Self-care Soup: Mars Roundhouse Kicks in the Door to the Tune of 90’s House Music

permanent fugue, Playground Rules & Physics, Self-care Soup
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Image: Peter Nevins ~ Detail of “A MONSTER IS BORN!” ~ Woodcut

Self-care Soup is a short column where Moriah Mylod and M. Perle talk about vibes in the ether and self-care strategies.

 

M. Perle: Aries season is a time when we think about our power. What it’s like, how we use it, where can it get us. We can misuse power, but let’s think about how we can…not do that. In my book rec of the month I cite an instant DIY classic: Sandhya Rani Jha’s Transforming Communities: How People Like You are Healing Their Neighborhoods. Power can mean saying, “I’m gonna just do it myself!” Mercury is in retrograde until the 15th (tomorrow!) which signals a time to reflect. After that, as SNAP! said in their seminal hit “I’ve Got the Power,” “Dinging like a cymbal, rhyme devil on the heavenly level/ Bang the bass, turn up the treble”! What if we do have the power?

Mercury Retrograde has made me revisit the role friends have had on my life path. I found myself on Instagram thinking about people who have passed through my life and felt an extreme tenderness. So I followed them. Reconsidering these formative times reveals how much others shape our lives. How many have passed through your life, shown you things about yourself, make you miss home, lead you to the home in yourself? Admit there are people around us who move us to feel, to act. Watch how you speak about others. Are you treating them harshly because of your own feelings of unworthiness?

 

Moriah M. MylodIn honor of the season of change from Old Man Winter leading us slowly into the welcoming embrace of Maiden’s Spring, we can gently invite ourselves to celebrate these shifting seasonal changes within us! As the first Crocus of buds gently greeting us and Spring Showers pouring on us, we may find ourselves to be in place of acceptance, resistance or perhaps both. Change is inevitable- it’s not necessarily a good or bad thang…it just IS, right?! It’s about how we can muster up or discover the strength through these discomforts perhaps difficulties that change has brought to our door steps. It seems easy for some of us to recognize our weaknesses before our strengths when confronted with an opportunity for transformation and that’s OK…at least we recognize! So, in the light of Aries’ Power, let’s take a look at our personal strengths and hey our weaknesses too, but most of all give recognition to the heart of who we are in our strength of strengths which is our Archetypal Hero/Warrior in our life on a day to day basis. As a matter of fact, Carl G. Jung has proclaimed to us that “only one who has risked the fight with dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard—“the treasure hard to attain!”” (Collected Works of C.G. Jung 14 by Gerhard Alder, par. 746)  

 

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Detail of an engraving titled “The Destruction of Leviathan” by Gustav Doré (circa 1865)

 

Recommended Reading

 

M. Perle: Sandhya Rani Jha, Transforming Communities: How People Like You Are Healing Their Neighborhoods

Moriah M. Mylod: Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, Chapter on Joy & Sorrow

 

Music to Get You Through

M. Perle: 2 Unlimited “No Limit”

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Moriah M. Mylod: “Another Night” by Real McCoy (European Version Video Clip, 1993)

 

Meditation

M. Perle: Listen to 2 Unlimited. Close your eyes and think of jabbing and grabbing all the non-human obstacles standing in your way. Now sing Sonique “It Feels So Good” to yourself and wrap your arms around yourself (hug yourself!). It’s a short meditation because: it’s Aries season! You know we don’t have time for patiently mediating!

 

ART for Mind, Body & Spirit

Moriah M. Mylod: Invitation to go outdoors to create an Earth Mandala with a special intention. Mandala mean ‘Sacred Circle’ in Sanskrit’—it is indeed circular shape in form usually created from the center of the circle outward or vise versa.  What will your reason be for creating today? What is it for? What do you need in your life right now? Think of something specific and begin picking natural objects that appear available and interesting to you (ex. flowers, leaves, sticks, stones, etcetera) thinking of line, shape, texture, and color, in mind. Once you’ve collected enough things, search the area for suiting place to set them down. Is it a dirt or rocky ground? GOOD! Feel free to crouch down to the ground or in a position that’s comfortable for you and begin placing those beauties down. Think of some patterns of how you wish to arrange them. It takes a lot of work constructing these, lots of thanks and gratitude to the trees for allowing us to pluck their leaves off or flower’s petals if we want to utilize them. Perhaps you quietly thank the Universe for your hands, your mind, your health, your happiness, your sadness, your pain and your experiences– to be able to make something beautiful out of something that wasn’t there before. Did you know you can do that? Make something beautiful out of “nothing”? How do you look at things?

 

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Winter Reading List by Jordannah Elizabeth

Braving the Days

Well, here we are at the beginning of 2018.

Instead of creating a “Best of” list, I thought I would just complete everything I had intended to do this year. I don’t see much of a point of looking at what was “best,” but in my mind, I believe it may be important, particularly this year to look at and ponder what is necessary in order to survive 2018 with vigor and achievement.

