I have had many defining moments in my life. Most of them have evolved into a common theme that defines who I am as a person.
I don’t believe I am unique to this experience. In fact, I believe we all have a common theme that our defining moments are based on. It’s important to explore your inner promptings and discover what that common theme is. It is there that we find our own uniqueness, the genius we have to offer the world.
When we find it, we must stand for it… live it, be it. At the end of the day, I have to DO ME and you have to DO YOU. Those who are true to themselves have an easier time accepting others who are being true to themselves. This is where peace, harmony, productivity and potential are realized.
Allow me to share my journey that led me to the common theme of my life. Perhaps this will help you to explore your own.
I think the most significant Defining Moment took place when I, a white boy, lived in an all black neighborhood in Baltimore Maryland. Many of you have heard my stories of McCabe Avenue. I lived there in 1984. At the time, I was only 20 years old. In the first few days of walking down McCabe, I was not accepted by many because I am white. For the first time in my 20 years of living, I truly felt what it was like to be the minority.
Then, as the story goes, I met Tony Watson. A 17 year old black kid that accepted me and we became close friends. He taught me how to rap. We had incredible times on those streets and I became accepted as part of the neighborhood. I was amazed what I learned from a group of people that lived, where many would say, was on the wrong side of the tracks. The ghetto. It was there that I learned, though we came from different backgrounds and was born in different races, we had the same desires to love, be loved, pursue dreams and make a difference in the world.
I learned on McCabe that this game called humanity is really quite simple. It’s our societies and what we learn that makes it complicated. Hatred, separation, prejudice and even racism, are learned evils. Often times those emotions and beliefs run very deep.
When I was on McCabe, it had only been 19 years since the height of the civil rights movement. And, though racial tensions were still felt, it seemed as if our society had made lots of progress. Today we have added another 32 plus years to our history and, unfortunately, it seems as if we have digressed in the all important category of getting along as human beings.
I will never claim to understand where everyone is coming from or what all the answers might be to bring us back together again. But, I do know this. In 1984, a 20 year old white boy and a 17 year old black boy were the closest of friends living in an all black neighborhood. We danced in the streets and busted out rhymes. We were friends with everyone. This was my defining moment and every defining moment since has been related to me being a solution to bringing people together.
I learned and all important message back then and that message has become the theme of my life. I can sum it up with these words:
Our world is blessed with numerous ethnic groups of people. But there is only one race, it’s called the human race. We are all brothers and sisters in this game called life and we can learn so much from each other. I believe that becoming united as a people is the true test we must pass as human beings. To do this we must believe in a world that is rich in ethnic diversity and united in our resolve to be one group, one family, and one race. Being united as a people must be the priority. And though that may not be the case for many, it will be the case for me and everything I stand for. We are united as a people and united we send out who we are to the world.
Another thing that impressed me on those streets was that people, for the most part, were real. What you saw is what you got. Nobody was fake. People there were true to who they were and not afraid to express their uniqueness. I loved that about the streets of Baltimore. In that attitude I witnessed amazing talent. The kids on those streets were expressive through music, artwork, poetry and words. Oh how many were masters of words with the ability to communicate with passion. That’s why, to this day, I have a love for hip hop and rap. It brings out the expressive nature of a rich culture. So many amazing stories of lives lived are expressed in brilliant poetry delivered through rhythm and rhyme.
I understand that I share this passion and interest with, perhaps, a small segment of the world’s population. Many people are not into hip-hop and rap and have never had the experiences I have had.
Those people have had their own life experiences, their own defining moments and their own common themes that drive them. And isn’t that the way it is supposed to be. It’s not in sameness that we experience what life has to offer us. It is in differences. Diversity is the greatest blessing of the universe.
If I can get tuned into the common theme of my life and just do me then I know that my contribution will make a difference. And how can I do that if I don’t respect or celebrate the common theme of others. Your contribution blesses my life as mine blesses yours. This is not complicated. It’s a simple formula that blesses you with a life of passion, peace and joy.
So the Defining Moments of my life have evolved into a service that can help people become united. Together, we can offer this service to the world. We can also offer an opportunity, along with that service, that gives people something they can build for themselves and their families.
In the climate of today’s world, we need to realize how significant this is. We have a service that can help people come together again. We also have an opportunity where people can actively build something of financial and spiritual significance. In a world where people are quick to judge others and seek to tear things down we can provide the antidote.
When you are actively engaged in producing or building something its not even possible for you to loot or tear things down.
From a literature classic book titled “Atlas Shrugged” written by Ayn Rand in 1957. We are taken on a brilliant fictional story; a story where heads of big industry, in the book known as producers, are struggling to keep their businesses operational. Their opposition comes from regulators, in the book known as looters that continue to gain power and stifle the growth of the producers. As the story line continues, the Producers start disappearing and it’s a great mystery as to where they have gone. Later you find there is a character by the name of John Galt that shows up and offers the producers a new society where production can thrive once again. Though some view this book as politically controversial, It points out a simple fact. In our world we have people that build things (producers) and people that tear things down (looters) Also in our world, we are constantly seeking for a solution to a stronger economy and a better society in which to live. In the book, that solution comes in the name of John Galt.
What I propose to you today is we have found John Galt. We have created the representation of his character in the opportunity that each of us holds in our hands. We do have a better way; a way that turns people into producers with a product that can bring people back together again.
So take this opportunity and “Do You” and celebrate other people when they do the same. The world will be much better for it.
To summarize the significance of being true to who you are, I have written what I call the “DO YOU MANIFESTO”, may its words resonate with you and inspire you to bless us with your genius:
Worry about what others think and you
End up confused with little direction
Slow to manifest your dreams –frustrated
You lose hope and only find solace in watching
Other stories of dreams lived
Then you see some who are not afraid to be who they are
Yet others…who still might be
and they miss the message that comes from the uniqueness
None of this madness stops until you become true to you
When you do you.. you begin to celebrate others who do the same
And its only then that your life moves upward
Momentum is gained
Respect is shown to others regardless of difference
We come to know that families – mine and yours—
Are most important
We all have are dreams and seek happiness
But sometimes our social devices steal our focus
We get caught up in others chatter
Quickly lose site that all lives matter
And it only makes the world sadder
Conflict only breeds more conflict
Love and peace bring to pass the civil rights of all
There is only one race
With every human leaving their own unique thumbprint
We can celebrate our differences when we focus
On how we are all the same
To love and be loved is how the human race evolves as one
The process begins and ends with you. Just do you and win
Be the best version of you and you become a producer in society
When you actively build something
Your mind cannot process tearing something down
The world and the people in it owe you nothing
But you owe it to yourself to give the world
and the people in it everything
Find out who you are and give yourself away
This is how we all stand together as one
As I mentioned, my life experiences helped me to acquire a passion for hip-hop and rap music. I have written numerous songs and even performed raps in speeches I have done over the years. I was taught that the beat of the music track puts your mind into a rhythm. And, with that rhythm, your mind begins to flow with rhyming messages. I love this creative process. I guess you could say: “its who I am”. I find great satisfaction in creating messages of inspiration that transpire into lyrics for a musical ballad or rhymes for a rap. After writing the “DO YOU MANIFESTO” I decided to transcribe it into a rap. Here are the words:
If you study these words closely, you will find there is a deep message of inspiration. This is another thing I love about lyrics to songs. Most of the time, lyrics are written at a high level of creative vibration. Because of that, their messages are deep and, often times have hidden messages that need explanation. Those explanations can be fascinating.
In a future article, I will go into the explanation of the lyrics to the “DO YOU RAP”.
I have to DO ME and you have to DO YOU.