Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day 2008 - What's YOUR Story?

Welcome to Election Day 2008!!! Can you believe it's finally here?

Never have I been so grateful to cast my ballot. I was at my voting precinct at 6:55 a.m. (with video camera in tow). Yes, I videotaped my thoughts for your viewing pleasure.

I'd love to hear your Election Day story. Click the COMMENTS link below to share your unique perspective.

Happy voting, and looking forward to seeing you in my hometown of Washington, DC, during the Martin L. King/Inaugural Day weekend.

That Johnson Boy

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Man's Naked Truth about Intimacy-Part I

We are not human beings
on a spiritual journey.
We are Spiritual Beings
on a Human Journey.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
(French Jesuit Priest/Philosopher & Paleontologist)

Why are we so afraid of intimacy? Why am I?

Few things have impacted my life like Teilhard de Chardin's "Spiritual Beings" quote. Chardin's philosophy wasn't new to me. But, the stark simplicity of his words reawakened the oft-forgotten truth buried within this mass of clay. Most of all, they are a constant reminder of divine order. We are Spiritual Beings on a human journey. Now, I eagerly incorporate his Spiritual Beings quote into my daily affirmations.

Little did I know...

just how pervasive my newly incorporated "Spirit first" affirmation would be. I received a call that my youngest sister was rushed to the Emergency Room. Major surgery ensued. Simultaneously, my Mom was recovering from major back surgery. The convergence of these events left my remaining sisters exhausted on all fronts. My brother and I both live out-of-state, but agreed to come home. He volunteered for the hospital shift, while I would relieve him once my sister was released.

I boarded a 6:00am Baltimore-bound Amtrak train. My luggage contained ample clothing, laptop and enough work to fill every hour of my visit. But neither the Yellow cab driver nor the train porter could see the invisible steamer trunk I was dragging with me. Stuffed inside was the stress from both surgeries and anxiety over my role as Caretaker. God only knows what else was lurking below the surface. Ok, make that God & myself.

Why am I so afraid?

My anxiety was eased upon seeing my sister. The shock at seeing her small frame was offset by her painful laughter at my jokes. Once home, I quickly found my rhythm and reveled in discovering the hyper-sensory skills of a caretaker/parent. We spent the next few days navigating post-surgery developments.

Those first days were like Man Heaven. My duties were results-driven ~ running errands, maintaining the medication schedule, adjusting pillows and lite joking ~ all well within my comfort zone. Man Heaven offered this male ego the perfect world: a damsel in distress and fixable scenarios. It got even better... every day in Man Heaven is like Palm Friday! It seemed as if every female was extolling my greatness for being there. There was something unsettling about the praise (which I will address in Part II). I was just a brother trying to care for his sister.

My visit to Man Heaven ended abruptly when my sister's recuperation took a painful downturn. I was quickly being forced into that uncomfortable area beyond my comfort zone. I could simultaneously juggle a bed pan/trash can combo while assuring Sis that none of this was more than I could bear. Handling the frenetic pace of liquid projectiles was challenging, but no where near as discomforting as my search for what to say. What is it about men like me that allows us to process a thousand thoughts-a-minute, yet our jaws remain clinched and our potentially soothing words... silent? My first casualty? I lost my mind. I stopped thinking, ceased editing, and let my unrehearsed thoughts flow from my mouth.

One small step for man, one large step for this man.

My trials came faster than Sis' post-op gas pains. Each trial was more intense than the last. Each one demanded that I remove yet another layer of me, from me. My eldest sister joined us on Friday. Together we witnessed as our sister went from sick to violently ill. The pain gripped her body causing seizure-like tremors. I watched, looking and feeling helpless, as my eldest sister embraced her and prayed without ceasing.

Why am I so afraid to Bare It All?

"There is something you can do." I heard a voice inside me implore me to get naked - to lose all the suffocating layers. I knew what I had to do. What if I...? What would they...? What if...? I can't expose myself... not to that level. But, the revealing words of my daily affirmation were unrelenting and ready to manifest in my life:

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey.
We are Spiritual Beings on a human journey.

I couldn't provide immediate relief for the pain that ravished her frail, trembling body. But, if I availed myself, I could soothe her soul. It wasn't about learning; it was remembering how to soothe her soul.

On Friday, May 9, 2008, my soul remembered what it really means to be intimate. I embraced my sister as I never have before. I softly spoke the words I've never spoken before ~ words that emanated from a pure place with the purist intention. I exposed myself to the universe, and in doing so declared that I finally remembered who I am.

