Sankofa: Go Back and Get it and What I Would Say To My Younger Self...

When I woke up this morning, the first thing that came to my mind was literally "Life is so interesting; a continuous process of becoming and unbecoming". There's this sort of zig zag, waxing and waning, inhale/exhale, twist/untwist, pain/joy, love/hate sort of thing that just keeps happening and happening and happening. It's been really apparent to me, even with the recent and current political happenings, that life is all about cycles; from the cells in our body continually dying and rebirthing, to our individual challenges and victories in life, to the universal vibes. It's all cyclical.

I've noticed recently that the same sorts of challenges present themselves ever so often in my life; a sure sign of the things I need to work out. A friend once told me that "the universe teaches us the same lesson over and over again until we finally learn it". I can think of any themes that continue to re-emerge. Can you think of your themes?

I've been taking a trip down memory lane this whole season and I guess maybe that's what it's for. From a Chinese medicine perspective, fall and winter draw us inward inter yin (substance, emotion, processing, darkness), so it is not strange that people, messages, feelings, and thoughts from the past are evoked. I've been dreaming of people I love/have loved, been looking at old photographs going back to college, and re-reading every single blog post here since 2012. It's been emotional. And more than anything, I'm full of such love and compassion, for myself, and for the people who were/are in my life. We are all in this really absurd, crazy, beautiful, confusing, grand thing called life, together.

While there is immense value in living in the present, much can be learned from looking to the past, to make way for a more fulfilling future. I'm reminded of the Adinkra sign/Ashanti concept (this is my Familial tribe by the way) of Sankofa. Sankofa is a bird that has its head reversed towards it's tale. The theme of this symbol is "go back and get it".

So here is the current Naika going back to get pieces of the old Naika. And undoubtedly the old Naika, offering wisdom to the current Naika. Here is a dialogue across time and space.

Old to Current:

  • Life is a process of arriving. It's about the journey not the destination. You will never arrive. You will never hit that aha moment when you know all the answers
  • You will not be married with children by 27, and that's ok. It's probably for the better
  • Life comes with unexpected surprises. Some are glorious and some are more painful than you could ever know. But the surprises will keep coming.
  • Everything happens in God's perfect planning
  • Follow the signs. They will always lead you to the right place
  • The child in you is beautiful. Listen to her. Don't let them silence her and don't let yourself silence her
  • Take more pictures. Even though you always kind of hate the way you look, one day you will want something to look back on. To remember who you were.
  • You will continue to strive for a perfection that does not exist. Stop wasting your time
  • Love yourself now because it's all you got
  • Your will find a tribe, and they will be you.
  • You are your greatest enemy. That makes no sense. Continue engaging in the work you need to do to become your greatest love.

Current to Old:

  • Spend more time with your dad. He'll be leaving you sooner than you think. Hug him tighter, ask him more questions, and really study his face, so you don't forget.
  • Nothing lasts forever
  • Getting older is awesome, so don't fear it. Embrace it!
  • Stop being so serious. Have more fun!
  • Tell your parents thank you all the time. They have given you so much
  • This is the most vital you will ever be; seize the day and take full advantage of your youth
  • No one owes you anything. Be grateful for everything you're given
  • Your sensitivity is true blessing. It will make your spirituality, art, and overall life experience that much more meaningful
  • Your body will continue to change; don't get too attached to it
  • Your soul is beautiful. It will never change. It will only increase in depth and magnitude
  • Value your loved ones as much as you can; they will not be here forever (either by choice or not)
To be continued...

And here are some old pics that made me smile extra wide:
young revolutionaries just tryna be heard. (2010). Brown University.
My fro!!!!!! 
Frolicking through vineyards, (2011). California.

21st Birthday party. (2010). Brown University 

young glamorous recent graduates! (2011). Brown University

Scheming.. (2010). California

You wouldn't believe how much I hated my body this night. You wouldn't believe the things I said (and still say sometimes) to myself. But one thing I said three times as I walked out the door; "you're beautiful. you're beautiful. you're beautiful". (2011). Providence,RI

you're beautiful.
stay engaged,

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