I sink into the floor whenever I have to write a bio. When it’s all over, my sentiments are either that I’ve said too much, as in last year’s bio, or that I haven’t said enough, as in this one. Nevertheless, here goes.

I am Akilah t’Zuberi. In alphabetical order, and not of importance, I am an advocate for a New Earth, an artist, aunt, companion, friend, gardener, grandmother, a great-grandmother, mother, overbearing mamasita at times, a neighbor, sister and writer.

My main focus is the examination of the impact of the belief in working and earning, a belief whose complexity and magnitude I did not fathom 6 years ago. The publication of 16 Mondays- for people who hate their jobs, a book that assists employees in uncovering the roots of workplace misery and disengagement, served as the inspiration (and motivation) for a holistic or global, a word I prefer using now, approach to understanding our relationship with jobs, the workplace and earning a living. I continue to direct attention to the primary role of consciousness in the maintenance of any and all beliefs, not simply working and earning.

There is a place, however, beyond the misery that informs our daily lives, in and/or outside of the workplace. It’s a place that I have come to allow myself to imagine and envision, out-loud, in my writings, a place that we are calling the New Earth. In the context of the workplace, it is a shift from working and earning, to co-creating, gifting and sharing. It’s my intention in The Call, Rap & RealTalk to inspire readers to join me and countless others in a journey to create a New Earth Narrative.

These (3) collaged cards are the results of an exercise from The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom. I began with writing three questions put to my inner artist and monk, one on the back of each card, then turning those cards over, mixing them up and creating these three collages. The answer to the question on the back of the card is revealed in the collage that I created. This process is similar to soul collage that Nancy Clingan talked about in the spring edition of The Call to Create. I’ve only managed to intuit the answer from the middle card.

Aside from writing and spending time with family, devoting space and time to my art is paramount. Gardening, those precious 6 months out of the year, is my soul’s healing balm, my respite from summer’s dreaded heat and humidity. There is no disaster or internal discomfort that an hour or two in the garden cannot address.

Captured this spirea bush on a rainy morning. Despite the clouds, the colors are so vivid. Look at those raindrops on the leaves. This was taken with my cell camera.

I continue to release any resistance to the gravitational pull of monastic life.  I never imagined the many internal disruptions to peace that I must navigate, the challenges on any given day that range from the gnawing, emotional pain of unhealed wounds to the call to accept the unacceptable. I pay far less attention to separative rituals and routines: no longer do I carve out time for meditation since discovering that it is the nature of who we are. And while I abhor schedules, I cannot dispense with them, just yet.  They provide the guidance I so desperately need when I become overwhelmed by what I delude myself into thinking that I can accomplish in one day.

And I just celebrated my sixty-third birthday. What were once fine, benign lines around my eyes have become alarmingly visible and a clarion call for damage control. It is what it is.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

May, 2018