Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jason Collins: Who Cares, Or Rather, Why Do We Still Care?

The sentiment is uplifting but the connotation is upsetting.

I'm upset.
The NBA playoffs are in full swing, the NHL is about to kick off the hunt for Lord Stanley. The ink from the NFL draft is still wet and I'm still trying to figure out what the heck happened to Russel Westbrook yet all I hear about is an NBA basketball player who doesn't even play basketball. The second most interesting thing about Jason Collins, to me, is that he's seven feet tall. I mean I can't even fathom that!  I'm just shy of 6'5" and I have a hard time finding pants that fit, imagine what a disaster buying pants must be for him?! Or traveling on a plane? "No Ma'am You cannot  recline Your seat." Or worse yet pulling into a hotel on the road and having to push the desk chair to the end of the bed to support the one third of Your body which the bed simply will not accommodate.

During his 12 year career, Jason Collins averaged under 4 points per game, half of both a steal & blocked shot per game, under one assist per game and about 4 rebounds (which for a 7 footer who played 20 minutes per game  is fairly average). An average basketball player among the best in the world, an accomplishment? Absolutely but not remarkable. Or sports magazine cover worthy.
So why are we talking about him?
Is it because he went to Stanford (the most interesting thing, to me, about a guy I don't know) and graduated with a degree in communications (broadcast & print media) - which for an All Pac 10 & All American basketball player is rather unheard of - I mean he completed school before going to the league. Stanford no less. Now that's impressive.
Jason Collins' achievements are incredible. None of them are because he's black. Or seven feet tall. Or gay. They are because he was blessed with a gift (his mind and secondly his physical talent) and because he applied himself and worked extremely hard to achieve what he desired to achieve. None of what makes Jason Collins exceptional is the fact that he is gay.

I get it though. To discount that him being black doesn't make his achievements greater is a lie. And to discount that him being gay and achieving would be as well - which is partly why I'm upset, but I'll get to that in a minute. Him being black is something that created challenges for him, just like him being seven feet tall. Being gay is something he kept to himself, and I've no judgement on that because it's his life and he should be able to love who he pleases without consequence.
This is the upsetting part for me - we still live in a society where being gay is considered a hindrance. Just like being black is. And with all the progress we've made the amount of coverage this story is getting shows us just how much farther we have to go. That we still heavily judge people by the shade of their skin and whether they love the same or opposite sex as opposed to for their character, merit and achievements. And that upsets me.
          (Aside - I could never quite understand how any one who deals with any ism (race, sex, age, gender etc... ) could condone homophobia. I mean it's a "don't hate me for what I am yet I hate so and so for that very same reason" stupidity that perpetuates hate. But that's for another time.)

My heart and prayers go out to all those who feel the need to 'hide', may You find the support and love You deserve in being unapologetically and wonderfully You.
And good luck Mr. Collins on Your, I pray, noble journey from here. And seriously, where do You buy Your pants?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Walls, Doors and The Purpose Of Everything.

Everything has a purpose. Walls are walls. Doors are doors. Don't confuse them & You'll do fine.
"What are You talking about Mark?" Let me explain.
Everything in life has a purpose - it's just easier to tell with some things. When we confuse the purpose or don't search for the purpose of things in our lives we make our journey much more challenging than it already will be (Yes life is challenging - if it weren't You'd be dead).

When we come upon doors, even closed ones and act like they are walls, we miss (or put off) the opportunity to learn, grow and progress. When we come upon walls and try to walk through them, we...well, have You ever tried to run through a brick wall? Hurts doesn't it? And chances are You don't get very far (even if You are built like the hulk). Get it?

As I said, everything has a purpose. Walls are walls. Doors are doors. Don't confuse them & You'll do fine... Now windows? That's for the advanced class.


Friday, April 19, 2013

'Problems' - Solve 'em or don't. Remember, the choice is always Yours.

The unclimbable, unsolvable are only so to the One who views it as such. 
Every problem comes equipped with a solution - the real challenge is unshackling Your imagination's innate ability to find it.

Think back to when You were a child - when boundaries of "cannot" rarely existed, where excitement and wonder often pushed You past the walls that fear may now have you bound within.
Hot stove? Let me see...
I'll get hurt if I jump? Yeah right, I'ma jump anyways. 

We weren't taught to walk but discovered it from our curiosity to explore. Learning to speak was an extension of our soul's desire to paint a picture for those around us of what stirred within us. Heck I'm still amazed at how quickly my Young Boy learned to kick butt at 'Ghostbusters!' All in all when we are excited to explore and levitated to new heights by love no one thing is impossible to overcome or outlast and no solution lays outside of our grasp. Well, sort of. You see every solution we need is within us - that is where the concept of 'until the student is ready to be taught no lesson can be learned' comes from - but it is our choice to unlock the gates we set up to let our spirit free to lovingly explore, examine & expose to ourselves what we are truly capable of and what we deserve & desire. Only once we've allowed ourselves this freedom can we ever hope to be taught. Only once we leave our cage can we ever hope to learn.
Here's a quick exercise to begin unlocking Your potential - write down 3 beliefs You hold true as to why You cannot find a solution to a given problem. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Now, for each, ask Yourself 3 questions:
1. Where did I get this belief?
2. Is that belief absolutely true?
3. Does it serve me towards what I desire?

If the answer to number 2 & number 3 is "no" then ask Yourself why You still hold on to it - not why You did in the first place (because it clearly was needed to get You to where You are now). Perhaps it's done it's job and is time for that belief that no longer serves You to rest. Perhaps not, I know nothing of Your journey so that's for You to decide. But actively decide and don't let it, life, choose for You.

You are incredible and deserve all that You truly desire. Don't ever let nor believe that something can stop You from working and attaining it - not time, not another person and surely not Yourself.
I wish You the greatest of discovery and love on Your journey.