Monthly Archives: November 2014

To boldly go where you never have before – 4 steps to achieving your dreams

It’s Morning! Mornings are exciting each morning brings a new day and a new day is exciting. To me a new day is like a the opening monologue of Star Trek.

Today a new frontier. These are the voyages of me. My 24 hour mission: to venture out and explore, to experience new and exciting things, to reach for my dreams, to boldly go where I never have before.

OK maybe that’s a little over the top but I think you get how exciting a new day to me.

I’m aware that not everyone shares my enthusiasm. That for some mornings brings no joy, no laughter, and no happiness. To some mornings are just the start of the insufferable march to the next day, existing today just to exist tomorrow.

But it wasn’t always like that; think back to childhood when we all had dreams, big dreams. Dreams that were once roadmaps to a bright and shiny future before we grew up and let reality, or at least what society told us was reality, get in the way. Reaching for the stars was child play they said. If you always have your head in the clouds dreaming you’ll never accomplish anything. Be practical, let go of those silly childhood dreams. That what we were told and most of believed it. But not all of us some of us asked a basic question. Is maintaining a joyless adult existence worth letting go of our childhood dreams? Let that question sink in for a moment, go ahead think about it, I’ll wait…

Ok if you said yes it’s worth letting go of my childhood dreams, you can stop reading I’ve got nothing for you. But if you said no, if you said life is too short to simply exist. I want to achieve my dreams, laugh, love and be as happy as I can possibly be along the way, well you should keep on reading.

The way I see it there are four simple steps you have to take in order to free yourself from the grey mundane world you currently reside in so that you can step into a world full of vibrant colors. You know the world I’m talking about, the one with the array of colors you used to draw as a child. The world you have always belonged in.

First and without question the most important step is belief. You have to believe in your dreams, you have to believe they can be accomplished but most of all you have to believe in you. Walk over to the nearest mirror and look at the person staring back at you. Do you believe that person has the power to change things in your life? To live out your dreams? To make your world a better place? If you can believe that you’ll be amazed at where you can go from there.

Step two is to make a plan. It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan it just has to be a plan. A plan to accomplish something you’ve wanted to accomplish for a while but you didn’t think was possible. You don’t have to get all the way there in one day; you just have to believe you will eventually get there. Don’t impose any limits on yourself. Your mind is the window through which you see the world and if you can see it happening it can!

Third remove all the negativity from around you. Evaluate those around you and determine who is emitting positive energy in your world. That positive energy can be in their guidance, friendship or love. Embrace them and move forward with them. The ones emitting negative energy? Discard them and move on. Understand that everyone cannot walk the path with you. Reaching for the stars is hard enough and there is no reason to be weighed down by those that bring only negativity to the table.

Finally, do not fear failure. Failure is only permanent to those who believe their potential has limits. You may fail in your initial attempts to unleash the potential trapped within you but if you do not fear that temporary stumble on your journey to greatness you will get there.

So there you have it four simple steps. Are you ready to embrace your dreams? Yes. Well then go venture out and explore, experience new and exciting things, reach for your dreams and boldly go where you have never been before. I’ll think you’ll like it when you get there.

 

An Interview with God

I have a friend who I occasionally get into some heated debates with about God, religion and faith.  During one of these debates he asked if God exist why is he so secretive.  Why doesn’t he just let us all know he exists so that the fighting and killing that takes place in his name would cease.  I told him it is because God’s existence is not for us to have tangible evidence of, though when you look around tangible evidence is everywhere, God’s existence to you is based on faith. His question however did make me wonder what if God did talk to us all directly today; What would we ask him? What would he reply? I thought about it some more and below is what I think an interview in today’s world with God might sound like.

Host:  Good Afternoon everyone thanks for tuning in to a very special broadcast our special guest today is none other than the creator himself – God. Welcome to the show.

God: Hello everyone.  Thanks for taking time out to listen in today, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve directly communicated with you but I felt that with the way things have been going lately on Earth now’s as good as time as ever to have a talk with you.

Host: Well we are very excited to have you here.  So let’s jump right in with the question everyone wants to know the answer to. The proverbial elephant in the room so to speak; Who got it right? Which religion is the correct one?

God: Jumped right in you did.  I am well aware that you’ve all been trying to find the answer to that question since well, almost the beginning of your time. Which religion is the right one? Whose god am I?  Whom do I favor? Very deep questions all and the answer you seek is actually a very simple one. May I have a drum roll please. The answer is, all and everyone.

