WHY?

This is a question that pierces the minds of all, it comes in many forms, with many outcomes. The WHY question I think about tonight is WHY ME? The good, the bad and the ugly follow this question.

We want to know why things happen to us, things that seemingly we have no control over. Things like when a man walks into a church and kills  innocent people, or when a young man walks into an Elementary school and takes the lives of children. No matter where lives are taken, young and old, male and female, Christians or Muslims, those in the United States or in Villages in Kabul, the taken of innocent lives make little sense to any sane person. So why? Why do these things happen?

Today I watched a video that made me think why? A coach wanted his students to learn the meaning of privilege, to understand that some have opportunities that others do not. He told them that he was going have a race, where the winner would get the clean and fresh $100 he was holding in his hand, but before the race was to start he has some questions to ask. If you answered “Yes” to any of these question you got to take two steps towards the finish line.

There were many questions, but they went something like this; If your parents are still married take two steps. If you never have to worry about food take two steps. If you never had to work to help support your family take two steps. The questions went on and on, till many of the students were nearly to the finish line, while others hadn’t even taken a step. After the last question the race began…..

I think we all know that the winner of the race was a privileged kid, not the fastest, or maybe even the hardest working, but the one with the most opportunity. This is very much like the life we live, the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”. So, why me? Why do I get opportunities while others don’t, or why am I the one on the starting line with no chance of winning.

I believe the answer to this question of “WHY ME?” has no short term answer. I believe the the answer to this question comes later in life, when we begin to realize that all of those times that I asked “why me?” were the times that “Shaped me”. They were the times that “grew me” or “held me” back.

When we ask this question, our response is either our power or our prison. When we look at the WHY ME, and we wallow and blame, or hide and cower, we find ourselves looking through the bars of life. Yet, when we ask WHY ME and we feel its weight against us and we rise and fight, those bars turn to ladders that help us from the hole we are in. We dig through the darkness to find the light shining above just waiting for us to arrive. So, I believe the why is because that is the opportunity that lies in wait for us to find.

I know, you are thinking, what about those poor souls whose lives were taken, what about them? Why them, why were they taken, they were good kind people that in their death could not gain…right?

I cannot say that I know with certainty that this is the case for all, but the day I died on that cold winter morning in 1991, I realized that I learned from death as I did in life and that if I did not come back that day that my spirit was stronger because of my death, and my family, would be okay, not without pain or sorrow, but opportunity to grow from their loss.

 

Fighting the Good Fight

It has been sometime since I have written on my blog, the reason being, I have had to go through 2 major surgeries on my back. The first to deal with a few if the multiple herniated discs in my back. The second, because I developed a Staph Infection in my spine. I am STILL in considerable pain and fighting off depression and frustration.

The truth is, we ALL struggle, we all have times of weakness, no matter if you are a survivor, a fighter, a warrior, or anyone else. It bothers me when I hear motivational speakers talk as if they fought their demons in their past and no longer have struggles. WE ALL struggle, we all have many, many, problems; some big and some small, but there are ALWAYS problems present in everyone’s life. I am writing because I want others to see that yes, I have struggles, yes I fight depression, constant pain, and frustrations, but I FIGHT! NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE IN.Brain-Power

The Power of Perspective: Restorative Practices

Last night I had the Honor of meeting with an amazing group of people at the University of Michigan Dearborn, (Dr. Tracey Hall, Brendan Gallagher, Jessica Camp and Henry McClendon) we were there to discuss the upcoming year in Detroit Schools and Osborn High School. Then we had the privilege of listening to an amazing man and speaker on Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice, Mr. Henry McClendon. He shared with us and Dr. Hall’s class on how we can begin to use Restorative Practices, which will be the second part of this article.

We are working on developing a new way to view the problems occurring in our inner city schools, not just in Detroit, but across the country and maybe the world. People are beginning to understand that the low test scores, poor attendance, behavior issues, violence, and so many other issues are not due to poor teaching, bad kids, dumb kids, or even a lack of physical resources; but due to where our kids are thinking from….their Limbic Brain.

