Originally posted on 7-12-11.
I searched the desert sands
just to later realize that I was in the
and the pool of water that I sought so
desperately was just within reach,
only I was too parched to
and by that point, too weak to
I lay there on my back,
atop a mossy patch of green, tangled
insects trekked over me as if I were
an abandoned log-
they went about their way,
in search of their own sparkling oases.
The leaves around me rustled with
and the brush was alive with movement.
I lay motionless, staring at the soaring
deep and blue and rich
with a tint of yellow orange sun,
absorbing the sounds of my temporary
I heard feet brush past me-
I’d closed my eyes to rest, you see, and
I followed the hurried sound with my ears
and opened them slowly to see myself
walking toward the pool,
which was only a few paces away,
right in front of me…
the entire time.
I wearily watched this version
stride to the pool and take a drink;
how effortless it truly was, and
then I questioned how difficult I’d made it
out to be, sipping from that pool.
I turned back to the sky
and cursed this alternate me,
enraged at the thought of what could
but I was only cursing myself…
I realized then that I wandered the desert
because I never thought that I was
worthy of a drink*
Originally posted on 10-8-12, this poem is a little reminder that there is hope at the end of every dark tunnel, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The key is to keep moving forward; pushing, clawing, grinding…whatever it takes, until your eyes can see clearly once more. Always reach out to those going through troubles; lend a helping hand, and make a point to uplift rather than put down. Make an effort to find your peace…and help others discover theirs. And remember to never fear the journey.
Twenty years imbalanced.
Twenty years spent roaming the stillness and
bedding down in a locked room.
Twenty years imbalanced-
a steaming brew boiled within those walls,
bubbling over and staining the pot with its
Bubbles rose to the surface and exploded
spirits rose and fell like ocean tides,
and emotions rode those waves like daring
surfers in search of that unattainable thrill.
Thoughts and hopes and dreams appeared and
dissipated like gobs of rain under a hot sun-
twenty years imbalanced-
parched and afloat, drifting along choppy seas,
surrounded by irony, and unable to take a sip-
the know how just wasn’t yet there,
so he treated himself like a book,
and became an encyclopedia-
and yet dusty and unread,
his pages stained with longing and mystery.
He learned to read himself, word for word,
until a detailed silhouette materialized.
A volume was left open on a table one
close to an open window-
a ripe plum purple morning, threaded
with the orange mists of dawn, and streaked
with whispering winds-
winds that meandered through the window and stirred
the sediments of dust and waste…
an eager gust crept along the table and
managed to turn a page…
Twenty years imbalanced.
Twenty years unsteady, unguided, unheard-
twenty years locked behind silent, mirrored walls,
examining and learning the words of himself-
the opening of that window flipped a page,
just a random page,
with a new one resting calmly beside it-
a new chapter-
waiting eagerly under
the brilliance of the rising sun*
Have you ever seen a movie six thousand times, but only gotten half a whiff of the real depth of that movie after the most recent viewing? Case in point; I’ve seen Joe Versus the Volcano at least 30 times since 1990, but only recently came to understand the immense truths contained within it. The film was always on in the background, and I’d often half ass watched it without really seeing it for what it was. The realization and understanding came slowly; a little bit here, a little bit there, until one day I said “fuck it” and sat down and really watched the film again for the first time. I took it all in with a renewed sense of awareness, and a considerably open mind. I dissected it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoyed the movie time and again previously, but I’d only just seen the surface of it. And in truth, I was sincerely blown away. For all of its cheese, the movie was an acutely effective, multi-layered glimpse into a man’s thirst for knowledge, meaning, purpose, and self discovery. Looking beyond some of the dated, clunky 90’s camp, it’s quite a deeply rendered portrait of the journey that we all endure in order to accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish with our lives. It is a great little tale about overcoming obstacles, standing up for your beliefs, and never giving up. Who can’t relate to that, right? And if you’ve ever hated your job, the “I quit” scene below is a revelation.
Enslaved African who, through courageous effort, became the first captain under service to the United States, distinguished politician, and entrepreneur.
In 1862, he was serving as ship’s pilot on the Confederate military transport vessel CSS Planter, when the ship’s captain and officers disembarked to spend the evening ashore. Smalls donned the captain’s uniform and a hat resembling the one that the captain wore, and with the help of various crew, managed to slip the vessel through Confederate lines and to the Union blockade. As a result, he was hailed a hero in the North, and was awarded $1500 as his share of the ship’s prize.
While serving in the US Army in 1863, the Planter came under fire in a skirmish; Captain Nickerson, in command of the vessel, was inclined to surrender the ship to the enemy. Wary of the potentially dangerous terms of surrender, Smalls instead assumed command of the ship and sailed the vessel out of harm’s way. For his action under fire, he was elevated to captain in place of Nickerson, becoming the first captain under service to the United States.
After the war, he continued to serve his country, having been elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, the South Carolina Senate, the South Carolina Militia (earning the rank of major general), and the US House of Representatives, serving multiple terms. He was also an entrepreneur of note, acquiring considerable holdings.
Look him up!
