As a people in this Country, we have suffered. We have endured slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, Reaganomics, and the list goes on. We have truly endured. When I think about the struggles that we have endured in this Country, it makes me think about the Hebrews in Egypt. Like us, the Hebrews endured extraordinary hardships. However, based on Scripture, Moses saved the Hebrews by removing them from Egypt and taking them to the promised land. The Hebrews were first hand witnesses to plagues and miracles like the parting of the sea. However, once they crossed the sea, one of the first things they did was build an idol to worship. Despite all that they were taken from, and despite all that they were witnesses to, in the end, the Hebrews continued to worship idols. Today, we don’t worship the golden calf. Today, we worship the dollar bill. In our pursuit to “keep up with the Hebrews,” in my opinion, we have sacrificed our self-worth, self-respect, and overall commitment to our community. Money buys nothing of value. Money buys things. It makes me wonder what happened to us. As controversial as this may seem, in my opinion, we seemed stronger when we were segregated. Now, I wish it to be known that I am not a fan or supporter of segregation, but it’s undeniable that we were able to prosper during that time. However, today, we are integrated into a society that has made us forget who we are and from whence we’ve come. Is this what Dr. King dreamed about? Did Malcolm exhaust his means for this? I don’t think so. Today, our children seem to have no interest in our past. Today, it seems that we adults would rather own nice things as individuals than do nice things for the overall good of the community. As a community, we have remained silent while the bowels of community have been cloaked in diamonds and labeled as success stories. We have remained silent while Bill Cosby was socially and professionally ostracized for sexual indiscretions while Donald Trump was elected President of the United States for virtually the same acts. The difference; we didn’t have Bill Cosby on tape talking about how he did it. Now, I’m not saying that Bill Cosby isn’t wrong for his alleged crimes. Crime is crime, and no crime against women should go overlooked or addressed with the full power of the law. However, if crime is crime, then justice should be just. You all should know my opinions on “just us.” We have remained silent while most of the movies, television programs, and shows about us are “hood.” I thought the goal of the game was to have a better life, not nicer things. So, here we are. We are in a relentless pursuit for sameness. Our need to blend in and be a part of “everyone else” has come at a great price to our community. Our need to have the same things as everyone else has come at a great price for our children. We have silently sat by and watched dogs be given more compassion and candor than our children. We have silently sat by and watched the faces of gun violence be totally contrary to the majority of the victims of gun violence. We have silently sat by and watched our young men become relative versions of an endangered species. In the end, we have our cars, homes, investments, positions, and degrees. However, in the end, it somehow feels so meaningless if it isn’t accompanied with societal and self-respect. I have always believed that you should never love anything that doesn’t love you back. In enjoy Apple products, but I can’t love them because Apple doesn’t know or love me. If you have a family at home, love them enough to invest the most valuable thing a human being possesses; time. While the Hebrews appear to be happy with their nice things, I’ve rarely seen them love from a pure place. Life is short, and we are running out of time. If you can free yourself from materialism and tangible joy, you are indeed free. I’m working on my freedom, and I hope you are too. As always, this week, do something to help someone for no other reason than to make their lives better expecting nothing in return. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Patrick
I’m at the intersection of anxiety and anticipation. It seems like most of my life, for brighter days, I’ve been waiting. Every dream has somehow manifested itself as a nightmare. The love of my life called me Sampson, and when I slept she cut my hair. I left my neighborhood in search of a “better” life. While no one lived a life a crime, I only seemed to find deceit, treachery, and strife. I wanted to change the world by helping the youngest minds take shape. It’s hard to lead with love when the “leaders” are standing on your cape. I wanted to find the real me by running from the old version of who I once was. A real man isn’t what he wants to do, but what he does. I’ve done so many things that I’m not proud to mention. If life is indeed a school, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time in detention. I’m not hard or down on myself; I’m changing. Every scar, tear, and broken part of me is in the process of replacement or rearrangement. I have carried this tattooed cross on my back for far too long. I’m going to write a new verse, and I’m going to sing a new song. I’m tired of being tired, and I’m too tired to continue to wait. I’ve got an appointment with the real me, and I have no intentions on being late. The person that I hated the most was the very one that looked back at me in the mirror. I’ve learned to forgive him, and my feelings can’t get any clearer. I deserve joy, and I deserve peace. I deserve to be proud of me……..
