Winds in the Window of Opportunity

26 Sep
Earnest Graham

Earnest Graham

The recent benching of Josh Freeman prompted me to shed light on the window of opportunity that we all have. The issues surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be one that every one of us can identify with. There is for all the parents the vision and structuring of our families. The Glazers do not have anything close to the bond that parents have for their kids, but there are some similarities as the decisions they make have an effect on things in employees families and our communities as well. For our coaches and the various managers in the business world there is the questioning of leadership. While having previous success, we will encounter numerous factors(winds) that we were previously unaware of. The delicate balance of sticking to your guns and allowing those guns to evolve into more powerful weapons, without them being lost or taken away to be turned against you takes wisdom. In the midst of taking the reins, you have to resist the urge to project the responsibilities that lie in your own lap. For the players there is a base culture that is the NFL. The players know it and have experienced it. It is largely an “either you do or you don’t league”, meaning you either get your job done or someone else will and there is very few variations from this truth about the game. This understanding applies in the mind of players to their coaches and coaches to the players. The fate of the entire outfit will be handled by the owners if mutual respect fails to manifest between the both.

Typically a radical approach such as the one Raheem Morriss brought to the buccaneers organization can be subject to the opposites, as we saw both it’s level of genius, and it’s death due to it’s idealism. It was one of the most relaxed environments that I personally have been in. This type of philosophy for most people is an easier one to grasp. After all most people want to be comfortable, even though the realities of the NFL are the exact opposite, here is where you see the contradiction that lies with the players. I wish we would have afforded Raheem the same opportunity to fine tune his philosophy. From what I have heard about Greg Schiano and his discipline, it incorporates the same level of Genius and Idealism but hasn’t been received as well.  Initially players will fight tooth and nail as to how it opposes the common culture of the NFL because of what its asking of them. It asks for unwavering loyalty in the face of the harsh realities I mentioned before. It strives to bring out something that he communicates isn’t currently present. Which is to Schiano’s advantage. In contrast, Raheem just asked for you to be your best self, without employing means to truly find out where you stood. High rewards and acceptance initially but a terrible downside.  We saw the effort from players at games end in Schiano’s first year that became the talk of the league. These players had undoubtedly bought in because it was not a popular thing to do, just as players bought in to the “youngry” mindset. The belief was there, however realizing that in victories was not. The Buccaneers have clearly played bad football in the last 9 or so regular season games. They have been everything but the model of discipline and consistency. Is Greg Schiano on his way to experiencing what Raheem Morriss did, but in the opposite fashion?

My intuition tells me that this outfit is going to find it’s way as all things in life strive to find their way. Josh Freeman will not be forced into leadership as he has been relieved of the starting quarterback position. From the outside looking in the current leaders have clearly been Gerald McCoy, Darelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, Vincent Jackson and I will say a quiet leadership by Davin Joseph because of what I know about him. That is what I love about this league.  A team stays in a state of inertia until the powerful forces that are the NFL force a reaction. Teams pay big money for coaches, free agents and first day draft picks. Everybody and their mother has an opinion on what teams are going to be great and futile. When the fact of the matter is that these times that the buccaneers are experiencing are the initial trials that lead to greatness. Either it is weathered and Greg Schiano goes on as its leader and stamps buccaneer football with his own personality or we stay on this carousel. We continue getting excited when a new coach possesses some promise. We falsely think that the sheer acquisition of the games top cornerback’s and safeties will lead to W’s. Our quarterback’s will fall into oblivion, only to realize their talent elsewhere. There may be short-term success, as with Raheem but this is always the case when a franchise lacks continuity, which bucs fans know well. We saw what great leadership could do with Tony Dungy, which was continued in Jon Gruden.

I truly think that Schiano has the chops to be that guy. There will be new energy and focus at the quarterback position. Mike Glennon has the talent and skill set to do everything that is asked of him in this type of offense. We have a lights out defense which is tapering its play, which is not a bad place to start. We have a great pass rush! I just think we have to be patient and let things take their course. They do have the “components” as Greg Schiano stated. You have to find out who’s who, in this league to find the “what you’re about”. Great players like Darelle Revis aren’t phased by the doubt that plagues other players. Maybe, Josh has fallen into that dizzying cycle that is present in the NFL, which is unfortunate. I am sure most Bucs fans, players, and alumni are wishing him the best. That’s all you can do in this game.  Great teams and players win the war of attrition that is the NFL season, and this pack I think has become lean and mean. I think this team will overcome a coach and QB that has little NFL experience and show improvement. They surely need to address their depth at certain positions in the offseason, but they have a very strong nucleus of players and character guys. Lets just place confidence in that.

