Convergent Circularity

infinity

“I wish I was who I was when I wished I was who I am”

40 years ago a friend had this phrase posted on the inside of her front door. I have remembered her and it ever since even though I have no idea where she is today nor spoken to her in decades.

This morning I awoke with the Jimi Hendrix version of All Along the Watchtower running through my mind. It, like my friend’s door quote, induced reflection. Remembering the past is pleasant for me but I cherish today and don’t long for its predecessors. I remind myself to appreciate who I AM right now and that I AM a compilation of past experiences, present endeavors, and current aspirations. I recognize that it all may change by tomorrow. So what do I do?

I maintain my fighting posture… It allows me to embrace what I am presented with that appeals to me and repel what approaches me that is distasteful. It allows me to move through LIFE!

fighting stance

Do not think that this posture presents a “joy ride”. It is solitary which can become lonely. It is solemn which can become sad. It is deliberate which can become burdensome. But it is LIBERATING because it is my Divinely Inspired Journey on The Path. I recognize that I AM the star of my show and I acknowledge that I do not write the script. Throughout this journey I AM sustained by MOMENTS of BLISS and OUNCES of FAITH!

A blog post such as this emerges with they coincide. I continue the sojourn and I AM THANKFUL!

Be Here …Be Happy

africa-child-waving

Just want to say “Hi”.

We are approaching the threshold of another year. Let’s take a moment to GIVE THANKS & BE HAPPY! Sure, we’ve faced adversities but we have also been showered in blessings. We are older today than we have ever been while at the same time we are younger than we will ever be. This LIFE IS NOW! We must remind ourselves to ENJOY IT. Yesterday was… Tomorrow may be … TODAY IS!

The Best Way to Prepare for Tomorrow is to

LIVE & LOVE TODAY!

Anticipate a GLORIOUS New Year!

touba-dialaw-top

Just saying “Hi”.

For a New Tomorrow…

touba-dialaw-top

Greetings,

It has been a while since I posted but I have not been asleep
or on vacation. I've been busy. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to
make ends meet in the Developing World but we are managing!

I want to update you. Our U.S. based not-for-profit organization,
The Council of the Obsidian, Inc. launched Building a New 
Tomorrow in Senegal. It was an Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign to allow us 
to complete The Tabax Sube Homecoming and Re-Creation Center in Senegal.

We did not reach the campaign's financial goal but our aspirations have not
been diminished. We intend to continue to work on this project. Eventually, 
it will be finished.

The Council of the Obsidian is not a large organization but it 
has made a difference over the years. It will be 25 years old in 
the spring of 2014. Visit www.obsidiancouncil.org for an overview of its
activities.

For The Collective Good,

Tabax Sube

…losing virginity after age 60

I lived in America for decades and I have been away from there for many years. During that time I have missed people but I have not missed the place. I now live on the Atlantic coast in Senegal, West Africa. The environment is pleasant, the pace is humane, and I have access to technology. Today these factors combined to bring me to a completely new experience – MY FIRST “MISSING AMERICA” MOMENT. I LOST MY “Missing” VIRGINITY! This is big enough deal for me that I decided to write a few words about it.

For many of the last 20 years that I lived in America I traveled from Washington, DC to Newport, RI for a weekend each summer to enjoy The Newport Jazz Festival.

The Newport Jazz Festival, was founded by jazz pianist George Wein in 1954 as the first outdoor music festival of its kind devoted entirely to jazz, and is now universally acknowledged as the grandfather of all jazz festivals. For information on attending this Festival, visit their official website.

Newport Jazz Festival

So obviously I could not go to Newport for the Jazz Festival this year. Dakar to Newport is just too much of a commute for me. In fact, I haven’t been able to attend in a decade or so. My good friend and alter-ego, “the other side of the same coin”, that the title of this blog references, was going to be there though. I went on-line and “Googled” Newport Jazz Festival. I found a link that led me to a National Public Radio (NPR) webcast of the event. I started listening to the broadcast yesterday and I continued today. It was in the process of listening today that I Lost My “Missing” Virginity and experienced my first “Missing America” phenomenon. It was exhilarating!

This makes me wonder if there are others things that I can experience missing in America.

The list is long of things that I will certainly not miss.  I do not need to write it out. All of those micro and macro level “isms” and the societal responses to them… Regardless of one’s political outlook or persuasion the media continually outlines them for you.

I think my first “Missing America” experience may be like my first love – unforgettable and irreproducible.  I’ll be ready if another one comes along though.

Until then…

Newport crowd shot

I’ll always have memories (and hopefully NPR)!

…and He Stood His Ground

granddad-and-grandson

When I was a young boy I used to go on vacations at the home of my maternal grandparents. My paternal grandparents died decades before. My father was an orphan by age ten.

