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Listen to My Spirit

by Chris Paige


  

Angelica Ross, known as "Miss Ross," mixes spiritual reflection with creative expression in her career and on her website. 

Miss Ross is an African-American transgender woman with vision. She self-identifies as a "Creative," saying on her website,

Throughout my life I have worn so many hats, and so many labels, that now I just prefer to be considered a “Creative”. Creativity is a huge part of my spiritual practice in conjunction with my Buddhist beliefs. As a creative I have the freedom to express my creativity through whatever instrument or tool I am called to at any given moment. I play the piano and guitar and love to write music, poetry and essays and have a passion for speaking to large audiences.

Her multi-faceted, creative skill set also include photography, Photoshop, website design, and more.

As part of her website launch, Miss Ross released the following 4 minute video. Expecting typical commercial self-promotion, I was delighted to find that the narration of the piece is almost exclusively about her spiritual experience and perspective.

Miss Ross gets right to it at 0:08, saying

It's very too often, that just because we are on the outskirts of society / or we are not allowed into certain worship spaces / that we are not spiritual. But we have a Spirit that needs to be maintained.

Without further distraction, the video cuts to Miss Ross performing "Who We Are." She accompanies herself on guitar and this mantra-like selection beautifully frames the rest of the video introduction.

In her "Memoir" segment (at 2:02), Miss Ross recalls what church was like for her and how her focus eventually shifted

Going to church for me was more of a show. It was like the best ticket in town. You would go to church on Sunday and the choir would be at its best and the preacher would be at his best. Or he better be or else you were walking out.

I soon after found something a little bit more true for me -- something that didn't leave me wondering where my place was in this world; that didn't have me feeling like i was a bad person.

The next segment is labeled "Buddhism" (at 3:02), where Miss Ross reflects,

I started to open my mind up to this whole idea that there are this bunch of lies that are going on in your head that you don't even own / they are words from other people and they are stories from other people / my mother's outlook of what my life is supposed to be or my father's outlook or my family's or society.

At the basis of who we are we are trying to convey a message that our spirits are telling that says listen to my spirit, look at my spirit and not my body.

Clearly, Miss Ross has prioritized the expression of spiritual leadership in all of her "Creative" expressions. In "A Great Leader Is a Friend to Suffering," Miss Ross helps us to see how she connects the dots.

Miss Ross draws on wisdom from one of her mentors, Daisaku Ikeda, with quotes and inspiration. Miss Ross reflects,

Being a friend to the suffering does not mean solving everyone's problems. It means providing a valuable connection. ... As I take the vow to become a great leader in this lifetime, I simultaneously make a commitment to show others how I am accomplishing this and pass the information on. 

Miss Ross advocates taking responsibility for "the energy you create and the energy you consume," instead of blaming others, even when things go wrong

...life is full of moments you create and moments you allow, and you MUST take responsibility for that in order to truly take control of your life.... When something painfully challenging enters your life my response to you as a Buddhist is "Congratulations!" Because with great challenge comes great victory and benefit when you are determined to overcome and win! 

Read the full article on Miss Ross's website: A Great Leader Is a Friend to Suffering

Find the latest from Miss Ross at www.missross.com

  

On the Move

Check out new partnerships and resources around Transgender Day of Remembrance, including an online organizer's toolkit.

Executive Director, Chris Paige, writes for the Believe Out Loud blog about how allies need to listen deeply -- to keep opening ourselves to the experiences of all kinds of "others."

Transfaith Executive Director, Chris Paige, has been tapped by the Arcus Foundation to participate in the new Arcus LGBT Leadership Initiative (ALLI).

In the News

This 14 min video segment from Nightline ABC (March 2015) includes additional clarifying commentary from Advocates for Informed Choice (AIC) as they follow intersex advocate, Sean Saifa Wall, as he confronts his childhood surgeon.

Responses to our 5 Questions Profile from recently deceased Minister Charlene Jacqueline Arcila-Ecks. May her memory be a blessing.

Important reports from the Council of Europe and the Fundamental Rights Agency both released on the same day.