Host: All and everyone? I think I speak for our listeners out there when I say I’m not really sure what you mean by that.

God:  I mean I did not create religion, I created you and in creating you I gave you the wonderful gifts of intellect and imagination. It is with those gifts that you created religion. I never cared how you chose to imagine me or what doctrines you chose to build your faith around.  No all I asked is that you treat each other with love, compassion and respect.  Sadly since the very beginning many of you have chosen not to that and even sadder you have chosen to use me as the reason for your destructive and violent actions.  For that I have been greatly saddened.

Host: But if that’s true why would you let us continue to travel down that path of destruction.

God: That was not my choice to make. Lest you forget I also blessed you with free will, the ability to live your lives as you saw fit.  Yes by allowing you to exist with free will there have been innocent souls who have perished and those they left behind have had to grieve.  However would you have found your existence to be more enjoyable if your life on Earth was scripted by me from the moment you were conceived to the moment you died? That nothing you did, no choice you made mattered? That you were simply actors in a play for my amusement?

Host: Well when you put it that way I guess not.

God: I didn’t think so.

Host: Let’s go back to something you said earlier that you were sadden by the acts of violence committed in your name.

God: Yes that is true.

Host: So over time has that sadness ever turned to hate? Have you ever regretted creating us?

God: You know how it is said I created you in my image.  Well that means a lot of things and to be honest we don’t have the time today to delve into what that fully means.  But with respect to your question let me give you an analogy.  A child is born to a mother and a father. They raise that child and instill in them what they believe to be guiding principles of right and wrong. The child grows and begins to develop their own identity and make decisions for themselves.  Decisions which are morally wrong, decisions which bring great harm to others.  The parents while horrified and saddened by the child’s actions at their core still love the child.  Their love for their child is unconditional. It is that unconditional love of their child that is but one of the many ways you are an image of me.  While I may be saddened by some of your decisions at my core I can never stop loving you, for you are all my children.

Host: What about those that question your very existence? That has to anger you a bit.

God: Well that very question presumes that I am vain and let me assure you I am not. If I was I would not having given you free will to decide for yourself if I do or do not exist.  If I was I would strike down with vengeance all who do not believe in me. Yet there are millions who walk among you today who do not believe. No, as I said earlier my only desire is that you love and treat each other with compassion.  If you need to believe in me to do so that is fine. If you do not believe in me but do so that is fine as well. But rest assured I take no satisfaction in the knowledge that you fully believe in me but show no love or compassion for your fellow human.

Host: What can we do to be better? How do we stop the hate?

God: Again that is not for me to say. Your destiny is yours and yours alone.  I have provided you, above all my other creations, intelligence and the ability to reason.  The power to communicate with each other and to create wondrous things. I have instilled with-in each of you the ability to be compassionate and the extremely powerful emotion of love.  Each of you are born with the guiding principles on what is right and wrong.  But it all comes back to free will, as humans you must want to walk in the light.  You must want to sacrifice some of your own personal wealth and happiness so that as a people you benefit as a whole.

Host: That won’t be easy.  We have never shown in our entire existence that we are capable of doing that.

God: It is because you have rejected the most basic concept.

Host: That is?

God: I created you as a people, one people.  Yes you may look different but that is but on the surface. You are all my children you are all the same.  When you are able to truly grasp that only then will you be able to love one another in the way that I truly had imagined you would.

Host: Maybe one day we will but we’ve come so far down the road I am afraid we never will be able to achieve that level of understanding and that must really sadden you.

God: It does but I have a great belief in you.  After all you are my children.  You may not be there today but you have so much potential that I know one day you will get there.  After all you have only been here but the blink of an eye. There is still much growing you have to do.

Host: Well it is comforting to know that you believe we have a chance.  I know you are busy and so we’ll end it there. Thank you for making this rare in person appearance we’ll try as a people to do better.

God: I know you will.

The Ferguson decision disappointing but predictable

I’m mad this morning.

Mad because yet again our justice system has turned a blind eye and refused to afford the African-American community even the opportunity to see justice served. Remember this was not a trial. This was not a case where guilt needed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This was a Grand Jury proceeding and to bring an indictment in a Grand Jury proceeding one does not have to find guilt, only the probability that a crime was committed, that the accused person did it and that he/she should be tried in a court of law. Yet despite what appears clear to most – that there was the probability that a young unarmed man was gunned down without cause – this Grand Jury found otherwise. I have said it before and I’ll say it again I have the utmost respect for the men and women who each and every day protect and serve us as member of police departments around the country. But when an individual who is trusted with the power and authority of a police officer commits a crime there can be no debate, it is our moral and legal responsibility to hold that officer to the same standards of accountability, if not higher, as the standards we hold any ordinary citizen too for their actions.

