The Golden Spot by Shaun Fauntleroy

About six or seven years ago, my friend Edith gave me a gorgeous succulent plant for Christmas. I love having plants around the house because they remind me of my great-grandmother and looking forward to bringing it home. Another friend who witnessed the gift giving told me that if I clip the ends back then it would bloom every year. She advised me with such authority that I took her word for it without double-checking and I clipped the ends back. It has not bloomed, not once. I thought I'd destroyed its ability to flower and have always regretted that ill advised pruning. A few days ago I looked at it and see two blossoms and more on the way. It only took seven years. Something beautiful that I thought I'd destroyed lives again and is more beautiful than I ever imagined. This past year, the past few months especially have been all about faith, process, and renewing hope in dreams I long took for dead. The process in renewing hope in something you want badly is a painful one. It's difficult and there's so much risk involved, but it must be done and I'm finding myself hungry for new challenges.

Speaking of challenges, my friend John recently reminded me of how beneficial The Artists Way is and I've decided to go through it again. I remember the freedom and inspiration I felt last time I went through it and I can feel my excitement growing. My main obstacle is and has always been negative thoughts and fear, so one thing I'm using to help with this is running...which I hate.

A few years ago I found myself dipping my toe into the Cross-Fit craze. There's a Cross-Fit box near my home and I was making good money at the time so I took the plunge. In one of my first classes I was doing a rep of something horrendous involving crunches, a medicine ball, and burpees when I felt my body begin to revolt. My thoughts began to race and in them I heard, "I can't do this. This is too hard. I can't do this." I started to make up my mind to stop and another voice crept in and said, "You can do this. You're being asked to work much harder than you've worked in a long while and you're not used to it, but you can do this. Don't give up." Mind over matter.

I listened to the voice and kept going, and over time I felt my body getting stronger and my endurance growing. I applied this mind over matter/self-encouragement principle to other areas of my life—college, writing endeavors, self-discipline—and I saw fairly significant results. Several weeks ago my friend lovely friend Kathy Fryman was recently encouraging me to challenging myself with running, which I hate doing, and she said, "The worst parts are getting started and coming to the finish, but once you get going you're in the golden spot." Words to live by. Words to create by.

Again, mind over matter. Having a physical activity that mirrors the mental act of overcoming challenges and pushing yourself to do your best is key for me. So far this month I've run twice a week and plan to increase it to three times next week. Let's see what blooms next. 

The Permanent Delegate by Shaun Fauntleroy

It was reported today that yet another act of vandalism towards the Jewish community has occurred, which was the second incident in a week. Our current administration is littered with open racists, misogynists, and homophobes. Rights of America's disenfranchised and vulnerable are being attacked, and around the world men, women, and children continue to be slaughtered and tortured in the names of gods and men. This poem I encountered in high school springs to mind and my heart breaks at its relevancy.

The Permanent Delegate
by Yuri Suhl

My name is Jew
I come from the land of skeleton
They beat me in Berlin
Tortured me in Warsaw
Shot me in Lublin
And I am still here
The ash of my bones
A glowing monument,
A fiery headstone

I am the scorched hair of a virgin's bright curls
Smoothed and patted by anxious hands.
I am a maddened mother's futile tears
Soothing in vain a hundred anguished hurts.
I am the boiling of blood the shriveling of flesh
Smoldering ash of six million.
Ashes of body, of brain, of vision, of work
Ashes of genius and dreams
Ashes of God's master stroke, man

Count the limbs gentlemen
Match them if you can in pairs,
It can't be done.
For I am one ghost out of six million.
Out of all the ashes I have become one
And the dream lies broken
And spit on.

I am here to tell you gentlemen
It's a lie
The world is not yet Hitler-Free.
Millions see it, condemn it
Cry out my pain and warn you.
But you are moved  
Like a granite statue by the prick of a pin.
Therefore I have come
Uninvited, unwelcome
Bringing a message from the land of skeleton.

I am grafting my ash to your souls
I am hanging my dreams around your necks
I am blotting out the sun from your day with my shadow
And I am tearing the quiet of your night with the shrieks of my torture.
I will pick at your brains with my maggots
And I will beat at your conscience with the hands
Of a million dead children. 

Yea, though you split the atom to infinity
You shall see my face before your eyes
I sit at all the round tables
At every conference, I am a delegate
My credentials signed by six million from the land of skeleton
And you will never get rid of me
Until the world is Hitler-free.

Ambien Dreams by Shaun Fauntleroy

#1 - I'm with my mother and her boyfriend in a supermarket, the same supermarket in all of my dreams, and I'm trying desperately to find an iced honeybun. All I can find are cinnamon rolls and none of them have the caloric content listed. The more I search, the more I'm filled with shame...

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Worthwhile reading by Shaun Fauntleroy

This is too lengthy for a Facebook post, and to be honest, feel like I'm saturating myself there. So, I thought I'd add here a few articles that I've found particularly enlightening and inspirational of late. 

Kerry Washington And Cate Blanchett On Why Women Need To Take Risks
This is a Huffington Post article from Allana Vagianos...

Lucy: Why I'm Tired of Seeing White People on the Big Screen
This is another Huffington Post article from Olivia Cole...

Transformation | Day 7 by Shaun Fauntleroy

After a week of doing the Tracy Anderson DVD (I took Friday and Saturday-days 5&6 off), I’m already starting to see results. Not drastic results, but my jeans are a little looser around the thighs and my knees, which have been hurting for weeks, no longer ache and creak when I ascend a flight of stairs. Very grateful. I’m also feeling my legs getting a bit stronger so I’ve upped my reps by 10. If anyone is looking for a free workout they can do at home, Nike has a great app called Nike Training Club...

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Transformation | Days 4-6 by Shaun Fauntleroy

The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been…

I didn’t write as much as I planned last week, but I am forgiving myself for that and moving forward from that. Thinking about all the things I should have done or the areas where I didn’t achieve is–used to be a favorite pastime of mine. Time to silence the birds.

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