Shailja Patel: Unpour

My grandparents’ sugar was the cane. You need strong teeth, strong jaws, to chew sugarcane. The sticks are sometimes too thick to fit comfortably in the mouth. You get purchase on a ridge of juicy, crisp fiber, arrange the fibers crosswise against the blades of your incisors. You position your tongue and the roof of your mouth out of reach of knife-sharp corners. You bite against the grain. If you bite parallel to the fibers, you end up splitting the cane, smaller and smaller sticks in your mouth, saliva running, no juice. But when you get the crunch just right and the surge and gush of sweet liquid—aaaah.

My parents’ sugar was jaggery. Brown rock. Pre-sugar, before the molasses is spun off from the crystals by centrifuge. Made from coconut or date palm sap or sugarcane juice, boiled to syrup, then hardened and chopped into blocks. As a child I had the task of grating the large hunk down into soft, crumbly shavings for cooking. The gritty, melty sweetness of it, shot with undertastes of minerals.


Speak the truth to the people
Talk sense to the people
Free them with honesty
Free the people with Love and Courage for their Being
Spare them the fantasy
Fantasy enslaves
A slave is enslaved
Can be enslaved by unwisdom
Can be re-enslaved while in flight from the enemy
Can be enslaved by his brother whom he loves
His brother whom he trusts whom he loves
His brother whom he trusts
His brother with the loud voice
And the unwisdom
Speak the truth to the people
It is not necessary to green the heart
Only to identify the enemy
It is not necessary to blow the mind
Only to free the mind
To identify the enemy is to free the mind
A free mind has no need to scream

A free mind is ready for other things

To BUILD black schools
To BUILD black children
To BUILD black minds
To BUILD black love
To BUILD black impregnability
To BUILD a strong black nation

Speak the truth to the people
Spare them the opium of devil-hate
They need no trips on honky-chants.

Move them instead to a BLACK ONENESS.

A black strength which will defend its own
Needing no cacophony of screams for activation
A black strength which will attack the laws
exposes the lies, disassembles the structure
and ravages the very foundation of evil.
Speak the truth to the people
To identify the enemy is to free the mind
Free the mind of the people
Speak to the mind of the people
Speak Truth


— mari evans, speak the truth to the people. (via black-poetry)

(via navigatethestream)

Uncle Larry Walsh



“It’s not just about change, it’s about creating the conditions for change.” Says Uncle Larry Walsh.

For the past 20 years, Uncle Larry has used his storytelling to create the conditions for positive change in the Aboriginal community.

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Space, Race, Bodies—Geocorpographies of the City, Nation and Empire

8-10th December, 2014
University of Otago, New Zealand
Keynote speakers:
· Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva, Inaugural Chair in Ethics, Director, The Center for Ethics and Politics, University of London


Ha ha!

Meditating: Surf as a Way of Zen

From the silky feel of the water to the bumpiness of a waxed board, much of surfing is tactile, enhancing and engaging every sense. Hearing the sound of waves crashing, receding, and arriving is unavoidable. The water catches in your mouth and you taste the natural saltiness of the element. Everything is illuminated. Stretching all around is an expanse of blue where sky and sun meet sea, or you catch a glimpse of life on land from a new perspective. Being out in the roll of the ocean awakens the body.

While there are moments of fear, intimidation, boredom, and doubt — depending on the condition of the waves and one’s relationship with it on a given day — there is always a moment of liberation and pride. To catch a wave is an overwhelming feeling of connectedness. Suddenly, you are standing on top of an uncontrollable and unpredictable natural element.

Joanna Macy: On how to prepare internally for WHATEVER comes next

I find a lot of what I am drawn to in the teaching I do, the experiential work, is to help people make friends with uncertainty, and reframe it as a way of coming alive. Because there are never any guarantees at any point in life. Perhaps it’s more engrained in the American citizen that we feel we ought to know, we ought to be certain, we ought to be in control, we ought to be upbeat, we ought to be smiling, we ought to be sociable. That cultural cast has tremendous power to keep us benumbed and becalmed. So it’s been central to my life and my work to make friends with our despair, to make friends with our pain for the world. And thereby to dignify it and honour it. That is very freeing for people.

This column will change your life: stop being busy

One of the best reads ever on time management!

llustration: Photograph: Phil Wrigglesworth for the Guardian

Most time management advice rests on the unspoken assumption that it’s possible to win the game: to find a slot for everything that matters. But if the game’s designed to be unwinnable, Schulte suggests, you can permit yourself to stop trying. There’s only one viable time management approach left (and even that’s only really an option for the better-off). Step one: identify what seem to be, right now, the most meaningful ways to spend your life. Step two: schedule time for those things. There is no step three. Everything else just has to fit around them – or not. Approach life like this and a lot of unimportant things won’t get done, but, crucially, a lot of important things won’t get done either. Certain friendships will be neglected; certain amazing experiences won’t be had; you won’t eat or exercise as well as you theoretically could. In an era of extreme busyness, the only conceivable way to live a meaningful life is to not do thousands of meaningful things.”


Professorial Coping Strategy #1: Grading Bingo


Professorial Coping Strategy #1: Grading Bingo



The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this, because it is the key to making art and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds), I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe that, more than anything else, this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.


— In her beautiful meditation on the writing life, Ann Patchett adds to our ongoing archive of wisdom on writing. Pair with Patchett’s advice to graduates on writing and life. (via explore-blog)