KNOCK. KNOCK.

I am breaking.  

A couple months ago, I started having intense pain in my chest, although pain isn’t how I would describe it.  It hurts, yes. But I would call it a tightness — a massive hand gripping my heart and lungs, unrelenting.

The first time It happened, I was at work. I almost dropped to my knees in the middle of the warehouse.  

“Is this a heart attack?”  

“Am I just tired — out of shape?”

I wasn’t sure what this feeling meant.  So I went to the doctor. They asked me a few questions and then hooked me up to an EKG.  When the results came in he walked into the room and he looked at me like I had a third eye.  

He started asking more questions.  

“Do you drink…?”

“No.”

“Do you smoke…?”

“No.”

There were some other questions as well.  We spoke about depression but it was brief.  He continued to look at me like I was crazy. “Well the EKG isn’t showing us anything.  Your heart is fine. You are fine.” Then he started to advise on me how I was lifting the boxes at my job.  At this point, I was over it. I know what I’m feeling and I also know it has little nothing to do with how I am lifting boxes.  

At some point after the doctor’s appointment, I was talking to my mom and mentioned the situation.  I told her, “I think its anxiety.”

“Yea.  I used to have anxiety attacks that felt like heart attacks.”  She said.

Damn.

My anxiety has launched an offensive.  And I am losing.

It’s been about 2 months since the first time I felt it at my job.  After the visit to the doctor and the conversation with my mom, I started turning my awareness towards my heart.  I thought it was only happening at work. But I also noticed it in other high emotional places in my life.

My relationships, my job, my finances, etc.  majority of my life is fraught with uncertainty, hurt and distrust.  And i can feel everything I’ve been holding onto — bitterness, resentment, fear, rage — clawing into me.  Over the years, I have mastered the art of masking my feelings — lying. I lie about how I feel more often than not.  And I am so skilled, I fool myself often. And those lies have spawned what might be my own downfall.

You can rob Peter to pay Paul, but Peter will get his due — sooner or later.  Peter is knocking on my door.

So here I am:  Sitting on my front porch.  There is a beautiful tree across the street from me.  It has bloomed with vibrant pink flowers that sway gently in this cool breeze.  I can’t even enjoy it over the throbbing in my chest.

 

Read more

all to find me

all to find me

    i search labyrinths

  of emotion

for any sign

  of Life.

 

all to find me

    i wander a maze

  of uncertainties

to rediscover the soul

  i lost.

 

all to find me

    i brave enemies

  new and old;

familiar adversaries

  that feel like home.

 

all to find me

    i scrape at

  walls of fear,

dark as hate

  — until i remember;

 

all i need to find me

    is stillness

  is silence

is Love

 — but until i remember;

 

i risk everything;

 

ALL TO FIND ME.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for spending some time with me and my words.  

My prayer is that it inspires you in some way.

I wanted to let you know that my first poetry collection, entitled

SHATTERED THEORIES OF I,

is scheduled to be released

on September 1,2017.

I am so excited about this and

I would be honored if you would consider

pre-ordering your signed copy!

Here is the Pre Order link

Thank you so much

for your support!

It means the world to me!

Love and Blessings!

Read more

Wonder Woman Is OUR Hero

Wonder Woman was an amazing movie. I saw it on opening night and I plan to see it again while it’s still in theaters.

Granted, I am a massive DC Comics fan so I admit there may be some bias on my part. However, I contend that this movie is groundbreaking. A statement was made by DC with this film and I laud them for their courage.

I read and write speculative fiction for various reasons. One reason is to explore the concept of heroism.

What makes a hero?

How should heroes behave?

What qualities do heroes possess?

While watching the movie I was struck by how Wonder Woman, in this film, answers these questions.

I won’t give anything away about the movie because I hope everyone goes and sees it. But I want to talk about this movie made me feel.

It made me want to be a hero. It made me want to do what no one else was willing to do. The movie — the character of Wonder Woman was inspiring because there were moments when she would do what everyone else told her not to do — what everyone else was afraid of doing.

 

At first it sounds cliche. But it was powerful to see a woman doing it. Because women do this everyday, in every area of life. Women are holding out homes, communities, and societies together when no one else will. When everyone is talking about how hard it is to do that and how hard it is to do this, women are doing it.

Leadership is about going first and pioneering; but it’s just as much about inspiring other people come with you. It’s reminding people of their power and capability. Wonder Woman does that. She inspires the people around her to see their value and to bring that to the table.

