Ubuntu

My entire life I’ve struggled with the concept of religion… Though, never with the concept of a Higher Power… Just what man has done to manipulate our reason for being… I’ve searched and researched many religions, paths, faiths and philosophies and while the books come close to what my heart longs for, the majority of the practising people have discouraged me… The fundamental truths are constantly distorted and changed to suit the current situations… And rarely in a positive way…

17 years ago, I found my path, I found my guide, and my life changed forever… However, I still longed for a communal name for what my heart already knew to be true, so while my spirit was on its long, arduous, oft times feeling unattainable journey towards enlightenment, my brain needed closure, and I never stopped searching…

Ubuntu

Then, one miraculous day, I saw this image I remember thinking, this is what God is… This is what the High Power is… Ubuntu… It’s a philosophy that spans throughout Africa, and it bests translates to, “I am, because you are.”

I am, because you are… how beautiful, how simple, how perfect… (examples of Ubuntu I found during my research) If my neighbour is hungry, how can I eat without sharing with them? If a stranger comes to my town, I will feed them, house them, make them family… Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, a Zulu Sangoma (healer) from South Africa says “Unbutu is nothing more or less than compassion brought into colourful practice.”

Compassion brought into colourful practice… That has been my life(s)time quest… practice, always, compassion… Kindness, Compassion and Love is my mission in life…

As the last hours of 2013 tick away, I can honestly say I am glad to close this chapter on my life and start fresh with a new year… I faltered many times in 2013, I was overcome with grief, I was and am deeply depressed and I know I allowed myself to slip into a very dark place… That place scares me, and I want to come out, I want to come home…

So my renewed mission for 2014 is Ubuntu, I am, because you are… my heart is your heart, your heart is my heart, there is only one heart… Ubuntu…

Peace and Love for 2014

Ganesh Om

 

 

 

 

Some links on Ubuntu:

Nelson Mandela’s interpretation

Ubuntu’s philosophy, a short documentary

Bishop Desmond Tutu (one of my favourite beings of all time)

President Obama, at Nelson Mandela’s funeral 

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You’re Going to Make it… Cornilius “SEE” Flowers

Sometimes life just bestows you with gifts you never thought possible! Somehow, Cornilius “SEE” Flowers stumbled upon my blog and he sent me the link for his poem below… Please watch it, it breathes life into his words, and it will breathe life into your soul…

http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/the-messengers-you-are-going-to-make-it.htm

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Several years ago there was this show on TLC entitled “The Messengers”, it was a spoken word/inspirational speakers competition… There was this one contestant named ‘Cornelius “See” Flowers’, and week after week he would bring me to tears… Even if you offered me a million bucks cash I couldn’t name one other contestant on that show… but I never forgot him… There was one week in particular that stood out, his speech was called “You’re going to make it”… It touched me so deeply I typed out the words and when I feel the need for inspiration I read and re-read it… I can hear his voice in my head… I wish I could find the video of him, his poise, his compassion, his strength and his faith ooooooooooooze out of him and it’s so uplifting… for now, his words will have to do…

Struggle means: to progress with difficulty.
You know what that means? It means that you’re going to make it.

And I don’t even know what you’re going through.
And I’m not even going to tell you that I understand.

But if you’ll accept this suggestion as it be. From experience, take it from me.
Your struggle – it’s all part of his plan.

And you are going to make it.

Setbacks are just set forth to strengthen your spirit and character.
If you ever obtain the wisdom that you have already been blessed with…
You’ll see. You had to be messed with.

In order to be able to look someone else in the face, eye to eye, and say:
You are going to make it.

He who has begun a great work in you, shall complete it; until the day of Christ.
What that means: God is in you. Every day of your life.

Just making sure that you’re going to make it.

And in the pit of your stomach, you know it. So put that mask away and show it.
And let the world see it. Because if you want it, you can be it.

You just have to take it.
Tell God that you want it, and tell yourself that you can make it.

And don’t rely on your family and friends for foundation.

More than likely they’re just waiting to see if you’re serious or not.
Or if what you say is really what you’ve got.

And don’t get mad at them for not believing in your dreams.
And then not spend time convincing them with your pleads.
You just pray to God that they have the courage to follow your lead.

