2019 is recognized by the US government to be 400years since the first enslaved Africans were brought to English America. It is a very symbolic year for African, American and human history. As parents, my wife and I are determined to draw inspiration, learn lessons and create a meaningful and purposeful narrative of the experience for and with our children. I am African(Ghanaian), my wife is African American, my children’s maternal great grandparents are Native American and their uncle is Caucasian. Love has connected us in our diversity to One Circle of Life and I believe the world is richer for it - E pluribus unum.
One thing is clear from the lessons of the last 400years however: when people forget who they are in pursuit of enlarging their individual economy, they do horrible things to each other. It is against this backdrop that we decided to expand our family tradition in a way that reinforces the theme “Remember Who You Are” and makes meditation within this context an integral part of family ritual as we enter into the 400 year of African and American History. “Remembering Who We Are” is a sacred journey, and the journey requires sacred space, a sacred compass and tokens or apparatus of mindfulness. I was inspired to get to work and produce these essentials required to create this unique ritual.
For the sacred space I co-opted the symbol of a yoga mat..I thought it appropriately conveyed the sense of an inner journey; for the sacred compass we incorporated the native american concept of a medicine wheel and for the tokens or apparatus of thought, I adopted West African Adinkra Symbols based on our West African roots and inspiration from their use in the Black Panther movie; our guided mediations have been inspired by passages of scripture we consider to be essential in Christ Consciousness.
For the detailed design, I was inspired with the thought that a symbol must be positioned in the center of the mat to convey intent - “Remember Who You Are!” I picked the token Adinkra Symbol Sesa Wo Suban - “self transformation or self unveiling”- by my interpretation, as the best fit for this.
Fig. 1: Sesa Wo Suban
Energy and light is vital to sustain and guide one on the journey so we included the Gye Nyame(Fig. 2)- Accept/Except God- to acknowledge the source of the divine light we carry - another core token for the mat.
Fig. 2: Gye Nyame
Next, I saw the need for human context to answer the question..what is the point? The point of the journey is to unveil the gift we carry within ourselves in our consciousness, and bring it to bear in service to humanity. The token Adinkrahene(Fig. 3) symbol was perfect for this as it conveys Charisma, Leadership and Service
Fig. 3: Adinkrahene
Immediately outside this central core of the mat, the insight came to incorporate advice for the seeker regarding the the nature of their sacred quest as follows:
Nkyinkyim(Fig. 4) - the journey is tortuous - not a straight or direct..there will be times of restless wandering but know that you have the seeds of initiative, dynamism and versatility deeply embedded within you. Summon them and use them as circumstances demand.
Fig. 4: Nkyinkyim
Mpatap) (Fig.5) - disagreement and mistakes are part of the journey but be duty bound to reconcile and make peace with yourself and others after strife.
Fig. 5: Mpatapo
Birbi Wo Soro, Mensa Nka(Fig. 6) - Stay focused on the steps that bring you close to your hearts desire. You breathe to live because there are divine gifts you bring to this world. Plan and execute steps and goals that align with this.
Fig. 6: Biribi Wo Soro, Ma Mensa Nka
Owuo Atwerede: Maintain a sense of urgency because just as you descend into this world to fulfill a purpose - like all humans, your time for your departure or ascension is bound to come.
Fig. 7: Owuo Atwerede
Nyame Dua(Fig. 8): Be mindful that the Creative essence and intelligence permeates all things. You are always anchored to the life source. Walk boldly in this consciousness.
Fig. 8: Nyame Dua
)d) Nyera Fie Kwan: When you align with the flow and consciousness of care, love and service you will ultimately make your way home -you will have remembered who you are.
Fig. 9: )d) Nyera Fie Kwan
Sankofa: Hunger and thirst for your higher self. Be rooted and connected to your higher self or essence; nurture and maintain this. Make it a discipline.
Fig. 9: Sankofa
Nyame Nti(Fig.10) Always remember that Nyame/Creator/God/Universe gives and sustains life according to purpose, season and context.
Fig. 10: Nyame Nti
The outer periphery of the mat has one more advice:
FOFOO - Envy and jealousy: Keep it far from your heart. When it invades your heart and consciousness, it is an indicator that you have forgotten your dignity and your worth. Your dignity and your worth are unassailable.
Fig. 11: Fofoo
Flower Bud: Trust the process, be joyful, hold space and bear witness to the unfolding of the divine in all; be patient; be kind; be bold; be courageous; be resilient; be gentle; everything you will be, you already are; you are in the process of being unveiled. You are..you are becoming and you will be - all three states at all times; all three concurrent states should be alright with you.
User Experience Aid
The final component of the design phase was the production of an aid for meditation that is portable hence the remembrance tool below.
Fig. 12: Adinkra Remembrance Tool
Final Product: 400 Year Brand Meditation Mat
An ancient practice with a 400year inclusive twist.
You have prevailed on the journey when you see the divine in nature and in all people
You have prevailed when you are self transcendent
You have prevailed when you are self determined and autonomous
You have prevailed when you are collaborative
You have prevailed when you know the character of who you are; this is salvation
You have prevailed when you are being who you are; this is righteousness
You have prevailed when you are creating value for humanity
You have prevailed when you have a growth mindset and you are creating, using and evolving technology to expand the influence of your gift.
400 years.com is a platform to share our inspired works and stories about our journey implementing this ritual in our family. We envisage it to be a platform to share experiences, inspired works and thoughts that come up in your own journey to “Remember Who You Are”
Have a #Mindful400 #400Years #MindfulAdinkra #AfricanDiasporaNation #Meditate
Very Best Regards,
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