Quote of the day

26 Sep
Rudyard Kipling

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
― Rudyard KiplingIf: A Father’s Advice to His Son

“O’ Neighbor, O’ Neighbor”

12 Feb

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A beautiful young lady was senselessly killed in Chicago weeks back. There is no hope where there is no one willing to stand up and act courageously in these instances. Some of our communities principles at this point are unrecognizable. What is a principle, belief, or conviction in the absence of moments that test it? Why do we wonder why some kids resort to murder, when it is obvious that the danger that is inherited by some communities will go unchallenged and no one will champion their cause. I have seen a desperate plea from a majority of the women in most communities as the men look on. These kids are left to defend themselves and they adopt the philosophy of a culture that presents them with few options on how to handle their differences in these environments. Kids know what the TV tells them, Rappers tell them, and they see this in action constantly. They see the adornment of these individuals daily in our society but they rarely see the same energy displayed by disciplined men whose moral compass is on point.

I think they hear a lot in local churches, schools, and so on but who is immersed in it with them? I find that many are but there voices are weakened. As a parent I have decided on skipping out on the worlds aim to be global which means we are in touch with the larger world but it minimizes those right around us because we are now conscious of what people think of us on the other side of the world. The same thing that makes Lebron James great, is the same thing that makes your local teacher great, which is Hard work, commitment, compassion, patience and love for his craft. Celebrities just happen to be on a pedestal that is made by our will to be entertained. The presence of this type of danger points directly to MEN, and it always has. The health of the community is intimately tied to the men who are willing to protect it and the love of the women who are willing to preserve it. The women have not neglected this responsibility. The links in the chain that have been severed need to be attached again and that is young men having a healthy respect for those that preceded them.

However, it is a tough task because these days young kids want to know how you can help them be wildly popular. I have rarely had a conversation with a young man that goes beyond football and rapping, until I direct it elsewhere. Idle men will be the ruin of families, communities, and the larger world. We have got to raise kids that are developed fully because when those dreams aren’t a reality they typically fall back on another. Where I’m from that’s thuggin’. I can’t wait to supplant myself full-time back in the communities I was raised in. We like to think of quick fixes in our societies. We like Cures, heroes, miracles and so on. The answer is much subtler than that. It takes a commitment that involves those that are here now and those that will be here. We have to call on the U.S. Marshal involvement because its gotten out of control, which means also that some of our kids have slipped through the cracks and have been ignored. It’s normal for a business to construct a 10, 20, 30 year plans and I think communities have to set the same standard. You commit and you shall get results. These kids should have to adhere to our standards and know clearly what those are because this whole snitchin’ code that allows the murderer of a young lady to go unpunished is ridiculous. In african-american communities we loved to pride ourselves on discipline. My grandmother made me pick my “switch” off the tree to get my whoopings. So I find it contradictory that when our kids murder we let it go unpunished. Why? Is it because the police force is not from the community and we don’t want them locking our kids away. Well, if that’s the reason then logic tells me that we should be handling it internally, but that aint happening either. So the kids enjoy the infamy of gunplay. Right now our culture is upside-down and inside-out. Yeah athletes come from our streets, yeah rappers come from our streets and it’s all that our current culture is interested in. What can I do to be popular abroad? Which is ok, but not when very few of our youth seeks to be of value locally. If you’re local it’s damn near negative now and it’s evidence of being sifted like the Bible said was Satan’s interest in Simon Peter:

Sifting definition:
Examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful: “we sifted the evidence ourselves”.

If the ground in which you are planted in is no longer fertile, then what shall it produce? Our young men have to stop being sifted as if our only products will populate prisons, football fields, and reproduce more misguided men and women. I have lived in many privileged communities to find that a lot of the world is incomplete and I felt as unsettled there as anywhere else. I have found that I didn’t “rise” to some place, but that those I loved and still love fell into the traps of the world. I got one Savior, Jesus Christ and through fellowship with men we are charged with the responsibility to protect and provide for our local environments. None of us fly on any capes, part seas or none of that and we sure as hell aren’t omnipresent, which says no matter who our kids can Skype with, talk to, or post with they at some point they will look for answers right around them and local pressure will impose on their lives. They will have kids in a community, face threats in a community, and respond to all these things.