In general, we all want the same things in life. One of my favorite poems, a short piece by English poet Henry Howard entitled ‘The Things That Cause a Quiet Life’, is a prime example of the simplistic human desires that we all seek out in order to provide personal fulfillment. Henry Howard penned his poem over 450 years ago, but the themes of the piece; happiness, peace, friendship, and good health, resonate into the current years. I say this to highlight the fact that we all want happiness. We all seek wisdom, and we all seek the same knowledge and understanding that will bring those elements into our lives. We all seek the same thing, yet we generally look for it in different places…but as long as we’re hunting for that wisdom, we’re on the right path. My mother, Jumoke, is a proponent of Universal wisdom; a seeker of the answers that the Universe provides. Growing up, I’d call her the Gypsy, in reference to her free spiritedness, intellectual vigor, hunger for knowledge, and willingness to provide and educate us all on what she’d learned. Her teachings have helped lay the brick that paves my own path, and I’m happy to welcome her as a regular contributor to this blog. Please read below, and enjoy.*
About nine months ago, I began to experience some health challenges – pain, inflammation and stiffness had begun to take up residence in my body. I was taken aback to say the least. I usually don’t even get headaches, but on the rare occasion that I do, before I reach for an aspirin, I’ll ask myself, “What painful or stressful thoughts are you having today?” And I always know the answer! I’ve learned how to be brutally honest with myself.
So needless to say, when my hands began to gradually become stiff, swollen and painful, I was horrified! Horrified!!! I had to ask myself what in the world was going on? And, of course, I knew. After 10 years of coasting, I had recently gone through a plethora of drastic change in my job environment. The situation had been simmering and roller-coastering for about two years until the final blow, and it all fell apart in mid-2015. I, equally, had been seething in the midst of it all for those two years, feeling at times uncertainty, confusion, frustration, annoyance, and at other times, so angry!…which is an emotion I don’t usually entertain, knowing how counterproductive it is….but I forgot. Being in the midst of turmoil can make one get all caught up in it, and I did. I forgot my tools. And by the end of 2015 I was hit with a thud when my body began to change, leaving me stiff (anger, resentment, rigidity, not flowing with the changes in life), swollen (filled with irritation, frustration, confusion, and inflamed thoughts about a situation) and in pain (all those silent, negative, painful emotions with nowhere else to go, settling in the joints of my fingers and hands).
You see, I know that the mind, the body and the spirit are not separate entities; they are ONE, and that what begins in the mind and breaks your spirit, affects the body as well. But in the midst of the anguish, I had forgotten, and I remembered too late that what you plant is what you harvest, and in my case, toxic thoughts produced a toxic body. I got my wake up call when it became difficult to use my hands, a major part of what I did on the job. I was forced to admit to myself that the instability I was experiencing, losing my source of income, the changes my life, had affected my wellbeing and now I was no longer being well. I had to confess that this illness hadn’t just “taken up residence in my body” out of the blue – I had unconsciously invited it in, lock, stock, and barrel, and now I needed it gone! I was ready to evict it! And I needed a restraining order keep it at bay! But first I had to re-mind myself of and re-connect with the Spirit within, which has the power to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, all the qualities I needed to counteract the dark cloud I had carried above me. I wanted the sun to shine again! And I had to revise and re-create kinder, gentler and more loving thoughts about the state of my life so that my toxic, wounded self could heal.
So after months of anger, fear, pity parties, frustration and confusion, now towards my uncooperative body (over the months the swelling, stiffness and pain moved intermittently from my hands to my shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and feet), doctor visits (rheumatoid specialist said I didn’t have rheumatoid arthritis) acupuncture, anti-inflammatory herbs, more frustration, conceding and taking aspirin for relief, then ultimately to acceptance, modifying my diet, reading Iyanla Vanzant-esque materials again, realizing my body was trying to communicate something to me, listening, acknowledging my emotions, having compassion and understanding for myself and for others in pain, more listening and more compassion, I am finally remembering what I’ve always believed – that there are no coincidences, and everything is in Divine Order and on purpose.
My pain was purposeful. It reminded me that going to extreme places of negativity is destructive and unhealthy. That there is a solution to everything if you trust that your life is already designed, and that there is an unwavering Energy within you that supports you when you rely on IT. I had so much blind resistance during those months, and was all up in the struggle and stayed too long. I could have accepted and assimilated the changes in my life sooner (change is inevitable), made some adjustments, trusted the process and gone with the flow (or gotten a new job, dammit!).
I also am remembering that love heals all wounds. I was not feeling much love then, so my immune system, likewise, was not feeling very loving and proceeded to withdraw its protection and subsequently fought against me (auto-immune disease) and allowed all that negativity to flourish! That’s what the Universe does (our bodies are a complete universe within itself), it magnifies beautifully in our lives what’s being expressed in our thoughts. And I was paralyzed during that time with hopelessness.
I have begun to relax and feel some relief now. I am back to my old habits of meditation, and visualizing myself as I truly am – a complexity of magnificence – cells, molecules, chromosomes, oxygen, and 7 octillions (can you imagine?) of atoms and many other precisely behaving quantum particles dancing and flowing in Techni-colorful unison! I’m back to my deep breathing habits, inhaling slowly into my lower abdomen (second or Sacral chakra, which is represented by shades of orange) and exhaling even more purposefully, visualizing toxins being released. That relaxes my muscles and brings a sense of peace to my mind and body. The pain and swelling is dissipating.
Looking back nine months ago, I was a wreck. Today I’m moving back in to a good space, mentally; and I’m now dwelling in a house of more contentment, looking forward to giving birth to a new and improved me!!!