Monday, September 22, 2014

How About Right Now

Right now I'm sitting here writing this blog and evidently...right now...you're reading or listening to this blog. I'm smiling now, how about you? The reason I'm writing is to share my feelings with you, you're where you are because you want to know what Calvin has to say. You know what, regardless of what time it is or was for you, and for me, we're still on the same page...and something's happening for both of us right now.

What am I saying? No matter where we are or what we're doing, let's stay in the right now and be all right with where we are. I went to Las Vegas this past Saturday, and had reserved a room online the day before. Beautiful ad that boasted of the king size bed, free cable, free wi-fi, downtown location, and all for the low price of $67.92 per night including tax. Unbelievable price in reference to the beautiful pictorial, panoramic  views of the room and motel site, and I felt so blessed to find such a wonderful deal.

It was a wonderfully scenic four and a half hour drive, but being eager to see my friends John and Willa upon my arrival, I quickly checked in at the motel, and took a moment for a  quick glance around my room. It wasn't as spacious and alluring as the depictions I had seen online, but the bed was king size, and there was a television in place, so I just dropped off my bags, and headed out to the home of Willa and John. We had a real good time reminiscing on our 20 year plus relationship, we were all extremely overjoyed that both John and myself had almost simultaneously overcome life threatening illnesses, and I can still taste the wonderful meal we shared at 'Lucille's', while listening to some live 'down home' blues. The time came to head back to the motel though, and upon agreeing on a breakfast meeting on Sunday morning, I took the short ride back.

Got back to the hotel and went to the bathroom where an almost unbearable, incessant noise, sounding like the huge pumps on the inside of the Hoover Dam, was taking place. The sound was undetectable in the bedroom thank God, but I knew my trips to the bathroom would certainly be quieter and more pleasant if I had some earplugs.

Coming back to the bedroom, I looked for the remote control but that was all in vain. I turned the television on manually, and made a call to the front desk. I was informed that the remote control for the room could be obtained by going downstairs to the desk and leaving a five dollar refundable deposit. When I arrived I had paid no attention to the environment outside the room, but having spent a number of years in the street life, I readily recognized the pimps, prostitutes, and drug dealers as I approached the office.  Needless to say, I was now fully aware that I was staying in a transient motel,  and that my expectations should not exceed this realization.

Undaunted I rented the remote control, went back in the room and found that the remote control didn't work.  There was nothing of my liking on TV anyway, so I took a chance and turned on the laptop. No signal as I had expected, and upon calling the desk about free wi-fi, I was warned that it didn't work all the time but I could click on the site 'Motel 8 downtown’ icon, put in the 12 digit passcode, and see what happens. I apprehensively did as I was told, was surprised when my site came up, yet understanding when it disappeared about forty seconds later. "Right now",  I said..."I'm going to bed." and in spite of the loud noise from the Mexican Independence Day celebration across the street, I was able to sleep.

Upon picking me up the next morning, John informed me that the area about three blocks down was improving but that more murders were committed there than in any area in Las Vegas. Right now though, I was all right cause I was still here. That's my point ya'll, no matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, if you feel ok you are ok, and what you don't know can't hurt you. What you do know should be considered however. I was vividly reminded that drugs and street life ain't for me. I realized that I needed to communicate more and ask somebody who knows to suggest hotel accommodations. Most of all, I accepted the fact that it’s best for me to stay in the ‘right now’  and enjoy the view, no matter what time or in what place that might be. 


I'l holla...

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Monday, September 15, 2014

TWEAK YOUR TUDE

That's right...from time to time we should check and see what's going on with our attitude toward life and the people in it. 'You better check yourself before you wreck yourself' is the adage I'm familiar with, and I'm sure all of you have been told from time to time, whether verbally or just by the expression on somebody's face, "I don't like your attitude.' Don't get me wrong though, cause the same applies on the other side as well. Most , if not all of us, have been told..."I like your attitude... Man, I wish I was cool like that..., or that confident..., or that cocky." Well it's okay to be checked by others, but it's better to check ourselves first so that we can better respond to those others that are checking us.