Our babies will come around at some point and our communities should reflect a ground for limitless possibilities and a place where they feel at the VERY LEAST physically safe, but safe enough to express themselves and blossom beyond what anyone has expected. They will continually redefine and push the limits within our communities if we can corral the few that are astray….and it is a few. It’s a few that are leaders of evil and a whole bunch that are just piggybackin’ and following the energy. It happens the same way for good and that gives me hope. Evil will not stop, but that should not force us to develop an attitude of indifference. People, communities, nations and anything that people are part of has character. Our character is not based on works that we do alone and receive praise for. If you are from a community your character is intertwined with that community just as much as it is with your family. It gives me great pain to see the kids of those that I grew up with engaging in some of the same activity. I am in not in a rush to save any one person, that will happen as a byproduct of living right as a collective. I am in a rush to talk to my brothers in my community that I grew up in about Jesus Christ. The Standard is there. It’s has always been, but its subtle and uncomplicated. It’s an old tradition in church to look at your brothers and sister and say “O’ Neighbor, O’ Neighbor” and you make an affirmation. What is our affirmation from person to person, family to community, and community to world? Repairing the division is long overdue and our t”codes” we are adopting has got to be reconciled with a productive one.

I am Earnest Graham and I am a man before all other things. I cannot be labeled a “snitch”, coward, or be sifted for some purpose alien to my environment, as I a man, tried and true. The most harmful thing a man can be accused of is doing nothing. Idly watching in fear of a label, but all the while participating. I am not that. I am connected, I am my neighbor, I am my community, as it is with me everywhere I go and I am its representation. If I am it is, If it is I am….Forever.

5 Random Rules that Can Change Your Life

26 Nov
  1. Earnest Graham

    Give something good a chance to happen.  I remember my mom bought us a set of Encyclopedia Britannica’s. All the kids use to come to our house and say “What the hell are those?’ It wasn’t the popular thing to do, but it fostered my love for reading, critical thinking and writing. It is the very reason that I am writing this blog. Had she conformed to the thoughts of other’s, I’d still be searching for something that I am passionate about beyond sports.

  2. Don’t let the past interfere with the Now.  There are things that happened, but don’t mistake those things for what you are. I’ve had my butt kicked before, but it does not mean I’m going to lie down and take it. I know the feeling of conquering my bully’s and fears. I didn’t have a father present but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t worthy of Love. I am not these things. They are things that I encountered and gave their proper due and nothing beyond that.
  3. Don’t remain a fan of things you wish to have or become….Become a student of them The more that I understand something the less I am in awe of it. As a child I was a fan of certain NFL players, but the more I learned about the game and the various things that made them successful the more it became attainable….it empowered me. I once was a fan of money, and fantasized about the life it would bring. Fantasies are one-sided and don’t factor in the relationship that must ensue. When I was growing up parents would always say “I Can show ya, better than I can tell ya” right before they beat our butts.  Well, everything in life has first been my bully and then my teacher. I am first a fan, a student, and then that which I want to be.
  4. Love thine enemies, because they are the instruments of your destiny This is a quote from Joseph Campbell. Our enemies teach us the most about ourselves. For one, they expose that which we need to fix the most. Friends identify with our strengths and weaknesses but use neither against us.  However, my enemies have always sought to use my gifts and curses for their own gain. Enemies are spies, they are not trying to attain the same things you are. They are willing to go into unknown territory because they are intrigued about what lies beyond. Why? Because they are curious about the person who is the exact opposite of what they happen to be. The theft of your joy will be used to achieve that which you are undoubtedly opposed to.
  5. Be more than a survivor While surviving some of toughest trials in your life is to be commended, we are able go well beyond that. We can get caught in a vicious cycle of surviving. What does surviving your current circumstances mean towards that which you want to achieve? Finding meaning in your suffering is what we want. There is a high that is associated with surviving, and this is the root of why we stay in circumstances that control our lives. Once we know we can beat it, we are comfortable with that and unknowingly place ourselves in terrible situations over and over again. It’s time that we aspire for more because we are only fooling ourselves by hoisting up the same trophy over and over again.

