Archangel for Each Friday

image of an angel in white robes

 

With every Friday I find the grace of God in the form of true love.

Archangel Anael ignites romance with the serenity of a white dove.  

His affection inspires virtue with harmony for an abundant life,

As the angel most often invoked he gives inner peace to deter strife. 

Archangel Anael overcomes shyness, granting confidence to those redeemed,

Within a fiery chariot he carries me and all others highly esteemed.  

My long-term career acquires status as through him I’m recognized, 

For my creativity improving the world beyond what I ever realized.   

The prophet Enoch reached heaven upon Archangel Anael’s upward heave,

And if I practice patience, the glorious gift of passion I also will receive.

When he visits, artists and musicians find solace for their inspiration,

Because the beauty from the grace of God spreads everywhere in creation.

One Man, a Heavenly Dream

image of the Lorraine Hotel at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. museum

Photo: Lorraine Hotel, Memphis by J. Wilder Bill

It takes one voice to bring Heaven to the globe we share. As much as we carve out territories and erect picket fences, containing space is impossible. One voice carries truth in every direction and to all walks of life.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. woke from his last dream in Memphis, Tennessee, the Delta where my dreams began. As I sit a thousand miles away, there is little notice of this national holiday but at the place of his assassination on the anniversary of his death, folks from all across the country make a sojourn to the Lorraine Hotel.

It’s a royal affair with the pilgrims wearing their finest feathered hats, elaborate dresses, and fur coats. Every walk of life drives with their headlights on. Folks who don’t typically have a reason to talk wave and honk to each other as they pass. For decades, a woman lived in a cardboard box outside the hotel, making a statement.

Dr. King’s early death symbolizes a dream cut short from ripening into completion. While his poetry gives African Americans the confidence to be accepted by their peers, his message does not deliver them beyond a limited concept of equality.

Glancing through the United States Census Bureau reports, I see the steady 23% climb from the 1960s to the present in the number of African Americans who earn a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Yet, according to the Bureau, African Americans earn the lowest annual income. I get it, their people are suppressed because they don’t have the privileges others enjoy. But what exactly does that mean?

A large majority of millionaires, according to Statista, are of Caucasian descent. Oftentimes, first generation immigrants of non Western European ancestry consider themselves to be white.

Forbes lists more than 10% of millionaires in the U.S. as first generation immigrates. As a matter of fact, it’s not just African Americans who miss out. Immigrants become entrepreneurs at double the rate of residents born in the U.S. The Bureau reports 8% of the millionaire population are African Americans, born and raised in on their turf.

The successes or failures a person experiences is a reflection of his mindset – the image he has about himself. Self image creates road blocks that can be eliminated by his perceiving himself as capable of reaching certain goals and filling a chosen image.

If someone doesn’t find a value in opportunities, his self perceived image will override his ability to take that next step toward his goal. The New York Post provides that minorities accepted into colleges under an affirmative action program are less likely to graduate. California eradicated its affirmative action plan in 1996, and the percentage of minorities who stayed in college and earned their degrees doubled.

An article by the Technology Innovation Management Review stresses the significance in how a person perceives the value of what he receives. An individual might desire the value of attending college, or even the more basic needs of receiving food and shelter. His perceived value is his expectation of what the product, service or education will provide to him – how it will change his life. A critical element of the value is the “emotional payoff and achievement of a goal or desire.”

Receiving something for free or without having to provide anything in return causes the recipient to asses the product, service or shelter, as having a lower value. Having a thing that has no value leaves the recipient feeling unfulfilled, and essentially lowers his self confidence.

Not only the results of receiving the item or service provide a value. The recipient needs the fulfillment of providing something in exchange for the product, service or education in order to determine what its value is, in order to gain a sense of achievement in meeting that goal of earning the item or service. The value is determined before and after receiving.

How many gifts have you discarded? How often have you loaned something to a relative or friend, only to have it returned damaged or never returned, at all?

The next step in achieving Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is for our education system to incorporate self esteem courses beginning in elementary school. While Dr. King is an inspiration to today’s leaders in continuing his social progress, today’s speakers are spreading the same message he shared over forty years ago. The social climate has changed, and the cause to generate progress is not at the same road block. With a different issue at hand, the solution has changed, as well.

