Things are Happening! (The Alchemist Edition)

I cannot stress this fact any more than just coming out and saying it: Everything happens for a reason. I started out this year with specific goals and not only are they happening but the it seems that this road is continuously being paved with more opportunities for me to take advantage of. I cannot help but wonder if these new things that are occurring are a result of pure coincidence or a result of good karmic work being put in.

I have often talked about good omens and following signs when you see them. I often think about The Alchemist and how sometimes the most important thing to do is wait while the universe conspires to work things in our favor. However, if and when those times of waiting do happen, it is how we prepare ourselves that separates those who take advantage of opportunity and those who freeze in fear of the possibilities. 
I chose to take some risks because I cannot continue live a life in stagnation. Looking for good omens and creating opportunities all plays a part in risk taking. The best part about making no more excuses is that everything seems to move at a different rate of speed. When we hold yourself responsible for your own successes and failures, life becomes different. I can sit here and say that perhaps it is my fault that I have not left Syracuse. Sure, the first thing to say is that the job market sucks but what am I doing to adjust to those changes?
So when I decided to use my time in waiting to better myself, things around me begin to change. I am more busy and opportunities seem to pop up whenever. What I am happy about the most (besides dating a totally hot woman), is that I am done talking about what I am going to do because I am doing it. That subtle difference of knowing the path and walking the path produces results that only I can measure. 
The excitement of being a blogger for The Huffington Post has not worn off. It took me all of yesterday to finally narrow down what I am going to write about. For me, my inspiration always seems to hit me when I am about to go to bed. So at about 4:00am I wrote half of my article. I look forward to submitting this entire thing tomorrow and then letting all this soak in. 
Of course, I am writing more now because I need to. It is funny how that works.

Dear God

Dear God…

I dedicate this blog post to one of my many prayers to you. I know that I am not the most religious being on this planet and I am certainly not Christ-like but I write this as a way to throw my literal words out into the universe as a testament of my faith that there is indeed a higher power. I pray to you because there are things in this world that I cannot control. I am just one person in a world filled with wicked people that murder, rape, and take advantage of the less fortunate all in the name of God. I pray to you because everything happens for a reason and every person in my life serves a purpose even if its for a little while. One of those people told me that if I truly want something than I need to ask the universe.

Asking the universe is like asking God because the two things are synonymous. I know that when I tell the universe my wants that it will conspire in my favor to help me get it. In saying that, I know that my prayers are pleas for help because I cannot do things without faith in myself and world around me. The problem is that I fear so many things. The decisions I have made in the past has not made my present as great as I would like it to be which only puts my future in question. I do think about my future because I still consider it bright.

I want to do so many things it is hard to comprehend where I can begin to start. This is a part of the problem because I don’t know what I don’t know. I ask for the strength to help me pass my own weaknesses. I know that I have not been one to totally go for financial success because money isn’t everything and let’s be honest, I cannot take it with me in death. However, I can pass it down to the children that I hope to have. What I want is to be able to live without fear. I don’t want to worry anymore about how I am going to get from paycheck to paycheck.

I pray for strength to get me through the hard times. I pray for strength to get me through the sparse amount of interviews. I pray for strength to let me deal with the unforeseen things that life throws my way. I am just a man in this world trying to do good. I help the students that I work with. I stay in touch with those former student who still feel they need my guidance. I want to be there in ways that people were never there for me when I was a student. I let my work speak for itself.

I thank you for things that you have given me. Those tearful nights when I thought I would never get to where I am now have seemed to have paid off. I am a survivor of bad decisions and financial consequences. More importantly, I thank you for putting her into my life. I thank you for giving me the strength to survive the past four years. I thank you for the family and the friends that I have because I am truly fortunate to have people support me when I needed them.

The strength I ask for is because I know my successes are not handed to me. I need the strength to act on motivations because fear is the only thing that is stopping me. I am tired of being afraid. Fear takes my will to succeed in every facet of my life. I pray to for help so I can get to my goals with dignity and honor. I ask the universe to conspire in my favor to help me achieve my personal legend.

I am not a perfect man. I am sinner in many respects, but I am a good person willing to help others in the only way I know how. All I ask is for strength, courage, and wisdom to guide me on this quest. I want to be the legend that I know I can be.

Amen.

The End of Days? Hardly.

Clearly, someone miscalculated last time…

There has been a lot of talk about the world ending lately. I find it amusing on so many different levels that I just had to incorporate this into my blog today. Over the last year, I have been thinking about my personal relationship with God. I have been thinking about what it is that I truly believe in and how does that determine my life from this point on.

