Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Am I Giving Anything Up?

As I continue on my spiritual journey, I have to give other people a shorthand description of what I believe. At first I tried the Eckhart Tolle approach of not labeling at all, but those who are curious prefer classification so they can compartmentalize. That's what the egoic tendency is so I thought up the term "Christian Plus." I grew up Roman Catholic so I'm familiar of the teaching of Jesus and follow them in my daily life. I am also open to other spirituality because we're all looking for the "Great Spirit" or "Universal Truth" or whatever you see it as.

My daughter likes to think of me as a deist (this entry), a person that believes in a higher power but does not interfere with it's normal function. We go back and forth over that because elements of that are right and wrong in what she says. For the average person, Christian Plus gives them a thumbnail. From that standpoint, as we are in the season of Lent, I am pelted with the things that people are giving up. This springs from the idea of sacrifice, mirroring the 40 days Christ spent in the desert where, according to the Biblical tale, he endured temptations by Satan.

The part where people say they're giving up something is tied to the idea of self sacrifice which along with prayer, penitence and almsgiving are part of the Lenten tradition. In the last few days I've heard people are giving up chocolate, red meat, alcohol and any number of things they consider important. In the past, before my current spiritual journey, I participated. I gave up red meat (and ended up giving it up for nearly 10 years), sweets (a weakness) and more.

But my thinking these days has evolved. Does sacrifice mean I have to do without something? Would a better way to think about it be discipline? Would this be a time to improve what I consider important? And does that mean I've decided to give up procrastination or laziness? Even as I write I don't know the answers to the questions, but that's rather the point of most of my posts. Let's explore to find the answers.

To that end, I have decided to follow the traditional Lenten fast, which limits me to one meal a day or two small ones if the sum total is not more than one meal. I consider this a test of my discipline and also have the side benefit of therapeutic intervention which could lead to the expulsion of various toxins. It is a custom followed from ancient times until recently. So the question I put to myself is, can I limit myself to one meal a day for 40 days? I am interested in finding the answer.

The other thing I'm doing, again as a test of discipline, is to shift my creative urges into overdrive. I have felt stifled for any number of reasons in my quest to create. That fire to make photos, or write blogs, or write short stories burns within and circumstances have from time to time, put out the flame. For me, this Lenten season is a chance for me to rededicate that urge and harness it in a positive direction. As we know, the Law of Attraction says the universe will conform to what we want if it is truly what we want. By using the law and adding self control, I feel grateful that this will happen for me.

So in the end, am I giving anything up for Lent? I think so. I'm giving up excuses.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black History and the Law of Attraction

I thought about title of this post and I found myself deep inside my own head trying to figure out how I would tie it together. It's Black History Month for a few more days and, being African-American and a practitioner of the Law of Attraction, I knew there was a connection which is why this post was delayed for a little while. I wanted to get it right.

You see, all the famous names are thrown out there for people to learn about: George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson, Booker T. Washington, but no one teaches the history of the history celebration. It started out as a week of service called Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson. The joke amongst African Americans is that the mainstream gave "us" the shortest month, however the truth is that Woodson chose February for his week because it's the month when his two heroes, Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born. Choosing here is important.

At the time Negro History Week was being put together, Woodson, a historian, wanted to spotlight black history because that history was barely being taught to anyone, black or white. Mostly the representation of African Americans highlighted the fact that they were former slaves and that, as such, they had a lower standing in the societal pecking order. Woodson used his influence to show that African Americans were much more and, though it was controversial at the time, equal to everyone.

Carter Woodson, while he may not have known it, invoked the Law of Attraction. His action to develop Negro History Week helped to expand the vision that Americans had of their African American brothers and sisters. Because he wanted equality to happen, and took the steps he saw as necessary, the week expanded to a month. While it was too early in history for Woodson to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others during the Civil Rights Movement, he can be seen as a forefather of what became that movement.

And what can that teach us about the Law of Attraction? Think of it this way. Carter Woodson manifested a different way of thinking about an entire segment of the American population. He wanted blacks to understand that they didn't necessarily have to define themselves as former slaves and thereby continue the thought that they weren't good enough. It was okay to think of the accomplishments of Garrett Morgan and Madam C.J. Walker and understand that these were accomplished Americans.

