Sustainable Art

There’s going to be some stuff you’re going to see that’s going to make it hard for you too smile in the future.

Through all of the rain and the pain, You gotta be able to maintain a sense of humor, and smile through all of the bullshyt.

Tupac Shakur…

There are multiple theories in regards to how many muscles it takes to smile versus a frown. While the numbers vary with every passing opinion, the source of a smile cannot be denied.

Scientist claim that smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, ultimately serving as a natural pain reliever of sorts. During this process, the serotonin also serves as an antidepressant or mood lifter if you will.

I’ve come to learn that smiling is the ultimate party inside of my brain, no matter how I’m feeling. Having an above knee amputation due to a motorcycle accident, for the past 21 years I’ve dealt with daily bouts of phantom pains.  Early on there were many times that the pain would be so severe, tears would slowly trickle down my cheek, as if stubbornness got in the way of reflecting the emotional state my mind and body were in.

The time came for me to reflect back on my life and realize that I’m blessed to be here. I had a good childhood, good upbringing, and many fun filled times that included smiling and multiple bouts of laughter. I’ve also been through some vey rough times; who hasn’t.

Life is full of ups and downs. And with those ups and downs come plenty of smiles and cries. Through it all the one thing that we must always remind ourselves is to live and maintain a sense of humility and humor. For life is what we make of it; you only get one shot. Don’t miss!

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Three The Hard Way…

      journey – noun

  • an act of traveling from one place to another
  • a long and often difficult process of personal change and development

The journey you are on is supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be difficult, thus the process leading to the destination is for the taking, full of reward and gratitude.

Speaking for myself the definition of journey fits me like a glove. I went from having two legs, with the ability to run like a gazelle, to a motorcycle accident in 1995 that changed my life forever. I lost my left leg above the knee, and with that a piece of my soul, or so I thought.

The process of finding myself has been more than hard, excruciating at times, though I feel the daily pains in my body are put there to remind me that I’m alive, so I’ve learned to embrace it, as a mother embraces a child for the first time. Countless hours of rehabilitation, mentally and physically, has consumed most of my adult life. I’ve shed tears, been angry, hurt, depressed, and plenty of times simply thought about giving up.

Personal change became an apparent neccesity, without it I would simply wither away and die. My belief in god and what he prefers started to become prevalent once again. I realized that I would not be able to do it alone, blind faith would have to lead the way. The mirror I look out of had to become my best friend, no longer my enemy. I would have to see myself for what I am, having first to change the ways of who I was. In order to reach greatness I must perfect my train of thought, putting aside all bouts of ego, arrogance, and bravado. These things take time, coming to fruition after a certain level of patience and accountability, to ones self and the process. It comes with set backs and hardship, but once perfected, everything else is smooth sailing.

The growth and development I’ve seen within myself allows me the ability to write this with a smile. Knowing I still have a long road ahead of me keeps me humble, never allowing myself my own pat on the back for what I think i’ve done, knowing I need to, and can, do more. The process, the personal change, and the development of those things are the 3 roads that I travel, all leading up to the destination. For me redemption is my cup of tea, being able to look back and say that I completed this project called life, with its many twist and turns, will only have meaning once I pass on to the next life.

That’s when God becomes the judge and jury, his final verdict being the determining factor on how I will prevail. In the meantime I trust the process, I embrace the struggle, I work hard to maintain a level of focus and humility to move from one day to the next, and most importantly, I live. Everything else as they say, Is gonna be alright…

Peace!

My Enemy, My Friend…

I don’t know why we are enemies. Could it be how we were raised and taught to think. Could it be the sins of your ancestors and the pain and suffering that mines had to endure? How are these things possible when I don’t even know your name.

We come from the same place you and I, our mothers womb. We both sat and waited patiently, sometimes not, for 9 months, waiting for the day to be born into this world not knowing what lies ahead. Neither one of us asked to be here yet here we are, brought forth from a series of pushes and agonizing pain from our mothers, clinging to them for the necessary tools of life in order to survive.

