It’s Okay to Like Yourself

One of my greatest influences in writing and spoken word is John Trudell. He was such a loving and humane human being, and in my opinion, he is one of the greatest poets, authors, speakers and thinkers of our time.

The last words he spoke to me were, “Thank you for what you do. Remember, it’s okay to like yourself. You may not like everything you’ve done, but it’s okay to like yourself.”

Yeah, I’ll stick with what he said.

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Keep Soaring

It was an honor to facilitate community conflict resolution and leadership development at the Indianapolis University of Purdue with my ciye (older brother) Joseph Brave-Heart. Joseph was a mentor of mine when I was a young adult, and someone I still look to for prayer and guidance.

Years before this photo when I was about twenty years old. I was sitting with Joseph. I was angry about something someone said. Joseph listened to me and let me get some of my anger out. Then he said, “Look,” as he pointed to the sky.

I looked up and saw a beautiful hawk soaring. As the hawk elegantly soared, there were several little birds flying around the hawk and pecking at the hawk. Joseph shared, “If you’re going to soar to the heights of whatever the Creator has for you to do, there will be little birds who come along and try to distract you with pettiness. That hawk isn’t changing its course because of those little birds, the hawk just keeps soaring. Keep soaring, brother.”

Whatever vision, mission, dreams, and purpose the Creator has given you to live, ignore the pettiness and distractions and keep soaring!

~ Walk in beauty by walking in love.

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Show People That You Care About Them

It happened right there on this road, on the exact spot where the bracelet is. A young person tried to throw herself into traffic. When I pushed her back on the side of the road, I fell onto the highway. I’ll never forget how close a bright blue, Dodge Ram truck came to my head before it swerved out of the way.

I kept her away from the highway until the police arrived. In the few minutes that it took for the police to arrive, she screamed at me, over and over again, “You don‘t give a fuck about me! Why didn’t you just let me die!” The police took her to the adolescent psychiatric hospital to be evaluated and treated, not punished.

A little over a week later she was discharged out of the hospital and back to our emergency shelter. When she handed me the bracelet, she said, “Mr. Tony, I made this for you in the hospital. Thank you. I love you. I don’t remember everything from that moment on the highway, but I remember what I screamed at you. What I meant to say is that I couldn’t believe someone actually gave a fuck about me.”

I wear the bracelet quite often as a reminder that there are many hurting people in the world who think no one cares about them. My life’s calling is to prove them wrong.

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The Divine Dinner Table

Barely being able to see
Over the table
I peeked my head up
And saw I was at a dinner table

There, before me,
are all my favorite foods
drenched in love –
seasoned with compassion,
joy and acceptance
The juice in my cup
Is of the finest nectar
Made from the most
beautiful and nutritious fruits –
sprinkled with lights
from the stars of Heaven
Mixed together by Angels
Who sing as they prepare
Our meal

One of the other children
At the Divine Dinner Table
Began to say a prayer
When a loving, confident,
gentle voice interrupted,
“Everything is already blessed
because you are here.”

I peeked my head up again
To see who said those words
And saw that it’s God
Sitting with all of us – the world
at the Divine Dinner Table

God is as close or as far away
as you want Him to be
Every person, animal,
plant, stone – all of creation
from the past, present, and future
Has a seat
at the Divine Dinner Table

We are all just little children
laughing while eating
delicious food, and knowing
We’re loved, safe,
protected and important
Oh, the Angels sing
When we come together like this!

The only cranky children
Are those who refuse
To take their rightful place
At the Divine Dinner Table
They each have their own reasons
For not sitting in their blessed chair,
but none of their reasons
ever makes them happy

The Divine Dinner Table