EMERGENCY EPISODE Mo Gawdat Podcast E252. Steven Bartlett, podcaster.
“It is not about how long.” Mo Gawdat
Along with other things I didn’t ask for, Tik Tok appeared on my computer. Often the snippets of American life are sad and depressing; we see we are losing, if we ever had it, a grace that drug use, homelessness, terror, war, insufficient food, violence – sexual and otherwise – are designed to stamp out.
America and Americans did exhibit a grace. Perhaps it was the grace of innocence. Or ignorance.
In any case I was riveted by the Tik Tok presentation of a young white male apparently over-dosed on what seemed to be the stairs of an institution, perhaps a college. A collection of janitors, passersby and medics were rushing to help him, but from the look of things, it was too late.
Some genius placed WHITNEY HOUSTON singing The Goodness of God over this scene. Just her extraordinary voice. I felt shattered – in a good way; profoundly – by the juxtaposition.
It goes deeper. The ones who handed slaves the Bible later handed them the word for “God.” Lord. For of course they were lords and why wouldn’t the grandest being they could imagine be but a bigger version of themselves?
Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, also sings this song. And, to my ears, her singing of it is superior. Besides, if you Google it, you will see someone has thoughtfully added the lyrics. But Whitney’s singing – some of the words a bit slurred or almost swallowed – reminds us, as soul warriors, of the struggles and the losses. Not just from drugs. Rest in peace Whitney and Michael. Not just between us and “the lord” but between us and our mothers.
Us and the devil so often described and denounced in our church. A devil that turns out to be, too often, our unfortunate blinding by the light that looks like sun (the ultimate God and soul of Earth; along with love) but is not. Only a fake “gold” ever glinting before us as we run to possess it, that isn’t worth the chase.~aw
E Homai is a kāhea, a calling chant
Preceding gatherings to call in insight and knowledge from the hidden forces-for the task at hand.
E homai ka ‘ike mai luna mai e
O na mea huna no’eau o na (mele) e
E homai, e homai, e homai e….
Grant us knowledge (insight) from above
Of the things hidden in these chants/songs
Grant us these things…
And with fervent aloha to the people of Maui. ~aw
En Español, E Homai
That Mauna Kea, the Mountain, is understood to demand that the people’s protest of protection for Her be rooted in Sacred Conduct, is one of the reasons I love Hawaiian activists. Respect. Honor. Cherish. Defend. Praise. Though most often without land of any kind to call our own, let us climb together, on all continents. Our people are our Sacred Mountain.~AW
El que se entienda que Mauna Kea, la Montaña, reclame que las protestas de la gente por la protección de ella se afiancen en una actitud sagrada es una de las razones por las que amo a los activistas Hawaianos. Respeto. Honor. Aprecio. Defensa. Halago. Aunque muy frecuentemente sin tierra de ningún tipo que podamos llamar nuestra, ascendamos juntos, en todos los continentes. Nuestras gentes son nuestra Montaña Sagrada. AW/MV
Since I was very small I have felt that everything, in the natural world, is made of love. As I grew, I realized Love is covered over with hostilities of all kinds. That there is anger, fear, distrust, incessant and unshakeable memory of harm done to us. There is fighting. There is war. However, somewhere, always, there are humans who connect with the intuition I held as a child: that it is all, everything in nature that we see and feel around us, is made of Love. I realize our method of uncovering this Love comes to us most often through song, a direct conduit from the soul.
