Monday, December 20, 2010

The Most Wonderful TIME OF THE YEAR

I am not anti-Christmas. I am not anti-Jesus. Actually, Jesus (whether a real person or fictional character) was a great teacher and I find value in the stories about his work. I would also like to note that I enjoy celebrations and birthday parties. Since I have no problem with Jesus, and I like a good party, I have no problem with Christmas. I mean, why not? Granted, the story of Christmas, at best, is a colorful piece of mythical literature, but that does not interfere with the essence of Christmas for me. Also, I think we all know that Jesus was not likely to have been born in December, but that is just a mere technicality, right? Let’s kick it anyway, but let’s address a few things first.

Apparently Christians have an issue with Atheists and other non-believers questioning the season. The “freedoms” that we have extend to all (U.S. citizens that are not imprisoned), right? I think the arrogance of Christianity drives many of us “indifferent” people away. Christians, you do NOT own December. How is it that you assume that all are comfortable with the widespread celebration of Christmas? Allow people to respectfully disagree with you. In addition to those who oppose Christmas, there are other celebrations and belief systems that are much older and many times more active during the ENTIRE year than this Christian holiday. This brings me to another observation.

Other factors that push the indifferent away are the obvious and sometimes overwhelming changes in human behavior for the weeks surrounding Christmas. All of a sudden, some people are nicer and more cheerful than usual and offering help and dropping gold coins in buckets. I get it; this time of the year brings out the best in people. The gestures are appreciated. Know this: People are hungry year-round. Children need clothes year-round. Humans desire to be loved year-round. It seems that many good deeds are packed into the month of December and as soon as the clock on your iPod strikes midnight on January 1st, it is back to business as usual. Again these are just MY observations. If this ain’t you, it ain’t you. Carry on. Be Authentic. (I had to slip this in somewhere.)

Concrete Jungle
I feel obligated to share with you how “business as usual” looks. Some charities are so overwhelmed with volunteers during Christmas that they have to turn some away, yet they struggle in the summer. Some charities raise more than half of their income during Christmas but are unable to break even in the summer. You know when poor children suffer the most? Yep, you guessed it, in the summer. Poor children rely on meals during the school year. When school ends, the consistent meals end. Many organizations that offer pantry and meal programs need donations and volunteers during THE SUMMER. Many poor children don’t have access to summer educational programs. It sure would be nice if volunteers would mentor during this time. Please consider celebrating the essence of Christmas year-round.

I think most feel that Christmas “should” be a time of sharing and spreading joy, but in reality some people mostly suffer from stress and overextension. Some create an ideal then struggle to duplicate. Many are not experiencing joy; they are merely trying to manufacture it. I don’t know many people who actually live in the essence of the season. Those few, who do live in the essence of the season, don’t differentiate this time of the year with any other. To them, any given day is a day to share, to enjoy, to care for our Earth, to be kind, and to be love.

We have allowed marketing executives to define Christmas. They have set the bar. They have determined the value. When people can’t meet those expectations, they can become anxious and unbalanced. Some people become so depressed they feel as though they can no longet live; death is their solace. With so much emphasis on the ideal, people can’t cope. This is insanity. We can change. We can make this right.

I sometimes daydream about the mountains we could move and harmony we could manifest if we brought “Joy To The World” YEAR-ROUND. I sometimes wonder how organic and habitual giving could be if we did it all the time. Gifts would be shared just because. People would lend a helping hand just because. Soup kitchens would never worry about having enough people to serve during any part of the year. The shift of energy from a four-week period to an all day every day celebration of humankind would send good vibrations all over the universe. I’ll even allow Christians to name this year-round love fest Christmas if it would get most of them to act more “Christ-like”. I could not care less about the title as long as good works were being done. Join me for a Christmas party in August!

*These are my observations. They are only meant to bring awareness. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas. There are no shoulds or should nots, but know this: make sure that what you are trying to do, match your efforts. Sometimes when we have a goal, what we are doing essentially takes us away from a goal instead of moving us closer to it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

OH MY GOD, why is this happening to me?

“Fuck, I have the worst luck. I’m a good person. I can’t catch a break.” Does this sound like you? First of all, when you stop thinking that things happen TO you, your entire understanding of life will be turned upside down… for the best.

Let me begin with an observation during the weeks after being laid off. My former company offered consulting from an employment agency for those who were laid off. Before receiving services, one needed to attend an orientation. Orientation was filled with people from my former company as well as other companies. I don’t remember exactly what information the facilitator asked us to share with the class, but the next 30 minutes were revealing.

My pink toes! I <3 Espadrilles. 
What people were sharing were stories of loss and a feeling of shock. They were hurt and grieving. They just could not understand why this had happened TO them. While I understood their anguish, I was also overwhelmed with disappointment because they were unaware of their role in their separation from their companies. Many of them identified themselves AS their job and not just a part of their life; this caused more grief.

