Wednesday, January 8, 2014

just shake it off and take a step up!


By Muslim Mansa Lutalo Iyapo a/k/a Rufus West 225213, October 18th 2013

Recently my Brother named T.D. gave me this drawing that, at first glance, appeared to be just a bird eating a frog. Above the drawing was a caption that read, "Don't Ever Give Up." After a closer observation I noticed that even though the bird had half of the frog's upper body in its mouth, the bird was unable to swallow it because the frog had both of his hands around the bird's neck. The message that I drew from it was the frog was determined to refuse to succumb to what most would consider a certain death. An appropriate drawing for almost every trial and tribulation that I've encountered where, even when the challenge seemed insurmountable, I didn't give up on myself by surrendering to my lower self.
There's a chorus to this song called, "He Saw The Best In Me," by a Brother whose name I'm unable to recall. The chorus goes, "He saw the best in me when everyone else around could only see the worst in me." That "best" in me will always conquer that part in me that wants to give up and be swallowed by life's struggles by grabbing them by the throat with both hands. The challenge is not only channeling it in the heat of the moment, but sustaining it throughout the endeavor. It's easy to give in to the systematic, psychological traps that are designed to control via self-defeatism. If a person can control you mentally by defining who you are, that person has nothing to fear from you no matter how much you exercise or how many weapons you have because encoded within that definition is a glass ceiling. Unfortunately, sometimes there has to be a break down before there's a break through. When a blacksmith has to make a sword, he starts with a clump of deformed metal. He heats it with fire then bangs it with his hammer, cools it with water, and then repeats the same thing for hours until what's left is the shape of the sword. He then sharpens the edges and then polishes it. That's what the "best" in us is capable of: turning negatives into positives. In George
Jackson's book, "Soledad Brother," Jackson expresses that in order to survive he had to revolutionize his thought process so that he could be in a better position mentally to control his physical response to his oppressors' tactics. To him, this meant emotionally detaching himself from everything tangible inside his cell so that they could not be used by the staff to obtain control over him. In weakening his attachment to materialism he strengthened himself mentally by showing that he is not defined by what he has but by whom he believes he is. He didn't give in to allowing his oppressive environment define who he was. His letters share an insight into how he had to find a way to shake off the dirt of oppression that was thrown on him and utilize the experience to strengthen himself mentally.
When we give in to the dirt of negative stereotypes associated with racism, penitentiary politics, religion, sexism, culturalism or any other type of isms, we are giving up on ourselves by allowing others to figuratively bury us alive instead of shaking the dirt off and using it to stand on with two feet and ten toes.

by Unknown
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. So he invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down into the well and was• astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing, lie would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!