“The question is, how can we best care for each other across generations, borders, and other barriers? Or as Audre Lorde said, ‘we must be very strong/and love each other/in order to go on living.’”
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Undrowned, p. 151
For our Spring 2022 programming, the Community Reads team is continuing its dive into Undrowned by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, a collection of meditations inspired by marine mammals. During Spring our focus will be Wellbeing in Practice and our reading selections are the two meditations or chapters (ch. 4) practice and (ch. 19) take care of your blessings. Through these meditations, we will be building on our themes of wellbeing and community care to reflect on how we can move through a world of exploitation and systemic injustice, how we can name and navigate the structures that threaten us both individually and as a collective. Inspired by marine mammals and Black feminist principles, these meditations encourage us to think about individual and community practices that can stabilize us, comfort us, and keep us reaching out for one another to move through the toxic tides and powerful currents that threaten to sweep us apart. In a year full of uncertainty and challenge, trauma and grief, we want to end our work with this book by thinking about how we can continue to move through the world - and the reminder that none of us are moving through it alone.
Using these meditations, along with prompts inspired by the writing, we invite you to join us in reflective, creative responses to our reading in a contribution to a community art piece dedicated to learning to breathe in the troubled waters that surround us. Stop by the Library Information Desk to get a free copy of the book. While supplies last!
portrait by Anna Barrera, "Grow," art gallery submission
Our Spring 2022 programming is meant to support reflection, process, and well-being through activities guided by the reading. Instead of gathering in person, we hope to build community through sharing creations born of a common reading experience. Our online gallery website provides access to the readings, as well as a series of optional prompts which will encourage thoughts about community care, support, and how we all contribute to the wellbeing of one another and to the world. We encourage you to respond to the prompts and readings in any form you would like, and submit your creations to us digitally through that site. The platform allows us to form a digital "gallery" of art, writing, and other creations inspired by this work. We also hope you are inspired by Fall and Winter Quarter's postings submitted by your fellow campus community members.
Please feel free to explore this curated list of related resources from the CR Team
If the kinds of meditation and reflection exercises in Undrowned appealed to you, you'll be interested in Dr. Kristen Neff's meditations for self-compassion.
Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs. E-book available in the UW Libraries catalog. UW NetID required for access (for Cascadia community members who do not have a NetID, please visit the CC Computing Services NetID website to get started).
Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a series of meditations inspired by marine mammals using information from scientific guidebooks, Indigenous history, and a poet's perspective. Alexis Pauline Gumbs connects the behaviors and bodies of whales, dolphins, seals, and other marine mammals to lessons we can learn to live in and struggle against an unjust world. The book encourages us to recognize that we are in relationship with these mammals, as well as with one another - to recognize the ways that disconnect and injustice have hurt so many different parts of our world. It provides lessons and encouragement to struggle against that injustice, but also to hold ourselves, one another, and our world close. The meditations practice and take care of your blessings, this quarter's readings, focus on how to be in attentive practice with our wellbeing, how to support one another and let ourselves be supported as well.
"Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. Her work in this lifetime is to facilitate infinite, unstoppable ancestral love in practice... Alexis’s co-edited volume Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (PM Press, 2016) has shifted the conversation on mothering, parenting and queer transformation. Alexis has transformed the scope of intellectual, creative and oracular writing with her triptych of experimental works published by Duke University Press (Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity in 2016, M Archive: After the End of the World in 2018 and Dub: Finding Ceremony, 2020.)." Alexis has worked in many different movements, projects, and journals, and her work is always "grounded in a community building ethic."
Gumbs, A. "Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs." Alexispauline.com.
Share Your Creation(s) with the Campus
Use our online gallery website to view the readings, prompts, and program instructions. Then respond to the prompts through creative expression (like painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, collage, photography, digital art, audio, video, the list goes on). You can then "Share" your creation by uploading it to the site (accepted file types will be listed). It will be posted to our online gallery with the rest of the creations by our campus community members to create a collective art piece dedicated to learning how to take a breath in the turbulent waters we find ourselves in. We appreciate your participation in community building around Wellbeing in Practice. UW and Cascadia College students, faculty, and staff are all encouraged to dive in and participate. If you have questions, please contact any one of our Community Reads Team members. We’ll see you in the gallery!
Image Credit: LA Johnson/NPR
Studies have shown that expression through art can help people with depression, anxiety, and stress. Art has also been linked to improved memory, reasoning, and resilience in aging adults.