“Respect the Technique” Purposeful Preparation Part II: Knowing the Working Process

Easier said than done.

The world’s silent consensus in the face of any prolonged challenge or endeavor. 

It’s in The Manual. 

So what’s that doing that doesn’t ever seem to get done?

…That doing that gives all the saying a run for its money…

It’s the brick and mortar of the foundation of your ethic. 

It’s what sets and keeps your wheels in motion. 

Heart and Soul are the check-and-balance of our intentions and those intentions are the guides of our actions.

I played with these thoughts as I lay in bed at 4 AM. 

My holy hour. My favorite time of “night”. A time of reflection and reconciliation. Even my thoughts were on chill. 

It’s a beautiful thing.

Sharing ones thoughts comes with an unmeasurable responsibility. 

It’s a line of work that isn’t considered work. And even when you are tireless in it, you have to leave a little room for perspective. 

Managing what?

I don’t want to manage my life. I want to live it, explore all of its facets and meet others on their journeys. Exploration requires security and preparation. 

Because spontaneity isn’t so spontaneous.

You have to respect the flow to learn it, know it and go with it. 

Your ethic is your best guide on the path to knowing, and going with, the flow. 

Curating and polishing time management, consistency, diligence, adaptability and patience is not an easy feat, but it will transform into an almost effortless process if driven by Heart and Soul.

Heart and Soul are forces that can’t be denied, but can be healed and  transformed through different variables of the human condition. 

You can’t destroy the Heart, but you can soothe it. Your Soul may feel heavy or even bent, but you could never break it. 

Take cues from a true, live ‘G’!

Soul is the master pupil of life. Spirit, it’s understudy, uses us to connect Soul to Heart. 

You are the glue that holds your Heart and Soul together.

A few days ago I shared what Autumn has taught me about purposeful preparation. 

Autumn is true, a gentle bruiser, always timely. 

Her signs are consistent and devoted to her presence. 

She’s here. 

Like it or not.

Her work speaks for itself and never for her. She’s trained her ethic to be  a steady constant in the ever changing realm of Time.

Autumn, in all her glory, says,

I respect myself enough to know the working process”.

I’m still taking notes. 

And sharing them. 





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Writing isn’t this fairytale, La-La Land, hobby it’s made out to be, sometime. Not if it’s what you do to survive and stay in-tune with your inner voice. There are levels to this! There are those times, no matter how good of a writer you are, that you’ll doubt yourself. Replace doubt with determination.

I’m just letting you in my head for a minute. Cool?

I say none of this to you without saying it to myself, first.

You’ll probably think I’m bat-shit-crazy for sharing that I’m paranoid you’ll think I’m bat-shit-crazy.

Which makes me not-so-crazy after all, essentially.

I just want to get on with the writing, but I’m in my head, and look, you are too!

See?

Trying Myself, For Once

I’m not in the business of giving advice, but a considerable number of folks have approached me, in what I think to be a weak point in my life, to gain insight about their lives and thought processes. I don’t take it lightly and quite frankly, I’m still trekking the gradient of my own uphill adventure called Life. One thing I’ve started doing that I haven’t done in my adult life up to now is ask, “Why?”. Why am I a source of enlightenment? What do others see in me that I refuse to accept about myself? What have my experiences taught me about my strengths and weaknesses that I haven’t weighed or balanced out? Maybe perfectionism isn’t so distinct.

I never considered myself a perfectionist. I always thought that perfectionists were people who didn’t fail and had their affairs in order, never falling prey to circumstance. So, I’d dropped and withdrawn a few classes, stayed in Community College for four years, still not-quite-decided if I want to teach English in Indonesia, write for HuffingtonPost or shoot vignettes about Black artists, all of which I’d jump at in a heartbeat, lost  hundreds of thousands in real estate, haven’t finished college, disappointed a friend, my house doesn’t stay tidy for more than four days, there’s always laundry to do, there’s always a past due bill, there’s always that long, awaiting oil change, there’s always diapers to toss, there’s always posts to write, pictures to take, hair to twist, car lanes to switch out of, there’s always that exit all the way to the left when you’re in the right -in less than 300 feet, dropped collect calls, forgotten pads, toothpaste, body wash, Heaven-forbid, bar soap… That deodorant on your favorite black shirt, that cracked ceramic mug your mom gave you that you can’t replace because you can’t ask her where she bought it, because, well because…

There’s always tears, even when not shed.

