knowing from one day to the next how I am going to do it? How on earth did I make it through a year"? 

But I did. 

And before I could feel badly, I realized I have been held up mightily with strength beyond what is normal , not of my own design... I am in awe and gratfeul for big and small, people who have stepped up to the plate in many ways & held me up; not knowing where I would be right now if I had not continued and persisted. 

No by no shape am I out of the woods. I cannot even tell you what will happened next day let along next week. I just have to be like Celie (from the Color Purple) when she said to Nettie: 

"I don't know how to fight back. I know how to stay alive". 

Pond- ECO Village at Sabres in the Landes France ~Photographer Jackie Walker 

In essence that is all that everyone of us is doing. 

Now then, if it doesn't fit, we must remit! 

Whatever it takes to not give something or someone more power then they earn in your life.   Give it the exit strategy, let it go wherever it need to go, just not flow with you.  It ain't easy, brother. It will hurt, lots. Some days you wil be far more magnanimous about things then others, some days you will want to scream to high heavens. But everything has a beginning & an end. It has already begun but now you have to wait for the end. 

I think we have to have a pity party once in awhile. Having pity is not a bad thing, people need to find ways to have more compassion (pity). We are not talking about being self-indulgent; we know what that looks like, but even if we indulge for a moment to be kind to ourselves and what we are dealing with so be it! 

Let it be.... 

I will say again at the end of the day, this too , I promise you, will pass. What is that song George Benson used to do "everything must change/nothing stays the same"...

So let us remit: 1.To refrain from exacting (a tax or penalty, for example); cancel.
b. To pardon; forgive: 

3. To restore to a former condition or position. 
Orchid~Photography by Mark Gilbreath 

"Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it". ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Go with it.. Grow with it.. Glow & BE it!

"Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you. All the other tangible rewards will come as a result".~ Maya Angelou 


Ordinary Day 

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©03 

On an ordinary day, I am still extraordinary. 
On an ordinary day, I can rock the world! 

How magnificent it is to be alive, to breathe, to be genuinely real! 
Dazzle the worlds with you smile be as brilliant as you want! 

On an ordinary day, may your life be spectacular! 
For it only last for a moment. 

Drink plenty from Maisha Maji (life’s waters) until you are full. 
And dare to dream, to be bold and to be fearless with love! 

On an ordinary night that trails behind an ordinary day… 
Look up and behold a shooting star, so impressive… 

As it streaks across a blackened sky just being so breath taking-ingly spectacular… 
That millions of stars could only stand still and applaud 

You be that way… 

And on any ordinary day, be as extraordinary as you dare… 
(How wonderfully made you are!) 

Your vision statement can be so impressive… 
When you can see what can be accomplish on an ordinary day. 
All rights reserved JHM 7-25-03© 


So what is IT? 

IT is what you are. 

Not when you get there or how you will get there, simply being "it"...YOU. 

You here on many of the entertainment show when they refer to the "It Girl", the WOMAN that happens to be "hot" by Hollywood standards that supposedly every woman in American & beyond wants to be or at least nearby "it" . And that changes according to whomever has the most aggressive publicist that generates enough of a buzz that people start paying attention almost like being drawn by a magnet or like a moth to a light bulb. 

Once upon a time that was called charisma & you had it or you didn't. And one did not need a publicist to create it for you! 

Super Moon shot at Campbell River,British Columbia 2011

Just see, that Super moon the other night did not have to do anything other then what it was suppose to do.. GLOW. And did its job so well that millions could not take their eyes off of it. 

You do that... 

Some people are charismatic by nature, some almost to a fault and when not used for good can cause grave harm..(Think Manson, Jim Jones,Hitler etc). 

Others are personable,charismatic and likable. Think Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, former POTUS: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton,the late Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lennon & Michael Jackson; the sitting POTUS Barack Obama. 

We may never in our lives achieve what they have accomplished but each of us in our own way and in our own space can have IT. 

"IT" can be cultivated and refined. 

But one must step up, shape & cultivate and then just gather all those moths to your fire! Think you are worth it? Of course you are and I bet there is someone somewhere who thinks so too. 

In fact centuries ago, someone gave up His life for you, because you are just that loved & worth it. 


Like an Eagle 
By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©01 

Just like an eagle… 
He’s got His eye on me. 
Peering through galaxies… 
And canopies of stars, sky & moons. 

To observe with great love… 
And wisely discreet. 
As I stumble and falter… 

Sometimes rejoicing with victory sweet! 

“And the angels shout in applause!” 

And He will swoop down… 
With breath taking speed. 
Just like an eagle when her minnows. 
Does not take wing. 

That the Father will pull you back with accurate precision. 
When you tumble… 
Or fumble. 
At the most inopportune time. 

