Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I just wrote a page and a half of mantras to meditate on daily. If I get to a point where I feel like they are manifest in my life, I will write new mantras.

One of my affirmations is this:
I love balance.
One of the truths upon which I meditate is this:
The Universe seeks balance. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

These declarations made me wonder.
If the Universe seeks balance, does American gluttony provide the need for African poverty? Does European formality provide the need for Middle Eastern barbarism?  Do the actions of one society produce reactions in other societies? If we all lived somewhere in the middle, might the world perfect itself?

I think the answer to all of those questions is yes.

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin in me."

Monday, June 21, 2010


I have a friend Lamarr Womble, who has a life philosophy about passionate living. He believes, and lives out the belief, that one should assess their passions and turn them into a lifestyle. What you love is what you should do. If you are young, don't even get started on a career path that steers you away from your passion. If you are older, integrate elements of what you're about into your life - make it your side hustle - until you become so good at it that maybe your side hustle can become your main hustle.

Eighteen months ago when I first heard this philosophy, Lamarr asked a simple question: "What's your passion?"
Even in the most fundamental and basic of things, I find a way to be complicated. He asked a singular question and I gave a plural answer. I can see now how the answer has changed slightly (or how I am looking past the blinders I had on at the time) but it still plural. I am passionate about writing, politically activism, and children.

As a 22-year-old with a semi-good job working with kids and an inclination to not be tied down at the moment, I think I should take some risks to pursue my love for writing. I have been presented with several opportunities that I don't follow through with - partially because of lack of organization, partially because of fear.

It's time to stop being afraid.
What step will I take today to pursue my passion?
Drafting and/or editing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moving Mountains

There are some days when I sit back and look at my surroundings and look at the people I know and love and think:

I just want to teach high school English in OKC public schools.
I want to have my weekends and summers off. I want to be able to randomly drive to Dallas or Houston to spend quality time with my family. I want to be free to go places and experience things.
And I want to be a cog in the system working for change in a small way, in a way teenagers need. I want to move one mountain, one stone at a time, not join with a large group of people to shift the entire course of the Rockies. Just one mountain. And I've got a lifetime to move it by myself.

And then I talk to a lady in Build-A-Bear. Sweet lady who looks Hispanic and whose daughter looks either Hispanic or Middle Eastern. She comes in an average of twice a month and never drops less than $100 on her four-year-old. I thought she was insane at first, because that's way too much money on children's toys. But this week she came in twice - Monday and Tuesday - and said some things that made me look deeper.

Monday she told about how they had "cut back" because her daughter wasn't treating her toys like she was grateful, like they were special. Very observant. Much less materialistic than I had originally thought she was. Tuesday they come in and she is wearing the same clothes - and a woman who drops dollars like she does has plenty of clothes to change into. She looks tired, sad, sick, or all of the above and she's doing a ton of sniffling. She looks at me almost apologetically and says, "We just came back for the jaguar. Just the jaguar." Her daughter starts running around looking at the things she likes and trying to decide if she has them at home already (because she's got half our store). I ask her if she is okay. She says she's been sick.

The lady sits down in a chair looking ready to wither and starts talking to me. She was surprised that I understood everything her daughter said. She said I must have kids. I told her no, I just love them and love to listen to them. I said I taught two- and three-year old Sunday school for a couple of years and that I want to teach high school English. She says I'll be great. After some time passes she says, "You should teach at Cassidy."

If you know me or have read my other posts about teaching, you know that I have NO desire to teach preppy, rich, white kids. And Cassidy is more preppy, rich, and white than almost any private school in the metro. I had to reign in my thoughts before I said, "Oh hell no!"

Instead I said, "Well, I've always wanted to teach in public schools. Private schools, especially Cassidy, are kind of..."
"Snotty?" She put in. I nodded appreciatively. She continued: "I don't ever want to be hateful, but some of the parents there are very elitist even toward my family." And we proceed to have a whole conversation about rich, snotty people and how she doesn't want to be one, how she doesn't want her daughter to be one, and how she's not sure if she wants her daughter attending that school past elementary. She is afraid the other kids will hurt her. And I can completely relate because that's how it always was for me in private elementary and junior high school.

She isn't from Oklahoma. Wherever she lived before, she attended public school in what she referred to as a "Mexican ghetto," likely the same kind I want to teach in. She said it was scary and she doesn't want her daughter to go through that either.
I worried over her and the reason behind her sniffles and weakness and day-old outfit until they left.

I stood there wondering what I could have done more to help. I had wanted to hug her but didn't know if that was okay.

And then I thought: I'll have to do something more than just teach high school English. But I don't know what it is yet. Right now, the Build-A-Bear Workshop will do.

Friday, June 4, 2010

perfect harmony

this is just another reason to love the First Family and Paul McCartney

i still believe in you, too, mr. president.

How to Reinvent Yourself - original poem

Step 1: Have multiple conversations with different people from different perspectives and backgrounds.
Ask open-ended questions and throw away the answer that’s already prepared in your mind.
Listen more thoroughly than you would any other time. Listen to scripture with your heart open the same way you listen to rhyme.

Step 2: Make lists
Of all the bad things about that way and all the good things about this. Then flip the script.
Remember that the grass is usually just as brown on that side of the fence.
Assess your motives. Jealousy isn’t a very good reason to reinvent.

Step 3: Test it out.
Stop eating meat for a week or two, then treat yourself to a big steak cooked just the way you like it.
See which way feels more valid.