It can be the people we overlook that have the most power. We live in a society where women are overlooked — and have been for as long as history remember. But history also remembers the numbers of women who have changed the course of the world with their accomplishments. (It makes me wonder about women that history may be hiding from us.) The strongest, most capable person in this movie was Wonder Woman. But no one was aware, initially, because no one could see her — no one chose to see her.

And as strong as she was, I was struck with another idea: We can all be heroes regardless of out religion, gender, race, etc. Because heroism isn’t about external power; heroism is about internal fortitude. Heroism is about the decisions we make because of the principles of integrity within all of us.

These are I only a few of my thoughts regarding Wonder Woman and how excellent this movie is. Please go and see it. Let me know what you think.

Wonder Woman isn’t just a woman’s hero, she is our hero.

 

 

Read more

Some thoughts on The NBA Finals and Racism

I am not thinking about the NBA Finals. Game 1 starts tonight between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. Third year in a row and the biggest names in professional basketball on the brightest stage.

It promises to be epic.

And I feel the need to talk about racism.

About a day or so ago, Lebron James’ Los Angeles home was vandalized. They sprayed the word NIGGER on his property. I was going to say the N-word; however, I believe we need to feel it. We need to stop shying away from the realities in front of us.

Only through acceptance can we reshape our reality into what we want.

Lebron james is arguably the most recognizable athlete in the United States, if not on this whole fuckin’ planet. He is friends with presidents, CEOs, celebrities, etc. Royalty make special trips to see this man play basketball. Lebron is a budding philanthropist and businessman that is in the process of building an empire of which I am not sure anyone has seen before. He is known as the King; he is hailed as the savior of, not only the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the city as a whole.

No one is exempt.

Lebron James is not exempt.

His family is not exempt.

They have been victimized by the ills that have plagued this country since its inception. I said I wanted to talk about racism but I don’t think that’s our problem — I used to.

The problem is hate.

Here is the thing about hate: Hate doesn’t care what color your skin is. Hate doesn’t care how much money you make, who you know, or where you came from. Hate will always find something about you to hate. Fuck reason and logic. It doesn’t have to make sense; it will do what it does.

Hate is good at being hate.

…and so the saga continues.

The conversations ensue. Some are angry and some aren’t angry enough. And no one understands. Sure we understand our own perspectives but the other side (we still think there is an other side) remains obscure.
So I am done talking. I want to communicate. Talking is about me; communicating is about us — it is about WE.

Can we communicate our respective agony with one another in a way we understand each other? Can I hear the dialect of your heart over the words of your speech?

Racism is real; race is an illusion. They both are inventions of hate. And the only way we win is through Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness. We will never win as long as it’s us against them — as long as it’s us against them, we have already lost.

To The King:

Thank you, sir.

Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you allowing yourself to be the catalyst by which we can continue to have healthy conversation. It cannot be easy to be in that position. The possibility of your family being in danger of becoming victims of this hate.

I pray wholeness, light and balance on you and your family. I pray outrageous blessings and unconditional love on you and yours.

Good luck tonight and for the rest of the Finals. I am going for the Warriors but I never have been perfect. It is what it is, right?

Love you, Brother.

Read more

The Voices

Today I envisioned myself performing on a stage.

It was a stadium, sold out, packed with screaming people. The people were screaming for me — not just me; they were screaming for my art. They were screaming for the pieces of music and poetry that I wrote. They were lost in the pure ecstasy of experiencing my words — live.

It was glorious. I wanted that. I still want that.

And then the voices began.

They never scream; they always whisper. I suspect it is because they know it would be too easy reject. Sudden movements and loud noises cause our fight or flight reflexes to engage. The voices are intelligent enough to know that I have to believe they are my friends in order for me to listen to them.

So they whisper sweet nothings into my soul. Sweet nothings that are meant to bind my wings. They make me believe that flying is impossible when I was made for the sky.

“Impossible.”

“You are too old.”

You are too ugly.”

“You aren’t talented enough.”

“There are other who are better than you.”

“Who will pay to see you.”

The voices say this; they ask me that.

Anything can be used to disqualify me from relishing in the idea of what I want to be — what I could be. It is all under the guise of being realistic. The voices are trying to protect me.

And the voices bring feelings.

You know the feelings you get in your stomach the moment you visualize yourself doing something amazing?

The vision begins to feel scary; it begins to feel too big for me. Then I ask myself am I worthy of this dream? I do not know. I do not know if I am willing to do what it takes to discover the answer. And where I am now feels better than where I want to be because where i am now is secure.

I am protected.

But there is a blurry line between protection and hinderance. In protecting myself, I could be stifling myself from blossoming into my full potential.

