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When Love Wore a Winter Coat (Part 1)

When Love wore a winter coat it could not feel the cold, neither did it know what it was getting into. The lining on the inside  was strong, it kept Love warmer than anyone ever did. It protected Love’s embers, and nurtured its sparks, like cuffed and careful hands carrying a flickering tea candle. The coat whispered  the most beautiful things into Love’s ears and promised Love that if  it kept it on – kept wearing the coat, then their shared warmth would eventually give rise to new forms – a force, and not just any force but one that would glow with blissful fiery and its name would be, Passion. Love’s eyes widened, reflecting a smiling violet sky. The coat told Love that no one would ever be able to see it,  few would be able to  feel it, and many would ignore it, the force that is, and so Passion would have an experience almost like its mother. This saddened Love, and even scared Love, so it went days, and weeks and months, even years without answering the phone, or the door, or incoming letters…

To be continued….

[Image: absolutely-free-pictures.com]

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Finding Balance

The sound of the rain soothes me in ways that the sun could never, but I’d still let it kiss me, I’d let it kiss my skin until it glows, creating a blushing, brown, plumping, beautiful, self renewing surface. My skin – wet, sips rain drops that are beading and swelling on it, while my mind, body and spirit  meditates into a full eclipse.

Finding balance is important, and so I’m on my way.

Sometimes, words flood my mind during the craziest or most inconvenient moments and I am compelled to free them and write, this  has been a rarity until recent.  I had reached a point where my words no longer sought exit, so I left them all alone – inside to their vices and now they’re ready for release, to see, to breathe, and to finally fly and be free again.

I’m finding balance.

[Image Credit: unknown. copyright remains with originating source.]

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Can’t Die With This Music Inside Me

Open up your mouth and sing!  Louder. Smoother. Move. Your. Lips! Singing isn’t as pretty as it seems, take a deep breath, don’t hold it, control it, bend your knees,  relax your shoulders and just feel it!  Breathe. Listen, said my vocal coach.  AND SO….I did. Exhale. So, I’ve  decided that I MUST sing, NOT that I just want to sing, or that I  should sing but that I NEED to sing, and WILL sing BEYOND shower curtains and super market aisles, or street curbs – to myself, under my breath, on the bus and train and whatever New York apartment/closet/thing I end up in. Stacey Francis (from xFactor) said, “I don’t want to die with this music locked inside of me” and man, those words broke my heart into a million pieces and OPENED it up at the same time.

So bring on the Music!  Aretha Franklin, Regina Bell, Mahalia Jackson, Jennifer Holiday, Jennifer Hudson, Sade,  Lauryn Hill, Nora Jones, Tracey Chapman, Bette Middler, Jill Scott, Celine Dion, India Arie,  Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Joss Stone, Corinne Baily Rae, Sarah McLachlan, Amil Larrieux, Paula Cole, Zap Mama, Goapele,  Teena Marie,  Lisa Fischer, Cassandra Wilson, Etta James, Nina Simone, Sara Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, oldskooL-Mariah Carey, oldskooL-Whitney Houston, Heather Headley, Estelle, Adele, Patsy Cline, Laura Izibor,  Pink,  Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Yolanda Adams, Kelly Price, Vivian Green, Monica, Aaliya, Ani Difranco, Bjork, Alanis Morrisette, Yes – Beyonce, Ms. Dynamite, Robyn, Tamia,  Fantasia, Robyn S., Portishead, Esthero, Morcheeba, Yael Naim, Drew (from xFactor),  Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Prince, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, Donny Hathaway, Brian Mcknight,  Rock Wilk, Frank Sinatra, Seal, Gil Scott Heron, Michael Bolton, Kenny Rogers, Claude Chalhoub, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, David Gray, Joe Cocker, Chico Debarge, Eric Benet, Bob Marley, Boys II Men, Pete Malinverni, Immortal Technique, Jay-Z, Matisyahu, Shai, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Aly Us, Arrested Development, Digable Planets, Color Me Bad, Green Day, Counting Crows, Art of Noise,  Pussycat Dolls, C & C Music Factory, City of Angels Soundtrack, A Bronx Tale Soundtrack, and  more. These folks inspire me to sing, to move, to dance,  to cry, to write and just take it all in and honor it somehow.  Here’s a sample of my voice from some time ago on Reverbnation. http://www.reverbnation.com/ebonybrownbast

Here’s some songs that I dig in no particular order:

Portishead – Roads (…this song reminds me of my college days…)

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Regina Belle – Dream In Color (…encouraging & spirit lifting…)

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Etta James – I Rather Go Blind (…strong, fearless and  a vocal powerhouse)

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Paula Cole – Feel’n Love (…hot and sexy, this song is dripping wet…)