Mauna Kea, Sacred Mountain, Sacred Conduct demonstrates this intuitive knowing of what is Sacred. Love is the most Sacred of all experiences on our Earth. May this magnificent offering of a film, condensed into one long song of liberation, guide us to our deepest connection to what truly matters: Defending our right to honor, protect, and celebrate the grandest Love of all, a Love that never leaves us alone, our planetary Mother, Earth. ~Alice Walker
August: 2023: I thank Meleanna Meyer for her steadfast documentation of the people’s struggle to be free, and themselves, in their own land. I re-offer her film as encouragement to the people of Maui who are suffering so grievously. Remember who we are: we are the Indigenous around the planet who know and love our Mother. Though tested severely by forces whose motives and faces may be hidden from us, there remains a protocol of conduct that we who believe we know, for sure, who our earth parent is, must never forsake. Some days this will seem impossible, because of the brutal severity of pain; but if we can stand with Her, in her steadfastness and determination not to be completely trashed, and disappeared, at the very least our hearts will be calm and our spirits, free.~aw 8.17.23
Mauna Kea, Montaña Sagrada, Conducta Sagrada
Desde que era muy pequeña he creído que todo, en el mundo natural, está hecho de amor. A medida que crecía, me percaté de que el amor está cubierto por hostilidades de todo tipo. Que hay ira, miedo, desconfianza, memoria incesante e inquebrantable del daño que nos han infligido. Hay enfrentamientos. Hay guerra. No obstante, en algún lugar, siempre, hay seres humanos que concuerdan con la intuición que sustenté desde niña: que todo, cuanto en la naturaleza vemos y sentimos a nuestro alrededor, está hecho de amor. Me di cuenta de que nuestro método para descubrir este amor llega a nosotros con frecuencia a través de una canción, un conducto directo desde el alma.
Mauna Kea, montaña sagrada, conducta sagrada, nos muestra tal conocimiento intuitivo de lo sagrado. El amor es la más sagrada de todas las experiencias sobre la Tierra. Ojalá que el magnifico ofrecimiento de una película, resumida en una larga canción de liberación, nos guíe a nuestra conexión más profunda con lo que verdaderamente importa: defender nuestro derecho a honrar, proteger, y celebrar al más grandioso amor de todos, un amor que nunca nos deja solos, nuestra planetaria Madre Tierra. ~ Alice Walker
Agosto 2023: Agradezco a Meleanna Meyer por su inquebrantable documentación de la lucha del pueblo por ser libre, y ser ellos mismos, en su propia tierra. Vuelvo a ofrecer su película como aliento a la gente de Maui que está sufriendo tan dolorosamente. Recuerden quienes somos: somos los nativos de todo el planeta que conocemos y amamos a nuestra Madre Aunque puestos a prueba severamente por fuerzas cuyos motivos y rostros pueden estar ocultos para nosotros, existe un protocolo de conducta que nosotros, que creemos que sabemos con certeza quién es nuestro progenitora terrenal, nunca debemos abandonar. Algunas veces esto parecerá imposible, debido a la brutal severidad del dolor; pero si podemos permanecer junto a Ella, en su firmeza y determinación de no ser completamente destrozada y desaparecida, por lo menos nuestros corazones estarán tranquilos y nuestros espíritus libres.~aw 8..17.23
Original post, Mauna Kea: Sacred Mountain, Sacred Conduct – July 13, 2020 | Translated by Manuel Garcia Verdecia
2023-08-18, Sharing an article on Hawaii Fires, Water Rights and Disaster Capitalism,
An insightful, if heartbreaking commentary by the great Hawaiian/American writer, Kiana Davenport.
“Men’s Work: Ending male violence.”
I once shared my life with a man who co-founded a men’s group and that was their slogan.
I think of it now, having seen, finally, Sound of Freedom. I have been far from theaters but caught it on its last day in a town hours away. I was deeply moved. It is so true that the work of rescuing children from pedophiles and other predators is the most crucial work on the planet; and preventing the traffic in children, their literal enslavement, must be at the top of everyone’s priority list. Abused children grow up to be traumatized adults who, without enormous help in reclaiming their sense of worth, are likely to lead lives of unending suffering and distress; capable of inflicting their own suffering on what they perceived as children to be a deaf and uncaring adult world.
Watching this film, attempting to comprehend the enormity of the traffic in children, absorbing a fraction of the horror they are feeling even as this tiniest part of their story is told via film, I almost despair of us as human beings: that human adults could ever conceive of turning on defenseless children in the ways depicted in the film. A film based on solid evidence of the staggering number of little ones who are suffering.
What to do with our abhorrence? Or grief? Our despair?
At the very end of the film we are reminded that America was once a country where owning human beings, including infants, was legal, and considered ok by an unbelievably huge number of people.
