Opinions

An old farmer and his young son were taking their donkey to the market. The two of them walked along a path with the donkey beside them. They didn’t ride the donkey because they didn’t want the animal to get tired.

On their way, they met some people who laughed at them.

“You and your son are so foolish,” they said. “Why are you both walking when at least one of you could ride the donkey?”

The farmer thought those people were right, and he made his son ride the donkey. They went on a bit further and met a group of older persons.

“You are so foolish,” they said to the farmer. “How could you let your young son ride the donkey while you walk? Tell him to get down and let you ride instead.”

So the son got off the donkey and his father rode the animal. A little further along the path, they came across a group of women going to market.

“You are foolish and hard-hearted,” they said to the father. “How could you ride the donkey and leave your poor son to walk?”

The father then made his son ride behind him on the donkey. They had not traveled far when they met another group of people.

“You are cruel,” a man shouted at them. “How could you treat a dumb animal like that? Do you want to kill the poor donkey with all that weight?”

By this time, the market was close by, and the farmer wanted to get a good sale for the donkey. So he and his son decided to carry the donkey the rest of the way. They tied the donkey’s legs together and slung it from a pole that they hoisted on their shoulders.

When they reached the town, people laughed at the sight of these two men carrying a donkey.

“You are both so foolish,” the people said. “Don’t you know the donkey is supposed to carry you?”

The people laughed so hard that the donkey started to bray and kick. The rope that held him to the pole broke, and the donkey ran away. So the farmer and his son walked back home without the donkey and without the money from the sale of the donkey.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them. “Please all and you will please none.

Aesop

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Racism

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned… Everything is war. Me say war.  That until there are no longer 1st class and 2nd class citizens of any nation… Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes, me say war. That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race me say war!” – Bob Marley

For the last couple of days, my Facebook’s News Feed has been filled with postings about the murder of Trayvon Martin. My first thought was, Oh, it’s just another wrongful death of a black American. There was no urgency for me to discover the details and join the outrage. Last week, I was trying to keep my blood pressure down and was preoccupied with life: half workdays, relaxing at the beach, dinner with friends, fun at Disneyland.

This morning, I finally found the time to research the case… the first article I read discussed the details surrounding the case. When I finished reading it, nothing was shocking. Yes, I felt sad for the teenager and his family, but again, this wasn’t the first time I had read the same article with a different victim. I read another article centered on the female witness account of what happened while she was on the phone with Trayvon moments before the murder. Still, I was not fired up like I had been in years past. I started to wonder, “What is wrong with me?

This has become so common in my lifetime and today, I realized I’ve become somewhat numb to racism. In my 20′s, every case similar to Trayvon Martin ignited a fire in me. I had always been very vocal and emotional when it involved an injustice, particularly racism. I cried for Amadou Diallo’s family in 1999. I wrote and published a very candid book about race relations in the workplace in 2004. I got on a plane to march in Jena, Louisiana in 2007. I’ve signed countless petitions and discussed too many race-related killings within my circles of family and friends over the years. And I must say, I’m tired. Somehow, I’ve joined the carefree attitude of the majority and have waved the white flag, an act I could never understand and accept in my 20′s —- Racism will always exist and there’s nothing I can do about it. But hey, we got a Black President so it’s getting better. Since November 2008, I’ve gradually suppressed my “militant” side to become a somewhat patriotic American. I’ve turned the other cheek, which has involved me tuning out the racist comments and actions against President Obama. Nowadays, I barely watch the news to maintain a peaceful mind.  I’ve joined the masses and have become a relaxed, American citizen tired of fighting the war and patiently ready and waiting for change without action.

It wasn’t until the third article, the 911 call, that the fire that once illuminated my fight was once again ignited. As I listened to this Zimmerman guy describe Trayvon, I immediately thought, “This is some bullshit!” Then when I heard him call him a coon, I was disturbed that it had taken me three different articles to react. “What was wrong with me?” “When did I lose the fight that once ignited my core? Why had I become a follower for change instead of a leader for justice?

Today at 35+, I am rejoining the war. I can no longer sit back with my feet up waiting to repost a link on Facebook. We can no longer afford to accept peace offerings and compromises of change. We can no longer mistake progress for victory. We have to REACT now!

