With the current state of our world, it is easy to lose sight of personal and community health and well-being. While acknowledging the problematics of the holiday season (a list too numerous), I hope we all find places/spaces to engage in the life saving practice of collective Joy. The below article was published more than 2 years ago in the Harvard Gazette , offers a scientific perspective on the role of joy to human health and wellbeing-being.
“Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”
According to the study, those who lived longer and enjoyed sound health avoided smoking and alcohol in excess. Researchers also found that those with strong social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.
“In Ntozake Shange’s celebrated feminist choreopoem, through Dec. 8 at the Public, seven women of color, named after and dressed in different hues of the rainbow, explore trauma and resilience through movement and text. Ms. Wailes’s performance is captivating for the ease in which she weaves Camille A. Brown’s choreography with American Sign Language.”
Caster Semenya was defiant in every way at what very well could be her last 800 meter race. Her raised fist at the start. Her unstoppable victory. And with her reply Friday to the big question of whether she will now submit to new testosterone regulations in track and field and take hormone-reducing medication. “Hell…
I can’t quite keep up with the staggering loss of us. Sending prayers for loved ones and the larger communities. Rest in peace Enwezor and Roger, and all those (with and without fame) not mentioned in this post.
“The fact is, White supremacy defines our current reality. It is not merely a belief that to be White is to be better. It is a political, cultural and economic system premised on the subjugation of people who are not White. That subjugation takes on an infinite number of forms and is enforced with varying degrees of physical violence, mental abuse and robbery. White supremacy is the voice in our collective heads that says it makes civilized sense that one group of people gets to annihilate, enslave, incarcerate, brainwash, torture, sterilize, breed and terrorize other people. White supremacy establishes, upholds and normalizes hierarchy based on the premise that the less Black you are the closer you are to God.”
“[T]his is a book about freedom dreams. We’re well aware of the problems we’re buried beneath. We can feel the weight of them on our limbs, the heft of them in our abdomens as our second brains gnaw on the indignity of it all. But what does it look like for Black people to claw our way to fresh air? What does freedom feel like? How does it taste on the tongue? For some folks in this book, it feels like raising kids who gleefully take up space for themselves. For others, it looks like providing the tools we need to triumph over race-based trauma. There’s the pastor who envisions a day when following his radical, dark-skinned Jesus who always sides with the dispossessed will lift us out of this hole, and the organizer who can almost smell the sharp aroma of reforming the nation’s political system. And we can’t forget the professor who dreams of the day when we can bring our full selves to every table.”
Excerpted from “How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance” by Kenrya Rankin and Akiba Solomon, available now.
While I was aware that in recent years Shange had been ill, battling to recover more fully from a stroke she had a decade earlier, I was nonetheless surprised with her presence: at once vibrant, bubbling and tenacious, and unabashedly delicate, vulnerable, and uncomfortably revealed.
Like many, I fell in love with Shange’s work during my adolescent years, and as a young adult she gave voice to my confusions and questions and outright frustrations and anger about the world around me. In her work, Shange’s work gave me permission, not that I needed permission but it was nice to have it nonetheless, to belong to myself in this world and be fully present in navigating the various paradoxes of the particularly spaces/places which I inhabit and encounter.
On that May 17 morning, I was invited in to a day of paradoxes deliciously laid out on the altar of love for a good friend. On October 27, 2018, less than six-month later, Shange joined the realm of the ancestor. And, her death, made having witnessed May 17th an even greater honor and a deeper reminder of the role love and true friendship in living meaningful lives.