What does that mean? Their Limbic Brain? This theory is called the 3 brain model, consisting of the 3 brains: 1) The most basic R-Complex Brain, 2)the Limbic or Mammalian Brain, to the higher functioning thinking brain or Neo-Cortex.

Fig 1.1 Simple 3 Brain Model

3 Brian simple

Figure 1.2 3 Brain Model

3 Brain

Ok so how does this 3 Brain Model apply in education? Since working in the Detroit Public Schools I have watched how this along with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see figure 2.1 below) plays into a persons ability to learn and think. I am seeing that many of the students I work with are functioning primarily from their Mammalian Brain (Limbic) which means they are in SURVIVAL mode. When someone is in this state, they are ready to fight, flight, or freeze. Emotions are heightened, and people react rather than respond, meaning they are acting on instincts rather than thought. In the animal kingdom and in prehistoric days this was a very valuable tool in surviving, as it is today. Except when that traumatic event is either never resolved or is continuous. When this occurs the person is always in a state of survival and functioning from this middle brain, not from the thinking brain. It is this part of our brain that separates humans from all other species, it is our higher order brain, problem solving, critical thinking, and learning.

Figure 2.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

maslow-pyramid

Figure 2.2 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Updated

maslow described

What I have been looking at is the similarities between the 3 Brain Model and Maslow’s Pyramid and what I am seeing is there is a lot of correlation between the two. For instance, when a student does not have their most basic needs being met (Physiological Needs, Food, Water, Shelter) they are going to be functioning from their Limbic Brain. Their thoughts will be much more focused on finding food, water and shelter, rather than on learning and growing. This is also the case when kids do not feel safe (Step 2 on the Pyramid) when they are feeling generally unsafe their focus is on survival and safety.  They are always ready to fight or run, or in some cases they freeze. I have seen this play out in many classrooms, a teacher places their hand on a student, trying to make a positive connection, yet the reaction of the student is anything but positive. The student flinches, jumps up and yells a the teacher to get their god damn hands off of them. The teacher in response, calls security, who then detains and many times retains and handcuff the student. Removing them from the situation, but also further traumatizing this young person. What no one understood at the time of the incident, is that this young person was sexually molested by his mother’s boyfriends, and hates to be touched because of the feelings that touch triggers. He was reacting to that and not trying to be disrespectful, and our reaction simply added to his fears. PERSPECTIVE IS POWERFUL!

“PERSPECTIVE IS EITHER YOUR POWER OR YOUR PRISON”

Truth is for most of us our perspective is our prison. As Henry McClendon said, the movie that plays in our minds feels right, sounds, right, and looks right, until we share it and our movie unravels. If we never share it, it will always remain our prison.

The last of the 3 needs that must be met in order for effective learning to occur is that of Love and Belonging. Having a family that loves, supports, and you feel apart of is crucial to life. In a recent study done by Harvard University, that followed a group of men for 75 years, found that true happiness in life has little to do with how much money you make, or how successful you are in your careers, it actually has more to do with having love in your life. When you have Love, happiness finds you. (The Secrets of Happiness Revealed by Harvard Study, By George Brandt). The power of a loving and safe relationship is so powerful, and I believe it is here where we as educators and support people can over come the first two. By creating a space where people feel supported, cared for and loved, they are more capable of dealing with the lack of their Physiological and safety needs.

If we match up the 3 brain model and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you will see that the first most basic needs of water, food and shelter will match up nicely with the R-Complex brain, the next two levels of safety, Love and Belonging match up with the Limbic Brain. The esteem needs and self-actualization matches up with the Neo-Cortexor higher order thinking.

Therefore when ANY person (no matter what age) is missing the basic 3 Needs in Maslow’s Pyramid their health is severely altered, their ability to learn and grow is limited and they will behave more like an animal, because that is where they are functioning from, their Mammalian Brain.