Dr. King’s spoken dreams are realized. We have this day to recognize the good in where our society is in the present moment. Still, this holiday signifies our time for a new approach. If Dr. King had lived to a ripe age, his message would have shifted to meet our current level of humanitarian growth in our global goal to assimilate Heaven on Earth.

It is right for minorities to apply the thoughts and visualizations with an intention to view themselves as achieving their goals independently. They have the capacity and strengths and talents to accomplish their dreams. They deserve the confidence gained through the fulfillment of an achievement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived the life of a man with the confidence to share his image, and to believe in African Americans receiving the benefit of his confidence.

The Tune of Deserving Love

image of yellow rocks in the ocean in Tahiti

Photo: One Foot Island, Autitaki, Cook Islands by J. Wilder Bill

During our millennial enlightenment, the trend for how to love pressures us to disconnect from responsibility. We are enticed into the false-beauty of delving into the darkest corners of our personal feelings.

The shift from idealized happiness to painstaking denial is clear from the television guide list. When I tune into network channels for a little down time from cancerous family members, repairing a hurricane damaged home, proving to giant corporations they’ve been double charging my bill for years, and managing fraud, my poor little brain gets blindsided. Explosive emotions dominate the themes. Tag lines for the shows includes, “dysfunctional family” and “masterful in eliciting a range of feelings” and “dark, nuanced.” If I wanted to spend my free time listening to people argue, I’d just assume turn off the tube and dedicate more time with loved ones. The trend on and offscreen is to demand the right to deserve love.

The fact is, what it takes to receive loved hasn’t changed, ever. No criteria exists for earning the right to love. Business leader, Malcolm S. Forbes, put the low emotional returns of living a high drama life into perspective, saying, “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”

Qualifying how difficult your life is to receive a greater amount than the next guy generates a competition, but love is not distributed in limited rations. The behavior you tune into provides a precedent of how you process the environment. Basically, the more time you spend in a situation, pleasant or dysfunctional, the more you get used to the stimuli.

Our brains adjust to processing the heightened emotions by disconnecting certain awareness sensors. Once those signals of threat and pain are tuned out, we accept the bad as being normal. The good news is we can adapt to anything, however, adapting to the barrage of resentment fractures our channels for receiving love.

The scenario, “birds of a feather flock together,” applies to the way we adjust our actions to mimic the behavior of those we spend time with. Exposing yourself to high drama, whether televised or in person, is counterproductive to receiving love.

Using anger as proof you deserve love removes you from what you crave. The modern coping skill of keeping a tally of every monstrosity you’ve suffered implies you consider your experience to be more significant, and you don’t care about others. Once undervalued and unappreciated, those around you disconnect from your message, since their brain adjusts by tuning out the bad feelings. They won’t identify love with a ranting person. I’ve learned to be careful in mentioning my hardships, because just as soon as I feel sorry for myself, the person next to me shares a greater hardship.

The more we use drama in despising the sensation of lacking love, the greater we distances herself from feeling loved. “Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it,” stated Rumi.

You only need to show up and be present to acquire genuine love. No one else has to participate in your receiving love. There is nothing for you to qualify. Skip rallying together an audience to support your cause to prove your highest ranking in getting the most love. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us,” provides Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Even if you believe you have a resilience to harsh words, putting them out there has the same effect of stabbing yourself with a knife. Hearing the insulting references and self loathing is harmful to your emotional self.

Thinking demeaning thoughts about yourself places you in the role of playing the victim, and the lower you place your emotional self, the farther you are from accepting love. While in law school, I would tell myself repeatedly that I was going to flunk out of school as a motivational tactic. After graduating, I acquired a position at a desirable workplace. A fellow graduate ran into me at the courthouse, and was agitated that all those years I whined about barely making it when I was capable of landing such a prestigious position. I felt bad, and a bit ashamed, because I didn’t realize my self motivation technique offended others. I made others feel less deserving by spreading my low energy, when I stored a full reserve of quality mentality for my personal thoughts.

Wake up each day glad to be you. Don’t shy away from embracing the electrifying charge of unfortunate events in your past. The challenges were moments to broaden your perception of universal love. The pain you felt was personal to you, which gave you the opportunity to make love in your life a personal experience. Instead of loathing your challenges, recognize them as manifestations of your insightful depth. Knowledge is a precious commodity and transforming difficulties into fables for you to share with others on similar paths allows your purpose on this planet to soar.

