Saturday, July 26, 2014

Accounting Ain't That Hard

Now that I've gotten the attention I'm looking for let me lovingly inform you that this posting is not about numbers but about character and respect. There are only two reasons for the way we behave...one is to give love and the other is to receive it. Now we have all made conscious attempts to love someone else, but most of the time the reason for our actions come from the subconscious. What we sometimes don't recognize, from  a conscious perspective, is that what we're really doing is looking for love through the acceptance and attention of that someone else. I suggest that if we focus a little bit more on giving love, by being accountable for our actions, all components of LOVE that we seek, including acceptance and attention, will be a direct result.

My friend Murray used to always say ..."My word is my bond", and he did his best to follow up on what he had promised he would do, or let you know that he couldn't do it. I'v e run into countless others though, who seem to feel that if you say something and change your mind, you don't have to notify the person you said it to. This leads me to conclude that what you said you were going to do was said for the sake of your receiving love, in the form of attention and acceptance, from the person you said it to. Your word was not bonded however, and thereby the thought that you might be giving it out of love was negated because what you said was not fulfilled nor was the potential recipient notified.

This whole discussion may seem a bit trite to some, so let's look back at our own lives for a moment. As a child did your mother or father promise to take you somewhere or do something for you and didn't come through? When confronted and they responded with "Oh I forgot" or "We can do it another time" did you feel loved or neglected and unimportant? Well the same applies today to grown folks. When you say something to me I feel that you love me enough to share your intention(s), then when you don't let me know that you've changed your mind and I find out that you did, I feel neglected, unloved, and perhaps even betrayed.  All of this simply stems from a lack of accountability, and that's BIG ya'll.

In his book 'The Four Agreements', Don Miguel Ruiz contends that the first agreement, "Be impeccable with your word...is the most important one and also the most difficult one to honor."  What is your word according to Mr. Ruiz? "The word is a force; it is the power ...to create the events in your life. But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or...can destroy everything around you." Your word is something you will be held accountable for, whether you choose to be or not. What you say, and whether you uphold it or not, will determine how others see you and it will significantly influence the legacy you are creating.

Accounting or rationalizing and explaining our actions ain't that hard ya'll, it's being accountable for the words we speak that present the problem. The simplest way to resolve the issue of unaccountability is to understand that whoever you give your word to is looking for the love that ensues as a result of your following through with what you said you would do. Following through might be of little value to you, but you should try and understand that it might be of utmost importance to another.

 It's about accountability ya'll, all about giving love to another by simply formulating our actions so that they show we care. If we can't follow through with what we said we would do, then let's show some love by letting our loved one know, as soon as we can, and thereby freeing them to show love, rather than a long unhappy face, to someone else. Giving love is reciprocal. What we give to one goes to another and somehow comes back to us. Let's focus more on giving rather than receiving, if only for a minute, and see what happens. I bet that if we do LOVE will increase exponentially, on a universal scale, simply because each of us has given our word and followed through. Let's try it. Then, if you don't mind, get back and let a brother know what happened...You have my word... I'll share what you've shared with me with others, or let you know why I didn't.

I'll holla...


To comment or respond please click on the word comments at the bottom of this page, or email me at grace.calvin187@gmail.com







Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Who and The Why

Isn't it amazing, yet standard practice, for us to question our existence? At birth, while having our first encounter with the breath of life, I'm sure we asked ourselves "Where am I?"  Then we started noticing things like fingers, toes, our surroundings and other people, and we begin to wonder what purpose they serve in regard to us. As time goes by, and we go from infant to toddler to child, we begin to interact with our new found discoveries and begin to understand their relationship to us. It is then that we develop a desire to move forward, to experience new things, and to find out what other possibilities are available to us because we want to know all there is to know about our existence. We're like the kindergartener whose grandfather picked him up and asked him "So how was your first day of school grandson? "It was fine grandpa..." he answered, "...but how much longer do I have to do this?"

Well that was his first encounter with the world outside of his comfort zone and, like all of us, this young guy was not yet fully satisfied with where he was at this juncture in his life. He was looking for that one thing... that one person... that one place that would give him a sense of fulfillment. Yes he had unawaringly reached that juncture in time where his major objective became finding the answer to that timeless two part question, that perpetually pops up at different phases in all of our lives..."Who am I, and why am I here?" We go from one place to the next, from one escapade to  another. We learn from our experiences, we attempt to expand our horizons, yet that elusive question, "Who am I, and why am I here?", follows and finds us no matter where we go.

What I've decided is that we approach this question from where we are right now. We answer the first part of it by identifying ourselves as a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew,  a child of the universe or whatever spiritual foundation we might be working from, and use it as the response to that part of the question that asks "Who am I?" As for the "Why am I here?" part, we respond from the premise of I'm giving of myself for the benefit of others. Now how to we employ that practice? We ask ourselves what would I enjoy doing right now? We make the answer to that question a criteria for choosing the course of action, always purposing in our mind a means by which our choice can benefit another.