Mad because once again the narrative this morning as FOX NEWS displayed across their screen is ANARCHY IN AMERICA – CHAOS IN FERGUSON. Make no mistake about it FOX there is anger and sadness but it is not only in Ferguson it is nation wide and yet we did not wake this morning to America in flames. Rather we wake as a country this morning mostly to the resigned acceptance that this decision while disappointing was predictable. Let’s be clear here the reaction in Ferguson was unfortunate and uncalled for, it will not bring back Michael Brown, it will not bring justice to his family nor will it be a catalyst for much-needed changes in the inherently flawed American justice system. But it is simple physics you can only keep a lid on a boiling pot for so long before it finally blows. You can not continue to tell a people over and over again for hundreds of years that your life and the lives of your loved ones are not as valuable as that of the next person simply because of the color of your skin.

Mad because while I have seen countless videos on YouTube of young white men interacting with police, refusing to show identification or state their name because they have constitutional rights. Young black men across America everyday live with the reality that a simple choice could cost them their lives,  a choice that wouldn’t have such an outcome had they been born a different color. An illegal turn, the wrong choice of clothes, walking in the wrong neighborhood, being seen with too many friends of color in one place.

Mad because this country still has to deal with the ignorance of racism and if you think it doesn’t, if you think Ferguson isn’t about race, go read an article on any website today about Ferguson then skim through the comments section at the bottom. After that read come back and let me know if you think racism is dead.

One of the main reasons America is great is its diversity and how that diversity has come together in one place to achieve great things. One of the main reasons America is flawed is the basic ignorance of those who refuse to acknowledge that fact

I’m mad this morning and in reality it’s because I’m sad.

When A Storm Talks

Quietly I sat watching as the rain fell outside my window; the random beauty of a rainstorm is something I have always appreciated. The way the drops glisten when they hit the concrete, the intricate movements of umbrellas as they dance among each other through the streets. The bolts of lightning and the booms of thunder. Each storm seemingly so random each one a true thing of beauty. Yet what really makes a storm special is its uniqueness and that uniqueness is in its voice. Close your eyes, clear your mind, listen closely and you’ll hear it and the story it tells. One such story was a love story, actually my love story and to be truthful and not the least bit boastful this particular love story is one that no one could ever forget.

The storm swirled all around us its voice booming, its raindrops dancing merrily on the car’s roof, its lighting joyfully streaking across the night sky. Each bolt lighting up the sky and heralding the pending arrival of thunder’s booming voice. A voice that on this particular night, in this particular storm, would proclaim for all to hear that a truly epic love story was about to begin.

It’s in your eyes, what can I say. They turn me on. – Prince

Her eyes, it was always her eyes, truly mesmerizing they were. All it took was just one look to tell me what I needed to know and just like that her eyes pulled me in. Happily I knew right at that moment there would be no escaping, no turning back. Kiss me she said and even though I knew it was wrong I could not resist. And with that very first kiss my heart was all in.

She was not like all the others she was special or so I thought and before long I had given her sole possession of my heart. She told me that I would always be her hero and I told her she would always be my queen. I promised her I’d never leave her side and that I’d love her to my dying day. Looking back now my mistake was crystal clear and a rather simple one at that. You see I simply never asked her to promise me the same thing in return.

The years passed by and we wrote several new chapters to our story. Some were great, some were good, some were bad and some were a little bit of each. What had begun as a brilliant love story now was slowly beginning to fade and soon it rather clear, our story would soon come to an end.

It was late one night and we sat quietly as the storm swirled all around us not unlike that first night. This storm however was different from our first. The rain drops did not dance merrily, the lightning did not joyfully light up the sky and the thunder could only muster a whisper. I looked into her eyes, it was always her eyes truly mesmerizing they were and all it took was just one look to tell me what I needed to know and just like that her eyes let me go. Sadly Right  at that moment I knew there would be no turning back. It was over she said and while I knew she was right I wanted to believe she was wrong. And with those very last words my heart broke. There was one last lightning bolt that would streak across the sky and then the thunder came and whispered for all to hear that on this particular night, in this particular storm, a truly epic love story had finally come to an end.

