Archive for December, 2011

Avoiding Pointless Arguments

Sometimes when you’re in the heat of an argument with someone you lose all sense of rationale and fall into a very common trap.  That trap would be to continue to play the tit for tat response game that you may see coming from the one you are arguing with.  You know what I’m talking about.  When you are trying so hard to get the last word because the person you won’t let the person that you’re arguing with have the last say.  This is very counterproductive and it’s also very easy to fall into as more often than not, you don’t realize that you’ve even engaged in this pointless exercise until either it’s all done, a neutral 3rd party points it out to you, or you have a revelation and see it for yourself.  Even once you come to realize it, it still can be hard to break this habit during an argument as a person may feel that by doing so, their pride will be injured and they can’t have that happen.

So if this is you that I ask this question to you.  What’s more important to have the last word in order to keep your pride in tact while damaging your relationships or to be right and light (to be light in this situation is to be the illuminating voice or person of reason that would rather do what’s right regardless of what pride may dictate you should do) in a situation that never needed to escalate to where it is in the first place?  So much of our personal turmoil can be attributed with the strange need of having to be right or having the last say in an argument as in the end it really isn’t fruitful.  What, your pride may feel good for the moment but what then?

It’s not easy to be able to walk away from a pointless argument with someone who may feel like they’ve “won” because they “had the last word” but after you learn to do it, I guarantee you that you will not only feel good about it, but you will be better for it.  This is something that takes time to master and by no means will be an overnight venture but if you persist and continue, you’ll find that you will have less personal drama and be able to see the bigger picture much better because you won’t be viewing it through anger colored glasses.


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Is Revenge Ever Good?

What are you trying to get revenge or pay someone back for?  Is it for something that they’ve actually done, you think they’ve done, or you’ve assumed they’ve done?  Seeking revenge is one of the worse things a person can do in the first place, but getting revenge for something that you can’t even verify actually happened is dumber.  Those who always need to have their revenge or the last word in an argument are those who have yet to realize that by doing so, you are the one that show’s their lack of maturity and ability to forgive and move forward.  This is something that will always keep you tied to your past while distorting your present and ultimately destroying your potential future.

People who always need to seek revenge are people who are manipulators by nature and a manipulator needs to seek revenge or have the final say because of several reasons that include:

  • They can’t stand the fact that someone they know has control of their own life in a way that they wish that they (the manipulator) could control their own life.
  • They don’t want to recognize the authority (authority meaning not someone who is controlling or trying to direct your life, but someone who has been put in your life to help you and correct you when you are wrong) of someone else in their life and choose to try to take control (not authority) over the lives of others.
  • They still haven’t resolved their childhood hurts and fears so as an injured adult they choose to lash out by trying to control everything and everyone around them.
  • It bothers a manipulator to see other people happy and living out their dreams and goals so those that they see like that that are in the sphere of influence are those that they constantly try to make miserable because they (the manipulator) themselves are miserable.


I can tell you first hand that this is not a good way to live as I’ve tried this route before and it just keeps you miserable.  People have to come to terms with the fact that no human being on this Earth is meant to be independent.  For those of you that are Christians, the basic tenets of your faith in God should tell you that, for those of you that are not but believe in science and logic, show me one life form on this planet that can live independent of anything.  We as human beings were always meant to be interdependent, which means that we need other people and the environment that we live in in order to thrive and live.  Living a life that is hell bent on revenge and having the last word is a life of solitude and loneliness because your happiness is based on the misery of others and when you spend so much time trying to make sure that other people are miserable you yourself will never be fulfilled because seeking revenge is like a narcotic drug addiction, the first high feels like the best and you keep going after the next high hoping that it will be better this time around and it never is.

Seeking revenge is never good and stop confusing revenge for justice.  Justice is different in that justice isn’t about making someone miserable in order for you to be happy.  Justice is all about having wrongs righted in the most objective way possible without your help in righting the wrong.  Revenge is an independent and selfish function that does nothing but cause misery.  Justice is interdependent and depends on the collective work of all in order for it to be fulfilled.  So once again, Revenge is Never Good, so if you are one that is seeking it, stop now before it’s too late for you.

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2011 in a few paragraphs.