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Eric Benet – Sometimes I Cry (…vulnerable, heartfelt and bitter sweet…)

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Lisa Fischer – How Can I Ease the Pain (…simply magnificent, I think she left her beating heart on stage… )

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Aretha Franklin – Ain’t No Way (…raw, honest and effortless…)

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Joss Stone – Bruised But Not Broken (…sassy, raspy and soulful, love her vocals and the message…)

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Zap Mama – Damn Your Eyes (…an awesome interpretation of this song…)

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James Brown – I feel Good (…let’s just say that my neighbors know when I’m in a GOOD mood…)

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A friend posted this song (below) on his facebook page and I was blown away by the chops on this woman. Seeing her video and hearing her sing, catapulted my desire to embrace and hone my gift of voice even more…

Ava Gaudet - (Eric Clapton’s) “Change the World”

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[Top/main graphic/image: stockphoto.com, copyright remains with originating source.]

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2011 Double Dutch Holiday Classic At the Apollo Theater

I attended the 20th Annual David A. Walker Memorial Double Dutch Holiday Classic, dubbed the “Superbowl of Double Dutch” with my cousin, Kim and brought back a few snap shots. Kim was really like a big sister to me (when I was younger)  who has overcome many struggles and one who continues to strive to be and do all that is possible with the time that is left.  When I was a kid, Kim used to take me to the Circus, Ice Capades, the Zoo and the likes, which is no big deal to some  but to me, it was like going to Disney World. Last month, on Thanksgiving evening at my mom’s house, Kim decided that we should spend more time together and so we managed to make time, met up and really enjoyed ourselves at this prestigious, international Double Dutch competition – something that many in attendance would like to see become an Olympic sport. I’d like to see roller skating become an Olympic sport. Using my mom’s half dead, half awake point and shoot camera, I was able to capture a few shots from the last row of our ground level seating, which we were lucky to get; the event was packed but filled with great energy.

Here are a few snapshots with from the creaky, point and shoot camera…

Photos from top to bottom:

1. Apollo Theater ***** 2. Bouncing Bulldogs from Carborro, North Carolina, USA – won so many awards I couldn’t keep up (Coach: Ray Fredrick, Jr.)*****3. Bouncing Bulldogs from Carborro, North Carolina, USA***** 4.  Ballon Dor from Kusatsu-shi, Japan – Second Place Best In Show Winners (Coach: Yasuka Kameyam)*****5. Black Pierrot from  Kawasaki City, Japan – First Place Best In Show Winners (Coach: Koji Funabashi)*****6. Nanny’s Tri City Jumpers, Troy, New York with Founder & Coach: Natalie Jay-Short***** 7. Nanny’s Tri City Jumpers Logo/Jacket, Troy, New York*****8. Me (Ebony Brown) with  Black Pierrot Member*****9. Colleton County Jump Member,Ivana and myself *****10. Colleton County Jump Coach, Sharon Simmons with her student Ivana. *****11. My cousin, Kim with Colleton County Jump Member, Ivana and myself 12. Ballon Dor from Kusatsu-shi, Japan – Second Place Best In Show Winners *****13. Fami Koma from Tokyo, Japan -3rd place Best in Show Winners (Coach: Ken Yoshida)*****14. Bouncing Bulldogs from Carborro, North Carolina, USA*****15.  And the Lovely KeKe Shepard – Just Kidding, this was a beautiful young woman selling us a commemorative postcard from the Apollo Theater’s gift shop.

Learn More about the Annual David A. Walker Memorial Double Dutch Holiday Classic below:

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The event was sponsored by  Refuel with Chocolate Milk, Con Edison, Applebees, Daily News & East Sport.

http://www.nddl.org

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At Work With A Black Eye

The woman serving my food yesterday had a black eye – my heart dropped, tears swelled, I wanted to hug her. I wanted to hand her my business card, so that if she needed someone to talk to, then she would know that she could call me, a complete stranger, and I’d listen, but I didn’t, I just couldn’t. I’ve learned that I cannot save everyone. The woman serving my food yesterday had a black eye – my heart dropped, tears swelled and I paused –  flashback – I  saw my mother. Though she never had visible bruises that I could see, they were there internally, her scars found refuge in me  – I know that I cannot save everyone.