The Uptown Number 2 Train

The computerized voice boomed crystal clear over the speakers, this is the uptown Number 2 train 42nd street, next stop 72nd street. Stand clear of the closing doors. Its clarity fracturing another legend of old New York City the indecipherable voice of the NYC subway conductor.

On most nights my commute is like one of those beats headphone commercials, the ones where the athlete put on the headphones and is able to shut out everything in the world around them. I just want to close my eyes, turn up the music and pretend I am anywhere but where I am at that moment. But this Friday evening as I stood in my favorite spot, front of the car back against the forward facing door, I decided to pass my time by observing the commuters on tonight’s uptown number 2 train. One of the great things about my favorite spot is that it affords me a vantage point to take in the entire car and all of its occupants. Tonight’s crowd included the usual suspects. There were the business men in their expensive suits boasting to each other about the big deal they just closed or bitching about the big deal that got away. Never their fault but the fault of some co-worker’s incompetence, or at least that how they were telling it. There was the blue-collar crowd fresh off another exhausting 12 hour shift. Happy to be going home yet too tired to show it. And of course there were the millennials. Happily texting on their smart phones, joking and laughing and talking about what they got into last night and what they planned to get into tonight. Seemingly they had not a care in the world, but probably they were in need of more therapy than anyone else on the train, and in New York everyone needs some therapy. All in all I thought to myself just your usual Friday night crowd on the uptown number 2 train. But then I spied the couple sitting in the middle of the car. She had long hair straight hair with several colors to it and was dressed in an ankle length tie dye skirt and a tan tee-shirt with sunflowers on it. Her wrist was adorned with several bracelets that seemed to go halfway up her arm. She appeared to be in her mid-40s and upon closer inspection it was evident to who ever bothered to look she was quite striking. He was sporting a scruffy looking beard and wearing glasses, blue jeans and a long sleeve pull over shirt. His attire was not nearly as eccentric a look as hers except for his straight out of the 80s canvas Pro Keds, high tops and bright red. Despite what her hippy look and his red high top Keds might have inferred about them they were engrossed not in some counter-culture discussion but the New York Times crossword puzzle. They sat as close as you could get to each other, her leg was draped over his. They argued, they laughed and they got excited when they figured out a particular hard clue. They constantly looked directly into each other eyes and smiled. The look in their eyes gave away what should have been painfully obvious to me by that point, they were very much in love and likely had been so for a very long time. I thought to myself this couple was making their very own beats commercial. Nothing around them mattered, the only sound they heard were each other’s voices Their world consisted of each other and nothing else and it was clear that was alright with them. When their stop came he folded up the paper and said to her, this is us. They gave each other a quick kiss and instinctively grabbed for each other hand as they ambled off the train. Their interaction with each other brought a smile to my face. One that was much-needed after a long week at work and the desire to reaffirm my fragile belief these days in the concept of love.

The computerized voice boomed crystal clear over the speakers, this is the uptown number 2 train 72nd street, next stop 96th street. Stand clear of the closing doors.

Are you going to vote today? That’s a trick question right?

Someone asked me was I going to vote today?
Was I going to vote?
Is that a trick question?
Hell yes I’m going to vote!!

Because despite holding self evident the truth that all men are created equal the right to vote wasn’t something that was always made available to my people.

When it was made available It wasn’t something that was accepted by all people.

When steps were taken to ensure that we would be allowed to vote, the blood of many who came before me was shed at the hands of those who would oppose all, one of the most basic tenets on which this country was founded.

And even today there are those who would stand in my path to the election booth if they could

So am I going to vote today?

Hell yes I’m going to vote!!! And so should you.

Quick and I mean a quick history below.

1789 The United States of America holds its first presidential election.

1870 The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude”.

1896 Louisiana passes “grandfather clauses” to keep former slaves and their descendants from voting. As a result, registered black voters drops from 44.8% in 1896 to 4.0% four years later. Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and Virginia follow Louisiana’s lead by enacting their own grandfather clauses.

In 1965 more than 500 non-violent civil rights marchers are attacked by law enforcement officers while attempting to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to demand the need for African American voting rights.

1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law, permanently barring barriers to political participation by racial and ethnic minorities, prohibiting any election practice that denies the right to vote on account of race, and requiring jurisdictions with a history of discrimination in voting to get federal approval for changes in their election laws before they can take effect.