What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Beatrice Rebecca Leigh Anderson, named after my mother, my grandmother, my great-uncle, and my great-grandmother. I am from Buffalo, my father is from Jamaica, and my mother’s from Mississippi.
And what have you been working on at SPACE?
A number of things. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been able to do a lot of writing. I have a collection of sonnets and prose and pieces that I wanted to compile in an effort to pitch a bit of a book. I also have been really interested in finally pulling together a writing page, a blog page, so I started working through that. Also having a lot of really thought-provoking conversations that I needed as a means to support the next phase of my own creative spiritual development. These conversations, I think, were a part of the universe’s plan as opposed to my plan, but were at right alignment with where I am. So I’m leaving with more of a map, or a layout of where I need to go creatively, spiritually, for my own healing, for the healing of my community. And that’s just been literally based on even just a conversation from this morning. A very important work that was unseen and previously didn’t even consider.
Can you talk about, if you would like to, about the nature of the conversations? Like what makes them so unique and dynamic in this setting and with the people who are gathered? What stands out to you in thinking about why and how those conversations have emerged?
I mean I think we’ve talked about it a little bit before but the name is so perfectly, the name of SPACE is so aptly named. Cause we have used it several times to explain the need, the desire, the necessity, yeah the need of having space to hear and to listen and to share. To be seen, to touch one’s self. To connect. And that can be really hard to do even with, and that’s what’s so interesting about this group, even with the most sensitive, thoughtful, emotionally heart-extending folk, it can be very hard to do that, a. for yourself, and b. in a way that can deeply move you when you’re inundated with so many folks that need that same attention. Here, it’s almost like the experience of that engagement or that interaction can kind of ripple through the body more completely. And that is really sustaining. You know, what I experience in the work that I do at home, when I travel and I’m doing work, because the space there is meant to, not necessarily be as equally reciprocated. There’s definitely a generosity or an offering that’s there, but it’s limited. Because the major purpose for me being there is to be brought on as someone who’s offering. And in this case, nothing is being asked of me but to show up. That is such a gift. I think I just took a big exhalation before I said that, and it felt true to body, cause it’s great to just have to show up, and let that be enough. So I think that that’s what’s really important, the space to take space is uber important and is really, really a big blessing.
Do you feel like everyone came in with that inherent understanding of showing up and being present and open to where it would lead, or do you think that the group, that we have found that together?
I feel like the only way to find it together is if you’re willing to be there. And so I do think everybody came with an open heart to that. Flexibility. I think folks came with flexibility. A willingness. Generosity. Again, some of the same things that they probably walk throughout the rest of their life with, especially in their lives of work. And then I think we found that we were among like minds and so we were able to not do as much. Individually. And collectively able to move with a lot of ease. And a lot of fluidity, a lot of intuition. Yeah.
What is next for you and your work?
You know, I had this beautiful conversation today with one of the residents this morning after a beautiful morning check-in we all shared at breakfast. And one of the residents who I perceive and hold as an elder, and as someone who...I believe that there are seniors and I believe that there are elders, so I definitely recognize this person as an elder. And what I was able to hold and learn and so experience for myself in that exchange was even more of an encouragement around what’s next for me. I kept having this vision as we were talking, and saw it so clearly, and still as I’m thinking about it now I can still see it and feel it in my body. I can see men and women of African descent standing in various locations throughout what appears to be like, Bed-Stuy moving into Bushwick. And there’s a sense of...it’s not idle, of boredom. And I touch this like, what I shared with my friend this morning was the same sentiment that I feel like my/our youth in those spaces that I can vision also share is, knowing that there’s something else, there’s something more, and that there’s something more that we as African descending people know. But it requires a lot of remembering, a lot of cleansing, a lot of dismantling, a lot of learning. And I believe that to be possible. But not everybody has access. Readily. So I really feel, I’ve already felt, I have experienced in my lifetime spiritual callings at different times to do certain work and have kind of pushed them off, since the age of like, eighteen, like nope, I’m not ready, nope, I’m not ready, and now it’s at a point where I don’t have a choice but I now am feeling closer, I’m getting like these bits and pieces of like what I’m supposed to do. And I do feel a responsibility, a desire, and a particular support and means that will allow me to get that information and to bring it back. I want us folk to have access to our magic, really to our magic, to freedom and liberation that is beyond comprehension. Cause it’s powerful to hear people talk about it from different cultures, and it’s even more powerful to know through sense, through felt sense in the body, that what they’re talking about is something that you know without knowing from a very deep place. So yeah, what’s next for me I think is, going to find that. Which includes going to sit with elders. And going to sit with elders also means sitting with people who are only the age of five, it doesn’t mean, you know what I mean? And it means going to other countries and other places, it means going to the countries of *these place,* you know, going back to Mississippi where my mother’s from, going back and being with the woods there and letting them talk to me again. It means writing and creating a lot, and giving myself more space like what I was afforded here to do that. It means letting go of a lot of attachment to capitalism and to things that have held me captive in New York City. Yeah. It means believing even more in the value of my life now, in a way that I have been able to touch being afforded an opportunity to have this space. This is a, it is a blessing, and sometimes it can be unfortunate to think of it as being a privilege. So, that’s what’s next.
Beautiful answer to that question. Where have you been spending most of your time here on the farm?
Outside of today, where I’m indoors, it’s been outside. So I’ve been by the water a lot, almost every day, or in the water. The first day I took a boat out, I think it was first or second day, I took a boat out to the middle of the water and sat and wrote and that was like my first activity after eating. And I’ve been doing a lot of walking, and walking where I am hoping to reconnect. Reconnect to land, reconnect to nature, reconnect to myself. I’ve spent some great time on the bowling green very late at night watching stars. Those are the places, outside as often as possible.
The last question is a SPACE tradition question which is, if you could be reincarnated as a farm animal, what farm animal would you be?
Yesterday, a few of us were walking, and we saw this--it was such a, they say that you know when you meet an animal or insect, mostly animal, and it comes kind of out of nowhere, you wouldn’t have seen it, then that has some sort of significance for you, and literally, we were walking along the street, myself and two other residents, and--dirt path--and I don’t know why, but I slowed down and stopped and there was the smallest frog. I mean the size of a quarter. And stopped two feet before it, literally two of my steps in front of it, I’m like, how did you--and it’s brown! It was literally the color of the floor! And I’m thinking, wow. You are so small with so much to share. I would be that frog. I think it’s incredibly significant and honors the value and importance of all of our lives having such meaning, and having so much to give and so much to offer, and for nothing, for no one to be taken for granted. It’s a beautiful reminder that I would love to be that frog. It’s a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful reminder to look, to listen to detail, to feel, to be intuitive..yeah. That’s a good one. I like that one. I’m going with that.