This is how I feel this week. As always, this week do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. Also, if you get to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Patrick
The recent shootings in Parkland, Florida were horrific. Anytime a child dies in America or anywhere else in the world, we should all pause, reflect, consider, and ultimately change. However, that clearly isn’t being done. On that horrible day, parents sent their children to school believing that they would come home later on that afternoon. Sadly, some didn’t. As the nation mourns, the discussion of gun violence and access to guns is once again a hot political topic. Donald Trump met with survivors from Parkland, Florida, Sandy Hook, and Columbine about their feelings and vision for change. I listened. I sympathized. I empathized, and I pondered. During this much needed and powerful meeting, I couldn’t help but feel that there is a distinct difference between justice and “just us.” Last year, there were 343 murders in Baltimore. Last year, there were 650 murders in Chicago. During the 1990s, there were 1,094 murders in Los Angeles in one year. The one common factor that exists amongst the above mentioned statistics is that most of those victims were minorities. You see, I personally feel that America doesn’t see the death or demise of minority children and people as a cause to change anything. When our children die, it seems that America not only turns a blind eye, but also a deaf ear to our cries. Therefore, I will speak. As an educator in a major metropolitan city, I have first hand experience and access to students who are required to walk past the outlines of their dead relatives who were murdered in their neighborhoods. The sad reality is that America not only doesn’t see them, but to some degree, it feels like there is no compassion. These children are told they should “move past it.” How can they? While I don’t have access to any data at this time, I personally believe that many of these children are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Yet, there is no therapy, support, or encouragement for them. Their schools are failing. Their teachers or overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated. This is their reality. Our children have been so disenfranchised that many of them aren’t even aware of what’s happening to them. America owes us. This is one of the richest countries in the world because it was partially built for free. America owes us. Today, I am both frustrated and infuriated over the clear neglect of our children. While the media won’t say it, the shooter in Florida was a homegrown terrorist. The shooter in Vegas was a homegrown terrorist. Sure, mental illness did play a part, but at the end of the day, they committed acts of terrorism. For centuries, minorities in this Country have been terrorized, and it seems that no one seems to care. There seems to be no justice for us. With that being said, it is time that we become our own solution. It is time for us to raise our voices. It is time for us to demand change. As an educator, the thought of taking a gun to school makes me physically sick. Who am I kidding? As a Black Man, if a cop stopped me and realized that I had a gun in my car, my life could probably end right there because he was afraid. My truth of the matter is that Donald Trump isn’t thinking about me or my community. It seems that no one is. We have an epidemic going on in this Country right now, and our children are dying. We need to demand better for our children today and tomorrow. “We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.” However, life has taught me that some people are more equal than others. If we wait for justice, it will continue to be “just us.” We need change today. We can’t afford to lose another child while politicians stand by and protect their own interests and bottom lines. We need justice today. We need justice now! As always, this week do something to help someone else without expecting anything in return. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Dr. King once said, “the measure of a man is not where he stands during times of comfort or ease, but where he stands during times of challenge and adversity.” Where do you stand? Me, I stand on the side of justice for all, not just some. I pray you do too. Patrick
