Sunday, December 10, 2006

Catch a Fire - Part 1

This last week was tremendously challenging for me. Cooped up in an office for 12-15 a day, I had little time or energy to EXIST…no time or energy to read, reflect, exercise, meditate, socialize or engage in any of the activities that energize me. Unfortunately, last week wasn’t an exception. For the last year and a half, weeks like last have been the norm. And I’m CERTAIN that my experience over the last 72 weeks hasn’t been unique. I’m positive that anyone reading this blog has at some point gone through the periods of lifeless, sleeping walking and spiritual emptiness that is currently infecting my life.

I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of a resurrection.

Over my next few postings, I’m going to explore the notions of success and happiness as they pertain to career, relationships and spirituality. While these postings will be public, the subject matter will be deeply personal. I don’t claim to have any special insight into the aforementioned themes, but I do hope that my postings stir something deep inside anyone reading my blog.

To give context to my future posting, I want share an extract from an email that I sent to an organization I was hoping to volunteer with. Hopefully, this introduction will put many of my future commentary into perspective.
I'm currently working as an Information Systems Auditor for a public accounting firm, but my interests have always centered on sociology and history (especially as it pertains to social struggles for freedom and equality). Having been born and raised for a significant portion of my life in Africa, my interest begins with colonization and African struggles for independence (particularly in the 60s and 70s) and has moved more recently (in the last two years), into the African American struggle for equality. With regard to the latter struggle, I have been inspired by so many of the themes and heroes emerging from the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements. Such movement themes as self-determination, black empowerment, black beauty and pride - though integral in the African independence movements - have most clearly been articulated to me through the writings of Malcolm X, James Cone, Harold Cruse, Huey Newton and, as I've discovered lately, Martin Luther King Jr. I've been moved by the music, literature and poetry of Gil Scott Heron, The Last Poets, Curtis Mayfield, John Coltrane, Sonia Sanchez, and Toni Morrison.

As one might expect, this interest has quickly matured into a desire for action. Thanks to the intellectual leading of Cornel West in particular and bell hooks to a lesser degree, I have come to realize that ideas alone and intellectualizing on issues is not enough. There must be a by-product that results from the spiritual, intellectual and emotional wrestling one engages in with such issues as poverty, failing education systems, patriarchy, homophobia, homelessness, religious fundamentalism, tribalism, etc.

At this stage in my life, I believe the best way to act on the little bit of knowledge I've been blessed to discover is to share it with others and attempt get them excited about it. I can't tell you how inspired and empowered I've become as a result of the literature, music, movies, plays, I've been exposed to and the folks I've broken bread with over the last two years. I want others, in particular those younger then me, to share in the sort of transformative experience I'm undergoing.


Professor Shakes