And if they still reject you, dust off your feet and your shoulders, and he’ll eject you.
Because sometimes you have to remove yourself; and then they’ll respect you.

But you are going to make it. Regardless.

As long as you start each job at the end.
What I mean: see it done, before you begin.

Money? It’s already there.
Health? Baby, you are already healed.
Faith? You have not, because you ask not.
Family? He who has created you, is more than you’ve got. And all that you need.

You just have to believe… that you’ll struggle, but…
You are going to make it!

Cornelius “SEE” Flowers

ॐ Peace ॐ

Travis and a Soldier (child) Named John…

When I moved to Panama I flew via Atlanta, which is one of the airports that the soldiers use to fly to Iraq. The fear and sadness in that airport were palpable, I, someone who always walks with her head up smiling at every person I pass by, kept my head down as I couldn’t deal with seeing those young boys dressed like grown men, leaving home to go fight a senseless war… fighting back tears, trying to live up to everything the uniform says they should be…. instead of going to college, or getting jobs, learning, growing, partying, getting laid and having fun…

While waiting the 5 hour layover Travis and I sat at a restaurant and they were so nice to us, they gave me a little cup of water and fresh tuna for her and let me keep her, in her travel bag, up on the table so she could always see me…

One soldier was sitting a few tables away from me kept looking at us and smiling, I think laughing too because I kept talking and singing to her and had a hand in the bag petting her to keep her calm. At one point he had so much sadness behind his smile I asked him if he wanted to come meet Travis… He jumped up and sat with us (now we all know Travis has her moments of hissing, screeching etc. but when she’s hopped up on valium, she’s quite docile lol) he put his hand in her bag and petted her, while I tried to explain why my female cat was named Travis… he had his hand in the bag the whole time, talking to her and telling me about his experiences. He was 18 years old, his name is John, his father and grandfather were both soldiers and it was just expected of him to become one too… He told me that he’d never spoken these words out loud to anyone, but he said “I am so scared, of course of being injured or dying, but actually of having to kill someone. All I want to do is play my guitar and sing” Tears flowed down his cheeks; he turned away from me and focused on Travis. She’s such an amazing being, she felt his pain, and pushed her own fears aside and began to purr. His face lit up and said “hey she’s purring!!!” His smile was of a child, delighted by the simplest things in life. I told him to feel honoured, as that rarely happens for anyone but me!!!

“If purring could be encapsulated, it’d be the most powerful anti-depressant on the pharmaceutical market.” ~ Alexis F. Hope

I decided to make him laugh and taught him the Travis the Kitty song and we sang it together to her laughing so hard.

He looked at his watch and said “I can’t believe how quickly the past 1.5 hours went, I have to run to my gate now!” He stuck his whole head in Travis’ bag and gave her a kiss, I stood up to shake his hand and he took it in both his hands and said “Thank you Lalita, this was the most relaxed I have felt in a long time, when I close my eyes at night I am going to sing the Travis the Kitty song till i fall asleep” With that he gave me the tightest, most genuine hug I have ever felt, and one I’ll never forget, he grabbed his duffle bag and ran to his plane.

“A loving cat can mend a wounded heart.” ~ Anonymous

I stood there watching him run, and realized only when the waitress put her arm around me that I was sobbing… She said to me, “Hon, you did a great thing there… from looking at you, I don’t know who got more out of it, him or you”

It wasn’t until hours later, while Travis and I were on the plane, did I realize we didn’t exchange numbers, or emails or even last names… I’ll never know what happened to John, I sometimes used to think he was home safe and sound and got himself a feisty little cat named Travis Jr. lol… but I do know he changed me forever, I don’t walk with my head down anymore, everyone I pass by gets a smile.

“Until one has loved an animal,  a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

L♥VE WARRIORS!

Recently one of my very best friends in the world did something she vowed 14 years ago (and kept vowing for 14 years) she would never do… She got a tattoo! Now, to those of you who don’t know Tracey, a.k.a. my Bestest, this may not seem like such a big deal, but to those of you who do know her you know she mustered up every bit of bravery, every ounce of courage and every drop of strength she could to overcome such a huge fear, to stand in the face of her proverbial enemy and with dogged determination say “DAMMIT INK ME!”

