Donald Trump’s America


ap220x20016x121fffffft-pad220x200ffffff-u2Photo credit : Redbubble

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, Donald Trump won the Presidential election of the USA. A shock to millions. So much has happened since then, many of it, unprecedented. I’ve made it a practice to stay away from discussing politics and religion with anyone, especially, if they stand on the opposite side. People are heavily entrenched in their beliefs. On many occasions, people were spewing so much hatred on Social Media; I had to un-follow them. We are still friends; I simply chose not to be exposed it on a regular basis.

Some of the best people I know voted for Trump, including many members of my church. I should point out I haven’t been actively attending for some time. In one of my few political posts during this election cycle, I wrote about the NC chapter of the KKK holding a victory rally for DT. One church member and “friend”came at me. Like a bull in a china shop. She said I should get down on my knees, pray for the spirit of discernment, and ask for forgiveness. She wrote a lot of other hateful and insulting things. Initially, I was taken off guard. I kept it together, by taking a deep breath before formulating my response. There are ways to tell people to go to hell, and have them look forward to the ride.

My post today is about DT’s rhetoric. Some claimed to have voted for him because they want a wall. Others say he is different, says it like it is, and not afraid of being “politically correct” or offending anyone. Personally, I don’t care what their reasons are. We can’t all bat for the same team! However, this is what I care about; DT thinks all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. Blacks live in poverty, and are uneducated. Muslims are terrorists. He has mocked the disabled, openly disrespected women, gays, LGBT etc. My friends, these are the issues I care about, and have a problem with.

Since the election, a great number of people think it’s open season to attack (physically and verbally) groups who are different and disadvantaged. I don’t mean the peaceful protests right after the election. No, I am talking about 7th graders in a Michigan school, chanting “Build that wall” in the cafeteria around their Latino classmates. In another school incident (outside Chicago), the words “Whites Only” were written on a bathroom wall. A former football player, awoke one morning to find racial slurs written on his car. Minorities being threatened by whites. People asking their Muslim neighbors to leave, or they will be deported. The Muslim woman shopping in Wal-Mart, who had her hijab ripped off, and was then told, they were no longer allowed. The list is endless.

Surprisingly, the same people who were so vocal about their support for DT, are now very silent. Right here, is where a small sore grows, fester, and turns into a virus.  I don’t see any of them saying this is wrong. Sure, they might briefly comment on another person’s post, if at all. However, no one have personally come out, and condemned the behaviors. I’ve seen them share photos and videos of the protests though. What a sad time in history.

I know the people who voted for DT don’t want to be associated with hate groups. The same people have gotten offended, when anyone remotely suggests they are racists, because of how they voted. Heck, they don’t want to be viewed as homophobic, racist, or anything close. I understand this. I do. You agree with DT’s political views, and that’s okay. However, when you turn a blind eye to the consequences of his campaign’s rhetoric, we all wonder if this is truly the way you feel, simply too afraid to speak out, or suffering from the typical “not-in-my-backyard-syndrome”.

Take a stand! It is frightening to step outside your cozy comfort zone. You might not belong to the groups he threatened to displace when he is elected. No. You might never have to worry about any of the injustices so many suffer daily. However, there are millions who do. Can we stand with them please? Can we assure them they are wanted here (legally of course)? We need help to bridge the divide. A little goes a long way. Speak up and speak out.  We need you. They need you. The world needs you.

The Electoral College meets in two days. Many of DT’s supporters, are now very dissatisfied with the people he has chosen for his cabinet. He isn’t draining any swamp. He has already gone back on a few promises he made. Some have already regretted casting their vote for him. Too late now. If DT is confirmed President of the USA, we will accept it. We hope and pray, he does what is best for the country. He is a self- preservationist after all. However, we can’t stand idly by, wringing our hands, and do nothing, when we see another human being in need. This is America, after all. Rise up.

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

I Am Me.


learning-how-to-speak-my-truth(Photo Credit : veganyogalife)

In the recent past, I’ve discovered, and fell in love with a few authors. They give new meaning to the word FABULOUS.  I’m drawn to the ways in which they express themselves. Raw. Unapologetic. Authentic. Below is another piece from the incomparable Janne Robinson. I see so much of myself in the words and phrases below. I make no apologies for how I feel. You shouldn’t either.

If you’re either easily offended or prudish, with all the kindness and respect I can convey here, it’s best if you carry on, now.

This is for the women who don’t give a f**k. The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it. The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite. The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.

This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.

The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance. The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the f**k out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart. This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.

