As a recovering brooder, I’m working to break up residual congestion within myself. Old self-doubts. Generational regrets. Calcified disappointments.
As an urban boy who never even envisioned reaching his 60s, I’m marshalling my faculties (dreams, analytics, study) to claim a deeply personal sense of renaissance.
As a lover of brilliance and proverbs, solitude and the dance floor, I’m cultivating the commanding perspective that releases me from any limiting frameworks that block me from experiencing each day as both what it is and what it could be….
As a round-the-way virtuoso, I’m reminding myself to fulfill my potential the instant I awake and receive the amazing news that I’m alive again on Planet Earth, my sweet mother of bliss – all bliss I’ve ever had and all bliss I ever hope to attain.
I know you remember, the lead singer croons, when trying to love me wasn’t easy! But you stuck on in there with me…
Walt Whitman sang a song of himself. I find it more inspiring to sing a song to myself!
To croon a consecrated melody when the going gets rough. To envision myself bathed in the voice of a fellow virtuoso lead singer reminding me to hang on in there!
Then I remember to feel anchored (sweetened) by memory without nostalgia, grounded on history (informed by history) without sentimentality, buoyed (oxygenated) by hope without naivety.
I again feel inspired by this timeline I’m on: Me, myself and I remember: we go a long way back, and a knowing laugh bubbles up in me, like a gospel singer hit mid-song by the spirit!
And I say to myself: What a beautiful thing to come by tens after the sweetness my life still has to offer me.
Over my right shoulder, I hear the five-part harmonies of a sacred roster of hip Black men I’ve known throughout my life, dudes who even walked me through what remains officially the worst moment of my life.
Over my left shoulder, I hear the kora … poised for when I need to pass on an uplifting story to another brother in need.
And then I say to myself: I’m looking for an echo of the bliss yet to come, swinging like Count Basie’s orchestra, generous as a griot’s praise, uplifting as a family reunion where my grandchildren ask me for advice, as hopeful as the vows we make before we say I do … love you … yes I do ….
BONUS EXCERPT from my book, Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My ‘Unalienable Right,’ WINNER, 2015 AMERICAN BOOK AWARD: “…. Hear the Kora play quietly in the background. I’m awake at 3 a.m. after a few hours of agitated sleep. I milk my memory to recall ways I’ve sheltered myself during other serrated seasons. I struggle to identify ways I found the energy and clarity to make decisions that contributed to positive turning points. I exercise my mind in the quiet of the night. I distill breathtaking moments. I struggle to create a string of psychic prayer beads. I finger them in my nervousness. I settle on one moment. It feeds me. Reveals itself as a sign: I am connected to more than despair and the worst surface of my ugliest situation….I’m on, like, a Drive About to the Giant Sequoia National Monument in Kern County, about 200 miles north of LA. Bank account was on life support. My nerves were frayed. Worry was my lover. I needed nature. I stopped along the way to dip my feet in the Kern River. Now I was on the final stretch toward the park. Mountain road. Mountain vistas. No other vehicles. CD playing Shirley Horn’s “A Time for Love.” I’m driving up this hill as the song begins to resolve in an amazing Johnny Mandel arrangement. Strings shimmer in crescendo, joined by Shirley Horn’s piano and Wynton Marsalis’ trumpet, just as I reach the crest of the hill. Oh my God! The view expands and the horizon is filled with rolling, cloud-covered hills. The music fades. I burst out laughing. I burst out crying. Turn off the player and continue my drive in grateful silence. Circumstances back home hadn’t changed. But I have. I’m a witness to a commanding serenity. I’m uplifted by a commanding serenity. I’m humbled by a commanding serenity. Go head on, brother, it promised. Maybe not triumph, just yet. But go head on and see what the end’s going to be ....” https://blackmanofhappiness.com/shop/