Dear Kim (Let’s call her “Kim”),

I don’t know what happened to you, whether it was a freak accident or if someone really raised their hand to hit you, but know that even though I don’t know you, I feel you and I feel for you and I hope that you heal well, not only on the outside but on the inside too. If you were hit indeed, just know that nothing is put in your path that you cannot handle and you may have to dig deeper to move through  life in the way that you intend, but you must intend. Your world isn’t over. It may feel like it is, but it isn’t, at least not yet and so you have choices and decisions to make. If you have kids that you love and care for, then you have a certain responsibility and position to rise above all that you’re going through to be the best example for your kid(s). Staying in an abusive relationship isn’t worth it in the end, can you foresee your end? Does it scare you? Deep breath, exhale and think. Think some more and make it possible to change something. Change your mind, you’re allowed that. Change your attitude, you’ll need that.Your life isn’t over. Though I’ve never been hit, I’ve been tested, fully aware of the signs, I left before anything could escalate more than once. I am a witness filled with images that I will never forget, but that have indeed put into perspective –  this impacts everyone differently, so I was lucky. I wish you love, light and strength and I hope that you’ll make the best decision for the life and time that remains for you and your children (if any). ACT NOW, ACT WISELY, since I don’t know your situation, or the risks, use your own discretion and try with every cell in your body and every drop of your spirit to summon the strength to do what is of no question, which is something that only YOU know.

Peace, Strength & Healing,
-Ebony Brown

[image: newsbomb.gr]

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Loving In Spite Of The Pain

I always loved with an open heart, despite my scars. I have no baby pictures of myself, neither does my mom, and the ones that I saw were void of smiles. I was a child, more-so in definition. Now, I smile all the time, even when weighed by hurt, because the gift of life is so much heavier, its quite paramount actually. My mother could of aborted me, but she didn’t, a teen, she birthed me, and so I’m here; here for a purpose.  My eyes still  bleed questions every now and then, questions with answers that I believe are within, but I’ve yet to receive. Sometimes we think we know everything, and I sure acted as if did, but I don’t,  and I’m growing into the me that was meant,  far from perfect, I’m simply human.

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I Am Forever Changed By The Holes of A Flute

Oprah made me do it! She doesn’t know it but she did – I  didn’t need a zillion cable channels, I only requested one;  Channel 115, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. The earful that I tuned into this past Sunday was well worth every penny. I happened to catch a bit of her Super Soul Sunday programming while she and Mark Nepo, New York Times #1 Bestselling author discussed his  book, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present. Oprah read an excerpt from this book that entered my person and centered itself within the depths of all of me, leaving me both light and wrought with new found perspective. Dare I share with you below, the actual story from Mark Nepo’s previous book (pictured above, As Far as the Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul). Its my hope that these words could live here so long as this blog breathes, we’ll see. Copyright infringement not intended.

“The Holes of a Flute” by Mark Nepo
As Far as the Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul (Pages 77-79)

FOR MUCH OF HER LIFE, a beautiful woman with many gifts had tried love after love, only to be hurt several times. At last, her enthusiasm for love had been darkened and she could only feel her many wounds. This made her move through the days with a great weight.

One day, toward the end of the summer, she came across a sage. He seemed to appear out of nowhere. Though he seemed equally eaten up by life, he had a glow and a smile that she couldn’t understand. In fact, his radiance was painful as it only accentuated her inability to glow or smile. she tried to walk away from him but somehow circled back.

He looked up and greeted her. She said nothing. They stared at each other, and in their stare, the sage could see how pained she was. He said, “Why don’t we sit for a while?” And the beautiful woman with as many gifts as wounds collapsed more than sat.

They shared some bread and water. And having eaten together, the sage began, “It is a simple fact that a flute can make no music if it has no holes.”

She muttered back, “Why are you talking to me about flutes?”
The sage continued, “Each being on earth is such a flute, and each of us releases our song when Spirit passes through the holes carved by our experience.”

The beautiful wounded woman dropped her shoulders, “I’m tired of experience.”
The sage chuckled, “Like it or not, this  is one of the purposes of suffering.”
She took his hand violently and placed it on her heart, “Here! Can you feel my suffering?!”

The old man’s smile softened and his radiance grew brighter, “Oh, my child. You came to me for this. Let me assure you that since no two flutes have the same holes, no two flutes make the same music.”
She began to tremble.
He moved closer in his radiance, “And no two beings sing the same song, for the holes in each life produce their own unrepeatable melody.”
She held his ancient hand to her heart and began to cry.
He tried to console her, “You are unrepeatable.”
It seemed that tears were streaming from all her wounds.
He held her face, “All of this to say, there is a great ongoing choice that awaits us each and every day: Whether we go around carving holes in others because we’ve been so painfully carved, or whether we let Spirit play its song through our tender experience, enabling us to listen to the miraculous music coming through others.”

She looked to him through her tears. She could now receive his gentleness. He simply shrugged in humility and looked skyward to the mysteries, “My child, we carve and cry when it is we who are carved in order that we may sing.”

She rubbed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she looked again, he was gone

“The Holes of a Flute” (Pages 77-79) Excerpt from New York Times #1 Bestseller, The Book of the Awakening by Mark Nepo

Source | Copyright infringement not intended. All rights remain with originating source, author, etc.

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