"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)



“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”


Sunday, July 26, 2009

This Week In Racism


In addition to what makes the national racist news every six months or so, there are daily racist incidents. These just happened.

My son and I were riding our bikes in the direction of two boys over forty-ish. Before we got there one of them spat on the sidewalk. As we passed, the other one, in typical hee-haw fashion, said to me, “now don't run over him” as though I was his child who needed guidance from a collective history of superior childrearing. It's not so easy avoiding these folks all the time.

My son and I were at an arcade in Crestwood. At midnight, closing time, they turned off the electricity in the midst of everyone's game without even a two minute warning. When I inquired they said they made three announcements. No one on the second level seemed to have heard. For the record, we were playing an extremely quiet game of pool at the time. None of the employees on the second level said a thing either. There were no attempts at courtesy to their customers. Do you think this would happen where 98% of the clientèle were of another color. Hell no. No need to get too upset though. It's easy enough not to give them anymore of my resources.

Perhaps these are just examples of stupidity and idiocrity. Even so, I teach my son what these incidents teach us. He may not fully understand, but I prepare him for the not always avoidable and continuing inevitables. He then related a story of an incident his mother experienced recently while spending her resources at a place designed to provide less than what you pay.

My sister told me about mess going on at her job. All of us should be able to relate to this. If not, you're a big ashy fool hoping your ashenness is helpful. It's a little harder dealing with folks at your job but it's possible to overcome if you put the right things into your mind and spirit while not at the job.

Systemic and systematic racism along with racist behavior are storms. I am no longer concerned about the effects of these storms on my person, mind or spirit. I am concerned for the children. We can all try to get along, but I will continue to teach my son to try only with those who try with him. He reads words well, now he must learn to read racism even better. It's already in his public and private education, in textbook fashion. Ain't nothing new or old this week in racism.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Zambezi Spirituality: Emerging After Storms


8:21 p.m.

On this day, the sun has nearly ducked out of sight continuing its perpetual game of “now you see me...” A powerful storm has lost its stamina. The sky is reminiscent of Fanta on another carefree journey, this time mixing her watercolors in the Zambezi's Smoke That Thunders.

On this day, it is still storming softly. Despite the recent deluge, brightness immediately reasserts itself through the same window darkened seconds ago. I am drawn outside.

A soft pollen, blue and gray sky awaits along with a sunbow tied in new gold at both ends. What should be unachievable, sandwiched between a heavy storm and impending nightly darkness, is left for me to receive. It is dreamlike and sweet. The satisfied earth easily carries the gentle rumble of exhausted thunder gods. Grace abounds in sparrow talk, the wave of trees and large drops of water cupped in leaves of young cabbages.

It is impossible to live and avoid storms. Perceive them differently and majesty, even alluring mystery, awaits. Where there is the tumultuous descent of river waters, receive waterfalls instead. Instead of stormy upheavals, turmoil, confusion, stress and dissatisfaction, experience sweet dreamlike unachievable living. Step outside. Emerge.

Emerge from the constant downpour of social insecurity, terrorism, taxing authorities, anthrax, salmonella, identity theft, gas prices, retirement, annual budget deficits, H1N1 and the economy maelstrom, etcetera, etcetera. These don't have the power to drown dreams or even dampen living unless you look to the storms instead of the spirit that creates wonders from falling waters. Most storms are man-made. Fortunately I am not. This means, I was made to live: despite, outside of and in the midst of these storms. There's no good reason to even wait until after these storms.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Personal Growth: Enjoy Monstrous Screams


A child screamed. Both parents rushed into the bedroom and asked the obligatory, “What's wrong?”

The frightened child stated he saw a monster. One parent quickly dismissed it and said, “It was in your dreams.”

Now annoyed, the child said, “my eyes were open.”

Although this is a movie snippet the opposite is true in real life. Monsters really are in dreams. They are blocking the doorway and saying, “Don't even try it.” Some monsters are inside your dreamspace, the “What if” monsters.

Then there are the real monsters – self-doubt and people who will cosign your fears and donate some of theirs if you don't have enough.

These are the practical people who save up fears for their friends just in case they lose touch with reality and start to slip into the dangerous world of dreaming. They will gladly help you brainstorm all the scary and monstrous reasons why not. Their philosophy: “There are monsters everywhere but if we stay together, the monsters will get the few who venture out.”

There are many approaches to dealing with self-doubt and other people. Simply put, distractions from dreams in, distractions from dreams out. Spend more time with yourself, letting go of bad things and taking in good things, avoiding some things and people and then seeking out some things and types of people.

Most importantly, know there is fun to be had while dealing with the monsters. I enjoy having my own little make-believe massacre with each one. It begins with believing these monsters dream too. Their greatest fear - what if no one dreamt them up? It ends with the sound of their screaming as it trails off behind me.

P.S.
I also enjoy annoying/torturing monsters by responding to all the scary thoughts they try to get me to accept.
Monster (using self-doubt): What if you don't sell any books?
Me: It's better to have a garage full of books than a mind full.
Me again: It's better to have a record of attempts than a history of regrets.
Monster #2: (using others) “But what will people think...?”
Me (cutting them off, annoyed and focusing on what I choose): If there is any uncertainty associated with dreams, there is definitely a lot of certainty without them. These are life's terms and I won't allow you fake as# monsters to confuse me with what's really at stake.
Monster (super desperate, sulking away, still cocky): The American dream is all about the mo'ne', not living. Don't be stupid! I'll be back when you're starving.
Me (with lots of responses but keeping silent because I know the monstrosity will be back with reinforcements, hanging around on the corner)


Recognize the pattern? Without self-doubt or other people, monsters got nothing. Without self-strengthening thoughts, you got nothing. The better your thoughts, the better your actions. It all starts with what you tell yourself. I am more than capable. Somebody screammm!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What Does It Take To Live?

In the face of the unexpected,
you never know what's gonna happen tomorrow,
but I wanna live, I wanna live, I wanna live.*

What does it take to live? What do you really need? There's a cost of living and there's a cost to not living. Not living your way.

What it takes to live is individual, yet some things are the same.
If you can live with your decisions and the results, you can live.
If you can live despite derision from others, you can live.
If you can live despite circumstance or economy, you can live.

Most basically and importantly: All organisms need energy to live. If you're not getting an equal or greater energy from the things that take up most of your energy, life is being sucked out of you. Are you working to make a living or making living work for you? Are you living for weekends and holidays or every day? Do you wanna live? You never know what's gonna happen tomorrow...

*Interlude: Living, Testimony, Vol 1, Life & Relationship, India Arie, Copyright 2006, Universal Republic.