Às̩e̩ is an Afrofuturistic, transformative self-care experience for young adults of the African diaspora - a population at disproportionately high risk of life dissatisfaction. The physical version of Às̩e̩ is a multi-sensory, in-person guided mental imagery experience. The remote version is a self-care routine for the home, accessible for free. Based on the "Circle of Excellence" exercise, it uses mental imagery to cultivate healing, well-being, and a pathway to a limitless life vision.
Young people of the African diaspora like myself are at an alarmingly high risk of life dissatisfaction. Our community's suicide rates from the age of 5 years old have been rampant for the past 20y. So, although I am not targeting suicidal ideation - this is a clear sign that we need to do better. Our proneness to being deeply unsatisfied with life it’s mostly due to persistent socio-environmental factors - such as access to economic resources or racial aggressions. Yet even with these predispositions, we are much less likely to than other demographics to access professional mental health help - for financial, economic but also cultural reasons. I set out to create my thesis project in response to that, and I created an Afrofuturistic transformational self-care experience. To not only heal and restore the young African diaspora in the
present, but also prompt us to crystallize fulfilling life goals and
trigger thought patterns that set us up to achieve them.
The physical version of Àse is a multi-sensory, in-person mental imagery (the use of all the senses to create or recreate an experience in the mind). It integrates sounds, scents, and visuals in a guided visualization ritual that connects you with your most powerful self, and creates thought patterns that align you with your life vision.
K. and T., who tested an initial version of it, shared:
“I'm tearing up because life has been all these obstacles. So to be in a spot where I'm satisfied and I can breathe is so nice, even if just for a moment. I for one have days where just need something to get through it. After therapy, I have a sense of relief and “everything is gonna be ok”. This felt similar.” - K. B.
“I went into my circle of excellence, and it felt exhilarating to be in that space and project that going forward.” [...] “It worked out great, thank you so much for sharing that with me [...] Keep on going because the effect for me today was so real.” - T. M.
With the pandemic, I had to pause the physical experience and focus on the remote version - a self-care routine for the home,
accessible for free. After an initial video call designed to customize the routine to the person and their current environment - they followed a daily audio and photo-based routine for five days. The routine prompted them to use their senses to project themselves into their life vision, and to record their state of mind before and after each session.
Participants described it as:
“A prayer to yourself.” - Y. F.
“Medicinal.” - R. W.
“Healing. Made me break through these limitations I had on what I can achieve.” - J. A.
Às̩e̩ puts in conversation the fields of neuroscience, behavioral psychology, and spirituality, and builds on research-supported techniques through an Afrofuturistic lens. This is a resistance piece through which we claim our futures by dreaming big and achieving big in a world counting on us being small. Through it, I propose a tool for self-creation, self-determination, and progress, to be used now and throughout our lives.