The Refined Power of Patience Through The Eyes of Elders

MidnightTrail_adventures_IlichPeters

It’s been a minute since my last post, and Christmas is
almost upon us(for those who celebrate). High time for
a bit of real rap to share with you…

Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that patience
is power refined. Even when it doesn’t look like it. Patience
is something we all have, but some have made it a gift to
themselves. And others…not so much. The “cool” thing
now is to dismiss exercising patience, to throw it to the side.
The thing is, as I’ve said before – look at who and where you
see that suggestion coming from. If it’s a source that would
gain from your impatience, from you being irrational, don’t
pay it any mind. If it’s from a source that could stand to exert
a little patience in their own lives or situations, work on your
own stuff.

For me, I had to re-learn the value of patience in dealing with
the fact of having both my parents enter their senior years.

It’s a hard thing to see your parents age. It doesn’t matter if
it is a fact of life. Your parents are the bridge from one world
to this one. Especially your mother. Now, for those who know
me more personally, they know that my mom gets called “the
most righteous woman I know.” This woman has done so much
in her years that I can only hope to accomplish a third of. And
as she gets older, I see and hear the frustration she encounters.
I hear her talk about her various aches and pains. The soreness
in her knees from surgeries. The recurring pain associated with
her bulging discs. I’ve heard the despair in her voice. It rips at
me. At times, she will ask me for my advice. Sometimes, that
will be more than once. It’s as if she doesn’t trust herself, or
wants to go on auto-pilot. I will listen and offer my opinion, but
then it becomes a back and forth. Which will leave me a bit
frustrated. Being that I am a bit demonstrative with my emotions
more, it shows. Once she asked me, “why are you losing patience
with me?” after I was trying to help her with something on her
computer. The question made me stop. It was a tone of wonder,
but of sadness. I uttered a quick apology, helped her and found
myself having to excuse myself because tears had come to my
eyes. From that point on, I have tried to be calm and monitor
my own mood and tone when I help her or try to answer a question.
Since then, things have been more smooth.

With my father, the struggle for patience comes because he is
both independent and stubborn. He’s the type that will press on,
even when he has chest pains. Which has happened a couple of
times. For him, he gets impatient if, for example, you offer a
rebuttal to a point he’s making . His sensitivity is different in that
he feels as if his opinion is unwarranted or worse, unwanted.
He lives by himself, and I’m certain(although he’ll never admit it)
that there is a loneliness there. So I make it a point when we do
talk, that I offer rebuttal but not in a manner that may make him
feel like it’s talking down to him. And given that our relationship
has seen some rough waters, it’s been a great achievement to have
that rapport with him.

In dealing with both of them this way, I gained more empathy with
a good amount more patience. I understood more about what they
must be feeling being elders. I thought about all their years and those
memories within them, the hopes, the fears. Not just for them, but
for me. There was an Italian commercial that one of my sisters
shared once, where a man was irritated by his father asking if it
was the same bird chirping. The man snaps at his father, who doesn’t
say anyhing. Instead, he goes to his study, and brings his son a
journal, open to a specific page. The son reads it aloud, and finds
that it is an account of how many times he asked his father a question.
He reads how his father dealt with it – by kissing him on the forehead
each time. In that way, he reminded himself of the love he had for
him and diffused that momentary burst of frustration. That commercial
really made me think about how our elders enter into another age that
makes us think that they’re like children, but they aren’t. I was raised
to have respect for my elders that is not wholly subservient, but contains
enough reverence for their knowledge. With that, comes empathy. And
a higher level of patience.

I know now that patience bolstered by the good intent and
heart in most situations, can be a teacher. I make time in my day
to just go calm, to bring myself to a place where I can mitigate
any stress carried over. There are times where mediation helps
towards bolstering my levels of patience. It can be a healer. It’s
not a cure-all. There are those times where it can’t be enough.
But these days, what I’ve found in my relationship with my
parents is that it isn’t patience that’s the  virtue – it’s the
active use of it, especially with myself that is.

Until the next time, thanks for reading…walk good.

