[blogger’s notes:  this post is NOT an official peace theatre release. just another sista outsider view on what’s going on in her hood, like with…..]

The Space Between –  the final frontier

60 children and youth and 12 of Toronto’s finest artists were on a mission to explore faith and reason, to seek out truth and understanding

To boldly go where no Theatre has gone before

Director: Liz Pounsett

Music Director: Brownman

Visual Arts Director: Jerry Silverberg

Artistic Director: Karen Emerson

This year, the 10th annual peace camp gala performance & peace is possible summer workshops were supported by a (core) collective of womben + one man, from karen emerson, susan ryan, liz pounsett, jessica salloum, angela chau, vivian sofia mora, sharon vanderveen, merril matthews to Abdul & Alixa @ the (place formerly known as the childrens) peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: disclaimer – the term collective is used strategically/loosely en creatively, the people didn’t come together specifically to work as a collective, didn’t necessarily even work as a collective, there were ofcourse boys & men involved in the work, and depending on where you look at it from, the folks mentioned are just a fraction of ‘the core’]

there was an honorary granma en granpa during the camp, the space was even visited by a few healers during rehearsals, en blessed with a joyous graduation in a celebration of the talents of many children, youth en the rest of us who worked together, and individually for (more than) 3 weeks on the production of the space between: the final frontier & the (ultimately postponed) peace is possible parade.

We will share our stories all through (the sacred moon of Black) August, in a photo & video diary of the spiral journey of n0t only the peace theatre, from 2009 to 2010, but more significantly for this place here, the re-birth of the q/t werd

http://fourwomen.wordpress.com/

But before that, I’ll tell you (part of) the story of how the (children’s) peace theatre was born, where its come from, and where this place is going….. as an institutional body, a (vision of a ) collective, and in our individual, unique journeys that intersect/ed in the heart of what we’ve dubbed as the peace forest, betwixt en between, crescent town, good wood and park vista, close to scarborough village, ideologically not that different from regent park, intrinsically connected to jane & finch, and originally from afrika.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo!

Uongo njoo! Utamu kolea!

Sahani? ya mchele! Giza? Ya…….

Once upon a time, there was a turtle on whose back the world turned, underneath that turtle, was another turtle, and underneath that turtle another turtle, or so one version of a creation story goes, the bigger point is, we were born of the great goddess, came from mama afrika, and a decade ago to be exact, the children’s peace theatre was founded by Robert Morgan, en a growing in/visible collective of youth, supporters, and our communities at large…

The first peace camp was “ At The Crossroads”….the gaps and (mis)steps in our journey are the spaces between mo’ people (not) knowing about us, and mo’ folks working ‘with the group in educating in the practice of freedom, using the arts for social change, and rebuilding heathy, sustainable communities

As Robert (one of the founders of this place formerly known as the children’s peace theatre) has said:

“We place children and youth centre stage, not because they are cute or candid, but because they display humanity’s capacity to evolve, even in the harsh conditions of the current times. Young people are demonstrating an instinctive desire to move away from the dominant culture of self-interestedness and aggression, and are moving instead towards building relationships and community due to an innate desire to seek stability, safety, and peace. It is also evident that young people have the imagination and the energy that will be necessary to establish a new culture of peace. Watching young people from very different backgrounds cross paths, encounter conflict, and find creative ways of making the conflict evolve in positive directions, gives me the audacity to believe that peace is possible.”

coming soon…the space between (us and mama afrika), in the (evolushun of the) Q/T werd

The Peace of the Mango Tree

http://www.bmf.org/children/mango-tree.html

My love you, my grandchildren. Come over and sit by the mango tree. I have a question I want to ask it.

“O beautiful mango tree who gives us such refreshing shade, do you have peace? If you do, could you teach us how to have peace? You seem so cool and tranquil. What makes you this way? Can you tell us?”

Children, come closer and listen carefully to the mango tree’s answer.

“I am a member of the tree family, and you are human beings. I do not know if you can understand our peace. Even though God has given you judgment, subtle wisdom, analytic wisdom, and divine luminous wisdom, you also have qualities that cause you to take our fruits, cut us down, and destroy us.

“If you want to attain peace, do not cut down a tree, whether it is useful to you or not. And don’t cut down a man, whether he does good deeds or bad. If, because of your pride or selfishness, you think about taking revenge or deceiving and ruining another person, or of making another man suffer in any way, that will destroy your peace. It is your own state of mind that will destroy your peace. But if you can avoid bad thoughts, then you can be happy and peaceful. This is my advice to you.

“Look at me. Here I stand at the crossroads. Many people come this way. As soon as I start to blossom, they throw stones at me to make my flowers fall. They climb and swing on my branches, but I don’t mind. Even when they hit me and shake me and take my fruits, I am happy. Some people and some animals and birds like my fruits while they are still unripe. Others like them after they have ripened. When they bite into my mangoes and taste them, they become happy and peaceful, and that gives me peace. The peace they find by eating my fruits and satisfying their hunger gives me peace. When I am happy in this way, I can be so cooling and provide shade for others, and that adds to their peace and happiness. When they feel peaceful, I am peaceful. That is my secret. That is what makes me grow, bear fruit, and give cooling shade.