And the idea of Black History Month has spread beyond the American shores. Britain celebrates their Black History Month in October. And yes, there is some controversy about whether we still need a Black History Month. Perhaps those arguments were rendered moot by the election of our first African American president. History is still being made.

And that history is still being celebrated, thanks to the thoughts of Carter Woodson and his manifestation of what has become Black History Month.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chris Brown, Rihanna and What You Can Do

Over the last week, we've heard some pretty nasty things about the relationship between Rihanna and Chris Brown. Now, since this is America there is the presumption of innocence so this blog isn't to establish the guilt of either party. But this is an opportunity to discuss the continued problem of domestic violence.

Who did what to whom is going to be sorted out in court, but even as I write this, there is a domestic partner needs to leave the other because of abuse. It comes in many forms: physical, verbal, mental and more. If you're suffering, please understand that you don't not have to take it and that there is a way out. Your abuser wants to convince you that you can't do anything about what's happening, but he's using it to continue the cycle.

It is documented that domestic abuse is about control. That control is forced through domination, humiliation, intimidation, denial and blame. Abuse victims routinely think that what is happening to them is their own fault and nothing could be further from the truth. If a partner leads you to believe that, or tries to tell you that you can't go anywhere because no one will want you, they are lying.

Does your partner:
humiliate you
ignore your views
treat you as property
act possessively
control what you do
limit access to friends, money, phone

If any of those fit you, find your way out. Start here for more information. There are resources in most areas in the country. Find them and get help. If you don't know where to go, try here to start.

The end result of the Rihanna - Chris Brown situation is going to be long and on-going and possibly embarrassing to both of them as details of their private lives come to the forefront. Their celebrity and their money will not shield them from that. Don't continue to be a victim.

Monday, February 9, 2009

For the Babies

I had the distinct honor to work with Kosair Children's Hospital for a fund raiser (also with the Children's Miracle Network) that showed the special nature of my city. The hospital is non-profit and dedicated only to kids. No child is ever denied treatment, even if they can't pay. Consequently, it takes lots of money to make it go because they know going in that a lot of their patients can't give them any money toward treatment and also don't have any insurance, either.

The fund raiser was a radiothon with a broadcast group that owns 5 stations locally. Only 4 participated because the 5th is a totally automated affair with no djs. Every one of the djs on the 4 remaining stations got behind the broadcast and put themselves out there for the hospital and at the end of three days, raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars, exceeding expectations by a wide margin.

It was amazing to see the outpouring of positive energy in this community and see it returned in kind by the hospital workers, doctors, nurses and patients. I saw and heard interviews with kids and it funneled enormous sums of gratitude energy to me. There was a kid with a 2 chamber heart who lives life just and is just fine with who he is. He looks like President Barack Obama and will acknowledge that. He will also show you his zippers, the scars from his open heart surgery that do indeed resemble zippers.

There's the 23 year old who was struck with a childhood cancer in her teens who found her vision through art therapy and now has a gallery exhibit about to open. She's in remission but wants to share what she had to deal with so that someone else in her position will know what they're in for. She's also in college, studying to be a nurse because she wants to work at this hospital.

There are many stories both happy and sad but, in the end, always hopeful. I was able to use that positive energy to keep myself involved. The difficulty was that I contracted food poisoning on the Tuesday before the event and nearly inert on Wednesday. My wife thought it was flu, but the symptoms felt different. People also wanted me to pinpoint where I got it, but is that really the way to spend what little energy you have?

My family took care of me. My son brought me his Superman blanket because the last time I was feeling bad and had chills, he put it over me as I slept. As I started feeling better, my son became convinced that his blanket was part of the help. Before you laugh, I think he's right. I think that the love that he transferred to me through the blanket worked to make me better. So with the help of my son/Superman, I powered through the roughest parts of my recovery and was able to participate in that event. In fact, on the other side of my illness, my gratitude vibrations went off the scale. Feeling thankful to have my family and being thankful for what this community did, has me flying.

The really is an era of hope.