Just like an eagle… 
Protecting her brood on hidden crags. 
And pushes you out… 
So you would not lag. 
And with seraphs & cherubs… 
Surrounding His majestic throne. 
He peers intently… 
Keeping watch 

On you… 

And you… 

(And me)... 
We are so free! 

“And the angels shout in applause! 

When a prodigal child… 
Is embraced in His dazzling large arms. 
Note the gray haired ones… 
Stepping in dignity into cocooning, watery baptismal pool. 
And a warring couple surrenders… 
Basking instead in the light of His heart’s smile. 
The protective stance… 
For the ones weeping inside with no seepage… 
Showering down up to the skies. 
A woman’s loss that was like being at end’s beginning. 
Allowing the wind to carry back her tears to He. 

Like an eagle… 
He sees. 
Peering through the galaxies. 
And He actively cares for thee. 
Look! All around ye… 
See the evidence of Him holding you up! 
And up! 

And up! 
So you would and did… 
Fly like an eagle. 

All rights reserved JHM Rhapsody in Muse ©11-17-01 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make a Happening Happen! (Dah dah DAH)!
I wrote this yesterday in regards to a rhetorical question ; "What are you doing to make a happening happen"?  I was a tad bit surprised when some did not understand the question when in essence I was asking them  to create a shift just for today.  Yesterday I was working on creating my own happening.  Didn't know what my outcome was going to be.  What I knew for sure was I had to be about creating the ground work for it to be.

I had to trust that everything that I could possibly do, I did.  And then I had to step aside and let it be.  What ever the outcome was, I would accept it even if it wasn't what I wanted or desired.

One of my students who was here during Mardi Gras asked me how can I teach someone to imagine?  It was in reponse to them asking me what I taught.  My workshop name is actually "Imagination, Inspiration and Other Leaps of Faith"

We all have the capable to imagine.  Some of us have had that skill laid dormant, being educated out of ourselves, been told it is foolish and a complete waste of time etc.

Yet much of what we use as routine today has been because someone imagine, became inspired and then boldly went where no man (or woman) had gone before.

 Sometimes the answer does not come easy or may come ridiculosuly packaged that everyone is telling you don't do it.  True enough you can sometimes fall on your face, get laughed at, feel it is all over.  

But at least you dared to go off the path.

But there are those times you must go so you can grow and then watch yourself glow like there is no tomorrow!

So what are you doing today to create a happening in your life.  Large or small; grande or petite?

Is there something you can create which can bring  a shift in activity, thinking, eating, doing good for others, doing good for oneself, creating a new job, career, passion , thinking or getting an application to go back to school, new hairdo, updating wardrobe, trying something new you always wanted to do, stopping something (at least for today) you want to stop but never really  tried to before, change the color of a room, move a chair from one spot to another?

The happening could be something small or large that you may do to shift your world. It could be as simple as trying a shade of lipstick you never thought you would to, investing in a fund for that trip you've only dreamt about, to packing up as I did & moving across country to a place who is trying to revamp itself or correcting a habit (just for today) or getting your groove on with  no concern for people thinking you are acting foolishly.

True enough you could fall flat on your face... I have many times, but at least I threw the fishing line out there... True enough even in the middle I've question was this wise, smart the "correct" thing to do, but I did it anyway.

Today I made a happening happen. I had a challenge that appeared to be insurmountable. I mean it would have grossly affected my living condition. I had exhausted everything, so I let it be.

Low & behold 3 hours later, it righted itself in a big way! There was also a sidebar ripple, unexpected, that got resolved because of the happening.

If I had not gotten up at 4am went to the fishing pond and threw my line in not knowing if the fish were going to bite who know where I would be right now.  And even if they were not biting at this part of the pond after I threw the line in would I pack up and go home after 1 try or move to another side of the pond?

I move to another side and the fish bit.. 

In a large way...

So whenever you feel like:

Or beating yourself up because it is not where you think it should be in "reality"

Create a happening. You may be a wee bit surprise what the outcome will be when that door opens.  When I "teach" imagination it is primarily a course to allow people to do what is in them all along. You see a 4yr old can understand purple clouds, by middle school they start to question, high school they roll their eyes and by adult hood they say "I am not creative". Yet they create every day.  But the conditioning we get tells us we are not.  People associate creativity, imagination with being artistic.  True enough they are siblings, fraternal triplets however not identical.

As one of the students who is coming out of graduate school this year said "how do you teach someone imagination"? My instant thought was "Oh oh". Guarantee you along the way someone told them to put away the foolishness, get real or get a "real job" "you have to deal with reality". 

"Stop dreaming"

"Stay real"

"You'll never to that"...

"Come back to earth"...

