Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Something to think about

In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education ... But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men - qualities within the reach of every soul - are the foundation of one's spiritual life. Never forget that a saint is a sinner that keeps on trying. 
                     --Nelson Mandela, in a letter to  Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, 1977

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
         --Lao Tsu

Never fall for words

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My skin


I am ready for love

Why are you hiding from me

I'd quickly give my freedom

To be held in your captivity

I am ready for love

All of the joy and the pain

And all the time that it takes

Just to stay in your good grace

Lately I've been thinking

Maybe you're not ready for me

Maybe you think I need to learn maturity

They say watch what you ask for

Cause you might receive

But if you ask me tomorrow

I'll say the same thing

I am ready for love

Would you please lend me your ear?

I promise I won't complain

I just need you to acknowledge I am here

If you give me half a chance

I'll prove this to you

I will be patient, kind, faithful and true

To a man who loves music

A man who loves art

Respect's the spirit world

And thinks with his heart

I am ready for love

If you'll take me in your hands

I will learn what you teach

And do the best that I can

I am ready for love

Here with an offering of

My voice

My Eyes

My soul

My mind

Tell me what is enough

To prove I am ready for love

I am ready

--Indie Arie

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Your default behavior

To see the right and not to do it is cowardice. 




What does that mean?
 I presume it has to do with how and when it was translated. I would reword it to say “To see and know what the correct thing to do is and to refuse to do it; that is cowardice.” Does that make it a little clearer? At least that’s what it sounds like to me. I believe that the meaning is unchanged.
He councils us to do what is right when we see it. He also warns us that to knowingly refuse to do what is right is, by his definition, cowardice. As an example, if you saw someone taking something that wasn’t theirs, but you remained silent, that was cowardice.

Why is doing the right thing important?  
There is much that is wrong in the world. If we see something that is wrong and we can (and should) do something about it, yet do not, we show cowardice. We also become part of the problem. By allowing something that we know is wrong to occur (and by knowing it is wrong, we know what is correct or right) and doing nothing (refusing to do what is right), we have become part of the problem. We have become part of what is wrong with the world.
While I talk of “the world,” understand that our own house, neighborhood, community, town, city and country have things happening in them that are not right. If we allow this activity to go unchallenged, we are not only exhibiting cowardice, but we are becoming part of the problem. When we see something that is not right, we have a moral obligation to act, to not be cowards, and to try to make things right.

I thought of Confucius' quote this morning on the way to work. I watched a dollar bill  drop from a woman's pocket and onto her seat as she stood up to go towards the door. I then saw the guy that was sitting next to her, quickly grab the money and put it in his pocket. He was sharply dressed, in a black pin-striped  suit, white shirt and light blue paisley tie. He didn't need her money.  I could have simply watched like the others on the train that saw it and said nothing turning my head, but like my version of Confucius's quote, 'To see and know what the correct thing to do is and to refuse to do it; that is cowardice.” I'm no coward, and I so I had to say something quickly before the woman got off the train. I yelled  'mam, some cash fell from your pocket when you stood up and the guy next to you put it in his shirt pocket.'  Well, peer pressure got the worse of him. Every woman in his vicinity gave him the look of terror, and before she got off the train she demanded he give her her money. It was a $10 bill. She thanked me as she got off at her stop. The lady next to me said that was very nice of me; "you know, alot of guys wouldn't have said anything."   I said, "I saw it happen. I couldn't ignore it. God is watching me at all times."
Doing what you know is right might not always be the easiest thing to do, but it must be done. Be brave, do the correct thing and not chicken out (don’t be a coward). Like any other behavior, it will take repetition to build this muscle. Start as small as you need to, but get as many repetitions in as you can. With practice, it will become your default behavior, and you will be known as a just and honest person. Even today, that is something to be proud of, I think.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Re: a friend's Facebook Status Update about Frank Ocean

"One day, the gender of person we sleep with will be met with a 'so what' response by most people. I never thought I would live to see a black man as President of the United States, so I'm hopeful."

--from my friend Alex Al-Ouadim's facebook page

I concur.