Reclaiming What It Is to Be Carefree And Black. For Me.

Photo Nov 26, 3 17 52 PMHello all you happy people…

It’s been a minute since the last posting here…that’s mainly due to the
fact that I needed to detox and recharge a bit. Given that there are only
24 days left in this year, it’s a prime time for me to do so. I wanted to
take some time to offer up a few words on what I’ve taken time to work
on.

You’re probably wondering about the picture above. That was taken this
past Thanksgiving, as I was on the beach with an old friend and a mentor in writing & spirituality while vacationing with family in Atlantic City.
To give you a quick backstory, my family decided that instead of dealing with trying to figure out who’s cooking and who’s bringing what to a dinner, it would be easier for us to all get away. I welcomed the idea – for
me, Atlantic City is more than just a gambling spot. And since it was supposed to be warm, that was a plus. So off we went, beating a mad rush
of traffic on the highway to hit AC as the sun set. My friend and I made plans to meet up on that Thursday to celebrate my birthday finally(since
we hadn’t been able to meet in October). I got up early that morning, showered and dressed all before 9:30 and went downstairs.

The casino floor is different in the morning. Scattered about were those
just getting in from all points across the country, stragglers from the bouts of late night revelry complete with the accessories of sunglasses and shoes in their hand and those old-time gamblers. From that point on, as I
sipped my coffee I knew it would be a good day ahead. The relative calm was soothing. Time didn’t stop, but it slowed down enough to give me a chance to actually soak up all of the surroundings.

The highlight of course, was the beach. The weather turned out to be better than I expected – 62 degrees. My friend and I walked out onto the
velvet-like sand, and in another bit of luck, made use of one of her jackets
(like me, she had slightly overdressed thinking it would be cold out) as a
blanket to sit on. From that point on, we talked. We laughed. We prayed
for healing, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones and friends and
our community as well as the world. It wasn’t only the sun washing over
us that afternoon, it was a feeling of serenity. Unfiltered, unbridled. Now
I know that to one or two of you, this may come off as something New Age-y and corny. Which would prompt you to crack a joke. But before you
do, let me ask you this: when was the last time YOU felt like that? Or allowed yourself to feel like that? Because that day, the idea of what the holiday is supposed to be grew dramatically. It wasn’t about food. It wasn’t about having a day off from work, or getting bent and watching sports. Looking out at the ocean and the constant music of the waves coming in, reminded me that underneath all of the rush that is created by the way life is being conducted that the life that is within us can be stifled.
Underappreciated. In the name of almost anything except our own freedom. I felt carefree. And that energy has stuck with me since then.

It is powerful, revolutionary to be a person of color and have a carefree
element to your spirit. Being Black in America almost demands that you
lay your carefree air on the altar to be sacrificed just so you can do what you have to do unfettered for a time. Or so the powers that be want you to think. I mean, look at the common phrase that comes to mind: “they can’t let us have NOTHIN’.” This is why I don’t mind folks, my folks, expressing
themselves. That celebration of those moments we can be carefree is so
damn necessary. Even more so now. That’s what I gave thanks for – I had
finally gotten to that place again. It had been returning in pieces, stripped away from bad work experiences, rocky relationships, frayed bonds. But this moment in the sun, was a blessing.

Being carefree as a Black man, to me, doesn’t mean being irresponsible or not accountable. In fact, it’s taking pride in knowing that I’m doing what I need to do that bolsters it. It means doing right by people. It means holding up my own personal code of honor that is good intention but most importantly, better action. It means not beating myself up if I stumble, and knowing that I can stumble but that I can also get back up and move forward. It means less overthinking, and more acceptance of self. And the richness that brings. This will be different for each and every one of us. But it’s important to reclaim that.

If you’ve read this far, I hope that the remaining part of this year sees that
you are reclaiming that carefree part of your spirit. I hope that you are making it a point to sit in the serenity you’ve earned to this point and be thankful for it. I hope that you take the time to be thankful every day for what has gotten to you, in small breaths and loud statements.

Until the next time, thanks for reading and walk good.