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Friday, January 27, 2012

Does Charlize Theron not understand PreJudice, yes, no?

In this video taken from both the Daily Beast website and Newsweek's Roundtable interview show, actress Charlize Theron when talking about the plight of black actresses in Hollywood doesn't seem to get the point of of help costar Viola Davis when she says she's not young and hot like Halle Berry.

Watch the following video and judge for yourself. Does Ms. Theron misunderstand? Or is Ms. Davis really holding herself back with negative thinking?

In my life, it has been a common theme for many of my friends and family of color to say that I as a w
White person may not understand what it is to be less sought after, less understood. And while I personally agree that systemic issues exist in a culture that seems to compartmentalize ethnicity, heritage and even job titles, does Ms. Theron make a valid point that thinking that you can't do a thing from the start may make it that much harder to do the thing you want to do?

I've personally found in my own life, whether it be me (a White man with a disability), my fiancée (A Filipina woman) or or say, another friend (A black man with a disability), condemning the problem  -- whatever it may be often does little to solve it. For instance, if I am poor, do I do any justice to my situation  by mulling over and philosophically contemplating my poverty? If I am racially discriminated, do I serve to lift myself up by attacking the person who is ignorant toward me? It's likely I do not help any of the situations by dwelling in my negative thoughts, but  rather by contemplating solutions, whether they be as expansive as Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of racial harmony between all God's children,or feeding a starving baby, these all come from stances of action. For me the Epistle of James says it best in the New Testament when he declares that faith without action is dead and serves no purpose but to delay the right thing from being done:

 14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
    15If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
    16And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
    17So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead). - James 2:14-17

What do you think? Leave your comments below and as always… roll on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coca-Cola's 'Reasons to Believe' commercial brings smiles back

This video by Coca-Cola was sent to me by a young woman in Indonesia whom I befriended on Facebook about a year ago. The video has more than likely since reached millions of people around the world via the Internet and has seemed to stir something up in me reminding me of the marvelous interconnected world we live in today in 2012--that for all the devastation in the world, the planet as we know it can be ubiquitously and relentlessly beautiful in certain moments.

Roll on!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Getting down to the business of personal development with 'The Dyer Dozen'

Below is a list called "The Dyer Dozen" from Dr. Wayne Dyer's best-selling book, The Power of Intention and his PBS  special of the same name. It is a list of 12 steps designed to bring positive change to the lives of people who struggle in daily life to move past negativity and pain-both actual and imagined.  I have adopted this philosophy in my own life for several years now. 

Over a decade ago, I was searching for myself personally, spiritually, academically and professionally. I knew there was something I had to do, some purpose I had. I also knew beyond any shadow of doubt that i had soulmate. But what I didn't realize is that I was trying too hard, I was forcing the issue as it were. Where I been succeeding in my academic life in junior college studying Communications and Media and then going on to create a screenplay during a hiatus in my studies, I was lonely. Every girl I seemed to like had a boyfriend, smoked or was the type of girl that seemed to look past me or even threw me in the dimly lit, halfhearted ambience of a nightclub. 
Until one day I began to seek spiritually. I gave up going to church and decided to read the Bible on my own. I studied Zen Buddhism, conversed with people and looked inward to what I really wanted for my life. Upon doing these things, I remembered a Zen proverb of the student who asks his teacher, "Master, How do I free my mind?" To which the master replies, "Who put it in restraint?"
With this simple thought I began thinking more positively and grounded myself in what I like to call realistic optimism knowing that while life may not be perfect, no one ever achieved perfection while dwelling on and mulling over all that is wrong all the time. 
Now, where I used to consider myself cursed in relationships, I have a fiancée. Where I used to wonder why I couldn't get a job, I now make more money than I ever have before just by freelancing on my own; and where before I used to wish for things to show up my life,  I  now simply expect them to show up and they seem to manifest without force and with remarkable and regular certainty and purpose.
I have since that time gone back to church and realized the definite parallels between Christianity, Zen and power of intending that which is best in my life. But I'm not here to force you on a particular path to bettering your situation or someone else's, I'm only here to say these are universal principles that work! For it was, after all a certain Jewish carpenter who said, "[B]elieve you have received it and it shall be given you."

