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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A Big Girl’s Fairytale…

Once upon a time there was a girl who, after the most difficult and tragic year of her life, gathered up as much courage as she could and went on vacation alone…

While sitting on the beach and speaking in Spanish to one of her dear friends who lived in the Dominican and worked on the beach, she overheard two girls sitting behind her, two absolutely beautiful, skinny, model-esque girls, talking about her… They were saying things like, “I wouldn’t even leave the house if I had a body like hers let alone go out in a bathing suit in public” and “how on earth someone could let themselves go like that is beyond me.” Some more comments, more harsh and thoughtless comments, followed…

The only thing this girl could hope for is that these two models thought the girl didn’t speak English and that’s why they were being so loud, and heartless with their words… This girls friend saw the change of expression on her face and he asked what was wrong, as strong as she tried to be, a tear rolled down her cheek and she looked at him and in Spanish, said “nothing my friend, I just missed you so much and am glad to see your sweet face” He then hugged her, told her to stop crying and enjoy her vacation…

As her friend walked away, she stared at the ocean, quietly sobbed for a few minutes, and begged God to release the anger and sadness in her heart… By some miracle, God did just that… right in front of her beach chair she saw a teeny tiny crab doing a little crab dance, side to side, as if he was performing just for her… She wiped her tears, and smiled, and the smile grew to a laugh and the laughter grew to release… She no longer felt sad and angry, AND she felt forgiveness, she forgave the models for their hateful words and she forgave herself, for allowing their words to hurt her so deeply…she felt connected to the universe and all of its wondrous, mystical and magical, beauty… When the crab finally disappeared under the sand she lay back on her beach chair and began to enjoy the feeling of the warmth from the sun on her BEAUTIFUL body, she put on her iPod and she found peace…

An hour later this girl was hungry so she got up to go to the beach front restaurant for her daily hotdog and as she passed by the two models, she looked at them right in the eyes and with a big genuine smile she said “I hope you beautiful girls enjoy your vacation!!” The shock on their faces proved her earlier suspicions that they didn’t think she spoke English… and then there was a look of fear… to which she replied “The Dominican is a magical place girls, I hope you discover it and appreciate it!”

The girl went to the restaurant and enjoyed her hotdog, and the rest of her vacation… And that night, at the buffet, they were serving crab legs; in honour of her earlier gift from God, she chose not to eat them! And she, so far, is living happily ever after…

Love is always the answer…

At times… life can be a bitch, a total, heartbreaking, slap in the face, unjust bitch… it can take everything in which you believe and shatter it into a million pieces within a fraction of a second… Life can take all you hold dear and precious, your faith and your humanity and it can obliterate it… Life can be the ultimate force of total, all encompassing douche-baggery…

But… that’s got to be a temporary situation, it must be… we can’t allow it to take over our lives, take over our hearts and change us for the worse… we can’t allow it to extinguish the light from our hearts… we can’t allow it to eliminate our faith…

We must be stronger, more powerful and better than what life sometimes offers us. We must stand up to life and not let our SELF be changed…

We must remember the real life, the one that offers us miracles, hope and bliss… We must remember to focus on Kindness, Compassion and Love, and release the hate and the anger… I know that is asking for a lot when we are faced with such atrocities such as Sandy Hook, Danzig, and most recently, the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman in the case of the death of young Trayvon Martin… How can we let this go… ? We need to take this anger, this resentment, this hatred and transform it into something positive… We must pray for all the Trayvon’s of this world, and do whatever we can to change the system, the laws, the thinking, the privilege that is so segregated…  We must spread love in this world with such a force that the hate will just die out… Love… Love is the answer, love is ALWAYS the answer… for each of us  the path is different, but the destination is the same… we all must arrive in love…

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.

Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

Some of my Best Friends are Gay!

Subtitled “I’m on the Pro-Gay Bandwagon… are you?”

I’m going to begin this with a bit of poignant humour, this is a clip of Nathan Lane on the Ellen show, it’s his response to a group of closed minded homophobes who tried to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as the spokesperson for JCPenny, and how JCPenny not only stood by their choice, and didn’t give in to petty threats, but Ellen’s response of humour, grace, class and confidence, as she says “My haters are my motivators”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YNXikPtknM

I work in an industry that has such a diverse group of people, all races, ages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. and we all just… get along! It’s like in the park, when you see someone feeding the birds, pigeons, chickadees, crows… they all hang out together and eat in peace… sure every once in awhile a big bully of a seagull swoops down trying with all his might to take all the food, but the tightly knit group bands together, defends themselves, and actually invites the seagull to join them, sharing their feast… sometimes the seagull does in fact settle down and joins in, and sometimes he flies off to find another weaker group to take over… In one shift, during the course of an 8 hour event, I have witnessed this… the group, defending their territory, with love, compassion, humour and kindness, have won over the bully, and by the end of those 8 hours, we were all nibbling on stale rolls together… It warmed my heart to be a part of that progress, I felt proud to be in the company of such fine birds!

So, like the title says, “Some of my best friends are Gay”, and they are! And so what? Why does it matter? How does the fact my saying they are gay change the fact that they are some of my closet friends. Being gay doesn’t take away from the person they are, it doesn’t make them less of a person, it doesn’t make them non-human… Every time I sign a petition, read an article, or hear a story about a gay couple not being allowed to marry, or offered basic human rights such as being allowed to roam the streets freely are stripped from the gay community, or people being imprisoned or beaten and even put to death for being gay, a little piece of me dies inside.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I were, at random, to choose 5 straight friends and 5 gay friends and simply wrote one page each about them, about their life, about their choices, about their dreams, about their values and handed you those 10 sheets of paper you wouldn’t be able to tell me that these 5 are the gay 5 and these 5 are the straight 5. They are just 10 stellar human beings, doing good things in this world, seeking the same things we all seek, love, friendship, acceptance, joy, beauty, etc.

