I told a friend that I didn’t want to see her as “foreign” because that term sounded somewhat negative. She informed me that it is only negative to me because of the assumptions held. i.e. the negative associations to the term “foreign” that I had absorbed subconsciously from the environment, be they jovial or otherwise. With this realisation it became clear to me why many people (white/asian or otherwise) who have not grown up around many black people struggle with using the term “black” to describe their friends. They think it is rude. And who can blame them? Such is the effect of a lifetime of auto-linguistic programming. The following terms all have something in common: black-listing, black-mail, black-comedy, black-Friday, black-economy – they are all either negative or illegal or both. When such associations permeate your subconscious, there is no wonder you would think twice before attributing such a label to somebody you love, value and respect. Or you may even want to joke about them being “black”, believing somewhere out there, that refers to something less than perfect. A discrepancy arises when that token black friend has a totally different association to the word black, as a result of living and experiencing being it, which overshadows their own auto-linguistic programming that they too picked up from the same environment. Such associations that spring to mind may include, but are not limited to: parents with exceptionally high academic standards for their children, pragmatism, religious upbringing, outstanding sporting ability, self-assuredness, natural rhythm, unlimited hairstyles, seasoning, and determination. So when one wonders whether or not one is causing offence by calling one’s dark-skinned buddy “black”, it is more likely one is causing offense by not doing so.. :)
"And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus"
You leaveeverythingbehind when you follow Jesus. This means your sins, your shame and your fears. You leave your insecurities, your inadequacies and your mistakes. Your broken promises are left, your broken heart is left. Your mistakes and your doubts are left behind. All your baggage is left when you follow Jesus. So stop worrying about it, He has you covered.
It may hurt now, you may feel incomplete, uneasy, lacking or unstable. You may not know where you are heading, what you want to do for your A-levels, your masters, or when you graduate. You may not know when this spell of singledom will end. But to God, all of this is just baggage; that He asks you to leave behind. Leave it all behind in confidence that when you take God’s hand He will walk you step by step along His path that will lead you to something and somewhere greater than anything you could have imagined and stored in your suitcase of memory.
Maturity can be an interesting process. Unsightly curds mature into delicate cheeses. Sweet grape juices mature into full bodied, rich wines. Fat, cumbersome caterpillars grow into elegant butterflies. But caterpillars do not change instantaneously, they spend time in their cocoon, sheltered from the tempestuous elements of the outside world. They are hidden away in a secluded place keeping to themselves. It is only when all energy is internalised that they are able to make the greatest transformation of their lives.
The same principle applies to us. We may not necessarily need to become a recluse to transform but often an outer connection needs to be broken for our inner transformation to be set in motion. For some people they may need to be less socially involved, such as by using facebook a little less. Others may just need cut off a negative relationship be it a paracitic; in which one party uses the other for personal benefit, or simply a relationship where negativity breeds in any of its forms. Another type of relationship may need to be cut whereby you are so involved in the other that through the relationship you lose yourself completely and are defined entirely by the other (This can be one of the riskiest as when you lose your other, you lose yourself). This Hegelian relationship need not be between two people, it can be between a person and anything.
I recently met a guy who had lived in Iraq for most of his life, upon meeting we spoke for about 2 hours about politics and history and the conversation eventually turned towards his experience during the US invasions of Iraq. His country formed a large part of his identity. In short, he was in a relationship with his country. He loved his country unconditionally and was prepared to die for her. I could not help but be saddened by this assertion since he was not referring to death in combat, by soldiers who are prepared to die in the name of protecting their families, rather, he meant death in the name of nationalism alone. I could not help but think that one can only be prepared to die for something if they think that nothing else is of greater important than the cause for which they die. This implies that his soul, his self and the person within had no place in his relationship with his other. The other had taken up all space in the relationship leaving no room for him to (spiritually) exist.
Recently I have found myself in a situation where I have more space to be within myself. By this I mean I have had more time to self-reflect thus understand and define who I am and what my purpose is. On this journey I discovered that (for me), decision-making is intended to be a personal activity. I am a mathematically minded person so for most of my life I have made decisions largely by analysis of the data involved followed by taking a sample of advice and choosing the mean. That, statistically, should produce the most accurate results. The problem is statistics are often subject to unforeseen errors.
As of late I have taken a more personal approach. This, I believe, has come with maturity. Each decision I have made has not been made based on the advice I have borrowed from others, but from asking myself what I think is right. The decision is often quick and simultaneously accounts for all other factors.
I have always believed that I have a bad memory, friends would ask me questions and I would say “I can’t remember” then guess the answer, often to no avail. For the past couple of weeks I replaced ”I can’t remember” with “I remember” followed by a pause and a minute or two later the answer comes to me. The time it takes for the memory to resurface has gradually reduced now I am actually surprised by the the detail to which I recall my memories and images of the world around me. I shocked myself and my friends last week when we played a logo identification game and I recognised almost all the logos despite many being foreign and totally unrelated to my life. My friend even said ”this must mean you are a very perceptive person”. I doubt I would have been able to recognise that many logos had I not first linguistically programmed myself to believe in my own ability to recall and retain information.
I have activated a power within that has been relatively dormant until now. This power is mentioned in countless self-help, wealth-creating books and videos that I have read and watched. This power is the subject of Malcolm Gladwell’s novel, Blink. It is my intuition. It is the power of God. It lies within us all whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. It is the catalyst for change in all our cocoons and it gives us direction for each step to becoming a butterfly. The interesting thing is we are all butterflies already, we just need to shake off the disreality infront of us to recognise our true nature. The only way to do so is by trusting our intuition and having full confidence in our judgement. Through this confidence our talents can begin to manifest and the fruits of our labour unfolds.