Seeking Solace and Soul Restoration in Sag

Written By: Suzan Johnson  Cook

After days of campaigning as a candidate for New York’s historic  13th Congressional seat, I was fried. I had to decompress, not get depressed. I had run a race with honesty, integrity, against six other male opponents for 465 non stop 14-20 hour days, sometimes grueling, lots of sleep deprivation ,always needing guts and gravitas.  With a campaign there are so many people “handling: you and so many things coming at you, moving so fast, I remember one day, I felt like I was really “losing” myself. So, as soon as I was able, I said “Sag Harbor, here I come”!!.I sought solace and soul restoration.

I’d been seeing the ads in Dan’s Papers for years about shabbat and kaballah on the beaches: Seven Soul Powers decoded. for the Jewish community., Well, for me, a Christian, I needed sunsets and sabbaths on the beach., where I learned the seven Steps to soul restoration., The water always refreshes me. In  fact, the Judaeo and Christian traditions,share the 23rd psalm . where it declares..” He leadeth me beside the still waters and restoreth my soul”.

Well, the election was June 28th and in Seven weeks, I’ve learned the seven steps to getting our minds, bodies and spirits flowing again

Step 1) Selah. The Psalms are filled with the words and music of  David, the harpist and psalmist, who often shared his joys and his places of agony and grief. There are l50 of them in the Holy Bible. But scattered throughout many of them is a word, SELAH, not to be spoken. It means pause, stop. Reflect on that which you’ve just been through. The harpist stops playing and singing, and congregations take a moment before speaking the next words. That’s what my soul was calling for, commanding–a SELAH. And so, my journey began, a journey back home to myself, with myself. A call to re-connect with God.

Step2) Sunrises and Sunsets- There’s nothing  more beautiful than nature, and nowhere do I enjoy the early mornings and early evenings, rather than the sag Harbor waters. whether it’s on the bay, at Haven’s beach or Sagg Main, where the ocean’s waves dance with one another and with me. But as all of nature choreographs and composes its’ dances and songs, I watch the “chillness’, the stillness of the sun, rising and setting. Beautiful in color. beautiful in Splendor. Beautiful in Spirit.

Step 3) Sweet Sleep- My only alarm clock out here is the song of the birds who are singing to let me know another day has started. My sleep is sweet, and  uninterrupted, . I have sweet dreams, sweet sleep, safe and secure in my sensational  Sag bungalow.

Step 4) Sisterhood- My closest friends are from our here. We have prayed together, sat on the beach together, . The sisters, the women of Sag Harbor, sent me off to my Confirmation Hearings as I became a US Ambassador, held my first fundraisers for Congress, and most of all, LOVED up on me. I don;t even have to see them. just to know they are around–my soul rejoices..They are my SOUL sisters.

Step 5) Serenity-Peace. Serenity. Peace. Serenity. No one and nothing bothering me. Time to call my own. In fact, no worries about time. Not watching the clock. Not putting on alarm. Just sitting. Staring.  Day dreaming. Night dreaming. Giving myself permission to do nothing, say nothing. Serenity.  In the penal system they speak of solitary confinement, where one is placed in a dark hole. Well, serenity is solitary Divine-ment, where you seek as much LIGHT as possible, to take one from your dark places. Bishop TD Jakes says we’re not in the Valleys, we’re “In between mountains’  And that’s where I find myself, after a US Ambassadorship, with President Obama and Secretary Clinton; after running for the most sought after seat in Congress, and after raising two wonderful sons, who are now on their own paths,  and after having been in public service for 30 years, I’m ” in between mountains”, confident that I have more to do. but for right now, I have to do “ME”. Ir’s alright NOT to have a Plan B. Just BE.

Step 6)Silence-Another psalm says ” Be still and know that I am God..” and in the stillness, the silence, God comforts and the sacred speaks. It’s alright to say nothing. Coming from a frenetic, furious city like New York, we often  are uncomfortable with silence. But it is in the silence, that the soul speaks. Listen. This is where true life balance comes from

Step 7) Soul Food- From an historically African American tradition, and living in an historically African American community within Sag Harbor, we often eat the comfort foods of our culture. I’ve had folks over for collard greens and home baked desserts and other cultural delicacies. But SOUL FOOD is not only what we eat. It is what we feed our soul . Great reading. Great music. Loving relationships. Safe places. Sacred spaces, family, friends–all are SOUL FOOD

Sag Harbor. How grateful I am to be able to have this SECOND home, which became my SACRED place, for my solace and for my Soul to be restored.And I might add that while I’m here this week, there’s another “S”: the two Simones. The Olympics are on and last night both Simon Biles and Simon Harley won their gold medals: the world’s best all around gymnast, and the first African American to win a gold in swimming-. Congrats to them. This is a moment so many of us have been waiting for.

– I’m revived, refreshed and renewed. And oh, what a joy it is!