Monday, December 27, 2010

A Kwanza Gift - Universal Perspective by Nana Baakan Agyiriwah

I offer this Gift in the Spirit of Kuumba, Creativity,the 6th Principle of Kwanzaa.

This Page is dedicated to:
My Family: Spiritual & Biological
My Friends: Close & Far
My Loved Ones: Old & New

I pray for guidance from my inner divinity to express on this page, words that reach your heart, mind and spirit, in a way that uplifts, enriches and mobilizes you towards positive growth and change. I pray that as this expression develops for you in your righteous personal and interpersonal pursuits, that the Wheel of Karma will turn your blessings over and over again and that these blessings will extend into the Universe and back again, touching me as I am giving thanks for you. I pray that it is understood that this wish goes out to you no matter your race, creed, ethnicity, nation of origin, financial status, etc. I pray that it is understood that this wish is extended to you because you have come under the umbrella of my life and have changed me for the better in uncountable ways.

Praises Be.

As I am sure we are all aware of, there are now dozens of web sites giving out information about Kwanzaa and its purpose in the African American community here in the US. Over the past few years I have sent out individual Kwanzaa greetings to acknowledge each day. This year I will take a bit of a departure and use this page to discuss each principle and what it means to me. I feel that it is important to talk about Kwanzaa. But for me there is a deeper recognition of the Kwanzaa principles that transcend the colloquial and give me the inclination that the Kwanzaa principles are universal principles that each and everyone of us can adopt in our lives. I no longer feel that it is a missionary vehicle to upgrade and uplift the African American , caught in the vestiges of the American society, but that rightly applied these principles can upgrade all of humanity who have fallen to what the contradiction of what these principles express. I believe that there is a global need to apply these principles to all conscionable human being who cares about the state of affairs of our world and who more importantly realizes their impact on every particle of existence.

So, I am duly inspired to extend an universal Kwanzaa Gift to Humanity,

What's The News?
Each day of Kwanzaa we ask this question.
The response is the principle of the day or one of the:

Seven Principles
Seven is esteemed as a powerful and sacred number. It tries to establish a philosophy by which to live and attempts to penetrate the mystery behind its existence. 7 ushers into the cycle of physical completion without apparent effort. Goals that have been long sought are now magically attained. It is used in many rituals throughout the world and holds major significance in its impact on the physical, spiritual and emotional body. As each day Kwanzaa of evolves, it is acknowledged as one of these power days, or power numbers. Each day of Kwanzaa is assigned a principle, which is supported with the eventuality that each principle well take root and be nourished due to its alignment with the number 7.

1. Umoja - Unity

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Let's reach all of humanity and understand the importance of unifying ourselves on the deepest level. Looking withing ourselves and finding shelter within the principle of oneness. A oneness that supersedes separation, one from our neighbor, but a oneness that acknowledges all of our reality as an extension of ourselves, the good, the bad and the ugly. Let's walk with what we can be proud of and learn from what may make us bow our heads in shame, in connecting with all and the few, as one, as the ultimate and eternal expression that condenses us to one dot in the Universe.

Left: Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church is proud to announce the 11th season of "Umoja," which runs April 23-25. "Umoja" is a culturally diverse stage play that celebrates the rich history of African-Americans through drama, music and dance. This year's theme invites everyone to "Catch the Spirit!"

2. Kujichagulia - Self Determination

To define, name, create for and speak for ourselves insted of being defined, named, created for and spoken for by others.

It is the design of societal traditions and custome to impart and perpetuate itself so that it can remain in existence. But when one society defames another according to its own standards of right and wrong then the boundaries are crossed which threaten the societal fiber. Additionally, if a parent culture uses intimidation, coercion, defamation and slander to incriminate its members, it is at risk of destroying its fiber internally. Human beings will always reflect their parent culture. Responsible human beings will position themselves to embrace that which perpetuates and supports self-esteem and find viable ways to dismantle that which does not. In reaching out to all of Humanity, we cannot spew onto others the bite and the sting of that which brings about self hatred, lest we become the mouthpiece of the oppressors themselves.
Adinkra symbol - One head does not constitute a council, or, one head does not constitute a jury.

