The Art of Expression


Dictionary definition:
the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings

My definition:
the process of making one’s self known and seen

Little did I know that as I walked through the door of the Afrikan Market, I would enter into a new culture of my soul, new landscapes, and experiences that would eventually open into a new art of expression.

“Culture, by definition, encompasses the range of phenomena that is transmitted through social learning and sharing ways of living together. It is passed on to the next generation by learning how to relate to one another, and can be seen in people’s writing, music, ways of talking, different types of dances, styles of clothing, cooking, through what they do”(1) and I would like to say in the art of expression.

We cannot control our genetics or change our dnas, but what we do have control over is how we live our lives, how we speak to one another, and express ourselves.

Traditional cultures have evolved over many, many years. Generational sharing and learning arising out of a geographical place and community, has been consistent over time.

For years I have been contemplating how we can begin a new world culture of peace and friendship from the inside out, arising out of who we are or are striving to be, out of a morality or a kindness for others.

When I walked into the Afrikan Market and asked Mary if she could box braid my hair, little did I know that I would find another piece to the puzzle, to one of my many life’s questions.

Mary, who was born in Ghana, and Christina, who was born in Zimbabwe, spent six hours with me braiding my hair and sharing stories and conversation. I was suddenly in the flow of their culture learning about hair, braiding, weaves, and Sunday dinners.

When my 55 box braids were finished, and I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw someone different. I felt different. I had old thoughts connecting to new ones, and old feelings, arising in new ways. I felt myself reborn into a new culture, not a culture of Africa or Canada or any particular place on the Earth. Instead, I felt myself standing in a new stream of consciousness, a new coliseum of culture, arising from the homeland of the heart and soul of all of humanity.

In this culture of peace and friendship, I felt connected to Mary and Christina. They were my sisters, my mentors, my friends. We shared six hours of changing my silken, dna hair into an artistic expression of my soul.

I felt beauty emerge. I felt strength that I haven’t known as an introvert, a strength woven into each fibre of that hair, in each folding of the braid, arising from within the sharing, the learning, the warmth and the friendships.

It was lovely inwardly, and when I walked to the door to walk out into the world, there was a pause, a hesitation, about how I would present myself to the world.  Phrases like culturally appropriate came to my mind or having to explain myself.  But I realized, quite simply, that there was no presentation, no need for any explanation. The only thing I needed was to know that I was living out of a new culture of peace and friendship that was rooted in the heart and soul of all human beings wanting to share and care, learn and teach, create and sustain, life on Earth, life within our own beings, and life lived together on this Earth out of genuine interest, human warmth, the light of understanding and the imagination of multi-layered expression.

It just feels like its time to change text and context from individual cultures to a world culture of peace and friendship composed of every single beautiful cultural contribution of art, music, words, ways of living and sharing and learning arising out of human hearts and souls.

It just feels like it is time for all human hearts and souls to rise up and express oneself, to stand in the shoes of others and discover a new orientation, to decide one day to be a rose and the next a daffodil and embrace the change and discovery.

It just feels like its time to realize we are all immigrants to this Earth.  We are all equal and essential to this beautiful world culture of peace, friendship and understanding.

We can’t change our dna or where we’ve been born, but we can change our way of being, our appearances, our expressions, our inward and outward dispositions, our ways of living together each and every day in the spirit of peace and friendship.

We can find, respect and honour the growing tips in each and every human soul and plant seeds of harmony and kindness into the soil of our souls and the Earth, with hard work and intention. We can hold open not only safe environments for expression, but we can begin cultivating a new world culture where genuine interest, love, kindness, compassion, caring for the Earth and each other, peace, joy, conscious choice, knowledge of our surroundings, respect for nature and the living……..begin the dialogues, fill the conversations and inform the decisions for how to nurture and save this beautiful common home we call the Earth and each other as friends.

There is an ancient door and threshold within each one of us, when walked through, that changes perspective and awareness. There are shoes to be stood in, hair to be braided, spaces and places to be held open, a new world culture to be cultivated, and a whole lot of common, genuine interests to be taken up with a commitment to change and living together from the sprouting seeds of diversity to the growing tips of the living all appearing, each in its own way.

All in the process of:

making one’s self known and seen, in the art of expression and the larger community of friends;

seeing ourselves in others and they reflected in us

unfolding the beauty of the rose in the human soul while unfolding

the beauty of the rose in the world community

respecting the dignity of life and the living on Earth, within each one of us, and all that lives around us

honouring the vastness of existence, the sun, the moon, the stars and the seasons, as rhythms in a way of living

simply and honestly.

written by Jill LaBelle Sophie


(1) paraphrased from wikipedia

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