Christmas time was here, retail and online businesses made lots of money with all of the gift buying that went on, and there were those in Christian community that were reminding us that gifts aren’t the real reason for this season.  I can tell you that this year Christmas meant something more to me than I anticipated.  Christmas signified a rebirth of sorts for me.  This rebirth by and large has to do with a lot of what I’ve gone through this year and some of the more recent changes I made for the rest of my life.  Some of you who know me personally know that at the beginning of this year I was on my way to being divorced from my wife of 7 years and going through a lot of changes because of it.  I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me that I just wasn’t seeing.  I really began to devalue who I am until I found solace in the one thing that has kept me sane for a very long time, music.  I found 1 particular album very helpful (and I still listen to it regularly today)  Soul Movement vol. 1 by Slakah the Beatchild (if you’ve never heard Slakah’s beats or music along with some of Canada’s best and brightest, PICK THIS ALBUM UP!!!!!!!) .  Not only did I find comfort in listening to this and other albums I have, I found comfort, joy, and an emotional outlet again in playing and writing music.  This was a great re-discovery for me that has carried me throughout this year and will continue on for the rest of my life.

The middle of this year found me very agitated at the political doublespeak, excuses, and just overall stupidity of playing, teaching, and being a part of the Black American Music/African-American Music/Jazz  (yes I did that on purpose) Scene of Hartford.  I said scene instead of community because the truth is that there’s only a handful of people that truly believe in the community as a whole while others are more concerned with keeping themselves as the “kings” of this scene and planning out their own personal agenda at the expense of others.  I don’t say this lightly, as I have great respect for the musicians that work hard here in Hartford to make something happen, but I also don’t’ apologize for airing what some people all ready know or what some people would rather keep secret.  Hartford is a place with a lot of potential that never seems to realize what it’s capable of because some (rather influential )people (in certain circles) are more concerned with making excuses and trying to put their favorites in places that they haven’t earned rather than allowing things to take their natural course.  This is something that irritated me in particular during the middle of this year because this attitude cost me a few opportunities that I’ve worked hard for and most definitely earned.

But on the brighter side, the middle of this year also brought the beginning of reconciliation between my wife and I, something that I definitely wasn’t expecting, but am happy to work on.  You see, if you were serious when you took those marriage vows, there’s very little that can keep you away from working on making it right.  And this is definitely a process, but I believe it’s a worthwhile              to work on it.  The middle of this year also brought 3 goals that I’ve wanted to achieve for quite a while now to fruition.  Playing at a few Jazz Festivals and playing in my hometown of NYC for the first time in several years and I was able to celebrate my wedding anniversary, something I didn’t think was possible at the beginning of this year.

The end of this year has brought me back to a place I 0nce was, and to a new place I am just beginning to explore. The end of this year has brought me back to being a student both figuratively and literally. This has also brought me to a place of new boldness in which I not only have stood up to somethings that were wrong and needed to be challenged, but somethings that have allowed me to be bold enough to get a promotion at my current job even though my employer knows my long term plans lie away from them.  This opportunity  will help me to better provide for my family as well as reach some goals for 2012 that require a financial investment.  I have also regained a new respect for my health, not because of any health scare, but because of my own choice and began taking better care of my health, because without it, I can’t do or enjoy anything in this life.

The new year is only a few days away, but it’s already going to be a lot brighter with new challenges that I’m looking forward to tackling.

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The Right of Refusal

Today while I was on the phone with someone I asked them where they were at and this person refused to tell me. I wasn’t offended by this but I did say to the person in question that they could continue being secretive as much as they want as it wasn’t bothering me. In this case this person exercised their right of refusal in not telling me where they were at. But the funny thing about some people who exercise this right is that they don’t want others to do the same to them.

One must understand in this case that you can’t have it both ways and that if you choose to be secretive and refuse to give out information, don’t get mad when someone else does the same. The one area in which this does not balance out is in relationships. When you’re in a relationship with someone and you consistently choose to have secrets, you are fostering an environment of mistrust and dishonesty. Such an environment dooms a relationship before it even has a chance to start. I guess you can say the moral of this post is there’s never a problem with you refusing to do something that would violate your morals and sense of justice, but be careful of who you refuse to share information with as you may be dooming a relationship before it has the chance to start.