I know what you’re asking; if someone is going above and beyond what is asked at their job, how was it her fault they were let go? She didn’t ask to be laid off. Also, it’s normal to feel sad after suffering a loss. Great points!

First and foremost, there isn’t anything that is happening TO you. All that you are experiencing is BECAUSE of you. Your experiences are all manifested using your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and choices (conscious and unconscious); ALL your experiences, the “good” and “bad”. You can’t take credit for all your “hard” work and “prayer” for the “good” things that happen in your life, but all of a sudden, the “bad” has nothing to do with you.

I don’t know what you’ve been thinking or choosing, but losing your job is either something you manifested or a part of the process to get to your desire. You may have desired to spend more time with your kids; you may have hated the commute; you may have wanted to go back to school, but would NEVER think of letting your job go. You may have desired a wife, and leaving this job and being hired at another leads you to her. Losing your job may have put things in motion. I don’t know how, and chances are you don’t know either because you don’t monitor your thoughts, feelings and choices.

Here’s a bonus question: “Wait, are you saying I manifested my mother’s death? I didn’t ask for my mother to die.” Again, your mother’s death didn’t happen TO YOU. I’m pretty sure it "happened" TO HER. What IS HAPPENING, is that you are experiencing feelings about your mother’s death. “Well surely, she didn’t manifest her own death.” Whew! This is a delicate subject (but not difficult) for those who live on the surface. I can’t address that now, but I will at some point. It will take an entire shift in how you view life for anything I say about “death” to make sense. I’ll get to that in a much later post.

Back to manifestation - If you make a small effort, you can pinpoint how you manifested anything in your life. Sometimes it takes asking some hard questions that result in painful answers. To find the road map to how something became reality in your life, one must be authentic. (There’s that damn word again.) If you aren’t honest about how you really feel, you won’t be able to do it. If you are stuck on how you SHOULD have felt about something or what you SHOULD have thought about something, you won’t be able to do it. Look back on some of the choices you’ve made. They brought you to this very moment right here. You and only you have control of your life. There is nothing outside of you that controls you. You are a co-creator of your life. There is nothing that seeks to control you, but there is the energy of all that THERE IS that assists you in your pursuits. This “thing” does not discriminate. It does not place a value of “good” and “bad”. If you want drama in your life, it will assist you in attracting drama.

I’m limited in how I can explain manifestation because many people will find it difficult to grasp the simplicity and complete cataclysm of their current frame of mind. For instance, I use co-creator. I use this because most people have been trained to separate everything. They even look to the sky to talk to *“God” as though it is separate from you. Your co-creator is all that is, which means your co-creator is you. We are one. Religions make tons of money promoting separateness and teaching that there is something outside yourself that blesses you with good fortune or punishes you with misery.

The next time you feel like you are having “bad luck”, take a moment to see how you played a part in this experience and/or go with the flow and allow the process to play out. You can change your entire disposition with a shift in perception. Remember this: Nothing happens TO you. You have been trained to think that you have no control. You have been trained that something outside yourself orders your life. When you learn how to manage this great power that we ALL have, bliss Happens, balance Happens, peace Happens. IT Happens.

*When I use the term GOD, I am not referring to some man in the sky living among the clouds. It is not angry, vengeful. It does not test or tempt. It does not play games with a so-called “devil”. It is not a separate entity from me. I am it, and it is me. I don’t serve it or pray to it. It is nothing to “believe in”. I don’t have “faith” in it. It just is. Vibration and energy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Am Not A Nice Person :-(

I am not a nice person. I do not think you will find anyone who describes me as a nice person. Being nice is not a goal of mine. I also don’t make an effort to NOT be nice. I DO make an effort to be thoughtful and grateful and friendly and discerning. Nice, is one of those generic all encompassing terms that people seem to use when other words are too defining to place on someone they barely know. I also find the word to be confining and reeking of faux behavior. Rarely will you find a nice person and an authentic person occupying the same body.

Nice people or those “being nice” seem to desire to please even at the risk of being disingenuous. I find it more comfortable being truthful and honest. People who are “brutally” honest may use this philosophy to project their own fears. Anytime you intend to be brutal says more about you than the information you are trying to convey. Learn to communicate with compassion without deception.

Atlanta Zoo 2010
I am generalizing of course, but Humans seem to fear truth. Humans have been trained to fear receiving the truth and fear giving the truth. There is a special effort made to cover-up the most basic truths. My love is too serious to intentionally lie to you. I care about your long-term well being. I want to help you move toward your greatest self. I am not interested in momentary comfort of your ego or mine.