What does that look like. Well here's a few examples:

"I want to go to the show, so I'm going to take my friend so that the two of us we can enjoy the movie together." or..."I'm going to enroll in this Syncopated Ladies Boot Camp, and brush up on my tap dancing skills so I can share my joy of dance with someone else." or..." I'm going back to school so I can get more knowledge, make more money, and better my chances of being able to send my young daughter to college." or even..." I'm going to walk along the beach and speak to at least one person while doing so." It's simple...Be who you are, do what you enjoy doing, and think of someone else in the process.

It's a 'WE' thang ya'll, and until we all free ourselves of feeling of little or no value, until we liberate ourselves from a sense of having no real purpose, no one of us can be truly free to fulfill our collaborative purpose for being here...to help one another. We're all in this together. and it don't take much to make it work. Let's do this ya'll.

I'll holla...


To comment or respond please click on the word comments at the bottom of this page, or email me at grace.calvin187@gmail.com




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where Have All The Children Gone

I’d like to thank my eldest nephew for teaching me how not to change diapers, by peeing right in my face when I first attempted to change his. I’d also like to thank my niece for instructing me on the importance of being patient with a child’s development. I was highly eager for her to start conversing with me, but once she got started I often wished that she would stop talking and go somewhere and sit down. I convey appreciation to my sister in law for allowing me an opportunity to take her children to Brookfield Zoo and her grandchildren to the beach, because I too was able to experience the utter joy demonstrated by children who ‘discover’ something for the very first time.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the elementary school students at St. Marks’ church who exemplified such an innate desire to learn and a heartfelt appreciation to us tutors who took time out to assist them in their endeavors. A shout out to the Teen Identity youth at New Life Covenant church who proved to me that spiritual food must be given with care and not forced upon those young ones who are unconsciously seeking balance between the teachings of the church and the calling of the streets. And countless kudos to the elementary and high school students  at the Lighthouse Youth Center who unabashedly showed me that society’s looking down on their economic and social strata would not deter them from achievement as long as somebody, who cared, challenged and pushed them to succeed.

I’m of the mindset however, that for some time now, there have been no children just very youthful looking people. Our being ‘friends’ with our own children for fear of them not liking us, and fearful of other folks’ children cause they look and act like thugs and thugettes, has inadvertently coerced all of our children into feeling that they must take matters into their own hands. We are basically depriving them of their childhood and pushing them to be what we and they deem as being more responsible, when in reality they’re  only looking and acting grown but are still not being accountable for their behavior. We are dressing our 2 and 3 year olds like the 12 and 13 year olds, who’ve become a bit repugnant to us, and then we wonder what’s wrong with our youth. We complain about how our sons and daughters are raising our grandchildren, yet we say nothing to them cause we don’t want to get in their ‘business’.

Caring for a child of any age is a challenging yet rewarding experience. Of utmost importance is that we, as caretakers, recognize and understand the ramifications inherent in our interactions. My contention is that we take on the role of parent/facilitator, rather than provider/friend, and provide an environment that allows our children’s voices to be heard because we can gain so much by intently listening to what they have to say. I contend that It is in the best interest of all that we disseminate and discuss information from all sides rather than insisting that one is right and the other wrong. At the same time, we must let it be known, that we will be fair in our decisions but, because of our God Given authority, we will have the final say. This approach will work because, believe it or not, from birth to adulthood and beyond, our young ones are subconsciously seeking discipline and guidance from those of us who they deem capable of administering it. 

Our children are still here ya’ll, just hidden by a consciousness that tells them to act all grown like they know what they’re doing, and when they get exposed for not knowing, to act like  babies insisting that nobody understands them and nobody cares. We can learn a lot from our children, but first we must help them to find and stay in their zone, and the only way we can do that is by finding and staying in our own.


I’ll holla


To comment or respond please click on the word comments at the bottom of this page, or email me at grace.calvin187@gmail.com


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Post Racism? Yeah...Right

In the past week I've heard more than once that we live in a post racism society. I do understand how caucasians and other people of color condone this theory because of their ignorance of what’s going on in the black community. I've also concluded that African Americans who express the same opinion have either miraculously not experienced racism or choose to ignore it. Be that as it may, racism still exists here in America and all over the world.

On January 20, 2014 we officially celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, in all 50 states for only the 14th time. Although the observance campaign began in 1968,  the holiday was not signed  into law until Ronald Reagan did so in 1983. It was not officially observed in all 50 states however, until the year 2000. A black man who not only championed the struggle for civil rights in this country, but advocated the striving for human rights all over the globe Is denied equitable recognition with folks like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, for 32 years, because of the color of his skin. So when he’s nationally recognized in 2000, is this when post racism began?

