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Archive for December, 2010

Some people mark the occasion by bidding good riddance to the year gone by. Others view it as a pending blank slate on which a new chapter of their lives will be written. I, and I’m sure many others, view it as a transition; time either folding or unraveling another year into existence. Rather than treat the year ahead as a completely blank slate, I choose to carry some baggage with me into the New Year and I hope you’ll do the same. Here’s what I mean:

As 2010 comes to a close, we reflect on memories both joyous and sorrowful. Additionally, we consider our triumphs and failures while remembering those we lost along the way. As we stand together on the precipice of a dawning new year, remember to take your hopes and dreams with you. They may be tattered due to the rough tides endured in previous years, nonetheless they will keep you buoyant in the seas of the unknown. Also take the lessons you have learned. For they are the badges of the turbulent times you’ve endured and a compass to help you navigate through or around future obstacles. Bring your memories of the good times and the smile and laughter that accompanies them.

Despite all adversity and projected chaos, life is still very sweet and should be savored each moment. It is a perpetually wrapped mystery that unfolds every second, revealing new things to inspire and delight as well as mystify. Let it trigger your imagination and unleash your dreams. Keep an open mind, but be very selective of what you allow to take up permanent residence. Protect your heart, but don’t allow it to grow cold or callous by lack of use. In order to carry the aforementioned most effectively, heavy grudges and burdensome resentments must be left behind. If not, you’ll only get weighed down on your journey into a year that’s full of potential in spite of the uncertain forecast. I extend my wishes to you for a year of continued healing, strength, joy, opportunity, hope, love, peace, health and prosperity.

Much love,
Shykia

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A few images of the storm’s aftermath (taken early this morning).

Front entrance of my apartment building.

I'm guessing those cars will be there for quite a while.

Thankfully, our car isn't snowed in as badly. Still not going anywhere, though.

Someone made it out! I'm impressed and so is the snow.

Yikes!

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"Where are you, holiday spirit?"

Lately, I’ve asked myself: Where has my holiday spirit gone? Each year it has grown progressively dimmer until I found myself unable to locate it. Did it melt away like snow in the springtime? Did it fall from the branches of my resolve to be swept away like pine needles in the wind? Eventually, I felt my joy slipping away as my human spirit began to depart, possibly in search of its long-lost holiday counterpart. The world around me suddenly became bleak as it lost its vibrant colors of mystery and wonder. My vision was invaded by grim news and current events depicting the massacre of holiday spirit and human spirit around the globe. Still, I wondered: Where are you, holiday spirit? What have I done to drive you away? In exiting my childhood, did I abandon you for endless responsibility and what I believed to be reality?

Opening my heart and mind while forsaking the so-called logic of the current state of the world, I allowed myself to simply look and listen. In doing so, the stillness of my soul was interrupted with an answer to my agonizing questions. That answer came to me in this:


Yes, my holiday spirit has returned to me! It was disguised in this wonderful performance by my friend, Johnny Weaver. When it spoke to me after so many years, I realized that it hadn’t died. Nor did its counterpart, human spirit. It had only gotten buried beneath the propaganda of negativity perpetrated by those who no longer believe. Even so, it had been safely nestled at the bottom of my heart as it patiently waited to be uncovered. Tears filled my eyes as I was reminded of the wonders we shared throughout my childhood and into my very early adulthood. I caught a chill as I recalled how empowering and liberating it felt to believe that anything was possible, no matter how ridiculous others claimed it was. Joy and peace flowed through me as I remembered the happy times shared with family during past holidays. How wonderfully invincible it felt back then! Though the years have accumulated since then, the emotions still feel as fresh as when I experienced them during those occasions.

Whether or not the snow had coated the ground, there was no mistaking that the holidays were present. Colorful lights strung through tinsel covered pine only symbolized the deep-seated belief, as sweet as candy canes. The carefully wrapped presents are yet another symbol of the gift of life, shrouded in mystery. Each day we tug the ribbon of time, unraveling the gift of another day full of potential for love, adventure, laughter, happiness and peace. It all begins in your heart and with your decision to once again believe.

Happy Holidays!