All the while using tools that someone told THOSE creators to "put away all that foolishness"; "get real" etc.  They may not see the that

  1. because we are condition not to.  Imagination allows one to dream... Dream allows critical thinking.  Critical thinking allows.. well you should know the rest.

"Hey life look at me, I can see the reality...Cause when you shook me, took me out of my worldI woke up, suddenly I just woke up to the happening....
One day you-re up, then you turn aroundYou find your world is tumbling down...I was sure, I felt secure, until love took a detour...Yeah, riding high on top of the worldIt happened, suddenly it just happened...
I saw my dreams torn apart, when love walked away from my heart"
Lyrics by Holland Dozier & Holland 

It happened to me & it could happen to you...

I woke up, suddenly I woke up
The Happening...

 Dah dah DAH!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who is Lena Horne?:And other Sentimental Journeys'
Ella Fitsgerald

Ah finally a full night sleep! Just in time to meet with the film maker for my interview for the documentary. We will wander around "herstory", my stories allowing her for a moment to peer behind my eyes to see my world for her documentary.  We had a great time, not realizing 4hours whirled by stopping only when she ran out of memory.  Tomorrow she will be off to Austin to record other ways people tell stories.  Thus far she has interviewed ones who are politically savvy, punkers, professors and now me.  Her travels are far from over as she will circle the country learning more & more how people gather their words together.

My herstory is an interesting one as in most people there are holes something gaping, but mainly small, of my family's story. I will tell her in part as we walk down the road, turn on a boulevard, swing through an avenue or a dead in. I am one of the family's griots, as of now the eldest of the griots. But my story is not only about my family, but the art, about New Orleans, about me.

It is my song to sing & being recorded.  

I had to tell her of something that just happened yesterday when someone commented on "Who's Lena Horne?  I mean say what? Who is Ms. Lena?  Their question was in regard to Halle Berry's Oscar salute to Lena Horne.  I did not see the program;I looked it up online and for whatever reason everyone I saw on You Tube someone cut out the tribute outside of Halle's introduction.

Dress Rehearsal

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©03

Ladies’ sounds in dress rehearsal…
Showering the room with spherical tunes.
A bounty coming forth from luscious lips.
Crooning pearl drops, shadow of times yore.
From the ladies’ sounds in dress rehearsal.

Shall the universe be in a repast?
Engorging on this poetic parade? A soul serenade?
Twinkling lights caught up in the moment
The soul timbre swept in from the waves on the oceanic side of the muse.
Bell tones…
Work those bones!
Midnight hands’ serving the backdrop and candlelight’s dressing the ambience.
A staging so grand that even the sun…
And the moons…
And the stars must stand in rapturous wonderment.
For the ladies’ sounds in dress rehearsal.

All rights reservedJHM©03

Her classic"Stormy Weather" featuring Katherine Dunham Dance Company 1943


That was something I was highly disappointed in not seeing...

1978  As Glinda in The Wiz (audio isn't the best):


For those who don't know what a griot is, in West Africa, a griot is a highly respected member of a community, the keeper of the stories of the ties that bind not only families but communities. This tradition is by tradition and oral history but as vital as as strong today as it always been. 

I didn't plan on being my family's griot; just turned out that way. I now know there are a few in the younger generations who have been searching our family's story and I am delighted to tell them what I know and watching there face light up when their holes are filled in. Often times they tell me they had wondered one too many time & could not get answers. 

I know... 

Sometimes it is difficult for elders who have not yet become ancestors to what revelation of their life's experiences, their passage of time as they may fear being judge too harshly or perhaps it is that people will KNOW. 

The bizarre thing is as the adage goes "The best kept secret is the one everybody knows". The griot's job is NOT passing judgement simply recording what is. If you will render judgement say of 1865 by 2011standards, you've done yourself and them a huge disservice. And by learning of the peripheral, intertwining history of the area, the community the world for that matter, you then get it the things that shape the world of that time. 

If you do your job well, you will see their story through a different scrim a different lens. 

The more I learn the more I care... It is simple for me now. 

Not everyone gets to be fortunate to have family that often lives to the early triple digits! And everybody has a story and why I appreciate this woman who not only wants to record iiammoon's story but many around the country. It makes it easier for the ones coming behind me to find information, they won't have to fill in as many gaps and the holes won't be larger. 

Truly although some dismiss it, one must see there past before going off to the future. What happened or not happened is not an indictment; it is not always an indicator of a unbreakable sentence on what YOU will come. 

One does have choices. 

I want to throw in here right now I am not a fan of the word "journey". It has been so over used today it has little value for me. Every thing we do is NOT, I repeat, a journey. It might be an act, a point in time, a milestone, it might even be an trip but as usual in modern culture we beat up a word, squeeze every bit of what it means out, suck dry the richness of a word until it isn't even a reasonable facsimile of its original form. 

