Monday, April 28, 2008
STephen Carter and LA Woman 3
At the top you see all of the clutter. At the bottom are pictures of my recent purchases. Let me start at the bottom to explain the top.
What you see in the bottom pictures are some of my recent purchases. I have mentioned them to you on previous posts. The clear container with the blue cover on top of it was purchased yesterday. My push up bars and jump rope are on top of the container. Those were purchased within the last 6 weeks. I have thought about all of these things for months. Needing them, wanting them and utilizing them. Ah but benefiting from them to the maximum utility is vital. I was not ready to do that. My internal structure has not been built or organized strong enough to sustain and maintain a peaceful and orderly use of these tools.
That is what I mean by clearing the decks. You have heard me talk about cleaning my room. I recall a painstaking process when I was attempting to put together a resume. I needed clarity of environment before I could tackle with myself successfully enough to create clarity of self and my create clarity of the timeline of my life. I had to battle the temptation of saying, "Oh, the hell with this."
I knew I had to do it it was so important.
And yes. I cleaned it and won the war to achieve temporary clarity. Temporary clarity to accomplish a short term goal. However it was seasonal clarity, not structural. I accomplished the task of dressing properly to withstand the current needs to weather a climatic requirement. However, I knew it would not be sustainable. I was not ready. Even when I cleared out space, there were corners of clutter. There was clutter on top of a closet. I could not see what was there. I did not need what was there. However what I did not know was that just because I could not see what was up there did not remove the weight of it all from affecting me. What was up there prevented a "clear span" of feeling that is necessary and vital at this stage.
I have been monologuing about this stage for some time. I remember talking about getting to the point of having my license or at least finishing the task of fulfilling the requirements for getting it. I also said that I may not ever use that license. I do not know. What I was saying was, in some ways, that license was a security blanket of accomplishment from the past. It can help me in the future. Or I may think it can help me in the future or it can be an inhibiting factor in my new life, it can be a form of hand cuffs that prevent the attainment of freedom if I do not look at it from a clear and appropriate perspective.
All of this has been a struggle for me to understand and appreciate. It is important that I digest and understand this process to the finest detail so as I can separate it all out and integrate it and understand how accentuation of a detail can have an impact on another area of life. its manifestation or lack there of. Moreover, it will enable me to share with those, in the physical area known as Skid Row, or with those who are in a spiritual area of Skid Row-those who exist in the physical aestheticness of an environment that makes it easy, unfortunately so, to conceal the Skid Row that exists inside of themselves. I know a little about this. I saw alot of the previous example at Harvard School for Boys. However, that example was shared in many ways not only by some families that lived in Beverly Hills and Bel Air. It was also shared by their counter parts that lived in Baldwin Hills and Windsor Hills. The former area is comprised by mostly successful whites and the latter area is comprised mostly by successful blacks.
Before today, I was in a rush to get out of my room. I felt closed in. I felt the weight of the clutter. Even when I cleared the decks to a certain point to function at a necessary level, I was never at peace. Of course I had to clear the physical decks to achieve artificial serenity. Whether that is necessary, to do first, or if that is just a necessary step because one is incapable of leap frogging that step because one is not emotionally or psychologically prepared and able to bypass it is a subject of potential debate. However, the fact of the matter it is the process of physical clarity that has brought me to the point of appreciating my internal clarity.
It has brought me to the point where I can be at peace, regardless of my environment. "I will feel alot better when I get to another building." "I would feel better if I did not have to deal with the things that I have to deal with in this room". "This room is so gloomy". "I got to get out of here".
These are the words and attitude of someone who is comfortable imprisoning himself. It is not the words of a man or the attitude of a man who will not let physical enviroment affect his attitude or focus or serenity. I was told by someone in jail, that even though one is in jail or prison, one does not have to be imprisoned spiritually. I am beginning to achieve that distinction. I have worked hard enough, I have endured long enough to see and feel the difference. Certainly, I was intellectually capable of understanding the concept. However, I was not developed to the point of being able to feel and actualize it in my every day being and accomplishment. Therefore I had my own drag coefficient that was internally and intensely self perpetuating. It is something that I believe is not exclusive to Walter Melton. I believe that that the potential is in everyone and,indeed, thrives in most people to some degree or another. And thus, with that being true, it exists and thrives in society as a collective.