The Dyer Dozen
1) Want more for others than you want for yourself. Whatever you perceive to be missing, want that MORE for others and it will automatically come to you as the first recipient.

2) Think from the end. Begin to see yourself surrounded by people and events and things that constitute your perfect life. "Act as if" it has already happened. Because all that you need, you already have.

3) Be an appreciator in your life. Look for that which is valuable rather than worthless. When you depreciate you take value away, when you appreciate, you add value. Make it a point therefore to always add value.

4) Stay in rapport with Source Energy. Constantly reminding you of connection is how Source thinks.

5) Resistance is deviation from the Source. Every thought you have that is different from the Source you originated from is resistance. Fear, anger, shame, depression, can't, won't, shouldn't, are all resistance. Love, happiness, joy, tenderness are all Source inspired. You are what you believe and you will have in your life whatever you believe you can have.

6) Contemplate yourself surrounded by the conditions you want to produce. You are one with Source and can create anything you desire. Source can't be anything other than it is, neither can you. Your base material is the All That Is.

7) Understand the art of allowing. Taking the path of least resistance. Every thought with resistance in it, creates path of least allowing. Are you pulling energy from Source or pushing against the Flow?

8) Practice radical humility. You are not the body or mind you are in. You are not the posessions you have, you are [of] the Divine Source. Come home to your real self and realize that you are no better or worse than anyone else.

9) Stay in a constant state of gratitude: stay in a state of being generous and grateful. Rumi said: "Trade your knowldege for bewilderment" Be in constant awe and wonder at the generosity and beauty of life and be grateful for it.

10) Keep in mind that you can never resolve a problem by condemning it.When you use shame, you are using the lowest energy out in the universe. You can't shame your way into the Source just like no amount of poverty you live in can lift anyone else up out of poverty. Be the example you wish to see in the world.

11) Play the match game - always ask do I match Source in my intention?

12) Meditate: The quiet mind is your way of staying connected to Source. You cannot divide Source/God. Everything else has a polarity/dichotomy except for silence. You cut silence in half and you get more silence. Cut Source in half and you get more Source. You can't divide it. Stay in the Gap.

The above is from Dr. Wayne Dyer's PBS presentation on The Power of Intention.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I am a man of faith, but not because of its name

It's Sunday, and as such I felt this video succinctly appropriate. I am admittedly a man of faith, and I do willfully try as best I can to walk (or roll) the path taught by Jesus in the New Testament. I don't claim to have all answers and I do not consider myself a Fundamentalist in any sense of the word with regard to religion nor can I claim as fact that a man rose out of a grave. But I can say with every element of who I am that the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth agree with my heart's deepest desires and vice versa.

**Please note that I disagree with the idea presented in the piece that Jesus hated religion outright, but do adhere that some of the most  outwardly religious of Jesus' time were hypocritical. Refer to Matthew 23 here.

May these words find you equally and may you roll on with joy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Alan Watts speaks on spiritual authority

Listen. Listen. And comment if you like and roll on!

Search/Google Alan Watts for more information.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A White guy in a wheelchair speaks to what Dr Martin Luther King Jr. means to him

Case and point.

About five years ago, while I was perusing a small poster sale in my college, I came across a poster with a certain photograph of one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving  his now famed August, 1968 speech -- you know the one with the dream. And as I don't often hesitate to pick up things that move me so to speak, I bought this poster, for as I remember less than five dollars. It was a meager price for what I saw as a small way to commemorate someone who I thought exemplified a philosophy that to me seemed only natural in that I had grown up in a multiethnic neighborhood with Italian Polish, Jewish, African-American, Puerto Rican and Indian cultures being represented. My best friend of over 15 years (and future Best Man at my wedding) was Black, my girlfriend (and soon-to-be wife), Filipino and even my college friends seemed to exemplify a cultural diversity that just wouldn't exist without this man. So like most any student who just bought a poster, I went back to my dorm and hung it and that seemed to be the end of it.

