“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?” – Rumi

Pain, can either be used to help you grow or hinder you. Choose wisely.

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Have a Safe Halloween

Today, marks the first day in my life, where I will actually be dressing up for Halloween. Growing up, it was forbidden in my household because we were devout Christians and this day wasn’t one that we really acknowledge.

Tonight, I’ll be dressing as one of my favorite legends, Rick James.  I’ve decided to don his attire as a symbol of recognition for his unwavering contributions to music, daring fashion style, and that fact that Rick James was unfuckwitable. He had a touch of confidence that would not relent, even under the scrupulous headlines and lack of true recognition that he deserved for his artistic contributions.

I’ve always gravitated toward the counter culturists, because deep down, I’m one. We don’t defy the standards set by society just for the sake of doing so, but from my perspective, we do it because we don’t feel liberated by following the crowd. The beat of our drum, just sounds too good to ignore.

Cheers to new memories, good friendships, and new experiences.

Be safe and enjoy your Halloween.

Enjoying the Now

Over the past year, I have learned to live in the now  through: reading, meditation, and studying.

I was a planner, and in some ways, still am. However, I am accepting that plans are not always finite and that there should be room for changes to occur, because the only thing for certain in life, is the uncertainty.

The unpredictability of life used to be a hard concept for me to embrace. Growing up, older people would always explain life to me in a logical manner. One plus one would always equal two. If you do A, then B, will happen. In some ways, they are right. But, not in totality. Sometimes, you do things in life, and the results that you are planning for, do not unfold how you expect. Depending on how you view this, that could be seen as positive or negative. But the actions do not always have logical results.

When I acquired this concept of being in control of certain things in my life, yet not in control over other things in my life, I ascertained a clearer state of mind.

For me, and this space that I’m in, life is now all about enjoying and savoring each moment. The breaths feel fuller. The time, more languid. The hugs, much warmer and tighter. Foods more flavorful. Thoughts much more pronounced and developed. Body relaxed and at ease.

Simply at peace.

Fluid. Purposeful. Unrestrained.

Those are the best words that I can think of how to describe how this feels for me.

I continue to strive toward tasks and milestones that I want for my life. But as I do this, I am thankful for where I am currently present. I maintain a gratitude jar, where I write down victories that I experience in a given day. Over time, doing this has really trained my mind to appreciate the positives no matter how big or small they are.

If you recycle an old beverage container, you can makeshift that into your own gratitude jar. Write down the things that you are thankful for and capture your sentiments on paper. Toss it into your jar, and at the moment you need it most, unscrew the cap, pull one out and read it. Doing so may not change the situation that you face, but it will remind you of the other things in your life that are positive.

Being thankful is more than a verb. It’s a lifestyle. It takes practice to curtail your mind and refocus your thoughts, but it’s possible. And, it’s worth it.

No Risk. No Reward.

No.

I will not be watching the NFL this football season.

Why?

Because, I don’t want to support a system that doesn’t not value, support, or uplift the ideals that I have. It’s simple. The NFL has donated one million dollars toward the Trump Administration this week. Even with the vile comments and the hate speech, there are institutions like this one, that will continue to propel ignorance.

I refuse to partake in supporting them through ticket purchases or advertising dollars. My TVs will not be broadcasting any of their games.

I am supported and reaffirmed in my beliefs, by this quote from the remarkable, Paul Robeson. A brilliant athlete and artist, who was unabashed about speaking against systematic white supremacy and the fight for freedom for blacks.

The civil rights movement was less than a century ago. Yet, the outspoken and ready for action men of those times, seem like giants against the jelly back replacements of today.

Without any collective change, we are all scattered ants, waiting to be crushed.

Paris

Paris is such a beautiful city. The food, the culture, the people; all of it is just amazing. Upon first arrival, I saw this city as a big Harlem. The cozy cafes and high traffic, were all reminiscent of Uptown. But a couple days after, I began to notice the real magic of Paris. The city just has a sophisticated flair that is so suave, that it’s almost too smooth for words.

I would write more but I’m really enjoying life and am super busy. Know that I am doing great things and loving the work I do.

Be great.