As we stood in the parking lot of Alder Commons last week delving into topics like self-growth, mycology, and culture, the gravity of the situation hit me. Here we are–here I am–my wife and I, 3,000 miles away from home, living in a city we barely know (but love so much), engaging in meaningful conversations with beautiful Black visionaries, and people of all races.
When we moved to Portland in 2020, this is exactly what we dreamed of.
Meeting and creating relationships with people with kindred souls.
Last Saturday, and what that scene represents, is the vision for all Black people everywhere. To be relaxed and carefree without judgment. To fearlessly pursue their passions and make connections along the way. I was injected with so much inspiration from everyone I came in contact with that I was bursting at the seams.
Each one of us carries a uniqueness and certain life experiences that are valuable. Naturally, this transforms us into teachers. When we take the time to listen to each other, by default, we grow. The key is to give everyone our undivided attention. Sometimes, it ends up being exactly what we need to hear and we don’t even know it. And quite frankly, our survival depends on it.
We are social beings by nature, so sharing our experiences is important because it leads to connection. We were not created to exist alone. As a society, this pandemic has disconnected us leading to higher rates of depression and suicide. Not to mention the challenges of everyday life that most of us have to deal with. Dysfunctional families, anxiety, uncertainty, lack of rest and sleep. Sometimes we want to give up. All of these experiences are universal and to know we’re not alone helps us get back up.
Zen in Black Skin is the place that has your back. This space is built on a foundation of love and acceptance no matter who you are. Here, you can just be and we will protect that human right at all costs. So take on challenges and new goals. Whatever your heart desires, like–foreal, go get that shit. Past generations had to focus on survival, and I’m glad they did because without them we literally wouldn’t be here. However, now I feel it is also our duty to imagine what could be and envision new possibilities, break more rules, take more chances and do so without fear of what others think. In this fleeting life, let’s see what we are capable of. Dream big, dream often, and dream together. Support each other’s dreams. Why? Because we deserve it.