Deep Creative Rest

From the Curator’s Desk

Greetings, friends:This week’s newsletter is continuing the tradition of inviting members of our community to write From The Curator’s Desk, and for this edition, I’m happy to hand it over to Lilly Bekele-Piper, entrepreneur, creative and the host of the podcast Selam & Hello.

Please send your guest writing pitches for this section to if you’re interested in being our guest curator on the newsletter, and you have something of interest to share to our community — a trend you’ve noticed or something you’d like us to think about. 

~ Christine

It’s 3 am. I’m sitting up in bed, editing. I look around and think to myself, ‘I am too old for this!’ I am sure many of us creatives have had that same feeling – maybe not the old part – but the’ why am I up at 3am. Again!’ This wasn’t the first time I had found myself up late and too many of my creative friends have nightmare stories of not sleeping for two days as deadlines, editors or even halfway-contributing colleagues (is that a thing? I think it’s a thing) aged them and wore them out. And as a podcaster who has a visual platform as well – there is only so much concealer you can apply to cover up a tired face. There is a saying in my native Ethiopia: before you have children, sleep and eat. I would modify that for the creative industry and say, before you create, make sure you sleep and eat (and my ancestors would demand I say, also have some Black gold: Ethiopian coffee). 

Those who have a background in faith may remember that when God created, two things happened next that were quite profound (and if you are not religious, stay with me – promise this is not going to get weird). They called their work “good” and they rested for a full day. A whole 24 cosmic hours of just chillin. When was the last time you did that? And I don’t mean bingeing Netflix (that’s sometimes the cause of our fatigue, not the solution) or even reading. Those are forms of passive but not creative rest. I mean, taking a walk (maybe without headphones – imagine!), making a new recipe, doing some kind of meditative or yoga practice, enjoying time with people you love or simply slowing down, taking a nap and being still. Anything you can look at and like God – and Ice Cube – call a ‘good day.’ Scientists tell us that that kind of deep, creative rest allows your brain to stop trying to solve problems and just wander. And that makes space for ‘aha!’ moments that can serve our creative process and more importantly, our soul. 

The wonderful, refreshing and brilliant thing about our brains is that when we are at rest, our brains often do their best work. I like how author Alex Soojung-Kim says it: ‘Rest is not this optional leftover activity. Work and rest are actually partners.’ Maybe you can’t take an entire day. But can you take 30 minutes a day? To wander, to sketch, to garden, to play. I have been asking myself this same question and I am a resounding failure at resting. Like a KCSE D- at best. So I am trying to add more rest to my life. I am trying to make more homemade gifts for friends. I recently tried a walk without headphones: very strange, even hard, but good. And I am working up to taking an entire 24 hours soon where I do not touch a single screen of any kind and just stay present with my body, mind and soul. Not there yet – but when I get there, it is going to be good. 

In the meantime, here’s: 

What We’re Reading: An interview my friend Abdi Latif Dahir, East Africa Correspondent for the New York Times had with Paul Rusesabagina, of Hotel Rwanda fame – the first he has given since his release from prison. Stunning details of his 2.5 years of capture and torture. There is a paywall, but it’s worth it to subscribe. Abdi is the first East African to hold this post at the Times and does incredible, humane reporting in the region. I had the pleasure of interviewing him because representation matters and Abdi represents us with both the facts – and dignity. 

What We’re Watching: The World Cup, obviously! For the first time ever – Africa sent four teams: Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria and Morocco. And cheering for Nigeria, South Africa (who got their first ever World Cup win!) and Jamaica who have all made it to the round of 16. These women have had to fight for equal everything – pay, access, support. And despite the failure of national federations, they conquered the pitch. In fact, FIFA for the first time will play the players directly, in large part because of the Nigerian team’s advocacy. This World Cup is a big deal: no matter who takes the trophy, the game, the players and the continent have had major wins this year.  

What We’re Listening to: If it’s not my own show, Selam & Hello (I had to mention it!), I am a big fan of Dr. Joy Bradford’s podcast ‘Therapy for Black Girls.’ With over 300 episodes, she has covered it all with world-renowned experts weighing in to give us guidance – and free therapy – for our hectic lives. 

~ Lilly Bekele-Piper

Online Health Scams Report Launch

FumbuaKe and Baraza Media Lab, with support from Reproductive Health Network (RHNK) and #ShePersisted, along with technical support from the Council for Responsible Social Media (CRSM), recently investigated the advertising and sale of unapproved and dangerous medical treatments to women in Kenya by Meta, YouTube, and Google.

The Online Health Scams Report exposes the tech giants’ global failures in controlling dangerous content and protecting vulnerable users. In Kenya, where reliable healthcare information is limited, Facebook and Google’s lack of content regulation is particularly concerning.

Join us at the launch event at Baraza Media Lab where stakeholders from tech, reproductive health, fact-checking, regulatory, human rights, and consumer federations industries will come together to discuss the report’s findings.

Date: 15th August, 2023

To register, click here.

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