“If you human beings want happiness, you should be like this. No matter what happens in the world, even if you are beaten or attacked by your enemies, you should be very patient and show them compassion and love. If you help your enemies, then the peace they gain will be your peace. This is my advice to you.

” My grandchildren, did you listen carefully to what the mango tree said? Did you understand? Trees have so many good qualities, even though they were created with only three levels of consciousness. They have only feeling, awareness and intellect, but God created you with four higher levels of consciousness as well. God gave you exalted wisdom. If you would use that wisdom to attain at least the state of the mango tree, you would find peace and tranquility.

My grandchildren, as you journey through life, use your wisdom in this way. Do not waste your intelligence seeking revenge against others, because while you are chasing after someone else, your own work will be ruined. When you commit yourself to such devious work, you stray from your own path. The distance which separates you from God will become greater and greater, and you will suffer so much.

It happens this way in the world. Anyone who focuses on hurting others abandons his own path. He neglects his prayers and worship and forgets his good qualities. Because of this, he loses his peace and tranquility, and his life is subjected to sorrow and suffering. But the one who turns to God and focuses upon his own qualities, his own work, and his own path will have an exalted and serene life.

We came to this world by the command of our Father, and while we are here we must live by His commandments and establish our connection to Him. We must complete our duties in a way that fulfills those commandments, and then we must return to Him. That is our work. If we can do that, we will have peace in this world, in the next world, and in the world of the souls.

My grandchildren, think deeply about this. Do your own work and your own duty. Even when you are attacked by others, if you are good to them, it will bring peace to you. My love you. Be like the mango tree.

– M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

ase…..

An old Cheyenne legend, which is both hopeful and bittersweet in the context of history .

Pay special attention to the last gift given to Red Eagle:

In a summer long ago, the Cheyennes were camped near some lakes beyond the Missouri River. Awakening from their sleep one morning, Red Eagle and his wife saw a strange creature lying in their tepee. The woman was frightened and was about to cry out, but Red Eagle quieted her and went closer to the strange being which was slowly rising to a sitting position. Red Eagle saw that this creature was a man who looked something like a Cheyenne, but he had a white skin and hair on his face and spoke in a strange language.

The man was so thin that he had scarcely any flesh on his bones, and for clothing he wore only moss and grass. He was very near death. Red Eagle gave him something to eat, but at first the man was so weak and exhausted that his stomach would not hold it, yet after a little while he got stronger.

Red Eagle told his wife to keep the presence of the stranger a secret. He feared that some of his tribesmen would kill the man, believing that he might bring them bad luck. A few days later, the chiefs sent a crier through the camp, announcing that the Cheyennes would be moving camp the next day.

Knowing that the stranger could no longer be concealed, Red Eagle revealed his presence. “I have taken him for my brother,” he said. “If anyone harms him I will punish them. The Great Spirit must have sent this man to us for a good reason.”

And so Red Eagle clothed him, fed him, and led him back to life. After a time the man learned to speak a few words of Cheyenne. He also learned the sign language of the tribe. In this way he was able to tell Red Eagle that he came from the East, the land of the rising sun. “With five other men I started out to trap the beaver. We were on a lake in a boat when the wind came up suddenly, overturned the boat, and drowned all the others. After I struggled ashore, I wandered about, living on roots and berries until all my clothes were worn and scratched off. Half blind, and nearly dead with hunger, I wandered into your camp and fell into your teepee.”

For the hundredth time the man thanked Red Eagle for saving his life, and then he continued: “For many days I have watched how hard you and your wife work. To make a fire you must use two sticks. Your wife uses porcupine quills for needles in sewing. She uses stone vessels to cook in, and you use stone knives and stone points for your spears and arrows. You must work hard and long to make these things. My people, who are powerful and numerous, have many wonderful things that the Cheyennes do not have.”

“What are these wonderful things?” Red Eagle asked.

“Needles that keep their points forever for your wife to sew with. Sharp knives of metal to cut with, steel to make a fire with, and a weapon that uses a black powder and sends hard pieces of metal straight at any wild game you need to kill. I can bring you these things if you and your people will help me get beaver skins. My people are fond of beaver fur, and they will give me these wonderful things for you in exchange.”

Red Eagle told his tribesmen what the stranger had said, and they collected many beaver skins for him. The skins were loaded on several travois drawn by dogs, and one day the stranger went off toward the rising sun with his dog-train of furs.

Several moons passed, and Red Eagle began to wonder if the stranger would ever return. Then on a bright sun shiny morning, the Cheyennes heard a noise like a clap of thunder near their camp. On a bluff to the east, they saw a man wearing a red cap and red coat. Above his head he lifted a strange weapon that resembled a black stick, and then he shouted a greeting to them in their own language.

As he approached, they recognized him as the stranger who had taken away the beaver skins. He had brought the Cheyennes all the wonderful things he had told about–knives, needles and steel — and he showed the people how to use them. Then he showed them the black powder and hollow iron with which he had made the noise like thunder. And that is how the first white man came to the Cheyennes.

Image: Red Eagle

[blogger’s notes: these stories are re/posted in honour and memory of our ancestors: in this mystic, organic, indigen-US & pan-afrikan caravan of hadithi that is the ‘Q[/t]’ werd, coming soon, or here already (depending on where you look at it from ofcourse) 😉 ]