Well if we’re going to be realistic, we must admit that it couldn’t have begun then because Donald Sterling, in 2014, has dispelled that notion with a publicized phone conversation that demonstrated, among other racist aversions, his loathing of the minorities occupying his rental properties. Was his being banned from the NBA the beginning of post racism? Hell to the naw, racism in today's world is as pervasive today as it was 50 years ago. 

There are 20 known white nationalist organizations in the United States,16 in Germany, 8 in Canada, 6 each in England and Russia, and others scattered all over the globe. Be they overt or covert, millions of Sterlings still exist and we continue to support institutions that allow them to flourish. So called minorities make up 30% of the population in this country and comprise 60% of the penal system. 

Let's face it, black folks spend more money than any other ethnic group and ever since Rodney Allen Rippy appeared in the 'Jack in the Box'  commercial in the early 70's the advertisement world has been inundated with black faces that coerce us into spending our income. The same principle applies to the movies, the recording industry, television, and sports venues. Not only because we spend more money but our presence in these industries draws more money. 

Black on black crime is spoken of in every setting, yet even the mention of white on white and white on black crime, practiced in this country since its inception in 1776, is virtually unheard of. We focused on the racism inherent in the Trayvon Martin case of 2014, yet we act like police detention and brutality administered to young black men has nothing to do with racial profiling.

I challenge every person who feels we are in a post racism period to go to any black neighborhood on this planet, and ask any black person if they’ve experienced racism in the year 2014, either overt, covert, or otherwise. I guarantee that at least 7 of 10 will say yes. If you don’t want to accept this challenge just give me a holla and I’ll give you brand new occurrences like the one with the young African American lady who swore up and down to me a couple of weeks ago that racism did not exist, and was recently confronted on the street by a middle-aged Caucasian who told her to go back to Africa. 

Racism is still alive and poppin ya’ll, and unless we each do our part, by speaking and acting in the truth that we are all equal, albeit some of us are in unequal circumstances, post racism will always be just a dream deferred.

I’ll holla…

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Words We Speak

It has been said that Mother Teresa was once asked to participate in a war protest. As the story goes, she indicated that she chose not to support any event that dealt with the notion of war, but to holla back in the event of a peace rally. In his book ‘The Four Agreements’, Don Miguel Ruiz says that the first agreement i.e. ‘Be impeccable with your word’, is the most important one. I believe that Ruiz is well aware of the power inherent in our words and Mother Theresa as well.  For her the word Peace appeared to strike a positive chord while the word War seemed to be very disconcerting.

I’ve personally witnessed people, myself included, who have made positive affirmations and negative proclamations that have all become manifest in our lives. I am also totally convinced that the Grace of God holds what is called the first and final word. But by the same token, I do not believe that our Creator allows the words we speak to come back void. When put into the universe, be they positive or negative, our words are destined to come back, perhaps not in a manner that we would expect. but come back they will. 

Communicating well with each other is the key to our collaborative existence and choosing our words carefully is the basis for maintaining  loving and lasting relationships. The type of energy produced by the words we speak is of utmost importance. Negative speech generates negative energy, and conflicts, from personal to world-wide, are the inevitable result. On the other hand, positive communication is the only means for producing the energies of love, peace, and understanding.

Yes, our choice of words in our interaction with one another can make all the difference in the world. Using words like we rather than you and mistaken rather than wrong, are choices that can steer a conversation in a positive direction. During my addiction I used to constantly make choices that were not in the best interest of others, and my sponsor telling me that I was not a bad person trying to be good, but a sick person trying to get well has eradicated the self hatred and considerably diminished the blame I carried with me for so long. 

Let’s do this ya’ll. Let’s do our best to talk to others in a manner in which we would like to be addressed. Let’s commit to not making promises that we can’t keep, and appreciating the efforts of others whose intent is to do the same. In spite of what seems to be going on around us, the universe is a beautiful and wonderful place, and we are responsible for it’s continuous and miraculous unfolding. The power in a word is what causes events to take place, and ultimately our choice of words will determine how these events are made manifest.

I’ll holla…


To comment or respond, click on the word comments at the bottom of this page or email me at grace.calvin187@gmail.com.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

What You Gon Do

When I was in the midst of my past bout with cancer, I felt like crying sometimes and I did, knowing that the tears would wash away the anguish. At other times the thoughts about poor ole me were replaced by what's going on with the folks younger than myself. Like the 70,000 adolescents and young adults who are being stricken with this disease every year. I was 64 years old and crying and these young people had not even experienced half the years of good living I'd been blessed to enjoy. Yet both these responses to my condition left me feeling that there must be something that leaves me with a greater sense of satisfaction and well being.