Her pain remained - so much so that we had to rush her to the hospital. But her soul? Her soul quieted like that of a newborn baby. As for my soul, it matched the rhythm of my once lost/forever found twin. We discovered peace. We discovered understanding. We discovered love in the purest sense.

My life shall never be the same. Thank God!

Check back next week for a very revealing Part II. Fellas you have about 1 week to enjoy your slice of Man Heaven 'cause I'm about to bite into the apple.

Have a wonderful day, from That Johnson Boy!

To write a comment or read viewer comments, click on the Comments link below.
To share this article with a friend, click on the Envelope icon (w/arrow) below.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Menage a Cinq? Now That's Sexy!

"We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly... spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order."

Susan Taylor

Spring has finally made its Broadway debut! To say that I welcome her arrival would be an understatement of global warming proportions. New York clung to Winter as if invoking the Mars Blackmon refrain of "please, baby please, baby baby, please!" Mother Nature responded with a Stylistic gust of "Break Up, To Make Up... That's All, We Do." In the middle of this hot today/cold tomorrow drama were tormented folks like me. But alas, Spring is here!

Just as New York seemed unwilling to bid Winter goodbye, my internal clock clung tightly to the season of hibernation. I couldn't seem to jump start my mind and spirit out of hibernation mode. But, you know what folks? A hibernation well spent is a beautiful thing.

Hibernation? I know... most of us view hibernation as a luxury we cannot afford or worse, it's just plain ol' lazy. I counter that belief with the words of Susan Taylor. Ms. Taylor speaks of the need for quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. Most of us operate at such a hectic pace that we barely have time to examine our checkbook. That's the openly honest-to-God truth. But, I say to you my friend... life-changing breakthroughs and (re)discoveries abound when you take the time/make the time to spend quality time with yourself.

The secret to a great hibernation? It's all about the company you keep! And yours truly, That Johnson Boy, spent quality time with not one... not two or three, but FOUR beautiful ladies! That's right, my very first Menage a Cinq, and I can't wipe this silly smile from my face! I say again, a hibernation well spent is a beautiful thing! You want the dirt don't you? Here we go...

First up was my blue-eyed soul sista, Louise Hay. Ms. Hay stimulated my brain cells with her book and DVD offering, YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE. Her book first hit the bestseller list in 1984, and returned again in 2008. Every keystroke and image challenged my beliefs regarding illness and healing. Her book made me refocus on a question raised by Christ, who asked "do you want to be made whole?" I never forgot that bible verse, and it is the guiding force behind my life mission. Ms. Hay's book is a wonderful tool to utilize when we dare ask ourselves "do we want to be made whole?" Needless to say, my time spent hibernating with Louise was very good indeed.

Next up, a blogger of whom I hold the highest regard. She goes by the name Babz (like Babs) and her blog is Lovebabz: A Life in Transition. Babz, like many of my blogging friends, is a gifted writer and I read her post every day. I believe her willingness to be emotionally naked, coupled with her strong empathic skills, will guide many to the comfort of a safe harbor. She will be one of my Mission Partners and we will go forth and do our part as conduits for healing. Not bad for a chick representin' CONNECTICUT!!!???

Next up is the "Set It Off" girl. Every party needs one and this lady more than fits the bill. She's a D.C. native, and goes by the name C. Paige. She's an accomplished writer, having recently given birth to her baby, "Bloggers' Delight: Volume One Love and Redemption." But I warned y'all - she's the set it off chick. She and her crew are rewriting the publishing game rulebook. They've left the Matrix and are delivering Love and Redemption to a bookstore/cafe/restaurant/etc near you. By the way, they don't need the industry validation, unless it's for parking. Her hustle? Ridiculous! Her secret to making me beg for more? She signs every blog entry with "Moved by The Creator, Merely posted by CapCity." How dope is that? I told y'all she'll set it off every single time!!!

Finally, when you hibernate with four women, at least one of them should leave you in the fetal position muttering her name. Lady #4 is just that woman. Theresa Thompson had a lifelong dream of being a published author. She trusted God - through thick and thin - and in 2008, she proudly announced to the family that her first novel Dogs Gone Wild is available for our literary consumption! Cousin T, thank you for your perseverance and unwavering faith. You have no idea how your boldness invigorated and rejuvenated our family and all those who read your wagging tale of dogs abandoned during Hurricane Katrina. Ain't no shame here. Your accomplishments had me saying your name as I thanked God for your beacon of hope and faithfulness!

