Inner Journey

In order to go anywhere, your mind and body have to be ready to go. I believe this is why most people don’t travel far from their home. We are not willing to leave behind the familiar to seek out the unfamiliar.  For some of us, there is too much danger in the unknown.

Red Prayer

In Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, he wrote how he remembered his childhood as a small one stick fighting with his friends in their village. It was one of the happiest times of his life. The only clothing they wore was a blanket across their shoulders.  When he moved to a larger village, he had to dress differently and learn new customs. He missed his village, but the new places brought on new adventures and new opportunities.

Like Mandela as a child, those moments of learning create conflict for us. I know I hate being made to feel stupid for not knowing something. But I realize not all families have the same values or customs which makes you have to have a conversation with others about how things should function. We are too frightened to ask someone why they do things a certain way.

Everyone has gaps in their knowledge.  We do not know everything about everyone. We all need to learn something from someone else. If we are fortunate, we are surrounded by people who can give us that information. Other times we have to do what we can with what we got. And this is where the adventure usually comes in.

I am a product of integration, which means I went to white schools most of my life. My parents did not go to white schools. So there were times when we would have a conversation about things they knew nothing about. It is difficult to advise a child when you don’t know what they are talking about.  Yet my sisters and I learned to adapt. Many times we just handled it ourselves.

Example, my parents had no concept or idea of sending me to college once I graduated high school.  But I decided I wanted to go and started investigating it. Many of the kids around me were going to college. It seemed like the logical thing to do. (I had no concept of going and getting a job which was probably their idea of what happens after you graduate high school.) There were times they looked at me like I was crazy, but I just thought they were dumb parents.  I had no clue I was defying all of the odds against me.

Because I did not have a source of folk to ask questions, I forged ahead. My ignorance was bliss, and it worked for me. I also had no idea of college cost because I chose one of the most expensive universities in the area.  And the truth is my parents were probably happy I was leaving their house. It was good to get rid of an obnoxious teenager.

The truth is the journey starts in your head and heart. If it is not there, then your feet are moving for no purpose.  If there is a fire inside of you, then it can get you through anything. If there is no intention behind what you do, then you are like snow blowing.  You are moving here and there not sure where you will land.

My experiences during that time have taught me something about myself and my journey. Sometimes there are going to be gaps. It keeps you humble. You have to admit you don’t know something. You have to be willing to learn new things. Opportunity comes when you combine the two.

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11, 12, 13 and 14 of my 17

I attended some functions I have not attended in a while and others I had never attended before. Each experience was unique. So one of the things that make all of these special is that I do not like crowds.

11. I attended a comedy show with some of my favorite comedians. I love spending time with my sister and where ever we go, we laugh. And I learned why it had been almost a decade since I did that. The woman who sat next to me was very drunk and didn’t know who most of the comedians were.  And she was smoking.  Some of the comedians were funny, some were just angry.

 

12. I attended Congressman Marc Vessey’s townhall. I learned a lot about how government works, but the most profound thing I learned was that there were jobs available, but few people who wanted to learn the skill set to do the job. Congressman Vessey explained how there were blue collar jobs available but very few wanted to learn the skillset, so many of those jobs went to international workers who were willing to learn the new skill sets and make up to $100,000 a year because Americans turned them down. The room was packed, standing room only. But many of the folk wanted the government to give them something, they did not want to change how they did business, or move or learn something new. They wanted it the way it always was.

Life changes constantly. We can try to make someone or thing stay stagnant to please us.

 

13.  One of the best things I attended this year was Poets In Autumn. It is a Spoken Word Tour that uses a combination of live and recorded performances. I  loved seeing Jackie Hill Perry live!!! It was so encouraging and fun. I was introduced to this new form of performance and it rocked me. I am inspired!

9 Propel Women

14. This year a good friend invited me to Propel Women with Christine Caine, Beth Moore and Lisa Harper. It was a great blessing. I had never seen Christine Caine or Lisa Harper live.  I loved hearing Harper’s story of the adoption of her daughter. It was powerful. I enjoyed Christine Caine, but it was so great to see Beth Moore live.  It had been years since I seen her live.

 

This year I got to witness many talented people inform, entertain and inspire me. There were some great moments and not so great moments. But it was all a part of the adventure of life.Go live, learn and be inspired.

 

Peace and Hairgrease.

 

More of My 17 in 2017

Here are more of the 17 things I did this year. This time has a lot to do with broadening my artistic perspective. I learned some new things about myself and added some new skill sets.

5.  I learned how to develop black and white film. I have always been in love with the camera, but the journey to developing film was rough.  My fellow students and I used to joke about the chances of actually getting all of your film to develop correctly.   In the process of putting the roll of film on the reel correctly, then putting it in the right chemical in the right order for the correct amount of time always made it iffy about getting specific images. We learned a lesson in how to make due with what you have.  And a bonus was the sulfuric perfume of the chemicals that clung to your clothes for the rest of the day.

6. So the biggest challenge to making prints for me was fighting my aging body. When you reach a point in life where you need light to see, working in a darkroom can be troublesome.  Finding focus in the dark can be a challenge, but it is all so worth it.  I learned to use an enlarger to make prints from film I developed. It was challenging but expanded what I know about images and tone.

7. the easiest part for me was following instructions. I had never taken a drawing class so it was easy for me to listen to the instructor and do as he said. I did not have years of other instructors in my head telling me to do something different.  The hardest part for me was not being able to erase.  I learned how to draw what I saw, not what I thought I saw.  In meeting this challenged, I learned new things about myself and what I could do.

 

Some of these things were never on my list as things to do.  I am glad i got the opportunity to do them because they have opened up new worlds for me.  I see myself as a different type of artist now. It has been powerful.

In 2018 go find you power.

My 17 in 2017

Because of my friend Bridgette Brown, I set out to do 17 things that I have not done before (or in a long long time).  As I tell you of my accomplishments, I will break this up into several days.

1 FPU

1. One of the most profound things I did was attend Dave Ramsey’s class on how to manage your money.  This class changed how I viewed money and how I handle it.  I have watched people do all kinds of crazy things with their money and wondered “Why are they doing that?”  Dave Ramsey changed my perspective on money.  And that is the key. God taught me what He sponsors, He pays for.  If you have to jump through major hoops and you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, don’t sign up for it. Don’t do it. God provides for my needs. Not all the other crap I see that I want. I trust Him.

 

2 For the first time ever, I went to a Mardi Gras parade. With my friends and family, we went to Galveston to experience the parade there. It was an adventure for me as we walked pasted houses decorated for Mardi Gras. Some folks had music playing. It was a party atmosphere I had never experienced before. I also got to take cool photos. (It is also the only time I have been that close to the beach and not gone near the water)

3 Breakfast Klub

3 We had breakfast at the Breakfest Klub in Houston. (Uh yeah, we are foodies. We will travel across the country to eat at a restuarant) But if you have been following me long, you know that.

4 Camera Operator 1

4  At church they moved me to camera operator (during  the live production!).  It is so funny to me because I always remind them, I can’t see if it is in focus or not. (the struggle with growing older is you get much smarter with age, but your body parts start to break down and not function properly.) Who knew a volunteer position would stretch you? I love being a part of that team.

 

As you get ready for 2018, look at the world around you and ask yourself, how can you participate? How will you get better, learn something you never knew or get better at something you used to know.  Make yourself a list and look for those moments when God opens a door for you to step out of your comfort zone.

I promise you, it will be a blast.

 

Peace and Hair Grease.