A few weeks later, however, a family member who I considered to be a  pretty smart guy, and still do for that matter, while visiting one day jokingly but somewhat quizzically asked me, "You know you're White, right?" I quickly quipped back, "That's not the point," and proceeded to tell him what I've just told you in this blog. He seemed to get the message well enough, and so I went about my business. But his assumption was clear: because I was White, Martin Luther King Jr. was not MY civil rights leader and that in my family member's mind, Dr. King and his legacy belonged to Black people. This view, prevailing as it may be in many people's minds, saddens me very much in that this brilliant man, educated, well read, deeply faithful and convicted by conscience is, to this day still seen by some to embody the problems and remedies of  just one type of person, one ethnic race or one skin color. As a man with Cerebral palsy, civil rights and the civil rights movement of the 60s, was never just a Black thing, a White thing, a conservative thing, a liberal thing, a religious thing or a secular thing. It was simply the right thing.

How would I, for instance, as a man who uses a wheelchair, be able to justify demanding the physical ability to enter a public space where the able-bodied walk if I were to allow myself to disallow others with particular physical features to enter the same square? How would I have been able to attend school with the general population as easily as I did from a political standpoint if racial segregation had still existed in law books in the United States? And lastly, would I be able to have the relationships I do, the friendships and even the wife that I will have soon without a society which embraces cultural diversity in the name of respect?

Today, I live in a society that elected a bi-racial man, Barack Obama President of the United States in 2008, 40 years hence from Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech and just 50 to 60 years after the wounds of abject racial segregation. Yet today, in 2012, despite the lingering prejudices that may exist, you and I now live in a world where all this is possible. We live in a world where neither friendship nor romance nor business partnership nor love of neighbor need be bound by the color of skin, the dimensions of disability or the preconceptions of culture, but we as a people, a humanity -- that we are at very least able to embrace the true content of both our distinct as well as our collective characters. For that I am forever thankful. Thank you, Dr. King and thank you to all like him who believe that the world is better because it is a little more together.

Roll on and dream.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Will Smith talks rebirth on Oprah

Here is some interesting insight from Will Smith on life, death, birth and rebirth. Will speaks to the idea that though we so often think things happen on a straight path, it's often the detours that make life interesting and worth the temporary growing pains. This is a concept that I've tried to capture in this blog since its beginning. From disability, financial hardship and the things that make us different or the things that make us feel alone, it all seems to have a grander and more definitive purpose than we ever see. And with this understanding, I'm thankful for each day I take another breath and another look at life through this forever changing lens.

Until next time,  I challenge you to live, grow and roll on!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photosophical: Dreamchasin' -- is it free?

I saw this on a friend's Facebook and I had to post it. For something to give me such an instantaneous, visceral reaction is a sign that it should be in this blog. After a long hiatus, some work, some play and my 31st birthday, I've come to a resolution in 2012 that I am going to live out my dreams literally --  no matter how small or large.

It's funny what this picture speaks to. The very essence of America we are taught, is individuality, But how many of us are teased as children for not being like the others, being out of fashion, being a bad athlete, or a science nerd? We call someone weird when he or she doesn't follow pop culture. Ask yourself why and then ask yourself: how easy is it to be authentically individual? Do we stand a chance in daily life, friendships, romance, at our jobs? Ask yourself and get back to me at a later time.

You may find in the course of your journey that true individuality is damn hard, arduous even. What if you could go to your job dressed in whatever garb you felt best suited your mood that day? What if you could take your lunch break whenever you wanted? In relationships, what if what you look like didn't matter at all? What if your race, religion, political affiliation, etc. was uniquely yours and no one else's? Or better still, what if all these mattered to the extent that they defined you as a unique fingerprint on the Universe as the evergreen and unduplicated you? If all these things were true, could you handle it?

Think on these things and until next time… Roll on!