The women who swear like truck drivers. The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability. The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name. The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.

Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.

Who use “no” to be in service for themselves. Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish. For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.

This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded. These are the women I want around me.

Whoever you are. However you choose to express your truth. Live it. Love it. Celebrate who you are!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Stay Gone!


original1As a follow on to my last post, I’m sharing the poem below by the oh-so-talented Marty McConnell. The piece is life affirming and brilliant. All too often, we often go back to the same dead-end, toxic relationship. Hoping this time around, things will be different. Holding out hope. It’s so much easier than accepting the alternative; the relationship is over. Has been, for a long time.

IF like me, you’ve done this time and again, or you’re thinking about going back, please read the piece below. A few times, to get the gist of it. You must stay GONE. I don’t mean just physically either! Isn’t it time to live your truth? It took me years to realize: NEVER settle for someone, who isn’t absolutely, insanely, and foolishly happy to be with you!

Leaving is not enough.You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did.

And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.”  Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell by Marty McConnell.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Keep Shining Dear Ones


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Photo Credit : Instagram

Hello Friends,

I wanted to reach out to anyone struggling with self-doubt. The kind either created by our own minds, or the people we surround ourselves with. I don’t know what your circumstances are, I could never know. However, I can tell you, what others think about you, is none of your business.

Keep doing good. Keep working on yourself. Keep striving. Only you truly know your journey, and what it took to get there.  No one can write your story, and even if they did, how will it turn out?

Do your thing, and do it unapologetically. People will criticize, but you probably know what they are going to say. The same thing that makes your pulse beat faster, your eyes sparkle, when talking about it, do it. As often as you can, for as long as you can.

It has taken a lot of resolve and persistence to get where you are. You didn’t come this far to quit. In the words of R Scott Fitzgerald: “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whosoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you find the strength to start over”

Live. Love. Laugh.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

 

Freedom Is Not Free.


 

aphiliprandolph212163America celebrated Independence yesterday. All around the city of Brooklyn, people came out with the familiar celebratory BBQ  get up; food and drinks to feed a small army, grills, loud music, and of course, family, friends, and loved ones, to mark the nation’s annual tradition. Amidst the flurry of activity, I couldn’t help but reflect on what makes us truly free. Can we be truly free of any and everything?

Rhetorical question, yes. There will always be a crisis to handle, problem to solve, and some part of our world to be put to right. Isn’t life a constant changing of the guards from one problem to another? If we are to grow and learn from experience, then these challenges are necessary, right? Isn’t this what those self-improvement guru’s want us to believe? I have also blogged about the need to remain steady and firm in the face of difficulties.

My thoughts then turned to the things I can control. My actions and how much they impact my future happiness. There is no personalized life book that comes with any of us at birth. We make what we think is the best decision, and hope for the right outcome.  I guess I can only look back now, at the battles the past few years, and ponder heavily on how one decision changed the course of my life. Forever.

Stay with me.

The year started out with major disappointments. Two days in, and the bad news opened like flood gates. Adding to the existing string of difficult issues already being tended to. They kept coming. Granted, I have to accept and appreciate all the good. The small and big moments of happiness, that have help me through the most difficult few years of my life. Some of which have been noted on my Earth strong post. You can’t have the great without the struggle. The only prayer I offer up these days is one of hope, for things to turn around.

I used to attend church regularly. Served the members of my congregation in every capacity possible. Did all the right things. For a very long time. Somewhere along the line, all that changed. As a result of one decision. Call it the consequences of veering off the path, or some type of karmic shift, I don’t know, but the ensuing years have been very harsh. I was free to make this decision, but not free of the consequences. No one ever is. Freedom does come at a cost. Always.

I’m writing my memoir. It is a project I’ve started and stopped many times. Why a memoir? I mean, everyone has a story, but not everyone is sharing it with the world. You WILL understand, once it’s published. I’ve abandoned all completion timelines. The story needs to be written and accurately. However, it is coming. Months or years from now, it will come.

When you get to a certain age, for all intents and purposes, it appears you must go through a few years of extreme hardship. I’m aware some people have more. Whether it’s the loss of an important relationship, financial downfall, home, or anything that means something. I remain grateful to the universe though, for the things, experiences, and good, wholesome people I’ve been blessed to cross paths with.

I hope this refiner’s fire I am going through leads to something glorious. Since I no longer hold many of the beliefs about Deity I used to, I only have to believe the universe is preparing me for an elevation of gigantic proportions. I also hope whatever karmic debt I owed in my previous life, will soon be repaid. Then there is the question of whether or not, I ever owed any “debts” to speak of.