How can a nation, as ‘forward thinking’ as the United States of America think their government has the right to deny their own citizens the right to marry one another? Their own Pledge of Allegiance states: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How can we sit by while innocent people are being imprisoned for simply uttering the word “Gay”? While our brothers and sisters are being sent to re-education sessions to ‘fix’ them? While they are being put to death for the simple act of being true to who they are? Silence and inaction isn’t the answer…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know this post is long, it’s all over the place, has no real form to it, and probably not my most eloquent piece and for this I sincerely apologise… However, I believe that is because I am at a loss for what is happening in this world. I’ve tried numerous times to write this, put my inner most feelings out there for the world to read… I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and finally decided to just vent, and pray my message is heard.

I tried to write this post from a place of compassion, a desire for change, and I pray my rage doesn’t come through. To, one last time, quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (snippets from his brilliant and beautiful speech ‘I have a dream’ while based on the equality of the race all mankind, I truly believe his intention was for worldwide equality of all mankind in its entirety, race, religion, sexual orientation, body type, etc) :

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Peace & Love

Princess Larissa, on her birthday…

Once upon a time the most beautiful princess was born to an equally as beautiful mother. This princess was very blessed to be loved beyond words by her mother and her grandmother. Her mother chose the most perfect name for this princess, she named her Larissa… The meaning, Cheerful and Lighthearted, no name could be more fitting as where ever this princess went, the people she met were happier, and better inside for having the chance to meet her.

As the years went on, Larissa grew into a stunning princess with the shiniest, silken hair; almond shaped eyes that sparkled with the light & mercy of God; and a smile so bright and welcoming and everlasting. But what was even more beautiful than her physical self, (and let me tell you, that’s no easy feat, Princess Larissa was ‘slammin’) was her inner beauty. Princess Larissa’s heart was filled with so much kindness, laughter, joy and love, that when people came into contact with her, even for a moment, she enriched their lives for the rest of their days.

Princess Larissa forever carries the memories of her mother and grandmother in her heart, she misses them both in every moment of her life. But she never lets one of those moments go by without thanking the Lord for blessing her with two such loving beings, for giving her the opportunity to recognise their beauty, feel their love, and love them right back. Her gratitude and compassion just reaffirms her timeless beauty.

Princess Larissa had two beautiful daughters, both of whom inherited her spirit, her heart and her beauty. These girls are already carrying on their mothers living legacy of kindness, generosity, cheerfulness and lightheartedness! They are her pride and joy, she is the embodiment of the perfect mother, and her love for them grows each and every day.  

I have been blessed with the honour and privilege of watching Princess Larissa grow and blossom into a fierce and powerful woman. And today, while the world wishes Princess Larissa a happy birthday, I silently thank God who, many years ago, brought me to this magical child and allowed me to witness her life. In my heart, she is my daughter and my little sister wrapped up in one beautiful package. I am proud and humbled of the person she has become. I am in awe of her capacity to love in the face of tragedy, of her SHEroic warrior spirit, and of her infinite inner and outer beauty.

Today, on this, the day of your birth, I wish for you eternal bliss, abundance in all you seek, wild and amazing adventures, laughter and joy in every moment, friends and family filling your heart with light and love.

Lastly, I thank you Princess, for allowing me to be a part of your life, for being ever so lucky to witness your beauty, for it changes me, every single day, it changes me and makes me a better person in this world. I love you, more than mere words could ever express.

Happy happy HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

What if, for just one day, the entire world was kind?

What if, for just one day, the entire human race decided to not to gossip? How would this affect our world? Not one peep about ‘so and so in the copy room with so and so’, or ‘oh my God, did you see what so and so was wearing yesterday?’ no rumours, and even go as far as ignoring Hollywood gossip, leaving those celebs alone for 24 hours… no National Enquirer, no TMZ, no Perez, not even Entertainment Tonight! Don’t discuss the latest fashions, hook ups, divorces, deaths, suicides, pregnancies…

 “Entertainment news keeps you up to date

on the withering of your soul.”

Tom Papa

What would happen to society if we went ‘dark’ on gossip for one day, 24 wee little hours? What would happen to those we leave alone and for goodness sake… what on earth would we talk about?

To be completely honest, I don’t rightly know… I can tell you what I hope we would talk about…

I would hope we would talk about what is truly important, our lives, our brethren, what’s happening in this world and what can we do to make it better? Starvation, war, and atrocities against humanity… we are ALL responsible for the actions taken against the world and we have to be the voice to stop it.

But also, as above, what would happen to those we leave alone? Rumours and gossip are the oldest form of bullying, and while the old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is thrown around so easily, words hurt… they make hearts bleed and leave scars so deep, so long lasting, and most times so invisible to others that we rarely see the damage until it’s too late.

Perhaps if we left Celebs alone, didn’t pick on them, didn’t worry about what the gossip mags and channels and websites say about them, simply focus on the art they produce, maybe, just maybe we’d still have the brilliant beings such as Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, John Belusihi, Michael Jackson, … and the list goes on, and on, and on…

And what if we stopped bullying people in our own lives? What if we taught our children to stand up for those who need help, who aren’t able to speak up for themselves, taught them compassion, understanding, doing what’s right… what would happen then? Maybe these beautiful souls and countless others would still be with us…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38JuIicgmKM

I urge you to think before you speak and act and make the right choice…

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