I have always made it known that I am a “recovering Catholic” and this is just to show others and myself that I am not fond of all things that the Catholic Church preaches. On one hand they can teach that Jesus wants us to love other and yet on the other hand that love is conditional based on sexual orientation. Let’s not forget that in the past that the bible was used to subjugate people by forcing them to believe that there is a better life after death if they just accept their current fate. So while talking about people like Osama Bin Laden and radical Islamic views, lets not forget many of the people in the past who were murdered in the name of Jesus.

Those radical views are not views that I share. Twelve years of Catholic school has led me to believe that I should always believe that there is good in everyone. Of course, that has bitten me in the ass more times than I can count, but the God I believe in is based on love. However, I am not blinded by faith to think that things will be handed to me. I know that I need to work for what I have and help others when I can. I think this is why I find my job with working with students so rewarding.

My personal relationship with God involves me praying and having conversations with him/her. There was one point in which I find myself praying for the people that I love and wishing them happiness and success and not praying for my own happiness. I often times pray for strength because I feel it is one thing that I need the most. It is not that I do not want to be happy because I know that I need to fight for what I want, but I know my life is not as bad as other people around the world. I recognize my privilege and I cannot take that for granted.

I have always found it hard to describe my relationship with God. I am not one to preach about it. I think we are all entitled to what we believe and we are also entitled to not have other people’s views of God forced upon us. However, when I read The Shack by William Young (which is an amazing book), I finally felt that the personal one on one relationship was validated. I do not need church to believe in something. I am a good person and would never intentionally harm anyone; I just find it hard to see the bible as more that just a book written by man.

So when I see things like this, which is describing dates of when the rapture begins leading to the eventual end of the world, it makes me shake my head. Why do people feel the need to concoct such things as if God would ever make it possible for any one of us to predict when he/she decides to judge us? The planet Earth is just a marble in this vast Universe, this beautiful universe that was created for a higher purpose that you and I can never comprehend. I almost consider us to be like an atom in the body of this universe or perhaps maybe this universe is the body of God. So in that respect, he/she will just disregard us based on text that man wrote? I have dreams all the time that zombies are coming after me, does this mean I should write it down and call for the end of days?

Then I can only imagine the reactions of the people of other faiths who read this stuff and be like, what the f*ck? I can see Muslims shaking their heads and laughing while saying, “and they think we are crazy.” I am not sure I have seen any other religions try to calculate the exact moment when those who are “righteous” will be taken away while the rest of the heathen fight to stay alive in a real life version of the Night of the Living Dead. This type of thinking is the root of the elitist mentality that some people are better than others.

This elitist mentality has been played out in history as well as in our current time period. The bible has been used to show that there are heathens out there that are less than human and deserve what comes to them. You can include the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the massacre of the Indigenous population in the Americas as just examples of “elite” people playing God. You can see it now in how so many people are against gay marriages by saying the God would never allow it because homosexuality is a sin (less they forget that Jesus died for ALL our sins…but clearly that is irrelevant).

I am digressing here. In my past posts and poems, I have often talked about fate and the universe. These things are synonymous to me talking about God. Those phrases are one and the same. We all have to figure out the paths in our lives. I was recently reading a passage from The Alchemist that leads me to really think about what is really in store for me in my quest for inner peace:

There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe…. The soul of the world is nourished by people’s happiness.

The world is not coming to end whether it be Saturday or 6 months from then. We should focus more on what we want to do to make this world better than dreaming of a time when we separate good from evil because none of us are perfect…even if we do go to church on Sundays.

Inspiration is Fuel

I realize that I have reached the age (not that I am old) that I can aspire to inspire. With the fact that I work at Syracuse University, I know that most of the things that I strive to do is looked at by many in either a good or bad light depending on the perception. Although, I do realize that my actions have impacted students in a more positive light. Don’t get me wrong, I do not live to inspire people. I think that I have far too many things to still learn in life.

I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I try to capitalize on those traits that I can while learning to improve on the others. Being that I feel that at times I am far from a role model, I try my best to stay as humble as I can because life will always be a struggle. No matter how good we think we have it, life has a way of throwing curve balls that completely changes our approach to life. There is also the fact that I have mentioned that we also do not have it as bad as we think either. Everyone deals with adversity differently thus the perception we normally have toward our troubles is negative.