There’s always an ear, even when you’re silent.

There’s always a shoulder, even when your back is bent.

That sweet, sour word echoing in your thoughts

Laughter, Life’s tonic for resilience

Shock is a theory, always will be

Thank those that share their thoughts

They’re expanding your life

With you having done nothing but listen.

Trying Myself

Looking through the eyes of a soul in need of healing

Not the Judge

Not the Person

Kamila

Looking at Kamila

For Help

For Once

 

 

 

 

 

Trekking with Friends: Eboni Zamani Takes a Look Back

Philadelphia filmmaker Eboni Zamani shares a conversation she recently had with her maternal grandfather. Citing the importance of knowing oneself to realize your highest potential, she says she decided to “make it my business to research my family’s history”.

Talking to My Mother’s Father

 

Last year I decided to get serious about tracing my family’s roots. I have been speaking to my grandparents and my great grandmother about their lives. I’ve mostly talked to my mother’s father. He is eager to tell me about his childhood, Philly back in the day, his time in Vietnam and his affinity for the finer things.

Dennis is the name his adopted mother gave him when he was a few months old.  He prefers to be called by his Muslim name, Sabir. His biological mother’s name is Rusha. She went to prison for killing his stepfather after enduring years of his abuse. All nine of her children were split up and placed into foster care. The woman he came to know as mother is one of Rusha’s friends.

He grew up in North Philly, in and around Francisville, where he met my grandmother. He fathered a son when he was 16.  The girl was sent down South by her parents and he never heard from her again. He was 18 and 20 when my mother and aunt were born. During this time he was drafted into the Vietnam War.

 

He was looking through records at Ben Franklin High one day and discovered that his birth name was John. He confronted his mother about it and she gave him his birth sister’s info. He met two of his sisters the day before he left for Vietnam. They talked for hours. One of  them had his birth certificate. By the time he returned from the war, they had moved. He never saw them again.

 

He reminisces about his glory days, before the war. He learned about the revolution in high school. He tells me that Mumia influenced all of them. Mumia’s words as well as the entrepreneurial spirit and discipline of other young brothers in bow ties peaked his interest in Islam. He became a member of the Nation of Islam and he’s been Muslim ever since.

 

these young men don’t have any heroes.”

 

He speaks eloquently about the various problems that face the Black community. He said, “these young men don’t have any heroes.” The Black Panthers and other Black revolutionaries stopped gang wars in Philly. He said, “You know, we used to wear African clothes and garb and they started talking bad about it, talking down and saying ‘oh Armani, oh Chanel’. All of that was the shit. When you start dressing like a European, you start acting like one.”

 

He gave me several books to read, a DVD, some writings and posters. He also made me promise him that I’d stay away from drugs. He fell victim to substance abuse while in Vietnam. He returned home a broken man. He, like many veterans, couldn’t keep those horrific memories away. It sometimes made him absent in the lives of his children. He’s been a great grandfather to me over the years. He’s supported me at all stages of my development.

He says he’s proud  to see me become a young, Black revolutionary. “Ha! Me?”, I think. He reminds me that he and my grandmother were revolutionaries at one point and that they lived a very Afrocentric life. He’s proud of me because he’s “always been a proud Black man.” He offers his own solutions to “Black people’s problems”, that I won’t disclose.

He’s sick now. He goes to dialysis regularly and endures a lot of physical pain due to various ailments. He’s very emotional and at times he’s impatient. It doesn’t upset me, though. I feel like after living 60 plus years as a Black man in America, he’s earned (that right). So when he talks, I just nod and listen, laugh, when appropriate, and absorb his lessons.

Eboni Zamani is a Pace University graduate and proud native of North Philadelphia.

Follow her on twitter @EboniZ 

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Terrorific Times: Running into (head-)Space

 

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I quit my job last week and I can’t remember feeling better. In a country experiencing coast-to-coast inflation, I stepped through the unmarked door of potential and came out with a piece of mind. I’ve decided to give less of a damn about what seems right and more about what feels right. Walking the line between then and later, I’ve learned that holding onto aggression, that of mine or anyone else, has negative effects and has never worked in my favor. I am a recovering “people pleaser” and am still learning from decisions I’ve made when putting others wants and desires before my own. Relationships with some of my loved ones have suffered because of decisions I’ve made. I’ll get into those experiences and what I was left to learn from them later this week.