There is a distinct difference between a friend and someone who is friendly. When I was a child, I had a best friend. While we never talked about our feelings in great detail, I knew that we felt the same about one another. Simply put, we loved one another. In fact, most of my childhood memories include my best friend. We did everything together. We rode our bikes, we talked to girls, we skipped school, we drank his father’s booze, and we grew together. However, like life sometimes does, we grew in different directions. Even though we grew in different directions, we never grew apart. To this day, I consider him my best friend. Fast forward to 2018. Today, true friendship seems as rare as a priceless jewel, and for some, as worthless as the trash we seemingly disregard on a daily basis. First and foremost, I understand that I must know how to be a friend in order to have a true friend. That is true. However, friendship doesn’t always mean that you have to be moving in the same direction, at the same time, on the same vessel, while in the same space. Friends celebrate the accomplishment of your dreams even if their own dreams are under construction. Friends sit with you in silence when there is nothing further to say. Friends forgive one another because they understand that love like this is not only worth saving, but there are too many good memories to allow a few bad experiences to diminish something great. With a true friend, you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing, working, driving, living, or loving. Like the rising and setting of the sun, true friendship just is. It’s beautiful. Me, I was closer to my best friend than I was to my brothers and sisters. My brothers and sisters shared my DNA. My best friend shared my heart. Today, my best friend and I live in different zip codes. While we don’t see one another every day, our phone calls seem to infuse my spirit with a sense of familiarity and comfort. They say that people come into our lives for a reason or a season. My best friend has seen every season of my life. He has seen the despair of my winters, the hopes of my spring, the luster of my summer, and the fears of my fall. He got me through the death of my mother. He got me through the guilt of my divorce. He got me through the fear of so many unknowns in my life, I can’t even begin to count them. I believe that our existence is conceived in Heaven before we are conceived on earth. When The Creator conceived of he and I, he knew that we would not only need one another, but also be better people because of one another. For that reason alone, I am blessed. If you find yourself in a position where you realize that the people you once considered a friend are simply friendly, don’t fret. The difference between school and life is that school teaches you a lesson and then you are given a test. Life gives you a test that teaches you a lesson. If a friendly person has broken your heart in the name of friendship, just know that the space in your heart was too beautiful and full for them to occupy. Why do you think we need oxygen when we go too deep or too high? Some things are just too overwhelming for the average person. If you have a best friend like mine, don’t waste a single second on anger or regret. Life isn’t promised to any of us, so it’s very important that we laugh, love, dance, forgive, give, and grow as often as we can. In the end, I believe that when we reflect on our lives, most of us won’t remember anything that can be bought or sold. In the end, I think that our last tears will be shed because we are fully aware that we are separating from the very person or people who made our lives into a life. The greatest gift that The Creator has ever given us is the gift of love. Love as often as you can. Take the leap. Remember, the best version of yourself exists on the other side of your fears. Don’t fear friendship. Fear loneliness disguised as independence. Until next time, do something for someone else other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their day better. As always, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Patrick
I’m good. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. Ms. Independent; that’s why I love her. Me, myself, and I. The list goes on and on. Do you realize that every blade of grass bends in the same direction? It’s true, for each blade of grass bends toward the sun. If someone plants two flowers side by side, over time, their roots will join, thereby, uniting the flowers. Trees are connected. Seasons are connected. Animals are connected. Why is there such an extraordinary disconnect amongst humans? Why do we continually try to convince ourselves that we are stronger when we are alone? For a large part of my life, I have (unsuccessfully) tried to convince myself that I’m good with being alone. I have tried to convince myself that I didn’t need anyone for anything. I have tried to convince myself that as long as my dwelling contained nice things, I was fine with being the only resident. That may single handedly, be the biggest lie that I have ever told myself. I am not okay with that. In fact, I’d rather share a small apartment filled with love than live in a mansion filled with things that feel nothing. I am beginning the understand both the power and necessity of love. Not too long ago, I endured a break up that opened me up. It opened me up to what I could