I have also been doing a lot of research on Trauma and its effects on learning. This theory of trauma effecting learning fits right in with the 3 Brain Model. When a person or student is traumatised it effects the way our bodies function (The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy) and the way that we behave. We are also learning that it dramatically effects our abilities to learn effectively. When trauma goes unresolved, its energy stays within our bodies, accumulating with other unresolved traumas and creating what I call the black hole within the iceberg. In a book that I am currently writing I compare humans to icebergs…what you see on the surface is only 10% of what makes up the whole. What lies underneath the water is what truly makes us…us. All of our experiences in life, good and bad, everything we have learned, the majority of our personality, the good the bad and the ugly all lie under the surface. Then, there is what I call the black hole, which is all of the unresolved traumas and feelings. They fester there, gathering up more and more unresolved feelings until we ultimately snap and explode either internally (beating ourselves up, harming ourselves, or even suicide), or externally, with anger and rage, yelling, screaming, and throwing things about, violence and crimes, assaults and murder, rapes, and much much more). Yet, with all of the release of anger, the black hole inside of us never shrinking, and in many cases growing because new traumas of our own accord are added.

Figure 3: Exploding Pop: How we explode from too much pressure build-up

pop explode

We explode like a pop bottle that has been shaken….BOOM! It explodes and gets on everything and everyone. Life is what shakes us up and when we do not deal with the carbonation of life, we explode. Unlike a pop bottle though, we are not empty, because the only way to effectively empty that black hole is to release those feelings stored inside in their true form.

Which brings us to Restorative Practices. This is a way to deal with those traumas, the unresolved, and the black hole. As Henry McClendon said to us, we do not have a problem with crime, as crime is just a symptom, not the problem. The problem is a relationship problem, within us, and with others. When we deal with the real problem, we see positive results.

“NEVER WASTE A CRISIS” Henry McClendon

Restorative Practices builds stronger individuals, healthier communities, reduces crime, increase social involvement, increases acceptance (diversity), decreases antisocial behaviors and repairs relationships.

This along with Trauma Informed Care will change the way inner city and maybe all schools teach. Understanding that we are not robots that need a cookie cutter education, that we are individual human entities that have feelings and needs that if unfulfilled will keep us from growing and learning. Restorative Practices teaches us how to release those stored feelings free us. go to http://www.iirp.edu/video to watch restorative practices in action.

The power of Perspectives is amazing…I always try to share the story of my pet rock “ECHO”, because his ability to show us this power of perspectives is uncanny. ECHO is just an ordinary rock, but it is all how we look at him that makes the difference. So, there is ECHO, sitting in the center of my room on the floor, no one near him, is he moving? That is the question I pose to my classes…and the looks on their faces describe their uncertainty. They know that there is a trick question here, so they begin to think. Rather than react, they stop, challenge their thinking and respond….YES! Echo is moving, because the Earth is moving, it is rotating, and orbiting the sun. Correct, that is two of the many ways Echo is moving….”What about Plate Tectonics?”….”Correct Again!”…Yet there is still an way Echo is moving and it has nothing to do with external means. “HMMMM” I ask, “What is ECHO made of?” The students think and quickly answer….”molecules!” and I respond, “Yes, and what are molecules doing?” The students reply, “They are always moving.” therefore Echo is moving all by himself! Perspective….POWER!

If we apply this to everything we do, we start to see that what we thought to be true at first, is actually only partial true, that there maybe faults to what we hear, what we see, and what is. Restorative Practices teaches people how to see from multiple perspectives and allows us to see people for….people. It allows us to take the labels off, and listen and learn, not only about others, but about ourselves.

I will be adding more to this idea of Restorative Practices/Justice, Trauma Informed Care, and People in upcoming articles!

 

 

Sun Rise

AS the sun rises, and my eyes slowly open, the day begins.It is my choice to make this day great or let it flow by. I stand and glare into the the mirror, the reflection of strength snd power, bounces back at me. I am a warrior and need to prepare, I am strong, and I am smart, and I can and will handle whatever challenge that comes my way.

The sadness tries to stride into my thoughts…I STOP….I CHALLENGE….And I override the negative.  This is a fight that I must face everyday for I am a warrior, But I am also a Human, and I have faults. I have doubts and I have days of uncertainty, yet I always search the great abyss for the shining light that is always there.

