“We can learn to mother ourselves.” -Audre Lorde “Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger

Because love is not scarce, our ancestors bathe us in it every moment that we dare to receive.

I have learned that there are sources of nurturing that are older than us and swifter than our bodies. I am noticing that those who are no longer here in physical form are teachers in the wind, showing us how we must relate to each other, if we want to survive longer than our bodies and longer than a system that denies us.

I have been writing urgent letters to my ancestors since before I knew they were watching and on the cusp of this new year they whispered a suggestion to me. “How about for this new year, as a gift to yourself, you receive some letters from us, the spirits of women that love you from eternity?”

As ever, my answer was yes. These daily letters from the most beloved of my known and chosen ancestors on behalf of all of the ancestors who have sent us love with their lives and dreams without us knowing came at exactly the right time. When I was afraid to trust myself, I was not afriad to trust their guidance for me. I re-learned a shifting methodology of loving myself firstly as their vessel and secondly as their recipient

I did this every morning. Listening first for who wanted to speak, or sometimes it would be announced the day before. And I would hold the pen and just listen and listen for what any mother warrior had to say, knowing that my ego is less important than my purpose, knowing that even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear it was what I needed somehow. Listening like the eager student that these ancestors deserve. I have learned that as often as my ancestors are affirming and supportive they can also be disruptive, changing my whole idea of what I need to do in a day, inserting themselves in ways that alter timelines and boundaries I set up. I should not be surprised. My ancestors were not well-behaved women.

And my ancestors are socialist, so of course they would ask me to share these intimate insights and gifts with you. Of course they would want me to bring their messages to your waiting ears, but more than that I want to share this practice and encourage that you engage it for yourself.

I don’t know what ancestors speak to you or why and when they do, but I have been asked to ask you to listen, lovingly for what the universe wants you to know.

Can you join me? Think of the people who have influenced you, while they were living or through their written, or retold legacies. Just think about them and let your mind relax, let their energy surround and fill you. Create quiet times in your days in case they have something to say.

I encourage you to add your insights here on the “your letters” page if your feel that what you have received could provide healing and wisdom for the rest of us. I encourage you keep your writings for yourself if you feel that they should remain private. The messages of our living dead are sacred. They transcend the norms of intellectual property, and they should be treasured by your best impulse.

My intention here is to share with you an abiding sustaining faith in presence of those who have gone before and their participation in our everyday.

I invite your observance or participation with love.




5 Responses

  1. Thank you sis for reminding me of things I already knew, and affirming the things that have been lingering in my thoughts. This has been a blessing and came right on time.

  2. Alexis, what a beautiful idea and a complete inspiration. Our ancestors have blessed us in many ways. Glad I stumbled upon your site and much love and perseverance in all your creations!!!

  3. finding you, your missives, and your mission brought me back to a place i hadn’t visited in a long time. i miss Audre, June, Toni and yet, you reminded me that who i really miss, is me. i am writing again and i am grateful for the voices of our ancestors that live in and through you. you are a precious gift…

    thank you, thank you, thank you …for repetition is holy.
    soon to (re)start blogging with a site titled
    ‘beyond brooklyn’

  4. Sis,

    I was looking for images of Miss Ella when I came across your blog. It is as refreshing as it is necessary and I’m grateful that you’ve shared it.

    If you haven’t already read it, you may be interested in Barbara Ransby’s book, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.

    In addition to Miss Ella’s towering life’s work, her North Carolina origins (about 75 miles away from where generations of my family were born), gives her legacy a specificity, a proximity, that nourishes me in my own work. This is why I claim her as one of my mothers in ministry.

    Wishing you strength for the journey and joy in doing the work.

  5. Am in a space where I feel only my ancestors would be able to provide the succor, guidance and nuturance I need. And they led me very quickly (no no not by chance) to this blessed communion of spirits that filled the parched vessel. Thank you…

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