However, I have always found that getting inspiration from people or things around me has helped me get out of any funk that I have found myself in. I have come to realize that most of my inspiration come from writers. I have mentioned in the past how my blog has come about and who I can thank for that. But, there are other people who have given my the inspiration to keep writing. I have named Juno Diaz in the past as man I have met and came to understand though his books. There is also Willie Perdomo, whom I also met, that has lead me to believe that I can write a poem at anytime and anywhere.

Lately the person who has really put many things in my life into perspective has been Paul Coehlo. I really didn’t know who he was until a friend of mine point some books out to me, namely The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes. For that, I thank Zulay for putting his writings out there to me. Having read three of his books (The Devil and Ms Prym being the other), I have been told by some that a need to check out The Fifth Mountain.

I have never been one to outwardly say someone is complete awesome (unless you are Alicia Keys), his writing has done something for me that others have not. It is the ability that he has a good story to tell that makes me think about life from an inward perspective. I have been able to find a common theme and a connection with each story. Believe it or not each book seems to connected in a very small way that I will not discuss here because, honestly I think people need to read these books for themselves.

Now, he is not the only author I will ever read. As a matter of fact, I am currently reading Eat Pray Love. However, I think that I now look at books and novel differently because I am now looking to be inspired in someway. Whether it is making me think about life or just making me feel that I can be a better writer.

To be honest, I think that we all need to find something that can inspire us to be better. When we get older we tend to just fall back to our old ways in either being lazy or doing the things that we think will get us where we need to go without asking for help. That is not the way to go. We need to make sure that we are always on our game and the best way is to find our inspiration.

Artists thrive on inspiration to make art. Musicians use is it to compose songs. So why can we not use inspiration as our fuel to get through life and meet our goals? I just hope I do inspire some of you the way I have been inspired.

Hurry up and Wait

Last night was an interesting night for me. A tree fell in my neighbor’s yard and I ended up with no power for the rest of night. So I ended up going to the dollar store and stocking up on candles and candle holders. I also bought brand new batteries for the flashlights. After that I did the only thing I can do to pass the time…read.
I ended up finishing a book I should have finished a long time ago, Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. I read more that a hundred pages and I was glad to finally put that book to rest. When I was done, I just sat in my room amongst the candles to realize what a romantic sight I was beholding. A room full of candles (some were scented) and me on a bed with a book. Not sure many men would be caught dead alone with that type of scene. Anyway, I realized that all of us are bound by time and yet all we do is try to rush things in our lives.
It is true about what was written in The AlchemistWhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It took me a while to figure how true this is. The two things that I discovered in this book was not only the idea that we have a personal legend to fulfill but that we also need to wait in order to achieve it. Sure the book is about following our dreams and in many ways I have admitted to mine, but the inner meaning to this book is that everything takes time. The main character in this book does all he can to put his goals in motion but, he also spends a great deal of time waiting…for that right moment.
As a kid in Catholic school, I remember priests saying that when you pray to God that he will always have one of three answers: Yes, No, and Wait. We spend so much of our time trying to rush things. We want instant gratification these days because we live in a time of fast food and the internet. Everything is so within our grasps that not many people truly know what it is to wait for something. Interestingly enough, the less we wait for something, the less we tend to appreciate it.
This is probably the reason why people hate the job searching process, which is nothing but wait. We put all our energies in a document that has all of our skills and experiences and we put it out there for the world to view. Then we wait to see if anyone has taken notice of us. If they have, then we have to wait for the interviews and the decision…all of which makes us wait.Yet, if all goes the way we want and we achieve that end result then the waiting would seem like a blessing.
Time is the one thing that none of us can fight. We all have to face the hands of time. We can try to rush it but what happens when things are rushed? Bad decisions are made, a mess is created and we now spend more time cleaning up messes than we would spent by simply taking our time to get the desired end result. Most of us try to make the perfect decision without making a mistake and that is worse than rushing. Because trying to be perfect may mean taking time to create the perfect outcome may result in living a life in a house of cards.
Yes, I am being vague because time is vague but yet I can come up with a perfect example. Think about baseball and how a pitcher tries to make the perfect pitch with the bases loaded. Instead of pitching without fear of consequence, more often that perfect pitch ends up as the perfect home-run.
My point is that all the goals that I have set for myself are finally being completed and it took so long to get to this point. While the universe may conspire in our favor to help us achieve our desires it take as long as it has to for it to come true. The universe itself took billions of years to achieve the beauty that it is now I am sure we can wait as long as we have to attain our beauty.

Good Things Come…

Maybe it’s the books that I am reading or the music I have been listening to, but I am getting a definite feeling that good things are about to come.