I am Earnest Graham and these are my five Random Rules for today. I pray that these rules are beneficial and have brought clarity to your current circumstances.

Thank you and Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Doing it all, By doing your part(blog version)

20 Nov

Earnest Graham

*blog version denotes that my upcoming book will contain a more detailed version

My friend Cory Jordan tragically died in my senior year of high school. He was the warmest and funniest guy you’d ever want to meet. Ms. Beverly, who is Cory’s mom, was white and his father was black, which provided Cory with the blessing of solely identifying with neither. Throughout the day he would spend time amongst the blacks from the Dunbar community, whites and Hispanics from Cape Coral, country boys from Pine Island, as well as the “nerds” and “jocks” . Though I don’t think he understood it at the time, his gift was that he didn’t understand why everybody was taking themselves so seriously. He was living in the moment and lightening things up. Cory died from an accidental gunshot wound and on the evening of, his mother blessed me with a chance to see him on life support. I walked into that room, full of confidence that my touch would be all that Cory needed to rise from that bed. I grabbed his hand, and the miracle that I imagined, did not happen. At the time It was humbling and the majority of my focus was on what I COULD NOT do, I cried uncontrollably. I was thinking as a child. I’d imagine I hadn’t cried in this manner since I was an infant in need of a Binky. Today as a grown man, I understand this more fully, that moment signified the actual power that I had, and was about everything that I COULD do and was very capable of.

In our most idealistic moments, all of us would love to have the ability to save the world. We have already been saved, if you are Christian it is Christ who is our vehicle to salvation, that is the good news. Most people have fantasies of flying, well planes are vessels that travel through our skies at amazing speeds to the destinations of our choosing, though the downer for some of us are the annoying people we have to sit with. Others would love to live forever, and I say to you that a birth happens every 8 seconds, though the pain can be unbearable but yet and still through this process life will continue. If you are blessed to have children, they will carry on parts of you through many generations, to be carried on we must leave here, some of us more peacefully than others but funerals are full of tears and sorrow. My grandmother often tells me that my kids remind her of relatives who have past decades ago, I never grieved for any of them but they are nonetheless present today and a piece of them still lives and dies.  Embracing these examples makes the ultimate sacrifice possible.  Loving others more than myself takes priority over my own want to rest in heaven. I don’t focus on single acts that I think will allow me to ascend to heaven, this is the same as wishing wings were on my back so i could fly all alone, we all must board the plane that is Jesus Christ. It’s listening and relating to others in the spirit of service that makes my heart content. When we align ourselves with the absolute fact that we will not experience any miracles in our lives as individuals, it opens us up to all things . There will always be a thought, action or effort by others that makes our greatest feats possible.

I am reminded of what Jesus was quoted as saying in John 14:12:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Jesus Christ

What does my real life experience with Cory and the support of the scripture tell me?  That my miracles lie with the rest of you and if I believe that Christ is within us all then these miracles are possible. Eternity was within Christ within the confines of time. For others, time is our resource, and it is the daily commitment to each other that will stop these events from happening. These are miracles still. A lot of labor goes into putting a 500 piece puzzle together, but by paying attention to the smallest details of each individual piece, we finally make it. Those who lay eyes on it just admire its beauty with no idea of the time it took. There is not an NFL football team that has won a Super Bowl by ignoring the last man on the roster, it is the collective effort of all 53 men, that allows the team to realize its dreams.  You can experience it all, by doing your part but God mandates that it will be a shared experience.

This should be great news that none of us are faced with some monumental task. In our homes, businesses, sports teams and churches we are charged with only doing our part. We are to make sure that they are the very best that they can be. Some of our reach will be broadened, but know that this does not happen without its full actualization within the institutions aforementioned.  It is called MAKING love for a reason. It is call friendSHIP for a reason. These are all manifestations of the force of  life continuing through the vehicles of US. Where more than one is gathered in his name, all things are possible.

I am Earnest Graham and I have vowed to do my part. This is my affirmation for today.

Thank you and God Bless!