be, and it also made my feelings crystal clear. I desire to be a part of a family. Everyone deserves that. I desire to have someone on the other side of my door that legitimately loves me. Everyone deserves that. I desire to have my yesterdays and tomorrows include the same person or people. Family and love. I desire family and love. Now, I’ll be the first person to tell you that once upon a time, sex was my go to. The problem with meaningless sex is that it leaves you emptier than you were before you began. I had lovers, but I didn’t have love. I was too ignorant to realize that just because we were able to share our bodies, it didn’t necessarily means that we were able to share our feelings and our hearts. In fact, I have had lovers that I had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common with. Sex was our only commonality, and when my body began to crave touch, they would receive a call from me. Here’s the problem; when I needed to really talk, my lovers had nothing to talk about. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, my lovers lacked time, empathy, and/or understanding. When I needed, my lovers weren’t there. I wish it to be known that they weren’t there because some of them didn’t want to be there. They weren’t there because I didn’t want them to be there. I was keenly aware that I was making love to them. I wasn’t sharing love with them. At this point in my life, I desire to share love. I want to make a life as much as I desire to make love. For me, for Patrick, independence is no longer adequate for extended periods of time. I know now that I must be willing to listen as much as I am willing to speak. I know now that I must be willing to do things that I don’t necessarily enjoy because the person that I love does. I know now that I must be patient even when I don’t want to be. I know now that I must be understanding as much as I want to be understood. I know now that I must be willing to tear down the walls that I have built around my heart because those walls are now beginning to feel like a prison. I know now that true love is about we, not me. I know now. Now, I know that true love is both natural and organic. With that being said, I am relinquishing myself of the synthetic form of love called empty sex. No more. I pray that God hears me. At this point in my life, I’m more interested in a woman’s mind than her ability to sexually bend. I am more interested in a life than a night. I’m not lonely. I’m sometimes surrounded by hordes of people. I’m alone. To me, there’s a distinct difference between the two. I’m simply tired of being alone. Until next time, this week, do something for someone else other than yourself for no other reason than to make their day better. If you make it to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Patrick
Reasons to STAY WOKE!
EVERYTHING that Donald Trump does.
Why are there so many wholesome family programs for Caucasians while programs for Minorities are either in the hood, returning to the hood, dreaming of the hood, living for the hood, or representing the hood with broken families, dreams, expectations, and means of achieving greatness?
Why are the schools that kids attend in every major metropolitan city in America doing so bad when EVERY politician says that they care about education?
Why would kids rather go to jail than college?
What the hell is mumble rap?
Why do so many of our young women have a preference for stripping rather than growing?
Why are there so many rich preachers and so many poor parishioners?
If government is supposed to work for all of us, then why are SO MANY of us doing so bad?
WHY AREN’T TEACHERS CONSIDERED HEROES?
Why is most of our music dedicated to glamorizing death, destruction, drugs, poverty, and the overwhelming support of ignorance?
When did ratchet become glamorous?
Where are our Black leaders? (If you accept an endorsement that compromises our TRUTHS, you are officially a slave. Therefore, you have given up your position of leadership.)
What happened to love?
Why do so many grown men behave like little boys?
Why do we watch out for the police, yet we glamorize criminals and murders? (Black Lives Do Matter! Remember?)
Have you ever seen a prison ask for more money?
Why don’t schools have enough money?
When’s the last time you saw a politician in your neighborhood giving something rather than asking for your support?
Have we become so free that we’re actually slaves to freedom?
What happened to love?
Are we more concerned about our selfies than ourselves?
Is it better to be sexy or loved?
Where is the love?
What happened to our dignity and self respect?
What happened to us?
Why does Michael Jordan sleep well at night knowing that kids are dying over his shoes?
Where was the Time’s Up and Me Too movement when minority women were being raped and sold?
What happened to us?
Where’s the love?
Where’s the love?