I hope the struggles of the past few years continue to strengthen my battle weary shoulders. Among my friends, I’m always admired for qualities such as fortitude, resilience, and inspiration. Sometimes I get tired of the fight. Don’t you? Tired of having to keep a brave face all the time. A partner once told me : ‘You’re strong woman, you don’t need anyone’. Sadly, he failed to recognize underneath all the strength, is a woman who wished he would see the silent battles I fought. Another time and universe I guess.

I also know, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten (Tony Robbins). My heart and soul hungers to be free of so much. I’m working on it. I think it’s time to make life a whole lot simpler. Continue working on my bucket list….I hate that phrase, but it applies for now

I hope wherever you are, and however this post reaches you, life has been kind to you. I hope you and your family are well, and happy. I wish you enough. Of everything.

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

Life Is A Party.


life_is_kind_of_like_a_party_There is a lot I could say, about the true beauty, simplicity, and meaning, of the words in the photo above. However, there are situations, where you just let the words speak for themselves.

I hope, however, if you’re reading this post, there is at least one person in your life, who helps you to clean up the mess.

You deserve it. We all do.

Until the next post,

Love and Light,

Juan.

#selflove#


MAIN-Lil-Kim-Then-and-Now(Lil Kim, then and now. Photo: google images)

Sadly, we live in a society where, as women, we’re constantly being barraged with suggestions on how we should look, dress, and act. New moms are often fielding questions about losing baby weight. The internet has become a hot bed for cyber bullying and fat shaming. Health problems are sometimes the root cause, but it makes very little difference.

Husbands often emotionally manipulate their wives, by comparing them to friends, strangers, exes, and everyone in between. Others are sexually harassed, stalked, threatened, and worse. The world as we know it, has changed. The restructuring started ages ago. Tragically, we’re just now beginning to pay attention.

I’m not a fan of Lil Kim’s music, but this radical change highlights the fact, that as women, we need to love ourselves. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is real. No amount of male companionship, closet full of shoes and clothes, nice home/car, money in the bank, etc, can replace self-love. All these things are “white noise”, and will eventually come through the back door.

Spend time with people who build you up, and appreciate you. We teach people how to treat us, by what we allow. No one will ever love you, more than you could love yourself. No one. Sad it’s come to this, for a person who was so beautiful to begin with! My heart aches for her. Despite  money, fame, and status in life, she is obviously not content with who she is.

Lil Kim has admitted to having low self-esteem. Her father, a person who should have been her champion and supporter, failed at his calling. The opportunity to develop self-love, sense of self, and nurture her spirit never stood a chance. It’s a well-known fact, women date men who remind them of their father.

Lil Kim’s romantic relationships suffered. The men didn’t appreciate her, or what she brought to the table. She stated partners eventually left for women who were “lighter” and prettier. She felt she couldn’t compete with them. The picture above has created a firestorm of ridicule and scorn, from fans and trolls alike. It’s sad and sickening.

Half of these keyboard warriors do not see a woman in pain. They do not see a woman who looks in the mirror and (probably) says to herself: “I’m not good enough. Never will be. Maybe if I change this, it might make a difference….” For someone to go to this length, the amount of emotional and mental anguish must be overwhelming.

I can’t imagine the battles she fights every day. Struggles which continually rage in her every waking moment. Instead of subjecting her to such derisive language, we can offer support, and prayers. She is a fellow human being struggling on her journey through life. We can and should do better.

The importance of loving ourselves cannot be stressed enough. Although the bullying is mainly directed at women, I know a small majority of men have faced similar issues. Nothing and no one will replace self-love. I recognize for some, learning to love themselves, is a lifetime struggle.

Keep going. Surround yourself with people who nourish your soul and spirit. If there is anyone in your life who treats you with the least bit of disrespect, move on. The damage is sometimes irreparable. The longer you wait, the harder it is to heal. You deserve to be loved, adored, cherished, and looked after, in a kind, caring, and tender manner.

You’ve got one life, body, soul, spirit. Start appreciating your talent, abilities, individuality, the goodness that is you. Dont ever let anyone, make you feel as if you’re not good enough. The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do, will not like you. But it is also filled with those who will love you fiercely. They are your people. Your are not for everyone, and that’s okay. More than okay.

Looking outside ourselves for things, people, or situations to validate who we are, is one of the biggest tragedies of life.

Until the next post,

Love and Light,

 

Juan