Daily Quote: Change Lies within us

19 Nov

Earnest Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“While the government is “studying” and funding and organizing its Big Thought, nothing is being done. But the citizen who is willing to Think Little, and, accepting the discipline of that, to go ahead on his own, is already solving the problem. A man who is trying to live as a neighbor to his neighbors will have a lively and practical understanding of the work of peace and brotherhood, and let there be no mistake about it – he is doing that work…

A man who is willing to undertake the discipline and the difficulty of mending his own ways is worth more to the conservation movement than a hundred who are insisting merely that the government and the industries mend their ways.
(pg.87, “Think Little”)”
― Wendell BerryThe Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

What Cadillac Williams Taught Me: Determination Part 1

17 Nov

This may be a bit left field, but anybody who knows me understands that I am a very observant person. With that said, they won’t find it strange at all that this post was inspired by my daughter’s dog trying to eat some excedrin, that I dropped while I was in the kitchen. What I pulled from that simple act was that Rocky, my daughter Aiyana’s dog, could care less what it was that I dropped out of my hand.  The fact that Rocky is kept in a crate, and feeds and eats when we deem it proper to do so, is what I attribute to him reacting that way. Now, here is where I am going with this. I also observe people, and it is no question in my mind that some of us act this way in regards to a status or ideals when the opportunity presents itself. 

My previous blog entry,  fantasy football as a possibility for your life, essentially dealt with a similar subject. In our culture it is widely accepted to hang on the every word and action of another human being. While some human beings are undoubtedly brilliant teachers and performers, I believe that it is a healthy balance that we must have in order to get mutual benefit from the relationship. I am assuming that is what we all want right? If we teeter too much on the side of worship then the relationship becomes one-sided and you find yourself behaving like my man Rocky. I have no intentions of slighting dogs, it is truly an admirable quality, but it is what separates us. We shouldn’t subscribe to worshiping the man and the opportunity to grasp what is in his hands, not without questioning it. I have always thought it wise to stay in touch with my core self and borrow certain philosophies, mindsets and ethics from others.

This I tell you is from personal experience. I have been smitten with others and have given them my blind trust; to no avail. Throughout the years I have learned that my fantasies about others or certain status has greatly exceeded what actually was realistic. It was being a fan of money, wealth, power, beauty, security and other ideals that led to a false attribution of a nearly divine status. It wasn’t until I became a student and an appreciator of the same qualities, that they were able to manifest in my own life.

On that note let me tell you what Cadillac Williams taught me. He taught me that when the world thinks you are down, it is your faith and determination that will bring you through the toughest times. Cadillac Williams came back from a Patellar Tendon injury in 2009 and it was his first game back. I remember it like yesterday because it was a very special moment in my life. He was tearing it up in the 1st quarter against the Dallas Cowboys. Our head coach, Raheem Morris, committed in the media to a 3 man rotation at our position of running Back. So, after Cadillac’s two series, it was supposed to be my turn. Coach Morris looked at me and asked me whether or not I was ready, in which I replied “No, I am good. Carnell is hot leave him in there”. This may sound dreamy, I don’t know or care, but I wanted to appreciate that moment. I viewed it as so insignificant to my single series in that single game. See, I chose not to be a fan of attention or obsess about tomorrow. I was very confident in my skills and value to the team. I chose at the moment to be a student of life instead.

Did you realize that thinking that you are competing against another man falls in this category? That to think someone else is your competition is in a way deifying them? This always diminishes yourself, as well as the object of your worship, because in the end it never measures up to your ideal.  My competition has always been the man I look at in the mirror. If I was to compete with someone else, I would in a sense be setting my own limitations. Not only on myself as an athlete, but also as a person because the potential of the relationship with your opposition becomes limited. You don’t believe me? When you fumble the ball, what does it have to do with the other person?  Think about it. Some of the greatest feats in life have come from men who are alone. Throughout the offseason, the media would talk about how Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham were going to be a powerful duo. To their dismay, Cadillac was back and ready for the season opener. If you don’t know a Patellar Tendon is an injury few come back from. While the world was feeding Cadillac the possibilities for his life, he chose to believe in himself and in my opinion found out more about who he was during his adversity, as opposed to his successes. He left a talented young man, but came back an experienced one, powered up by his grueling rehab and mining of his soul.  This is why I state that it’s no need to focus on the next man, things come to those who are prepared.  This is why I always made it a point to focus on my value, which allowed me to perfect all things. They tell you when you come into the league in a less than desirable manner, meaning undrafted, that you should not compete with the man next to you, but against everyone in the room. They were referring to the need to earn a spot on special teams, because starting was not likely. This was one of my first lessons about value as a professional. I chose to better myself and add skills as a special team ace to my resume. Trust me, many guys ignored that advice and tried to disprove the coaches theory. I have yet to see it work.