Some people hang on to untruths because they are more contented to live in the known than venture out into the unknown. There is no way you can become your greatest self without questioning information that no longer serves you. In other words, if it doesn’t make sense to you, QUESTION it. Faith is an illusion that confines you to ignorance.

There are evidence supported truths and there is a version of my truth that is called my opinion. I use them both to help people become more authentic. Why would the truth or my opinion “hurt” your feelings? No one has that type of power over you. If your feelings were hurt, you chose that feeling. It is hard to accept that concept because it appears your feelings arise organically within you. Your life experiences create your perception and the way you perceive the truth dictate how you feel.

You can experiment with the truth. Tell five people the truth. You will get five different reactions. If you had control of people's feelings, why wouldn’t you create in each of those five persons the same feeling that elicit the same reaction? A few of these people may even deem you nice, the others not so nice. Go figure.

Aware people do not expect me to be “nice”; they expect me to be authentic. Of course I know my characterization of nice is not global. I accept and recognize that my truth is created by my experiences. I make an effort to be aware of that at all times. Because of this awareness, the truth and YOUR truth do not offend me. I may ask you to elaborate, but I am going to choose my feelings carefully.

Have a nice day ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

You Know That Ain’t Yo Real Daddy

Secrets camouflaged as an attempt to protect children continue to plague the black community. It was common for a pregnant teenager to be sent to the South to have their babies. If that wasn’t weird enough sometimes an aunt or even the grandmother would take on the role of the new baby’s mother. Sometimes these babies grow up believing that their birth mother is their cousin or even their sister. I never understood this plan. I have concluded that the adults convinced themselves that they were protecting the children involved but in actuality they were only protecting themselves. They only cared about what others would have thought. This fear based, ego driven thought process is just one of the types of secrets kept in the black family. I’m sure these lies (because that’s what they are) are rampant in other cultures, but I can only speak of what I have seen and experienced.

I have to admit the Bishop Eddie Long scandal has sparked and awakened some deep-seeded opinions in the matter of black family secrets. This man allegedly coerced you parishioners in performing sex acts with/on him.  His church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has over 25,000 members. I think I have read comments from each of his 25,000 supporters. They begin like this: “Let’s be slow to judge” or my personal favorite, “No weapon formed against me shall…” Some of these people are probably quick to give their opinion about the Real House Wives of ______, though. I’m sure they have an opinion about Kim Kardashian's love life and I’m sure that they just can’t understand why Sister Jackson left Brother Jackson, because he is a good man.
My sliding patio door, 2008

Those matters are none of our business. The care and protection of children IS our business, but some reserve comment because they have to protect their pastor. If indeed he is guilty, he is not alone. There are several other people, including his wife and the plaintiffs’ mother’s, who probably should be held accountable. I’m sure there are church staff members who provided a protective fence around “Bisshup” that allowed him to prey on these children.

I find it very disgusting the care taken to protect adults at such a very high cost. How many molesting uncles and mama boyfriends are we going to protect? How many more mothers are going to turn their heads as their husbands touch their children? We have generations of children who were never able to trust the persons who should have an innate urge to protect them, their parents.

How many times must a child find out that his real daddy is “Uncle” Joe from next door at a very inopportune time from a very inappropriate person? Who wants to hear “That’s not your real daddy” from the neighborhood kids at the local playground?

You can help break this stronghold of surreptitious behavior in the black community. Start in your own family. Refuse to keep any damaging secrets especially the ones that harm children. I’m not asking you to blurt out all you know but encourage discussion and openness in your family. Respect children’s right to know and strive to protect them from physical, emotional, spiritual and mental harm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Boys

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 2010
Our angry, emotionally void boys, sigh - How did they get this way? Let’s peek in at the Johnson’s front yard on the corner of Main and Elmwood streets.  Seven-year-old Johnny falls out of a tree. His mom and dad run to his assistance.  Little Johnny is in pain and as a result he cries, because this is how humans are designed, right?  His mom tries to soothe him and comfort him. His dad tells mom to stop treating him like a baby and suggests that Johnny should “man-up”.

We’ve got to stop passing these so called manhood guidelines down from generation to generation. We’ve got to allow our boys to act natural - to remain creative, to remain intuitive, and to remain expressive.  We’ve got to stop labeling such behaviors as “gay” and anyway if your child IS gay, what’s the big deal? We’ve got to say no to society’s standards in order to protect our boys. This allows our boys to grow up to be their own individual version of a man.

Of course, personalities are more complex than this little blog can address, but I believe we must take a moment to recognize that sometimes our boys’ greatest challenge is overcoming adult’s fears. Our boys are growing up angry, emotionally unavailable, unable to empathize and unable to communicate their feelings. Take the pledge today to abandon those irrational and unhealthy rules on what constitutes a man. Let’s hear it for Our Boys!