Step 4: Remember the deep conversations from step 1? You don’t need them anymore. That was just a way to introduce yourself to the questions.
Take everyone else’s answers, kiss them lovingly and kick them out the door. You’re trying to create a new self, not a new friend. Do what YOU think so that if you succeed you can pat yourself on the back. And if, or when, you fail, the blame is on you not them. That way there’s no resentment.

Step 5: Get rid of all your perceptions. Walk in the shoes of the new you. Break them in. Give yourself blisters and sing freedom songs while you massage them.

Step 6: Realize that all of this is bullshit. Time is relative and when it comes to reinvention, what the Universe wants it will get.
A whole year spent growing out your naps just to throw it away with one sentence? It doesn’t matter. You’re still young, and the best stuff is what comes after the mistakes.

Step 7:

This should be the last step because seven is the number of perfection, but it’s not. Just like I didn’t stop after three which is the number of completion, or five because it’s nice and round. I’m just getting to the good stuff now.
You are never complete, nor perfect. You should be contemplating one or more of these steps every day you live because the Universe is always fluctuating and you’ll never be happy if you can’t move with it.

So, step 7: Don’t try to give this meaning. Don’t try to make it a cause that everyone should rally around.
You admire vegetarians because they’re skinnier and you want to be able to choose to run with “the in crowd.”
You’re raising your Black Power fist so you’ll feel more powerful, and because you always feel less like a sore thumb in the midst of your own people.
You don’t have to prove to yourself or to anyone else that this matters. Everyone is entitled to their feelings and what you want is always what you should go after.

Step 8: Remain autonomous.
That’s means self-governing.
Never let your paltry desires enslave you like the system did. Everything you have you should be willing to give to someone who needs it, or else your soul, not your hair or your eating habits, is what needs to be reinvented.

Step 9: Last step.
Engage your mind. Make sure it’s as much a part of the process as your heart is – that is balance. Reorder the steps on this list. Make them fit your specific successes and limitations. Analyze. Passion without reason is anarchy. And regardless of what you say you believe, there must at least be some semblance of order to things.
Decide on a path and then follow it wherever it leads. Fear nothing. No mistake is too great for the Universe to iron beauty out of it. You’ve been reinvented.
Now remember these steps, because I promise you’ll be using them again.

Belief - original poem written May 18, 2010

Who knew the world would get so messed up
That the enlightened ones among us
Would hide behind books and pens
While the whole world disrespects itself to the point of crashing down around them?

Who knew that we would lose faith
To the point where the only thing we can all agree to believe in is the grave?

We can no longer unanimously say that a little black latchkey kid on the east side
Can someday grow up to do whatever he wants with his life.
We can no longer all pay homage to the American dream,
Because so many of us have united behind the belief that it’s a lie.
And maybe you’re right.
Maybe Thomas Jefferson never intended for Maria de la Roca from San Juan to be free
Maybe he didn’t really think that she and I and that little black boy up the street
Should have the knowledge and the power to change our family trees,
To start a new generation of kids who know that the world sucks the way it is
But who know that the only hope for life is belief in our ability to change it.
Maybe Abraham Lincoln cared more about the preservation of the Union
Than the freedom of the slaves,
But I promise you that the sharecroppers whose grandkids went to college,
Whose descendants were able to excel in public offices,
Don’t give a damn about motives.
We are just glad things finally changed.

Just two years ago
We were waving our flags, paying our dues,
Believing that America could be beautiful if her president looked, acted, and thought
A bit more like me and you.
And I was one of the worst.
I cried on inauguration day,
And I still hang on to every word that man has to say,
But now I know this:
Things never have and never will change from on high
No matter how bad any god or president wants it.
All sustainable social change must happen in our midst.

So what does that mean?
It means every day you choose to get high when you could be
Writing the lifeline that some small child will pull on to get back on even ground,
You are standing in the way.
Every time I choose to bull shit with my friends,
When I could be studying thoughts that will be the hands
That pull my people up out of their defeatist trends,
I am wasting time.
Whenever those who can do not
They strip others of the ability to be able.
Every time we choose to eat in the kitchen when company comes
We give up our right to sit at the table.

Obama can not free us; he could only free himself and he did.
Your words turned into poetic sentences,
Your arms turned into hugs for the fatherless
Are your contribution to a generation that has got to learn how to use our resources.
Teach a child to read,
so that he can write his way into college and off of the street.
Teach her to build up her strength,
So she learns to say “no” and she can make it to the top
By doing things her own way.
I’m not asking you to believe in God or the presidency.
But I’m begging you to believe in what society could be,
Or at least to pretend like you do,
So that they can.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

peace comes WITH understanding

words. are. life. to. me.

the true colors personality test has just helped me understand that life.

knowing that i'm predominantly green (as opposed to gold, blue, or orange) - i.e. more analytical than the personality quadrant (expressive, driver, analytical, amiable) gave me credit for being - and that only 7% of the population is green explains why i never feel understood. knowing that i am green (deep-thinking, seeking correlation) followed by a toss-up between gold (driver, task-oriented, structured) and blue (amiable, focused on relationships, passionate, artsy) shows me the reason behind my desire for a connection to a spiritual community. it also shows me my intense passion for poetry - the most condensed version of meaningful art. and for writers - the juxtaposers of correlative information. and for philosophers - the students of the universe. and for theologians - the students of the Divine.
this is why i love Jesus. and Buddha. and Ralph Waldo Emerson. and Barack Obama. and Elizabeth Gilbert. and Lauren Zuniga. 

thank the universe.

i feel so much peace right now.