“We are people, of the mighty
Mighty people of the sun
In our hearts lies all the answers
To the truth you can't run from”
Lyrics from the song Mighty Mighty by Earth, Wind & Fire
Our stories are timeless and tested. They are about people of tremendous strength, ancestral to present day, who have survived the indignities of forced outsider status and deliberate degradation for far too long. Yet they were driven to reconstruct and succeed. Scrolled in our minds and the books of the ages, our history fuels us while it also angers us at times.
Nevertheless, our songs are full of love and life, and the ups and downs of both. They are soulful with the rhythms of a heart that is in sync with nature and wonderment.
Our struggles are real and rugged. They beckon our memories to the highest calling of the spirit, to help us rejoice and overcome.
We need those stories, songs, and struggles. They are our trifecta! The world has bet against us, yet we remain triumphant through it all. Circling the African diaspora, no matter where the forced ancestral boats stopped, these narratives ring true. They are—we are —resilient! This hue hangs us together. Our art, music, phrasings and sassy personas root us in this journey from the huts, slave quarters, plantations, and shotgun houses of yesteryear to the varied residences we live in today. The fruits of a multitude’s labor are seen in the extensive display of our talents and creativity as people of strength, soul, and spirit.
A mighty people!
And we’re not done.
Today's society, home, and workplace are challenging. Much is expected from our resolve in this complex and fluid environment. Economic and job market woes lend no favor to us. The line between our traditional “9-5” and having any kind of life outside of work tends to blur. Unresolved pain from the past eats at our core. Personal habits lurk, ready to send us amuck from stress, technology or addictions. Around every corner a new and perplexing issue looms, summoning and quite possibly ready to ensnare our strength, soul, and spirit. From making career choices, weariness on our journey, attending to family grounding, or global dilemmas—these realities present threats to our well-being. And yes, race still very much matters, as a card played or stereotype portrayed. Other isms present and block as well, whether it be age or gender.
There are times when we can't identify the solutions to some very complicated problems. However there are also points in which the answers are simplistic, based on fundamental guidelines that have weathered the years, tears, and fears of passing time. Emancipated and thrust forward from movements, what can we now proclaim to guide us through?
“The elders of a community are the voice of God.”
In this shifting landscape, we may tend to forget “what the old folks say.” Most of us probably now realize that our ancestors did indeed have it right! Their common-sense ways allowed them to get through the worst of conditions throughout history and still we thrive from their bold undertakings. We’ve taken our sorrows and created rhythm and blues in our “sweet soul music”. Our strength, inner and physical, has helped us to carry our crosses; it has calmed our fears. Cultural traditions such as resourcefulness and involvement can support our endeavors for work and in the community. These are our chronicles. And our amazing spirit rebounds! A conquering force kept the ‘old folks’ and now centers us. Forming a collective of ‘come back saints’, let us move forward. We’re called to a new awakening and application of what we’ve learned from those who’ve “looked over Jordan.” We must use those common-sense ways as our guidelines.
So let our trifecta reign with strength, soul, and spirit.
Excerpted from my book, For People of Strength, Soul and Spirit: 7 Guidelines for Life & Career Success (print and Kindle eBook) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AJJKY2G
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