These photos were taken on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009 in New York City. I'm posting them here as I am a member of Lockitup, an online egroup whose members share photos and pictures of locks created with the Sisterlock/Brotherlock method. The photos on the e-site have not been updated since 2005, and I wanted to show how much my locks have changed. Please let me know what you think!
Today begins the third cycle of The 90 Day Challenge, and I am looking forward to creating extraordinary results through this process. In the first 4 cycles, I created great momentum in my life - moved from San Francisco to New York City; landed a wonderful job at a law firm; met James Arthur Ray of “The Secret” and “Harmonic Wealth” fame, and reconnected with old acquaintances from my life during the period that I was an entertainer in New York City.
In Cycles 3 and 4 I created a new environment for myself by moving from Harlem in New York City to Newport, New Jersey; and then met and fell in love with Mitchell Rothlein, who has recently become my fiancé. I am overwhelmed by the amount of love that he has brought to my life.
On a personal level I’ve taken my soul to a deeper level by participating in an experiential education seminar series at Personal Dynamics in New York City. While there, I was asked to staff an Advanced Course, and my great fortune was to be in the presence of a Master Trainer, Kathy Benson, who happens to be an absolutely extraordinary human being. Through her coaching, I have begun to dream big again, and she is the catalyst for my beginning Cycle 5 of this process.
I have also rediscovered, after an absence of more than 25 years, the work of Werner Erhard, and am connected again to an amazing mental and spiritual experience that is inherent in the reality of his “be here now” philosophy.
As before, all areas of my life will be addressed; the spiritual, financial, mental, relational and physical. I am clear that intention and focus in all areas must be present in order to accomplish this chapter of my dreams.
With great projects to accomplish in this cycle, I must clearly focus on every aspect of my life. I continue to grow stronger emotionally and relationally, and am determined to recreate a new physicality through my body that can be seen as outstanding once again. I must pay more attention to the gifts of my physical beauty. I’ve been blessed for a reason. Over the past 9 years, I have gotten complacent with my appearance and it is time to turn up the heat again….I intend to be “hot” again by the end of this cycle. Yes, I just said that! 90 days can truly be the start of an incredible future if I stand firmly in this intention.
The main project in this cycle is to recreate my artistic life by redesigning myself as a singer once again. I’ve been dreaming for many years of returning to the cabaret stage, and time has arrived for me to stand up and be heard once again. I am planning a major new musical presentation, singing all new material in a way that reflects the journey that my life has taken over the past 20 years. With a nod to my past, I will move clearly with what is real and true for me now. I have matured greatly, and my intent is that it be reflected in the music that I create.
Additionally, I intend to marry Mitchell in the next 4 months, so amazing emotional preparation has to occur in order to blend my life with his. It is clear that my residence will change soon, and I have to create a stand that works for both of us to feel supported and loved.
So, here, on day 1, I declare my commitment to create all of these wonderful things by August 31, 2009. It’s going to be an extraordinary summer!
What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?
A couple of years ago, I received a paperweight for Christmas with the above statement stamped on the top. Over the years, I have glanced at it, never really giving any real attention, as I have always believed that if any aspect of my life was to be, it would have to be up to me.
Over the course of this past year, I have come to more fully appreciate the wisdom stamped onto that familiar paperweight.
As I have stated in past posts, I relocated back to New York City on January 20, 2008. It has been an amazing year, and I would like to share a bit of my life experience over the course of 2008.
I started the year by saying farewell to friends in San Francisco.
Once in New York City, I moved into an apartment building in Harlem, thinking that it might be interesting to live primarily among Black folks for once in my life. The complex was named after a legendary ballroom, The Savoy, a wonderful and historic venue that was a landmark during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930's. The original buildings were demolished in the early 1960's, replaced by highrize apartment buildings for middle income residents. Those buildings were purchased several years ago, and have gone through a renovation, listed as "luxury".
The current owners grossly misrepresented the condition of the property and the neighborhood in their documentation, and it was clear from my first week that I had made a major mistake in taking up residence there. My experience was a stark realization: the majority of lifelong residents displayed stereotypical behavior, much of which had disappeared from my life experience in the early 1970's. It seems that life on welfare, teenage pregnancy, guns, drugs and all that goes along with it remains alive and well in certain areas of Harlem, New York. To be fair, some areas are truly beautiful, but not in the part of Harlem that I was experiencing. Most people that currently speak about the "new" Harlem are talking about "west" Harlem (from Broadway to the Hudson River) and areas along 125 street where the Clinton Building is located. The majority of Harlem is still in need of gentrification and a true cultural and financial wakeup call.
