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05 September 2016

Fly by @tomasmoves

I’ve been watching #NoDAPL, “no Dakota access pipeline,” going down this summer like a hawk.
What’s horrifying is that the culminating political and personal moment in progress right now is the confluence of environmental and ethnic destruction we’ve been watching since the industrial revolution.

What’s amazing and beautiful and hopeful and strong about it, is that over a hundred Tribal Nations, locals and non-locals, Black Lives Matter activists, neo-hippies and boomer hippies, as well as artists and journalists of our day now are there.

I pray this won’t turn into Wounded Knee III (see Pine Ridge Reservation history 1890 and 1973), but I pray this will shake the hills far and wide, and our hearts loose from their rib cages where, apparently, they are not working hard enough for the blood, bone and flesh that is our only home, Earth.

I’ve always believed that it was one and the same spiritual disconnect that allowed European “conquerors” to annihilate Native peoples, enslave African and Indigenous individuals, and strip the earth of her flesh with little or no remorse, let alone acknowledgement of the consequences—today or tomorrow.

But was it that blindness, that disconnect, that spiritual vacancy from creator and / or creation that made generations of white people capable of slaughtering spirit, connection, being and bindedness to other life?
Or was it committing these atrocities that so disconnected them from spirit that our society persists in these horrifying, institutionalized habits: tearing earth to pieces in a self-selected ignorance of the consequences, while shooting black children down in the streets, and performing hysterectomies on the new Native mothers who gave birth in the hospitals of my own birth year?

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. And they say form follows function, but one thing I learned the hard way is: you can make good things happen one of two ways. 1. Form can follow function. You know what you want to accomplish and so you create the form that allows for that. Or 2. Function follows form. You know how you want to live, and so all of your choices flow from that awareness. My father called it “awake, aware, alive” and he said it to us every time we took the car out as teenagers. You can call it mindfulness, yoga living, Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind – whatever you want. But it means choosing wakefulness.

And that’s where @tomasmoves comes in. He has several paintings hanging at The Civil Service Café in my neighborhood on Nostrand and Clifton in Bed-Stuy.

@tomasmoves at The Civil Service Cafe, August 2016
I don’t have to tell you why I love this one. It feels like a starry universe of words exploding, and it explodes right from the Bronx graf scene that I have returned to again and again in life—not only because the aesthetics bring me alive and the colors rewrite my world, but because I will today and forever be a woman and a lion for amplifying the voices who have taught me so much and need to be brought to their seats at the table of decision and leadership in this very world we are running bloody with oil and bodies.

But it’s a cosmos of words exploding! Words! My friends, since before I was born, who made meaning of the world for me, but also who gave me the power to MAKE meaning of my world. Yes, they are the second option. They are Function Follows Form. We can choose our meaning; we can choose. We can choose.

But this one, this was the counting coup painting that brought me home. Because while the graf piece is exploding my mind and my world for me, “Fly by Barangay” by @tomasmoves, was the surprise that won me over, took me down, replaced my point of view.
@tomasmoves, The Civil Service Cafe through 11 Sept 2016
A triptych almost—three horizontal panels: a placid sky, a zigzag frame, and the resulting paint dripping down, slowly, smooth and layered: rain from the sky? An exhale from great heights, stalactites underground, showing us where water can be found? I don’t know. But I saw some three levels of consciousness or perhaps three other inseparable dimensions: mind, body, soul…

We are taught in Western European culture that such things are separable, that we can separate mind, body and soul; that there are three distinguishable levels of consciousness; that, until recently, acupuncture was a myth and intuition was not to be trusted, and that women were too “emotional” to be president.

Then comes the falcon: forever inhabiting all threes inseparably. Earth, air, sky; mind, body, soul; conscious, subconscious, unconscious. Here comes the falcon above all three – sweeping wings longer than my child is tall over it all, reminding us of what we don’t know… and what we do: you are intimately connected to all of it: self, earth and others.
And it is intimately inseparable.

This is that moment. This falcon is the No Dakota Access Pipeline moment, and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Wounded Knee II moment. This is it. You are not disconnected. When you get disconnected, bad things happen. And we can choose to reconnect. We can choose to bring each part of ourselves back into harmony: as a humanity, as a part of the life body that is our home Earth, as part of that river running right now, and the people on its shores fighting for all our lives.

This post goes out in support of #NoDAPL, with great thanks to @tomasmoves found on IG, and the Civil Service Café found at IG @thecivilservicecafe,
where you can see these paintings and others until 11 September 2016.
To support the Standing Rock Reservation Hunkpapa people, inbox me; I can send you a contact.

Recommended Reading:
“Whether it’s gold from the Black Hills or hydropower from the Missouri or oil pipelines that threaten our ancestral inheritance, the tribes have always paid the price for America’s prosperity:” article by DAVID ARCHAMBAULT II
AUG. 24, 2016

What's Happening in Standing Rock? by Mark Sundeen 2 Sept 2016

#NoDAPL #BlackLivesMatter #RedLivesMatter #StandwithStandingRock #WaterIsLife