Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 called me to Priesthood

(This is a reprint of a note I wrote on Facebook four years ago. I feel it is still pertinent to this day - Mambo)

I watched filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet haunting film "9/11" last night. I was mesmerized by the images -- especially since I was supposed to be there that weekend.

I was still living a bi-polar existence at that time. I was a well respect media producer/technical director by day, leading some very important teams through their paces for a variety of Fortune 100 companies.  And by night, I was a priestess and acolyte of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki.  I helped plan her teaching schedule here in the US and was also doing my SOL lessons, having been elevated to priest by her in 1998. A double agent, as it were.

In 2000, I spent two weeks atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center, a mile above Manhattan, producing a Goldman-Sachs annual meeting. I rode the ear popping elevators up and down, shopped below ground in the stores and parked myself in one of the huge windows with other techs, as we ate lunch and stared out at the world from above. I remember doing the Ferris Bueler move -- standing on tip-toe in the window with my forehead against the glass, the vertigo-inducing visual making me giddy and delightfully dizzy.

In 2001, bedazzled by my brilliant talents -- or just looking for an extra body to run a computer -- Goldman called me up to ask if I would be in attendance at the their meeting, once again atop the World Trade Center. I could hardly resist, it was such a great experience the year before. But before I could pack my suits, I got another call, cutting me from the team due to the budget. Oh well, next year I thought.

Then Dolores called, and we made plans for an Egyptian Master Class here. I got whirled away with her tour, classes, airplane tickets and all the stuff that was required to make her trip a success. We did the class and she returned with us to our home in PA, to rest up before leaving for California.

The next morning, Michael (her husband called) and said he was sorry for what was happening in NY. I thought what's happening, turned on the TV and saw the second plane fly into the North Tower. I couldn't believe what I saw.

Fast forward ten years, and last night, I still couldn't believe what I saw. The brothers have edited and added to their original film. They also showed the new memorial -- a very beautiful park surrounding the original footprints of the towers. I am glad they stayed with a sacred monument, instead of a crass commercial offering. The ground there is consecrated not just by death, but by the valiant efforts of the NYFD, NYPD, and hundreds of volunteers who stayed, searched and gave their own lives over to seeking for the deceased. I thought the water fall monument with engraved names a very beautiful and emotional symbol. A water road to Ginen for all those souls who left so unexpectedly.

Many of my friends did much work to help that day. Manbo Shakmah and the SEED priestesses did their work to help the souls cross. I prayed and lit candles for weeks -- I lost friends in the Towers that day. And Don gives thanks that I was cut from the team. Because otherwise... I don't know. I guess Legba closed that door and opened another.

What I do know is that day marks the moment when I made the decision to go to Haiti and become a mambo. I saw in that instant how life could end in a moment. How things can be changed irrevocably and pointlessly. That if you do not seize hold of your life and make it what you will, you will lose the chance to do so. Some one or some thing will snatch it away and then -- nothing.

I spent 23 years waiting for a phone to ring, with some one on the other end asking me to go some where or do some thing for them. Not for me, for them. I went for the money or the glory or whatever. But I seldom went for myself. After 9/11, I decided I would go for myself from now on. I will choose my destiny, not some one else.

I changed everything after that day. I sold everything I had to, in order to raise money for an initiation that I felt compelled to receive.  I packed up my husband and we went to Haiti. And initiated. Came home and started a church. I left Dolores to another who does an even better job of planning her trips than I did. I left friends behind who did not understand my choice to become a mambo. I left a job behind that filled my wallet but not my soul. And I never looked back.

I also brought things with me that were worth having. I brought my Donald because i cannot live my life without him. I brought my brother and sister along, because I cannot live without them in my life, either. I brought along my friends who did understand my choices and decided they wanted to try this new path with me. And I continue to find others who feel as I did that day.

That I would not lay down because of the terrorists. That I would not stop being who I am (defiantly and proudly American). And that I would seek a way to find communion with all people, regardless of color, creed or nationality. Because if 21 diverse nations of Africans could find a way to rise above their station, praise God above and seek Ginen, then so would I. And if that meant leaving behind some things for the betterment of myself and others, then so be it.

One of my favorite films is Gattica, about a man named Vincent who wants to be an astronaut and can't due to his physical size. He goes through hell to change in order to realize his goal. When telling his brother why he did this, he relates a story from their childhood. How they used to try to swim out to an island, but never made it. Until one day, Vincent does make it. When his brother asks him how, his answer was "You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back." Meaning it was the island or drown.

After 9/11, I never saved anything for the swim back either. And I do not regret it. It would sully the memory of my friends who died on 9/11. And so, for Bobby, Bill and Wilson, I swam like hell for the distant shore and I made it. I will see you all on the other side one day. Ayibobo.

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