New Decision: Move The Human Heart

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! It’s 2014!

It’s just another day but sometimes the new year is like shedding old skin so I wish you all a glowing Happy 2014!!

Dionne Warwick sings, Keep smiling, keep shining, knowing you can always ____
This is where we fill in the gaps of what we’ll like to do more of in 2014.

Something shifted in me when I understood  that – Decisions Takes Us Places. Decisions not Resolutions. 
Decisions come from our core filter, the colors of our glasses, some have a rose-tint, they put a positive spin on everything and have a confident expectation of good.
Others wear smudged lens, cracked and unclear giving desperation and fear room to wrap its vicious tentacles around their hopes, choking everything, killing dreams.

Unless it Moves the Human HeartToday, my decision to get down to my local library on Darby Avenue to clear my outstanding balance of $9.80 from returning  two Money magazines and Abiku by Debo Kotun (Winner of the 1995 Phi Kappa Phi Prize for Fiction, USC) late, led me to my decision for this new year and the book – Unless It Moves the Human Heart.

On a lighter note, this book should be required reading for any writing student, especially if you ever want to know what’s going on behind your professor’s rimmed glasses and the sardonic look he shot in your direction.

Roger Rosenblatt, an esteemed, distinguished author and professor of the craft and art of writing, wrote this concise book   – a memoir of teaching – about one semester in his “Writing Everything” class at Stony Brook University. It’s new year’s eve and I can’t put the book down!

The most profound question of the book is  – Why write?

“Writing is the cure for the disease of living. Doing it may sometimes feel like an escape from the world, but at its best moments it is an act of rescue.” Roger Rosenblatt

Here are my questions – Why Live?  Can writing help?  Yes,  because its intrinsic power helps to get our sores, dreams and plans unto paper, a journal, a note pad etc. It helps to crystallize the issues we deal with or things we are grateful and hopeful for.

We are all eager to be done with 2013. We ignore her crestfallen face, her trampled emotions as we callously divorce ourselves from its pain and she whispers, “Come on…surely we had some good times.” But we don’t even pause to offer a – “I ma holler at you later!”  She’s old dead skin and we want out of it.

Professor Rosenblatt is right, sometimes living feels like a disease… and we get sick of it. Some give up, others decide to find the reason go on. We revel in a new season to start over. The air feels fresher, the fireworks illuminate the dark parts of the sky ignored by the stars, we hug strangers and kiss loved ones. We get to hope again, serenading the new year – Baby…Please be good to me!

Unless it moves the Human HeartI am very thankful for my 2013 and all the highs and the lows but this new year, I want to PRESS IN. So I’ll keep smiling, keep shining, grateful for another season to give thanks, love, read, write, learn to be patient with the process, myself and life. I can always bless more, pray more, cry more, laugh more and above all move some hearts.

Everything else is vanity and inconsequential, unless it moves the human heart.

From the T.V in my living room, The IMPACT NYE Bash is ushering in the new year and the Sidewalk Prophets are yelling  – “Nothing, Nothing’s gonna stop us! ” 

It’s 2014! I gotta go…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Prompt: What would you like to do more of in 2014?

Shout Outs and Giving Thanks on Happy Yum Day

Shout outs and Thanksgiving

My first Thanks to God who keeps us by His Love!

A little late, but better than never so here’s a big Shout-out and Thanks to our WordPress family. I would love to list you all by name, but after slaving away at my kitchen, prepping, grilling, mashing and opening packages – *wink*, I can’t…just can’t.

Yesterday and last night stretched out for hours, I was bone tired, my head was setting up for a tango session and I could not finish my glass of Gaucho Spur Malbec Reserve, but today…

I look forward to a day of rest, NO black Friday shenanigans. I’m stuffing myself with left-overs, enjoying the deep red rich wine from the mountains of Mendoza with flavors of black cherry, blueberry and notes of raspberry, crafted masterfully by South American , Gaucho – a keeper of the grassland, protector of the fruits of the land, a man with heavy manners and a tall reputation.  Esta bien bonito!! 

More than ever, I am so thankful that I washed my turkey with lemon wedges, plucked out and rubbed off the remnant feathers and loose pre-dermis tucked between the wings and thighs myself. I am anal about the pristine state of the bird, before it’s stuffed and smothered with my signature rub of melted butter, celery seeds, curry, rosemary, thyme, salt and MSG! I am sometimes tempted to buy a pre-cooked thanksgiving package, but my conscience will not let me serve my family a bird I didn’t personally decontaminate.

Thanksgiving is an uncommon holiday, by nature I am thankful and optimistic, so a whole day to have an entire country in sync with the spirit of gratitude is incredible! I believe that’s why America is so blessed. Think of a world, all countries of the world, setting aside one day in a year to be grateful for loved ones, break bread and give thanks…

Shout-outs and ThanksgivingBack to the Shout Outs! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Here’s to all you dreamers, subscribers, followers, blog-guests, rebels, closet writers, the go-getters, the ones who inspire, the steadfast, the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world in their own unique ways…God Bless You ALL!

A special Shout Out to the NaBloPoMoers of 2013… At least we tried!

I hope you all had a great time with loved ones and I am officially declaring the day after thanksgiving…Happy Yum Day!

If I Could Peek at the Super Power of Love

Love Super Power

The super power I would have chosen would have been the ability to travel through time.
Definitely.

I love…’love’ and the greatest love story that I would have wanted to see or know was my fathers’
Call it a stroke of genius or what, but before my Dad passed away, I sent him a voice recorder to tell stories about his childhood and family history.