We were both born with love in our hearts, hatred for one another cast down in the form of history, lies to be told, truth never to be revealed. In the midst of it all you and I are inseparable, both visitors to this foreign land. The difference is one was forced here, the other took what they thought was theirs. Why did you feel the need to do this to us I ask? Where did it all go wrong, why destroy what was once so beautiful. Since slavery, my mother raised your children, loving them as if they were her own, while I lay in the dark searching for light, yearning for a chance to become, to smile, to live.

We grew up totally different you and I. As time moved forward the natural order of things showed that we aren’t different, yet seemingly worlds apart. Is this all just a bad dream? Or are my eyes wide shut to the realization of what once was, us playing together as children, one in the same, separated only from the space needed to form a handshake or a hug, not racism, classism, and every other form of separatist act that enters stage left.

Children don’t lie. They are genuine at heart, in mind, and intent. As we watch them play, laugh, and talk together, let us not forget that was once you and I, The ability to coexist much more than a mere formality. I know you and you know me, much more than a Saab story, it’s a reality that will never die. Maybe one day the divide that comes between us will be no more, until then was it all a dream, can it ever be a reality, or just a thought permanently embedded in the wind, blown away never again to be found.

Peace!

Today I Do, Tomorrow I Will…

Today, I realize that God is the reason for my being

Tomorrow, I will realize the same

Today, I’ll do everything possible to love life and smile

Tomorrow, I will know not to take it in vain

Today, I fill my soul with happiness, never to be done in by life’s ills

Tomorrow, I will simply look back and say, Oh what a thrill

Today, is a time to start anew, replenishing my body with the nourishment that I need

Tomorrow, I will have applied what I learned today, all in the never-ending quest to succeed

Today, I say thank you, for the sun, the moon, and the stars

Tomorrow, I will be the seed that blossoms, into a tree not free of scars

Today, I present to you everything that I am

Tomorrow, I will try even more

Today, I believe in who I am

Tomorrow, I will even the score

Peace!

On Some Other S*T…

Focus all the time to be number one, born, raised and accused of being animal / troublesome. 

Crabs in the barrel survival of the fittest, family and society be your worse critics.

Lose yourself in the moment I say why not, either way the naysayers take pot shots. 

But I can be the president go ask Barack, without slinging crack rock or a jump shot.

Society perceives me as greasy, but the bigger picture has been painted in 3D believe me I know I’m a shining star, for you to see what my life can be taken far.

I’m at the cross roads of my life paw, can you lend a helping hand or a magic wand?

God gave me broad shoulders for me to bear, the weight of the world carry it with no fear.

It’s hard to be in my skin, racism hatred I can’t comprehend

Wish my name was chameleon so I can blend, black man free in the dictionary ain’t a sin.

One blood one voice for a common cause, but legal tender got you focused on just you and yours.

Free at last free at last hope to see it soon, the hearts of men better change or we all doomed. 

Once upon the time felt my life was hopeless, buffoonery and the and the industry will make me rich.

Can’t put a price tag on a piece of mind, rebel music in my soul forever I shine.

Know who you are find out where you come from, google Willie Lynch’s family and kill his son.

Like I said before focus to be number one, you can’t stop the sun from shining your life ain’t done.

Fin’

Boy Meets Girl…

I met this girl, when I was ten years old

And what I loved the most she had so much soul

Eventually if it was meant to be, then it would be

Cause we related, mentally and physically

Common…

Actually he was nine. He met a girl who made his heart skip a beat. They grew up singing in the church youth choir together; not knowing years later their connection would sing a different sort of tune, their bodies intertwined would create a majestic melody that only God could see.

Puppy love can become something special when the stars are aligned properly. Communication is key, loyalty is everything. Above all, god must be the first strain, not the second or third, but THE numero uno. Without that the emotions and activity associated with that so called love becomes secular, in and above itself, an afterthought.