Folks, my hibernation is done - my faith more powerful than ever - and in no small part thanks to the God I love and the ladies mentioned above. I'm emerging rejuvenated and ready to roar!

Just one question... y'all ready for me? Much love from That Johnson Boy!

To write a comment or read viewer comments, click on the Comments link below.
To share this article with a friend, click on the Envelope icon (w/arrow) below.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Texas-Sized Scare in Camp Obama?

Dear Team Obama,

Welcome to March Madness! While that phrase is generally reserved for the upcoming winner-take-all NCAA Basketball Tournament, it also captures what lies ahead in our quest for the Presidency. It is in the spirit of March Madness that I don the Coach persona and say to all of you, "Huddle Up!"

First things first. Did the headline get under your skin? Are you offended by the Breaking News caption? I hope so. I need your undivided attention so that you might hear these two facts:

1. This Campaign doesn't need a Savior. It's not broken and doesn't need fixing; and
2. Turn off the tv. If the headlines are too distracting, then turn off the tv.

Here's a quick recap of where we stand:
1st Quarter - Team Obama started fast with a victory in Iowa. The Clinton camp answered our initial charge with a New Hampshire win.
2nd Quarter - The game turned physical, but after much jostling Team Obama went into halftime having put together 12 consecutive victories.
3rd Quarter - The Clinton camp mounted a furious rally culminating with "must wins" in Texas and Ohio.

Here we stand, poised for what promises to be one heck of a 4th quarter. We don't need major overhauls or panic-based decision-making. If we execute these 4th quarter adjustments, victory will be ours!

Adjustment #1 - Remain Fundamentally Sound
We have run the best campaign bar none. This campaign has set a new standard for mobilizing and deploying 21st Century ideals and strategies in a political landscape stuck in the 20th Century. Let's just keep doing what we're doing. Also, let's lose the obsession with being the front runner. Watching too much TV will have you craving front runner status. But, AMERICA LOVES AN UNDERDOG. Plain & simple.

Adjustment #2 - Be Street Savvy
This 4th Quarter push for the Oval office will require us to be Street Savvy. Much like playground basketball, the campaign fouls will be hard and physical. Senator Obama might appeal to the referee. But, Barack Obama? He knows streetball. There's no calling foul when you get hacked, no demanding the ball. Shrug off the foul, then make them pay in the paint. Make them pay by converting Super Delegates. Make them pay by mounting more wins. For every hard foul, get your butt up off the floor and make them pay! Got it?

When the play turns extremely aggressive (and it will), I need everyone to remember that politics and basketball are team sports. We must not lose our MVP to silly fouls, but we also cannot be pushed around either. I need enforcers to lay down the law. Remember, a stealthy-concealed, well-planted elbow to the ribcage will back off the most fervent opponent. The fundamentals of engagement are: (1) initiate, but never retaliate; and (2) smile/elbow/keep it moving. Who on Team Obama is willing to play this absolutely vital role? Do I need to bring Dennis Rodman out of retirement?

Let's lose the trash-talking. This constant political bickering is akin to trash talking and we all know that excessive arguing might land us a technical foul. Keep your head in the game and remember that the trashtalker doesn't do so to hear themselves talk. They do so to take you out of your game. If you're engaging them, then you're not hearing the voters. More important, you can't hear me and that will not be tolerated.

Adjustment #3 - To Thine Own Strengths Remain True
We can expect them to mount an all-out assault on your strengths. Sounds crazy, right? It's actually brilliant to turn ones' strength into a liability. Expect them to continue with the "who do you want answering the phone in the middle of the night (hence he's not ready)" strategy. But, their real focus will be on dismantling your strength as a communicator.

In this 4th quarter, we will counter their great speaker/low substance claim by conveying to the American people what we already know for sure. Barack Obama is a great communicator. And whether it be our President, our CEO, our teachers or our loved ones, we know that effective communication is the key and without it chaos ensues. When the crisis phone rings at 3am, we need a President who can communicate (also known as speak AND listen) effectively. Effective communication will unearth important little gems of information like "are there or are there not weapons of mass destruction?" The ability of our President to glean information is much more critical than their willingness to go to bed every night, fully-trousered so that they can be ready to answer that early morning call like General Alexander "I'm in Charge" Haig!