Your trials and tribulations, whether you felt they were unfair or viable punishments, make you an expert in resolving that subject. Give yourself the special treatment you know in your heart you deserve. According to Gautama Buddha, “You can search the world over and you will find no one who is more deserving of your kindness and well wishing than you yourself.”

If you are unconvinced your life isn’t the horrifying torture you perceive, participate more in the world and explore your neighbor’s path. Protect yourself from eroding your love shield by evaluating the behaviors you tune into, both on and off the big screen. Now is a time for opening your awareness.

The Pleasure of Perseverance 

image of hurricane clouds over Atlantic Ocean

Overcome

Photo: Hurricane Irma by J. Wilder Bill

Getting through each day parallels participating in a combative sport. We train for what is expected and invest into preparations for the worst. As I write, the state of Florida is in lockdown, preparing for a hurricane that will pass through by September 11th. Power outages are certain, water lines are sure to be turned off, massive trees always destroy houses and block roads. This is followed by flooding, inhabitable housing, and the inability of emergency vehicles to reach those in need. Interestingly, the strongest hurricane on record revolves around 9/11, which is also an emergency phone number.

To understand perseverance, I compare Tom Brady, Rafael Nadal, and Michael Jordan.

A common thread is their perceiving each baby step toward their completed goal as an accomplishment. Nadal ignores the scoreboard during a match, explaining, “You just try to play tough and focus point for point.” His “motivation is tomorrow, just one day at a time….” Jordan focuses on the next play, saying, “I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot…. When you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”

Studies show we release a feel-good chemical when we reach our goals. The more often we complete an objective, the higher the levels of dopamine are in a particular area of our brains. Those increased levels provide a sense of accomplishment, inspiring us to take the next step.

We have the ability to increase our dopamine by mentally rewarding ourselves for doing a good job before reaching our final objective. Brady credits himself with an accomplishment for daily workouts. “I just love working hard. I love being part of a team. I love working toward a common goal.” Nadal enjoys the daily grind, explaining, “The glory is being happy. The glory is not winning here or winning there. The glory is enjoying practicing, enjoy every day, enjoying to work hard, trying to be a better player than before.”

Hard work earns respect from peers. Emotional support boosts dopamine levels. Jordan states, “I want to be perceived as a guy who played his best in all facets, not just scoring. A guy who loved challenges.” Brady says, “My job is to play quarterback, and I’m going to do that the best way I know how, because I owe that to my teammates regardless of who is out there on the field with me.”

A confident winner is unmoved by lack of support. Jordan is inspired by defeatist. “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” Nadal dismisses criticism, stating, “No one is perfect. Everybody does stupid things.”

Joy comes from finding a purpose in the effort. “I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat,” says Jordan. “Mentally, the only players who survive in the pros are the ones able to manage all their responsibilities,” provides Brady. Nadal “always work[s] with a goal and the goal is to improve as a player and a person. That finally, is the most important thing of all.”

They ignore their personal needs. “When you’re one of the leaders of the team, there are no days off,” says Brady. With regard to physical discomfort, Nadal explains, “I learned during all my career to enjoy suffering.”

These athletes use failures to demonstrate how high they’ve risen. Jordan counts every glitch in his career to motivate himself to improve. “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them, everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” According to Brady, “I’ve never gotten over one loss I’ve had in my career. They always stick with me.” He describes himself as “the kid that was the one hundred ninety-ninth pick that never had the body for it. People didn’t think I’d play one year in the NFL, and now I’m going on my seventeenth year.”

With perseverance, milestones exist each day. After losing, Nadal states, “I will do as I usually do. Tomorrow is going to be a day like any other day.” “I’ve never been afraid to fail,” says Jordan.

Dopamine fuels them with enthusiasm. Nadal says, “I am a guy who likes to do what I am doing with passion….” Brady likewise says, “I always try to do as much as I can do. I’m never a person that does not enough, because I’d regret not doing enough and think I probably could have done more. I probably go too far and have to reel myself back in….” Jordan “always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.”

Throughout history, man is encouraged to invoke faith in perseverance. “Oh you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer, for God is with those who patiently persevere.” Qur’an AYAH al-Baqarah 2:153. According to James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Life is flavored with obstacles. Perseverance wins, every time.