Let’s start with the books. I am on my third book in a week and a half by the same author, Paulo Coelho. Clearly, I read The Alchemist and the other day I finished The Devil and Ms. Prym. Right now, I am reading Eleven Minutes and it seems to be another great read just like the other two novels. Reading these books make me realize so much about myself and the things around me. While The Alchemist made me realize to never stop dreaming, The Devil and Ms. Prym has made me understand the good people can be tempted to make bad choices, but that does not make them bad people.

Eleven Minutes is about love. One friend told me that this book made her believe in love again. I will say that I need to believe in that again. I know what I saw in the Dominican Republic and I am not entirely sure that is possible for someone like me, but it will be nice to have faith that it can.

There have been many omens that I have been following over the last week and because I have followed them, I am about a day or so away from finally having a roommate. I tossed around the idea of selling the house but in the end, my heart told me I need to really give this one more try. I put up one final ad and I got 2 decent people whom I met and it seems to this point that by July 1, I will have two people living with me.

The meeting with one of them went so well that he was wondering if I would be willing to rent out the 3rd room that I was just using for storage. This is something that I cannot ignore. I may have to take him up on that offer for a possible 3rd roommate by August.

Look, I am hustling. I am trying to get my work done at the job while maintaining a job search. Speaking of which I got what looks like a promising email so I will keep my fingers crossed on that. I made some minor changes to my resume that I feel quite good about. I will not lose my resolve and will continue doing what I must. This does not mean that I am not following through with Plan B of school full time. I have met with some people that have helped me in this process as well. Names were dropped and now I am on my networking flow.

Speaking of books. I started an outline for a book I would like to write in the future. It needs so much work but as I was doing it I began to realize that this is something that can actually be possible. I have a very good friend pushing to get this done and that is what I need. I have written so many blog posts to this point that I know that I can write a book. I just need to put my mind to it. This is a long term goal that I will see to the end.

I had a dream the other day about a hot steaming iron in my room. So like I normally do, I looked it up on dreammoods.com and came up with what might be the reason for this:

To see red, hot iron in your dream, represents action. Perhaps the dream is telling you to “strike while the iron is hot”. You need to take advantage of certain opportunities while it is still available.

I think this just says it all to me. I need to keep going. I need to not let anything stop me in my quest to better myself. I know for a fact that I am my worst own enemy. When I feel down or get emotional, I tend to stop and analyze everything around me. This is just a waste of time. I wont do it…not this time.



As far as music goes, I have picked several albums. Drake, Eminem, The Roots, and Marc Anthony. So far I am very much inspired by Eminem’s Recovery Album. He speaks about going to hell and coming back in just about every facet of his life. I feel like I have been on a similar journey.

The Pursuit of My Dream

So the real question for me is…What is my dream? What is it that I wanted to do when I was a child? The only thing that I really wanted to do was write. As a kid, I used to create characters and superheros with elaborate histories and complex stories. This used to be my fantasy. I am not sure where it stopped. But, I was under the impression that comic book writers did not get paid much, so before college, that faded.

Let me mention again that when I was a child that I used write horror stories that involved my classmates. I would let them read it and listen to how amazed they were about how I used my imagination to scare everyone. Of course, as much as I tried to impress the girls that I liked, the guys I perceived to be better looking and less intellectual seemed to get all the attention in the end. So I stopped doing that.

In high school, I used to write sexually charged stories about women I met on the street. Many of them included teachers that have taught me.This is one tidbit of info I have never shared with anyone. I got to the point where I had a note book filled with chapters of, what I would consider now to be, smut. In the end, I felt ashamed that I was 15 and writing thinks about sex that I had no knowledge of. I ended up throwing out the book because I did not need my mother finding any of this.

Once I got to college and realized that I really should not be a History Major, I was looking to do something that I really wanted to do. So one of things I also thought about doing is being a screenplay writer or a play-write. So, in order to transfer to schools within Syracuse University I need to have a certain GPA and I needed to write a 5 minute script. My attempt was to join the school of Visual & Performing Arts because there was no way I was getting into the Newhouse School of Public Communications. So I wrote this script called “Call Your Mother” which was very emotional for me to write. It is about a son and his conflict between his divorced parents. Consequently, I didn’t get in due to my GPA and not the work.

I have actually kept that script. It is just sitting on my hard drive. I have tweaked it from time to time. I was thinking about adding to it, but I wrote it in such a way that is perfect the way it is…to me anyway. Poetry was never really on my mind. I didn’t care for it and I avoided classes about it. However, and again few people knew this, I loved hip hop in the 90’s so much that I used to write rhymes because I was so inspired (talk about lying to yourself)!