Adjustment #4 - The Solution is Green
I've read the post-Texas political analysis. According to the political pundants, we might have a race problem on our hands. Heck, even the streets worry that Latinos won't support our man. This is why it will be critical that we disengage from the media and engage our voters. If you do so, you'll learn what many of us on the front lines already know. The problem isn't black vs. white, black vs. brown, educated vs. uneducated or rich vs. poor. The disconnect is rooted in green. The Street Savvy truth is this: those groups listed above have been positioned to fight against one another in the battle over limited resources at the State and Local level.

Those at the lower end of the economic ladder are pitted against one another for the basic necessities of life. They're battling for funding for educational, healthcare, aftercare, and just about every basic service you can imagine. The present divide & conquer model afflicts all affected parties with a scarcity mentality. They are smart. They are intelligent. They desire nothing more than the fulfillment of the American Dream in their lives. But, the current system reduces them to hunters & gatherers.

I challenge you, Team Obama, to meet with local leaders/organizations/non-profits to see if my observations hold merit. If they do, I challenge you to address the real issue and craft an action plan that not only wins voters, but heals the economic-induced rift between the have-nots and the have-nots.

Team Obama, before you take to the court for this historic push to the White House, you must remember that Champions are forged through fire.

For many of you, this final push will be the most intense challenge you've ever encountered. We have in Hillary a worthy, hungry and determined challenger. Punch her and she instinctively punches back. One look in her eyes and you know that there's no quit in her. And we really don't dislike her at all. Unfortunately, it's not her time. Now Is The Time for Barack Obama. We want him, our Nation needs him and the World welcomes his arrival onto the geo-political landscape.

The 4th quarter between two great competitors is wrought with ebbs and flows and this campaign will be no different. We must execute. We must stay focused. We must do the little things well to ensure victory. But, in the end, it's about character. Will we withstand the heat of the battle and never lose faith? Can we execute our plan even as our opponent mount yet another comeback? I say to each of you... we can and we will! What we accomplish in this 4th quarter will impact our children's children. Let's give them a world that we only dreamed could be. Team Obama on 3!

Signing off, your coach - That Johnson Boy!

To write a comment or read viewer comments, click on the Comments link below.
To share this article with a friend, click on the Envelope icon (w/arrow) below.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why Men Are Opting-Out of Valentine's Day

Your eyes are not deceiving you. There's a movement afoot that's gaining momentum faster than Obama's Presidential campaign.

Will 2008 be the year that men finally Just Say No to Valentine's Day? That's the buzz throughout the land. After hearing their arguments, I've concluded that my brethren just might have a case. 2008 is shaping up as the season of change, perhaps now is a good time to explore this radical rejection of our National Day of Love.

Should Men Opt-Out of Valentine's Day?

Fellas, we all know that romantic love is a complicated animal. But, what would propel a man to foresake Valentine's Day and join the Strike picket line?

I guess you've never had LOVE
put you under her spell
Watch you get dressed for work
only to make you say, "Oh what the hell"
"Ahhh... boss... I'm not (sniff sniff)
feeling so swell."
Make you call on Brother L.L.,
'Cause Love be "Doin it & Doin it & Doin it Well."

I guess you've never seen LOVE
sauntering towards you
spilling all Victoria's Secrets along the way
leaving you defenseless with nothing to say...but,
Make you sneak a peek in the daylight,
stare boldly in the moonlight,
or send your ass searching for a flashlight.

I guess you've never felt LOVE
melt your bad day away,
cajole your moody mood to play,
then soothingly remind you
that LOVE always has the final say.

I guess you've never heard LOVE
beckon over her shoulder
with a come hither motion
Because LOVE don't give a damn
if the neighbors hear the commotion.

Never felt LOVE's fingertips
linger upon your chest?
Never felt her frenchtips
burrow deep into your flesh?
Never known the intensity
of riding the crest?
Never had to fake a bathroom run
just to steal 5 minutes of rest!

Guess you never believed
that the River of Life flows thru her.
That LOVE would overflow her banks
just to quinch your thirst
satiate your hunger
cleanse your spirit
and lubricate your mind.
LOVE offered you her nectar
glass filled to the brim.
But your response to her invitation?
"Woman, You know I don't swim."

I guess LOVE never looked you in the eye
spoke to your shaky confidence
& proclaimed Oh Yes, My Man Can Fly!
I guess you never soared high under the wind she provided
Never experienced the power of a man & woman undivided.

If you've never known any of these things, then my brothers I say to you...

Strike on, brothers... strike on. Guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

But, as for That Johnson Boy? Love rules here fellas. Regardless of LOVE's rollercoaster journey through my life, the bottom line is... LOVE ~ in all of it's manifestations ~ has been extremely good to me. LOVE's beauty is everlasting. Forrest Gump probabaly said it best...
"Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates."

