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Five Sense Living

I shook my purse, dug deep in my pocket

One, two, three, four, five, sense.

Is that making any sense?

How can I live on five sense? Is that even possible?

I’ve done it all my life, but, thinking about it, five sense isn’t much.

 

I went shopping with my five sense,

I saw my favorite fruit

But I could only watch, five sense can’t buy squat.

Seeing is no fun when you can’t buy.

A five sense budget is, a crime!

 

The aroma tickles my nose, while passing the bakery mmmmm,

The sign said $10 a loaf,

I smell melting butter, I smell melting cheese

But my nose deceives me

Five sense can’t buy these!

 

I feel like a captive

Five sense living keeps me bound

Can’t get ahead in living,

Even with opportunities around

 

Is there another sense to acquire?

A sixth, without seeing death?

Currency, purchasing power, bargaining with confidence

I need a sixth sense

 

A seventh sense! An eighth sense!

A ninth sense! A tenth sense!

Getting me closer to a dollar, Got me some power!

More than my pocket can hold.

 

Can’t live on five sense

On my knees…I get my sixth sense

I stand tall, brave, bold…

 

Written by Stephen John

© 2018

Published S2J2 Publishings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Am I?

I recently read this quotation by Anne Lamont: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Anne’s quote reminded me of a book my dear mother lent me titled, Pulling Your Own Strings by Wayne W. Dyer (if you get a chance you should read it). Basically, it was about taking charge of your life, and owning the things that happen/ed to you and being strong enough to maintain your individualism.

That book really gave me a boost of self-belief and a new outlook on life. Before then, I was putting off many things I desired to do because I feared the opinions of others, I feared being rejected, I feared success – at times, failure.

One of my issues was the fact that I often wondered if in any way I was responsible for another person’s response or lack thereof. After reading that book I realised that I am only responsible for my behaviour. Being responsible for my behaviour does not give me license to be a donkey and to treat others badly without consequence, but I began to slowly release myself from that bondage. It is liberating, so freeing to let yourself free of the ‘responsibility’ of and for the behaviour of others.

I have been doing some deep soul-searching and facing some demons in my closet. It is not a onetime event, but I have come to the conclusion that for me to find myself, I had to make some personal adjustments. Here are a few things I did:

  1. I had to face the fact that I am in control of myself-

I am not in control of anybody else. Every day I get the chance to choose how I think, how I respond, what I say and how I feel about people and circumstances around me. Life will throw many things at me, but in the mix are good as well as many unpleasant things. My outlook depends on my choice. The people close to me, and those who do not know me well may choose to ascribe some dubious meaning to my responses. I had to own up to the fact that I cannot control their decisions and perceptions: and it was liberating.

 

  1. I had to recognise that I was naïve-

I was and to some degree still am naïve to many things. I tend to be overly trusting and always trying to think the best of people. I would be honest, truthful and trusting only to be betrayed. As we say here in Trinidad and Tobago, “All skin teeth is not a smile”, which means that not everyone that smiles with you is a friend. My solution, I became more protective of my peace of mind, I guarded the space between my ears and my spirit. It was an extremely difficult thing for me to do. One person even mentioned “you real different now”, as I went through the process. I decided that in order for me to stop being taken advantage of, I had to do something for Stephen. I still struggle with being naïve this, but this realisation also caused me to acknowledge that there are some people who are just downright nasty and wicked and they should be avoided at all cost, in order to maintain my peace of mind.

3.I had to realise people seek after their own interest first:

I remember helping others so much that I would even put off important personal things. At a single phone call, I would commit to perform at multiple events on the same day. I would be most present to help others, because my perception was, “that’s what people do”. Then as time went by I recognised that when the tables turned, I was left empty and in need. Those who said they were “down with you”, would walk out on me when most needed. It did not feel good, and it left me devastated and depressed. I realised that I was disposable to them and what I thought was mutual was really one-sided. So, I had to pull back a bit and take the time to reassess my priorities and some relationships. Saying no to requests and seeing about myself, is not selfish, in fact, it is necessary for me to be healthy. So now I have become better at serving others, without destroying myself in the process. I set boundaries as to what I will and will not allow.

