Taking Inventory…

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Sunday (10/15/2017) marks a significant milestone in my writing career and despite the origins not being specifically auspicious (as viewed by some), like everything else that exists, there was a beginning and it is still going strong. It is highly uncharacteristic in today’s world to associate success without financial remuneration however I have since learned that our views and opinions are a reflection of the experiences that we have had. I take pride in the fact that I have worked in four different continents and with this diverse work experience comes the inevitability of having to improve my interpersonal communication skills, because in order to build a successful team or join one, communication is critical. Notwithstanding my ‘diverse’ work experience, there are actually a few things that really prepare you for the inevitable changes that come along with the dynamism of life. Life in itself is a journey and so many times, we start off with a destination in mind and a pre-planned travel route but the irony (often unanticipated) is that some of us literally have to learn to wing it each day due to the unexpected changes that we encounter.

I started writing as an outlet after being diagnosed with Dystonia, and most asssuredly I can say that it not only helped me deal with all the major changes that were taking place at the same time in my life but it also created an arena where I had to learn that vulnerability is not a weakness. Speaking from the standpoint of one who has had his own stint with the military and law enforcement agencies, being vulnerable was and is still erroneously regarded as being weak. Being a combination of choleric and melancholic, temperament wise, was not that much of a help during those initial dark days, because when one is used to lining up the stars before proceeding on any task, having to deal with the reality that the galaxy is not arranged by my own standards becomes a huge deal. Acknowledging that we may have the best of plans, we commence our foray into the battlefield of life but ultimately our paths are defined by the choices we make when we get knocked down to the ground and there is literally no breath or strength left to stand again. And so when in the course of discussions, I discern that the ignorance being flaunted is not an intentional act but rather one that is borne from the lack of experiences, it is usually not that big a deal to concede and move on.

I have since learned that empathy and sympathy are just words to many of us who have not experienced any storm however the ability to gain wisdom and apply it is a personal choice. Sometimes, wisdom is avoiding making mistakes (not very easy because we are prone to making mistakes as humans) and learning from the experiences of others. Today in church, I was reminded that empathy and sympathy are simply channels for conveying information and so being able to sympathize and empathize is not really worthy of a celebration. These are abilities that come along with being human, choosing to utilize these abilities or put them in cryogenic chambers is one that every person has to make. And so as we trudge along on our personal paths, we are better companions when we can empathize but the truth is that there is a world of difference between empathizing or sympathizing and being compassionate. The former informs you and creates room to be humane while the latter does more than just informing, compassion spurs and motivates you to identify a need and do something about it because remember words are just words until they are translated into action. And so with each new day that I am blessed with, I choose to be compassionate because even if you have the financial muscle to own your own private island, you cannot be oblivious that there is so much hurt and pain around us.

As I continue on this journey of mine, I am continuously learning new things about the limitations of my body, the strength of my spirit and the inexorable dependence on God that has significantly influenced every step of this journey. It is therefore no coincidence that my name means “God is leading me!” and so it should be a no brainer that I yield the wheel to Him. However the glaring truth was that just when I thought that I was doing that, my life after the diagnosis compelled a better understanding of what it really means to trust Him for everything. You really have limited options when you have to combat with chronic pain or deal with the mutiny and uncooperative attitude of your physical anatomy on a daily basis. Need I mention the fluidity of my body clock, choosing to reset itself when it wants to even when my bones, joints and muscles are crying out from sheer exhaustion. There are experiences that require ultimate commitment and completely going off radar just to attempt to put them into words and even at best, the words are unable to really convey what you feel. Despite the obvious shortcomings, I always remind myself that ‘in the effort lies victory’. It really is not all about me anymore, there is so much going on within and around me to make it a completely futile exercise to want to make it all about me. Focusing on myself just makes the journey much more difficult that it already is, and it is just sheer folly attempting to increase the current level of difficulty.

So as I celebrate yet another milestone on this unique journey of mine, I celebrate the many lives that I have been blessed to have met. The countlesss stories of ordinary individuals who have been thoroughly bested by life but still have the fortitude to not give up. The periods of silence shared with friends going through horrendous storms, the pleasure of having warm hearts open up to me, scarred and twisted hands stretched out in friendship and just having this unique opportunity to identify with champions from all over the world. That is what I celebrate and although my destination is unchanged, I still have to cope with the ever changing routes with each new day. To all who have refused to give up, all who constantly defy the odds and even the memory of those who have fought the good fight of faith and are currently in a place where pain, sorrow and illness are non-existent, this is appreciating you for accommodating me and my excesses – I am still a Work-In-Progress.