Dude, take some time to savor the chocolate. Savor it, I say. I declare you'll give up that picket sign. And ladies, I'm wishing you a mouthful of chocolate-flavored kisses & surprises on this Valentine's Day of 2008! Love always, That Johnson Boy.

To write a comment or read viewer comments,
click on the Comments link below.
To share this article with a friend, click on the Envelope icon (w/arrow) below.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Overcoming The Obama Dilemma

"I'm Asking You To Believe."
Not just in my ability to
bring about change in Washington...
I'm asking you to believe in yours."
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

"Not yet, Mr. Obama... not yet."

Those were my thoughts about Mr. Obama's Presidential aspirations. I met Mr. Obama a few years earlier at a Chicago fundraiser for his first Senate bid. I found him and his wife refreshing and most of all, the real thing. I've worked in the political arena on both the national and local level. Refreshing is a rare commodity. When Mr. Obama announced his Presidential bid, I didn't hesitate to point my mouse to http://www.barackobama.com/ to make my campaign contribution. In the recesses of my mind, those words continued to resonate... "not yet, Mr. Obama... not yet."

And then came Iowa.

I vacationed in Iowa immediately after first meeting Mr. Obama. There were cornfields aplenty and several really nice art galleries. But the talk of the town was all about Obama. Senate candidate Obama had blazed a trailed thru Golena, Iowa a week earlier and folks were still on fire! They were actually giddy over Mr. Obama (as in Ala-BAMA). So, I wasn't shocked when he won the Iowa Presidential caucus. However, I was shocked that my silent mantra was still playing out in my head... "Not yet, Mr. Obama... not yet." My apprehension was logical to me, even if steeped in a kind of ethnic protectionism. Why would anyone want to face these facts:

Fact: The next President of the United States of America will inherit a mess of historic proportions. From the economy to foreign policy, the President-elect will be knee deep in mess. I'm talking the kind of mess that invokes memories of Cedric The Entertainers' Presidential Stress Response of "just tell 'em I ain't home."

Fact: By all indicators we are already immersed in a recession. Then again, who needs an indicator. How's your raise? Your mortgage? Your credit card debt? Your tax bill? Are you oversleeping or can't quite sleep through the night?

Fact: There is no quick fix to the war. The only silver lining? Buy some Halliburton stock. Then again, you might do well to just say no to this blood money.

These facts, coupled with America's pattern of assassinating African-American leaders, form the basis for my Obama dilemma. Why would I want my candidate to inherit this mess? Six months into the new Presidency, the American public will forget who created the mess. I honestly don't want the Nation's first African-American President to be crushed under the weight of the Bush administration. I acknowledge and accept that African-Americans must often do more with less, and have historically made the best of bad situations. But Damn! This is about as bad as it gets. So you see, this cannot be your time, Mr. Obama. I felt strongly about my position - that is - until I heard your Iowa victory speech...

"They said this day would never come..."

Now that alone was enough to capture my full attention. But his message was bigger than the civil rights movement. He then followed with...

"This is the day America remembered
what it means to HOPE."

On that victorious evening in Iowa, Barack Obama stopped being too young or too inexperienced. His youthful outlook and lack of time inside the political machine will be invaluable assets. I vowed that I would combat any fears about his safety with prayer. Most of all, my support wouldn't be based simply on the color of his skin. He's my next President because he is the best candidate for the journey that lies ahead. As my good friend, Dr. Dickerson, would say "he came into this world fully prepared for this journey."

In the words of the late Martin L. King, Jr., "there are some difficult days ahead." Indeed America must reap the bitter harvest sown from the Bush administration's seeds of arrogance and blatant disregard for humanity. The bible teaches us that in
everything there is a season. I believe the 2008 Presidential election challenges us to pick the candidate best suited for the coming season.

There is a time for a politician. There is a time for a war hero. There is a time for a diplomat and a time for a shrewd tactician. But, today... today is not that season.

This is the season of Hope. This is the season of change. We need a leader who can inspire the light within us, even as the foreboding shadows close in all around us. This is the season that they said would never come. I'll never understand why the naysayers doubted its arrival. Then again, the messenger was just some wet behind the ears, 34-year old minister talkin' bout "I Have a Dream." What would he know... right? Right!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day from That Johnson Boy!

To write a comment or read viewer comments,
click on the Comments link below.
To share this article with a friend, click on the Envelope icon (w/arrow) below.