For all of the unknown African souls that exist beneath the sea, I will write about the beauty of our Blackness. While they were stolen from Africa, they brought something other than heartache and pain with them, they also brought hope. They hoped for better days, and most importantly, better tomorrows. Many have fallen along the way, but hope remains. You see, I have never wanted to be anything other than Black. Before I begin, I think that it’s very important to state that even though I’m writing about my love of being Black, it doesn’t mean that I’m anti-White. Simply put, I can love myself and other groups simultaneously. I love Black food, music, style, women, manhood, worship, perspectives, and most importantly, drive. Let me begin with the food. When we were slaves, we were given the remains of the “good” meal. Our ancestors were able to take items that were designed to be thrown away and create something heavenly. They understood that frying their food not only preserved the shelf life of the food, it also preserved flavor. Our food is unparalleled. It has flavor unlike any other because food is one of the ways that we show love. We take our time with the creation of our dishes because these dishes have a wide variety of meanings. The meanings could range from weddings to funerals, but the one constant is love. Black music. I could leave it there, but I won’t. Our music seems to enter through the ears, stimulate the senses, and rest in the soul. Whether it’s gospel, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, blues, or country, our music is powerful. The power of our music, in my opinion, is directly aligned with the pain of our existence. We sing what is sometimes hard to speak. We play what is sometimes hard to acknowledge. Our music makes us move, think, cry, ponder, and feel. Our music is a legacy that will never be forgotten after we are gone because the honesty in our music defines our very existence. Black style is incredible! We can make rags looks like riches. We make fashion our own. In fact, our style is often duplicated, but it can never be replicated. Our style is a representation of our experience and expectations. Everything that we do, we do with style. The audacity of Black People. Black women. Oh my God! These are the true warriors! Black women are the miracle workers, doctors, pillars, posts, and the very reason that we are. Without her, I am nothing. Without her, I don’t work. She is my reason, and I am her son trying to be her sun. Everything about the Black woman is beautiful. From her obstacle course curves to the light in her eyes, she is beautiful. It’s clear that God took time when creating you. I see God when I look at you, and I feel God when I make love to you. I am because you are. Black manhood is amazing because we live in a world within a world. We live by an unwritten set of rules that are designed to maintain our very existence. You see, when the world called us boy we laughed because truly, how could you call yourself a man while clearly needing a boy to do the job that you either couldn’t or wouldn’t? We were called boy because to recognize us for what we truly are would also be an acknowledgement of what we could never be, chained and caged. Even though we have been down, we have never been out. Society has sent us to prison, and there we became scholars. Society hung us from trees, and we broke those dark branches and built communities. Society denied us our true history, and we created legacies and practices that sustained us. Society told us what we couldn’t be, and we became it anyway. The audacity of Black Manhood. Whether we are drivers, cooks, custodians, teachers, lawyers, doctors, Presidents (Go Obama), or currently seeking work, we are men. Keep your head up and realize that the very thing that they try to convince you to hate about yourselves is the very thing that they love about you. Shine Black Man! The Black church is unlike any other. Sure, our services can last longer than a telethon, but there’s a reason for that. Our church plays a wide range of roles in our lives. Our churches are our places of worship, places of counsel, places to eat, places to socialize, places to grow, places to slow down, places to reflect, places to protect, places to inspire, places to plan, and most of all places to let go and let God. There are many things that we have no control over, and when we know and understand that, we simply give God the keys and slide over. The Black Church may be one of the most powerful things about us. The Black Perspective is simple, there is nothing that we can’t do. We have a thousand reasons to quit, yet we continue to endure. We understand that the rules are fixed, yet we endure. We understand that freedom isn’t free, and oddly enough, our freedom fighters lived a life of bondage while fighting to free our oppressors. We understand that justice isn’t blind, and sometimes our justice is just us. We endure while pushing forward. The Black Perspective is to never give up, never give in, and always give back. Lastly, the Black Drive. Creating something from nothing is amazing. To this day, there are thousands of black people living on land that was purchased by their ancestors who were born into bondage. During a 24 hour day, there are millions of us that work more than 16 of those hours because even though they may not meet, we at least try to introduce our ends to one another. You see, we drive because we have something that we’re driving for and towards. As we approach February Family, I want to acknowledge the group to which I belong. I am a Black Man who made it. I am a Black Man who endures. I am proud of being Black because Black people are proud of me. My success was possible because of all the people who helped me along the way. To them, I want to say thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t be. As the song goes, “I never would have made it without you.” Thank you. Patrick. (Oh yeah, before I forget, this week do something to help someone else for no other reason than to make their day better, and if you get to where you’re going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us.)