 

I am becoming better at pulling my own strings. It was uncomfortable at first, because there will be some who find you different from before and less easy to manipulate, but it is all for the better. I will end this post with these two quotes: one of my own and another from the book Pulling Your Own Strings.

 

“The moment you stop allowing someone to emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically manipulate you – that’s the moment they start to verbalise all the things that are wrong about you. Not that those things weren’t there before, it is just that they lost the power to control you.” Stephen John

 

Everything that exists in the universe does so independently of my opinion (Pulling Your Own Strings, Wayne W. Dyer).

 

Bless…

Darkness

 

And darkness was over the face of the deep,

Steep places where scary things hide.

Am I afraid of the dark, or the things that hide inside?

 

 

 

In the darkness of night, my mind runs wild.

Making false things appear real,

Making trees look like men, the wind sounds like a hurricane,

Footsteps become a stampede

In the darkness of my mind.

 

Under my bed where the monsters live

Mostly at night when the lights slowly go dim

There’s no lamp-light bright enough to chase them away.

Afraid to let my pinky-toe hang over the edge,

Edges where darkness creeps, seeks another victim.

 

Victims, living in fear, crippled by the abyss of darkness in the mind.

Dark thoughts, fear thoughts, near thoughts, far thoughts

Holding you, choking you, stifling!!!

Afraid she might say, No! Afraid he might leave,

Afraid to leave the comfort of familiar.

 

Afraid of the outcome, afraid of success,

Afraid that happiness might cause others to regret…

To fret, to think of you less,

To judge you by the result of their failed conquest

Projecting fear of darkness upon you.

 

In the quiet darkness of the mind

Afraid of the sounds in the dark

Voices shouting, Yes! Voices shouting, No!

Shouting STOP!!! Shouting GO!

Afraid of the pictures you were taught to see

One-sided, lopsided, uneven, misguided.

Voices screaming at you from within their darkness

 

But alas! A spark, in the distance, in this dark

An idea, a light, a thought so bright that I run without fear

Catching the updraft, gaining momentum

I take flight, I escape, living light

Living in light

 

 

Written by Stephen John
02-08-2017
Copyright S2J2 Publishings

 

Beauty In Cages

Cages, a space where we imprison things we fear.

A space where danger lurks and we can admire its beauty,

From a distance…

From afar off I stare, from afar off I am amazed

Marveling in the hues of colour, in the strength of the captured.

 

Locked in and chained

Restrained from running free, from flying high

From being.

 

Birds can’t fly free anymore

I’ve clipped their wings so I can gaze at their splendor

While they sing the song of freedom, redemption song.

From a dead tree trunk wishing for green leaves.

 

Orange and black stripes lurking on the forest floor

Now anesthetized by metal bars and bullet proof glass

Hear me Roar!

Hear me growl, feeding on piece of dead horses instead of hunting

Game…

 

But is it a game that we cage that which is beautiful

Because we are fearful?

We put minds in the cage of education systems

Restraining thought because we fear, we may be wrong

Wrong about origins, wrong about religion, wrong about being right

Wrong about our conclusions.

 

Minds with music, minds with art,

Minds with supple flexible bodies

Making silhouettes with moonlight.

Minds held back, minds in binds

Don’t question this don’t question that.

Stay in line, march in time

March like everyone else till we’re all blind; walking with cages on our minds.

As we admire the hues and possible plumes of each other

Fearing the beauty of another

 

Why put minds in cages?

When curiosity is beauty

Exploring the expansiveness beyond the lock and key

Beauty in mental boxes

Beauty in captivity

The systems and traditions we’ve put

To cage our true beauty

Be free, be free.

©2017

Stephen John

Published S2J2 Publishings

Testicular Fortitude

Testicular Fortitude

 

 

Father’s Day… a difficult time for many, a special time for some to celebrate and a nightmare for others.

I wonder, perhaps you do too, why it “appears” that Father’s day has less pomp and ceremony than Mother’s Day. I am not sure if it was always this way or…it’s just something that developed over time. Whatever the reason, there seems to be less attention paid to it as a commercial event.

