A Dream Spoetry SpaceSituated five stories above a coffee house, in the middle of the Serafi Mall, is the  ATHR Gallery;  a wonderful place that eloquently captures so much of the inspirational beauty in this region, and reminds me to remain intentional about finding creativity.

On one of my first of several visits, I was blessed to take in the profound work of Tajammul Hussain in an exhibit entitled “Illuminating the Word” that truly expanded the power of Nommo (in the African tradition, a term that refers to the generative and productive power of the spoken word) through illustration and text from the Holy Quran. Simply, Divinely inspired and amazing; the particular use of colorful shapes (some of my favorite including, circles, spirals, leaves, flowers and arch openings) and Islamic inspired symbolism to illuminate sacred space was captivating.

All over the world, indigenous approaches to wellness seem to have one thing in common; reverence for the Creator and Creation. I felt the presence of God in the Gallery and was moved by the painting, calligraphy and positioning of the pieces. Hamza Saleh Serafi was a gracious host and his passion for all things beautiful filled up the room!

Architecture Islamic StyleWonderful adventures abound as I recall my first tour of Old Jeddah that began with a drive along the Jeddah Corniche, taking in the splendor of the Red Sea. Inside the Balad area (shops and houses) we saw 500 years of history and a struggle to restore the charm of that period at the Nasseif House. For me, the most moving moment of the evening was to be on the roof top of this historic house, taking tea, with a spectacular view of the city, a gentle breeze blowing through the open spaces, while waiting for the sun to set and to hear the call for prayer emanating from 12 Mosques at the same time!

In the middle of the awe I also had a profound Sankofa (an Akan word that refers to the notion of looking back, while moving forward) moment that reminded me of the contradictions experienced in front of a Portuguese church in Ghana surrounded by the dungeons where enslaved Africans were waiting to be transported through the so called door of “no return”. Portugal tried to enter Saudi Arabia through Jeddah, yet was forced to turn around. At the same time however, Africans were also enslaved in the Kingdom and remained so until 1962. Rather than contemplate further, I slowly sipped my tea and marveled at the beauty of the setting sun.

Al-Makkiyah Residential VillaIt has also been my privilege to encounter yet another brilliant display of finery at the Makkiya House, a monumental dwelling place constructed by the Saudi Architect Dr. Sami Engawi that also serves as a Hijazi (referring to traditional Arabic architectural heritage, design, arts and crafts) Museum. We were met by his gracious wife, Amira Mashat (Saudi Women keep their family names when they marry), who treated us to a home cooked feast fit for the Queens that entered this palatial paradise through a 300 years old wooden door! Melodious live Oud music sent soothing sounds throughout the rooms. Amira also has a gift shop in her home, with beautiful one of a kind jewelry designs from her own line, as well as from Egyptian artisans. It was truly an experience; I found some lovely earrings with an Arabic inscription: “Let’s Never Separate”, which of course speaks to my heart’s desire embody the African notions of interconnectivity and the continuity of life.

Arches and WindowsCreative expressions clearly can serve to usher in meaningful dialogue that leads to positive action for the good of humanity; if only we could start on this common ground instead of debating our differences with a fierce focus on that which divides.  This is not a “we are the world” call; however we who are awake in the world can answer a call that positions us to make a difference by finding our own creativity, sharing it, holding hope for better days, while using these gifts to uplift, encourage and empower others who see in a different light. What women especially need right now is a place to restore, recharge, reconnect, and re-affirm a commitment to passionately pursue their particular callings. Music, art, poetry and songs transcend differences and allow for profoundly impactful cultural exchanges that connect and multiply, rather than conquer or divide.

It has been a most unusual and unparalleled experience to witness the evolution of an international University juxtaposed to the complexities enveloping shifting sands in Saudi Arabia. Thank you for allowing me to share and for being a witness to this incredible journey of discovery and transformation through time, nature, movement, beauty and creativity.


55_All the Way LiveMy silent, meditative, blessed birthday was spent in the healing waters of Jordan on the 4th of July, both in the Dead Sea, salt and fresh water pools. It was just what the doctor ordered: a time to reflect, revisit journals and release more of Spoetry in Motion. I am so grateful to be “all the way live at 55” and counting it all Joy!





“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell

Edna LewisThis 7th cycle of healing has been marked by quite a Sankofa journey — looking back while moving forward, trying to understand how I sourced my own emotional pain as well as the early wounds that fueled self-sabotaging behaviors, both in my relationships and… dare i say, food.

I was in the kitchen today with my Kenyan Sisters, who taught me about the tools needed in an African kitchen, and how to prepare egg plant, cauliflower with curry and turmeric and a Chinese potato dish. I thought of Granny; she would have loved to be with us, and I felt that she was in Spirit. Edna Lewis reminds me a lot of Granny and Mama who were also “In Pursuit of Flavor”.

Everything I need is in my house to be comfortable, nourished and focused on healing. Yesterday I felt tired and sad, and thought how nice it would have been to have a hug from someone I often think about, yet is not available, and then God sent His Angels — with three hugs!!!

I love the way God shows up in others.

Here’s to a fabulous and flavorful life, right now!





I Am Not My Hair

I had my first press and curl at age eight. When I took a peek in the mirror at the new me, I was so disappointed that I did not resemble the Breck Girl in all the magazine ads. That may explain why some of the girls at my school looked shocked, shaking their heads, hoping I could have lived up to the Pantene-flowing-in-the-wind look I had so proclaimed I’d have.

Just 9 days ago, on April 10, my last lock fell. It was clearly time for a new hairstory in the making! To get a full buzz and see the hairs standing on top of my head like tweety bird, made me laugh. Then I noticed the shape of my head, which had never been seen, even at birth I had a head full of hair. The first comments received were very, very gracious and kind. I decided it would be okay to go out in public without the scarf, and did so.