Saturday, August 16, 2014

HOW TO GET ATTENTION

There are two beings in my life that I've learned more from than I ever expected. These two are my dog Coco Bella and granddaughter Leia Nicole. The reason is because the love they have for me is unconditional, and they're completely honest and unflinching in their attempts to communicate.  One of the most valuable lessons that I've learned from the both of them is the length sentient beings are willing to go to get attention.

Coco is 5 years of age and will whine, moof (a weird sound that I've only heard her make), pick up a toy and run crazily back and forth, pick up her dish and drop it at your feet, and playfully jump on whoever comes near her. Leia, on the other hand, is 10 months old and cries, hollers like no other, claps her hands, dances while sitting down, hits the table or whatever is in reaching distance that she can elicit a sound from, and if provoked will hit you or even herself. Now mind you, both are two of the most wonderful creatures you'd want to be around, but be ever aware that they'll do whatever necessary to both make you aware and periodically remind you of their presence.

What I've learned from them is that the desire for attention starts early on. What has been confirmed for me, through their uninhibited methods of garnering attention, is that most of us still seek it and have developed seemingly inadvertent ways for doing so. We call ourselves humble, low-key, and say things like, "I'm satisfied with just being me". But let someone not speak to us, or not congratulate us on what we deem an achievement, or not say "thank you" or "I'm sorry", and we're in a total uproar. Mind you, most of us are not going to hit, run, holler at, or jump on that someone, but believe you me, probably the next person we talk to is going to hear about the nerve of that '#*&@%!?' for not acknowledging us.

Is there something wrong with desiring attention? Of course not. We are sentient beings who have feelings and want others to acknowledge, appreciate, and share in our sensitivities. However, the way we go about it may benefit from a little tweaking. Now we don't have to be brutally honest like Leia and Coco, although being honest with others can prove beneficial in some situations, but we should not expect others to devote themselves entirely to what it is we seek, because let's face it...they're focused on seeking that same thing from us...attention.

Well.. "What now"? you might ask. My contention is that we diminish our efforts to seek attention, and expend more energy on giving it. You see,  what I've also learned from Coco and Leia is that they are truly appreciative of a physical or verbal caress, and display instant gratification when their desire for attention is met. However, I must be careful to administer it in moderation because we don't want to be responsible for either of them becoming addicted to it. The same applies to those we seek attention from. Give them some attention. Because they're a little older than my two compatriots we automatically assume that they see things the way we do, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, like us, they just want some sympathy, empathy, or just a little bit of rhythm from another so that their own self worth and well-being can be substantiated. It's not going to be easy cause it's pretty difficult to tolerate a 'big ole baby', but I've been one a few times and I truly appreciated anybody who demonstrated grace and mercy to me during one of those attention craving spells. Believe you me, I was more than gratified, I was totally satisfied and I know that the positive energy I had received was passed right back to the one who gave it to me.

Let's give it a shot. Let's try giving rather than receiving and then determine, after a few attempts at doing so, if the warmth and sense of transformation we derive from being attentive to the needs and desires of another, isn't just as good or better than the attention we so consciously or inadvertently   seek.

I'll holla.


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Sunday, August 3, 2014

WHY YOU LIE ?

If you're withholding information that's pertinent to the situation, are you lying? My mother believes that you are. She used to tell my sisters and I that if we only told half the story we were lying, and that we would be in trouble if she heard the other half of the story from somebody else...Her question to us ..."Why You Lie?"

When I was about twelve or thirteen, and considering a means of income, my father told me that when he was my age he had two paper routes. A week or so later I started delivering the Chicago American newspaper, and about five or six years after that we visited my father's boyhood home of Stamps, Arkansas, and they still didn't have a newspaper... The question I wanted to ask my father back then..."Why You Lie?"

In the first example it's pretty obvious that deceit is involved when you tell only half the story, and in most cases, telling the other half would be self-incriminating. When my mother asked me where I was, I could readily say that I was down the street, but I could't say I was at Tuley Park because I wasn't supposed to cross King Drive Avenue. It was the fear factor ya'll. I was afraid that if I told the whole truth, omitting nothing, then I would be inviting more drama into my life and I certainly didn't want to have any more problems than the onesI had already created.

The second example also demonstrated fear, but this time on my father's part. He, like any loving father, was afraid that his son might choose a way of life that did not foster discipline and accountability. So he said and did what he thought was necessary to insure that I was involved in activities that provided the best means for my becoming a disciplined, self-supporting adult. What he said would probably be considered what is called a 'little white lie', that was told for my own good, but nonetheless, it was not the truth.

There you have it. Examples of two different situations, each stemming from an entirely different motives...the first to hide an act of disobedience, the second to inspire responsibility. However,  they are both based on the same consciousness...that consciousness being one of fear. Now I'm not going to discuss the duality of lying through omission or telling a little white lie for someone else's benefit, nor am I going to judge either of them as being right or wrong. But I will suffice it to say that the reason we lie is out of F.E.A.R., an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. My momma believed my false evidence and I believed my daddy's and as a result we will never know how our lives might have been different had the truth been told.

The reasons we give in response to the question... Why you lie?... can be rationalized, intellectualized, fantasized or our response can be just another lie in and of itself. The fact of the matter is that we give false evidence because we are afraid of the consequences that might ensue if we tell the truth. Let's  start living in the today and thereby eliminating the fear of being found out tomorrow. We don't know how our lying will affect us or the other person(s) we have involved in our falsehood, but what we do know is that telling the truth will definitely shed some light on our situation, and possibly make us accountable for being who we truly are. The end result can then be looked at and discussed in terms of whether or not telling the truth will ultimately benefit all involved in that particular situation.

We're spiritual beings having a human experience, and because of it's very nature, our humanness negates perfection. Nonetheless  we can all strive to be in a place where our answer to the question...Why you lie?...becomes "I didn't". Let's give it a try ya'll, let's try to always tell the truth and watch what happens.


I'll holla...

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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...


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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...


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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


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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…


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