Men + Myself + God

Tag: New Years

Bravery, Life, and Another Effing New Year

by P. Braithwaite

My mother always tells me I’m brave. Now, I don’t take this very seriously, she also says I’m careless, impatient, and prone to bad moods (hi mom). But, with regard to bravery, she has remarked that I’m unafraid to try new things, go new places, and take risks. I’ve never really committed to this idea that she has about me — this vision of an explorer in a strange world, unafraid of the challenges that lie ahead.

So many things scare the f*ck out of me. There are so many places I’m afraid to go.

An old boyfriend used to wrestle with me — like full out WWF-style sparring. We’d attack each other when the other least expected it. While one of us was napping, or watching TV, we’d take the opportunity to strike.

“You fight like you can’t be punched in the face.” he once remarked.

He was right.

At the time, he meant it as a criticism. He was trying to warn me to raise my fists, to block more diligently, to expect to be hurt by my opponent. I did not heed his warnings. I threw my entire body into harms way. I tried to scratch, bite, and maim with no finesse or skill. More often than not, this did not work in my favor. I’d end up twisted in some sort of pretzel, being coaxed into saying ‘uncle’ or ‘you win.’ But in those moments, when my neck was being crushed between a forearm, or my head found its way underneath a chiseled thigh, I’d remember: kamikaze-style bravery can end up horribly horribly wrong…

…But that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.

In the upcoming year, I wish you bravery. I wish you blind, obnoxious bravery that, at first glance, appears foolish. I wish you the ambition to make mistakes and the generosity to forgive yourself. I pray that you fight in this life like you can’t be punched in the face.

Bruises heal.
Time mitigates pain.
We’ll all be fine in the end.

I hope you let go of things that haunt you, as you begin to see yourself. I hope you express yourself loudly as if no one in the room will judge you. I hope carve out the space to heal — even if healing disrupts the status quo. You deserve the right to heal wholly and completely. I wish you the bravery to scream, and courage to be quiet — alone — and selfish.

…I wish you bravery to love yourself.

I hope you have the courage to be still and rely on people who love you the most.

I wish you the bravery required to let other people in.

I pray you have the bravery to own, nourish, and be yourself. But most of all, I wish you the foolish childlike magic — reckless, doe-eyed ambition — to believe in the wildest dreams you have about yourself.

Those dreams are leading you to greatness.

Happy New Year, Friends.

On Patience (NOT a New Year’s Post)

by P. Braithwaite

Happy New Year!! I don’t know about you all, but I couldn’t wait for this holiday season to be over. I took down my tree on New Year’s Eve, and I’m already looking forward to spring. I’ll spare you the obligatory New Year’s post because I’m just not into it. I’m ready to move on. I leave for Miami in about two weeks and I’m already there in my head.

Which brings me to today’s post: I am not a very patient person.

I have a lot of redeeming qualities, but patience isn’t one of them. Luckily, understanding is. People think I am patient because, when they FINALLY do what I’ve asked…I can understand their frustrations and delays. I think I make up for my impatience with understanding. At least I hope so. I like for things to be done on my time, I love to be in control, I don’t love dwelling on things that are outside of my control, and (although I am very indecisive) I do not handle ambivalence well; I like to know things. And once I know things, I like for these things that I know to immediately come to pass. And I prefer they come to fruition exactly way I expect them to.

Otherwise I get upset.
And I get frustrated.
And I throw quiet lady tantrums in my bedroom when no one is looking.

I assure you my impatience isn’t pretty.

Here’s the thing, though: Life doesn’t always unfold in perfect harmony with my desires. I really wish it did; however, other people don’t work on my schedule and life continues to tick by despite my best efforts to the contrary. And so, out of necessity, I must learn to cultivate patience.

I have been afraid to pray for patience because I am acutely aware that patience will require more distance between what I expect and where I am right now. Yet, here I am deepening my relationship to it.

Here’s what I’ve learned about patience, thus far:

Impatience comes from a lack of faith:
I’ve noticed that I am far more tolerant of time when I KNOW something is going to happen. There may be some eagerness and a splash of enthusiasm, but overall, when my faith is sky high, I am calmly waiting for whatever it is I desire. When I don’t have any faith that what I desire will show up, then I get impatient. I need to increase my faith to increase my patience. I must also have faith that even if what I desire doesn’t arrive…everything is unfolding for my highest good.

Patience only exists where there is a level of non-attachment:
Non-attachment is one of those phrases that is easier uttered than lived. It’s the process by which we leave space for God/the universe to come in and work her magic. When you have a certain level of non-attachment you can relinquish the need to FORCE things, to make things happen, or to “choke the baby.” Much like having faith, non-attachment allows you to trust in the rhythm and flow of things unseen.

Technology is killing our patience:
I remember when my dad let me download Napster — you remember Napster? It was the first file sharing program for mainstream use, and it changed my life. Prior to Napster, I had to sit in front of my radio all day with my hand hovering over my tape deck — ready to push play when Usher or DMX finally came on the radio. Napster changed all of that. If I wanted to hear a song, I could download it within a few minutes — now it’s a few seconds. So much of what we desire is accessible at the speed of light, and I think we forget that life has its own technology that unfolds in perfect time. The other day I was meditating on the center of my heart and I saw a vast forest covered in snow. I thought it meant that I was a cold-hearted bitch, but then I realized that there are cycles and rhythms to life (and my heart). We cannot rush springtime and we can’t live in perpetual summer…there is much to be gained from the deceptively dormant winter.

You are more patient than you think:
It’s true, you know. no matter how much I resist, so much of life is beyond my control, and so the cool thing about patience is — since you can’t change the present — you are forced to be patient. It’s like being stuck in an elevator with a smelly guy. There’s no place else to go and nothing left to do — you’ve just gotta wait and keep breathing.

How do you all maintain patience?