My story may, or may not be similar to yours. I grew up with an abusive father. I saw and experienced abuse in my family of seven until my parents divorced when I was about 10 years old. It was interesting that I did learn to respect and honour my father regardless. My mother ensured that we understood the importance of honouring our father.

 

I learnt quite a bit from my father too, things I still try to emulate. The importance of being early; as far as I can remember my father was seldom late, He was a fireman, and I guess as a fireman the importance of one second was crucial to life or death. I remember shiny clean shoes – to this day I still use traditional polish, brush, cloth and wax, a learned art. Cooking; my father is a sweet hand man. His fish broth is to die for and he makes a wicked ginger-beer. Unknown to most, my father is actually a pretty good singer. Maybe someday he and I would share a stage.

 

Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on perspective), I learned how not to treat a woman, I learned how not to be unfaithful. I learned how not to give up on your dreams and passions. You see, by observing the way he treated my mother, I decided that I did not want to be remembered that way, that I did not want to model that for my son and daughters. My father wanted to be a medical doctor, a dream he gave up on due to the circumstances of his family. I endeavoured not to give up on my dreams.

Isn’t it ironic that probably the most sensitive and potentially crippling part of a man’s anatomy is also used to describe his strength? We are often asked, “Do you have the Testicular Fortitude?” Fortitude to make decisions, to go against the tide. Men, let’s be honest: many of us have dropped the ball (lol, did you see that?), and shown that we don’t have testicles at all when it comes to fathering. We take the easy way out, we follow the negative narrative that many of us experienced and just go with the flow. Yet, out of these same testicles is part of another generation yearning for some direction.

 

Well, I decided to engineer a change in the narrative when I read David’s deathbed charge to his son Solomon. The real measure of testicular fortitude in 1 Kings. “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go” 1 Kings 2:2-3 NIV

 

Do we really have the testicular fortitude? Or do we just know how to use our testicles?

We can change the narrative. Maybe Father’s day would be a greater celebration if we fathers apologised to our sons and daughters, let them know that we too may be struggling because our testicles have been damaged, and we have lost some fortitude. It is never too broken to mend, even the most sensitive parts can be healed. To borrow the now famous catch phrase from the former POTUS. Yes we can! Show testicular fortitude, Yes we can! Engineer and new generation, Yes we can! Heal the broken ones, Yes we can! Celebrate Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s

Bless

Who?

Who told you black was ugly?

Who Taught you to fear your skin?

Without black we cannot see the stars.

Without black where would red, green, white and yellow begin?

I know it wasn’t God! because from your beauty all life would begin.

Because from your beauty all life would begin.

 

Who told you that hair could be nappy?

Who told you kinks were dirty?

Who told you fros were wrong and should be frowned upon

I know it wasn’t God!

For he gave you your hair as a crown.

 

Who told you, you were uncivilised?

Who told you, you couldn’t speak?

Who told you, you were illiterate, when for centuries you could already read?

Who told you your language was gibberish?

Who told you to change your name?

I know it wasn’t God!

Because he knows and called you by name

 

Who told you your drum was evil?

Who told you your rhythm was demonic?

Who told you to stop playing it?

And to play their rhythm…their music?

Who told you your music was dirty?

Who told you stop that song?

I know it wasn’t God?

He’s the author of music. he created it all.

 

Who told you your dance was unholy?

Who told you not to move your waist?

Who told you, you are a sex symbol,

Good for nothing except a nightly fling?

Who told you to stop dancing and taught you their dance instead?

I know it wasn’t God!

Diversity in praise is his plan.

 

Whoever told you is a liar!

Whoever told you is a thief!

Whoever told you wants to steal, kill and destroy!

Take away what God created you to be.

Whoever wants to rule you!

Whoever told you doesn’t care!

Whoever told you, is ignorant to the fact that God looked at you and said…

“It is very good”

 

Break free of the shackles

Free your mind of the chains

Let God’s image be seen in your blackness

His beauty…His creation…His and only…His

 

 

©2016

Stephen John

Published S2J2 Publishings