 

That light that is within us all, for some the search maybe a little more difficult, yet the light it is still there. The good, the bad and the Ugly, are there for your choosing. You must strive to thrive, you must look to each corner of life to find that Pride…..For it is hidden in the darkness, around the corner, or through the door…It is there.

So I search…Through the darkness, blind like a bat, I search and I search for that ray of light that is within us all. AS I get closer and closer, the light grows in strength….I see it, I feel it, and I grab it.  Taking hold of that light and never letting go. This eternal fight for light will continue and continue, and I will search for that glowing opportunity

UnStoppable

I the warrior reach deep,

Within the Abyss

I strike at the darkness

Always striving for bliss.

I fight with reckless abandon,

Always comamandin’

I search my soul,

Trying to understand my role

Deep inside I find the fire

to calm the flames because I must aspire

I fight….

What is my purpose

I always hear people giving me lip service

I am me and I a real

Full of Zeal….

You cannot stop this train,

Not Pain,

or even Sam Hain.

 

For I am Unstoppable,

Always unbreakable

and definitely irreplaceable, 

Just plain unshakable.

 

I fall to the ground,

with a thump and a pound,

My Eyes to the skies,

I rise…..

For I am Unstoppable,

Always unbreakable

and definitely irreplaceable, 

Just plain unshakable.

 

To the Skies I rise,

Like a Phoenix I fly,

Can you hear my battle cry?

I am a warrior,

A Pit Bull Terrier

To the end I fight,

For I am….

Unbreakable,

Irreplaceable,

and certainly unshakable!

 

Heaven

As I lie on the gurney, my body destroyed, my heart beat slowing, I can feel the energy and the power of the universe pulling at me….My spirit rises above my body and connects with the one…..

There I am below, torn and battered, I feel a sadness run though me…18 years old, and so far from being the man I wanted to be….Quiet and shy, tentative and reluctant to take chances, I was a body full of potential, yet now that potential is dying before me…wasted….

I can feel a pull at my soul, a feeling of peace and unity….I begin to soar like an eagle floating above, no worries, no pain, no stress and no fear…Just freedom and peace….I am me, but I am more…

The presence of something greater than me, pulsing into my spirit….A power that words cannot explain. Energy….everywhere, bright blue, and ever changing ball of….GOD. That is what I am seeing, what I am feeling, a power that can breath life into the world, yet a power we have not touched yet. God is us and we are God….If we can just reach out and feel it, share it and be it, then this anger we feel, this fear that ignites violence and hate would lift like a fog burning off in the morning sun.

I see that there is reason for everything, reason for good and reasons for evil. Everything has a plan and everything a purpose, while we are here, we need to find that purpose, for that is what drives us. We all have one, we all have a greatness that lies dormant in our soul, just waiting for us to breathe life into its being. To bring it to the surface, through the darkness, and into the light, to grow and be nurtured, to spread its beauty to the world above….it’s in us all….dig deep enough and you will find it, work hard enough and it will rise to the surface for all to see….

This is what I learned as my spirit sailed into the depths of the universe. I saw what we can be, as individuals and as a people. The energy is endless, having no beginning and no end, it is untapped and ready for us to reach out and grab hold, ready for us to open and share like a gift under a tree….to spread its eternal power from one to another….

To do this I learned, we must first believe in our spirit, our oneness with life. To see the greatness that lies inside us, to grip it with might, and never let go….To raise it above us and share as Mufasa shared his son with his kingdom….

Then we MUST come together, support one another. Celebrate each others greatness, and be what we were meant to be, the glue that holds this amazing planet together. Be one!

 

“MoonLight” – Understanding “Little”

 

Last night I watched a movie titled Moonlight and it got me thinking about how we as humans treat one another…The movie is about a young African American boy growing up in Miami, he is small and the kids call him little. He is also a little different and as the movie goes on you begin to see that he is gay, or as the other kids call him “Faggot”. All too often that which is not us, that which we do not understand we fear….

