What is Required of You

At a time such as this many people search for relieve. A relieve from constant bad news, death, misery and the threats of things seen and unseen. There is no end to the quest for relieve. However, finding such relieve seems to be more impossible as each day goes by. No matter what you do or how good you think you are trouble finds you. Now, this trouble comes in many forms and you get overwhelmed and run scared.

In your flight maybe all reason escapes and you start making bad choices, you start doubting yourself, God and every single person you know.

And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

As you seek to outrun your thoughts, fears and bad choices you become lame and get slower and slower, until your feet give out and one day you and your burdens fall to the ground.

What to do then?

Stop running. Let us stop running. We can never out run the problems around us and the problems we have.

We need to stop and realize that everyone has problems, we all have burdens we carry, the only thing is that some may seem lighter than others. Is it possible to support each other, bear each other up? If there is a need we are more than capable of bearing each other up. If we can mange it, why have we abandoned the cause to simply be kind, spare a thought for someone else’s suffering and not just our own. Even if we get annoyed with others, we can’t take out our frustrations on them. We have to resist the urge to lash out, judge and condemn. We have to dig deep even while we carry our individual burdens to be fair to those around us.

Can it be done, knowing how we can be? It can be done, but it takes a constant struggle of doing what is required of us and not what we feel like doing just because.

Broken Chains

Broken Chains


Cracked 
Splintered
Scattered
Lost
chained...

On my knees
twisted by the weight 
of too much to carry far.
What must I do?
If I could stand 
I would be wider than the seas.
There would be 
limitless depths
to me.
But on the shallow tide I must cling.
I have no choice.
Held down by powers
greater than me
I weep...

Can they hear me?
If so why don't they come?
Why?

Slowly,
every so slightly,
I feel
a crack
against 
the puckered skin
left to fall off the bones.

But - 

A fire
burns
A fire rages on
A fire that destroys the fear
A fire that promises release
A fire that burns away the chains
A fire that ignites the pain
that will help me
be me again.

Silence is the True Killer

“If you’re silent about your pain, they will kill you and say that you enjoyed it.” – Zora Neale Hurston

I heard the quote above and it got me thinking. It got me thinking about how many of us have become conditioned to going along with things. It got me thinking about how obsessed we are with not rocking the boat and being compliant. I, like many others, was taught as a child that I had no voice, ” a child should be seen and not heard”. So I developed the dependency on everyone’s opinion but my own, I trusted the advise of others to the death of my own gut feelings.

When you are silent you compromise.

Maybe if we didn’t always take it like a champ, we would not have so much unresolved issues. Speaking up does impact your mental health. I know there have been times when I have been consumed by anger and blinded by a sense of injustice caused by the inability to really say what is on my mind.

Silence that kills I have come to find can be overshadowed by the noise we make.

How many times have you found yourself saying everything right, everything you are expected to say but still feeling as if you left having said nothing that was necessary to say? Or, said so much except the things that really matter? For me there have been too many moments like that and those moments can stay with you, and haunt you for the rest of your life. Silence has its role but silence is not always the best way out:

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Also, sometimes by remaining silent we sometimes end up on the wrong side of history and what is right:

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” – Albert Einstein

Hitting Rock Bottom

So you put it all on the line and you failed? Now you want to give in and accept defeat. Don’t be sad, don’t be sorry, be glad you did not win when you did.

I think I can confidently say that for many people, being at the bottom sucks. It sucks so bad that most people would rather not be in contention for anything, miss out on great opportunities rather than there being a possibility for them being at the bottom. It just seems like no one likes a loser, so no one wants to be one.

But I think losing is a good thing.

If you have come to realise this, great, but I have learned this lesson well and I am so happy that I solved that piece of the puzzle and never want to forget it.

Losing should not break your will to strive for more, to go after your dreams, to even have dreams. No, losing should be the catalyst you need to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and get to where you need to be. This does not mean necessarily in the number one spot, but your comfort zone. The zone where you can comfortably stay, grow and thrive!

Losing helps you to stay humble and be that much more grateful when you do win. To remember that not everyone can or will win and to respect the unique qualities of those you competed against. To value each person’s contribution to the competition and your development. To know that at the end of the day winning does not guarantee happiness or contentment. To know that when the applause ends and the adoring fans leave you will still know the value of your worth. There is also the joy of knowing that you have seen yourself at your worst and lived to tell the tale, to know the bitter taste of defeat and still overcame the potential poisonous effects. Winning doesn’t make you better, losing does. Because if you plan to get up when knocked off your feet you have to give a little more, do something different and tap into a reserve of power you didn’t know you had. When you lose is when you know how strong you are, because you faced those demons that told you to stop trying and defeated them.

So let us be more willing to embrace losing, so we can test our strength, resilience and heart. Let us not just live but be alive to the possibilities for growth that losing offers.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance


Should I sit or stand
mi caah bother
speak well
look well
be well
you are your own master.
hustle
hustle 
hustle
got to stay in the race.
to be a tough rock or a tender grass
"oh what a rat race, yeah!"

"Got to be true to myself" - 
but be like everyone else. yes?
Got to get up 
when told
so people will see
that I am good at taking orders.
I will be free but maybe...
maybe to much freedom is dangerous?

I must cry!
I must scream!
I must set the place on fire!
I must whisper or whimper
Spit my Seething displeasure
vomit up howling disappointments.
Be calm and say nothing - 
remain respectful
all the time...

I am hurt
healed
I am a monster
beautifully made
imagined
real
blinded by a light
that makes me see
clearly.

regurgitated slugs hang suspended
mouth ready to devour
spare a prayer...

scabs at all stages
congealed
across picket lines...