I’ve learned that the first step to improving my overall health and wellness is allowing room. Room for growth, room for exploration. There’s so much I learned about myself, I wanted to learn more. Before I could do that, I had to break the chains; what was, what wasn’t, what could be. I began freeing head-space by practicing breathing exercises at work. What I couldn’t see in myself became apparent once I started taking the time to understand myself better. The first step to that was analyzing my priorities; not what I believed they were, but what my actions proved.

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I found that over 70% of my routine was dedicated to making myself available to my employer, by any means necessary. Before meditation, healthy sleeping habits, healthy eating and regular exercise, I was making it my business to be to work on time. I dared not measure how much of that time I was robbing from my children. I was hanging on by a thread with iron dangling from my ankles.

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Fear is paralyzing. How many of us stay at jobs we hate? I stayed at my job out of fear that I would be labeled lazy or a quitter if I didn’t. I came to embrace that none of what I was telling myself mattered. As a mother of three under 5, I came to fully understand my role in my life, my home and the world community. For the better part of 2014, I gave myself all sorts of reprimands for coming up short. Comparing my life to my fairytale, I kept feeling like a failure. Harping on disappointments, I kept telling myself that I had to suffer for my decisions. I’d assigned myself to hell.
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By this past summer, I had convinced myself that a 9-to-5 was my only redemption. I knew I’d hate it. Hate it with a passion, but I’d take one for the team. Because I had to. I’d resigned to living a life I knew I didn’t want to appease my ego. I’d trusted the wrong people, put myself in a desperate situation, and in turn, alienated myself from some of those closest to me. And I was in the darkest part of the struggle to forgive myself when I made the decision to find a 9-to-5. I transferred my unwillingness to forgive myself into a false-purpose. I was running from pain and in that same sprint, had inflicted more upon myself. A pattern I noticed I exhibited time and time again. How could I change that? safe_image.php

Who am I?

Looking in the mirror is like looking through a tunnel when all you get is a trail of faces. Pain and doubt have rendered the sharp features into dull curves and points, remnants of souls come and gone.

Who are they?

All whom I’ve loved, who have loved me, who know my face and my name. Some of them I know, some of them I will. All of them I’ve been.

These are the questions I ask myself everyday. Some of the answers I know, some of them I will.

How can I break the pattern of pain and wonder?

Breaking away.

Paralysis is best fed by fear. Standing still isn’t paralysis, it’s quite the opposite. Allowing your full self to flow creates a resonance so stealth, it’ll look like you’re standing still.

Break the wheel. Watch it roll and crumble.

With more time in the day to cater my routine to improving my overall health and wellness, I’ve allowed the space to morph freely.

I’m running, full speed, into (head)-Space.scary-places

Climbing a Mountain

Talking about climbing a mountain while climbing a mountain is one of the most difficult, dare to say, impossible, tasks I can imagine. Yet, when writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, it is a battle re-purposing your feelings, thoughts, predispositions, all that is you, essentially. The task of turning your day, your life, as much as you can recall and place value upon, into perspective, to be interpreted and ingested, is a tough one. Now add the burden of expectation to that. You gamble with the possibilities and consequences of offering another road to the path towards understanding self as fully as possible in this realm. Providing the tools for others on the way to self-discovery, subsequently world harmony, through perspective is not an easy chore; especially when you’re an expressive soul who’s prone to self-sabotage out of fear of that untrodden terrain (self).

So how do you remove yourself from fear of growth? Self-discovery?

Remove your expectations.

Easier said than done. I’m ascending the incline as I write this with the wind pulling me to the peak, my feet planted in the crevices of the rocks, I’m climbing.

I could fall, but I don’t see it.The peak is my goal

I hear the raging river below me

Waters crashing, lulling my weary heart to rest

It doesn’t dare skip a beat

Blood pulsing, rushing to my feet

Once planted in stone

Uprooted

Indomitable

Toes, ice cold to the touch

Knocking the rocks into dust

As I climb the beast that entombed my spirit

Getting over me

And getting closer