The retreat was held at Ashe Cultural Center and started with a spiritual cleansing with Florida water. It smelled lovely and had petals floating around in it. After the cleansing we were to go to the elder women in the group and touch their knees (honoring them for the time spent on their knees IN PRAYER for all of us) and their feet (showing respect). Many of these acts are African traditions and a way in which we pay homage to the ancestors.
|Sister Kimberly & Sister Nana dancing|
We sang songs, danced, chanted, meditated, drew pictures and so forth.
One of the chants we started with was
I am beautiful
Love abides in me
You simply cannot say that dozens of times and NOT BELIEVE it.
YOU are beautiful and LOVE does abide in you. You did know that though right?
The retreat was headed by Nana Anoa Nantambu – an Earthmother and founder of Wholely Living Simply Living, Inc. She led us in song, dance, visionary meditation, purpose and sister groups. Another sister taught us a walking meditation -something I’d never even heard of before.
One recurring theme was : ALL IS WELL
Once again if you tell yourself this ENOUGH you believe it DESPITE your circumstances.
One young sister had survived a near death hospitalization of seven weeks.
She was so glad to be there and to be alive. It was so moving speaking with her. Life- how often we take it for granted yet this twenty something year old had faced death head on and thankfully survived.
Another sister, Antoinette Harrell, who is an African genealogist (RARE find) had undergone an amputation of her leg. She had always visited plantations and cotton fields in her work and research and wondered how she’d ever do that again with one leg, but GOD said she would and she DOES. She shared her heartfelt story and moved my spirit when she spoke of the ancestors who endured the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, had babies snatched from their womb and all of the atrocities of slavery.
WHO ARE WE NOT TO ENDURE, SURVIVE AND THRIVE??
Their stories, strength and testimonies were beyond inspiring and I found myself shedding many tears.
|Queen Suma STILL dances at 83 years. It was such a blessing being in her presence.|
Mother Suma was like a magnet drawing us all to her hoping to soak up a little of her 83 years of wisdom.
She spoke on LOVE and how people say it’s hard to love someone and takes a long time to love people. She DISAGREED and said LOVE is easy and that she loved each and every one of us. She stated that she
often meets people she instantly feels LOVE toward.
That’s the place I want to be in and exist from. A place of LOVE!
We closed with this simple song:
May all be BLESSED
|Altar with food offering to ancestors|
|Lunch was basmati rice, bbq tofu, grilled tofu and salad. Super yum!|
|Bissap Breeze is a healthy beverage company owned by a young lady named Esalima & her husband. It was a delight meeting her and hearing her beautiful voice sing in her native African language. It was VERY good.|