Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mangoes are what built the Nation

This is a super long post.
But I've neglected this blog for while, and missed it.

My book is very soon coming out. I've sent off for a proof copy. I hope that it passes the smell, taste, touch, test. Then it will be happy day for me! Celebrations will be in order.

To pre-celebrate I've posted a video of me hoop dancing. I've had people requesting a video. So here it is. There will be many more to come, if I can figure out this whole video making thing.

Oh yeah. You might want to turn off my very loud website music before you watch it. On the side of my blog.

Ahem. Hope you enjoy it. I've had so much fun with hooping. It's something that gives me a lot of joy.

So back to my ramblings.
So I've been reading a book, "The artist way" By Julia Cameron, with mark Bryan. I think I mentioned it before, but I read a chapter that really struck home for me, that I wanted to share. I really wanted to quote a whole page from the book, but I'm not sure if the copyright people would be happy about that. So I'll just paraphrase, she said that we say that our our faith, and trust is in God, but in reality it's not. It's in money, the dollar. Most of our actions stem from that belief.

"We are operating out of the toxic old idea that God's will for us and our will for us are at opposite ends of the table," says Juila. She went on to say that we really think that if we go after our dream, God will be frowning on us, if we do what we love. We believe that our dreams are something that have to be put on a far away cloud, only to be looked at when we aren't doing something "More important."

This chapter in Juila's book really struck home for me. I'm ashamed to admit, but I kind of believed that if I was enjoying myself, that maybe....I don't know, it must be doing something wrong. How ironic is that?

It seems, "And I say seems," because this is what I feel, that we live in a type of society, that holds up, and rewards the most worn down, miserable, workaholic, person who just doesn't have time for anything they love. We pat those types of people on the pack, and hold them up as the icon of what is best---what is ideal.

You've seen those types of blocked artist. People who work and work and work, and never do anything that they "Really" want to. Workaholics, people who are afraid to do what they love, because deep down they are afraid. Afraid of what? Disapproval, rejection, actually enjoying themselves? It seems like they would rather make excuses, and put the blame on something or someone, then take that leap of faith into the unknown where anything can happen.

If your path is charted up in front of you, and you see no bend in the road. It's the devils path.
He wanted it all planned out.
If you don't know everything your future holds, I'm thinking you're on a pretty good path.

What it really comes down to it. Do you believe that God, the most creative individual ever created, who blessed you with the talents gifts and abilities that you possess, has the power to help you use those gifts?

Do you think that God is limited by Money? Funny thought. But that's what it comes down to. If he is limited by money, then money is indeed powerful. If you believe he is more powerful than money, people, position, or any other thing, then your life has zero limitations.

Truth is, as the scripture goes, "Men are that they might have joy,"
I Believe that this scripture is true. And it applies to the now, more than any future date. I don't think God likes it when we put limitations on him, or our ability to create the life he intended for us. We must choose now what kind of life we want. And live it.

I've seen well meaning youth, and adults everywhere I go succumb to the dollar-god, bowing before it, and denying who they are, until they no longer know what brings them joy. It's sad.

Creativity is Gods work in action. If we are open, and sharp tools, God can use us to get his work done. Creativity is powerful, and endless.
People use the phrase, "You're so creative," in a sort of derogatory term. It's as if they are saying, wow you have a lot of time on your hands. You must be not really be "Working," or in other words, doing real work like them, and being miserable serving the dollar-god.

Funny thing is, creativity requires time. It requires a feeling of security and safety to blossom, and grow. It requires space. People are always saying, I'm so glad I'm so busy, because I would get into a lot of trouble if I wasn't busy all the time.

I beg to differ. I need space. I crave space. Space is what gives me time to evaluate where I'm going and why. Space allows me to be able to make mistakes and mess up without anyone pointing an accusing finger. Anything truly beautiful is framed by space. Music is only beautiful because of the space surrounding it. Same with the beautiful mountains surrounded by the blue sky.

Space is the canvas God uses to accomplish beautiful things. Space to think and ponder, and to dream is what gives meaning to our lives. Air, or space is what we breath to keep us alive.

Space is where all true creatives find the source of their creative flow.

A well meaning person told me, when I was about 14 years-old that, "that it was imprudent of me to choose writing or art as a career. Because there was no money in it."

I'm glad I didn't listen to that person.

Money should never decide what path you should take. God should. Period. And if you feel drawn to a certain path for no other reason than it helps you to keep on with that creative flow, then go for it.

There is something beautiful, freeing, and amazing about someone who is doing what they love. They don't need someone to approve of what they are doing. They already know it is right, because it resonates with a deep well of truth inside them. It is a path that, if you decide to go on it, leads onward, into new realms. Such paths will never have a little sign at the end, saying, "You have arrived," more like, you will follow a path, and meet with a little road signs saying, "go here, turn here, rest here, there is work still yet to be done---paths yet to be discovered, stories yet to be told, songs yet to be sung. Keep going.