Sadly, I didn’t get all the juicy details I really needed, one because ‘someone else’ – my brother was the interviewer.
And we know guys do not care much for details.

But, thankfully, I still got some nuggets which I am using in my book.
Dad went to Morehouse College and married his American sweetheart and returned to Africa with his new bride and their growing family.
I would give anything to be the fly on the wall, while she had told her family and friends that she was relocating to a third world country.

It’s one thing for her family when crazy, young love is on your turf, with civilization, 911 and emergency services at your disposal, how do you let your baby girl go off with a strange African? How did she navigate the unknown in the even stranger language, culture,  food and the village life??
Oh… the questions…

There must have been something extraordinary and fearless about this African-American beauty, who loved, married my Dad, and returned with him after his studies to the Nigeria, Africa in the 1960s.
There was not much to help with her research. She did not have any extensive background information about Nigeria, now called (erroneously, in my opinion) as the ‘Giant of Africa’ or have access to travel, adventure websites.

She did not have today’s internet or safari travel agencies, which among the poverty, corruption and painful maladies also paints an exotic picture, promising the thrills and wonders of:

‘Exciting tourist attractions, Historic sites nestled amid rivers and rain forests, breathtaking mountain vistas, remote creek villages, miles of pristine beaches and exotic national Wildlife reserves, museums, festivals, music and dance, a rich cultural melange right down to everyday traditional markets, spectacular sights and sensual delights awaiting the traveler to Nigeria.’

Love Super PowerShe had to trust her husband completely and rely on stories from books which labelled Africa, the Dark continent, a third world and undeveloped country.
Horrid stories of savages living on trees, barbaric rituals, black magic – ‘juju’ and still she migrated, taking that dreaded sixteen-hour flight with their two sons. She had a vow to keep, one to love and cherish till death.

I’m a fill-in-the-gap person, so the ability to go back and see how it all evolved who have come in handy. Sure, I can make up stories and extrapolate how she was swept off her feet, but like they say, there’s nothing like the real thing, baby!
Love is the real thing. It’s the only super power that matters 🙂

Prompt: You get to choose one superpower: The ability to speak and understand any language, the ability to travel through time or the ability to make any two people agree with each other.

Defining the One Thing that Matters

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Getting over Oneirophobia?  Anyone close to me knows about my voracious ability to dream, some nights I have as many as four or five full-blown intricate and vividly colored adventures and sometimes I am able interpret and decode the symbolism in my dreams. But lately, I’ve been going to bed at past 3 a.m just to avoid them.

Oneirophobia is the fear of dreams. The origin of the word oneiro is Greek (meaning dreams) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear). In my case, it’s not just dreams when I sleep, but dreams I have for the future and as with any phobia, the symptoms vary by person depending on their level of fear. Isn’t everyone scared of the journey and the cost of what it takes to make their dreams come true?

On my manifestation board, I have visual representations of my dreams, which include a picture of a lavish home with a huge curricular balcony with grand views of mountains. I love mountains because I have a promise that  – with my words, I can move something that seems so permanent and insurmountable.

I also have this picture of me chatting with Oprah about my book, sitting on David Letterman’s lap ( it’ll happen one day – sans David) and one of me hoisting an award over my head in absolute, jubilant victory! There are many other representations of my goals, like my dream car, etc, but these are the most significant.

Clearly, I don’t envision a small, unproductive life and what scares me is the process and sheer grit needed to navigate from where I am to where I want to be. I’m scared of the depths I have to go down in my soul to excavate the mines of my life for the treasures that will be covered with glory, grime and dirt…and I am scared of diving for the pieces of this enormous puzzle!

I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11 (Paraphrased)

What would it take me to love dreaming again? Defining the one thing that matters in achieving my goals.

Writing. Writing something everyday. It’s really that simple.

For someone else it could be singing, molding clay, going out everyday with the camera, drawing, painting  etc. whatever is the nucleus or core competence that fuels the dream. You’ve got to believe that it matters.

dream-153263_640I’ve been meditating on the passage that says, “the Father does the work” and I am realizing that when I worry about the process and the “hows” I get paralyzed by the sheer magnitude in my finite mind. While it’s my job to dive, I’m not responsible for the treasure and broken pieces I find buried deep within and I am also not responsible for completing the picture.

I can release the hyper-analysis and tracking, and just focus on what brings me joy and when the doors swing open, I’ll be ready or almost ready, and even that doesn’t really matter.

As much as I can, I’ll avoid ambien- induced dreams, so that I can not have fireplace chats hanging from my ceiling and music from the piano maestro that looks like me, except there are no black keys… and not show up to a meeting as Mr. Potato Head!  I have cleared all the clutter and distraction and I left one thing on my to-do-list…put words on paper or the screen or my voice recorder, every single day. Beyond NaBloPoMo.

Now, how intimidating can that be?

“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”― Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Prompt: What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

Life is Full and In Between

Life is Full and In between

Life is Full and In Between – A Poem
by Ama Danesi

A full day of will and grace.
The empty tank and the ten-dollar bill
draws our eyes up to inscribe
hoops on tear-stained heavens.
The extra virgin’s cry is heard
and mine is, a tad muffled.

Unwrap life’s suffocating gift,
or stay terrified of fear.
I look into your eyes
as they close on a whisper.
Stranded in the space between the urge
to choke and letting go of self.

A finger curls up beckoning &
it will straighten in a minute to accuse.
Why do fingers span wide to accept the ring,
when only one fills the space between our hearts?
And still, you are mine. Still, we hover
between the sparkle and the dross.

 

“Release heaven by living fully on earth.” Mark Nepo.