Tag: Faith

Life Is Not Complicated, I saw God. And it only cost me $7…

 

I just settled in at home (and finally my own bed) after a long business trip in Las Vegas. While I enjoy my role as a union delegate for SMART – Transportation Division (formerly United Transportation Union) and I get a great deal of satisfaction being an active part of the collective bargaining process, it can be exhausting. I know a lot of you can relate. The hectic daily lives we lead take a toll on our minds and body. And if you are like me, there is always SOMETHING to do. Phone calls, productions, management, promotions, relationship, fatherhood, mentoring…it never ends because the journey toward a fulfilling, successful life never ends (at least it shouldn’t in my opinion).

Vegas 1I stayed at Caesar’s Palace Casino Hotel in the heart of the Vegas strip. Walking back and forth through the casinos, dodging thousands (literally thousands) of people on the street to find a meal that would not cost me a month’s mortgage, breathing in second hand smoke and hearing the deafening bells, whistles, alarms of the slot machines all while surrounded by the tense faces of gamblers praying for the jackpot, that one big win that will change their lives…if it ever comes, I thought I would go crazy. I needed an escape!

I drove 22 miles. I left the above scenario in the rear view and made my way to the Red Rock Canyon National Vegas 2Conservative Area. As I approached the landmark site I felt the difference almost immediately! I paid the $7 to enter and began a 13 mile scenic drive that transformed my focus. For the price of a bagel on the strip, I was surrounded by God’s work! For the cost of a small Starbucks coffee I felt his presence in the most spectacular scenery! The rock formations, the amazing colors of the mountains, the massive landscape reminding me how big and how awesome God is! It was a much needed reality check and a reminder, the important things in life, the moments that have the most meaning and power do not cost much (If anything at all). Some folks are so busy trying to fill voids and insecurities with material Vegas 3possessions and trying to keep up with the Jones’ by wearing uncomfortable “Red Bottoms” and buying mansions and luxury cars they can barely afford, that they don’t even realize the feeling they get from these trophies” is temporary. Meantime, in one simple, inexpensive drive, I gained perspective, understanding, deepened my faith and most importantly gave my mind and body a much needed rest.

Vegas 4I’ll take all that over a momentary, materialistic fix any day. When you can wrap your brain around what truly matters in life, that is when you really begin to live a life that matters.

 

Life Is Not Complicated, social media shouldn’t be your personal diary…

Never apologize for the good in your life. People who try to make you feel badly because you have been blessed are consumed by self-loathing. Wear your accomplishments proudly, be it your career, your relationship, your children, your success. True friends will bask in the glow of your shine, not pray for darkness to fall. Life Is Not Complicated: Success

“The best way to stay in your relationship, is to keep people out of your relationship.” Ice Cube

Jay-Z-proposes-to-Beyonce-at-the-Met-GalaI am not going to give the entire Solange/Jay Z debacle any more attention than it is due. I only mention the incident because it speaks to much larger issues I have tried to address so many times however, for some reason, are not taken as seriously as they should. This may ruffle some feathers, but as with Life Is Not Complicated You Are, my intention is only to help anyone I can avoid (and deal with) pitfalls that can stand in the way of living a peaceful life. Sometimes, we create our own obstacles!

SHOWBIZ Insider 1Praying , hoping, wishing, expecting or making light of the demise of a successful couple is not sexy. In a society where divorce is far too prevalent, success among certain races is overtly scrutinized, instances of single parents have become way too common and the very fiber of the family is dangerously frayed, we should be rooting for couples to thrive. I will never find the trials and tribulations of other people’s lives entertaining. As someone who has been through his fair share of challenges (if you’ve read the book, you know I am not exaggerating), I would be none too pleased to know that my tragedies were laid bare for the delight of folks who more than likely do not have enough going on in their own lives, so they choose to live vicariously through mine. That kind of betrayal and hateful behavior is inexcusable and breaks down the principles of humanity that are so lacking in our society.