But that is the way it is supposed to be.
To have arrived is to have died. There is no end to an artist. Only a new path, a new way of looking at something. There will always be something more to be created.

We must create because that is what our creator designed us for. So that is how you will know if something is right. If what you are doing stifles that desire to create, you will feel horrible inside. I know the feeling all too well. It's like someone is holding a knife to your throat. Many people will say, that if you plant "potatoes," you will somehow time to plant

Maybe that's true for them. But not to me. I've lived long enough to see the product of people denying the law of the harvest. If you plant potatoes, you'll get more potatoes, and then you'll spent the bulk of your time planting potatoes, and resenting it, and secretly envying those frivolously happy mango planters.
Plant your mangoes now. I don't care what you're excuses are. Put your "mangoes" first on the list.

"Potatoes" come by default.

In the end, no body will care about how many potatoes you planted, or how hard you worked planting them. But they will care about the poems you left behind, the books, the music, the loving person you were, the love, the way you made them feel when they were around you. They will remember the mangoes. How do I know this?

Because it's the mangoes that make life sweet. It's what we keep in our history books. Mangoes built our nation. Mangoes are what created the light bulb, mangoes are what made anything worth anything in this world.

Nobody likes raw potatoes. Yuck. Potatoes, have lots of eyes. They grow in the ground, and they like dirt and lots of company.

But raw mangoes. Yum. They are good because that's the way God made them. They grow framed by space.

If God wanted you to plant potatoes, you would love planting potatoes. It's that simple.

As for me, I'm a mango planter. And I will always be a mango planter. And I will always tell other planters to plant the seeds that they love most. Love is power, desire, will, trust, faith, hope and action all welled up into one small word.

One small action done out of love will have more power for good than any one miserable planted potato.

Every seed, or action that you do will produce after it's kind. So whatever you do will produce after it's kind. Don't blame God for the life you have, instead go after the life you've always wanted, and show God that you have the faith to go after your dreams. Take faith filled action.

So in a word.

Life is too short to plant potatoes. Potatoes, can eat up your life.
Mangoes are what you were made for.

I don't care if your mom, dad, brother sister, aunt, friend, or uncle, want you to plant potatoes, because it is useful and that's what the family has always planted. We live in a society that constantly says that we must be useful to someone else in order to be a worthwhile human being, or bringing in those elusive "golden potatoes."

Being useful is good. Machines are useful. But we aren't machines. And not all of us were meant, or made to plant potatoes.
We are spiritual beings made to love, and be loved. We are endless.

And sometimes to be, and be still and be happy, just for the soul reason to be happy is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Others would argue that in order for you to be happy you have to make someone else happy. Well...the way I see it, pleasing others to get brownie points never made anyone happy. Instead be happy. Do happy things. In reality you can not "Make" anyone happy. Happiness is a sphere in which it is never solely alone. It expands, just like anything good, and produces after its own kind. So be happy, and it will make others happy. It's that simple.

My sister and I spent the day swimming in the canal, just us two.
We had so much fun. It was the perfect temperature outside. The breeze was balmy. The sun was warm. The water was cool and refreshing. The corn growing alongside the canal. The air smelled fresh. Everything was beautiful. It was perfect.
We sat out on a bridge to dry off under the blue sky, quiet, alone and happy. It was as if, for that small moment, there was no one else in the world. We were truly happy. We didn't need anyone, or anything else to make us happy. We just were. And it was a nice feeling. More than that, it felt Good. Not the lazy kind of good.

It was the good kind of good. Where it just was. For no reason except that we were open to the wonderful day that had God had blessed us with, and we took our God-given right to enjoy it. And nobody can argue with that.

It's nice to be reminded, that to just be, to really be, and know that it's okay to be, to feel the sun on your back, to feel the water on your wet hair drying off in the sun, and to know that just to "Be," is a gift, your gift, and no one else can, "be" for you. It is your right to "Be," and that when all is said and done, it is only you who can feel the sun on your own skin, no one else can feel it for you. No one else can live your life the way you can. No one can allow you to take joy in the moment but you.

It is your choice.
It always has been.

So here's a sort of poem I just wrote, whilst I was thinkin on here.
Doesn't rhyme. But not all poems have to. Right?

