There are two types of people in the world sharing the same space; those who are enslaved, and those who are free. Because freedom is a state of mind, the same can also be said about being enslaved. Now, when I speak of slavery, I wish it to be known in no uncertain terms, that I am NOT talking about the “peculiar institution” that began in 1619 and still, to a very real degree, continues to this day. No, I am talking about self-imposed bondage. I am also talking about self-imposed freedom. You see, as an African American man, I know all too well about the “crabs in a barrel” mentality. Simply put, there are those who try and pull you down when you try to escape the barrel. Some may find it easy to pass judgment on the “crabs” who try and pull down the escaping crabs. Often times, the crabs who weren’t able to escape blame the pulling crabs for not doing so. Inversely, some of the crabs who were responsible for pulling the escaping crabs down actually believed they were saving them from an unknown fate. In both of those cases, they remain together in a state of comfortable and familiar dissatisfaction. Me, the crabs have never had an effect on me because I don’t consider myself a crab. I realize that I was born in the barrel, but they made the mistake of not putting the top on. While some of my kind fought for fallen scraps, me, I fell in love with the sun. I watched the clouds as they moved before and after storms. I listened to the sound of the ocean, and every now and then, I was blessed by a gentle nudging of the wind. Even though I had never seen it, I knew that another life existed. Even though I had never seen it, I knew it was real. Even though no one that I knew had ever seen it, I knew it was there. They say that you should walk by faith and not by sight; right? I had faith that what I felt was destined to be mine. Therefore, when I found it, it wasn’t a surprise, but a reunion. Simply put, my dreams had the opportunity to connect with their fruits in real time. I am free. I cannot, and will not, be held to a position in life that isn’t satisfying to my soul. Again, there are two types of people in the world sharing the same space; those who are enslaved, and those who are free. Please don’t confuse bedazzled cages with mansions. Please don’t confuse shiny carts with purposeful vessels of transportation. Please don’t confuse beautiful prisoners accepting of their fate with spiritual beings that are incapable of being conquered. There is a distinct difference. It is never too late to begin. The time is always right for you to be fulfilled. Happiness is always in season. When is the last time you’ve asked yourself from a sincere place; “Am I happy? Am I surrounded by things and people that will never love me back? Are my smiles sincere? Am I the me that I dreamt of when I sincerely didn’t know who I was?” If the answer is no, I believe that you have just found your exit that will lead you to the fullest version of yourself. If the answer is I don’t know, I believe that complacency may have lulled you into a space that forbids you from being completely free. Now, I’m not saying that one is right while the other is wrong. However, what I am saying is that each and every living and inanimate thing on this Earth has a purpose. As I find my own, my prayer is that you will seek yours as well. Perhaps, once we all find the true joy that exists inside of all of us, the world will be a better place. Until next time…..Patrick

As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love Because Love Changes Everything…

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