How old were you when you understood the traditional idea of “power’’? What was your first encounter with power?

Growing up, I watched my older brother work the door at the club, ride his purple Harley-Davidson, and walk us backstage at concert halls. He took the time to get to know folks and showed me the value of investing in a peer network.

What parts of your childhood informed your perspective?

Not nearly as cool or extroverted as my brother, I’d often find myself making things. This desire to make or self-select into the art, music, and interactions that I wanted to experience helped shape my path and general approach to life.

As someone who would rather spend time in the darkroom rather than in the cafeteria, I learned who my people were and what I was interested in pretty quickly. It’s this early understanding that’s kept me focused on who and what I love.

What’s your relationship to power now? How has it changed over the years? Did you have to unlearn anything you were taught?

I’ve had to unlearn SO many things — way too many things to list! One of the most important, and still a work-in-progress, is unlearning my relationship to productivity.

To make time, to be financially independent, and to be in a space of emotional, mental and spiritual liberation is the kind of power that I’m interested in practicing.

How do you cultivate and express power in your life? How does that translate externally?

I try to condition my mind to transcend feelings of fear, insecurity, and combativeness so that I can be imaginative and creative. When I’m successful — when I approach opportunities and challenges from a place of innovation and openness — the ripple effect on others is palpable. More importantly, I become transformed and access parts of myself that may have been closed off.  

Where are the unexpected places you’ve seen power manifest?

I’m completely mystified by the power of time. And always in awe of the power of quietude.

Where are the intersections of spirituality and power for you? What actions or practices have you incorporated in your life to cultivate personal power?

Imagination is a radical act of freedom. To stay in an imaginative space, I keep in touch with my friends and family; I appreciate the ocean, iguanas and tropical life around me; and I tend to my indoor garden — a ritual that’s both gratifying and unforgiving.

A Yardie question: What are you reading now?

 all about love by bell hooks, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker by Montreal-based author Dax Dasilva.

Dejha Carrington is an arts communicator. Her experience in communications, programming and public art builds awareness and support for artists, institutions, cities and global social responsibility initiatives. As Vice President of Communications at National YoungArts Foundation, she is a firm believer in supporting artists at pivotal stages in their careers. Dejha is also the co-founder Commissioner, an art membership program that provides members with original commissioned artwork, introductions to contemporary artists, and intimate exposure to unexpected spaces, collector homes and artist studios in their city. A recognized media source and speaker on arts, community and storytelling, Dejha was born and raised in Montreal and is currently based in Miami.