I used to watch my grandfather. He was my good friend. He would wake up in the morning and sit on the side of the bed for what I thought was a long time. Eventually I would have what I considered the honor of helping him oil his feet. They were always very dry and I got to apply an oil that he liked.  We were buddies. I think the oil felt good to him and I remember that being able to apply it made me feel good.

I was only about 7 or 8 years old and this was long before the advent of video games. We had a small black & white television but it was only viewed at night when something special was on. My grandmother liked to listen to baseball games (a Yankee fan) but that didn’t interest me. Gramps and I entertained each other.  We sang and whistled. We laughed. We were friends!

Gramps had an accident before I was born. As a result one leg was shorter that the other. Gramps wore an elevated shoe on the foot of the shorter leg. He walked with a cane. None of that stopped him from escorting me all over town. We went to the hosiery mill that he used to work in. He took me to the neighborhood barber shop and the local mom & pop stores. We even went to the movies where we sat in the upstairs section reserved for people who looked like us. Everyone was always glad to see me and Gramps. They often gave me gifts like penny candy or little spinning tops. Life with Gramps was grand. I thought that was why he was called my grandfather!

One day I knew that Gramps was sick. He came to the city where I lived.  After what seemed to be a long time of being in the hospital Gramps died. I was 12 years old. I missed Gramps. Everyone did. My grandmother would never be the same again.

Decades have gone by but this morning I thought about Gramps. I still miss him and he is still my friend. I notice that each morning when I awaken I sit on the side of the bed for more than a few minutes. I am thinking of what I need to do for the day …making my plan. Maybe that’s what Gramps used to do. I don’t discuss what I’m thinking about with anyone. Eventually I put the day in motion. I keep a container of shea butter near the bed. Most days I apply some to my feet. It always makes my feet feel and look better.

It makes smile, and tear a little, to recognize these similarities between me and Gramps.

I’ll tell you another thing about Gramps. After sitting on the edge of the bed in silence and having his feet oiled he’d put on his socks. He’d pick up his cane, which rested on the headboard, and get fully dressed. Then he would take a few steps in the center of the room. I would be right beside him. He would then go out the front door into the yard (small by today’s standard). There, before doing anything else, He Stood His Ground.

You really don’t need a weapon to Stand Your Ground.

oldman  ibou in high point circa 1953

Gramps taught me that. I’m glad I learned that from him.

a way to a good start

man looking in mirror

When I awaken and come before a mirror I exhale upon it. When I see vapor I smile and say “alhamdililahi!”. I AM here! I recognize that some that were here yesterday are not here today. I have a responsibility to make the most of the day.

My life is fairly good but I still have to remind myself how fortunate I AM to be here sometimes. You know the saying “…life has its adversities.” As we travel the course of life those adversities can sometimes get bring us down. Maybe you are fortunate and it doesn’t happen to you. I’m not so lucky. It happens to me every so often.

My environment is pleasant. My dwelling place is simple. Stress is minimal. I have people close by that usually bring me joy. So when I am visited by this melancholia I can usually be touched by an interaction or a memory that encourages it to dissolve. I then begin to take on a task that I can “throw myself into”.  If I need to rest before I start, I DO.

Now the best thing about this is that it allows me to manage. This approach can not be called problem-solving because I really don’t change the presenting conditions. Its probably more appropriately referred to as ” refocusing attention”.  Rarely do I actually change the particulars of the predicament. I just alter how I perceive and react to them. I AM then able to continue and prepare myself for the next step. I AM able to attain small successes that develop into significant achievements. I won’t win a Nobel Prize and you won’t see me on the evening news. Come around though and you’ll probably find me at peace. This is the key to my day-to-day approach to life.

It’s working! I have been around for a while now and I’ve experience many more “ups” than “downs”. I’m glad to be able to say so. It’s good to remind myself of it.

Cat-Looking-in-Mirror

When I look in that mirror do I see myself as I AM or is it as I WILL BE? No simple answer but seeing the reflection means I’m a winner!

from a simple seed…

insiderap:

And I know this tree!

Originally posted on 2 Sides of the Same Coin:

Long ago a simple seed was spawned.  Gentle winds carried it not far from the tree that created it.  Before the heavy rains came, it settled in a patch of earth and began to take root. Soon it sprouted, breaking ground and being drawn upward by the rays of the sun.  This is how it began.

Its development suggested promise.  Changing seasons became years and the sapling continued to grow. It was nurtured. Growth spurts were substantial and required that the young tree be moved.  The powers that control such things transplanted it a few times.  The tree’s root system remained intact and so it managed to flourish in each new place.  Adversity came in the form of droughts and floods.  Lightening occasionally altered the angle of its branches.  Periodically it was pruned. Nature took its course.

The maturing tree served many purposes.  On sunny days it provided shade.  During…

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