Belonging, Football, and the National Anthem
September 29th, 2017

To be a U.S. citizen requires critical thinking and a grasp of history.  To explore the turbulence in our society demands multi-dimensional awareness of many cultural threads: religion, immigration, politics, and power among many others.  Family Constellations can provide a particular lens that can help you look deeper into conflict: belonging.  Who defines belonging, who confers it, and who feels it are essential questions to consider in any conflict.


In looking through some resources in preparing to write this essay I found some notes I made in August of 2016 when I was first struck by Colin Kaepernick’s protests against what he perceived as unequal treatment of minorities in the US by police forces.  I made a list of the many groups I speculated he might consider he belonged to, including the NFL, the USA, his birth and adopted families, his current team, etc.  I didn’t get much farther than that, but I was beginning to explore what  Read more...

No Comments »
Social Justice and Family Constellations
September 1st, 2017

The North American Systemic Constellations Conference is just over a month away, in Virginia Beach during the first week of October.  In addition to being a workshop presenter, I’ve had the honor to help create the opening and closing ceremonies, and to hold sacred space for the process of organizing the conference and for the event itself.  Rani George, a constellations facilitator in Washington D.C, and I have partnered for these efforts since January of this year.   Rani and I both had a vision of honoring the original Native people who lived on the land around Virginia Beach, as well as the Africans who were brought to North America as slaves almost 400 years ago.  We hoped to invite some descendants of all these groups to be part of our opening ceremony.  We wished to honor them, and ask them if they would be willing to bring blessings from their ancestors for our meeting on what is the land that holds their roots.  In the inclusive  Read more...

No Comments »
Family Constellations in Dubai
April 8th, 2017

The modern nation of United Arab Emirates, in which the city of Dubai is located, is a federation of seven emirates formed in the 1950s on a roughly U-shaped stretch of land which has the Persian Gulf to the west, and the nation of Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east.  Much of the country is desert, although there were very unusual heavy thunderstorms there for several days when I arrived.  The rains led to flooded roads as there are no stormwater runoff systems, and there were green shoots everywhere in the desert as rainfall is typically limited to brief episodes a few days each year.


UAE is a nation of great wealth due to the discovery of oil reserves in the middle of the 20th century.  Under agreements with British oil companies, exploratory drilling began in 1950 with the hopes of replacing national revenue lost when the pearl industry collapsed.  Exports of oil began in 1969, leading to increasing wealth and the eventual development of the modern  Read more...

No Comments »
Family Constellations in Dubai
April 8th, 2017

The modern nation of United Arab Emirates, in which the city of Dubai is located, is a federation of seven emirates formed in the 1950s on a roughly U-shaped stretch of land which has the Persian Gulf to the west, and the nation of Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east.  Much of the country is desert, although there were very unusual heavy thunderstorms there for several days when I arrived.  The rains led to flooded roads as there are no stormwater runoff systems, and there were green shoots everywhere in the desert as rainfall is typically limited to brief episodes a few days each year.


UAE is a nation of great wealth due to the discovery of oil reserves in the middle of the 20th century.  Under agreements with British oil companies, exploratory drilling began in 1950 with the hopes of replacing national revenue lost when the pearl industry collapsed.  Exports of oil began in 1969, leading to increasing wealth and the eventual development of the modern  Read more...

No Comments »
How Polyrhythmic Drumming Has Supported My Family Healing
March 1st, 2017

On April 18th I’ll celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first time I experienced a West African drumming ensemble.  It was a Saturday morning dance class with the Uhuru Drummers at Ebster Community Center in Decatur, Georgia- the town in which I have now come to live.


Included among the drummers that day was Brother Yusef Crowder, the man who was my first teacher, who taught me how to carve the djembe, and who profoundly influenced my life through his teaching, his gentle inclusiveness, and his humble Muslim faith. That first day with the drums and the rows of dancers was overwhelmingly energizing.  I can still feel the sense of being pulled into a roaring ocean, and then under an enormous wave as I walked across Trinity Street from where I parked and entered the old gym. Once I made it to the stage- knowing no one there- I stood very respectfully behind the line of drummers and played a steady pulse on the tambourine or cowbell I brought to the  Read more...

Comments (2) »