Many of Harlem's residents continue to live at or below the poverty level, have and display great anger, and want to blame the world for their circumstances, rather than taking steps to lift themselves up to a higher existence. As it became clear that I was not a lifelong resident of Harlem, nor a member of the "hood", I was targeted as an outsider, someone who did not belong. After being verbally abused by thugs hanging out on street corners, and after a series of drive-by shootings that occurred in my neighborhood last Spring, I decided that enough was enough. I came to the conclusion that Black folks are the same as other groups of people: some good, some bad. This particular group was working my last nerve. So, 6 months after my arrival, I vacated Harlem, and moved to Newport, New Jersey. http://www.newportnj.com/
Newport is only a few miles away from Harlem, but the differences between the two locations could not be more distinct. It is a new, wealthy community incorporated in 1986 and built on the shoreline at Jersey City. It overlooks the former World Trade Center and 9/11's Ground Zero, that is now going through a tough, but stellar, rebuilding process. Newport is a physically lush, beautiful place, with an international mixture of residents, and everyone is very respectful of one another. It has an extremely high level of security and outstanding management. My building is located right at water’s edge, with a spectacular view of New York City, the Hudson Bay, southwestern New Jersey and beyond.
After moving into a penthouse level suite, I hired a painter, and now feel safe and secure in a place that nurtures me every day. Having donated my former furniture to charities in San Francisco before I left, I’ve had the opportunity to design a room more beautiful than I could have imagined, which reflects the journey that my life has taken over the last 10 years. My new home is comprised of pictures, objects of art and furnishings that were hand picked by myself, and each holds a memmory of past days of my life.
Additionally, shortly before my permanent arrival back to NYC, I was offered a position with a Dallas based law firm in their New York City office. I am proud to say that I am working with a large cast of characters that are not unlike those seen on the TV show Boston Legal. We have our very own Denny Crane, Allan Shore, and Shirley Schmidt, just to name a few. It is engaging to watch them every day and marvel at the way their personal attributes facilitate their creation of a successful – and profitable – practice here in NYC.
Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with music and the industry that I’d left behind many years before, and am, once again, working on resuming my interest in the Cabaret circuit in New York City. Additionally, I have created a successful personal coaching business, and am building a client base which will allow for future expansion.
As you can probably summize, not everything about this relocation has been joyful. One of the most disappointing aspects of relocating back to the NYC area has been the realization that old friends and acquaintances still living here have become jaded, and have done little to welcome me back to the city. Rarely a telephone call or invitation to reconnect has been offered, even though I've made every effort to reconnect with them. I've now realized that time has moved on, and have had to make the difficult, yet necessary decision to release those old relationships of the past. I’m now building a new network of friends, and recently have become involved in a relationship that is going very well, with great promise for the future.
So, looking over my year, that old saying on the paperweight comes to mind – "what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" – and I have come to this very specific conclusion: I’ve finally grown into a man that is secure in the knowledge that hope, faith, love, wealth and abundance and happiness are all my god-given right. Even those things that appear to be dissapointments can usually be transmuted into wonderful experiences.
I've learned that the disappointments in life need not be a final end result. By pushing the envelope a little farther, amazing gifts are usually right under the surface. Barack Obama, and my life experience, are amazing proof of the divine in our lives.
Lastly, Bravo to America, and the new President-Elect. Last Tuesday, November 4, 2008, is a day that I did not expect to see in my lifetime, yet I continued to hold the possibility in my heart of a Black American President. Hold on to your dreams. They do, indeed, come true!
The mantra that facilitated my beginning this blog project several years ago continues to permeate my everyday life:
It has been many months since I have last posted here, and I have an amazing story to tell. At the end of the first cycle of “The 90 Day Challenge”, I took an assessment of my life and the application of the tools that I spoke about last July, and how they affected my living in the world. I was blown away be the ease at which my life seemed to be flowing in a positive direction, all because of a few easy to institute concepts.
Because of the success of the first cycle, I decided to start Cycle 2, which ran from November 2007 to the end of January 2008. I am currently near the end of Cycle 3, and I would like to share all of my successes with you. But first, a discussion of Cycle 2.
On November 4, 2007, I went to a Diana Ross concert in California. She was, as expected, divine. She sang her heart out, was in great voice, and had a wonderful time on stage. The concert lasted about 90 minutes, which was just enough time for her to sing all of the major hits from her Supremes years, as well as from her now 4 decades of solo recording.
During the concert, she sang the song “My World Is Empty Without You”, and this time, because of the heightened awareness that I had grown into because of my own Cycle 1, I sensed a completely different message than just the old love song that I had come to assume about the lyrics. This time, I heard her actually “confessing” to the audience that she needed us, and her world was “empty” without us in it. This was a completely new interpretation of the lyrics of this song, and she sang it in such a way that the force of her heart and conviction of delivery made it clear to me that she was communicating directly to those of us that were open to this message. I understood that she needed us, as much as we need her. She has always said that her fans are the best, but this time, through the emotion and delivery of this song, she touched my heart in a phenomenal way.