The beginning of the resistance to hundreds of years of slavery was in acts of rebellion, begun, usually, by one person. Nat Turner comes to mind. As does his fate.
After “many thousands gone” we have learned to step to the side of the one who is standing up. May it be so, where Sound of Freedom, and its creator, Tim Ballard, are concerned.
In this, and in so many instances now on our suffering planet may we realize: We are the ones we have been waiting for. ~aw
New video added 2023-08-18: Redacted “Baby Farming Industry in Ukraine”:
Two sisters walking: Perseverance furthers. Ref: the I Ching. Photo 2023 by Vaschelle Andre
Two boys studying. Martin’s restaurant. La Manzanilla, Mexico Photo: by Alice Walker 2023
Dos chicos estudiando. Restaurante Martín. La Manzanilla, México Foto: por Alice Walker 2023
Kiana Davenport is an extraordinary writer. I knew this years ago from reading Shark Dialogues. But even that book which relieved me of considerable ignorance about Hawaii and Hawaiians did not prepare me for the breathtaking stories and magically precise writing, in this book. A book not only about the people of Hawaii but of Fiji, Guam, Easter Island, Tahiti, Australia, Aotearoa, and other places in the Pacific I’d never heard of.
I have never encountered characters like some of those in these stories. Which has felt shocking. It is almost as if we are finally seeing a third of the planet that we never knew existed, and it is revealing itself to us because part of it escaped (the writer, a native Hawaiian of mixed race) to “tell the others” what has been and is still going on.
What has “ European civilization” been like for those who, never inviting it, were forced to endure it? What were they like, some of those indigenous civilizations that were in fact terrifying, especially to women, before “the long pigs” (some of whom were eaten) invaded their islands? Who added so many bright colors to Gauguin’s paintings of “his” Tahitians if what he saw was mostly green? (An astonishing tale!) So many tantalizing observations, conjectures, quandaries. We are left as I am so often with the question: what makes writers? Who are we? How do we get to paint pictures in other people’s minds? How do we bring time back to be observed, examined; if possible, understood?
Daniel Ellsberg, Presente!
Toward the end
It is said you enjoyed
The foods you liked
And returned with gratitude
Of your beloveds and friends.
We will miss you. Though you must
You are not really gone?
This is how it works, as Thich Nhat Hanh
A cloud never dies.
Courage is a cloud
That can drench us
and for standing with another courageous one:
Julian Assange. ~aw
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Beloved Ernesto “Che” Guevara Serna: June 14th
Earnest and Faithful
Copyright 2023 by Alice Walker
I stood close
As I could get
To your bones
In the crypt
In Santa Clara
Where lacy ferns
Inspired by your
On the walls.
For so long we did not know
Where your assassins
But your brother “Faithful”*
Found the desolate hole
Beside an airport
In a distant country
Dug you up
And brought you
Though they took your healer’s
That comforted so many
They did not succeed
Your rebel spirit
And renegade heart.
In us. Humans who
As long as strength
As our tribe.
*It is possible that if Artificial Intelligence robots have one blessing it will be to enlighten humans to the reality
That we are One tribe.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara Serna, 1967.
Arriving in Life with apparently nothing; we can leave with everything. Who is still alive in this photo? There are no words, really. Only: thank you for the love. ~aw
Rebecca Walker, Alice Walker, Scott Sanders, producers
Back With the Wind, The Color Purple (The Musical), Christmas 2023.
Photo credit: Vaschelle Andre of Divine Photography
Robert Allen, Alice Walker (with magic wand), Rebecca Walker opening night of The Color Purple NYC 1985
Happy Birthday! May 29th
Beloved Robert Allen
Your love of the moon
And of this earth
This water running
Down a hill
The sound of frogs
The grass under our feet
Warmed by sun –
All this …
The Wonders of Shondaland! Deep bows to Shonda Rhimes. ©2023 by Alice Walker
I’ve put off writing about Queen Charlotte, which must be a new iteration of Bridgerton,with which I have not kept up, because like much great art I have loved, it leaves me speechless. But then I mused, in meditation, how lucky we are to have art that does this to us!
