Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joyful Process

I'm feeling extremely grateful today for the simple reality of how things happen! I mean by that the process that allows - no, compels! - each of us to be changing ourselves and the world, constantly, with our every choice and action.

Today, I am so very aware, that everything I do - that any of us does - has an immediate and lasting effect on us and our world. It's not big and complex things I'm thinking about. It's being aware that when I chose a direction, then take a single step, that it has an effect. If I think of someone, it changes me, and then to pick up the phone and call, or not call ... there is change, effect. If I want to lose weight and eat a little less, it has an effect. No, I don't become instantly fit, but my body responds in perfect proportions to my action. And when I read, that changes me, just a little bit, and when I read again the next day, I'm changed a little more.

In particular, I'm feeling the reality that, though it can sometimes seem and feel dauntingly difficult to produce the change we want, in fact, every little act has its effects. Every act reverberates through all the areas of our lives, a series of vibrations, mingling with, sometimes overwhelmed by others, but always there, part of that whole that is the ever-present moment we live in.

My walking and thinking change me. The choices I make while I work: the tasks I accomplish or don't, the calls I return and those I don't - they affect me and they affect those I work with, for good and bad. The person who lets me cut into traffic affects me, as does the one who blasts his horn. The smiles change me, and the glares and frowns.

Every day, everything about me, and about you and the rest of the world, changes under the influence of tiny choices, acts, movements, thoughts. These lead to horrors and they lead to wonderful things as well.

The changes aren't always discernible; mostly, they are not. It can take hundreds or millions of them, cumulatively, to create what we might recognize as a substantial, a significant change. But to me, today, that's all part of the wonder of it: that I inch in one direction one moment, and back again the next, that it's so constant and fluid, but so real. That I'm required to hold to a thing, or to come back to it, again and again, before it will rise to a threshold of ... of what? Tipping a balance, deciding a question, achieving a goal, concluding a thought ... being a friendship, standing for something, lasting, overcoming inertia, attaining weight and presence.

But, despite all this, each of these things is made up of those component moments and choices and of the tiniest acts. And so each one of those tiny things matters. And for some reason - today - this reality fills me with joy.

We are Change Agents, Change Machines, and isn't that miraculous and wonderful? Miraculous in the sense that it seems beyond comprehension to be such, to have such power. But also the antithesis of miraculous in that it defines our every moment of life.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sex & Old Married Dudes

Guess I should keep that singular, because I'm sure that at various points in the following paragraphs, others will be thinking, "Speak for your self!" And I must confess that, unlike when I was in high school and college, when I get together with other guys of my generation, we don't generally have a whole lot to say about our sexual adventures, our appetites, nor our fantasies. There are a couple of notable exceptions to that, but as they say, the exceptions prove the rule. Basically, I don't have a clue about the sex life of most other guys my age.

But you know, come to think of it, I was never one of those guys who talked a lot with other guys about my sex life. The vast majority of that talk happened either with women I was having sex with, or with women I wanted to be having sex with. In fact, I remember a funny interaction that was both embarassing and revealing at the time it happened.

This goes back to the time when Black men supposedly "didn't eat pussy". You wouldn't believe the oratory that used to fly among young Black men when the subject came up. Some brothers would assert to high heaven, with every rhetorical flourish imaginable, how dead set they were against ever eating pussy.  They'd go on about the lack of manliness and the flaws of character evident in any man who would consider it, how even if they wanted to try it, their bodies would revolt at the thought, making it impossible - due to the very laws of nature - for their lips to ever touch "there".

I probably said my piece too, but I'd like to think that I mostly just stayed quiet and hoped no one asked me directly, because I know I'd never have admitted to the awful truth. Yes! I was a pussy eater! Or at least I was learning. (No denying that getting cunnilingus right is a lot harder than any of us gave credit)

So one day, I was talking with my White girlfriend about it. I may have been trying to get her to understand what a special deal she had going, being with a Black man who defied such a powerful taboo, who would go down on her with neither shame nor reluctance. And she busted out laughing! When she could speak again, she revealed to me that my very closest friend (the guy who'd introduced us) had told her the very same thing - about how he was the only Black man on the entire Eastern seaboard who had ever touched tongue to twat! (Damn! Was he fuckin her TOO!?!!)

Just goes to show.

But it does strike me that after writing this blog for over three years, I've never written a thing about sex. This, despite that, as much as politics, art, writing, work, the philosophies of living, and anything else I write about, it remains a key area of life.

So, I never got on to the specific subject of sex as an old, married dude, but I believe I'll come back around to it. I have a couple of thoughts on that. Stay tuned, as they used to say. In the meantime, I'll just hope to keep getting fresh material.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Balance & Direction

I haven't posted here in almost a month, which is ironic in that I've been writing more steadily than in a long while. I've been more steady about a number of things...trying hard to reset a regimen that I believe will raise my level of functioning. Why? Because of frustration at my lack of progress, and even a lack of integrity, in areas that are very important to me: my work with vulnerable youth, my writing, my relationships.

In order to be more present and effective in these areas, I've focused on some basics:
- getting up earlier and being out of the house by a particular time every morning
  (important because I'm relatively free to arrange my work day, and procrastination  and distraction have shifted my entire schedule to later hours, which has eroded my efficiency)
- daily meditation (important because it grounds me, generating better focus and energy. My thinking is clearer and my reactions are more sound)
- daily creative writing (important because I believe it's what I am to do - one of the gifts I am given that I am to give)

There are other aspects to this refocusing, such as exercising more and eating better, but it's really the three things I've noted that are the foundation pieces.

So simple...and yet.
This regimen has led directly to my neglect of this blog, and to my hiatus from Jazz Gumbo, my weekly, internet jazz show. I'm actually wondering if I may have to give them up, or substantially shift the way I approach them. Because my priorities and energies are shifting, the balance of hours and days weighs differently. Awareness generating choice, generating change, generating awareness, and so on.

No answers yet. And I'm grateful for that. I'm willing (hoping even) that answers come slowly. I've grown tired and wary of the fast kind.