I don’t believe that God dwells exclusively in the greatest of us. I realize that is what many of us would like to believe, but I don’t. In fact, I believe that, in many instances, God dwells in what our society considers the “least” of us. I mean, what good is money to God? In my very humble opinion, the only real currency that matters to God is Love. Compassion, patience, understanding, and time, in my opinion, are his quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. You see, I believe that the way we approach our demonstration of love, faith, and trust in God has become distorted. There are those amongst us that legitimately believe that God is pleased and full with them because they have given their 10% or more to their houses of worship. Let me be clear, the leadership in those houses of worship are pleased. Again, this is not the truth, this is my truth. Truthfully, I believe that money corrupts. Where there is extraordinary wealth, there are also extraordinary lies. Why do we need gyms, swimming pools, private jets, helicopters, vacation homes, personal staffs, drivers, and stylists for our religious leaders? If the prophets didn’t need those things then, why do we need them now? We don’t. Love and truth should be free. I believe that leaders should give more than they take, be present more than they are absent, work towards improvement just as much as they pray about improvement, and ensure that their parishioners are able to improve their spiritual and communal lives as well. When you give without asking for anything in return, you have paid your tithes. When you offer food because your money is running low, you have paid your tithe. When you sit with someone who needs to cry in order to make room for joy, you have paid your tithes. When you give the very coat off of your back to someone who needs it more than you, you have paid your tithe. If you are only seeking to do good because you are putting a spiritual downpayment on your mansion in heaven, save your money. We need to improve the lives of God’s children first. Open your eyes and see with your heart and spirit. God is all around us. Give love. Give time. Give support. Give hope. Spread joy. It is there that God dwells. If you are struggling financially, put your future faith in things that can’t be purchased. As long as we’re “chasing the paper,” we will certainly miss the point. Paper isn’t real; love is. Choose Love. Until next time, do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to improve their lives. As always, if you make it to where you going, don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Patrick
In my very humble opinion, the thing that is worse than not growing is being stuck. For much of my life, I have been stuck. You see, I made the necessary steps to grow, yet I made a tragic mistake. I failed to take the final leap of faith once I acquired the tools. I seemed to be happier that I had the tools than I was with finishing the project or goal. I was stuck. Each day was the same. I was stuck in my career. I was stuck in my relationships. I was stuck in my mental, spiritual, and fitness goals. I was stuck in my growth. Isn’t it funny that as soon as you are about to transcend to another space or place, something from your past always comes to either remind you that you shouldn’t change or life as your “newer” self may not be as great. I always seemed to listen to that something. I call this the layover. I’m not where I began, yet I’m not where I want to be. I’m in the layover of my life. I’m still interested in traveling. However, because I have to board this flight alone to a destination that I have only dreamt of, it’s slightly frightening. If you find that you are in a state of layover, simply board the next flight called opportunity, enjoy the ride, and trust and believe that you will make it no matter where you land. We were all designed to succeed. However, because many of us yearn for things that we have never seen, our faith isn’t always aligned with our focus. We should, and must, demonstrate that we not only deserve, but are entitled to that for which we have labored. I don’t believe that happiness is an accident. I don’t believe that success is an accident, nor do I believe that greatness is an accident. These are intentional acts. In the society in which I live, it seems that people are more concerned about beauty than substance. Again, this is another form of the layover. If we focus more attention on the vessel than we do on the voyage, we shouldn’t be surprised when we recognize that we aren’t going anywhere. If you are in the layover of your career, change it. If you are in the layover of your love, either fix it or change it. You are not allowed to be a perpetual victim for the rest of your life because the truth of the matter is that being wronged isn’t as important as becoming the realest version of yourself that you can possibly be. We are