In any case, Queen Charlotte does that thing great art does: it surprises you. Constantly. It also doesn’t care one bit about your prejudices and your thoughts that such and such could not/should not be done!
What a joy it is to see young queen Charlotte and young king George in all their determined coming to terms with the wicked demands of the British Empire when all they’d really like to do is get him well, attend to the stars and learn progressive ways to farm; also do more dancing, and spend most days in bed.
Cheers to everyone but especially to the beyond delightful India Ria Amarteifio, and the sweetest pea Corey Mylchreest, and the gay retainers/support system so often overlooked and who are frequently, as these two in Queen Charlotte are, completely adorable!
Posted May 27, 2023
May 24 2023
Beloved Tina Turner
On the Life
And Moving On
Of a True Rebel.
To look for you
Among the stars
And in ourselves. ~aw
Beloved Adrienne Rich
To remain asleep
In any part
Of your life
Thank you. ~aw
image 1: Harvard Radcliffe Institute Schlesinger Library Collections / image 2: Eamonn McCabe/Popperfoto
Beloved Jean Weisinger
Of so many
Brave and beautiful
Thank you for the
That makes remembrance
More possible. ~aw
Image source: The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley – Constellations of Black feminism in UC Berkeley’s archives
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.” ~Julia Ward Howe
Image source: Upstate medical university
Great films that I have neglected to write about still linger in the shadows of my consciousness, though I realize I cannot write about every great offering by committed people that arrives on the screen. And it is also true that until now, when there appears to be more time, I was not likely to be found in front of the television. Some offerings have haunted me: Click Bait, for instance; and Dopesick. I remember making a note about them: that they were presented by people, and especially by the persons acting in them, as a prayer. That this level of artistic expression has something of holiness (the good kind) about it.
And that is true also of recent offerings, two astonishing Indian Films: The White Tiger and RRR.
“Iqbal,* that great poet, was so right. The moment you recognize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave. To hell with the Naxals and their guns shipped from China. If you taught every poor boy how to paint, that would be the end of the rich in India.”
― Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
*Muhammad Allama Iqbal 1877–1938
I watched White Tiger first. Blown completely alert to a view of poverty in India that is not an advertisement to travel or to meditate. But moved beyond imagining by discovery of a poet of whom I had heard nothing, Muhammad Allama Iqbal. Who wrote the above line which is worth repeating even in this small space, because it is so overlooked and true: the moment you recognize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave.
You may still be poor as dust but nothing can prevent you realizing the freedom you exhibit in being able to recognize wonder.
So this led to RRR, of which I had heard not one word! Though apparently much of the world raved about it a while ago. This film is indescribable, really. And seems to be in a way what film was made for: incredible feats of imagination, terrifying battles between good and evil, the search for goodness or even sanity during centuries of British Colonial rule in India where there was not even common sense. A wonderful lampooning of the English who were so dreadfully used and misguided by their leaders, the kings and queens back home in England!
And beneath it all, a stout reliance on ancient Hindu myth about who one’s guru can be. For truly, are we not always looking?
An unforgettable film with many memorable moments but none so welcome as when the wild animals leap to the side of the humans worth standing with; and we are left gasping at this spectacle of solidarity between us and them that leaves us, after all our damage to animals, hopeful. A miraculous vision.~aw
“Let the People Decide,” Bob Moses of SNCC, The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, to Black People in Mississippi, USA 1960s.
Happy Birthday, Beloved David Icke, April 29th
Imagine! I was never supposed to like you, David. Two hundred years stood against any affection. As a child, seeing you, so unlike my own clan, I would have run! But I do like and admire you. Banning you from 26 countries does nothing to ban you from my regard. Those banning you are running, like I might have, from a fright most have only heard about! You are a miracle, really. A wonder. A being of supreme stubbornness. You will never be in a field anywhere and not be noticed for the fierce flower that you are. A rare signal that perhaps humanity is loved, after all. As the color of your shirt reminds us. ~aw
Happy Birthday, Beloved Mumia! April 24
Rest assured that
though not in prison
we are aging right along
with you. Age is a new world
as all worlds to come
must be. We love you
and thank you
for all you have given us
by maintaining the spirit
of fierce engagement
that in its eternal nature
is forever free. ~aw
Happy Birthday! April 20th.
