My equilibrium is off. It’s finding it’s way back to balance now, but for the past few days, I’ve been swaying back and forth, back and forth. The sways are the remnants of a week on the ocean.
From November 6th – 13th I had the pleasure of being a part of Summit At Sea. It’s a 4 day excursion for artists, activist, poets, tech gurus, and all around bright people. Thanks to Ledger Productions, I was given the opportunity to run sound in various locations on the ship for this incredible occasion. It hosted around 3,000 people from various walks of life and backgrounds. Naming them all would be an impossible feat. Being on the boat wasn’t so much about individual egos. It was more about meeting, connecting, and creating with people, unburdened from the baggage of past accomplishments.
The results of the US Presidential election had a profound effect on our perspective during the cruise. A great many of us learned of the results together in the Atrium. Entire presentations were scrapped and reworked to address this “unexpected” turn of events. I put that word in quotations because while some people expected it, others saw it coming the entire time.
So much inspiration and light flowed through that boat. Here are just a few examples of what I encountered while running sound.
Dr Shefali Tsabary – “We as a society need to grow. We cannot be the young child holding tight to mother’s dress for much longer.”
Sonia Sanchez was asked if she could remember a time when the emotional atmosphere felt similar to the despair and hopelessness floating after this election. She replied
“Yes. The assassinations of John & Robert Kennedy were huge blows to the population. The nomination of Nixon to the Republican party felt almost exactly the same. People also knew Reagan’s intentions and were horrified when he won the election.”
When asked what did she do, and what can we do now, she emphasized one word…
“Resist! Resist! Resist!! Don’t leave where you are just because of the fear. Fight, stand up, and teach people. Now is the time.”
“I called an old friend who gave me this advice: You Only Get A Megaphone Once. Use it”.
Orlando Jones – “I am a hypocrite. I see atrocities in other locations and I do not react. As soon as I see an African American gunned down by cops, I freak out and do all that I can. I’m not proud of it, but I can admit it”
Princess Lucaj – Her culture had a coming of age ceremony that celebrated the start of menstruation. Colonization, organized religion, and patriarchy messed up her people so much that her mother wouldn’t even speak to her about menstruation. Princess said that she used tissue when she started her cycle because she was so afraid and ashamed of herself. Now she works to bring that coming of age ceremony back into her community. She says that as women, you need to
“Decolonize your mind and your heart.”
LeVar Burton – I feel like I raised most of you. Looking back on previous projects that I’ve been a part of, They didnt touch on what I feel is lacking in our society. We are missing the humanity. We are missing the energy of compassion for each other. I hope to spread that with my next project”
Tracy Ann Essoglou – “The phrase ‘The simplest explanation is usually the right one’ is used as a way to discredit the people speaking up about an issue. It’s a trueism. It looks and smells true, but it falls apart under scrutiny. Men have used that phrase as a way to silence women for a long time.”
Cal Fussman – “In a storm, Curiosity may seem like a waste of time… It’s not. It’s a lifeline.”
Embrace The Exponential
I watched Patrice Cullors lead a spiritual enlightenment session that started with interaction between two random people, and culminated in an art piece that included everyone in the room. Even typing it out now, I see that these words can’t capture the majority of it’s impact.
Sam Jay – “Most white dudes aren’t sitting around plotting on how to take over the world and keep minorities down. A lot of the Trump voters are simply tired of being targeted in the recent civil rights struggles.”
Azhar Uzman – “We’re all racists. Being a part of this country makes us racist.”
Quentin Tarantino – He tries new things in fim. Had never done a kung fu scene before Kill Bill. Had never done a car chase before Grindhouse. If he tries something crazy and fails, to him it means he’s hit his head on the ceiling of his talent. That is what he constantly tries to do. Consistently shooting to reach the ceiling of his talent. He doesn’t feel like he’s hit his ceiling yet.
Kendrick Lamar is fully aware of what he’s doing. He does not do songs simply for the label or the cash. He purposefully writes his lyrics, even though most of his peers try to follow Jay-Z with fully memorizing without writing.
Greg Cornell (my boss on the ship) – “If I’m good at my job of being awesome at logistics, I am happy bringing good people together.”
I’m still swaying. Back and forth, back and forth. After leaving the cultivation of light that was happening on the ship, I’m now back in Washington DC, only not fully. People are sad, depressed, and in despair. They think hope has been lost. Right now I’m swaying between the despair of life in the US, and the light of Summit. I’ll be here for a while, reminding the world of what’s possible. Building bridges where people have burned them. Swaying between the two realities. Helping us to see the truth – we are all one being.
There is no you, and there is no me. There is only we. There is only We.
This is a guest post by contributor Cody Valentine, an artist, sound engineer, activist and amazing spiritual human being who currently lives in Washington, DC. You can follow his band on Facebook.