P.S., Be sure to check out Johnny’s music via the following:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/johnnyweaversings
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/sosinatra1
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/johnnyweaversings and http://www.myspace.com/mrjohnweaver

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TV meteorologist accused of filing false sexual assault report.
http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/12/15/new.york.meteorologist.arrested/index.html?hpt=T2

It’s stories like these that get me fired up. It’s immoral to falsely accuse anyone of anything, but when it comes to an accusation as serious as rape it’s damaging to not only the accuser and the accused, but to victims worldwide. Unfortunately, rape and sexual assault victims are often subjected to ridicule, blame and dismissal as their voices are muted by a world of skepticism. It’s for this reason, and shame, that so many refuse to come forward to bring their attackers to justice, leaving them free to become repeat offenders. In addition, the victims hide within their shame, haunted by their secret for years if not their entire lives. Many become paralyzed by Post-traumatic Stress disorder and feel their lives have been irreparably damaged. It often creates a rift between them and their families, whether or not they reveal what happened to them. Additionally, it distorts their view of sex and intimacy, making it difficult if not virtually impossible to form healthy bonds in their relationships.

Heidi Jones, a woman whose job was to forecast the weather has casted yet an even darker cloud over true victims of the very crime she fabricated. Yet, she isn’t the first, nor will she be the last to flippantly use such a horrible tactic to gain attention or to manipulate others for whatever purpose. Such people make a mockery of what countless people suffer through each day. It’s a slap in the face of those who are seek justice as they struggle to mend the fractured remnants of their lives, knowing that they will never be the same. I can’t fathom why someone would lie about such a thing.

Though what Heidi Jones has done is absolutely reprehensible, she is a victim, albeit not of the heinous crime she falsely reported. She’s a victim of egocentrism and attention dehydration. Even so, that doesn’t excuse the actions that may have spawned consequences that could affect genuine victims. In her twisted way of satisfying her own agenda, she set in motion a chain of events that can hurt many others. Many people wish more people would pay attention to them—hey, I’m one of them—but crying rape is certainly not the way to accomplish this. Well, Heidi’s certainly got more attention now. I wonder if it’s the kind she wanted and if she thinks the cost was worth it.

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Each grain of sand in the hourglass counts as a blessing.
Every fork in the winding path of life is a gift of choice.
Yesterday is a finished chapter to be used to learn from past mistakes,
Tomorrow is another opportunity to get it right.
Today is a day to be grateful, for of the three days mentioned, it is the only one in which you can control the direction of your life’s journey.

And like the transition of the autumn leaves, tomorrow will blossom into today as today fades into yesterday. It is the perpetual cycle that carries us forward while presenting a fusion of contrasts that shape us into who we are. The obvious sometimes gets lost in the chaotic happenings of the everyday, yet, that doesn’t change the fact that there is much to be happy and grateful for; the gentle caress of the air that incites the trees to a languid sway, the surreal beautiful colors of the sun painting the sky at sunrise and sunset, the sound of your favorite song soothing your soul, a friendly hello from a long-lost friend, the warm comfort of family, the look in your lover’s eyes as they declare their undying affection, the infectious laughter of a child when they laugh at your jokes…

Yes, there is abundant wonder and possibility that reveals itself in the simple things when we look past our pursuit of perfection. Something so great can only be overshadowed if we fail to declare its existence.

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Author’s Note: I originally wrote this in February, but was inspired to repost it after hearing the music in the video I included in this post. Enjoy! And please feel free to comment.

The spirit of Valentine’s Day is a noble one. However, such an outpouring of love and affection should not be reserved for one day alone. Every day presents the opportunity to take the love we have within and spread it just as easily as we would any other emotion. The magic and wonder of it extends beyond the designated day of ceremonious romance filled with the dazzling adornment of gems, flowers and candy. Love and romance, though associated with the aforementioned, does not depend on the physical.

Love and romance are not governed by a set of rules that say you must act in accordance to a specific ritual to express them. When the commercialization of the day has been peeled away, we are reminded of something timeless–the presence of love itself. Love holds no set time for dashing away on an adventure into the land of dreams. It does not dictate when or how you should dance on a moonbeam to your heart’s content with the one you love, even if that person is yourself. Love operates on its own time, so it seems impractical to try to contain it within the confines of a single day. It is much too vast and powerful to remain restricted. And so, it is no wonder that we are sometimes inconvenienced when it spills out of the cell to which we’ve designated it, flooding weeks, months and years, interfering with our carefully laid out plans.

Love is not always convenient or easy. In fact, it can be downright scary when we find ourselves engulfed in the unpredictable grip of its tide. However, it is certainly always worth it since love has the remarkable ability to heal the spirit and unite the divided. To some, love seems elusive and unattainable. These illusions distract us from the truth–that everyone has the capacity to give and receive love. However, finding it seems challenging because it seamlessly camouflages itself within the unlikeliest of places in our lives.

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