currently in a political layover. We seemingly have a “leader” who has never taken flight classes, never sat in the cockpit, never ventured to the places that he claims to “believe in and support,” and worse, has no idea where he’s going. We are not where we were, but we are clearly not where we want to be. In this case, I believe that we should contact the flight company and demand new pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers, and ticket collectors. You are more than you believe you are. We are all more beautiful than we believe we are. We are all more powerful than we believe we are. We are more. You are more. You are more good than any bad deed you may have done. You are more right than you are wrong. However, if you are more wrong than you are right, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Therefore, you still have a voice, and you deserve to raise it. Even though we may all be experiencing some form of a layover in our lives, the next flight is soon boarding. Pick up the things you’re going to need when you get there and leave your past baggage behind. It’s going to be a great voyage. As always, when you get there, don’t forget to leave a blueprint or map for the rest of us who desperately need it. Until next time, take care of yourselves and don’t forget to help someone other than yourself for no reason at all. Patrick
Well, it’s 2018, and we are officially off to the races! When I went to the gym on the 1st of January, it looked more like a club than a fitness facility. I’ve never seen so many people dressed in brand new work out gear, drinking smoothies, taking supplements, and snapping selfies in my life! Wow. Sadly, one of the personal trainers said, “don’t worry, the gym will be empty again by February.” I wasn’t worried. You see, I have always enjoyed watching people accomplish their goals. When someone has the discipline and wherewithal to make their dreams come true, it has always inspired me to do the same. This year, I have decided that I will continue what I began a while ago. So, here I am at my next point. I’m not a religious man. I am a very spiritual man. In my very humble opinion, religion can be used as a tool for governance and control. However, spirituality, (again in my opinion), connects you to something unseen, yet profoundly felt. There’s that. This year, I dare you to trust God. It really doesn’t matter what you call God as long as you both trust and call on God. They say that faith is belief in the unseen. With that in mind, have faith. For me, I’ve experienced some of the most profound forms of change when I exercised faith. This year, I dare you to trust God. I dare you to believe that you are able to become the person that you are dreaming to be. I dare you to give your relationship another shot because you’ve had more good days than bad days. I dare you to stop explaining your dreams and goals to people who wouldn’t understand them if they came with an instructions manual. I dare you to stop allowing people to treat you as though you are insignificant. I dare you to go to school for the knowledge, not the bragging rights. I dare you to speak up in the face of injustice. I dare you to maximize your potential within your parameters. After your potential is maximized, I dare you to destroy the parameters. The truth of the matter is that the parameters weren’t created by society, they were created by you. I was recently sitting outside, and I watched a flock of birds. I watched in amazement at how they moved. I have come to the conclusion that birds have no concept of height. I personally believe that they are so focused on where they want to go, they are not concerned about what they have to go through in order to get there. In the past, I have been one of those people who was more concerned about what I had to go through rather than where I wanted to go. I dare you to trust God. If you are able to demonstrate that type of trust, imagine what you can become. This year, instead of exclusively focusing on losing weight, why not focus on losing wait. Stop waiting for the perfect time because time is never perfect. It’s not about your resolution, it’s about your resolve. What are you really made of? Don’t you want to know? I know that I do. This year, I dare you to trust God. As controversial as this may be, I will say this. I don’t believe that God waits at a building for us to come to each week. I believe that God is all around us. I believe that God is in the faces of the people that we see every day. God is in the air that we breath. God is everywhere and everything. I dare you to trust God. I dare you to help someone without taking a picture to document the moment. I dare you. I dare you to become what you were always meant to be. When you get there, don’t forget to leave a roadmap for the rest of us. Until next time, take care of yourselves and continue to try and change the world. Happy New Year. Patrick