Finally, I became an English Major because it only made sense. I loved to write so much that I would correct other people’s papers. Even in high school I made some money doing this. Writing was the only thing that came naturally to me. I would often joke in my 20’s that I would write a book about my life because of some of the things that I have encountered. But, of course, when I graduated in 1996, all I hear is that English Majors do not make much money. So once again…I scraped this idea of being a writer of any kind.

In 1999, I found myself working in Corporate America and feeling very underutilized. The pay was great but I was bored. So I tinkered with the web and created a website. I posted pictures and just did dumb things, but it wasn’t until I read a blog from a woman, that ended up being a good friend of mine, that I began to understand what I blogging was. Her writing was such an inspiration that I had to get to know her. At that point, I create a blog and even had my own domain. (Currently she is re-branding her blog and if I am really lucky…she will guest blog *waving at Nakia*)

However, my writing was amateurish at best. I knew it then. I had nothing worth saying and it showed in the way I wrote. I would talk about my daily life in NYC and Subway stories and while they were funny, that wasn’t the person I was trying to present to the world. I would keep another version of the blog after I moved back to Syracuse on a site called Xanga, but I just wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t know how to find my voice and I didn’t know how to deal with writers block. However, every now and then I would write a blog entry on Myspace..so clearly, I could not let it die.

It wasn’t until January of 2009 that I started this blog and found my voice. Once again it was because I was inspired by a blog that a woman wrote (a different woman, *waving at Brooke* and I am friends with her too!). I had not written anything in 2008 and it showed. I wrote every day until May. Once I really stopped lying about my life and confronted my fears, is when this blog had really taken shape. Now, I manage 2 blogs, the other one being on tumblr for more creative work.

My dreams have shifted over the years and I still very much want to be an author. I also want to be a public speaker as well. There are obstacles in my way and they do slow me down. But after reading The Alchemist, I now know that those obstacles are objects that are placed in my way to make me appreciate my life and all the efforts it is currently taking for me to get where I need to be.

I still have that screenplay and I still have some short stories that I have written. There is also the poetry that seems to pour out of me. My dreams are very much to make an impact on this world. I love working with students and who knows where my Higher Education background will take me…but I do know that this profession pays the bills. Perhaps when I reach my dream…I will pay back all the karma I have spent just to get there.

Omens (The Alchemist)

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

The funny thing about life is that sometimes things happen right when they need to. I think about the numerous amount of times that something happened to me at the right moment. I never really had a phrase for them until now, Omen. Under the recommendation of a few friends, I bought the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read this book in 2 days.

I am not shocked with how good this book is but how much I needed to read this book at this moment of my life. I have always believed that things happen for a reason. I was even told to read this book last year, but I wasn’t ready. But due to a series of good omens, I was able to read this book and soak up everything that was written inside of it.

Simply put, the book is about a boy and his quest to follow his dreams. He is taught to understand the language of the world and how to listen to his heart. In so many ways I feel that this is me. I have spent 36 years of my life searching for something that I am not sure how to find. At times, I am not even sure what it is I am searching for. When someone asked me what I want, I would say I want to be happy. I know that I am was put here on the planet to do something. I can really feel it.

I just never really thought about looking at the world around me and seeking out the omens in my life. However, I am all about listening and following my heart. Many times I heard people talk about how illogical it is to follow your heart because what it wants sometimes is impossible or doesn’t make sense. The problem is that the heart is where all are dreams are housed. We do not follow what we really want because of that fear of failure or rejection. But like the quote said above is so very true…the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. THIS is why people fail!

But, it is ok to fail because we can all get back up and continue to search for our happiness. This book puts so much of what I have been feeling about my personal journey into words. We have our paths laid for us and we just need find it and if not then we will always wonder “what if”.

The thing about omens is that they may appear to us everyday and we are either too blind to see them or simple do not know how to read them. Very my much like “coincidences” we may encounter. Everything we do influences the outcome of our fate in our daily lives. Think about what I wrote in the previous post. Had my dad not called me when he did…I would have made the 6:30 movie showing and never met up with friends thus having dinner alone. At the same token…my friends bought tickets to the 6:30 movie but it was too packed to find seats for them so they exchanged their tickets for the 7pm showing…where I was.

Life is interesting and God works in mysterious ways. I do not believe that our future is written, although I think there is a measure of fate in terms of being on earth to do a specific thing. However, it is us alone that determines whether we find out personal treasure and fulfill whatever our destiny is. It is those tiny omens that we see along the say that renews our faith that things will be ok.