Create an Oríkì 👏🏻📝
Praise poetry for everyone
If you haven’t read Professional Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, I highly recommend it. I first heard the word Oríkì, and learned about it in her book. According to Wikipedia, Oríkì, or praise poetry, is a cultural phenomenon amongst Yoruba-speakers of West Africa. In Professional Troublemaker, Ms. Jones describes Oríkìs as “a Yoruba greeting that praises you through your kinship and speaks life to your destiny.” I love the idea of creating something that summarizes who you are (or who you hope to be), especially when it sounds so formal. Ms. Jones refers to how the popular series, Game of Thrones, and now How of Dragon, use Oríkìs.
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains
Adapting this to our everyday mortal lives and pretending Daenerys is a typical neighbor, could look something like:
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, President of PTA, Designer of Fabric, Protector of the Targaryen Residence, Mother of Sean and Rachael, Queen of the Kitchen, Sourdough Sorcerer, Player of Pickleball, Reader of All
So, in this made-up example, I made Daenerys into a mom (with two children named Sean and Rachael), who volunteers at her children’s school, is a great cook, is known for her sourdough bread, is a pickleball player, and avid reader. Imagine Daenerys the mom being introduced at a PTA Board meeting by her Oríkì.
In Professional Troublemaker, Ms. Jones offers an Oríkì challenge. Are you ready to try it? You can find the link to her Oríkì challenge here.
I took the challenge and created a draft. I tried to incorporate my professional and personal life. It is definitely a work in progress, but that’s okay. I love this activity because it does make you reflect on how you would want to be remembered, as well as pumps you up every time you read it. I think it’s easier to create one for someone else, so I am sharing one I created for my mom, who would never think to describe herself the way I have below.
Phyllis Emma of House Gable, the First of Her Name, Caregiver of Cats, Crafter of Cards, Mother of Daughters, Giver of Gifts, Reader of Fiction, Battler of Bullies, Friend to Many
What do you say? Give it a go! If you are comfortable sharing your Oríkì, I’d love to read it. (I created a blank form you can access here, or you can use Ms. Jones’ template at the link below.
Create your own Oríkì, or create one for someone you love! Luvvie Ajayi Jones provides a template on her website. You can find that here.
Professional Troublemaker on Amazon
Thanks for reading 50 Things! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.