Puppy love blossomed into matrimony, one of the happiest days of their lives besides the birth of their son. A day God chose to tell the world here we are, because He said so. There were good times, more than a few, but not enough. Somewhere along the way the dream became a nightmare, weakness and addiction entered the soul of the man, lack of strength and fortitude entered the soul of the woman. Both are at fault in one form or another, finger pointing is meaningless. They simply forgot that God put this all together, and he can just as easily take it away.

He used to love her, probably still does. Thinking back on what was and what could have been serves no purpose here. Choices were made, mistakes were plenty, hearts were broken. No amount of money could buy the love they still have inside for one another, yet the pain still lingers, the amount of tears able to fill a shallow stream. Could they ever try again, he thinks not, but only God knows the answer to that.

Whenever their favorite song is heard he thinks of her, as he gazes into his son’s eyes he sees her soul. Every once and a while he smiles, thinking of her and the days of old, reminiscing about their first kiss. Even though it was long ago he remembers like it was yesterday, perfection never to be forgotten, no matter how hard he tries. He pray’s that God watches over and protects her, for he still cares. These moments of clarity signify not only did he used to, but indeed still does, love her.

The Longest Yard…

Are you ready?

Football season is upon us. The ups and downs of your favorite teams are here. Never has a man become so emotional over something so meaningless to his day-to-day than this. For some, football is everything. The air they breathe, the rigid dichotomy between entertainment and real life.

My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. For 20 years I’ve endured glorious wins and heartbreaking losses. I literally bleed black and yellow. To the point my blood pressure would go through the roof play after play, bad call after bad call. Being born and raised in Philadelphia and not being an Eagles fan doesn’t help either. For all the backlash I would receive for being a Steelers fan my reply would always be the same, I represent Pa to the fullest so it’s all good.

For the next 5 months Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays will be the cornerstones of football. For the gridiron enthusiast this is the time of year they’ve been waiting for, a moment in time that comes with plenty of excitement, friends, family, food and fun. Big screen HD and LED televisions will capture every bead of sweat, every bit of grass, real or artificial. Games will become cooler talk, great catches or bad calls will be the topic of conversation during fishing trips, and referees will always be the enemy in the eyes of many.

Players will be held responsible for miscues, their salaries will determine the level of greatness they should already have achieved in the eyes of the fans, and where teams should be because of it. Owners of losing teams will be ridiculed for not putting out the best product available based on the billions of dollars that the NFL as a corporation generates. This is the time when we the fans dissect more than just the play on the field, we break down the existence of teams as a whole, as if we ourselves can do a better job than the corporate big wigs and players our eyes gaze upon week after week.

So to the millions of football fans out there I say enjoy, allow yourselves to be entertained, for the second half of 2015 will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears. Your favorite team will either satisfy your craving for excitement and accountability as a winner, or will crush your very means of existence as a football fan. There will be smiles and cries, but through it all please try to remember one thing, it’s only just a game. Peace!

The Lion King…

I’m a believer, Can’t nobody tell me nothing to change my ways

Believing in yourself and your abilities means everything, like watching a baby learn to walk. It’s one of the most inspiring feats in the human and natural world. Watching my son and daughter teach themselves to walk and the determination in their eyes let me know anything is possible.

In the animal world, the same determination can be said of lion cubs. The animal kingdom is a very volatile, and savage society. A lioness instinctively keeps her cubs away from the pride, knowing the community she lives in can be unforgiving. They are born blind and helpless, relying solely on their mother for food and reassurance. They learn survival from their mother and the pride, then are thrust into the world to go it on their own.

The human process while different in strategy, bears the same results. As children, we are taught to believe in ourselves and our ability, that if we give it our best we can succeed in anything that we do. This starts with our parents instilling in us that we are somebody. They protect us from the ills of the world as long as they can, then it is up to us to figure it out on our own.

As we get older we start to realize that the world is unforgiving, just as the lion cub realizes. At some point we fend for ourselves, carving out a piece of territory we call our own for the sake of survival. It all starts with the lessons we learned as a child, God’s blessings, and the fire inside of us to win in the midst of chaos that can be called life.

