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!

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…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!

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.