It is the humbling of myself, that at the same time empowered me to be strong enough to realize that this man was in my life for me to learn from, as is all others. See if it was two dogs in that kitchen, they would have darted at the same pill and possibly bitten each other for first dibs on what I dropped out of my hand. While I love our pets, it is a different love than I have for a human being. I GOT football, I can do that in my sleep as I was born to tote the rock. What Cadillac Williams did was special, and he did it twice. I am just happy that I got to experience it in the proper spirit.

I am Earnest Graham and I am more than a competitor. Far away from watching eyes I continue to better myself in preparation for all blessings. I thank God for those that I have borrowed from in the midst of a desire for the same thing.

Thank you and God Bless!!

Fantasy Football as the Possibility for Your Life

15 Nov
Earnest Graham

“View your days as your fantasy football team. There is 24 hours, so you have 24 players. In order for you to bring on that new player that will make your days better, you gotta cut somebody. Sometimes we covet those old players. Aint nothing wrong with upgrading. Release the hours in your life that arent performing, and pickup the free agent that will reinvigorate your team. Evaluate your life wisely and choose. You are your own General Manager”

Earnest Graham

“The divine music is incessantly ringing within all of us, but the loud senses drown the delicate music, which is unlike and infinitely superior to anything we can perceive with our senses.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I want to encourage everyone today to take full of advantage of the Time we are given. I made an earlier post entitled Discipline Reloaded where I spoke of the importance of understanding that our results in life are not by chance. It is imperative that we become conscious of the way our 24 hour days are spent. Thinking about our future can create some anxiety. It is the day that we are to master. I truly believe that mastery of the day can lead to an illuminating life. It is discipline that will build your bridge to the highest ideal of yourself. It is focus and proper understanding that will be the foundation of your discipline. It is humbleness that allows you to accurately assess yourself, and the courage to be honest that will be your first footsteps on this journey.

When I evaluated myself,  I found that the time that I was neglecting was my driving time.  For most of us this is a large amount of time that is unaccounted for. Some of your greatest decisions can be subtle, but create the most dynamic change in your life.  Most of us, after a long day of work are at our most vulnerable time because we are mentally tired. This is the time that we must be proactive, which I know sounds like spending more energy, but what I am asking is to the contrary. I made a decision during this time to be in silence. I simply turned off the radio.

Sometimes, our actions are so ingrained that we become numb to them and just allow its intrusion upon our lives. As much as I love music, I had not realized that I hated the damn radio. Especially today’s radio, it forces music down our throats until we just lay down and take it. Same thing with Talk Radio, it’s rarely a show that doesn’t have some sort of agenda or issue that isn’t relevant to my life. I refused to make another man’s issue my own. It was the couple of hours of silence a day that added so much value to my life. I decided that it was time to lay on the couch of my consciousness, and allow it to be my shrink. 90 minutes a day turned into 630 minutes a week and 32,850 minutes a year.

In my mind I view my days like a NFL football team because that is where I have had a majority of my experiences. You have limited roster spots and there is no exception. This is similar to your days, ALL YOU HAVE IS 24 hours. If you have ever played Fantasy Football you know that on Any Give Sunday it is all about who you choose to start. You do your evaluations of the opponent and decide who you think is going to give you the highest production. This is the same as your days, which will become your life. Choose wisely, as the way you spend your time will bring your fantasy life into fruition. For me God is the owner of the organization and I am the general manager which will employ all the proper traits as a means for the entity that is Earnest Graham to win a championship. I tend to rule with an Iron Fist. If you aren’t producing then you got to go. That is why I had no problem turning off my radio.

That revelation allowed the happenings of my life to come into focus as well as allowing me to be better prepared for work and my household. It also helped to spur greater ideas that ultimately led to better efficiency. I am still very involved in music but that involvement is when I am creating my own. It has given me back my love for music, rather than engaging with it like it’s mcdonald’s, which is cheap and processed and only capitalizes on inconveniencing me when it’s convenient. I’ve discovered new artists that I never would have, had I allowed the radio to keep handing them to me.

Our brains are amazing as far as what it can process in a matter of seconds. I have emerged from a simple car ride with developments that improved my life, as well as that of my family and community. There is one thing that is a must however, and that is your conscious awareness that you are your general manager and God is the programmer, in which Gandhi so eloquently says is the Divine radio. To tune in, it requires the execution of babble and the subtle but radical application of silence.