This is based on a true story and as an educator I see similar things in schools and on the streets. We treat people poorly, we base our judgement on color, religion, sexual preference, language, and really anything else that makes us different. Difference creates uncertainty, which then creates fear….fear then turns to hate….we need to change….we need to evolve….

Little….

A “little” boy uncertain about who he is,

struggles to learn about himself and his world

He is different….He is alone….at home and at school,

Made fun of because he is different,

He is quiet….he is shy….

But WHY?

Seen as weak, he is preyed upon,

Yet those that prey are only sheep themselves,

preying on the weaker sheep.

 

They call him names

They chase him

He hides…feeling unsafe, alone,

The boys leave….”little” is safe from his attackers,

but not safe from his own thoughts….

I must be less than, I must be bad, I am even shamed by God.

 

Am I a faggot?

 

Thats what they call me….

What is it….A faggot?

What is wrong with me?

 

Little goes home, a place of safety, of peace….

But not for Little,

Mom is a lost soul herself,

Drugs run rampant through her body,

Her mind lost, her soul adrift.

Little….Alone even at home,

Unloved…..

WHY?

This is the question I seem to ask myself often, why do we do this to others? Why do you fear that which is different, rather than be curious and learn. Why when we fear, we strike, we hurt, creating more fear, more resentment, more separation.

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means perfect and there are times when irrational thoughts, ignorant thoughts run through my mind, but I work very hard to stop those thoughts and question…is there another way to look at it. Just the other day I was talking with my wife and we were talking about Nursing homes (her mother is in one) and I made a statement that it made me mad that we do not respect our elderly, we place them in homes and then never visit….My wife checked me on this, and I was so wrong. I made a judgement on others without really knowing them. Maybe they do come, or maybe they don’t. It could be that it is just to painful to see their parent like this, or maybe they just believe that they are in a great place and are safe…or maybe….

The point is I have no idea why? I have no idea what is happening…all I know is what I see at that moment in time from one perspective….mine. I have to stop and think, stop and question, evaluate before judging. WE all do this, I do this, WE have to be better, I have to be better….

Little, like all children, need us to be better. They need us to teach them to think, to feel and to see from many perspectives. We are all different and we are all very similar, yet it is the differences that make the world a better place. Don’t fear them, learn about them, do judge them, stop and listen….learn and grow….be kind and thoughtful…drop the fear by opening our eyes and our ears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trapped….

Yesterday I went through a therapy process called brain spotting, which is a new technique to help people deal with trauma. I don’t know a lot about this therapy yet, other than what I went through in my hour session last night. Yet, it was so profound I had to write about my experience:

It was a cool and cloudy day in Auburn Hills Michigan, I walked out of my psychology class knowing that I had achieved my highest grade point ever…a 3.75 for my first semester in college. Excited and ready to tell the world that I was not a failure in school, that I was actually pretty smart.

My friend Brent, suggested we head out to celebrate our great grades and with a little persuasion I was along for the ride, a ride that would change my life forever…..I have always remembered leaving school, following Brent, seeing the Pontiac Silverdome, and heading down Opdyke Rd.. Down the hill, changing lanes and turning on my windshield wipers….then everything disappears….until now.

As I sat in the therapists office, music playing softly in my ears (Bilateral Sound, helps in the healing process), I was asked to look in four different directions, looking at the point of a pen, and choosing the location that created the best feeling.

I started talking about my dad, and how in an Early January Morning he called me in distress. I was on my way to school with a few students and had a big event with the Mayor of Detroit and one of our biggest sponsors. My dad called me, he did not sound good, he was struggling and I asked him if he wanted me to come to him, he being my dad, said no, in his grufff and tough way, then he grumbled and right before the phone hung up I said, “Dad, call 911 if you need help.” That was the last time I spoke to my father, a moment in time that I wish I could go back to…because my father died at some point after that….I am not really sure when.

