What My World's Like

love is the answer.

Feb
25

browninpedernales

Today, I learned that a friend I made during my time in Haiti, Jeffrey Brown, passed away recently. He was pure sunshine and love. Peaceful, patient, warm, and bright. His heart was infinite. He was a retiree from Austin and all he did was find different ways to spend the remainder of his life being of service and spreading love.

In our last correspondence, he wrote the following:

“Love is the answer, no? The journey gives us so many opportunities to love each other, and as many challenges to test our understanding of that truth. I struggle often to stay focused on how patience, understanding, and peaceful, ‘gentle’ loving is always the most profound and effective way to connect and be with our brothers and sisters. When the love connection occurs, it’s the best thing in the world.”

Today, I’m saddened because we lost a really good person, an active contributor to improving the conditions of this world. However, I’m also inspired to love deeper, wider, further, freer, and bolder. Love is not a finite resource; it has no end. Should we ever find we might have emptied our well, all we need to do is dig deeper.

Thank you to my friend for leaving a legacy of love for those of us you touched. We appreciate you.

a web of sorrow. a plea to act.

Jun
27

My heart, filled with sorrow, is heavy right now. Something about the Trayvon Martin case touched me from the beginning. I was in Nicaragua, sitting in a tree, looking at a volcano, when my sister told me about his murder. After we got off the phone, all I could do was cry. I didn’t know him, but he could’ve been anyone I knew or was related to. That recognition drew me to him and made me so sad and angry that he was killed and that the case was being ignored in the media.

Fast forward a year and some months later, Zimmerman is on trial and as much as I want to watch it, something in me draws back, scared for my sensitivity.

At the same time, Nelson Mandela is in a hospital on life support. He may not make it to see his 95th birthday, but he’s lived a very full and meaningful life. He dropped out of college to join the African Nationalist and anti-apartheid movement and eventually spent 27 years in prison for fighting for what he believed in. For being true to himself and standing with himself. Twenty-seven years.

Race is such a muddled conversation in this world, but especially in this culture where it’s implicitly acceptable in every faction of the culture, thus omnipresent, but explicitly discouraged, thus rampantly covert. A video of celebrity chef Paula Deen revealing her racism was made public and she lost her job and several corporate associations. There is no honest conversation about race happening, how it originates, permeates, recreates and flourishes; just a very public and expensive slap on the wrist.

George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin because he was suspicious of Martin, not because of any suspicious activities the boy was engaging in necessarily, but because the mere presence of black men, specifically, was a cause for suspicion, prompting the automatic belief that they were up to no good and that the situation was unsafe. This situation essentially repeated itself only months later in the same state of Florida with the 17 year-old Jordan Davis and 45 year-old Michael Dunn, who also refers to the Stand Your Ground law in support of his professed innocence. Where did these men get that idea from and how can/will we work to change that thought association?

Black people are not safe in a world with white supremacist ideology and systems. Children, born with no say over their life circumstances, are not safe. There is an assault on their bodies, minds, and spirits, so even if they aren’t physically eliminated, they are psychologically and psychically damaged.

As Mandela lays in a bed, in critical condition, I review his life and the meaning he attached to it. This man made a sacrifice and he sacrificed himself for his ethics. There are so many people who wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice 27 hours, days, or weeks to stand up for what they believe in, even when that essentially means standing up for themselves and this man sacrificed 27 years.

What are we giving? To whom? And for what?

We are worth the investment of our own time and our own lives for our own benefit. You are worth the investment of your own time and your own life for your own benefit.

Let it not be in vain. Let it not be for mere comfort and its illusion. Fill your time and your life with meaning to make a positive difference. Some are never fully given that option. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were completely robbed of that opportunity and if we care, then we have to do something more than sit in the comfort of our homes being outraged. We need to act and take advantage of our gift of life.

your inner world rules your outer world.

Aug
08

This was originally posted on September 4, 2010.

Life is calling you. All the time. Do this. Do that. Don’t do anything at all. There’s always a fork in the road. Sometimes you don’t even know it’s there, but it is. Sometimes you hear it, see it, feel it…this urge…this moment that comes to visit briefly. It may whisper, it may shout, but it’s always saying something. Are you listening?

The perpetual, invisible fork is the following question: how are you going to respond? To what? To everything.

We allow the outer world to control our inner world because we don’t understand that the more we control our inner world, the more we control the outer world.  It often acts the other way around, but we’re so much more effective in our lives when we understand this.  The past few weeks have proven this to be true.

Out of nowhere, my job suddenly became a place I slightly dreaded. I wasn’t even fully aware of it, but I noticed it when I realized time was my obsession. “What time is it?” and “how much longer will I be here?” Sure signs of danger. Everyone and everything was a problem and I played the victim to all the haphazard incidents and wrongdoings.

When somebody/everybody else is always the problem, maybe the problem is really you.

(more…)

on openness.

Jan
05


I have an admission.

The recent absence of my online presence isn’t exclusively related to being busy or mentally preoccupied. That’s part of it. Another part of it, actually, the biggest part of it, is the recurring struggle I’ve had with allowing myself to be open. I’m set on finding the balance between protecting myself and my life and being an open book. I’d like to share myself in a thoughtful, meaningful way, not recklessly over-share.

