A Living Manifesto for Life and Work
My definition of a manifesto is a living proclamation that embodies and affirms who you are and what you stand for.
It took writing my own to understand the power of self-proclaiming my purpose, desires and the futures I’m committed to creating. The best way to describe this process is that it’s a reflective, heart-opening meditation on all of the essential experiences that have held meaning over the years, shaping my values but most importantly—shaping me.
I’ve had to honestly think about what has kept me from affirming who I am and what I stand for.
Part of it was my uncertainty of what it is I believed and valued. But mostly, my reluctance was wrapped up in thinking I didn’t have anything powerful enough to say that deserved proclaiming and this fear that once I did proclaim my beliefs and values to the world, I may fail to meet the very standards I created for myself.
By sharing both my process and the beginnings of bravely stating the person I am and the life I desire to lead, I hope it creates opportunities for us to collectively spend time reflecting on what guides us and grounds us. I hope we can support each other in unapologetically expressing ourselves and give ourselves permission to write it over as many times as we need to, just as we can with our lives.
I wouldn’t be living into my full Design Strategist Self if I didn’t also show the process before the possibility. So, as a reminder that this work started with my leadership coach, Mattice Haynes in January 2019, and was built upon during week 6 of Feminist Business School with Jennifer Armbrust, I’m sharing process photos. The rough stuff. The less rough and the more refined lines that have created the manifesto I have today.
Now, the living manifesto that took me 30 years to write. Affirmations and meditations that I know will experience iterations throughout the years to come as I continue navigating new transformations within my life’s work. This is where I currently stand. This is what guides me and grounds me.
Staying rooted in my standards of integrity is essential to my being as a creator and healer. I remember to honor my core values, body, needs and health with unwavering compassion through each and every bridge I choose to cross.
My purpose on this earth is to embody the audacity to be well and to design experiences that heal, address the roots of injustice, inspire transformation and cultivate creative consciousness. With divine guidance, I trust the ever-unfolding meaning of why I am here and who I am called to be.
When my creativity and power are forgotten and undervalued, I remember the boundless reserves of brilliance waiting to be birthed. I cherish my dreams, imagination and insight. Possibility is a sacred, accessible place within me.
Bringing pleasure into the process of prototyping a life and a business is essential to sustaining the soul of my life’s work. I deserve the joy of experimentation, iteration, play, and trying out new ideas in a way that feels fulfilling and affirming of my deepest desires.
What I am learning and discovering along the way are gifts worth sharing. I create opportunities to exchange knowledge and resources with others from a place of genuine support, celebration, generosity and unbridled abundance.
Facilitating the design and healing journey calls for my continuous commitment to healing work. I collaborate with a vision for collective wellbeing, centering the ideas, experiences and voices of communities who are directly impacted by the health injustices we seek to transform.
The possibility, agency and abundance I see within me, I also see within the Black womxn around me, before me and beyond me. I believe we hold the creative capacity to manifest liberated futures for wholeness, joy and pleasure. I trust us to trust ourselves, our intuition, our ingenuity and our power.
I welcome moments to pause, daydream, wander, flow and do absolutely nothing. I resist operating from a place of urgency and make spaciousness apart of my agenda. By allowing myself to be spacious, I practice my right to reclaim my time, restore my energy and rest.
Success is living in alignment with my purpose and my pleasures. It is me cultivating healing platforms where my visions can be shared, collaborated with, experienced, and actualized. I am abundant with inner and outer resources and have enough to care for my needs, my desires and my wellbeing.
This living manifesto builds on the inspiring work from healers, leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, writers and designers whose practices have helped shape my declaration of who I am and what I stand for. Those people include (but are not limited to) Mattice Haynes, Jennifer Armbrust, Design Justice Network, Healing by Choice Detroit, adrienne maree brown, Audre Lorde, Maxine Waters, Naimonu James, dRWorks, Rockwood Leadership Institute, bell hooks, Loam Magazine, YES! Jams, and the contributions and insight of all of the people who have participated in my hands-on healing experiences, strategy sessions, presentations, and collective building process.