It's called,

All the Difference
By Stephanie Skeem

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one most traveled by.
It was long, and it was cold. But It was the path people told that led to all the riches and glory, and the gold.
And it was not long before I began to wonder. I felt like something was missing.
The cold cobble stone, and all the shoving and pushing. I wondered what I was doing.
But still I went on. Because it was the path my family, and friends wanted me on.
It had been worn by my grandparents and theirs before me.
It was one that was old. And a path that led to "Gold."
But something was still missing.
Many a man got waylaid and beaten.
But no one stopped to see if they were still breathing.
Onward we went. A all packed tight, light a can of tuna, racing to get to the gold.
We looked straight ahead, and never rested.
Ours was the path of the holy.
For we were good.
We did all we should.
We were doing what everyone was doing.
Never did we stop, or look up.
We were to busy, too focused on our goal.
We were neither happy or sad, because we didn't have time to know the difference.
Then along came the day, when I tripped and fell on my face.
No one stopped to give me hand. Trodden underfoot, I cried out in despair.
Did not any one care?
Then a hand pulled me from the crowd.
I cried, and I bowed. Before me stood a man, who bore marks in his hands, and a gentle love in his eyes.
I knew from his touch, that he didn't care if I won the "Golden elusive prize."
He smiled and took me away from the beaten road. Down to a quiet glen, to a forgotten path, bathed in the warm sun.
"Here I must leave you," said the man with a smile. "This is you're path. I have been trying to get your attention, for quite a while."
"But what about the gold, the prize?" I asked.
"The gold?" the man wondered. "the prize?"
"Yes, I continued. "I'm not quite sure what it is. But it's what everyone is after."
"Don't worry about what others say," the man warned. "The prize is found in the journey and not and the end. Don't look for the gold. But notice what things are really of worth. Don't worry about traveling by other people's clocks.
Time is mans' way of measuring you're worth.
On my path time is not really measured that much.
It's the way that you travel, and what you enjoy. It's what you notice, and how much you forget that time exists. It's the joy of the journey, and not how fast you go.
These are the things that are truly of worth.

I scoffed at first, but then as I took my first step, and instantly knew what I had missed. I felt the warm sand between my feet, not cold cobblestone. There were birds perched in the trees, singing a sweet song.
A brook was gurgling by the side of the path, and I stopped and enjoyed myself, taking a foot bath.
I smiled without knowing why. I felt alive. Was I in heaven? I dared not surrender. Somehow this was a trick.
Nobody could want me this happy. I had to be miserable first. I should be getting along, instead of wetting my feet. This wasn't useful. I must use my feet.
But then I remembered the man's words. He was sure, and his words seemed true.
It is the joy of the journey, and not how fast you go.
So I took his words, and went on my way. I stopped and watched the children play.
I took time to eat my food. I shared my bread, and laughed, and stood.
I took long naps, and I stopped to draw pretty pictures. I wrote down what I saw, and I read stories of other fellow path travelers.
I swam through rivers, and I wadded through waters. I climbed hills, and I scaled towers. I paused atop a mountain's might peak, and watched, and waited, and thought, and smiled. I cried, when the road got hard. But I was happy still, because I at least knew what I felt. I smelled the air, and felt the earth. I saw the yellow flowers growing on the side of the road. I saw a wispy spiders web covered in dew. I paused and sat on a stump, and watched the forest grow and renew.
Two roads diverged. And the road I took was full of air, and space. It led on to magic fields, filled with roses, and towns and places untouched by human hands.
Many on the beaten track, stopped to point and stare, saying that I was silly for wanting, space, time, freedom, and fresh air.
But I didn't pay them any mind.
I knew what was on their road. The beaten path, beats you until there's nothing left. And makes you forget who you are, where you've gone and why.
I had traveled it once.
And nearly died.
Many had said that the well traveled road would be an enjoyable ride.
But on it there was no space to breathe. No time to stop.
No time to think. There was no where to hide!
All you could do was drive, drive drive.
Bumper to bumper, on this treacherous road, car wrecks, and heartache, and people being rude.
No. I decided. I would never look back. The master had taken me, and I had learned to loved the less beaten track.
Alone with the air, and God, and the trees.
I walk, I dance, I skip, I smell the breeze.
This my road. This little path. However wide. It's not the length, it's the joy of the ride.
It's taken me much farther than I could have ever thought.
Through rainy mists, darkness, chilly seasons, and light of day. Through moor, and highland and hilly maze.
I've seen the birds, felt the warmth and the snow, I've basked in the raindrops, and seen many a rainbow.
For here on this path, I've found all the things I love. Before, I never knew, I didn't have time to love.
And this love I've found, it isn't founded in things, nor in people, nor money, nor fame, nor success.
It's a love that goes deeper than any of that.
It's expansive, and encompasses all.
It creates paths where none can see.
It makes us feel like there's something we can be.
It makes bridges and breaks down walls.
Heals old wounds, and makes short people tall.
It makes us strong, so we can climb.
It never forgets us, and always forgives.
The pathfinder of heaven, the keeper of our dreams,
it is he who has called me from the beaten path.
And that, that has made all the difference.


I'm posting the this powerful movie about the man who created the company, Pixar.
It is pretty awesome. And very humbling to think what a loss the world would have been, had he taken a different path.

Until next time.

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