Had the opportunity to watch Richard Pryor's performance 'Live On The Sunset Strip' again, and he explained the circumstances prior to his catching on fire. He talked about how he became addicted to freebasing (smoking cocaine), and how it became virtually impossible for him to stop. Then he spoke of how football professional and activist Jim Brown came to his home, while he was freebasing, and asked a very pertinent question..."What you gon do?' Of course Richard had considered stopping because, when not in the act of freebasing, he was constantly being reminded of his extreme weight loss and his lack of concern for his endangered state of being. He refused to adequately address Jim Brown's question, by saying I'm going to continue doing what I do, and so it was answered for him...he literally got burned.

Whatever we're being confronted with, whatever we're going through, that question has to be answered by us or it will be answered for us, and usually in a manner that can be totally overwhelming. And you know what, that only means we have to deal with another more extreme confrontation that poses the exact same question...'What you gon do?'

I've already expressed that I've dealt with my personal bout with cancer and the answer to the aforementioned question, by first feeling sorry for myself and then focusing on the plight of those younger than me who are in  the same situation. However, I have since taken the stance that those particular responses to that nagging question leave something to be desired. I've decided to throw myself all the more into writing these blogs, finishing my book, and talking to more people, via the radio show, about how they deal with situations we are all faced with on a daily basis.

I know that we'll all be faced with more decision making circumstances from what to wear to where do we go from here. Blog or book writing may not even factor in but the question of 'What we gon do' will be answered, either now or later.  It is my contention that adherence to a spiritual condition that advocates honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, and that promotes faith, hope, and LOVE will more than answer our questions. It will not merely show us  what we can do about now,  it will prepare us for all the 'What yo gon do's that lie on the horizon.

I'll holla.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

CANCER FREE YA'LL

This experience with cancer is by far the most horrific encounter I've ever gone through in my entire life. Be that as it may, I've realized that it's only by the Grace of God that I'm able to view it as both a life altering lesson and a bountiful blessing.

After the biopsy and diagnosis in January, and having received the results of the first PET scan in early February, I could neither understand nor accept the finding that I had cancerous cells in my brain, 90% of my bone marrow, lymph nodes, lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, both kidneys, urinary bladder, and various other organs, bones and muscles throughout the body. Were it not for the  love and support of my family, the prayers of people, some of whom I didn't even know, and ultimately the Mercy and Grace of God I know that I could not have withstood the onslaught of fear,  anticipation of death, disgust, anger, guilt, and other negative responses that accompanied this overwhelming disclosure of my health condition. 

Now you already know that the first question I asked God was "Why", and I was somewhat surprised by the answer I received which was... "Because I Can and I Do Allow things like this to happen". The answer to my second question was also unexpected. "Why me" I asked and the answer was..."Because I love you and I Know that you can deal with whatever I Allow to Happen to you". However, the answer to the third question, "What am I supposed to do now", put everything in perspective. That answer was..."I Want you to share your experience with others." With that in mind, allow me  to share the gist of this experience with you.

After the initial pet scan of February 5th, with cancer cells present throughout my entire body, the second pet scan on March 17th showed cancer present only in the left chest wall. Then, about two weeks ago on May 5th, the third pet scan showed no cancer...nowhere. WHAT....ARE YOU SERIOUS...PRAISE GOD was the only response I could muster.

I still antagonize over what now and where do I go from here, but of one thing I'm sure...I have a purpose in life...I have a reason for being here. That reason and purpose being the same as it is for all of you and everybody and everything else that exists in this universe...to share the benefits of our experiences with others. 

The lesson I'm learning from this encounter with cancer is that at times I become rather lax and complacent in different areas of my life, and try and convince myself that I got it going on and that all is well. But I know in my heart of hearts that I can do better. This happens for all of us and it reaches a point where our Creator allows a wake up call to become manifest. For me, this last one seems a bit exaggerated, but then who am I to judge what and how much it takes to move me to the next level. As for the blessing(s), even though I'm still experiencing a lack of energy and other uncomfortable symptoms, I know it's due to the chemo and am so overjoyed that there's only one more treatment to go. The blood work results and my own body consciousness show that I'm physically healthier than I've been in 30 years. I have a brand new zest for life that surpasses any I've ever experienced, and now Thank God,  I know me...I'm finally aware of who I truly am. 

I love all of ya'll. I love what is happening in my life and I love being given the opportunity to share it with you. What I'm learning from all of this is that no matter what seemingly horrific thing might occur in our lives, we should take time out to listen to what's called that still small voice. Then we can tie a knot in the end of the proverbial rope and hold on, knowing that it's gonna get greater later.


I'l holla


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