when do you know the dance has ended? (part 1)


Well?

Do you know when?

Would you say it’s when the song begins to slow down or when it fades out? I’ve taken some time to really think about this, but not from the angle you might think.

There are two people in a ballroom. One person asks the other to dance.  The other agrees. They begin slow-dancing to a song (this represents the start of a friendship). And let’s say that this song represents the length or season of their friendship. Some songs are longer than others. We like friends. We want friends to stay around forever. That may not be their reality though.

when do you know the dance has ended- pt 1Through this relinquishing of wills, you allow someone else to lead for a while. You may step on each other’s feet, but that’s normal. Do you keep dancing? Certainly. But do you keep dancing seeing as though the song has long since ended?  If you’re enjoying the company, you will. If you’re not [enjoying it], you can feel like you’re in limbo, like a staring contest: you’re just waiting out the other person to see if they will blink [stop dancing] first. Sometimes, we put ourselves through that agony, but for what? So we can prove that we were the better friend? To prove that we lasted until the end? That we have endurance?  We can sum this up in one word: loyalty. Lemme tell you that loyalty will cause you to endure hardship, sometimes to your own detriment. I’m at an expert level when it comes to doing things in the name of loyalty; even if it’s been self-inflicted.

I’m just gonna see what happens.  Would you apply this logic to your dance partner?  Can you imagine letting go of your partner’s hand to see if he/she keeps dancing or not, while you stand back observing? That sounds weird (and a little funny). So why do we find it acceptable to apply this logic to a friend? The problem with this stream of thought is that we may be telling ourselves the truth, as we secretly hope that things work out for better (keeping the friendship). The thing is, life is very fluid; it ebbs and flows. Our lives won’t stop if we lost a friend anymore than it would by gaining one. Life will go on. And you will be fine. One thing’s for sure: if you try to hold onto something (or someone) who doesn’t belong, you will find that person causing discomfort in your life.

Adding new friends should be a harmonious addition. I pay close attention to dissonance in my life. If new friends aren’t adding to the group dynamic, rest assured, things always find a way of releasing themselves.  “If the glove don’t fit, they must out-get,” (I tried really hard to make that rhyme). But hey: you don’t have to take my word for it.

There’s more, but let’s just pause this until next time.

Love & Peace.

 

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the Art in my Heart (part 2)


The #art in my #heart 2 (1)Happiness. Happiness is the only word I can use to describe that night. For a split second at the airport (en route to Charlotte), I thought, “Is this totally crazy?  Like, what gives you the right?  This is just a little crazy.” Nevertheless, I went.

I had such a grand time. The people that he told about me flying from D.C. to see him, all had the same expression: “Aww. That was really nice.” The photographer that was there said, “Aww man. That’s tugging at my heartstrings.”

When I was getting things lined up, I was thinking that I was just going to see my friend (as if he were down the street). Maybe it was my naïveté, but I really didn’t think it to be a big deal. *insert shrug here* Apparently, people don’t do that for other people on the regular: But why not?  I told Mario about it (one of my Uber drivers) and he said, “Man, that’s true friendship and love.  It’s great to support your friends. Wow.”

I didn’t quite see it that way; as support. I guess it could be looked at as support, but that’s not what I had in mind. I saw it as going to see a friend (a really cool one, at that). I just followed my heart.

Over the course of that night, I’ll never forget one thing Art said to me. “This type of thing doesn’t happen to me,” as he tried to gather himself. I assumed he was talking about me coming to surprise him. I wanted to yell, “You’re worth it, man! And it did happen to you! It happened tonight!” But I didn’t say those things. I didn’t because I understood exactly what he meant. Maybe, at that moment, he knew what it meant to be seen.

Mission accomplished.

Love & Peace.

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the Art in my Heart (part 1)


The #art in my #heart 1Recently, a dear friend named Arthur was opening a new studio named Haven. He’s a talented guy and painting is just one of his many talents. I’ve known him for over 20 years. I think we met in middle school. I always remembered that he was always a nice guy. He never bothered anyone; just marched to his own beat. I appreciated that. He represents some of my greatest high school memories.

Let’s get back to his studio opening.

We follow each other on social media and it was there that I found out the details about the event. I thought casually about traveling to Charlotte to see him. I thought about it some more and figured it might be doable. I talked to my wife about it and she thought it would be a good idea for me to go. That was my tipping point.

I adjusted my schedule so I could get off and booked my tickets. I figured it might be a cool thing to come and say hello. I didn’t expect what happened next.

After arriving to Charlotte, I took an Uber to his show. By this time, it had just started. I asked a young lady at the front,”Excuse me m’am: Where’s Art?” She replied,”He’s upstairs.” I began heading towards the stairs, heart thumping a bit harder with each step. I was overcome with excitement of seeing my old comrade. Once upstairs, it took me a short while to find him. Walking to greet me, I could see his face crescendo from normal to instantly gleaming as he placed his hand over his mouth in disbelief.

“No way, Herbie,” he said.

We first reached for a handshake but instead went in for an embrace. I was happy to see my friend. Really happy.

After we hugged, he placed his fingers into the corners of his eyes, behind his glasses. He was emotional. He then said,”This was bad timing, man. I’m sorry I’m so emotional. I’m such a punk….you asshole.” I said,”Man, no worries. It’s all good.” He motioned for another hug. After we hugged again, he began introducing me to one of his friends, telling them that I came from D.C. today just to surprise him. I knew, without a doubt, that he was happy to see me too (and that this had been the right thing to do all along).

Finally, I saw the cause of my visit: the artwork. I really got a chance to look at his pieces up close (prior to that, I had only seen them on social media). They were amazing. I know it sounds cliche, but they were.  Such vibrant colors with layers of various media was everywhere. I stared at the artwork with such amazement. I found myself getting lost in a few pieces; swept up into the flows of various hues as they seem to move as they stood still.  I felt relaxed, breathing deeply as I saw all that there was.

Upon my exit, Art and I took a picture in front of one of his pieces. We said our goodbyes, talked briefly about our next meet up, and then I left. It was totally an awesome thing to see my friend of 20+ years, praying that we have 20+ more.

Happiness. Happiness is the only word I can use to describe that night. For a split second at the airport (en route to Charlotte), I thought, “Is this totally crazy?  Like, what gives you the right?  This is just a little crazy.” Nevertheless, I went.

I had such a grand time. The people that he told about me flying from D.C. to see him, all had the same expression: “Aww. That was really nice.” The photographer that was there said, “Aww man. That’s tugging at my heartstrings.”

When I was getting things lined up, I was thinking that I was just going to see my friend (as if he were down the street). Maybe it was my naïveté, but I really didn’t think it to be a big deal. *insert shrug here* Apparently, people don’t do that for other people on the regular: But why not?  I told Mario about it (one of my Uber drivers) and he said, “Man, that’s true friendship and love.  It’s great to support your friends. Wow.”

I didn’t quite see it that way; as support. I guess it could be looked at as support, but that’s not what I had in mind. I saw it as going to see a friend (a really cool one, at that). I just followed my heart.

I’ll never forget what he said to me.  He said, “This type of thing doesn’t happen to me.” I assumed he was talking about me coming to surprise him. I wanted to exclaim, “You’re worth it, man. And it did happen to you. It happened tonight!”

I knew what he meant though.  He knew what it meant to be seen. That also meant that my mission had been accomplished.

Love & Peace.

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Merry Christmas 2016


happy-holidays-2016

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…as the band plays


as the band playsBeing on the drumline in college remains near the top of my list of “things I’ve had the best time doing.”  I loved every minute minute of it. I was in some of the best shape of my life.  Whenever I felt tired, I told myself to push past it.  Those and many other lessons have shaped my thinking and work ethic to this day.

Back then, I played snare drum (for those of you who may not know, I played the drum that was most prominently displayed in the front-it’s played like a table top). We most often played first, or had the most challenging music; note-for-note.  Naturally, I could hear my part the most.  During sectionals, I was taught to not only listen to my part, but also to the other snare players to ensure that we were playing the same part with exacting precision.  I also learned how the other percussion instruments fit together when we all were playing.

Zooming out, I could faintly hear the rest of the band was playing, because only bits and pieces of sounds would arise between our beats.  I didn’t know precisely what they were playing, yet I trusted that we all sounded good as a unit.  I never got discouraged because I knew as a band we were making beautiful music.

In the same way, this inspires me to remain encouraged. Although it may seem that what I am doing isn’t affecting the world, there are many others who are helping to make “beautiful music” out of their collective efforts around the world.  Together, we will exact change in the world.

Until Next Time,

Love & Peace.

-Herbie

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Before you Speak…


think.

stix-stonez

Sometimes, we lie to ourselves.  We’d like to believe that what we say have no merit, as if the words just fall to the ground never to be heard from again.  But words have great power.  Words have value.  Words create.  We cannot escape words.  Words are everywhere.  Yet, and still: we don’t take careful consideration of our self-talk.

The words that we speak are so important. They affirm us.  They direct us (rather we believe it or not). It gives us the power to move forward or be stagnant.  Most of all, they shape how we see ourselves.

When I was in the second grade, I remember vividly having an assignment in which we had to write five sentences.  Well, I completed the assignment, but my teacher (nor my parents) were very happy with it.  Here were just two of the sentences that I remember:

  • “I am stupid.”
  • “I am dumb.”

While this is really hard for me to read such things that my then seven-year-old self thought, they serve a purpose.  These two sentences have shaped much of my life and I have battled with a skewed self image of myself for over 30 years.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I became a perfectionist.  I became hard on myself.  I settled for being a girl’s friend when I really wanted to date her (this is high school, folks. We’ll have to explore my relationship woes in another post. Ha!).  I never spoke up for myself, therefore willfully volunteering me for some rather unfortunate situations.

All of this blossomed out of my negative self-talk (albeit, I said it not only to myself, but to my teacher and my parents in my homework journal—whoops).

(I don’t want to be misleading: I’ve had some great, positive self-talk moments that have shaped me as well.  Maybe we’ll talk about them in another post.)

Things have certainly changed from 198x.  Do episodes of seven-year-old Herbie surface?  *slaps forehead* UGH!  Yes.  When he does, I am better equipped to combat these noxious thoughts.  I reaffirm myself with words and things that will help reel me back into reality (I have an affirmation list on my phone).  I’ve worked really hard and continue to, making sure that he doesn’t stay around for long.

Well, that’s all I got.

Until next time,

Love & Peace.

 

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Spacial Awareness


Some time ago, I was so consumed with the “what’s next” of my life. I could never fully appreciate what was happening all around me. I wasn’t living in the moment, because I was so occupied by what was ahead of me.Spacial Awareness

One day, I had had enough.  “Lord, can you help me to see the beauty in all things,” I prayed.  My prayer was answered.  From that day forward, my attention would be drawn towards something different I hadn’t noticed before.  Flowers. Trees. Clouds. Colors. People.  These were just some of the things that were newly brought to my attention.

By all means, my awareness had been heightened.

As I became more aware of the beauty that surrounded me daily, I also became keenly aware of not-so-beautiful things as well.  Poverty, senseless killings, the lack of integrity among everyday people, strife, war, wasted resources, the state of the have-nots and the like were beginning to eat me alive.

But recently, this dawned on me: When I prayed for awareness, I was thinking of only being aware of the cute, pretty and loveliness of life.  It doesn’t quite work that way.  Although I received what I prayed for, I also got so much more.  I had to decide what I was going to focus on.  I can still be aware of the issues of today’s world.  I have a responsibility to help change things in any way that I can.  But, I also have a self-promise to uphold my happiness as well by focusing on the lovely things that I see each day. A dual responsibility, if you will.

Until Next Time,

Love, Peace & Beauty.

-Herbie

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Happy Father’s Day 2016


Happy Father's Day 2016 #HappyFathersDay #HFD #GiveLoveLiveMore #Blog #flowers #Pink #purple

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Inside my rearview


At breakfast the other day, hindsight came up.  In fact, the statement was said that, “Hindsight is 20/20.”  It can be thought of as being beautiful.  Yeah-hindsight is beautiful.  Hindsight affords us the opportunity to see things crystal-clearly, no longer being in the situation.

Inside my rearview. www.givelovelivemore.comMerriam-Webster defines hindsight as,”the knowledge and understanding that you have about an event only after it has happened.”  Wow: only after it has happened.  Why can’t things be obvious while I am going through it (that question pains me to even type)?  who knows: maybe things are obvious and I just choose to see what I want to.

I’ve learned so many lessons in hindsight.  Why couldn’t I have had these epiphanies on the front end?  Isn’t there value in foresight?  God only knows why I didn’t see what I was supposed to see until after it happened.

One of my greatest challenges these days is to shift my focus from hindsight to current awareness.  I’m drawing a blank as to how I will go about this paradigm shift.  I just know that I have to be present in each moment, learning all that I can along the way.  The great part about it all is that I can improve upon this daily!  It doesn’t have to happen overnight. What a relief!

Until next time,

Love & Peace.

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When I Was a Child


The other day I was watching a documentary about drumming and Horacio Hernandez said something that stuck with me. He said,”We [drummers] have loved this instrument as children and somehow have managed to keep that child alive all this time.  So, every time we play, it’s just fun for us.”

Hmm.  Keep that child alive all of this time?  Wow.  That’s a crazy idea.

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to be an adult.  No more early bedtimes.  No more curfews.  No one to tell me what to do and when to do them.  It’s amazing how ignorant and down-right crazy I was!  I didn’t anticipate how becoming an adult would present such a civil war inside myself.

When I was a ChildThe thing I’ve learned most about kids is that kids are honest, are oblivious to caution and are fun-loving beings.  They are, in fact, oblivious to many things.  Children like what they like, and that’s that.  They dive head first into whatever they’re doing, and are not concerned about anyone else while they do it.  They exude love, and passion in its purest form.  They truly dance as though no one is looking.

I admire those adults who have managed to keep their “inner child”alive.  But it’s not easy.  On occasion, I have fought to keep my “inner child” in tact.  In other ways, pieces of my child-like self have fallen faint, like a distant memory.  Life has a satirically funny way of doing that to us adults.  It’s as though a rule of being an adult requires you to lose your “mini-me”.  My personal prayer is that those dormant piece of the child-like me would awaken, restoring the free spirit of my youth.

Friends, try your best to keep your younger you alive.  I guess it’s true what I read once: “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.”

Until next time:

Love & Peace.

-Herbie

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