Escape to Last Man Peak

“Escape to Last Man Peak” by Jean D’Costa was a novel I read when I was in first form at St. Jago High School. I was riveted, captivated and enthralled by the adventure related in this work of fiction. So much did this novel leave a mark on me that even today years old I still remember the story. In our present situation, I see a lot of similarities between what happened in the book and the crisis that we face today:

The book chronicles the adventures of ten orphans, who lost their caretaker Miss Brown (Matron), to a deadly pneumonia virus (referred to as the “sickness”). After the pneumonia outbreak, the country was plunged into a state of emergency, as the disease raged through the country claiming many lives… the children began to plan their escape.

I am sure that there are many who would gladly abandon the chaos and uncertainties of their present situation to escape to a place they felt was safer and more hopeful. However, it was not easy for these children. They faced many perils, many dangerous adults who tried to use them for their own gain. Yet, they persevered and made it to the safe haven of Last Man Peak. But along the way they were almost kidnapped, shot at and had to outsmart a notorious gang in one of the towns they journeyed through. They also met persons without whose help, they could not have made it. Persons who opened their homes and fed them and gave their some sound advice. In all of the many exciting encounters they children embodied the spirit of resilience and hope. Never being deterred by the many obstacles they faced they pushed on until they reached their destination.

That story of escape and resilience in the face of great obstacles is one I have carried with me in my own journey. Our journey in this life is not just physical, but also mental and spiritual and though we may take different routes we all must take these journeys. Once these children reached Last Man Peak, the physical journey ended for them but the work had just began. In the course of things now we need to claim our own journey and be ready to work ten times harder than we ever did to secure the peace we seek. We must embrace the truth that making our journey will be difficult but necessary. Those children never deviated from their course and were never defeated by their challenges, and we must be the same.

“I’ve got to live well”

What does living well mean?

I heard someone, fabulously wealthy, say they started as a vendor, sleeping on the concrete floor to living in a mansion. He ended that rags to riches anecdote by saying that having gone through that experience he, had to live well. This was said in the context of him displaying his fabulously expensive possessions and giving a glimpse into his fabulously “envious” lifestyle. However, when he said, ” I’ve got to live well”, I wondered what he meant by that.

Is living well, living a fabulously wealthy lifestyle? Does one have to have a rags to riches story to tell while sitting in a finger designed custom made fluffy chair. According to Ulifeline.com, living well involves, physical and mental good health, having self-identity, having healthy relationships and being aware of your career path and work at it. However, I was not satisfied with this because I felt, that maybe not everyone who think they are living well would agree with this formula. So I checked another source.

According to Kate swaffer in her article that deals with the issue of living with dementia, living well in the medical sense means being free of disease, but for her living well is about living with hope. This differs greatly from the focus in ULifeline, mainly because the contexts presented in each differ.

On the other hand, bcliving.ca views living well as going even further than the two aforementioned articles. For them living well must take into consideration the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual characteristics of a person’s life. As we speak about spiritual, just a connection here to the catalyst of this entire article. The fabulously rich man who indicated that he does not want to be limited, references the book of Genesis in the Bible – no exact chapter or verse, but I think he is referencing Genesis 1:28 – as a reason to have dominion over everything. So for him having wealth is about having shoes that have never been worn hanging out in his closet rent free and material things that can be viewed like an art piece in a museum.

I realized at the end of my considerations that the concept of living well differs based on who you ask. The only conclusion is that we each have to figure it out for ourselves. When we say we want to live well, what does that mean to us?

Learning To Celebrate Yourself.

When I was younger I was the center of attention and I loved it. I would show up and show all the way out. You want a dancer? I will be the best. You want someone to cuss? There will be no other. You want a singer? Mariah Carey who. And all of this before I was 10 years old. But the older I got the less I showed out until I stopped showing up.

So, slowly as I got older I learned to have a filter, until I had filtered out everything that would make me stand out. I started to doubt myself, when I did not get the response I expected. Then I started to think maybe if I was real quiet things would work out better for me. I no longer wanted attention because there are the wrong ones that will get you into so much trouble. Then maybe if you are too bright there will be more to pick a part.

But when then will you celebrate your life? Whether you achieved all you thought you could, would or should achieve, it is important to celebrate yourself. We must learn to celebrate who we are and where we are at that moment knowing that we will not remain there. There are many lists on offer out there on how you can celebrate yourself. However, there is no right formula, no specific recipe and no set timeline. But each day we get up, we need to celebrate ourselves, we need to regain the confidence we once had and be grateful for all we have been through and enjoy the journey we will be on that day. Take along those who will celebrate with you and let go of those who will not.

Life is beautiful only if you see the beauty and not only the pain, but both. Life is transformative, only if you are willing to grow. We may each have a reason not to but celebrating who you are ensures you never lose yourself.

The Try Hard Olympics

I thought since the much delayed and controversial Summer Olympics in Tokyo Japan, is about to begin, we could talk about the try hard Olympics. Now this is a game we try to disassociate from but end up being drafted into. In all areas of life there are many of us who are or have been a certified try hard.