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Music

“When the music changes, so does the dance.” – African Proverb

“Saving All My Love for You” was the first song on the radio that I memorized from beginning to end. “The Greatest Love of All” was the second. And I remember after I first heard “I Will Always Love You”, I marked it as my wedding song until finally listening to the lyrics and realizing it wasn’t exactly “wedding appropriate.” But Whitney’s voice made the song feel perfect for the occasion. And let’s be honest, Whitney on her worse day could still move you with her voice more than most current performers on their best day. Whitney’s passing not only marks the death of a child’s mother, a mother’s daughter, a companion’s friend, and for me, the greatest voice my soul has ever experienced; but her passing symbolizes something that I’ve been dreading for a few years now.

I was at a Prince concert last April when I first acknowledged the change. After seeing Prince effortlessly entertain the crowd, I knew the experience of live music had suddenly become priceless. It was valuable because not only was I seeing Prince for $25, but in that moment I realized such musical experiences would soon become a thing of the past. I thought we had more time… at least 15 more years, but it seems like time is running out and it’s definitely a reason to mourn. Yesterday, my tears fell for not only Whitney Houston, but tears fell into an empty void that doesn’t seem will be filled… timeless music.

My earliest memories in life were me dancing at family gatherings. I’ve always loved to dance even though I don’t have the best rhythm. Music has always been one of the constants in my life, my therapist. It soothed me, encouraged me, comforted me, transformed me, expanded me, celebrated me. And it was through artists such as, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, and Whitney Houston, who not only generously gave us great songs, but they were instrumental to my ability to dream a dream bigger than my circumstances. It was through watching them on Video Soul and Soul Train that I could imagine myself one day pursuing my passion regardless of my race or background. It was through their timeless music that I learned to dance through life.

In my 20′s, my favorite past time was live music. Even now, my favorite time of the year is the summer solely because of the concerts at The Hollywood Bowl. There’s something magical about seeing a performer live in their element, belting out songs that have been instrumental in different areas of my life. The deaths of the musicians of my childhood and adolescent years have caused me to not only accept that I’m aging, but it has confirmed the importance of the music. I always assumed that I would have the comfort of live music, at least for another 15-20 years. But as my musical icons are leaving this stage, I am saddened to think that the era of timeless music may be coming to an end. (Sorry, 20 years from now, I just can’t see myself being excited to hear any of today’s chart-topping singers live… yes, not even Beyonce.)

So, I thank Whitney Houston for sharing her ahhhmazing voice with the world.  With every loss, I have developed a greater appreciation for the music that taught me how to move through life. It will always live in my soul and on my ipod or any other gadget that is developed over the years. At 35+, I’m so grateful to have learned to dance to music of the past generations. It’s from those dance steps that I now recognize that nothing lasts forever so you have to embrace the magic in the moment.  It is from the songs of my past that taught me how to dream and have prepared me to accept the new steps of a new era. It is from musical icons like Whitney that have given my heart melodies that I will always cherish and remember every time I dance.

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Change

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

Tomorrow I will say, “See you later…” to Jojo, my 17-year old Pekingese. For me, this represents so much more than losing a companion, a family member, a pet or whatever definition one may give it. It solidifies the change that God has been preparing for me during the last five years. In my 20′s, life was simple and I was constantly embracing change because it was “happy” change. I was living comfortably in a cozy apartment in an “ideal” location; I was working in the television industry (my childhood dream); I was traveling the world; and I had all of my family intact, including my mother and my three munchkins: Isis, Chompers, and Jojo.

It wasn’t until I lost my mother in 2007, and then Chompers a year later, and then Isis the year after, that I started to experience the “challenging” change that eventually revealed a soulful growth that allowed to me understand and embrace my purpose. Each loss came at a time in my life where I was planning something new, a “happy” change. And each time, instead of celebrating,  I allowed my mourning to overshadow the joy.

The year after I lost Isis, I was anticipating the loss of Jojo since August had revealed itself to be the “death” month in my life. Instead, I finally took the steps of living through my passion and 2010 became the best year in my life. That year taught me how to celebrate again. And Jojo continued to teach me in 2011 so many lessons from his determination, resilience and spunk in the midst of a challenging year for both of us.

