I recently had a surgical procedure—nothing to be alarmed about—it was routine, but it was the first surgery I have ever experienced. Recovery has meant many things for me. Intentionally slowing down, sitting in appreciation of the countless times my body has carried me through, and reflecting on the process of healing and the reality of backsliding, making the journey unpredictable.  

Much of the healing has started with recognizing the times we are in. Collectively, we find ourselves at a place where the panic and common confusion of a pandemic has mostly subsided. Life, while forever changed, is going back to something that resembles normal.

Yet for me, the hole left by nearly three years of tragedy and loss means relearning how to heal. Relearning how to find joy and seek inspiration. Where is it that you find yourself again? Is it in family, in friendship, in community, in art? 

Through these transitions, I’ve marked each moment with music. The start of the pandemic saw Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams on repeat in my playlist, inspired by the casual early morning skateboard commute of Nathan Apodaca on TikTok. Last year, it was Jazmine Sullivan’s Pick Up Your Feelings that got me through hard times. After that, the always problematic and prolific Kanye West’s Pure Souls. On repeat at the start of 2022, Kendrick Lamar’s Rich Spirit

These past few weeks of post-op healing, there has been a soundtrack playing in the background. Beyonce’s Renaissance. The entire album is a vibe, but I am thinking of the lead single, Break My Soul. These lyrics arrived at the perfect time for me and I suspect, for many of us. 

“I’m lookin’ for motivation

I’m lookin’ for a new foundation, yeah

And I’m on that new vibration

I’m buildin’ my own foundation, yeah…

You won’t break my soul…”

My soul is heavy as I reflect on the loss of Dr. Willie Thornton. He meant so much to me. A friend, mentor, partner, role model, and so much more. Hi spirit was larger than life and it is embedded in the work I do and the work of Sankofa Impact. He was so supportive of our organization and I will dearly miss his trusted counsel.

Healing is both physical and spiritual. My hope for the Sankofa Impact community is that you find motivation in music and foundation in love. On my healing journey, I will hold space in my unbroken soul for Willie and all of you. God bless.

4 thoughts on “My Unbroken Soul

  1. Janet Woodward says:

    Much healing to you Felicia and thank you for sharing some bittersweet news. It is hard to lose people we are close to and admire. Music can lift our spirits in so many ways.

  2. Rebecca Brenneman says:

    Dear Felicia, My heart weeps to hear of the death of Dr. Thornton. He lifted my spirit and was the heart of our trip for me. Thank you for letting us know.
    And thank you for sharing your journey. May your healing continue – on all levels. To answer your question: I find solace in the garden…that is where I come back to myself…where I can simply be with whatever is.
    Fond regards to everyone. Rebecca

  3. Winona Hollins Hauge MSW, LICSW says:

    Sweet leader of Sankofa , and my little soulful sista, I send you prayers of healing and full recovery both mentally and physically as both have been connected at the hip for me and my journey forward.As a radio host for seventeen years on our partner http://www.kbcs.fm ‘s space, I have treasured the Willie Thorton and his church family introduction since my 2017 voyage and beyond. The movement and the world lost a very invaluable beacon of musical light. 60 years young is too young for us to end that connection physically with Willie on this past August 12th, the day to the loss of his beautiful wife. I am suggesting we organize a scholarship support donation to be sent for the son from the many participants whohave planted feet in the church and been impacted and trained by the choir.

  4. Pamela Smith Zellner says:

    Felicia, hello dear friend. Thank you for your post about Dr. Willie Thornton. We are so sad to loose him, our stop at the Brick a Day church was always my favorite stop on our pilgrimages. Having any opportunity to be in Willie’s presence and sing with him was a divine blessing. I am grateful I had so many times to lift our voices in communion with our beloved Dr Thornton.
    Bob and I plan to make a donation to the church in his name. Much Love

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