‘Occupy yourself in beholding and bewailing your own imperfections rather than contemplating the imperfections of others’ – Ignatius of Loyola is a quote that serves as a daily reminder that there is still more ahead of me and so it would be reckless to make a career out of focusing on the imperfections of others when I am far from being near perfect.

עד ניפגש שוב, תן את היופי של ארשת פניו לזרוח עלינו!

Adios!

Stacking the cards…..

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Stack it!

Sometimes it just seems that when we are almost at the end of the tunnel, to our alarm and utmost chagrin, we realize that there is just a minor bump ahead of us and whilst our reserves are screaming depleted, somehow we must pick ourselves up and plod on. Now it has truly been a long break from writing and this has been in no way due to a desire to get out from the light but just another reminder that time is a fleeting entity. Whatsoever thine hands findeth to do, do it quickly because there surely comes a time when there can be no gathering of hay and woe betide you that during that time, slothfulness and laziness have become your closest buddies. “Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather, he whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop” – Alfred Polgar

Admittedly, the weather has been of a variety of sorts and to some degrees, it has been a very busy period for me and mine. Getting myself properly set up for the best days of my life and as always, the inevitability of teething problems is one that is being dealt with and suffice me to say that milk is utterly inappropriate for a grown man as myself and so without sounding too cocky, I know what the future holds for me. Regardless of the nay sayers and the doubters, somethings are inexplicably irrefutable – I am a survivor because I am more than a conqueror. And whilst it still saddens me at some of the whiplashes from the past, it will be unerringly obtuse of me to say that everything will be as it once was because from the dying embers of a flame, soot and ashes can be gathered but the brightness of the flame is one that hitherto lost, can and will be reignited again by choice. Somethings are irreparably re-positioned and what an exercise in futility were I to spend my present days in trying to rewrite history when a new generation eagerly awaits lessons learned to be passed on.

Someone ‘disparagingly’ told me in regal tones, “I do not even care to read your blog” and I am truly amazed that we more often than not, without the wisdom learned from passing through adverse times, choose to keep ourselves completely occupied and embroiled with affairs that pertain only to our own small world. Behold the beauty of the new day and compare that to how infinitesimally minute we are but yet we still make that choice to superimpose our views over that which is beyond our comprehension and control. It is such a thing of indescribable joy when the victory chants are finally resounding after series of long battles, and for me, the battles have been long and weary but the chants are just beginning. Without an iota of self glory, I attribute it all to He who alone is the very Essence of my being and true, the bumps may still come up now and then but hear it from me o ye people – my identity is ‘God is leading me’ and where he leads, I will follow for there I know that the end definitely surpasses my wildest imagination. The best victories are those evidenced by the defeated, not by any intentional display on my part (I have got more meaningful endeavors to apply myself to), but because the defining nature of truth is that it cannot be hidden or masked.

My latter days are so much better than my former, and indeed time keeps count as it winds down to an end someday but what a life still to be lived. What opportunities there remain to be grasped and appropriately utilized – be it in the few minutes spent in the office of a young career mother as she determines to let go of the past 16 years and begin again. To her and the many others out there who care to hear, it is better late than never. What is hope without trying times? What is faith without the darkness that so coldly blankets for a while? What is love without the arduous task of navigating the stormy waters of bitterness and derision? What is life without death? What are the realities that so headily confront us that we inadvertently choose to give up and succumb? We are who we are for a reason, we each have our unique identity, purpose and goal and so what an abysmal manifestation of our gifts when we choose to define ourselves by the actions of others? I have long made that choice and because I still plod on, situations and events will arise that will put to test that choice. That choice is mine to uphold and albeit if I have to do it alone because truly we are never alone.

The stars are indeed lining up, truly radiant in their celestial glory – my path is clear, sometimes hidden in the swirls of darkened clouds but clear it is and as I place each foot one ahead of the other, I make my way towards my expected end. My teeth may be gritted sometimes, brows furrowed, disappointments etching out the opportunities and blessings ahead but yet I will because I am led and even through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid because He alone is my Shepherd and I will never want. This is one story that you are part of, irrespective of the good or bad role played, I am telling it with all the fervour that lies beneath my breast. That can never be taken away from me because I am who I am – more than a conqueror.

Remember “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration” – James Allen. Again, you have to choose….

החיים שלנו הם מתנות מאלוהים , מה שאנחנו בוחרים לעשות עם זה הוא אובהערכה או זלזול גמור של מתנה ש….. עד שנפגש שוב , ייתכןשהשמש מאירה את הדרך שלך .

Adios!