I am Earnest Graham and there is one programmer in my life….God. This is my affirmation for today.

Thank you and God Bless!!

The SeeSaw

12 Nov

Earnest Graham

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Dear God,

May today I acknowledge that my pain will pinpoint the places where I am weak. It is through my pain that I have learned so much, as if you are loosening my clutch on comfort,

It has been my willingness to avoid this agent of purity that has had me shuffling in place and at times stifled in obscurity, If a woman looking to enhance her beauty has so much confidence in the resilience of her body, Am I not capable of the same healing property’s?

O’ Lord I know that my emotional pain can be tormenting, Who wants to admit all is not well, venting and trying to transcend our own personal hells. This is sometimes my own jail; a personal sentence

Today I choose against walking around behind a veil, I choose to see others and refuse to dramatize MY suffering, after all it is that that ties me to nothing; The nothing of my being

I am speaking of the spirit and seeing the lyric give meaning, apart from the song that is the universe it lacks purpose. When understood as part of whole I step up and am molded for service.

Give me strength to exercise obedience! Keep pinpointing my lack so that I know where to allow your transforming spirit to flow, I know of you but I don’t know. I have come to a place where my natural talent has been exhausted. Either I am water conforming or I must endure the fire that is your attempt to transform me.

Grant me the wisdom so that it is not always the latter, As I have come to know it will forever be YOUR will.

Earnest Graham

My Worldwide Family,

One of my favorite scenes is in the movie The Matrix. It is the scene where they are riding in one of the greatest classics cars ever, which is the lincoln continental, in my humble opinion. Anyhow, they are prepping NEO for a visit with Morpheus and he opens the suicide doors in attempt to leave, and as we later understand, avoid his destiny. This is when he is stopped by Trinity and she tells him that he had been down that road before. Neo, when confronted with this decides to get back in the car and go along for the ride. I will skip the part where they extract the bug out of his stomach.

The point I am making is that we all come to this place. The Lord knows I have over and over again. There has been so many points in my life where my intelligence has not been sufficient. I have run smack into walls so many times in my efforts to be a professional, father, husband and so many other things that I would no longer like to voluntarily be a crash dummy.  I of course have read many books, seen many movies, and heard many speeches in my time. The development of my own inner life has allowed me to effectively grow into these roles.

I admittedly said my vows and walked down the aisle with my wife without fully knowing what I was getting into. I have also said and conveyed the appropriate messages as a young man, wondering whether or not I could live up to them and often times I didn’t. Intellectually I understood the value of these roles, but I admittedly had few examples and no experience. This would also apply to my life as a Christian. I had been to church and enjoyed to music, but that is not same as saying that I had given my life to Christ.

My greatest sufferings has been my fierce attachments and reluctance to be a progressive vehicle. While projecting the outward appearance of things that I had stepped into without respect of the time it takes to properly develop with God as the proper counsel, I created an unnecessary enemy because the two lives that I was juggling were in conflict.

See, over the years we form bonds and relationships that we would like to last forever. There are also many things that come with the territory like codes and subtle understandings that are respective to the relationship. Some of us stubbornly attempt to juggle these many things that often cause vicious wounds to our integrity. Most of us are not truly bad people, just conflicted. To me it has been a lesser form of death to sever some of these attachments.

I have witnessed the man with multiple children that is dead set on the dream of fame he had as a child, and ignores his children’s dreams. There is the relationships that started out as a quest that brings life into this world. Most men are unprepared for most things, even those that understand the value of a detailed plan.

I am telling you that it would be wise to put your many selves on one end of the seesaw and allow them to catapult the true person you are in the spirit to the top. They are heavy and they have a purpose. You have heard that we are just learning the things that we innately know. Either we honor these inevitable transitions or they are going to force themselves upon us. Many men and women can tell you that this is a painful ordeal. To do this it requires brutal honesty and a commitment. It is human nature to want to have something to lean on in case it does not work. However, this is a refusal to honor the natural flow of things. Have faith that you are more than a conqueror.

I am Earnest Graham and I know that my prior selves cannot subdue me. I am capable of more than a single victory, but through my trials my strength will be multiplied. This my affirmation for today.

Thank you and God Bless!