We got to go inside ya'll, we got to go in deep and find out what we're working with before we get worked up or worked over. It's simple, but it's not easy living in this world of ours. All it takes is treating others like we want to be treated, that's the simple part. The hard part is not treating people the way they treat us. Every other day we run into somebody, or hear about somebody that doesn't seem to like or respect who we are or what we stand for, and it takes a lot to not respond in a negative way to what they're bringing to the table. The real dilemma doesn't start with them and what they have to say however, it starts with how we respond. We need to reset our spiritual agenda, so that our physical and emotional inclinations don't control how we interact with others.

Ohh it's been many a night that I've been upset to the point that I'm walking down the street of a rough area in the city, and asking myself 'What if somebody tries to do something to you." You know the response..."OOH I ain't had a fight in thirty years... I wish a n---- would." It ain't good to have that kind of attitude ya'll, cause in this day and age people are looking for somebody to take off, and they don't give a damn about your attitude.

Attitude is revealing and contagious. It sets the stage for how we treat others and how they treat us. Unless we know who we are and what our purpose is, the field for foolishness is wide open and we might go anywhere  cause we have no direction. I think these words from the 'Desiderata' pretty much sum up what a desired attitude looks like...

"...be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

That's right, go in and see if that's how you feel inside. Stop everything for a minute and reassess if you're spiritually where you want to be. If not open yourself up for the change that needs to take place, and then be about letting it happen. You know we work too hard at trying to be this and trying to be that. We strive too much to look like what we think the standard of beauty is. We spend way too much time trying to live up to what we think somebody else's expectations of us are. Come in from the outside and go in where the real you resides.

It's way cool to look good, feel good, and our personal happiness is of utmost importance.. The fact of the matter is that we can do, we can have, and we can be all of that if we use our attitude as our guide and our follow up as our sustainer. Whatever we want will unfold... We just need to do our part and be patient with the outcome.

I am happy with myself, and when you see me, you can be what you see. Just tell yourself that every day, make up your mind to live from that perspective each and every moment of your life, and don't allow anybody to steal your joy no matter what page they may be on. Stay in your book...'The Road to Happiness', and understand that every chapter and every page in that book is contingent on your attitude towards the "Book of Life'.

People gon be who they are and the only way to contend and get along with them is to be you...the real you that dwells inside. You may not be where you want to be, so be happy with where you are and know that it always gonna get greater later. Let that be your attitude and vow that you're gonna be sticking to it.

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


Monday, September 8, 2014

CHICAGO VIBES

I'm here in Chicago and just totally excited about the vibes I'm experiencing. Albeit some of them are not as titillating as I'd like them to be, my hometown of Chicago is still an accurate barometer of what's going on around the world, and I'm just happy to be here and to be able to check things out.

I do not watch the news in California but while here in Chicago I viewed a news broadcast Sunday night and and learned that there was:

  • a number 6.o earthquake in Napa, California 
  • two police related shootings of one black man and black woman and another individual black man in two different Chicago neighborhoods and...
  • a severe thunderstorm watch for the Chicago area on the next day Monday.                                  
All three news items produced negative vibes which gave me an opportunity to find the common denominator for the barometric pressure felt here in Chicago, and the rest of the known world...that common denominator being fear. This finding was confirmed for me as I drove down the Dan Ryan expressway about 1 pm the next day, and saw about 30 vehicles parked under the viaducts between 95th and 87th street. Might not mean anything to you, but here in Chicago we call that expressway 'The Damn Ryan' because of its high potential for accidents, yet nobody ever pulls over unless there's something wrong with the car or the police tell us to. In all my 65 years I have never seen that many people pull over and I know that a part of it was out of fear of the thunder and lightening that was occurring

Don't get me wrong. The fear I recognized was an understandable fear, as was the fearful anticipation and consequence of the earthquake in Napa, as well as the apprehensive potential for a citizen retaliation to the two shootings by Chicago police officers. My contention is that we're living under the auspices of a media induced fear, initiated and perpetrated by the so called 'powers that be', and that the vibes created as a result only serve to keep us worried, unhappy, and wondering what's going to happen next? 

