It’s hard out here – in every sense of the word – from getting into college to getting the job you’ve always wanted and every other opportunity for bigger and better in-between. Many times, these opportunities have not only been products of hard work and diligence, but they have also been the direct result of the torch –the passing of a light and the igniting of a flame — that is, the people who believe in us and show us the way. In the midst of our busy everyday lives, we have to not only acknowledge the torch – the light and those who help it shine — but we also have to keep passing the torch.
The teacher who put in extra unpaid hours with you as a child — the student who had been labelled “hopeless” by everyone else. The old woman that schooled you to the company you work for now, where you have been promoted several times, thanks to her investment in you years and years ago. The man up the street that “saw something” in you even though you kept getting in trouble as a teenager – the same man that put you on to chess and essentially took you out of trouble.
I know you can think of quite a few examples of people in your life who’ve passed you the torch. A torch ablaze with confidence, love and inspiration. And that’s great. But the problem comes when we stop passing the torch. When we reach heights unimaginable and don’t look back, or forward or anywhere else. When we live out our dreams and achieve our goals, we drop the ball (or the torch). Instead of helping a young person trying to make it as we were at one point, we focus on ourselves and instead of helping your fellow go-getter get even farther, our minds and our spirits are clouded with self-centered ideology.
Once you drop the torch, the fire is gone. Your light becomes a little dimmer, those after you find themselves amidst an even dimmer light and the world in general becomes a darker place.
Pass the torch and keep the momentum going, because “nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou
Peace, Love & Consciousness,
Weekly Wisdom: Don’t Try to Figure it Out
People have funny ways. People are especially funny, to me, when they treat others badly for no apparent reason.
The lady that works in a restaurant glares at you angrily during your entire visit. Someone at your job doesn’t want to work with you. An acquaintance or family member always feels the need to “one-up” you in any and every given conversation. It bothers you, and you find yourself time and time again questioning things.
Then you start second guessing yourself. “Am I coming off a certain type of way to bring such behavior on?” you may ask yourself. “Is it something that I did in the past to warrant such mistreatment?” you may ponder.
But for real for real, you’re putting yourself through way too much trouble. I’m finding out that this world is full of people FULL of hang-ups. They’ve got their own problems, whether they include jealousy, insecurity, stereotypical points of view or other things that have NOTHING to do with you. Why try to question yourself? YOU don’t have to answer to these people. Truth is they question you because they truly question THEMSELVES.
I’ve found myself at this place time and time again – coming across someone with a stank attitude and trying to figure out their problem. And I’ve learned time and time again that it’s a waste of time. So I urge you, don’t try to figure it out. Some people will roll their eyes because the sky is blue, while others let a door slam in your face because of the color of your skin. It’s all nonsense and more times than not, it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
Misery loves company – so don’t ever accept the invite!
Peace, Love & Consciousness
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King, Jr. posed a great question – a question that we often look outward for the answer. We want to do for others in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, a disaster-stricken state or in an entirely different country that’s still developing. But what about the people close to us? The friends right around you? The family in your own house even? What about the people that are always there when you need them?
I had to do a family history project a few weeks ago for a class. I asked my mom some questions for the assignment, and a lot of things came up. She’s been through a lot (and has been through most of it on her own) and I felt overwhelmed – partly because of what all she’s had to overcome – but mainly because I felt that for a long time, she’s been there and then some for everybody else, but in the grand scheme of it all, she hasn’t had her own shoulder to lean on.
I have 2 sisters and between the 3 of us, you can imagine the ups and downs we’ve had, and the brunt of it all has been on our mother. It takes a special kind of woman to even fathom dealing with the stuff we’ve brought our mother’s way over the years. And on top of that, my mom is a therapist and a substance abuse counselor, so she helps people fix their lives both on and off the clock.
When I ask my mom about dealing with the bumps in the road she’s encountered in life, she said “I dealt with it, you know, I got over all of that stuff on my own eventually.” But it shouldn’t have to be that way. If the people we love can be there for us, we can surely be there for them.
