Amidst Chaos

Many places around the world are experiencing this Season of Political Upheaval. Whether by election, insurrection, repression, or coup d’état (or some combination thereof) politicians are willing and ready provide The Answer.  Well-packaged and promoted with proficiency it may not be well-defined but it always promises to be just what is needed. Methods of delivery run the gamut from brutally crude through sublimely sophisticated.  Referred to as participatory democracy, elitist authoritarianism, militaristic diplomacy, or populist anarchy…  it’s essentially a question of style because in most cases the base assumption is that “the people” don’t really know what they need and if they don’t go along with the program as presented their behavior can be modified.  Manipulation of the masses is the norm. Thucydidies’ Melian Dialoque described it centuries ago, “The strong do what they can while the weak suffer what they must.” It’s still applicable!

Care is taken to provide as little clarity as possible about The Question.  Oppositional posturing is all too common.  There is much talk about “us” and “them” but very little discussion that defines either. Sufficed to say “if it’s us it’s good and if it’s them it’s bad.”  We’ve all heard special catch phrases used to label segments of the population but don’t expect definitions of those descriptors much beyond “for us” or “against us”.   This sort of reductionist reasoning worked on the neighborhood playground when I was 10 years old.  Who would have thought that alleged World Leaders would be applying it globally decades later?

…and it’s dangerous.  Operations, covert and overt, are wreaking havoc. Check any news source on any day.  People are killing each other on every continent (maybe not Antarctica) “to defend against…  …in the name of…”  What exactly?  There are as many different answers as they are partisans.   I listen to the great “unbiased  prognosticators” but I can’t keep their stories straight. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised since “unbiased prognosticator” in itself is an oxymoron. The politicos are not any better.  Their pronouncements are often quite heated while providing little light.

This all sounds pretty negative so far. You think the old cynic in me is re-emerging? Rest assured, he isn’t.  This is only intellectual cogitation.  It helps keep me real.

I have a way to manage it.  I mitigate my fears, frustrations, and disappointments with subtle activity.  I cast my vote (today is an Election Day in Senegal) when I have the opportunity (every day is a selection day on some level).  I post blogs that allow me to vent and accept that I am not the great Social Change Agent that I once aspired to be.

I remember that the first place I must look for peace is within.  I acknowledge that my world is characterized by simplicity and sustainability.  It is multidimensional and by definition will not have problems like those mentioned above (I’m preparing for others as they emerge).

I embrace my family before retiring at night and express gratitude when I arise in the morning.

I MAINTAIN THE DIVINE CONNECTION!

I pray! I proceed!

I invite You to Join me in Your Way!

There is more than one way to travel on The Path.

A Few of the Many

Life is plagued with adversity yet I continue to voice optimism.  This underscores an amazing step in my evolution.  I was once a singed idealist turned cynic.  I’ve changed now.  I just AM.  It just IS.  I like myself and my world better this way.  I AM a simple man – living, learning, and loving.

Has this come with maturity? Maybe. It’s true I’m getting older but I am not near ready to be a “wise old sage”.  People frequently come by to visit but they don’t even think about “sitting at my feet” to collect “pearls of wisdom.”  Many times they find me sitting on the ground with children on my lap and sand on my feet.  Friends know that I don’t have anything to sell and there’s no sales pitch to fend off.  They’ve already got all that I have (if they really want it). It’s here, there, and can be everywhere. They, like you, have a Spiritual Claim Check. It need only be identified and redeemed. The Redemption Center is within.

…truth be told, I am optimistic but I’m not naive. I’ve been around the block more than a few times.   I’ve had my share of  great days, glorious nights, and  times I’d rather forget.  I’ve paid my tuition and gained some knowledge in return. My teachers have not always been kind but they have been thorough. Through it all I’ve learned a lot. I continue to do.