It was a day later that I went out to his house…there was no answer, so I slide one of his windows open and inside I went. I called my dad…there was no answer….I went up stairs to his bedroom, he was not there either. The bathroom door was closed, so I walked over and tried to open it, but the door hit something….I peaked in and there on the floor lay my father….Eyes open…no motion…..no breathe….A feeling of panic overwhelmed me…….

I felt this pressure in my chest, it became very hard to breathe, and my hands began to shake. I was still in the therapists office, but my mind was elsewhere. The feeling of helplessness growing inside me, panic, fear and a flood of other emotions running though me….

Then I was flashing back even father in time…the feeling of being trapped, overwhelmed me. My breathing quickened, my heart began to race…I was cold, and afraid…I was alone…Laying on the dashboard of my car….I could hear voices, and sounds of cars passing by, A light cold breeze blowing on my face. I could not move…I was cold and trapped, I was scared, but I was not in pain….I could feel cold snow flakes hitting my face, and a soft soothing voice….sorrow now pouring through me….I am not sure if I was talking or just thinking it….”I’m sorry…..I’m sorry…..I am so cold….” I was feeling as though I let my family down, I was leaving and I was not ready…I had not lived to my potential, I did not want my family to see me like this, broken, and bloody…cold and afraid….I was scared…..and I was trapped….

My mind would not let me go any further, I think I had experienced enough for the day…the session slowly ending, but the feeling inside me was still so strong….This feeling lasted well into the night….Sleep was scarce, but today I wake with a feeling of relief, a little bit of the trauma now gone…..

This was 3 hours of panic, three hours of fear, but the release was so worth every second…I know there is A LOT more to experience, but everything has to start somewhere and I am ready for the next steps….

The Power of UNITY

It amazes me to see how we treat one another, how we fear that which we do not know. That fear turns to hate, and the hate to violence. When will we grow as Humans, learn that YES we are different, YES we believe in different Gods, or no Gods at all. We are different shades, have different languages, and different cultures, but isn’t that what makes this amazing world so special?

I sit back and watch the slurs thrown about, the ignorance that runs our streets rampant, but why? Why does the color of your skin determine whether you are good or bad, a success or a criminal? Why if I call my God Allah, or Zeus, or just God, does it matter to another? It is my belief and my belief is just that, mine.

I love the differences, I try to learn as much as I can about each religion, because there is a lot more in common between them then different. Which is very similar to people in general…Black, White, Tan….Asian….American…African….Male…Female….shall I go on….you get the idea. What is it that people really want? Everyone to believe in the same God…Be the same color…just too boring for me.

It makes me sad to see what is happening….the inequalities….My son, who I adore, goes to a school in Royal Oak which is about 10 miles from the school I work at in Detroit. The differences are night and day…WHY?

The Doors to My son’s School…

ROMS Doors

Pool At Royal Oak Middle School.

ROMS Pool

Doors Entering Osborn Evergreen

Osborn Doors

Talk about Closing Our school

Save our schools

Osborn does have a pool, but there is no water, and it is falling apart. Osborn is a High School and my sons school a Middle School, why is there such a difference?

Osborn Neighborhoods

Osborn Neighborhood

Royal Oak Homes

RO Neigh

Please remember, we are talking about maybe 10 miles. The differences are incredible, and it makes me ashamed. We need to be better as people. We need to understand different perspectives. If we can do that, things would start to change.

Think about this….Below is my pet Rock…His name is Echo

Echo the Rock

Echo can teach us a lot about Life, about perspectives….So here is a question, Echo the Rock….is sitting in my classroom, on the floor, no one is near him, is he MOVING?

Perspective… It is a very powerful word and a very powerful idea…When we are able to see from multiple perspectives, we see the world so differently. If we could see the world from another persons eyes, it would blow us away. Working in the City of Detroit, I see it, I am white and 99% of the people and students I work with are Black. I work very hard to see life from their views and what I see is a world that oppresses, a world that is far from equal. Yet, I am treated with complete respect, they listen and we work as a team. I love my students, they are family! It does not take a rocket scientist to see the power of Unity!