The balance of that concert was standard Diana Ross: Theme From Mahogany, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, ect. I left the concert with my family members knowing that once again, we had witnessed a true and living American Icon; Diana herself is conscious of her place in history, and at this point has decided to continue to educate others about their emerging humanity by doing concerts and giving lectures.
About a week after the concert, I was sitting in my living room in San Francisco (which had a view of the entire city), and I could not get “My World Is Empty Without You” out of my mind. I began to think about what this song meant to my own existence; what was I missing, and what action would I need to take in order to feel more complete. I had spent the past seven years living in San Francisco in relative seclusion, having been present to the events in New York City of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. San Francisco was as far away from there as I could get without leaving the mainland, and I used the time to heal and to find a new way in the world for myself. During those 7 years, I went back to school and earned a Masters degree in Humanities and Leadership, because I knew that I would one day begin to make a difference in the world and I wanted to offer an educated experience to those that would allow me the voice to do so.
I began to think of the song, and more and more, the song began to mean for me that I was empty without being “home”, which for me, is New York City.
Because I had just stepped into Cycle 2 of “The 90 Day Challenge”; it became obvious that returning to New York City would be the goal for the period. So by mid-November, I had determined that I would return successfully to NYC in 2008, and set out on my quest to do so. I determined that I would not accept no as an answer; I researched the job and housing market; I made telephone calls, I spoke with agents, arranged plane and hotel reservations, and on December 31, 2007 (now that I think about it, how appropriate, New Years Eve), arrived back into Manhattan with a 10 day agenda: to find a lucrative position AND find a beautiful apartment to live in that was spacious, spiritual, safe and calming.
On January 10, 2008, I boarded my flight back to San Francisco, having accomplished my goal of finding fun and lucrative employment and a beautiful new home in Manhattan. Once again, the lessons I have been applying from the movie “The Secret” and James Arthur Ray’s seminar (and now new book and DVD) “Harmonic Wealth” and my on “90 Day Challenge” had worked beautifully.
The next installment will be about Cycle 3, which I am nearing the end of at the moment.
Your comments and questions are welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read about my story.
As I have moved through the past 59 days of this project, I am struck with the opportunity and question: What if?
What if this is my chance to really breakthrough in my life and creates the dreams I have been longing for? What if this is it for me?
I have done a huge amount of work over the years in self-help seminars, and learned a great deal about myself and people in general. Yet, all of that information really hasn't motivated me to pull my life to a higher level. What if, instead of sitting in a seminar, that the only way to really experience those valuable lessons from the past is to apply all of that knowledge in a supremely personal way; to sit with myself and my experiences and pull from the abundance of my soul what I say I want my life to be. What if the execution and application of the designed strategies in this challenge are the last, and most profound, step needed in order to experience fulfillment of all my life's yearnings and accomplishments? And if so, what exactly is at stake here?
I must admit that I have had an amazing life. It has by no means been ordinary, and I have had exciting, life enhancing experiences that I will always cherish. Yet, I have had the feeling that there could be something more, a daily experience of living so profound, so satisfying, that it calls me forth every day. That is what this is all about for me. Achieving the ability to live a life that is deeply satisfying, a life that will enable me to share the lessons learned and happiness I have experienced with others, and to live with love, prosperity and serenity. It is clear that for me that will come in a spiritual way, and I have already delved deeply into the ocean of knowing who I am in that respect.
As I have approached and worked through the stages of this challenge, I am thankful that I have had the life experiences that have given me strength to move through this journey. That I have reached this point in my life is not a coincidence. There are no accidents. Those of you that have found your way to these pages in many ways are on a similar challenge and journey, and I salute you for you valiant efforts. Someday I hope to hear about your valuable ocean of experiences. Ashford and Simpson once sang "I need your light with mine", and in this moment, no truer words have been spoken. We sometimes forget, or neglect to remember, that we are all in this together. Life is about relationships, communication and love. Your participation here, at this moment, has been created through divine guidance and I welcome the lessons and experiences that each of you are willing to share. We each hold a very valuable key to each others success; let us share our deepest heartfelt experiences so that this truly becomes the year that we break through and manifest the magnificence that our lives are meant to be.
I have everyday been confronted with the challenge that this process has presented - to be conscientious at each step of the program. Each direction along this journey creates a foundation for the next idea, and a pyramid of knowledge and understanding is built as I move towards my goals. My request of myself has been to stay on course, even in the worst moments, as the goal, the “prize” is always in my sights.
This challenge, for me, has been about designing the abilities to live my life as it was intended to be – brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous!