Until I Caused It…

I got a note from my aunt once and I never really thought much of it. The note was written on a pretty paper and I kept it more so for the pretty print and the sentimental value but not the words she had written.

Then one day I thought about reusing the paper for a gift – it was so pretty! But I realized – because I had forgotten that something was written on it – that I could not use it and I was disappointed and threw it back down.

Much later I took it up and my blood ran cold and my heart skipped a beat:

” I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen but as the years wasted on nothing ever did, until I caused it to” – Charles Bukowski

How did she know? Did she known that she was giving me a gift and a burden? And I cried for the wasted years.

Now, where must I find the courage and how to stop waiting and make my extraordinary come true?

Then Sings My Soul…

There are just some poems that move me to tears. So sentimental, that all those moments from the past just come rushing back. This is the case with, It was the Singing, by Jamaican poet, Edward Baugh. Those nostalgic poems that make you hopeful and tearful at the same time. Tearful because your heart has been full for a while but you never knew how to release the pain, hurt and disappointment that has been piling up and this poem comes along and gives you the grace and permission to finally let it all go. The poem reminds me of the need for community to share with us those burdens we cannot bear alone and a blessing that can be found in the face of tragedy. They contain powerful words that can soothe the soul, and bring us the peace of mind we need even as we grieve.

It was the Singing

It was the singing, girl, the singing, it was
that full my throat and blind my eye
with sunlight. Parson preach good, and didn't 
give we no long-metre that day
and Judge Hackett make us laugh to hear
how from schoodays Gertie was a rebel
and everybody proud how Sharon talk
strong about her mother and hold her tears.
But the singing was sermon and lesson and eulogy
and more, and it was only when we raise
"How Great Thou Art" that I really feel 
the sadness and the glory, wave after wave.
Daddy Walters draw a bass from somewhere
we never hear him go before, and Maisie 
lift a descant and nobody ask her,
but it was the gift they bring., it was 
what they had to give and greater
than the paper money overflowing the collection
plate. It was then I know we was people
together, never mind the bad-minded and the carry -down
and I even find it in my heart to forgive 
that ungrateful Agnes fir everything she do me
and I sing and the feelings swelling in my chest
till I had to stop and swallow hard.
Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art...
and we was girls again together, Gertie
and me by the river, and then the singing
was like a wide water and Gertie laughing 
and waving to me from the other side.
Girl, I can't too well describe it.
Was like the singing was bigger than all of we
and making us better than we think we could be,
and all I asking you, girl, is when 
my time come to go, don't worry
make no fuss bout pretty coffin
and no long eulogy, just a quiet place
where gunman and drug addict don't haunt,
and if they sing me home like how they sing Gertie
I say thank you Jesus, my soul will sleep in peace.

You and Me. Me and You.

I had a conversation with myself just the other day…

“Is it worth it? Is it really worth it to be here with everyone else? Imagine living on your own Island, what peace! There would be no one to compare yourself to. You could do what you wanted to do, and there would be no disapproving parents, friend, family to make you feel bad about your choices. Imagine, there would be no need for you to every do anything you don’t want to do! wouldn’t that be heavenly?”

“But what would you do?” “Wouldn’t it be lonely?”

“Nope and no”. Why would I be lonely? I know there would be no suffering, no one to miss, death would not invade my world. All the garbage and filth in this world would not be a part of my island. If at first I missed anyone it would leave me, we tend to forget after awhile and any pain at leaving then behind would fade. But oh! What peace I would find on my island. Far, far away from it all!”

“I don’t think you would be happy, being all alone I think you would get bored on that island. Think about it, have you every lived on your own?”

“Well, I hate living in this world but I don’t want to die, so the best solution is to go somewhere where I will be happy”.

“You don’t want to die, why? Would you miss anything here, could that be why?”

” I wish I could take, all the beauty here, all the things I love and take somewhere else. I have suffered so much here and I know more is to come, maybe it’s better if I could run”.

“You don’t know what troubles may be on your island. earth did not begin the way it is today”

” But why do I have to face the uncertainties of a world that can bring such sadness, such loss, pain and permanency?”

“But here you are not alone. Here there are persons who love you. Persons who want you to find peace. Here is the opportunity to rely on and learn from those around you. Right here where you are is the help that you need, if only you would look, if only you would see.”