Posing this dilemma to a friend, he said, “But the work you do requires you to be honest. All creatives have to be.” It hit me, as it occasionally does at times before disappearing again, that there is something to this process, to this learning and sharing of mine. It isn’t haphazard or reckless; it’s necessary — for me and for whomever my words touch. I forget that my brand of creativity is more specific to how I think and applying understanding to grow. The art that resonates the most is that which is the most honest. My work will only resonate with others when I’m brave enough to open up and share my journey.

So, there it is. I struggle with being open. I struggle with maintaining clarity about my path. But I get it back. I’m here for a purpose and I unfailingly believe in purpose.

I’ll stop being scared. I’ll open up a bit. A few months back, I had a moment, ripe with reminders for myself. Epiphanies flooded me, and as they cascaded, I wrote them on my mirror. The picture above captured the result of that moment. It became a #notetoself I was happy to immortalize.

communicate.
be honest with yourself about who you are,
what you need, what you feel, what you think, what you see.
honor yourself. honor your truth. honor your perspective.
honor who you are. honor who you’ve been. honor who you’re becoming.

the beauty of bald.

Jul
20

Approximately six years ago, I relaxed my hair for the last time. It was the day before my graduation and wearing my hair natural had been on my mind for several months, as I could no longer justify putting a dangerous chemical directly on my head to straighten my hair for aesthetic purposes while actively seeking to eat organic foods; it was a silly contradiction and I immediately understood it as such.

Almost a year later, I cut off the relaxed ends and wound up wearing a teeny weeny afro that I initially hated. Nothing was wrong with it per se, I just thought my curls would be looser, bigger, more flowing. I wanted my hair to be longer than it was. There were times I’d look in the mirror and cry: what had I done? Why did I do this? Yet, there was such a strong knowing that I was at the point of no return; my last relaxer was the last relaxer. “I’m undergoing a paradigm shift,” I’d tell myself when I needed comforting.

When you begin to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head after years of manipulating it to specifically do otherwise, you’re suddenly confronted with your ideas about beauty in general, your individual beauty, and your people’s beauty.

Many women consider it to be a quasi spiritual experience, and, honestly, that’s no exaggeration. It’s a reawakening. To yourself. To your beauty. To your ancestry. To healthy self-esteem.

(more…)

karma is real.

May
12


The wave of your karmic energy can lift you up or crash down on you.


You ever had one of those days that picks you up and throws you into the sky, where the joy and magic you find keeps you high, suspended? Yesterday was such a day for me. All day, nothing but love and what some would perceive as luck. It was just what I needed when I needed it.

This is a magical and wondrous world. All based on energy.

What you put out comes back to you. Align yourself with love.

Image source

A deep and heartfelt “thank you!”

Jan
25

Every year on my birthday, I like to thank the people who help influence my life in some way, direct, indirect, small, large, whatever.

At this very moment, I’m overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and love for all the lessons I’ve learned, from all the inspiration I’ve received, for all the mirrors to myself.

Thank you, my readers, for reading. For commenting. For reaching out. For helping me to understand that this journey is not one I traverse alone and that sharing my reflections is not in vain. To the friends, loved ones, associates, strangers, enemies and opposition who reflect me to myself, who challenge me to grow…thank you. To those who inspire me, teach me, receive me, and amplify my light…thank you. To the brave, the scared, the weak, the strong, the beautiful and ugly spirits…thank you for showing me where I am and where I have to go. Thank you for love. Thank you for light. Thank you for life. I am abundantly blessed & abundantly grateful. 🙂

If you ever want to experience a natural high, practice gratitude. Find reasons to celebrate life. You’ve only got this one (that you know of).

2010: a very good year

Dec
31

wow, it’s just hitting me that it’s really december 31st. this year literally swept by in a haze. i remember clearly when it started and so much has changed for me since then. i moved…again. being back in new york has been really great for me. so much about myself and about life in general has been revealed–and is being revealed–to me. the clarity i have now is life-changing, yet i’m assured of greater comfort knowing that my vision will only begin to crystallize over time. as that vision begins to crystallize, i see a change in my being and my doing. it’s a really beautiful and exciting time for me.

the best part of this year, though, is when i looked up and realized that i am what i’ve been trying to be, but the lens through which i was looking at myself was so blurry that i couldn’t see clearly. i’ve been so hard on myself so for long, so unnecessarily. themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and love were really punctuated this year. since then, i’ve made adjustments to my thinking and behavioral patterns that have started creating an inner peace i’ve wished for for years.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
– Aristotle

(more…)

near end of the year assessment: what’s so different?

Nov
02

I’m shocked that it’s November 2nd. Only because it feels like so much of the year happened in a blur. Where did the time go? What happened? What changed? I’m in a new city, new apartment, new job (not so “new” really). I’ve had some great— and startling—discoveries about myself and now I have some newfound sense of confidence and direction that wasn’t there a year ago. Still, I don’t think there’s enough difference. More than anything, I find myself aggravated by my own inertia. A bunch of shoulds come to mind.

I should be this
I should be here
I should have this done
I should…

Then I’m reminded that the past is the past. Done. Over. Finito. I can only focus on forward movement to ensure future progress. However, it would probably be beneficial to reflect and see what roadblocks prevented me making the growth I apparently expected of myself, yet didn’t hold myself accountable for.

Are you where you planned to be now? Have you made the progress you anticipated? What will you do to get on track (your track)?