Ineffable
incandescent beauty
illuminates Gossamer
A web of lies
fleeting 
like a butterfly's fragile wings.

"Oh what tangled webs we weave"
until we have no silks to hypnotize
but regrets borne from grieve.


Co-Worker Or Bestie?

Whether or not you get along with them, doesn’t matter, you see them everyday of the work week! Sometimes more that you see members of your own family. Some you want to make friends with some you don’t, but remember, they are most likely just temporary friends. Now, I am not saying that I have not made some great friends at work -genuine people who came there that way and remained so- some were never great and will never be. However, I am talking those who are not so great but think they are or worse pretend they are. It has always frustrated me that some persons you have to work with are so disingenuous, you see what they are doing but because they are being crafty about things, you cannot prove that they are faking their “kindness”. Those great advice and “gentle criticisms” are not always coming from a constructive place, a good place, a real place, a place of love and genuine concern. Just keep in mind that these persons will smile compliment and encourage you out of a position or even your good name -behind your back of course.

It is important that we realize that our disappointment with them is not their fault, but our fault. We forget that most persons are at work for a paycheck, to advance in their field, because they love their jobs or because of all three not, to make friends. Yes you can get closer to people by networking, but in the workplace the networking is to create contacts as a means of professional development, not so you can be that social butterfly. Sometimes we lose track of our purpose and get caught up in office gossip or become too focus on what everyone else is doing, or worse sharing personal information that can get spilled at the proverbial water cooler- now with corona is that even a thing? But we get the idea. The dynamics of the workplace has changed with this pandemic but the workplace culture is sometimes hard to shift, especially since those working from home are just experiencing a temporary state of being, eventually we will have to go back to being in the same space with the people we work with. I have come to appreciate more the importance of separating work from personal life and so realize many instances when I have acted in such a way that blurs the line between professionalism and unprofessionalism, in what a share and how I behave and think.

You will find nice people everywhere, you will also find not so nice people pretending to be nice everywhere. When it comes to those you work with you have to tread carefully. You may end up working with that person for a while and the type of relationship you have with them could affect whether or not you are comfortable there. We are not there to be most popular, to have a lot a friends or belong to the “elite” group, or, to construct an image built on lies to be accepted and fit the culture of that workplace. No, we are not working to do all of those nonessential things. What we are there is to make a mark, get what we came for, be ourselves, respect everyone based on where they are in their journey and not be pressed about things that have nothing to do with us, to be friendly, to share not overshare.

Life is too short to be spending time on things that do not matter based on the journey we are on. When you realize that you have been approaching your work relationships the wrong way, take a step back. Sometimes you may have to re-evaluate the work relationships you have to realize that what you have are not friends but acquaintances. Consider yourself blessed if you do have one or two persons who you have been able to form a life long friendship with at work but do not expect it. Know that most of those work friendships are more temporary than you would like to admit. I have come to realize this as the months have gone by. Some of those who were easy to access because they were in close proximity, are now difficult to connect with. You realize that the friendship was dependent on what you offered at a particular time and you were that colleague and not that friend. Do not confuse the need to collaborate with the need to be everyone’s best friend. Instead focus on your goals and work towards them and do not get sidetracked but remain, open (but do not make your life an open book), honest (about your work and not the details of your life), positive and constructive. Work hard for the money but do not lose yourself along the grapevine.

Lucky Man

A lucky man is in a desirable position, everyone wants what he has, right? He is successful and is an example to many, a kind of a role model, right? Today we look at Chapter 10, “The Luckiest Man in Babylon”, in the book, The Richest Man in Babylon.

It’s good to have a dream, to want something better or to want the best for yourself. However, at times, we are too eager to experience the end result and we do not take the correct steps to get there. We sometimes look for short-cuts and refuse to look too closely, because if we do we are fearful we will not experience the destination.

The Parable in chapter 10, is of a man by the name of Shurra Nada, the luckiest man in Babylon. Now if ever there was a hustler – the go getter kind thank you very much – then it would be Shurra. He was able to squeeze the last drops of luck out of every meager opportunity that came his way. His pickings were slim to none because he became a slave in Babylon. Captured and made a slave, he worked overtime to not only gain his freedom but he was able to drop a gem stone of wisdom that had been entrusted to him: work is the best friend he will ever know. You want to get something, well, you have to work for it, it is not going to find you waiting on a couch or in bed.

As a slave he was advised to make work his best friend but to what end? So that his master could get richer and he poorer? No, in order to get out of his situation and while he was a slave it did not mean he could not use the little opportunities there were to get out of that situation, no matter how impossible it seemed. He did not work to be recognized as a loyal worker or to get worker of the month, every month, but to be independent of his master some day to “cling no longer to thy master”.

But misfortune befell him, and his plans were derailed. sounds familiar to anyone? While his situation moved from impossible to beyond impossible, he still worked, waited and looked for any opportunity. Like many of us do, he asked himself this question, “was I to work the rest of my life, without gain of my desires, without happiness or success?” Like many of us he was at the end of the line ready to wallow, and he would have been within his rights to do so. But he did not, he worked towards the same goal, his freedom. But when he lest expected, his good deed in passing on the knowledge to a fellow slave to make work your best friend paid off. That same friend having gained both his freedom and eventual wealth, because of that advice, came back to free him!

His luck did not come from his working and saving and dreaming. Neither did his master look at his efforts and rewarded him with his freedom. His luck came in the guise of a fellow slave who had remembered his work ethics, his profitable advice and decided that he would help him when he could to return the favor. He received a return on his investment – that advice, all he had, was enough to get him out of a bad situation to have his mountain top experience.

What treasures do you have within in you that bring you luck? Be a lucky man.

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