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Sometimes you have to go through hell in order to understand what it means to bring a piece of heaven to the space you occupy here on Earth.  I just got my (musical) keyboard working again  recently and immediately wrote a new piece of music as well as started writing another piece of music.  The music really revitalized me as I’ve been tested and tried in ways that I didn’t think were possible as of lately.  But through them all, I’ve been escaping them with a peace that (as the Bible describes it) passes all understanding.  This peace is the direct result of going through so much stuff and making the decision to not allow any of it to occupy space in my mind and heart.  It is this as simple as that.  So often peace escapes us because we are expecting peace to come from an external place when it’s origins are all internal.

That means that you can control the amount of peace that you have in your life no matter what the circumstances are that you are in the midst of .  It also means that you are fully capable of determining what you allow to disturb you and what you allow to fuel you.  What I’m saying here is that there will be times where in the heat of the moment someone will be able to catch you off guard and make you angry, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay there any longer than necessary.

Life has a way of teaching you what you need and want to know if you are paying attention and lately life has been teaching me, no, reminding me of something that I once had and am receiving again.  How to have Peace no matter what the circumstances are around me.

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Some Poetry

I know it’s been a while since I last wrote here.  I’m getting used to being a full-time student again as well as working and my family among other things, so I thought today I would share a poem that I wrote inspired by somethings I was seeing in a student and things that I have also found in myself.  I hope you enjoy and that it speaks to you as well:

The Prison of Your Own Creation by Haneef N. Nelson

Iron bars and 6 by 8 usually mean that

you are in prison with no hope of escape.

Yet everyday that we live in breathe there are

people in prisons worse than these.  The prisons

they’re in has roots deep inside a place that

is more frightening to be locked up than any

tight place.  The first place is a land of mystery where

what you feel can seriously become real if you don’t know

how to separate fantasy from reality.  A place where

all that is said can be worse than a gunshot wound to your

head if you don’t know how to shield yourself properly.  This

place also happens to be a repository for all that emotion that

if left unchecked can make you feel as if you were drowning,

yet you never step foot in an ocean.  Have you figured it out?

Do you know this place?  I bet if you’ve been there before then

you can’t ignore that the place I speak of is none other than your heart.

But yet there is another prison that is equally as bad as this one.

A place in which the escape key is something so readily available that

many can’t find it in plain sight.  Even though we spend years trying to

acquire something that can never expire it alludes those who choose to

believe that it is something only reserved for those that deem themselves

better than the rest. This something is the one thing that can liberate us

from all prisons of any kind because this something breaks us out of the prison

of our mind.  The mind is a place where we acquire knowledge but knowledge

alone can imprison us in place worse than any phantom zone.  The key to getting

of this prison that I speak of is something that not even the truth can liberate us

from.  What you need to escape this trap is something that our ancestors have

been trying to impart to us from times way back.  That would be the gift of wisdom.

The ability to have wise dominion over all the knowledge and experience that

has brought you to where you are right now.

So learn this lesson well and learn it quick, never allow yourself to be trapped in the

only place where ignorance and experience dictate your pace.  This place is stronger than any material known to man

and can only be destroyed by the one person who put you there in the first place, you. This place is the prison of your

own creation.

© 2011

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Contentment vs. Satisfaction

I had a discussion earlier this morning (which is had to believe since it’s 5:26am right now) in which I was asked if I’m never satisfied because in the eyes of the person I was speaking to I’m not satisfied even though I’m making some progress in areas of my life that I haven’t made it before.  And to be totally honest, I’m not satisfied, I may be content with making progress, but I’m definitely not satisfied.  I”m content with the progress being made in some of the areas of my life right now, but not satisfied, as satisfaction tends to speak to an end result while contentment tends to speak to the progress being made towards that end result.  So that begs the question, is there anything wrong with me or anyone else for that matter not being satisfied or with their current state?  I think the answer depends on the person.

If a person can never find any contentment in life then they will not find any satisfaction and in my opinion that’s a person that has something wrong with them.  Are you trying to tell me that you can’t find any contentment and satisfaction in anything?  If that’s the case, then you seem to be the kind of person that chooses to be miserable and never happy and that’s sad.  So let’s get something straight here; if you have a plan that you are executing to achieve your dreams and goals and are finding contentment in the process but not satisfaction because you haven’t reached your end results, that’s (in my opinion) perfectly okay.  It’s when you are never content or never satisfied with anything that you have a problem that should cause you to do some serious soul searching.


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