I can either be great or I can be safe; I am not sure I can have both.

A couple months back I posted a video on Facebook. It was J.Cole performing. It was an amazing moment because he stopped rapping his lyrics and the audience performed his whole song. They were performing for him.

It was inspiring.

I captioned it by saying, “I can’t even imagine how this feels.”

And a friend of mine commented, “Yes, you can.”

She was right.

I can imagine my greatness but I don’t believe it’s possible — I don’t believe in myself.

And it’s time for that to change.

Read more

Empty

this heart of mine is filled with holes

who knew carrying so much

emptiness could be so heavy

so consuming

but the emptiness is here

i would show it to you

but the only ones who see

are the only ones who desire

and the only ones who desire

are the only ones who volunteer

they look when i ask them

they look when i don’t ask them

they choose

they choose love

they choose me

and here i am

still

riddled with love-shaped craters the size of galaxies

toting burdens the size of celestial bodies

striving to plug these holes with

anger

anxiety

envy

impatience

i wear these on my being like a modern day Atlas

suddenly i see

these replacements are empty as i am

products of false evidence appearing to be reality

but now the choice is mine

either i choose to see or  i remain blind

either i choose life or i choose to die

either i choose love or i choose to be afraid

but one thing for sure

in order to choose love for myself and others

i must choose me

because

I was never empty

after all

I am LOVE

***

loving others

is impossible

without first choosing

to love ourselves.

to love ourselves

is to love others;

to love others

is to love ourselves.

to love

is

to love

everything.

choose love.


 

 

Read more

These Words

will they revere these words as relics?  

will they say God wrote them?

will they be recited, said to be unaltered?  

will they change my words to be what they want?  

will they use my words to control — to manipulate populations?

to enforce crooked morality?  religious devotion?  divine mandates?

will they violate my intentions and substitute their own?  

once these words leave my heart and bloom in your mind

they are no longer mine.  They are yours, too.

how you use them — for poison or elixir — is up to you.  

i am a man frail as feathers; blind as darkness.

i share my ideas.  My experiences. My thoughts.  

pieces to a mural; moments in Eternity.   

these words, unwhole and Holy; tainted and Pure.

do you see God in them? do you see Your Self in them?

do you hear Devils in the syllables? do you hear Sin in my verbs?

 

ro lamb

Read more

Change of View

(Originally Posted on OCT 21, 2016)

I remember the day I knew I had to change how I viewed women.

It was sparked by a conversation on Twitter.  I came across a post that asked women to talk about how they were taught to protect themselves when in public places.  I was shocked to see hundreds of women responding. Not only responding, but responding with very similar answers.

I was horrified.  Partially, because for the first time, I realized the magnitude of violence that women are threatened with every time they leave their homes.

And I was also horrified because I have been privileged enough to not have noticed.  I didn’t understand and it made me uncomfortable.  I leaned in.  I needed to know.

I begin to study Feminism and Womanism.  I reached out to women and I asked questions.  Before then, I never considered myself to be sexist.  But how could I not be when the culture I live in is fundamentally so?  Sexism and misogyny have become staples in this society.

Not too long ago, I was riding in the car with a few high school aged guys.  I should have been prepared.  But I wasn’t prepared when they saw a girl crossing the street as we stopped at a light.  They put the window down to whistle and yell at her.  She ignored them.

After I told them to shut the window and leave her alone, I started to think about what had happened.  For the guys and the girl, it seemed like this was a normal occurrence.  Another girl for them yell at; another group of guys for her to ignore. The reality is that she should be able to walk through her community, or wherever, without being yelled at.  But instead, this act of emotional violence is passed off as harmless.

When I was younger I remember feeling out of place because I didn’t want to “holla” at random girls in the mall.  I wish I could say I was being noble – I was just scared.  I thought I was supposed to and because I didn’t, I felt like something was wrong with me.  So even though I wouldn’t consider myself to be sexist, I cannot deny that this culture has conditioned me to think about women in ways that enable the abuse and oppression of women.

The more I searched the more I could see it in every area of our culture.  But most devastating, I began to see it in myself.

When we are confronted with our own ugliness we have a choice. We can ignore it.  We can run away from it and pretend we never saw it.  But I knew for me, that wasn’t an option. I needed a new paradigm – a new way of seeing the women in my life.

Before you can build you have to destroy.

I had to destroy the idea of a woman that was given to me by culture.  My religion told me women are the weaker vessel.  My music told me that women are bitches and hoes.  The courts told me that we shouldn’t believe a woman that says she was abused unless she can prove it.  There are many voices and ideas about what a woman should be.  One way for these ideas to be uprooted is to allow the woman’s voice to be heard.  So I asked questions and I listened.  I wasn’t there to argue.  I was there to understand her and her experiences.