I started this year off planning something new and exciting. According to Arnold Bennett, any change is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomfort. So now at 35+, I can now accept all facets of the change that has once again, been put in my path. I can now celebrate Jojo’s purpose in my life and move with the change to come. So, I say, ” Joes, your Clucks loves you so much and is grateful for the time we had together. I know you will embrace the change of being at peace and reuniting with your best buddy, Chompers. Thank you for your unconditional love, invaluable lessons, and dynamic life!”

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Faith

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the end of October, I had an idea. I’ve had MANY ideas in the past, but this time I made the decision to dedicate myself to this particular idea. For the past two months, I’ve been consumed with making the idea a reality (The reason for my lack of blog postings). After blindly taking the first step, everything began to fall in place to let me know I was on the right path. There was no writer’s block while writing scripts; I had a chance meeting with the actress who I envisioned for the lead role from the inception of the idea; and a longtime friend stepped in to help me get the project running without me even asking.

I’ve never been a stranger to faith. In my 20′s, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a dream; I created a publishing company and published my first novel; I traveled solo to destinations outside of the US. I had enough faith to move mountains. Back then, it was easy for me to hang out with faith because I didn’t have mountains in my path. Now at 35+, I feel like I’m meeting faith for the first time. The faith that I befriended last year was born from tall, rocky mountains that attempted to block the breathtaking view of my path. I’m now certain that all of the hiking and sliding and climbing that I did in 2011, was preparation for this project. I’m now in the best shape of my life! And with my new buddy of faith, there is no doubt that it’s possible to reach the top of the staircase one step at a time.

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Ego

Six Components of Ego (according to Wayne Dyer)

1. I AM what I have

2. I AM what I do

3. I AM what other people think of me

4. I AM separate from everybody else

5. I AM separate from what’s missing in my life

6. I AM separate from God

In my 20′s, I was never aware of my Ego. I always called it self-confidence. It wasn’t until Eckert Tole’s “The New Earth” that I became aware of not only the power of the Ego, but the unconditional power I had given mine. Over the last few years, the different components of the Ego have been revealed to me and I think Wayne Dyer’s list is a great guide to discovering your Ego. Throughout my 20′s, I filled my mind to capacity of what I should have, where I should be, why I should have, and who I should be. These thoughts and expectations have blocked my creativity, my judgement, and my greatness. Since coming to terms with my Ego, I now call it out when it appears by just making a mental acknowledgement of, “That’s my Ego!” This simple action has decreased its presence in my life.  At 35+, I’m no longer defending my Ego… I’m living empty.

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Light

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

This week I learned the importance of letting your light shine. For years, I’ve been guilty of dimming my own light in fear of blinding not only others, but myself. I was always trying to make others comfortable – I was always trying to make myself comfortable. I was also afraid of the reaction people would have after witnessing my brightness – And I was constantly afraid of the responsibility of retaining the brightness. In my 20′s, I made an unconscious decision to only reveal parts of me that I felt matched the situation. If I was among writers, I was a writer. If I was among the television community, I worked in Post. If I was among a discontented person, I was an unfulfilled friend. I was always changing to fit in so it’s really not a surprise that I was confused and uncomfortable with my true identity as a whole.

In two different meetings this week, I did something that I normally don’t do — I introduced Kim, the writer. After shining the light, I immediately tried to adjust it by defending my writing. The person stopped me and said, “It’s okay, I’m also a writer.” At that moment something clicked. Not only was I accepted with open arms, but I discovered that others have the same layers that I thought were unique to me. I realized it was okay. Actually, it had always been okay. It was me — For all of those years, I constantly made the choice, out of fear, to shrink myself small enough to fit comfortably in any situation.

Since I started hugging my passions, I am now embracing myself as everything that I am and I’m finally starting to be comfortable in the light. At 35+, I’m no longer dimming my light. I no longer need shades and I’m not responsible for any blinding that may occur. I’ve finally accepted and connected the many pieces of me and today my choice is to stand tall, brightness and all.

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