Here’s a Few of the Lessons Learned:

  • It doesn’t pay to worry.  Worry doesn’t affect the situation.  It only burdens the worrier.  Try not to subject yourself to it.
  • Think about what you will do in advance and don’t allow yourself to dwell on the results later.  Think about the next step.
  • If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.  This is not a smart way to travel.
  • Build in time for rest and rejuvenation.  Tasks don’t get tired but people do.  Refresh yourself routinely.
  • You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true  …you will have to work for it though.
  • Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.  Few of us can afford that kind of tenant.
  • Don’t live to make others happy.  If you live to promote your happiness those who share your world will be happy.
  • Fill your cup with love and it will have no room for hate.
  • Material poverty can be rectified by providing some thing but a greedy person can never have enough.  Avoid greed.
  • Do what you should do when you should do it.  Refuse to do what you should not do. When it is not clear wait until your are sure.
  • Just as the sight of someone eating will not appease your hunger, the spiritual experiences of others can not satisfy your yearning.
  • Asking good questions is half of learning.
  • There are as many ways to God as there are created souls.
  • When you feel like…

The Weight of the World is on Your Shoulders…

remember

HE has the Your World in His Hands. You only need to do your part.

  • Ask, Believe, & Receive!

Expect a Miracle

I am thankful each morning that I awaken poised to accept another Glorious Day.  Despite my readiness the glimpse of glory sometimes eludes me. I am an ordinary mortal. Life presents adversity.  When it catches up with me it can be distracting.  This happened one day to underscore an important lesson.

It occurred in Senegal. Ramadan was in full swing.  I had been getting accustomed to fasting.  The lack of food and water was not too difficult.  The hard part was keeping my mind clean and clear.  As the day started thoughts about difficulties began to creep into my head.  They continued to visit throughout the morning…  Then I was drawn to a Brenda Russell song to remind me that potential difficulties do not have to materialize when I “Expect a Miracle”.  So simple yet so true!  Granted it’s a head game of sorts – but we have a choice.  Why not choose to expect miracles rather than difficulties?  Expecting miracles felt better to me. It still does!

Practical application…

Decades ago I was in a situation in America that my best case scenario was to just endure (I’ll spare you the details – not a pretty picture).  I had chosen to survive life rather than embrace and enhance it.  Fortunately, I started to wake up.  I began refocusing myself and streamlining my lifestyle.  I now recognize that I was planning my return to Africa although I didn’t announce it.  The move eventually happened but I needed more than a change of venue.  Some internal work was necessary.  Parts of me had atrophied.  They had to be invigorated!

Major action was required.  I accepted this fact and pursued it.  In retrospect, it was long shot …a bold move.  Following through on it was not easy.  It was painful and expensive but I expected that it would accomplish what was needed.  I wanted to feel whole again – renewed.  Never once did I consider the odds against success.  I expected the outcomes would be miraculous and THEY HAVE BEEN!   I started life anew – A Renaissance Man!  While my peers were planning for retirement and hoping for the 21st century version of the “good life”, I was initiating a new game plan.

Years have now passed and I am in Senegal on a full-time basis.  I am still expecting miracles.  I expect that I will have the resources to support my family and lifestyle.  I expect that I will always be in touch with people who know how to love me and receive the love I extend to them.  I expect that when I am faced with adversity there will be a way to handle it.  I am confident in my expectations.  When I put my Faith in Action I can count on Divine Assistance.   It’s a safe bet to expect a miracle and it feels better than anticipating the alternative.

So, why did I write this note?  I just needed to articulate the affirmation for someone who would understand and appreciate it – ME.  I still have those mornings when I can benefit from the reminder. This morning was one of them.

Do you ever you have those mornings?  Expect A Miracle!

Dreaming Reality

Acquaintances from the U.S. frequently remark, “You are Living The Dream!” Sometimes the comment is framed idyllically.  There is a bit of projected pride in the speaker’s tone because I am seen as doing something that he or she may want to do, but isn’t.  Other times the comment is an accusation. In those instances, the speaker’s tone, facial expression, and sometimes even body language, suggest that my motives are selfish, if not harmful, to others.  I have concluded that it does not matter which view is correct.  The salient point involves the notion of the dream and recognizing that they too are living one.  Let me explain.

Each of us lives our dream.  We choose it.  We change it.  We keep it.  We abandon it.   It is ours to do with as we please.  Some of us let someone else give us a dream.  Claim it and it’s ours.  We alone are responsible for what we do with our dream.  Our dream can be very simple.  It can be very complicated. We make it the way it is.

