My Season of Changing for the Better Faster

“Here.” Left Hand Circle Drawing by Peter J. Harris

Winter Solstice 2018 … and I’m guided by the question, What will I live for?

I’m energized by the mantra, Change for the better faster!

I’m inspired to tap creativity, imagination and inspiration as indispensable tools for constructive resolution of personal trauma and social drama.

Recently, in a TEDxPasadena Talk with my daughter, I testified most personally about how I answered the question and lived the mantra.

We stood shoulder-to-shoulder. I was her ‘Be There Man!’ We spoke of our 15 years of healing work, after my daughter suffered at the hands of her former stepfather. I told our audience that I learned, with my daughter’s guidance, the value of being a presence of integrity in her life. I also celebrated the healing presence of a group of good men in my life.

Looking back, I learned how worthless I would have been to her, if I had reacted with exaggerated demands for respect … silence at the crossroads … ‘bring it on’ as problem-solving strategy … or any other tone-deaf masculine reactions that pulsed with threat, were inflamed by revenge and sought satisfaction in violence.

Our situation required me to act beyond clichés. In real time, I needed to find and speak the words of love, atonement, vision, and partnership. I had to show up, and be relentless about showing up, to help rebuild sacred father-daughter intimacy.

During the crisis, and now as the next phase of our life unfolds, I’ve learned that my actual power is quite simple. Speaking up. Speaking out. Standing as a persistent ethical presence. All while bearing witness to possibility in the face of conventional thinking.

That’s why I tell anyone who will listen: my quest for happiness is not to avoid ugliness – in my intimate life, in American society, or, for that matter, anywhere in the world. Happiness is the prism, the mission, through which to view and refract human ugliness and guide me through storms into sanity. Happiness is the fuel for my inner reverb! It’s my reboot tool. It’s my vision tool.

Happiness keeps me on the hunt for compassion practices…

Happiness helps me remain a conduit to transmit wisdom across generations…

I don’t mean happy-go-lucky, either, a Ben Carsonian update on minstrel do dah day. I mean happy. In stride. Synergies ringing like a vibraphone’s fluorescent notes.

Connecting me to epic reasons for living as unique as fingerprints, and repping an inner fortitude and Fandango that refreshes other folks, even when we’re all facing and negotiating the isht hitting the fan.

I think of Wreaking Happiness as the Record of a Good Man grappling to become a grown man, distancing himself from conventions, claiming and committing to a dynamically humane execution of masculinity. (Have Mercy!)

I invite you to think of Wreaking Happiness as the working journal of a dude crafting the skills needed to steep himself in Conversion … unleash himself as Enzyme … situate himself as Catalyst … place his trust in Transformation….

How could I earn the term of endearment, Angel Pot Pie, uttered by Miss Joyce, the 90-something-year-old best friend of my late mother?

What is the lullaby that plays if I don’t handle my business and it comes home to handle me?

Where can I lay my head?

Whose child am I?

At the dawn of a new year, I don’t act because I KNOW the future.

I act because I BELIEVE in the future.

I act because I want to MAKE the future.

I have my fears, but I ain’t scared.

BONUS EXCERPT from my book, Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right’ —

“… I’m trying to catalogue when I’ve [felt happiness], identify the characteristics consistent to the experiences, figure out what mindsets, actions, meditations, spells, and collaborations I’ve wielded to mesh with, incite, recognize, intensify, even jack up, the sensational. Then stitch awareness into my dynamic doing of the do, so I decrease the time between peaks and increase the time between valleys. And beneath this insight is peeping the difference between fear and being scared. Fear and being scared are not synonymous. Fear is healthy. Being scared is not. Fear is hard-wired into human motivation for survival: it’s smart to fear a predator or predatory situation. Fear revs up my instincts to create a solution, create safety. Fires up my mind and unveils the options and associations and the combo of skills and improv right on time that resolve into actual solutions with mutual benefits and re-creations and wholeness. Being scared is taught into us through ritualized Do As I Say Do! Being scared substitutes and rewards outside sanction over the sustained, independent quest for power-on-power, eye-to-eye, harmony within interdependent strength.”

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