It was important that I build my ideas of who she is, based on who she is and not on what anyone else thinks she should be.    

And as I listened to my sisters’ experiences, something special happened.  I was humbled by their stories.  Their stories of struggle and neglect.  I listened as they shared what it feels like to not be heard – the experience of being passed over and forgotten about.

I was, and I still am, humbled by their strength.  Because although they have been through so much, they are still here.    Beautiful.  Graceful.  Powerful.

They are still here.

So don’t think I am here to be their knight-in-shining armor.  They don’t need a savior. They are their own saviors.  I stand with them, beside them, or wherever they need me to.  Because in the end, we are all in this together.

They don’t need my voice because they have their own.

 

Go listen.

 

Blessings,

Ro Lamb

 

Read more

What Is Reality?

(Originally Posted: Oct. 19, 2016)

How you answer this question determines your behavior.  The way you live is predicated on what you believe to be true — to be real — about yourself and the world around you.  The beauty of this life is that I do not have to subscribe to your reality.  I can choose to believe whatever I want.  Whether right or wrong — it is my choice.  One of humanity’s greatest qualities is our capacity to choose what truth we believe in.

People who impact the world don’t live in the reality that was given to them.  Steve Jobs was said to have a reality distortion field.  It was like he would mend reality to fit whatever he needed at the time.  He understood that in order to make a mark on the world he had to ignore the reality that was taught to him. Sometimes even to his detriment, he would ignore the rules that were placed before him.  As if he knew that this world would never be enough for him — he had to create his own.

Whether we know it or not we are creating the world we live in.  Our thoughts, our words, our deeds are always building…Something.

So what is reality?

Perception?  Is perception truly reality?  Is how we experience reality based on how we perceive people and events?

There is a popular verse in the Bible that speaks to this.  “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Substance; evidence; these are tangible.  Things hoped for; things not seen; these are things that only we can see.  Through faith, which is our ability to see, our words, and our deeds we manifest our reality for others around us to experience.  This process allows for the world to experience our inner reality.

We are always creating our reality.

In September, I participated in a walk to celebrate those who have the disease known as Sickle Cell Anemia.  I was there with my close friends, Tyreke and Shakeira Wesley, who have two beautiful children that were born with it.  They made my wife and me Godparents of their children, so it was an honor to be a support to them in that way.  The walk impacted me in ways that I did not expect.

There was a sense of celebration and it was beautiful to witness people encouraging one another in love and joy.  Building relationships and sharing their stories; they were united by a common hardship — a shared pain.  And through it all they ate, they danced, they laughed.  It was a party.  I saw a woman with a shirt that read, “FUCK SICKLE CELL”.  For me, it was a powerful statement.  There was no denial of Sickle Cell or pretending as if this is not something that people are living with.  It was a refusal to become Sickle Cell’s victim.

As a child, my dream was to play in professional basketball.  I knew very early on, if that was going to happen I needed to spend hours and hours on the court perfecting my craft.  So that’s what I did for the early part of my life — that’s all I did.  I have a lot of memories from those times and so many lessons about life that I use to this day.  My dad would take me to the gym at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, day in and day out.  Each day, the first part of the workout was ball-handling drills.  He would yell out, “You control the ball; don’t let the ball control you.”

What if we viewed reality in that way?  “You control reality; don’t let reality control you.”  The reason the people at the walk for Sickle Cell were able to celebrate is because somewhere along the way they decided that they were going to control Sickle Cell and not the other way around. On some level they realized that the only power Sickle Cell has the power they give it.

There are so many variables that we have no control over.  Storms rage and mountains loom over us.  Sometimes it can feel impossible to overcome all that stands in front of us.  It can feel hopeless.  And it will always feel that way as long as we focus on the obstacles.  In some ways we have made faith into a weapon that makes us immune to life.  As if we only have enough, our family members won’t get sick or die; the next plane we get on won’t explode in the air; and cancer won’t ever be able to touch us.  But faith doesn’t control reality.  Having faith has less to do with what is happening to you and more to do with how you are experiencing what is happening.  Having faith doesn’t move mountains — it moves you.

When we allow anything outside of ourselves to inform how we experience life, we give our power away.  We become victims.  It’s only when we accept our circumstances and see them as what they are, do we have the opportunity to control our perception, and therefore our reality.

It’s not what we see, it’s how we see it that determines our experience.

Blessings,

Ro Lamb

 

Read more