My reading lists are born out of what I find going on my way through life. This Winter Reading List is full of books about Black women intellectuals, Black women’s oppression, existential thought through academic findings.

This year has been an interesting one for Black American women. It’s been a year where we’re beginning to find our voices and our places in intellectual, political and activist realms of American culture. I’m frankly fascinated by it because I’ve been a Black girl and woman all of my life. It is interesting for the world to have an opinion, and even more so, think that it’s their choice to open doors for us, or give us “places in society.” As if it is someone else’s “choice” to pay us fairly or to talk about how we win or lose or behave in the media. I’ve decided observe this winter.

I’ve decided to step back and read.

Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women

Edited By: Mia E. Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, Barbara D. Savage

On Intellectual Activism

By: Patricia Hill Collins

Black Sexual Politics

By: Patricia Hill Collins

Women’s Oppression Today: The Marxist/Feminist Encounter

By: Michèle Barrett

This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition Writings by Radical Women of Color

By: Cherríe Moraga

The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way

By: Alice Walker

In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence

By: Kristin Bumiller

Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience

By: Michelle Murphy

At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance- a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

By: Danielle L. McGuire

Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism

By: Erik S. McDuffie

Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk About Sexuality And Intimacy

By: Tricia Rose

Stay Feminist and Study Your Body by Lay Sion Ng

Issues Under Tissues
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Image by Elisabeth Fredriksson

How well do you understand your body?

Do you think your body can change your mind?

Or it is only our minds that can change our bodies?

Throughout history there have been many different definitions as to what constitutes our bodies. Some theorists of the social body regarded physical bodies as objects that need to be “trained, manipulated, cajoled, organized and in general disciplined” (Turner 15). Similarly, some considered the body as “a play of forces, a surface of intensities, pure simulacra without originals” (Braidotti 21).

This thinking becomes a problem as it conceptualizes the body as simply a biological object that is apart from rational faculties and furthermore, a gender biased object, which leads to a conception that “[w]omen are somehow more biological, more corporeal, and more natural than men” (Grosz 14). As a result, women become relegated to being apart from reason and culture and their bodies are conceptualized as passive objects for others. In addition, this thinking enforces a false belief in which the true essence of human nature is information and that human bodies are limited and thus, humans can be still human by uploading their consciousnesses to a vast computer network.

Can this transhumanist utopianism be achieved?

Can we still call ourselves humans when our minds and bodies are separated?

            In order to answer these questions, I would like to introduce some materialist feminists’ thoughts. Refusing to see our bodies as passive objects, Claire Clorebrook calls for thinking of our bodies as a form of “positive difference” (71). Moreover, Karen Barad introduces a concept called “agential realism,” in which she sees matter or the natural world as a “substance in its intra-active becoming—not a thing, but a doing, a congealing of agency” and that all bodies “come to matter through the world’s interactive intra-activity” (139, 141). Barad further encourages us to dismiss the inherent difference between human and non-human, subject and object, mind and body, discourse and matter through emphasizing that “we are of the world” (147). Similar to Barad, Donna Haraway attempts to blur the boundaries between man/woman, machine/organism, culture/nature, and representation/real that have been enforced by modern scientific thought through using the cyborg as a hybrid tool (1991: 149-150).

            All these modern feminist thinkers are tying to tell us that our bodies are active agents and thus they should not be neglected when we are talking about our mind. More specifically, mind and body should not be separated because they are a “collective.” In fact, there are evidences showing that our bodies can actually change our minds and therefore, shape our future. In 2012, Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a speech at Ted Talk about how our bodies could shape our minds. In the talk, she claimed that our bodies actually hold the power to change our minds and “our minds can change our behavior and our behavior can change our outcomes.” But how? She then told her personal experience about her “change” and further suggested a small experiment: do some powerful postures—stretch your arms or spread your legs—for two minutes whenever you are nervous. For instance, right before a stressful job interview. Does this really help? It does! Because when you are in a high-power pose condition your bodily hormone does actually change—the decrease of cortisol or stress hormone—and therefore you feel more powerful afterward. Cuddy concluded her talk by emphasizing that we could fake it until we become it; “do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.”

            To sum up, Cuddy’s study and those material feminists’ not only come to deconstruct the thinking that privileges minds over bodies but also deliver an important message to us, which is our bodies are our future.

 

 

References

Barad, Karen. “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter,” in Material Feminisms. ed. Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009. Print. 120-154.

Braidotti, Rosi. Metamorphoses: Towards a Feminist Theory of Becoming. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002. Print.

Colebrook, Claire. “On Not Becoming Man: The Materialist Politics of Unactualized Potential,” in Material Feminisms. ed. Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009. Print. 52-84.

Cuddy, Amy. “How Body Language May Shape Who You Are.” Ted Global. June 2012. https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are/transcript.

Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. Print. 149-181.

Turner, B. Regulating Bodies: Essays in Medical Sociology. London: Routledge, 1992. Print.