3. Ujima Collective Work and Responsibility

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and reace

The African Proverb states, "It takes a whole village to raise a child," has been repeated over and over again. There has been no limit to the universality of this proverb and its many implications. If humanity extended this effort as a force of collective work and responsibility, we can embrace our own, without guilt, but embrace others as well.  We are subsequently supported because we are in our rightful position to extend help and aid to other human beings, but we have more importantly taken on the responsibility of ourselves, to be the best human being that we can be. Then we have the right to do something for someone else and the corresponding responsibility to do it with honor, courage and integrity. We are empowered in our own right but profoundly capable of extending the rite of power to others.
Adinkra symbol: Akoko nan "Parental admonitions not intended to harm the child."

4. Ujamaa - Cooperative economics
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other business and to profit together.

Humanity is reported to have started off as an agrarian people. Agriculturally inclined they tilled and compliment the earth upon which they grew, was nurtured and supported. Somewhere along the line of what is called "evolution" human selfishness took over and no longer was it sharing equally or at least according to need, but the hoarding and coveting of goods and services. If we are to call ourselves civilized and evolved beings beyond that which our Ancestors were, then surely we can own and share, give and take, but not advantage of those less fortunate.Do we forgo our immediately desire to hoard our wealth to release our hold and share our wealth with those less fortunate? How inculcated are we that we propose to donate to a worthy cause, yet wondering and expecting our due returns? When do we give for the sake of giving, because it is needed and not because of the rewards promised? Selfishness has made our economy a hopeless competition bleeding into our everyday affairs of exchange. Let's open our hands and risking to let go, yet freeing ourselves to receive even more.
Igbo Harvest Mask

5. Nia- Purpose
To make a collective vocation the building and development of our community, in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

How is the traditional greatness of humanity identified? What determines what was great and who determines what needs to be restored? Is it not ture that at some point in the human history, some nation of people prevailed over another? In some cases, this dominance was to the point of oppressing others into slavery. Can greatness be defined through the power that is housed in bloody hands? Can the amassing of human property, chattel or material wealth determine human greatness? Are the traditional values of honor, courage, selflessness, humility, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and cooperation, worthy of being restored? Or are they simply primitive values long outdated and certainly irrelevant in our fast pace world? Let us restore our traditional greatness on the human level, with each human being reaching to collectively build and maintain a world community of human respect and dignity.

Sankofa - Adinkra Symbol. "It is not wrong to go back and fetch what was lost."

6. Kuumba - Creativity

To do always as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.

Traditionally, it has been the responsibility of the women to sustain the creative culture in the society. Then it stands to reason that the creative expression is oppressed in direct relation to the oppression of women.  Admittedly, many of us tend to call the Earth, Mother Nature, expressing the womanly principle of design and creative organization.

We are also faced with the legacy upon our birth. A legacy of a planet that needs recuperation and regeneration. Surely our Mother Earth is suffering, parallels the suffering each of us has experience in our creative beings.  We have become apathetic and reach no more to design and create but to accept as genuine the trash that has been left behind. Let's not stifle our own genius, a genius that reflects the Earth upon which we depend. If we give credence to her purpose, we affirm ourselves, and our own creativity and that of others. What else can our Mother Earth do but revive herself, be fruitful and multiply/

7. Imani- Faith

To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents and our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

This principle seals the covenant of 7 days. This is the seal of completion, the symbol of resting after so much work.  We can now rest because we know that it is through the hard work of the other principles that the out come will be just what we desired. We have affirmed eternally that we have the ability to improve and enjoy our world from the inside out.  We are now endowed with the reward of reaping all the benefits of what we have done. And so we rest, rest in peace with renewed faith and assurance that our hard work will reap long lasting benefits for generations to come.
We will leave behind a legacy of cooperative change and progression that will sustain our name into antiquity. We are imbued with the faith that our past efforts will not go in vain but by the documented in the annals of time. We believe that we have in fact, given and and will see the profundity of our gift eventuate in humanity's future.

Tree of life

Thank you for reading this blog and for sharing it. I really appreciate you.  Nana Baakan

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