Manage what you can and
honor your limitations,
so that you can actualize your possibilities.
The wisdom of Bro. Rabbi (Bernard Kynes)
The body knows,
I am learning.
One hour ago,
I was awakened
from my sleep
with ringing ears.
The bells are tolling,
I bid you write.
To their sound,
I must respond.
A word to Self on writing and life.
Perfection is not always excellence. Sometimes the mis-stroke makes the masterpiece.
Excellence need not be perfection...
the journey toward perfection is a daily quest.
On life's journey, every step and mis-step is an excellent teacher guiding me to perfection's elusive goal.
Stop trying to be perfect. Take one step.
Picture of "Weights and Consequences: A Rock Stacking Game of Strategy, Concentration, and Contemplation"
Anaya and I developed this game on our first annual Daddy Daughter Girl Scouts Camping trip. With no cell phone service, we played for an hour. The highlight of my weekend!
The airy lightness of light ill-prepares us
for the weighty blanket of darkness.
Yet, "always there is a shadow,"
even in the light
the darkness is near.
Shadowy, blanketing darkness...
a teacher, a confidante, a companion, a friend?
In the light of this day, what must I learn from darkness?
G. Ellison II, morning musings, 9.28.16
This sage wisdom of my beloved teacher and friend, Ms. Elesa shook at me my core unlike any other words in 2016. Inhabiting oneself is as much of a goal as it is a life-long journey.
In my writing, I draw inspiration from hip-hop poets Andre 3000 and Big Boi of the Atlanta-based duo, Outkast. After twenty years their words still soothe my Southern soul and stir the radical in me.
"The clothes a man wears are also a part of the sacrament of living."
The wisdom of Dr. Edward I. Bosworth, Howard Thurman’s New Testament Professor at Oberlin College
I am tired of sailing my little boat
Far inside the harbor bar—
I want to go out where the big ships float
Out on the deep where the great ones are.
And should my frail craft prove to slight
For waves that sweep those billows o’er,
I’d rather go down in the stirring fight
Than [drown] to death by the sheltered shore.
"Black Men Smile" photo taken by little brother, Jahmel A. Holden
Santa Barbara, CA (March 2016)
From one of the ten best novels I have ever read. Hear this narrative of the enslaved Temitope:
He was short and deep brown, not black like the rest of us. His brows were thick and unruly, and his eyes set far apart. Beauty was not his blessing, but we loved him no less. And his tongue never tired. When he fell silent, it was only from our urging. His name meant "Give thanks" and he meant to do so, even in the land of captivity. Day and night he whispered of the majesty of God and the truth of our glory. His tongue irritated many, so his voice fell to a murmur but he never quieted. "God is God of the universe," he said. "He is God of this land, too, and He shall redeem what pale men have disturbed." Many didn't want to hear this. Our situation did not confirm his sentiment. Still, he spoke with clarity rare as a white tiger. He was the only reason gloom did not consume us. Even when we chose not to hear him, his voice tumbled through the air, never letting us forget who we were and where we'd come from....
Sometimes he walked away from us and spoke to the air. We were too frustrated to hear, but he was not discouraged. He knew who he was. He knew why he'd been sent. Both to the earth and on this voyage.... We stayed this side of life because, as Temitope babbled, gloom weakened its devastating hold....
And sometimes he spoke to the earth. On hands and knees, he'd press his mouth to the ground and mumble quietly. We didn't know what he said. Most didn't care. They were too consumed with misery. But a few noticed and wondered what exactly he was doing. He'd rise occasionally and clap with excitement as though understanding something we did not, then return to the position of humility. We believe now that he saw our future and understood why things had to be this way. We believe that in speaking to the earth, he assured our ancestors would survive. And we would understand. One day (145-147).
For more on Temitope, Ayodele, Monifa, Nkechi, and the people who lived both here and there, the people who could hear the voice of God, the people who survived and retained their faith and hope, click this link. You will be forever changed. GE2 OUT!
The words of Howard Washington Thurman: “There is in every person an inward sea, and in that sea there is an island, and on that island there is an altar and standing guard before that altar is the “Angel with the flaming sword.” Nothing can get by that angel to be placed upon that altar unless it has the mark of your inner authority.”[i]
[i] Thurman, Meditations of the Heart, p. 54
Greg, careful 'round them church folk... Some of them crooked as a barrel of snakes.
The wise words of my grandpa, Willie "Dub" Simpson, to Greg the first-year seminarian
Too much of anything will kill you.
Drink too much water, you'll drown.
Too much salt, high blood pressure.
Everything in moderation, Greg...
The wise words of Franceina Ellison to a young Rev. Greg
Lord, have mercy on my soul... Look at all these chickens, I done stole.
The hilarious Uncle Slim playing poker at a family reunion, overheard by a 10-year-old Greg