Beloved Sue Hoya Sellars
I miss you, always.
Photo 2023 by Alice Walker
The man who appears tiny as he repairs a palapa in my garden seems like a magician to me. I wish I had words in his language to tell him how impressed I am – instead I offer a deep bow, and two apples.
Yesterday a friend took me to look at a dusty, far from “civilization” village of perhaps thirty residents. As I gazed, he said: this is the village of the palapa makers.
Nothing was shipshape. In the heat and dust, nothing stirred. And yet, here is where genius lived. Magicians of stripped wooden poles and leaves of palms, sun browned men make extraordinary, leak proof, creations out of poles, palmas, and fibrous rope.
Though palapas often sit atop structures two stories high, nowhere did I see a ladder!
Sometimes I feel this world is too much for me. That I will just, very quietly, keel over from admiration, astonishment, and awe. ~aw
From a book in Progress: Seeing Is Everything by Alice Walker
Palapa in Mexico, photo by Vaschelle Andre 2019
Turning Away From the Wreck:
Blowing a kiss to Adrienne Rich
Copyright 2023 by Alice Walker
Will the one on the way
Run for President?
Will the one who should be
In his sleep?
Let us rouse ourselves
We who can barely
How it has happened
That we have fallen
Into impotent rage
We who sit stunned
To see our children
And the dollar bill
What can we do? Usually
We do not wish
To care about:
We must listen
To each other. Shouting
Each other down
Will not save us.
The river is high
As foretold by Hopi elders;
Not strong. Sturdiness
Of anything, it seems,
Has become a concept
From the past.
Still. Let us gather ourselves.
Lie under a tree somewhere
And reread or read for the first time
Leaves of Grass
Poetry that reminds us
Where we are
Regardless of how loud
Some of us shout.
Today I think I saw
A way out of our distress:
It is the same vision I have
When times are not only hard
Dump everything you can
That does not work
Has not worked
And never will.
Listen to those
To love themselves;
Clear headed and hearted enough
To see that you
Even confused and hard to take
Are another version
Who knows, “lucky Americans”
We might still
Have the slimmest
Robert Kennedy, Jr. and
As Vice President
And citizen representation
by Grand Parent
Even with this prescription
We are not talking about
We are in the rapids
Headed for a destiny
Of Conquering Empires.
We will think new thoughts
Or drown in the turbulence
That is a flimsy
For our grief
Happy Birthday Rev. E! (Elouise Oliver)
So wise and deeply
Appreciated and loved
For your truth telling empathy
That makes us think,
Beloved of Ancestors
Tracy and Alice camping mid-Nineties. Photo by Tracy Chapman
Happy birthday! (March 30th)
In your voice-
To your course
As the sun.~aw
Happy Birthday (March 25th)
Beloved Gloria Steinem,
Encouraged by your generous way
We are baptized into a deeper
Gloria, Alice, Roberto
Early 90s, Mexico
Happy Birthday, my favorite brother Bill Walker, born March 23. Who left us decades too soon. The memory of our bond, and your steadfastness beside me as a child, remains a strength. Thank you. ~aw. Photo of Alice Walker and Rodney Lee, both of Georgia! by Canadian filmmaker Anne Wheeler, 2023.
The Sacred Journey Into Love
Your Teacher Will Have Come Through a Lot
Quincy Jones March 14
Ninety years of being you.
We are grateful.
And we thank you
for the teachings
in this book
and in your life.
It isn’t easy, this life.
But it is a dance.
Some Lucky Ones Have Sussed Who “God” Is
Nakawe, Huichol Goddess of Vegetation, i.e., Nature Photo by Alice Walker
Peace is all around us ___in the world and in nature __ and within us __in our bodies, and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Beauty is truth, Truth beauty,–that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Ode on a Grecian Urn | By poet John Keats
©2023 by Alice Walker
I got up this morning
I couldn’t believe it.