I see it all like this. As we grow older, we learn that the amount of people that we can really trust and that truly care for us tends to get smaller and smaller. And once we’ve figured that out, we hold on to the people that are truly on our team really tight. And we lean on them. We lean on them so much, we may forget about their well-being. They may have stumbled and fallen themselves. But for many of them, virtually no one is there to catch them.
It may be your parents, a best friend, your long time mentor or your wise older cousin – whoever the people are you lean on, make a conscious effort to think about them. Be there for them. Let them know that they’re loved. Just because they are our relatives, our friends and our familiars doesn’t mean they don’t need looking after. And just because they support us through our rough patches doesn’t mean they’re immune to rough patches of their own.
Next time you call up your best friend to complain about your dead end job, next time you ask your sibling to get you out of one of your numerous stints with the law and next time you whine about the partner your momma been tellin’ you was no good, think about that “urgent” question Martin Luther King Jr. asked of us all.
The shoulders we lean on are just as good as we treat them.
Peace, Love & Consciousness
Picture this: You’re doing a million things at once. You left your lunch at home. You’re trying to start a new project, but you haven’t finished your old one. As you go to get the lunch you left, your friend texts you to remind you about the girls/ guys night out…you completely forgot about. Then, once you get home from your outing, you fall asleep on your computer’s keyboard trying to finish project one and start project two all at the same time.
It happens. It happens to me.
All. The. Time
People try to be nice and brush you off as an overachiever, a goal-oriented person, full of drive and ambition. But they lie. Because they don’t tell you everything — like how tired you always are, how you’ve neglected “you time,” how you can never seem to finish what you start to save your life and how scatter-brained you’ve become.
Today, I started telling my mom a story and in the middle of the story, forgot the rest of the story and why I was telling her the story in the first place. (I still don’t really remember)
Time and time again, I’ve been told to slow it down, take it easy, relax more or like my mom says “go sit down somewhere.” And for the most part, I haven’t listened. And I find myself on nights like tonight exhausted but restless, a laundry list of things to do/ things due for class, my sketch pad calling my name and the James Baldwin book I’m thissss close to finishing staring at me with big, neglected puppy eyes saying “finish me.” Not to mention the fact that my mind is tinkering on some other projects and some work I’m excited about this coming weekend. All day I’ve been locked in my room working on school work, and my mind doesn’t know if it wants to escape, to blaze through the rest of the work or conk out.
Anyways, I digress.
Like my mom says, we all need to “go sit down somewhere” time and time again or we’ll go crazy. Do you ever just sit in a quiet room or a car with no music and listen to your thoughts? Try it. When is the last time you ate a meal alone? Do it. It’s been a while since you watched your favorite show or movie, hasn’t it? Watch it. Or maybe your feet are looking rough and you’ve been putting off the pedicure. Get it (or better yet, do it yourself).
Have a seat. Take a breath. Take another one…
…and go sit down somewhere!
Peace, Love & Consciousness
I’ll be good if he changes. I’ll be alright when he gets his act together. After he grows up some and matures, then I’ll be happy. If and when and then. Forget the conditions and forget putting off your happiness. What about right now?
Happiness is a state of being, meaning it has a start and can have an end. So many of us put off the start of our happiness for the sake of a significant other. And it just ain’t right.
We do it because we’re hopeful for change. We’re trusting that the negative in a person will go away, no matter how long we endure the pain and suffering this person’s negativity may bring us. Hope is great; I think being hopeful is a necessity for a healthy life. All in the same breath, compromising your happiness for another, who seems to fail you more than support and complement you, is not being hopeful. It’s being foolish and stupid. And it’s a waste of time. But that’s just me.
I see this all the time with people I know and have to an extent, been there before myself in the past. We have to ask ourselves a simple question: Why are we compromising our own happiness for someone who could care less about the way we feel? It takes some soul-searching and some serious introspection to get to that question, let alone to get to the answer…and accept it. It may hurt and it may sting. But whatever it takes to show you the light…is whatever it takes.
You can defer or put off a job acceptance, because you have work to finish up at your old job before you can start the new one. You can defer a college offer, maybe because something came up and you can’t start at the same time as the rest of your class. But the time is ALWAYS right for your happiness. We only get one shot at this thing called life; none of us have time to NOT have the time.
Peace, Love & Consciousness,