Of course we will make mistakes in the quest for greatness, we will fail and fail again just like the lion. Lions may fail to successfully catch prey numerous times before becoming victorious, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. It’s important while on our journey that we embrace failure, for it shapes and molds character and says a lot about will power. As the lion we must never give up, always moving forward, to reach our proper place in life.

A boy to a man, a girl to a woman, a cub to a lion, every step forward is a meaningful one. We are all born the little engines that could, growing up believing that we can. With the proper guidance, protection, and fortitude we can accomplish anything. All that we need is already inside of us, we just have to bring it out and show the world with two simple words, I Am!

Strength in Numbers…

The Rza

The Gza

inspecta Deck

U God

Masta Killa

Ghostface

Raekwon

Method Man

The Ol’ Dirty Bastard

 

When the Wu first came on the scene it was something the world had never seen before in hip hop. Nine members coming together, creating a sound and aura that still goes unmatched today. The Wu as a whole always has been greater than the sum of it’s parts, which leads us to today’s topic.

The black community seems to have embraced the lone wolf syndrome, everyone thinking they can do it on their own instead of devising a plan together. In order to be a great leader you have to be a great follower, just as the members of Wu Tang followed Rza. He had a vision and collectively they put their ego’s aside, and made history. They gave the community an example of what can be if we follow that blueprint for success. Each of the nine members solo careers have been nothing in comparison to the group as a whole, In record sales or in concert.

I’ve seen The Wu in concert a few times, all I can say is the energy is indescribable. I know, family and society can be our worst critics at times, we tend to beat ourselves up from within. There has to be a solution to us maturing and growing as one, the rose that grew from concrete, that competitive spirit blossoming into self empowerment, the full development of health, education, and welfare. It’s deeper than rap, it’s deeper than this blog, it’s deeper than Wu Tang, it’s the survival of us all.

History teaches us that this can be achieved, when you watch a wolf pack they thrive for years together, everyone knows their role, the leader is the leader without question. When you watch a wolf by himself he leaves the door open for attack, injury, and starvation. This is a cycle we must break, for the betterment of the whole, we’ve never been able to do it on our own, nor should we. Isolation leads to submission at some point, from chasing supposed freedom, to a 9 to 5 admitting that we need em.

Fatal Attraction…

I talk a lot of shyt on Facebook. I share my views on life as I see it, I talk about my son, my daughter, sports, politics, everything you can think of except religion and sexual exploits. The God’s of the 5% Nation break down the word religion as to “rely on”. That’s what we’ll be discussing today.

The “like” feature on Facebook is an illusion that has captivated many, with various meanings. It can mean someone is in tune with what you posted, it could mean someone is fond of you so they’re going to like whatever you post anyway, it could mean a person is a stalker, you never know.  God forbid someone hits the like button and doesn’t mean it, if they take it back some people would lose their minds.

I don’t get many likes on my page, I have a core audience of people that I talk to and read their post on a daily basis and they read mines, maybe. Out of the 700 plus friends I have on Facebook, I know about 500 of them in some form or fashion. The rest I’ve accumulated performing poetry, playing Candy Crush, Cafe World, or some sort of game that Facebook offers. I know 700 friends doesn’t seem like a high number but I look at it this way. Why do I need 5000 friends on my page if we’re not providing some sort of service or business with one another.

If you really want to know if your Facebook friends are truly your friends, ask each of them to send a dollar to your pay pal account daily and see what happens. The like button doesn’t make or break me, or validate who I am. It also doesn’t describe the reasoning behind why someone used it in the first place. If your on my page and you post something and ask an opinion on it, don’t get bent out of shape at the answer you receive or whether I liked it or not. I saw a meme yesterday that said If you live off of compliments, you will die over criticism.

That is the catalyst for me writing this article today. Imagine what the world would be like if they went ahead an implemented the dislike button on Facebook instead of making it an emoji, World War 3 would erupt for sure. My punctuality may not always be perfect, I may have a grammatical error, or two, or three in my post, I may curse every now and again, I may even tell you that I’m the best looking one legged brother in the City of Philadelphia. Difference is I believe it already, I don’t need Facebook to tell me so. Peace!