That being said, if you (the general populous) do not want people regaling others with tales of your discontent, keep your private life private. Everyone does not need to know how happy or unhappy you are in your relationships or at your job or with your children. Before social media, people seemed quite content with dating, working, building careers and businesses and living their lives without broadcasting each intimate detail of their existence to millions. And I am not talking about promoting your business or events or accomplishments in order to drive growth. There is a big difference between incorporating social media as a billboard for your business and using it as your private diary. One enhances your reputation and the other could potentially destroy it.

Ladies, stop thinking because your boyfriend or husband does not broadcast your “relationship status”, it is because he is 1350409147_barack-obama-michelle-obama-lgup to something. Gentlemen, stop wondering why your lady is not building you up as “King of the World” on a social networking site. The only people who should know what is happening behind closed doors are the people living within the four walls. Trust and respect who you are with and live your lives accordingly. No, I am not proclaiming that I am an authority on how to live life in the public eye. On the contrary, I do the best I can to keep my personal life where it needs to be, personal. Everything is not for everybody. I have seen way too many families, couples and friendships fall apart because the sanctity of those relationships were compromised because of gossip, folks being messy or individuals sharing pain with the wrong people. Friends, family and anyone reading this blog, I urge you: Before you sit down and type out a knee jerk diatribe of emotion and feelings that reveal way too much about your current situation remember: you never know who is reading, watching, taking notes and hoping that downfall you choose to broadcast leaves you flat on your back and whimpering in pain. Resolve today to never have your humiliation, integrity, reputation, and/or future sold to the highest bidder (who, oftentimes, is the Devil) for some undisclosed amount.

Life Is Not Complicated, but when darkness falls turn your light on

One morning, I was reading some of the feedback left on my “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” page on Facebook. I have never been one to rest on laurels, and while I am gratified with the positive feedback so far, I want to stay connected with my readers, and address the positive reactios, as well as any issues or concerns they may have. While scrolling down the page, one post caught my attention. Stopped me, dead in my tracks. It read simply, “Depression, is real…”. I was so moved by this statement, I had to log off for a few hours, just to get my bearings and refocus.

DepressionDeliverance, the chapter in LINC that addresses depression and the stigma and fears attached to this debilitating illness, was one of the most difficult chapters to write. As I explain in the book, I too had my misconceptions (and admittedly, some misgivings) about depression. Honestly, up until the moment I realized one of my best friends was battling that monster, I had not met a single person (that I know of) who struggled under the weight of this mental oppression. Once I had been introduced to depression, I realized if I wanted to help my friend and preserve our friendship, I needed to understand what the illness was all about. So I read, I researched, I asked questions…I asked a lot of questions. I learned that there were people around me who I never would have imagined were depressed. People who contemplated hurting themselves, people who retreated from “life” for days; anything to stop the suffering. I made it a priority to educate myself so that I could support my friend, and others who simply need to BELIEVE there is hope. I am not an authority on depression, nor do I purport to have all the answers. But I do know, that people very close to me sometimes live in darkness. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I remind them… they are not alone. That darkness is not permanent. However, they have to want to “turn the light on”. They have to want to pick themselves up, and find a reason to live for. Seek out the things that matter, and realize that if they disappear, others will hurt. Kids, spouses, parents, friends. One of the greatest, most valuable lessons my mom taught me, and that I discuss throughout Life Is Not Complicated is, I matter. No matter my circumstance, no matter the opinion of others, no matter my struggle and quite frankly, no matter how successful I become, nothing should define more than my own opinion of me. We need to know our worth, our value. We need to realize we deserve happiness, love, understanding. These things mean so much more when it comes from us first!

Yes, depression is painful, and oppressive, and frightening and draining. But YOU are strong, and worthy, and valuable and necessary. This affirmation should be your light in the darkness. So I ask anyone who is drifting off, and tempted to retreat into mental despair…turn your light in. Find your way back. People who love you, are waiting. People who understand are waiting. Don’t discount what your support system can do. Turn your light on.