They were men
I’d never noticed before
But here is what they had
They were both talking
About war. How deeply
It usually is.
Who knows how Spirit works?
Was instant. Definitely we are
The main thing
Is they are both Truth tellers
(And one of them even has a dog!)
Both confident as they sallied forth
Across my tiny screen.
They were telling the truth
About the war
That, presently, is likely
To get us all killed.
If not sooner
Then later. You know,
Fallout that has to go
Though Americans never
Like to think
Yes, they are beautiful.
So beautiful they brought
This easy crier
To happy tears.
More than anything else
Is great fun.
It has a playful, freeing quality
That makes us
*Scott Ritter and Col. Douglass MacGregor; Witness both on REDACTED.
Blood Sisters | Hermanas de Sangre
HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOKO!
Beloved Yoko Ono, having known what war does after the bombing of your country, Japan, you have worked all your life for peace. What an inspiration you were to John, and then to all the rest of us, perpetually. Thank you for your focussed, unblinking light. ~aw. Photo of Yoko and Alice by Pratibha Parmar, (Feb. 11!). Reykjavik, Iceland, 2010.
“How Elites Will Create a New Class of Slaves | Whitney Webb | The Glenn Beck Podcast | Ep 162″
This is my first experience of Glenn Beck and I like his ability to listen. Listening is the most important thing now, it seems to me, because deeply hearing what is being told to us is, after all, how we learn. Whitney Webb is always worth listening to. Now with a massive two volume offering about so much that has puzzled us, she is to be found on most of the media that realizes the danger, as a human race, we are in. Deep bow.~aw
Roger Waters United Nations Full Speech
Thank you, for all the years of standing up, and for remembering John Lennon, always standing with us, in spirit. And Yoko Ono, fierce force for Peace. ~aw
Source: LESSONS 4 LIFE youtube
(9 Feb 2023) Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters addressed the United Nations Security Council
Alice’s 79th birthday morning after with jazz great saxophonist Bindu (see Hindu mythology) of Colima, Mexico, by way of New Orleans. Who said to me, after my niece Ti flagged him and his lady from the beach next day: It is hard work being yourself! At which we laughed in recognition! Also Ede the wonder dog with white rabbit, much adored!
Alice with Bindu and his lady and his band! Dancing was done!!!
Alice with Jonathan McCloud, the super smart, and painter Shiloh McCloud, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, old and dear friend from Spelman days (!) Bindu and Isabelle, and my niece Ti Walker who pulled it all together!
Alice and Ti! My brother’s child. Juntos! The straight lick with the crooked stick!
How do children get revenge on the adults responsible for the evil done to them? How do grownups recover from having failed to defend a child? Can revenge be enjoyed without harming ourselves?
These are questions evoked by the intensely moving and beautifully presented Netflix offering from South Africa: SAVAGE BEAUTY. They are questions I have pondered over a lifetime, but especially during decades of hesitating, then committing to work on, the widespread disgrace of the “reshaping” of children’s bodies to suit adult fantasies: facial cutting, and, specifically, female genital mutilation. I don’t think parents, and other adults, imagine, that while they may be culturally and ideologically supported in harming the integrity of a child’s body, the child may grow up to realize a different mind set than was had, submissively, as a six or seven year old, and deeply abhor what has been done. In my work listening to women who were “cut” as children, sometimes as infants, I have heard many stories that chilled my heart. There is anger. Quite a lot of it. A rage that must go somewhere. I have wondered: How much peace, in the world, is destroyed because of a child’s impotent hurt? And who are we, as adults, to stand silently by?
This series, about a beauty “Empire” in post apartheid South Africa that deals in destructive skin bleaching creams, and is not about the cutting of faces or mutilation of genitals, challenges adults to be prepared to reap the consequences of even “well intended” harm done to defenseless children who may grow up to seek revenge.~aw
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
With our thoughts we make the
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
With our thoughts we make the
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakeable.