Back to Echo, my pet rock….He is moving….in many different ways from many different perspectives….When we start to see things from another views, we realize, how much we can learn when we stop, listen and see. Echo moves because the Earth moves, it rotates, it orbits, then there are the plates under our feet that are always in constant motion. But Echo moves all by himself….Echo and everything else in the universe are made of energy. Molecules so small they can not been seen by the naked eye, but when we look very closely, we see that those molecules that make the rock solid are in constant motion…therefore Echo is moving all by himself.

All of a sudden, you are seeing differently, you are seeing that your view is not the only view, and that it may not even be the best view. It makes you stop! It makes you think, and it makes you question everything. What if I am wrong, or not completely right? What if there is a better way to see it or a better way things could be done? I can learn, I can grow, we can learn, we can grow….and all of this because of a rock named Echo.

All I ask of those that reading this is that you STOP….THINK…LISTEN….AND GROW. Force yourself to see different perspectives, hear different points of view, listen and learn. Then work those views into your own. Respect another perspective, don’t fear it, learn about and I think you will see you have a lot more in common then you ever imagined.

UNITY IS LIFE

The Storm

Lion Storm

As the storm rolls in, I hear from within the clouds….”Can you withstand the storm….I the warrior reply….I am the storm, can you withstand me?” I am a warrior and even though I am strong and I pride myself in greatness, I do mess up, I do make mistakes….But with ever mistake, with ever failure….I RISE…I GROW STRONGER…AND I FIGHT!

So often we hear stories from motivators, they tell about the storms they fought, how they rose through the rain and the wind to greatness, yet don’t they face struggles today? The truth is that we all face adversity, yesterday, today, and in the future. We all have problems, that is a given. No person on earth, goes a day without some problem. Bottom line, everyone, everywhere has many problems varying in degrees, but they are there and they must learn to deal.

I am a warrior, I fight! That is what I do. Yet there are times when life throws you a titanic storm, and it never comes when you are at your strongest. My storm has rolled in, some of my own creation, some not, but it is here and I will fight with all I have.

The tide has rolled out, the storm gaining in strength, I prepare. My body at it’s weakest in years, My mind…at its strongest! My storm will require me to be at my best, can I be? That is the question? Is there self doubt? Of course there is? Is there uncertainty? Yep! I am a warrior though, but I am human. So I must reach deep inside my soul, to retrieve the energy I need to withstand the power of the devils storm. I must build the energy around me, in me, and beyond me, because I must become the storm to fight the storm….

I have faced many storms of the past and risen stronger, wiser, and ready for the next one to roll in! I am a warrior and I will rise!

So I rise, the mighty wind begins to blow, the rains begin to fall like meteors falling from the sky, striking me, and knocking me back. I rise…and I fall….only to rise again. This epic battle rages on, I must look to others, to help me gain the strength that I am lacking. A true warrior does not fight alone, they surround themselves with others to help them, to support them…I may be in a battle, but I am not alone.

The waves begin to smash my body, the words of the devil flowing though my mind, “You cannot win this battle warrior…you are not strong enough to endure this storm.” Questions speed through my thoughts, wondering if I have what it takes to rise again and again, with the waves crashing, one after another, the pain searing through my body, crippling both body and spirit….I am tired….I can feel the fear striking at my soul….Again I hear the words….”YOU CANNOT ENDURE MY STORM….” The pound into my head, over and over. “You may be strong mentally, but I will break your body!”

My body is my weakness….and the storm knows it….So he whips me over and over again, wave after wave, he smashes my body….I tire….but I rise….”My body may be weak….But my mind is strong…I CAN….and….I WILL…endure your storm….I WILL rise….and strike back with vengeance….CAN YOU WITHSTAND ME!”

The sun begins to shine, the winds slow, and the waves loose their ferocity. I lick my wounds, and prepare…for this battle is not over, there is more to come….I am in the eye….I take some deep breathes, I shake it off, I rise and I rest. The Devil’s Storm has beaten me down, but has not won! I am a warrior and I will fight to the end….You cannot win, there is not quit in me….I will see you soon, I hope you are ready!