Now, on Skid Row you have those that are free and equal and opposite amount of those who are not. It is a very interesting composition that you do not see elsewhere. And I must say that as screwed up as things are on Skid row, as I said before, you have people who are fortunate enough not to have the burden of masks weigh them down. So in that respect, in a place where mental illness thrives, many people are not hampered by the collective societal anomalies that effect many in society at large.
When I was at Harvard University, the weekend at met Robert F. Kennedy Jr., I walked on that campus a great deal. I wanted so much to go there. However, I knew I was not ready. I was not ready emotionally. I needed distraction. And in the courtyards at Harvard I saw none. It was in the late spring but I saw no one on walk ways. I did not hear music blairing from the windows. And the windows were not closed to battle against the weather.
I would go to one corner room to another--Rooms hidden within the quiet and when the doors of those rooms opened up, there was a world unto itself. There was a self containment and strength of confidence of that self containment that was in those rooms. And that self containment where people did not need people every second enabled thoughts and concepts to penetrate deeper levels. It enabled those to pursue greater scholarship.
This morning, as I said, I was not in a rush to get out. I was not in a rush to get out of the room. I have noticed changes in me over a period of time. Of course, some of those changes have been brought about because of the success of experiencing changes in my sitiuation. Of course I learned alot from being patient. Of course I had to be patient because the courts and the transitional house etc controlled my fate. They replaced drugs. However, I could learn something and become stronger and there were lessons to learn from learning how to be patient. And one learns how to become patient, I imagine, in most cases, grugingly.
This morning, I took my time in cleaning the decks. I am not in a rush. I am not pushing things to the side. I am removing things. I am getting rid of the invisible weight that was upon me. I was not ready in the past to remove it. Why because i was comfortable with the prison that I knew. NOw I am more comfortable with the freedom that I am pursuing and feeling more of it with each morsel of it that increasingly flows through my being--with each morsel of it navigating itself to the appropriate parts as is necessary so I can earn the right of Passage to the next level in an enduring mode that is ever lasting and eternal.
There was a time when I would discard some clothes expeditiously. I wanted to get rid of the old. It reminded me of too many things. I did not take the time to wash and clean them. I did not take the time to give them to someone else. "Ah, no one will miss these things. No one will need them." "Get rid of them, NOW, Walter. The faster you can get rid of them, the faster, I can move on."
For the past couple of weeks, I have been working to let go of my maroon sweats. I did not need them. I kept them. In some way they were a hedge against not having clothes in case I lost my job. However, that was a commitment to the past. It wasnt a movement to the "New", and to the future. I held on to them.
I could not get rid of them. I could not just throw them in the trash. Yesterday I washed them. I shared that with you. I did that and even then, I started to throw them in the trash. This morning, I folded them up. Then I found some other clothes that were hidden on top of the closet and grabbed them. Immediately, weight was lifted and a thoroughness achieved.
I walked those items to the Transition House where I first got them. I handed them to the program director who eyed me up and down after he realized I was making a contribution. The same program director told me many times how proud of me he was.
The same program director promised to help me pay for my continuing education classes. I did not get the money from him. I never asked him. I did it myself.
Each day, I asked him if we still had a deal. Each day he said yes.
He also said he would help me with my real estate license fees. I never got the money from him. I never asked. I did it myself. From the process, there came upon me a sense of fulfillment of doing it myself. I appreciated what my privileged classmates told me from Harvard School when they refused the help of their parents.
They wanted to do things themselves.
I have felt the same way. I wanted help but I didnt. I wanted to endure it all. If I call someone I wanted it to be mutually beneficial.
From that process of doing it myself, I maximized the utility of the experience. I feel I learned lessons that would have been left on the table had I allowed him to help me. I kept asking him even when I had the money. Doing it myself allowed me to experience the thoroughness of an undertaking, the peripherals, the external economies of an experience.
When I walked out of his office, I turned and said" Do we still have a deal? I was referring to him helping me pay for my license. Of course I have already paid for it. I did not need to tell him that I already did it. I did not need that reassurance or approval. I did not need that external trophy of acceptance and applause. "Yes, Walter, you got that."
Hmmm, I was pleased with myself. I kept my secret. Yes, I have learned a great deal about patience as the judge has said and I was grudgingly forced to learn and accept.
When I took the time to wash and fold the clothes that, at one time, were given to me, I learned alot. I learned some more about patience. I learned alot more about not being selfish and about exercising the notion of compassion and human fellowship to another level. Maturity. And not rushing change but evolving into it, the marination of the process, brought about that extra wide angle of understanding and
I have mentioned to you that I have not been pleased at having to cut short my writing, and thus, my thoroughness of thought, because of time constraints. Well, I just made a decision. I was going to cut short my writing to get to the bike shop. My bike chain is off. I needed to get it fixed as it is too tangled for me to
address. I also needed a light so as not to get a ticket. All of this would take a good 45 minutes to complete.
I had a choice to make complete this to whatever fine details that the writing reveals that this post needs, or leave and get something else done so I can have convenience later. Of course, it only takes me a few minutes to walk home. I really do not have to worry about being robbed. In fact, I might learn something from the experience and may cheat myself from more growth if I choose convenience over thoroughness now.
So I am going to complete this post. And by not rushing to the bike shop, I can throw out a few things to achieve my structural integrity. I do not have to push things aside to provide the illusion of orderliness. It just hides the structural weakness of my foundation.
I have shared all of this with you because, I believe the more I understand all of the processes and applications at work, individually, the more I can integrate them successfully. In short, the more I understand, to its finest detail, what is going on inside of me and the lateral categories that need to be included in order to move successful, verically, the better I can observe and understand what I experience in the area known as Skid Row. So indeed, Skid Row is Like an Oxford Scholarship. You are on your own in your independent study and I want to squeeze the maximum out of this experience.
I am on a list to move to another building. It is a building that has carpet instead of linoleum. It is peaceful instead of loud. Where as I needed loudness when I was 18 for distraction from self, and when I first arrived here out of fear of not being able to handle the solitude, I am embracing it. Just like at Harvard or in the Hotel Chateau Marmont, each nook and cranny that had a door that opened into a world of intense research by those living in it, I am slowly turning my Marshall house room, into my place nook and cranny "research lab".
I will get there and then I will be able to use the items that are in the picture. I do not want to use them until I can use them consistently and without strain.
Yesterday, I was looking at a website. I was reading the website of the man that stopped me in the street. I felt anxiety. I felt anxiety because I knew I was not ready to apprediate it, at that moment.
I saw a poet, a poet that I met in November. Her name is Wendy. I started to read her work. I could not absorb it. I was impatient. I was not at peace and I wanted to be. I believe she has great talent and insight. In fact I have wanted to meet her again for quite some time.
This morning, when I walked here after I delivered the clothes, I turned to her page again. I read her writings. This time it was effortless. I was able to read it without strain or anxiety. Hmmm. Perhaps there has been some growth.
It feels good. The process feels good. The roots of change are digging deeper into the soil of eternity.
I must go. I have to walk to work because I did not sacrifice thoroughness for expediency. I did not incur the opportunity cost of not experiencing thorougohness or entirety. At least entirety as I am able to discover at this level of my development. I pushed the progress envelope some more. As a result I experienced
"Opportunity Gain" a concept that I will research daily.
I trust that all of this will allow me to understand and comment on the forces that comprise Skid Row better as my experience in it and downtown increases. I will not have to wait until I move. I will maximize my environment to work for me. Marshall House is my lab now. The better I maximize it, the better I will be able to absorb the lessons and benefits at my new location. I will better be able to harness the forces of creation.
I have stumbled on all of this and this was my goal. My goal was to be able to summarize to some degree the causes and effects for development and the forces that impede it and retard it. Those two names above are the umbrella for many names and the processes that have taken place in this trilogy of effort.
Good Afternoon world. I love you.