On the other hand there were the positive vibes I got from hearing again that although Chicago's own Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguers baseball team had not won the International World series, they were still the World Series champions of the United States. You see I got a chance to see their last game, and I got a chance to be on the Damn Ryan' where thousands of motorists were on their way downtown to stand in the middle of State Street and watch those young black males demonstrate that they are not a lost cause, and although they might not win every game, they refuse to be defeated. I got a chance to see their black parents, along with white, black, yellow and brown supporters say... "Later for demonstrations and uprisings and terrorism and starvation and disease and killings and all that other stuff going on. We got HOPE right now and it's going to sustain us until." 

Needless to say, the positive vibes are what I'm on now and they're going to sustain me until...that until being immeasurable because I know that things are always going to work out when they're supposed to, and that all our fears are unfounded simply because they're  only comprised of False Evidence Appearing Real. Don't be fooled by the media, or by anybody or anything else ya'll. Whatever negativity is going on...it too will pass because HOPE...which I've anagrammed as Hallowed Opportunities Provided Everyday... is inevitable and ever present. I don't know about you, but I'm living in the now yet still excited about our future. Thanks Chicago for still being my kind of town, and thanks to you for allowing me to share these vibes.

I'll Holla...

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Monday, August 25, 2014

What YOU Gon Do?

What YOU Gon Do?

My cousin, who is currently in his fifties, posted an article on Facebook the other day that described his confrontation with police at a young age. In his words…”I grew up in the 60's and 70's in W. Philly. One afternoon, I was either 12 or 13, I personally came "this close" to being shot by the police in front of my own house.” He went on to explain how he had first hand knowledge, and thereby understood how and why black youth are still being accosted by law officers simply by the virtue of their being black. After talking with him, I learned that his commentary was in response to a caucasian friend, who although aware of the recent police shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri, still shared a video on Facebook, that tried to justifiably explain how black youth provoke policemen into shooting them. My cousin’s intent was to negate this assertion by sharing a personal experience that gave credibility to what black male youth are still experiencing, on a day to day basis, and to make his friend aware that black people have and are still experiencing a unique form of racism that people of other cultures do not understand.

Because he is an articulate and competent black physician, my cousin’s colleagues responded to his article with complete surprise. Most of them would have never believed or even considered that he was raised in what we refer to as the ghetto, and they expressed adoration for his willingness to openly share his story, and even more importantly, they were inadvertently co opted into questioning the validity of their own presuppositions and the accurateness of media based information. The consequences of my cousin’s action were very thought provoking to say the least.

These observations, on my part, led to the motive behind this particular discourse, namely…”What YOU gon do?”  It doesn’t take much, just a realization that complacency is rampant among us, and it’s imperative that a commitment be made by each of us to do what we can to eradicate the senselessness that pervades this world of ours. Racism is not the only issue that needs to be addressed, but be ever aware that racism, ethnicity, and religion are still the major means being employed to both commit and to justify the atrocities that are permeating each and every segment of our planet. 


 
  • In Missouri the National Guard has been commissioned to assist the police in assaulting demonstrators who are protesting the killing of unarmed black people. 

  • In the Sudan, millions of innocent Darfurians are still being affected by the ongoing genocide initiated by the Sudanese government years ago. 
  • In Burma, the military regime is still committing mass atrocities against ethnic minorities. and... 
  • In Iraq, different ethno-religious sects have been clashing, resulting in the deaths of up to 100,000 civilians since the 2003 US invasion.

None of this kind of stuff is new ya’ll, but we can do something new to offset it. Let’s start off by talking about these types of things, in public, with a beneficial purpose in mind. Let’s share our own personal, and perhaps frightening experiences, and how we managed to reach a state of mind that allowed us to elicit both empathy and sympathy, to those who are still undergoing a similar state of turmoil. Let’s discuss how important it is for each of us to learn and study the circumstances of an incident, before casting judgement and condemnation on a person/situation…and doing so only as a result of something we heard. More importantly, let’s not allow lies to be perpetrated in our presence without responding in kind with the truth. It’s only my opinion, yet I believe that we can all look forward to the creativity and collaboration that’s about to ensue.
Thanks Cuz for ‘settin it off’, and thanks to all of you for at least giving thought to ‘what YOU gon do’!!!

I’ll holla…

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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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