Maker of My Destiny

11 Nov

Earnest Graham

“How would your life be different if…You didn’t allow yourself to be defined by your past? Let today be the day…You stop letting your history interfere with your destiny and awaken to the opportunity to release your greatest self.”

― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

Worldwide Family,

Yesterday I was given a fantastic opportunity to do an interview on David Essel Alive. If you are not familiar with David Essel, he is a popular life coach who hosts a show on XM satellite talk radio. He asked me a question that is still on my mind this morning. He wanted to know how I could come from a household that lacked a positive male role model, and still be a success as a person. My mother was abused in one way or another by every single man who set foot in our home. To add to that, within my community I would say that I had only 2 close friends whose fathers had any involvement with them at all. So, how is it possible to embrace a life that is opposite from the one I grew up in? I believe the answer is reflected in the quote that I used above.  My answer was, and I am vehement about this, I refused to let the actions of others mold my identity.

The actions and shunning of responsibility was a decision in which the Karma of those actions belonged to other individuals. As a young man, I naturally was not as well read as I am now, but looking back I realized I was exercising a lot of  principles that are present in many self-help and personal growth books. There are messages that today’s children are downloading from not only their environment, but from the world itself. So what we must understand is that this is not entirely about what we witness in our local encompassment.

For instance, there were young men within our community who I knew were victims of abuse, and beyond that they would engage in a life of prostitution to make ends meet. Not only were they the objects of another’s perversions at home, but also by those who were not members of our community. For years I would watch these young men walk up and down the streets, and get picked up by wealthy white men. This is the way that I would see my first Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other luxury vehicles. As a child I was tasked with forming an opinion of the abuse that I knew was going on locally, and furthermore some of my earliest interactions with another race were limited to the buying of cocaine, crack cocaine, and the services of  young boys whose lives I saw deteriorate right in front of my eyes.

I am blessed to not have developed a perception about myself or anyone else from the activities of those both within and without my community. I actually in many ways sympathized with these select people. I knew the dangers from my community and I wondered why any man would put himself at such a risk for a few moments with a young kid. Secondly, but by no means secondary, I wondered why the very few men in the community never stopped this activity. At the time people chose to call those kids names I won’t repeat, as if that kind of behavior sprung from their own inner desire to be used in this way.

Now, my mother gave me a football and I made it a career. There is relatively few negatives that our society tags to a professional sports career. This allowed me to engage with this game as if it was my dream, the thing that would save my life, because it was the dream of others. As a former NFL player I understand all the underlying dangers and  negative effects that are inherent to this game. However, this was not communicated to me as a young man and we are a hell of a lot more conscious about it now.

What kids need is for us to supplant the negatives inherent to our environment, and consistently point to a limitless future. This is the possibility that was communicated when I put on my first football helmet, and must be the same one that is communicated when they put on their school clothes in the morning and pajamas to dream at night. I was able to transcend my environment because I never bought into the idea that I was poor, albeit poor in spirit. In return that still remains today, I do not believe that I am the material things that I possess or class that I am in. It is not the forger of my identity. My mother’s act was one that flowed from her resilient connection to God. It is the simple fact that I am here, with air to breathe and a mind to reason that I could supersede my environment. As a child in the underbelly of society, I was given a glimpse into the outer world that formed my philosophy about it. We are all in the same boat. Rowing along, projecting ourselves over troubled waters, with one stroke of the oar at a time. I see the gun in the face of a young man in Fort Myers, Florida, as well as the lump in the chest of a middle-aged woman raising 3 kids on her own. This mentality is the force field that rejected all attempts to label me as a victim and limit my chances to flourish in life. It is the eraser of all excuses.

This is not an entry about the positive life, that sprung from the negative acts and abuse of others. It is one that points to a possibility.

“Cut out the windows and doors In the house as you build; But the use of the house will depend on the space in the walls that is void. So advantage is had from whatever is there; but usefulness rises from whatever is not.”

Tao Te Ching

It was because I chose to sympathize and not judge that I realized my responsibility within these acts. It is being cognizant that a humble nature will allow God to provide light to engulf this present darkness that gives me faith. This reciprocity is the very nature that will provide fertile ground for our young women and men of tomorrow.

I am Earnest Graham and I know and experienced that life is fair. It is accepting this that has liberated me and allowed me to convey this message on November 11, 2012. I thank God for this clarity.

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