‘Now’, you ask, ‘why did she do it? What’s the point of her facing that fear, which in all essence could have been easily avoided with no consequences?’ She did it for L♥VE, the purest of all L♥VES, a Mother’s L♥VE… She got her daughter’s name tattooed on her leg to immortalize the loving, kind and fun relationship she has with her beautiful daughter Kayleigh.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” John Lennon

This got me thinking, if my bestest can face one of her biggest fears in the name of L♥VE, is there nothing we, as a world-community, can’t achieve with L♥VE?

It takes just one person to make a difference, to stand up for what’s right, to give a voice to the voiceless and give hope to those in need. It’s up to us, the L♥VE WARRIORS to make the right choices, to be scared to death and act anyway, all in the name of L♥VE!

“In the absence of love, we began slowly but surely to fall apart.” Marianne Williamson

I’ve done some really stupid things in the name of L♥VE and I don’t regret a single one. Sure, I’ve been hurt, physically, emotionally; my body has been injured and my heart has been broken, but in the end I know I did the right thing and wouldn’t change it for anything.

There are so many appalling things happening in the world today that I find myself weeping tears of utter saddness, horror, empathy, compassion and yes, fear. But I can no longer stand by and watch it happen. I am going to scream my thoughts, my views, my feelings and emotions from the roof tops, I am going to fight to right things that are wrong, and make a difference!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

It’s time for a call to arms my fellow L♥VE WARRIORS… it’s time to change the world, and we, as a small group, can do it!

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert

 

Aside

“I like stuff!” Lalita Patel…

So the other day I was watching Oprah and her guest was director Tom Shadyac, known for movies such as Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar and more… he made millions upon millions of dollars directing such great movies. He had a 17,000 square foot home, luxury cars, etc.

He essentially gave it all up, moved into a mobile home, donated the majority of his money to charities close to his heart and made a documentary called “I Am“. It looks like a brilliant movie and I can’t wait till it opens in Toronto…

“I was standing in the house that my culture had taught me was a measure of the good life,” Tom recalls in his documentary I Am. “I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling: I was no happier.”

I have always believed in “paying it forward”… Giving back, not taking my good fortune for granted… Essentially I want to change the world, leave it better than I found it, leaving this world saying I did something with my life… Right now, while my business is growing, I can only give of myself, so I volunteer at charity events where ever I can and do some small donations when possible.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Mother Teresa

I have been thinking a lot about Tom and his journey and came to this realization… good or bad, I like stuff! YES, I admit it, I, LALITA PATEL AM A STUFF-AHOLIC…

So I decided to look at my life to see what can I cut out, give up, how can I be more like Tom?

  • My TV? Well no, it’s the only entertainment I spend money on… I rarely go out to eat, I don’t go to bars, clubs, movies… so having my digital cable is my fun time…
  • My car? Ha! No way, we all know I won’t take the bus… won’t ride a bike everywhere… and walking…? I repeat… HA!
  • My knick knacks? I collect a few things, pewter wizards, Egyptian artifacts, these make me smile when I look at them… so they stay…

Then I began thinking, why do I want to change my life to be like Tom’s… just because that is what works for him, doesn’t mean it is what works for me… cuz remember, I LIKE STUFF! Why can’t I have it all? I work hard, my business is growing with each day, money is going to start rolling in… I am going to get more stuff! A home for my mom, get my dad and step mom the vacation of their dreams, pay off my debts of the past, save for my future and enjoy the now, travel, get a super bad ass car, a gorgeous condo… and more!

But! I won’t be selfish, I’ll still volunteer, I’ll still put my heart and soul into events for charities close to my heart, I’ll donate a portion of my limitless riches…My goal for Events by Lalita is to ensure 20% of our business is not for profit, and where I can, even, pro-bono… I won’t be one of those planners who charges insanely high prices for fundraisers just because I can… When it’s a cause in which I truly believe, I’ll give back, with all my heart… For it is in giving that we receive…  I am soooo looking forward to the day when I’ll be planning huge fundraisers, being a part of something bigger than myself, events that I can be proud of…

AND  I’ll be driving to these events in my Super Bad Ass Events by Lalita Purple Aston Martin with a very clear conscience!!!

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi – Words to live by…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen