Monday, December 31, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/31/07


One Moment In Time; Whitney Houston

The Year I Lived
For several years before 2007 I stopped living a full life. I was hysterically funny and entertaining to everyone; strong, well-spoken and the go-to guy to so many people and deeply unhappy. Basically I was in a self-torture trap that was draining me of everything I believed could be mine. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I picked-up and read The Secret. It’s a small, straight-forward book that held so many obvious assertions that it took me two days to read, but months to understand. Ultimately, I needed to accept that I was in full control of my life and what I could achieve. I strongly believe that everyone who reads The Secret comes away with their own tool for edification. Here’s what made my 2007 so special…

Health: There’s no greater sin than the deep-seated self-hatred and sadistic behavior that results from the dissatisfaction in your appearance. In 2007 I recognized that I was missing the best years of my body. I was so entranced looking at the alleged love handles and perceived beer belly that I wasn’t seeing the results of my gym regimen. I was depriving myself from partaking in the delicious foods I love most and all for what? Nothing but the vicious perception that I would never attain the body I wanted. Today, I workout four-to-five days per week and eat what I want in moderation. I love my body – all 163 lbs of it. At 38 years old and 5’7”, I’m still holding down a 36”, 29”, 34 frame, I recognize that as I speed toward 40 years old, I’m going to enjoy every bit of my strength and vitality. I even make it a point to blow myself a kiss in the full length mirror every now and again.

Love: “No one will hurt me again!” That’s what I told myself. I was being honest too. The problem is that by safely fencing my heart away, I was cheating myself out of the opportunity for love and hurting my chances at a shared happiness. The moment I stopped worrying about being hurt and concentrated on being happy, it happened. BD and I went from over a year of hittin’ the booty call hot button, to committing to each other and sharing an amazing year together. It isn’t all rose and vanilla candles either; I learned that I actually had to challenge all of my previous notions of what being committed really meant. Most of all, I made a promise to myself to be honest, open and communicate with my partner, so that there are no surprises. It may sound corny, but we really have the potential to be each other’s best friend. After years of telling myself that I wanted “the maximum amount of pleasure with a minimum amount of bullshit,” I found that the maximum amount of pleasure requires that I put my best foot forward and be vulnerable. It is in that vulnerability that I experience true love.

Friends / Family: This was a year of clarity with regard to my friends and family. To steal a line from an advertisement, I chose the ‘free and clear’ plan with regard to my relationship with those I love. This year I accepted that I cannot change the hearts and minds of those around me – even by bullying or force. I want so much to be understood and sometimes I alienate those I love by trying to force them to do what’s best for them. To take a step back and allow folks to live their lives as they see fit and respect their wishes was one of the hardest lessons this year taught me. How my family and close friends live their lives is not for me to judge. Today I understand that to love someone sometimes means to mine my own business. I hope the best for each of them in their journey and I’m here for each of them if they need me.

Being Sorry, Forgiving and Amputations: An important part of my growth this year was learning how to let go. The only way to truly let go is to know when you need to apologize for doing wrong. No, I’m not on some 12-step program, but it became very apparent that you can’t progress when you’re holding on to past wrongs – especially your own. I felt much lighter when I finally apologized for things I knew I did that hurt folks around me. Whether it was my cheating, my inability to say, “I love you…” to the people I really love, etc. In the end, I’m not holding the guilt of knowing that I wronged people and didn’t do something about it. I also found that forgiving is extremely difficult – especially when some people never apologized. I’ve forgiven those who wronged me and in doing so am not chained to their pain. Pain, resentment and anger were draining my energy. Those feelings were coupled with the false hope that one day many of the folks that wronged me would see the error of their ways and apologize for the turmoil they had inflicted on my life. Ultimately, that apology never came and I was resentful for each day that passed without it. This year I forgave. I wasn’t giving the people who hurt me another day of my life. I wasn’t allowing them to steal my energy, my thunder or to steal my light one more day. In 2007, I forgave…I forgave it all for me. The moment I forgave I was free. I didn’t have one of those religious experiences. I simply was released from all the draining old hurt I was harboring for so many years. Unfortunately, I also had to make some hard decisions with regard to people who have no place in my life. If someone is not FOR you than they are AGAINST you. Anyone who attempts to belittle you; never sees the good in you; consistently hurts you; has no place in your life. I gave that advice to many a friend, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly practiced the art of self-preservation-by-amputation. Amputating someone you’ve held dear and sincerely love is hard, but not being true to yourself is harder. This year I performed very necessary amputations and was all the better for them. I now live with Tamia as my friend/love soundtrack...I choose me.

All things being equal, 2007 I lived life fully. I worked hard, played hard and loved hard. I enjoyed my life because this year was the one that taught me that life is truly short and I’m not going to look back with regret. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but I can now assure myself that no matter what, I’m going to love life. There will be good and bad days, but I’m in the driver’s seat. I make it happen. I control where I’m going. ’07 proved to be filled with so much good that it helped restore my belief in all that could be mine.

So as I bid ’07 farewell and welcome in ’08 I feel like a kid on the day before visiting Disney…I know there’s magic waiting.

Happy new year…happy living.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

8 comments:

Disco said...

Hey Cocoa! First time to your site and I am lovin it! I love everything that you have said and am inspired by the "let it go and forgive" part of your blog the most. I need to work on that for 2008 becuase I too have something that I need to let go. Also, I was priviledged to see The Secret in movie form at work. It was definitely life changing for me as well. The "movie" version of the book is also VERY powerful and I would encourage you to see it if you haven't. Love this post!

E said...

Wow...I must say...you picked the perfect song to go with your post. My better half recommends I read The Secret as well. It sounds like you've made a lot of important steps to make this one life better.

These are lessons we have to remember constantly. I've really enjoyed reading your blog and wish you the best for 2008...and yeah watch for your toes...:-)

D.LavarJames said...

I'm a Secret believer myself, still working on myself as well.

Happy New Year bruh

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

yet another black guy said...

Don't forget Inspiration! your words, wisdom, life experience, candor and insight (and gut busting humor!) provided me with excellent examples on which to base future on.

no joke, i love reading about how your relationship is going, because right now you, Sean and E are the only bloggers putting it out there, and some of us singles are wondering how to do it right.

thanks for sharing it with us. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

fuzzy said...

lol at the "free and clear plan", isn't that Sprints old tag line?

Happy New year!

C. Baptiste-Williams said...

nothing like living!! happy new year man

One Man’s Opinion said...

Great post, and that is the perfect song to go with it, my brother. Speaking on forgiveness. I always remember what my neighbor use to tell me, since I had such deep set hatred towards my step father. I use to tell her I didn't believe in the concept of forgive and forget and she explained it to me. She told me that you only forgive the action and forget the animosity you had. Our conversation was a bit longer and more indept than that, but that is the watered down version for you.
I know you spoke about a lot of things in your post but I only wanted to give my two cents on a part of it. God Bless and Happiness throughout the New Year, "pa".
As far as the book, "The Secret" I'm not feeling that book. I heard it had obvious solutions to problems. I can get those from myself. But I am glad it was able to feed your soul, that is all that matters.