These are my reflections and thoughts that I had after the performances ‘Evolution’* and ‘Activate’**
I believe we all have one enemy, and that is the idea that monetary wealth and status will give us true happiness. Our struggle is not to gain monetary wealth and statues nor is it to take it from those who have it. No, we have something a lot more valuable to struggle towards and rediscover, true happiness. True happiness cannot be stolen, we all have it, and we have been blinded by the one enemy and every day we are being tricked in to blinding ourselves. We are being led to believe that happiness is connected to wealth and status, and only by gaining more can we achieve greater happiness, but I know the opposite is true. I genuinely believe that those who are rich with money are the unhappiest of all, and that they believe their own lies so strongly they are the most lost. The rich with money and status do not deserve our envy or hate. No, they deserve our pity, because they are the furthest from finding true happiness.
Together all of us must struggle towards finding the happiness we already have. Whatever you believe you have lost or lacking you are still alive, so be alive.
If enough of us succeed in reclaiming our happiness those who sit on a pile of gold will still sit there, but it will no longer have value and the rest of us will be closer to our purpose in life.
You do not have to give up anything to find true happiness, you already have it. All you need is to shift your focus, be present in the moment, and find balance within yourself. It is not the easy option, maybe it is the hardest, but it is the simplest.
Only you can find your happiness.
What we can do together and for one another is to create a better environment for each other, a place from where we can start our exploration in a safe, positive, thoughtful, reflective environment that is not frightened to challenge and push each other to be the best person we are.
It is not to our benefit to segregate ourselves, to focus on our differences. Any movement that is focusing on championing the benefit of only one group and or one community might be doing more harm than good, no matter how worthy the cause. If we want to reclaim our happiness we must all unite. Together we can find equality, segregated we will find nothing, that makes sense right?
When we are championing for everyone we must change our rhetoric to be all-inclusive.
Segregated we will only be moving further away from finding balance, and closer to the one enemy. Segregated we will not be fighting our fight, but that of the one enemy. Segregated we will be enslaving ourselves to the one enemy.
We are both one and all. Our body is single, but also connected to every living and unanimated element of this earth and the universe itself.
I am working for a world where we together struggle towards true happiness and resist the one enemy.
It is important to disagree with each other, to challenge views and perspectives so that they can be refined and grow. If there is anything that you wish to challenge in my writing, please do so in a thoughtful and reflective manner.
* ‘Evolution’ for Doors Can Dance (September 15 and 16th, 7 pm at Murmur Gallery 100 Broad St SW, Atlanta, GA) I was dressed in black jeans and white shirt, wearing my hair in three braids and sporting a decent beard. The performance was about responding to a prop, the door. I performed spoken word, and asked that the audience imagine the door to be a threshold or exit from Plato’s cave. I performed for two nights, and both nights I invited an audience member to cross that threshold, but as they were about to cross I would challenge them to why they wished to cross. On the first night the person who volunteered said that he wanted more. Which I personally disagree with, but I let him pass. I believe that when one desires more you will never be able to cross the threshold, because one already has everything one needs. On the second night the person who volunteered, said she would only do it if I bought her a beer, to which I accepted. She then told the audience and me that if I were of color she would have done it for free, to which I said OK. When I told her that I was going to be mean to her, she said that was OK, because she was used to men like me being mean (that is how I heard it), to which I said OK. When I challenged her to why she wanted to go through the door, she said for the beer. I disagree with her response, because I believe that treating racism with racism only feeds more racism. I believe we cannot let how we are treated define us; we need to be more than a reflection of our abuser. I feel that both volunteers did not cross the door, only the physical representation of it. In that sense the performance was a failure. I wish I could have had a better dialogue with them both.
** ‘Activate’ for Eyedrum (September 24th, 2:30-5:30 pm on 1 Peachtree ST SW, Atlanta, GA during Atlanta streets Alive) I was dressed in an Indian Kurta Pyjama wearing a black hood that resembles what someone who is about to be executed would wear (see image above). This is an image that has the possibility to evoke strong feelings. Underneath my hood I sported long voluminous brown hair and a decent beard. I provided ‘Free Information’ in the form of leaflets that I hoped would contextualize what I was doing. The space I was performing in has a strong African American presence and what I heard some see was Ku Klux Klan. Others I know saw someone who was about to be executed. The charged energy that was building up evaporated when I took the hood of. No matter the individual’s background the response was that I looked like Jesus. When I was asked if I was Jesus I said No I’m just a man. When I was asked to talk about Jesus I said it is not my place to talk about him. When asked what I’m doing I said it was a performance art piece and that there was more information. I believe that society is catered in such away that we do not have to think for ourselves, that the reason for something is always given. I think that is very problematic because it encourages us to be passive, and I want us to be active, to think to reflect to be present in the moment. That is the reason for my performance, in the moment of writing it feels as if the performance failed in that regard, because the vast majority who saw it never went deeper then their preconception of the image that I provided. I did have two men ask me to explain further after reading the information, which I did. I hope what I was able to say in the moment was helpful.