Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity — to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: “See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper,” Baldoni says. “Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”
Two doors opening to star filled skies. You say you’ve never felt like this before. Surely you have, although you may not remember, for you all are like me, and I am like you. Deeply, what affects one affects all.
Gracious gifts we give to each other through our experiences. Knowingly or not, every event that has impact on your life will affect every life around you. People do not even have to be in the same room, the same city, or state, or even county. It is all interconnected, WE are all interconnected.
I see you laughing, I feel your joy, I sense your heartache, your pain. I witness the battle as it is waged and I see you standing, so brave, so strong. I want to be like you, I envision a world where everyone is … fighting for peace and freedom in a new fashion, yet an old one too, reborn into a world of chaos.
I am glad you are here to teach us the ways of peace. I am thrilled to find that these threads belong to me, are present within my being. Even though we are apart, we are near, heart to heart.
Thank you for showing me how it is done. Thank you for teaching me patience. Thank you for steadfastly showing me that perseverance for a cause benefiting all, increases, blossoming and healing.
I am blessed to witness you as you breathe. I am joined to you, our roots entangled through time. As time speeds up, and then slows once more, we arrive at seasons, where we can relax, and know it was all worth it.
Blue face, fire for hair, looking at me. Strong man rolls up his sleeves. The message is not clear, and your voice here is not real.
Man laying flat on his back. Peering under him I see another, strapped to him, back to back … the second one is face down in the water of the bed, shackled, allowed to come up for a gasping breath of air only occasionally.
How does it know I am sleeping? Sensors … Who is Santa Claus, really? “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
People … they run around always telling themselves they must do this or that. They claim to know what strength is. They’ve been observing for some time, many … There are so many more they are not aware of, they have no idea of the strengths deep within those, nor will they. What has been exposed is only a portion of reality. True strength remains private.
Things that don’t make sense, yet are interesting just the same. Those who do not toil have nothing to deeply satisfy them. They look to others for gain.
“I haven’t told you this … You’re as strong as I’ve ever seen you. One vows to be lordly. Pay close attention and practice threefold. It is hard to embody all the tools and skills needed.”
“Fighting the fight and trying to appreciate all as it comes, we raise ourselves to the level of champion.”
“Hell, Hell, Hallelujah! You’re exposed, you’ll be gone!”
There are many ‘apps’ which quiz on things such as, “What body part you wash first …” and “Whatever picture you choose, says this about you …”
What amazes me is that there are people, regular old Joes, putting meaning to these things and then spoon feeding it to the masses. What is worrisome is that there are those who believe them.
As you walk through your day remember something, this is very important … Stand in your personal truth. Do not allow another to put you in a category, a box … don’t allow someone to plaster a label of definition on you and wear it as though it is you. ONLY YOU have the ability to choose who you are, and who you will become, there are no limits other than those you choose for yourself.
I am pretty certain, if you are honest with yourself, you would find that you are not happy with what society in general has told you, about you. Their opinions do not matter, YOUR HOUSE, your body, your mind, your heart, is for YOUR cultivation only. Grow the most magnificent YOU possible … this one dwells in your dreams, in the pit of you.
Her life has been a challenge, she may not remember that she chose this ~ to strengthen her resolve, her will, to hone her fire. She cultivates love through ALL of it, holding onto her compassionate heart, she walks through the darkness.
She lives these times, and deep within her she knows that on the other side of this experience is a great light, a light so full of goodness it would make one weep. THIS is why she is here, this is why she chose to challenge herself … she knows she is perfectly capable of this journey, and so she breathes.
There have been trials that she was sure would end her life, yet she made it through. She found herself depleted in energy, but she is learning that she can fill her cup back up. No one but she can do this … she must learn, she wants to learn. She will need this strength for the final leg of the uphill climb, her endurance must not falter.
She embraces every occurrence which on the outside seems negative, she searches for the wisdom and the teachings it is bringing to her. What does it offer that will add to her personal power? She will harness these new found abilities caused by enduring new challenges. She will focus and glean knowledge from every situation.
These are gifts, many of them will not feel as though they are.
It may take years before the knowledge of it can live
within the heart and mind. Be persistent.
“With three on her back she began to ascend the ladder. Rung by rung she climbed. The ladder was so very long! She got more than half way up and stopped, tired. She looked down and could not see the ground, they urged her to continue, and she did. Once again she stopped, looking to the bottom seeing only rungs of the ladder, looking up and finally seeing the end of the climb, she did not think she could make it, she was so very weary!! A voice from behind her stated that it was all for love … she said aloud, loudly, “I love you!” and hooked her elbow to the rung, pulling upward, again and again …”
And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: ‘I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’ And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: ‘Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.’ And he was afraid, and said: ‘How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ — Genesis 28:10-17 Jewish Publication Society (1917)
What ladder are you climbing? Is it a ladder of self-awareness? Are you doing everything in your ability to improve your mind, to relax and open to possibilities? Are you consciously choosing to grow compassion and understanding in your heart? Are you practicing patience, with others, with yourself … and forgiveness too?
This journey is not an easy one. You know by now there is much suffering on this path, but you have the power to change that story, you have the creative ability and the steadfast will to make a difference. Every day you continue to push yourself forward, trying again and again to improve on the previous efforts. Even when you are tired and would like nothing more than to curl up in bed and let the day slip by, you rise … you do what needs to be done anyway … you aremighty!