Bringing real black culture to the (c-suite) table. #Bloodline (I'm eventually going to write about why I don't follow rules and how I move on this planet instead)
My brother died. Several times actually. It made me start resenting the word "woke". This "woke-shit". Because are we? While my brother was straddling two worlds something happened to my family. We were transformed. It was real, gutted, deep, ancestral, mystical, spiritual...it invisible yet palpable.
One day my brother will share his story and the walls of Jericho will fall. But, I am not going to steal his thunder. I'm going to share a moment with you, nearly two years later: I sat on the phone with my mom one random afternoon. We spoke freely and without intent because we both had plenty to laugh and cackle about. My immediate family stays on the phone with each other (more than they probably realize).
You can really hone your listening skills over the phone. The hope is that no facial expression or distraction will misinform the moment. Because listening is an uninterrupted experience. I usually hear what a person has to say and can respond before they're done because I was really following them I'm that person who talks to the screen (bad habit).
But I listening, I am never really listening at work. Listening transcends dimensions of sound, sight, touch or any physical sensation. It's spirit to spirit. My mom gifted me with her phone call and told me (I'm paraphrasing): "It wasn't any of my other kids when I first got the news of Jeremiah with me. Just you. You were there with me when I collapsed on the ground and you knelt next to me and you said, "Get up Mom." And helped me to my feet." I was there but I'd never experienced it through her lens, only my own. I was shocked that this stuck with her so vividly. Why didn't I wrap her in my arms and cry with her, ask the doctor what happened, asked if we could see Jeremiah, fainted, vomited, had a panic attack. Any of these would be a completely normal, maybe even 'more appropriate' response and there are a trillion more actions that could've kicked in.
She told me that when she got pregnant at 15, her sister Shirley told her, "Just don't give up." And there you were telling me to get up, bringing me to my feet. Saying, "Get up Mom." My ancestral bloodline moved in my mind, spirit, body and gave me what I didn't have to give in that moment, the support I couldn't translate myself.
I wasn't involved in the communication, I was just listening. Listening to her alone, lost, waiting for God. And as the old folx say, he showed up right on time. While I don't believe in consulting the dead on behalf of the living [Isaiah 8:19], we have things in black culture, in kingdom culture, that is known. Demons can haunt bloodlines (people call them "generational curses" now as they become more mainstream). It is known. Even before the science starting verifying it.
I could hear her tears, but I was only listening to her in that moment and despite every possible barrier my soul heard her soul. Our village, bloodline, Christ passed through generation, God, my genes and neurons. Listening is what told me what to do, because I don't know how to comfort a mother whose son was just cut in half by a speeding car. The blood that Jeremiah spilled unlocked a gate in my soul (practiced on of the most intense spiritual listening sessions of my life). We aren't different people at work. Are we listening to our co-worker? Are we listening to our consumer? Are we listening in life? Because listening isn't optional, it's the only bridge between communication of community building generation to generation. Could AI have written this? Maybe. But I had to give it soul. Typos, grammatical errors and all.
Companies that aren't letting tech replace humanity are the future. Listening is uniquely human. (An open journal entry from our CVO)