Brooklyn Writers Offer Solace and Solutions in Era of COVID-19
Author, “Release + Become”
- What’s the core message you want to convey in your book and your video, and what does “Release” and “Become” offer to individuals in this era of COVID?
BB: The core message in the book is to give yourself a moment, breathe, and in the breath, you will find ways to let go of anxieties and also retrieve support from within. It offers new messages in the ongoing universal conversations about letting go, receiving, and healing.
In the era of COVID, Release, and Become offers an opportunity to connect with leaders from many walks of life locally, nationally, and globally, to hear from brilliant minds around the world that are fighting for social justice and inclusivity through art, design, and policy and to understand the commonality within our quest for healthy living and to obtain resources to support individual and communal needs.
- Does “releasing” help one discover center, the soul?
BB: Releasing is a way to shed all the illusions that society has placed on us and we have placed on ourselves finding our true self at the core. It is a process of reclaiming our value, our uniqueness, understanding we all are relevant. By allowing ourselves to be one with all senses, we permit ourselves to let go. There are so many ways to process your uniqueness, whether it’s how you identify with music, art, yoga, each other, or silently within in the form of meditation. When you release all that is toxic, which no longer serves you, your mind and body create space for positivity. It’s a mind-body connection with the choice of each person. Everyone is different yet we are the same in the quest for peace.
- How has this philosophy changed your life; changed the artist’s life?
BB: This way of being has allowed me to create beyond my fears and societal discriminations of race and gender. It has allowed me to support others resulting in much more rewarding experiences. It has made me a stronger person using discernment for self-care, realizing when it doesn’t feel right it is not right for me. In the midst, of so many voices on social media, zoom, etc. it provides me opportunities to hear my inner voice beyond distractions.
About the artist, Al Johnson, he has discovered amid COVID there is a necessity to do self-introspection and heal to provide healing through his artwork. With this in mind, it has allowed his moments to integrate healing, harness the energy, and release what has been discovered onto mixed media platforms understanding that all lives matter.
- Would you say release is tantamount to relief. to being able to breathe?
BB: A definition of release is to escape from confinement. During COVID, we have been confined, which has surfaced trauma mentally and emotionally. To be able to breathe is the life force of our existence. Once toxins are released through the breath, more space results within our bodies and mind to bring in positivity. There lies the “sigh of relief.”
- How do we “release and become” while in quarantine?
BB: In quarantine exercise, breath, relaxation, healthy foods, positive thinking, and meditation is suggested. In each of those moments in our day, if we set the intention daily on self-care as we release, we become. As we observe ourselves maintaining the intention of self-care, we allow ourselves to grow to be a better you. The anxiety we feel will surface yet melt away as we stay focused on loving ourselves. Thus, our environment will gradually transform to support what we create.
About Barbara Bullard: In addition to her managerial role as president of the Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute, Ms. Bullard is a creative entrepreneur. Her background includes being a publicist, author, writer, film producer and developing successful marketing strategies for such premier institutions as Lincoln Center Productions and HBO. In addition, she successfully fused her creative and top-level chief executive work to oversee music production initiatives at global advertising firms. In recent years, she contributed to the rebranding of a New York-based world-class performing arts campus located in and area of the United States with the highest concentration of African Americans. She also currently serves as a story curator for The Hill; works on critically conscious stories for the Congressional Media Caucus, and lends her expertise to visual and mixed media artists seeking innovative exhibition opportunities. To contact, Ms. Bullard for book purchase, call 646-435-1558. www.b-bullard.com
Tenaria Drummond-Smith – Author, National Prayer Book
- The word prayer comes up in many conversations, principally due to a need people associate with it? But what is it and what does it do?
TDS: Prayer is a form of communication with a Higher Being. Of course, what one believes God can do, and how he answers calls of praise, calls for help and just a moment to be still, has a lot to do with one’s particular faith. But it is a kind of calling out and it is something that we all do at sometime or another in our lives. No matter if it is meditation, or a cry. The action of praying is powerful, cathartic, because it changes things, and it changes us. The beauty of it is that it can be done anytime and anywhere and anyplace.
Yes, people are praying now more then ever for themselves, and for those that who have been affected the loss of jobs, health, and loved ones.
People pray differently and for different circumstances like what we are seeing that’s going on today. Like this pandemic.Tenaria Drummond-Smith
- How has prayer been a factor in your life, to do what you are doing today: which is helping others find themselves?
TDS: For me personally, prayer is a deep request to be touched or held or embraced. It is a cry for healing, for a blessing: a balm to stop pain; a word of wisdom that charts the direction one must go; or a sign of compassion and understanding. It is a way to give thanks to a Will that is beyond human; it is divine. It also is a request for peace. When the mind is at war with itself, and the soul is heavy, prayer offers release, and the letting go of weapons. It bring you to a wellness that lifts the spirit though an overflowing of abundant joy.
- What is The National Prayer Book about?
TDS: This book is a compendium of prayers from 52 women speaking to all kinds of concerns and issues — as the full title says, on everything under the sun. My vision is the book inspires people to carry the weight for people who might not be, or feel they do not know how to pray for themselves, and their circumstances. My prayers have always been answered. The book encourages the reader to have faith in prayer. One critic said the motivational messages in this book are gifts to the world “by women praying for the world, our countries, governments, families, churches, communities and ‘everything under the sun.’ It is my prayer that everyone who reads this book will feel empowered and that their prayers will be answered and their lives will be changed.
About Dr. Tenaria Drummond-Smith. Author of the best-selling “National Prayer Book,” Ms. Smith is the founder and visionary of Awesome Women On The Move, Inc. Founded in 2006, Awesome Women On The Move, Inc., Dr. Drummond-Smith says, “is a personal ministry that has blossomed into a movement and an organization that promotes fellowship and unity with the love of God through Jesus Christ.” The native New Yorker and former civil service employee, says a series of life-changing experiences motivated her to find her awesomeness and reinvent herself, resulting in her mission. Dr. Drummond-Smith also co-authored “I’ve Been Hurt in The Church” and ‘Love Grounded by Grace’, in which women from all walks of life shared their stories of pain, inspiration, encouragement. She enjoys a following of nearly one million on her Facebook and blog.