This is by no way a condemnation of those who use it to describe their experience. It is all good, just my own bugaboo. 

OK as I go off with this woman today, I will carry with me my family story. I will carry in my right top pocket those who proceeded me as well as the ones who are still with me. Of telling some of their story with grace, dignity and their humanity. 

Make no mistake, telling one's story does not have to be a bad one. 

It is simply their story and I hope to do them justice and in doing that I will tell my own story. My children & to some degree my grandchildren are fortunate to have their mom as the family griot. 

One advantage is when they were all pregnant my daughters and my son was able to tell the gynecologist their family medical history for over 100 years. I've heard them comment more more then once their doctors were amazed they were able to do that, that it was uncommon even in their practice to have patients who barely new ONE generation back let alone several. 

It is particularly important for African Americans because far too often, we are lumped into the "one size fits most" medical/health/wellness approach. We are not even looked at in our individuality. Whether it makes folks uncomfortable or not, it is the truth and from a health/holistic standpoint we can be misdiagnose, medicated needless or medical people have an expectation not based on real facts for that family that could be detrimental. 

It could apply to anyone, but then well, this is my story. emoticon 

We just left Black History Month and entered Women's History Month & the stories of women of color are almost invisible and when it is sung , the orchestra is singing a sad song. That does not benefit any of us. I started 20 years ago learning of my family's stories in part of understanding in a larger context that women "herstory" is not always told. Well add into that gumbo women of color, we are almost non-existent! 

The more I've learn, the more I am fascinated. The more fascinated I become the more I am proud of not only being a woman, but an African American woman... 

No one will be able to tell my story as well as I can. No one will be able to discount me or my women that well come after me. They will not have authority to do such as our story is the one that we will sing. 

I hope the best to for you. 

Coming Back South 
By Jacquelyn HughesMooney©03 

I came back South, not to pick wildflowers… 
I came back not to see butterflies, clovers nor drink mint juleps. 
I did not come back South for overly romantic, haunting reminiscing… 
The mysteries that continue to tug at my heart. 
Or to untangle the 19,228 yesterdays that laid up in the marshy soils. 
And under the weeping willows or anchor itself in the marrow of faces… 
Of ones who were not mercifully taken away from here. 
I came back south to fathom the unbelievable… 
The seemingly unreachable… 
Persnickety tumbling on those back roads… 
A paradigm on surface appearance seems to have no rhyme or reason. 
I came back south to listen to wind sounds intertwined in trees at dusk. 
And high moons at noon in June that shouldn’t be there. 
Ancient winds of times blowing to unveil shield treasures… 
To unfold secrets too many folks try to cover up, cover over 
So for once we can all stop pretending 
And that is why I came south. 
All rights reserved JHM Colored People & da Motherland 3-24-03© 

Coming Back South (Epilogue) 

By Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney©03 

And now I know… 
Why things are as crazy as they are. 

Folks just be a’moaning, just a’groaning… 
Because they don’t know what they can’t see, 
It can’t be my reality. 

I ponder the paradox of a parasitic course. 
Crushed souls crushing others into pulverized matter. 
131,400 days of loathing. 
And the monstrosity that grew, bathing all it came into contact with (even today).
Drenching everything and everybody that dared to be born. 
Or challenge their right to live or perchance to dream. 

Now I know the what’s… 
And the why’d that you did to mothersfathersunclescousins and others. 
Operating this carousel of delusions, a mirage for all the mismashed… 
That was supposed to pass for living. 
This is your reality. 

Then the involuntary participants engaged themselves by becoming willing partners… 
In this madcap twist. 
Now I know what pounded all my days, all 18,245 (not counting leap years). 
Folks just be a’moaning, just a groaning, ‘cause they don’t know what they can’t see. 
It will not be my reality. 

But watch those that have an elaborate scheme just putting on a show! 
Pretending that everything is all right (when it ain’t). 
And you go grazing through numbed motions feeding on the craziness. 
If you must lie to the world, do not lie to yourself. 
Folks just a’moaning… 
Because they don’t know what they can’t see. 

There is a life larger then this. 
And you are larger then that! 
Life is so plump and rich that it dares to swell you beyond capacity. 
But will not delay or destroy all what you have to give. 
See the doves flying over the valley of 1,000 hills, no longer crying 
“I don’t know why, its too late, too late, too late”. 
It will continue to be crazy as long as you want. 
Folks be a’moaning, just a ‘groaning because they don’t know what they can’t see. 
It is not my reality. 
All rights reservedJHM6-16-03© 

And for those who do not know..This is Ms. Lena.1917-2010

Set to Billy Strayhorn "Star Crossed Loves"