Sankofa: Our Rembrances, Our Rituals, Our Selves

What a cool Sunday I had yesterday! It seemed to be all about Sankofa: looking back to go forward. My graphologist (handwriting seer) Rev. Mother Sharon speaks of it often, mostly in ancestral terms, like going back to the Mother Land, tracing one’s roots in search of the sources of one’s ghosts, gifts & greatness. I’m thinking of it in those previous generational ways, but also in the context of my own lifetime. Sunday was a day for recollection and reverence but also progress and prosperity.

It started with a rousing service at Impact V1, the hip & happening, doing-church-differently spiritual collective launched by visionary Olu Brown, formerly of Cascade United Methodist Church in the SWATS (that’s SW Atlanta for you uninitiated folk). He brought an uplifting message entitled, “What Do These Stones Mean?” based on Joshua 4:4-7 ( As I listened to his talk, I began to re-cognize the significance of the wisdom of the ages, and the faith of our ‘foreparents’ in our everyday challenges, the YES WE CAN (Obama & will-i-am style) available to all of us because WE ALWAYS HAVE.

How odd to have him speaking about this topic, since I’d journaled along similar lines that morning, in thinking of my plans to take on the Grady High School Stadium stairs that afternoon…a Sankofa experience. You see, when I was a grad student at UCLA ( in the mid-90’s, I had a crew of female classmates intent on getting bathing suit bodies. So we set out every Saturday on an outbound tour past-Golden-&-Kurt’s-beach-crib-to-Santa-Monica-stairs then return through Downtown-Santa-Monica-city-route sojourn in pursuit of this blissfully fit state. And we’d always stop mid-way at Canyon Beachwear ( for a browsing session as added incentive to stick with our rigorous program. MBA/JD student and type A personality Tsan ( came up with this crueling, yet scenic workout, and tricked us into it the 1st time out. Anyway, more than 10 years later, I now have Cigna director Cerise to thank for inspiring a similar ritual in 2008: weekly stair-climbing at one of our finest Atlanta Public Schools, named for local icon Henry Grady. SanMo Stairs Remix!

This particular Sunday, I had a Wing Dude (instead of Chick), Harvey was good sport enough to be my playmate on this playdate; back in the day, he was one of my younger brother Eric’s crew. So after the inspirational message from Olu, and fellowship with other Impact enthusiasts, some of whom we’d known since high school or before, off we went to Arden’s Garden ( for a carb boost, then to the imposing concrete Grady stadium stairs. After a grueling set of trips up & down, we jetted to join a Jack & Jill ( touring of the Courage exhibit at the Atlanta History Center. Another looking back to go forward, from SC-spawned Brown vs. The Board of Education to 2007’s overturning of that ruling. Another set of high school or earlier reconnections, with parents who’d participated in Jack & Jill as children, now bringing their own kids through a similar rights of passage.

I am so grateful for this intellectually, emotionally, spiritually fulfilling day of village-wide remembrances. It can do no less than catapult me forward, on my workout, on my friendships, on my life’s work, all these, my passions. I can see the synchronicity in occurrences both large & small, historic and everyday. How about you? Have you recently had a déjà vu remix-type experience that hailed from your past, a past life or a previous generation’s? Did it leave you awed and inspired? If not, I trust you’ll be on the lookout for such experiences, because I suspect we can see them all around us, if we only take the time to notice. I wish you great inspiring memory hunting this day and always.



  1. ShredBetty said,

    February 25, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Ouch! tricked you say? C’Mon now… all I had to say was we were gonna grub on some pancakes and y’all were like, “OK, let’s get this over with!” And you know, my old a$$ is still out there

  2. cj said,

    March 1, 2008 at 3:12 am

    You inspire me…Looking forward to getting in shape –“One step at a time”…See ya Sunday? – cj

  3. Chantal B said,

    September 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

    You inspire me as well but, most of all you have a beautiful mind… Looking forward in reading more…and yes, “One step at a time” – CBest

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