And so I thought about that conversation, these questions kept repeating. Could it be true? Was there a possibility to find peace here and not only on my island, to be content with the closeness of others? Could peace really exist with me and you and you and me?

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.

Overdose

Overdose


I feel something 
pulsing
I feel it just 
here.
I see the lights
an aurora engulfs me.
Will I be born again?
Or Lazarus from the dead?
dinoflagellates bloom
and I see glistening reds and blues.
Silver badge on sliver skin
but no silver lining
to pin.
I grab something green
maybe this will help.
but it is invisible
to everyone else.
No one wanted to wear it
"the color does not suit me".
So I stopped.
Breathed in
and swallowed to much
and drowned.
As I sink I feel the weight of my grief
and so I closed my eyes.
Hannibal greets me in the dark
forces me awake.
I struggle and reach
for the fading thread of light
and the promise of a new day.

The Inconvenience of Convenience

It’s easy to sit back and let others take charge. You may not be the type who likes to appear aggressive or forward. You are not the type to thrive by being uncomfortable. Or, simply when someone else does the things you find unpleasant it makes your life easier. However, there are many dangers lurking just around the corner, when you get too laid back. Many dangers when you decide to allow others to make decisions about what you eat, what you wear, who you like or don’t like, what you do, and what you think. We think our lives are easy because everything is at our finger tips, but we do not know that we have to pay a price for it and sometimes that price is the loss of our voice and the stunting of our potentials.

Convenience can be the a gilded cage for many of us, who like the bird, must live with permanently clipped wings never knowing the joys of soaring high. We are fed information on a need to know basis and while we think we are living meaningful lives we do not realize that things have been constructed in such a way that we do not come to the truth of how little we truly experience life. Consider someone who does not have to worry about how to sustain themselves, cook, wash, clean, pay bills, or make any hard decisions about their lives. They seem to just have everything handed to them, they glide through live. However, that person is imprisoned by his ignorance of what life is about and if they are removed from their cage they cannot thrive. Others decide for them and determine what happiness should be, what the truth is and how much they can test the limits of their strength. Of course many make this choice because they think t is easy, better and safer. But as many of us know easier does not always mean better.

Consider convenience food. We all love them because they are so easy, in no time at all, presto! We have food! However, they come with their own set of problems. They have consequences for our health both young and old. They can lead to developmental issues for children, and lead to diseases such as diabetes, but we love them and we are encouraged to consume them, and we do not knowing the full story of their impact later in life. So, it is easy to be led, to be told and be inspired because it is all convenient but we lose the art of being free thinking and being creative, to make new discoveries and experience different ways of being and experiencing life. We think we are excited about things but we may not be because everything has been pre-packaged and shipped to us for our convenience. The pandemic has made it even harder for us to explore beyond what we are fed on social media. We spend so much time consuming truths that have been prepared to engage us, we depend on them to make us happy, laugh and find meaning in life and rely less on out tenacity and natural zest for live. We forget the steps we would have taken beyond those monitors that would enable us have experiences and not just view them though a glass pane. There is no longer the thrill of realizing that our efforts can yield pleasant surprises because we have forgotten what it feels like to enjoy the journey, of realizing that inconveniences hold many precious life gems that can enrich our lives. Instead we are bombarded with microwavable experiences filled with bland and unappetizing mush that has been mass produced for our enjoyment. And we are told that is what we like, and so we consume it with enthusiastic chagrin.

As a teacher of literature I see the harm of convenience in the attitudes of my students, who do not want to take the time to enjoy the experience that a novel can give. Instead, they want to pass the exam, but they do not want to engage with the work. So, they find all the summaries and videos they can and miss many live lessons and insights on human nature. They miss the opportunity to have their humanity challenged and if compromised, restored. Many persons, just like my students, say they do not have the time nor the patience to try, the courage to face challenges nor to explore beyond their predetermined ideas of what people are and what the world is like. We don’t want to struggle, we don’t want to fail, so we bury our heads in the sand, accept that this is all we know and become slaves to conveniences, a life created for us with much of our input.

Maybe it is that some do not want to enjoy the journey but the destination. Maybe it is that persons’ lives have been enriched by the modern conveniences available to many today. And yes, it is true that not all persons can and do have access to all those modern conveniences. But, where we may realize that we have become dependent on conveniences not vital to living, there is nothing wrong in questioning or being alert to how we can be lulled into inactivity by the pull of convenience.