The action of presenting a testimony is a healing thing...

I counted them, I had 5 variations of a breakthrough experience presented in the form of various critical breakdowns in 6 MONTHS.

They appear from the outside subtle but from the inside it's probably something resembling a volcano imploding. 10 times worst then the explode my friends. And that moment is when the major damage is happening within.

I intend to continue to practice what i teach in regards to the art of facing your testimony on the page.

I constantly encourage my workshop participants to not just talk about it but to write about it. Some of this may sound familiar because I have been testifying at all my shows since some of these moments have occurred. Here are the 3 moments I am ready to TESTIFY on the page.

And I will begin with this:

"There's always an extraordinary moment in my relationship with my poetry when I suddenly realize that I wrote a poem for a future version of me."

-Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo
Spoken LIVE @ The Alchemist Lounge
October 23, 2009


Finding out my buddy Gabby is currently experiencing the battle for her life.

Dedicating "In the Blink Of An Eye" on Prelim 1 to Gabrielle Bouliane and both visibly and internally breaking down on stage. Midway I just wanted to stop and weep. I couldn't stop thinking of Gabby, and Sharon, Patricia and Fez and countless other survivors and victims of Cancer who I have known personally and who have all taught me something about living.
Finding my way back to my seat-- Mo Brown holding my hand-- Mentally shifting me to pull it together for the 2nd round. --At least temporarily.

I dont even remember my second poem. Made it through a second set of prelims. Felt extremely anti-social. Not my typical steez at the POETRY SLAM CONFERENCES as I call them. Was grateful my brother Oz was my side-kick. I couldn't handle anyone else for longer than moments--not even my best buds Jim Beam, Senor Knobbs Creek, and Macallan the Magnificent! I was busy binging on sorrow and practicing poems and rehearsing composure and good posture--a useful walking meditation technique I learned.

Moment: A moment of Sanctuary-One day after winning 2nd place at IWPS

I journeyed 3 hours from San Francisco to Big Sur to present a Visiting Teaching Program Workshop at the Esalen Institute.

I hate driving. I'm a much happier passenger. The journey wasn't easy. But the moment we arrived I recognized the power I have over my rate of healing and recovery. Esalen successfully healed much of my implosion damage. I believe that I am in my element when I give myself the opportunity to mentor, present my art and fellowship. Steve Connell is officially my new slam-fam BFF and was my 6 hour chauffeur to LA. We drank wine and laughed alot. He is an extraordinary gentleman and I have serious intentions to influence him to continue to shine. We are both committed to working together to present revolutionary moments in beautiful places. Esalen, the people, my poets and friends who said YES to an unpredictable journey and accompanied me to Esalen: Laura, Abe, Charles-Ekabhumi, Eli, Nelly, and of course Steven-- they all contributed in unique ways to my healing. Even the typhoon and the sulfur seemed to encourage some major cleansing.

Moment: in Venice Ca Underground Sun Studios - 5 days after winning 2nd place at the IWPS

During a series of intense collaboration sessions and very little rest I had an extremely vulnerable breakdown in front of David Franz another extraordinary gentleman and my current producer and song collaborator when I realized the Universe presented me with the perfect balance of my 10 years of developing my performance poetry skills and the right amount of good luck to award me the highest ranking of my career in slam poetry and I had not given myself a chance to acknowledge it yet. Celebrate yet.
And I was tired. Esalen apparently didn't fix everything.

My rant to David was something in the realm of---what's the point of the grand scheme of things--- to work so hard towards something and the moment it happens and you ACHIEVE SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT you can't enjoy it or you don't know HOW and you've already started the process of unceremoniously shifting yourself to the next seemingly purposeful lifelong challenge.!?!

How do I teach myself to recognize that it really IS about the journey?

It HAS to be.

I recognize that these accomplishments are not the "end of the story" or the "happily ever after" or the "end all be all" of the road obviously "less traveled". Because I'm still here. I also recognize as you probably have that I probably didn't need to put "quotation marks" on half the words that I put them on---nevertheless...there they are---and anyway I digress...and I did digress. I'm curious if my rant came off as a revelation or a rant of a natural born insomniac who was all of the sudden realizing how tired she was. REVELATION: I HAVE GOT TO IGNITE A GREATER MOVEMENT than THE SUM OF THESE INCREDIBLE MOMENTS THAT I HAVE BEEN GIFTED TO EXPERIENCE. Because there has got to be a MOVEMENT in here somewhere that is more than these moments---more to be documented and remembered than just this one.

Maybe these words are supposed to be the start of it.

My intention is to continue to TESTIFY SOMETHING and recognize my needs to trust that I am currently being guided towards a specific journey tailor-made for my endurance.

-iyeoka ivie okoawo

I'm reading: TESTIFYING IS HEALING: A note from IyeokaTweet this!
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