The dream of the crack addict might be to get the next hit. The dream of the U.S. senator might be to be the next President (or vice versa).  Clearly, these are extreme examples but they really are the same in essence.  Both have subtext that the dreamers will have to contend with.  Nothing is guaranteed except that their decisions and actions will affect the outcome. The crack addict and the Senator can decide to keep the dream, abandon it, or change it.  No one other than the Senator and the crack addict knows the “whys” and “wherefores” that operate inside their individual dreams.  Only they know the inside story.

Ask either of them to explain their dream and you’re sure to get a superficial answer.  Dream description is like that.  My dream is not very complicated. It’s about creating a safe haven for those I love. Although I thoroughly understand my dream it is difficult to explain it to others in detail. I can only live it and hope that others, if they are interested, understand what they see.  I think that is all that anyone can do.

Let me be clear!  I am not saying that we live alone in our separate worlds and that our actions do not affect others.  I recognize that what others do affects us.   Have you ever noticed how an important event is handled differently by individuals in a group?  The event is the constant but the reactions are functions of the individual dreamer’s dream.  Given this context, we have more control over life situations than we may think.

How about you? Are you the actor in your dream or the one being acted upon? Do you go left or right at the fork in your road? Do you choose to do neither?  Do you rely on the advice of others or follow your instincts?  Maybe you have a mixed approach.  It’s your choice.  You have the power to decide.  It’s your dream.

All this said, I’ve learned that it is critical to define your dream and live it with intentionality.  We are the stars of our show though we did not write the script.

Each of us has a unique dream.  Our reality can only be perceived from that perspective.  …and we only perceive what we can conceive.

Toward Side Two

This photo is not my portrait but it illustrates my point. Look at it closely.  Is he facing left or looking straight ahead?  Can he be facing in both directions?  I can’t answer for you.  You know what you perceive and YOU ARE RIGHT!  Its a question of perspective!

I’m at a computer in Senegal creating a moment that I am simultaneously sharing with my best friend (who is in America).  Am I sitting in in Africa or standing in North America? Can I be doing both?  I say I AM!

Ask people who love me in America and they will tell you I am there with them.  Loved ones in Senegal will confirm that I live there with them and do not venture afar.  I am not a time traveler nor do I access a parallel universe.  I AM here and now!

I  reside in Senegal while alive in America every day.   My sons and daughters are bi-continental and multidimensional. They live on several planes and are always with me. I am always with them.  My relationships are self-defined.  My love is ever flowing.  My energy is renewable.  I am very fortunate.  I AM truly blessed!

You might be thinking, “What is he talking about? Why?”  The answer is simple.  I am happy to have the capacity to touch and be touched by people and situations through Simultaneous Connectivity.  Just so you know,  I am not on psychotropic drugs nor do I need to be. I opened myself to living my life and the results have been phenomenal.  I do not do this alone.  It is about sharing my world with those I am close to. …ordinary people divinely inspired.  I want you to know about it.  It is happening all the time to some.  Maybe it is happening to you. Let’s plan to discuss it later – in detail.

As an adult, I did not like residing in America although I did it for decades.  It made me grouchy – too many things and too little joy.  Nonetheless, I derived a degree of success there.  I was supported by a few good people and a series community relations – culturally based, holistically oriented, and spiritually directed. Life in Senegal sustained me so I could endure life in America which enabled me to flourish in Senegal.  Circularity advanced me. I’ve learned that a straight line does not always present the most direct route.

Today I am both anchored and free.  My African connections are firmly rooted.  I am there almost all of the year.  My engagements in North America are well established.  I function there almost everyday.  Authentic familial ties are maintained on both continents.  I am spiritually fluid and around when needed or desired – wherever.  It is clear.  I AM! WE CAN BE!

Grounded in Senegalese simplicity and charged by American complexity I maintain balance.  I am never more than a thought away.  I simultaneously face life on both sides of the Atlantic .  I am perpetually protected.  I don’t get too tired.  The sun has my back.  …and you know, the sun is always shining somewhere.

~Simultaneous Connectivity~

 Where We Need to Be

With Whom We Need to Be

When We Need to Be