There are many who fake their way through life and never realize how they are selling themselves short by doing so. We try to fit in whether at work, school with friends or any where, with any group that we think we should be a part of. We take the mantra, “fake it till we make it”, to heart and end up trading in who we are for the opportunity to be anything else, as long as that other thing we become is validated by others. So we swim through murky waters, when we cannot swim in those waters safely. We jump high hurdles that threaten to lead us to breaking our necks and we try to scale mountains with out the proper support. Then, the worst thing that could happen is that we end up wondering – because all our efforts have failed so far – how much harder we should try.

Well from what I have gathered, entering the try hard Olympics does not often (99.9999% of the time) lead to great results, like a gold medal, but rejection. Now, working hard is a good think but it should be done in the spirit of being authentic. People will pick up on your insecurities and lack of confidence in yourself, your abilities and in who you are. Instead, I am trying to work with what works best for me and trying to be myself, neither good or bad, but an imperfect balance of both – though sometimes the bad overpowers the good . I am working hard on coming to a place where I refuse to continue to try to be too many things, while seeming to drift from one event to another but never being good at any. This approach can be a way to discover who I am and what I want and how I want to be seen. It may help me come to truly accept that I do not need to do it all and for all that I can be happy with what I can offer whether anyone sees it as too much too little or none at all.

What are You Building?

I know we talk and think a lot about building wealth, building our lives and securing our future. However, sometimes we forget to really check in with ourselves to find out why we are doing all of this. Is it because it is what we should be doing or is it because we are trying to, “keep up with the Joneses?”

Is the foundation on which we build our lives shaky or is it firm? Are we operating from a place of genuineness or jealousy and envy? These are questions that we don’t want to even think about let alone try to answer. But we must. We must, because once we start making progress and begin to see the manifestation of what we worked so hard for it is too late to go back to sure up the foundation, and we know what comes next:

Beetlejuice Falls Off Of Billboard GIF | Gfycat

Now, going back to the issue of building. Building our lives is important, but what that is, is going to be different from person to person. We cannot build off the energy, ideas or lived experiences of others, but from our own knowledge of who we are, what we can accomplish based on that and what we have to work with. This idea came to me literally as I was minding my business by minding someone else’s – a terrible human condition – and came across a bible scripture. Now the section that really caught my attention and took me off someone else’s business and onto my own, is Psalm 127: 1: Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it. From that verse I started wondering how many of us really think about what goes into the base, the foundation of our lives. When we make decisions that affect the rest of our lives do we think about why we are making those decisions and can we even be truly honest with ourselves about that. Are we building to be validated by others or are we building because we see ourselves as valid enough to operate from a place that is at the core of who we are?

What is Love?

What is Love?

I don't give a damn who you are
I'm gonna love you.
I don't care where you come from
I'm gonna love you.
I don't care if you make me uncomfortable
I'm still gonna love you.
I'm gonna love you 
when you disappoint me
when I can't understand you
when I think I cannot find 
who you are.
I'm gonna love you 
when you don't ask
want 
or feel you need it.
I'm gonna love you loud
love you proud
in the quiet times
in the dry seasons
in those valleys that have no reason. 
I'm gonna love you 
and see you
and let you do you.
Whether you see me
I see you
and whether you love me
I will love you
and nothing
nothing can change my love,
because you did not ask for it,
but you deserve it.

Even in the Dark

Even in the dark, you can find your way. Even in the dark, when you are blinded by grief, pain and fear, you can still find your out.

Often times we cannot see beyond the here and now and that is totally okay. It is not that you or I have limited vision, it is that as we are only human we can only deal with one thing at a time. We can and should deal with what is happening in the present before we begin to live what could happen in the future. Many say you should visualize the future you want and believe it will be so. However, imagine if someone took those words at face value and just woke up each day and tried to visualize the future they want, would that mean they will have it? Some of us, whether we have ever acknowledged it or not believe this without thinking further. Some may not be willing to do what may be required to have that future someday be their reality.

It is the case especially for the untired inexperienced among us. You see, some of us learn the hard way that visualization on its own is not enough. Some of us come upon obstacles in our path that derail us too long. We become blinded by disillusionment and never recover our sight. Some do not know how to snatch a positive mindset from all the trials they face – because they were never prepared to face some of those challenges. They were not willing to fight tooth and nail, to push through those times that were so discouraging. Some gave up too easily and surrendered too much to the lie of “it is what it is”. We have been conditioned to see some of the darkest times in our lives as the sign that would determine the rest of our lives – a sad state of affairs really.

Instead, many of us need to have a new thought. No, we probably should not always accept that “it is what it is”. However, we need to to remind ourselves that even in the dark, there is always a light within us that can guide us out of those seemingly endlessly damp and cold tunnels. There is life given to us and we can use it to push back the cold to experience the warm rays of sunlight waiting on the other side. We are strong enough, to lift those heavy burdens and tilt them over into the precipice, so we can continue on our way to that future we have already been blessed to some day experience.