“Look how he abused me and
How he threw me down and robbed
Live in such thoughts and you live
“Look how he abused me and
How he threw me down and robbed
Abandon such thoughts and live
In this world
Hate has never dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law
Ancient and inexhaustible,
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
From The DHAMMAPADA: The Sayings of the Buddha, a medicine teaching for those who can bear it.~aw
The Welcome Table for Oprah. January 29th.
Photo by Alice Walker 2023
Of global connectivity
As a second
You teach us
That we can grow
And to Self
As well as move
the whole world
While not moving
-unless we want to –
From our chair.
Diana, Goddess of the Hunt
My own view is that Diana was not originally Goddess of the Hunt, but Goddess of the hunted. Protector of those animals who were pursued by men on horseback, or with dogs, who drove them to their deaths. That she was appropriated by ancient hunters who wished to feel absolved of evil, as they murdered, and frequently dismembered, the creatures they pursued. I thought about this Diana as I listened to SPARE by Prince Harry, “Spike,” Duke of Sussex. Who might now, I muse, in America, change his name to Harry Duke, which has a sturdy sound. And in fact, would match his sturdy character.
I was surprised how much I liked this book, liked this man our Meg has married. I say “our” Meg because her ostracism by the British press has thrown her so solidly into our ranks – as people of color –it feels right to claim her. And of course there is her mother, Doria, who is so recognizable as a sister, with her dreadlocks and soulful staunchness, that we are not only happy she exists, we feel like cheering.
Harry, in this important book, is on a long, internally harrowing, voyage to a reconnection to his mother, Diana. He needs desperately to see her face again. Seeing her body after death – which my own culture would have demanded – was forbidden. Diana, loved not only by her grieving son, but by so many of us around the globe, did die. For some unfathomable reason, her sons were not allowed to see the truth, the awful finality of this. No wonder Prince Harry and his brother William fantasized their mother was away on Royal business or holiday and would soon return to them.
That Harry is unable to weep for years, and indeed, cannot access memories of his mother, moved me deeply. I understand this. If a tragedy occurs to us in childhood there is a wound that is more often than not expressed by a lack of memory. We are being protected from our emotions, though possibly wounded again by our poultice of forgetfulness. When he is finally able to weep, he begins to remember his mother, Diana, and begins his long recovery which will doubtless take his whole life.
Fortunately he has found the best medicine for this kind of wound. A partner who will not stand to be assaulted by the pain she had no hand in delivering,(proud of you, Meghan!) sitting meditation, love of the Natural world, and a good therapist. (And of course his children.)
I have also been stung by the tabloids of England. Especially painful was the distorted information printed in, I believe, The Daily Mail, about my daughter, Rebecca Walker, and me. It is truly horrendous to have lies smeared all over one’s public life, and this has also happened to me for some of my political beliefs and activities, as well as for my writings, notably my novels, The Color Purple and Now Is The Time To Open Your Heart.* I mention this because even though I grew in my capacity to simply “disappear” into my private life, it is impossible to ignore completely that perfect strangers wish you ill, for nothing that you have in fact done. After an early screening of The Color Purple movie, in the Eighties (!) a dinner guest expressed that he would like to kill me. News coverage in the black press at the time was often only a bit less blunt.
My illegal, happy, integrated marriage, as well as an early adventure in Africa (from which some of ONCE, my first poetry collection, comes) makes parts of SPARE feel wonderfully familiar and affirming as does the fact that Song of Solomon was also the Biblical poetry that bonded my former husband-to-be and me as we integrated, by ourselves, motels and restaurants that needed “clearing” for black Americans’ use in the mid-Sixties Mississippi Delta.
What are we learning? How to be truly men and women. Plus gender combinations of all sorts! Fundamentally, Grown. If we can no longer live in the cramped spaces provided by those who are tyrants but think of themselves as friends and family, we can leave.
We can be sure Harry’s mother, Diana the hunted, not once thought of her son as anybody’s “spare.” She would have agreed with Meghan: that “spare” is a word, for this loving and strong being, awakened souls would never think to apply.
Welcome to the path that is only made by walking it .~aw
*A review in The New York Times by Michiko Kakutani.