Archive for the ‘Self Improvement’ Category

GOOD FRIDAY: A Day of Unconditional Forgiveness

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” ~Luke 23:34 (KJV)

Easter Lily and The Cross, A Symbol of Death and Rebirth

For me, Jesus’ greatest lesson was forgiveness, which he ultimately demonstrated on the cross. Sadly, while experiencing such horrendous pain, Jesus still was able to let go of the intense suffering, if only for an instant, and forgive his enemies. Which still remains a mystery, even for a devout truthseeker.

Today, we still don’t know exactly how forgiveness works but it does, which is why it remains a great mystery. The thing is, I’ve learned that first we have to be willing to forgive, do it, and then our inner situation inexplicably changes. We actually begin to see things differently!

Ultimately, I would learn that forgiveness is like crossing an unseen bridge: Once we forgive, which can include our own mistakes, we immediately cross that abyss within our own mind. Once on the other side, we understand the problem, experience inner peace, and finally real happiness.

Of course, another thing that Jesus teaches us about forgiveness, which really was his central message, as the return to peace and love is its reward, is to let go of the negative thoughts (which keeps us bound to the pain) and let love continue the healing process. Of course, this is the hard part that can take a lifetime of practice; but what else is there to do?

This, I believe, is what Jesus meant by his following advice to a woman whom he had just saved from being stoned to death, as was then the horrendous custom:

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more.” ~John: 8:10-11(KJV)

In short, we must take care to learn from our mistakes, so as not to make the same mistake again!

Blessed Peace be upon us, Happy Easter, Amen!

© 2017 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” ~John 14:5-7

He is Risen religious-easter-wallpaper

Though Jesus had many disciples, most spiritual scholars believe that Peter, James and John were his best students. Destined to write the visionary Book of Revelations, seems the Apostle John was Jesus’ most advanced disciple.

Such likely explains why John never denied Jesus and why a dying Jesus left his mother to John. Though we know little about John’s early life, Christian tradition maintains that John was probably born in Galilee about ten to fifteen years after the birth of Jesus.

St. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James, also one of the Twelve Disciples. Fisherman by trade, one day John, his elder brother, James and their father, Zebedee were casting their nets when Jesus, while walking by the Sea of Galilee, called them:

“And they immediately left the ship and their father and followed him”. Previously called that day were fellow fishermen Simon Peter and his brother Andrew; whom Jesus had told to, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”[1].

Of course, these were not ordinary, earthbound fishermen who generally would not have recognized Jesus, nor abandon their family and livelihood to follow anyone. Likely devout students of John the Baptist, an advanced teacher of God whose primary task was to first come and prepare those ready to receive Jesus the Christ:  Peter, James and John were now able to “follow” Jesus and accept his central message of universal love and forgiveness.

Though some likely perceived him as such, particularly when upholding the truth, John the Baptist was hardly the raving “wild-man” typically portrayed in Hollywood films during its Golden Era. Usually scantily clad in a lion’s skin while ranting at lost sinners to repent lest they burn in hell, such behavior, of course, is the direct opposite of the peace and kindness inherent in God’s Teachers.

John the Baptist Revealed

Traditionally recognized as Jesus’ most advanced disciples, at his behest, Peter, James and John witness Jesus’ historic Transfiguration on the Mount where Moses and Elias (aka, Elijah) appear to them talking with Jesus. Afterwards, they also understood from Jesus that John the Baptist and Elias were the same, which strongly suggests that they had properly learned the basis of reincarnation.[3]

Though John the Baptist reportedly denied being the Prophet Elias when questioned by the Pharisees (“separated ones”[4]) as to who he was, religious sages still hold that Jesus (as Elisha) was a disciple of John the Baptist (as Elias). Clearly of a higher mind, he was John the Baptist! That was his role in this life.

So he simply stated: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Esaias (Isaiah).”[5]

In recognizing the limited, egocentric mindset of the Pharisees, perhaps John the Baptist felt it best not to discuss his previous life with those who would not only deny such a revelation, but also kill the messenger! And his work was not yet done.

Yet, having been his teacher in a previous incarnation, or so it appears, this is likely why John baptized Jesus, why he preceded Jesus and why Jesus once said he was:

“…More than a prophet…there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist…if ye will receive it, this is Elias” as foretold.[6]

Maybe this is why some at the cross thought they heard Jesus calling for Elias in the ninth hour, followed by a mournful cry that still resonates today:

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”[7]

Yet, Jesus frees himself of such despair. Instead of holding inferior feelings of anger and revenge, Jesus speaks forgiveness and truth to Power:

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”[8]

Perhaps Elias was there after all, there in spirit to remind Jesus who he was and there to help him transcend the body during this very difficult time. Besides, no one really dies alone. What better heavenly guide to aid Jesus than the familiar presence of his beloved former teacher.

Meanwhile, until that final hour, Jesus would go on to teach, preach and fulfill his divine mission here on earth.

Betrayal and Trial

As Scripture states, with a greeting and a kiss Judas betrays Jesus to local authorities while he is in the Garden of Gethsemane speaking with Peter, James and John. Whom Jesus had sought for comfort and support knowing that the time of his suffering for humanity was near. Yet, being human, instead of staying in prayer with Jesus, they fell asleep three times.

Annoyed, Jesus initially said, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” He reminds them to stay focused and prayerful lest they fall into distraction, as “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Meanwhile, no surprise to Jesus, he is arrested and taken before the high priest Caiaphas “where the scribes and the elders were assembled”. Who then grills Jesus, to no avail, as to whether he is the Son of God. Naturally, Jesus kept his cool.

Thus, in the radical rock opera of the 70s a resurrected Caiaphas aptly chants, “One thing I’ll say for him, Jesus is cool.[9]

Though Jesus spoke only the Truth, when he did speak, Caiaphas and the assembly’s upside-down thinking declare Jesus spoke blasphemy.[10]

The next morning, “All the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus” and called for his death. And fulfillment of the law begins.

Jesus soon stands before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea.

Unable to pass death sentences, the envious priests falsely accuse Jesus of sedition. Knowing “that for envy they had delivered” Jesus to him for trial, the conflicted governor ultimately orders his crucifixion, though only after pressure from a crowd of naïve citizens who had been manipulated by their priests and civic leaders.

Though the malleable governor washed his hands of the murder of “this just person,” as if to cleanse his conscience, still he had Jesus beaten, subjected to hateful ridicule and a violent death.

Thus, Governor Pontius Pilate fades into history as the man who crucified Jesus Christ.

Judas Repents

Meanwhile, likely hit with the reality of his benevolent teacher’s imminent death, Judas repents and attempts to return the infamous “thirty pieces of silver” to the chief priests and elders in the temple saying: “…I betrayed the innocent blood.”

Who then callously replies, “What is that to us?” They reject his pitiful recompense, claiming it is now blood money.

Dejected, Judas throws the money on the temple floor, likely a cruel reminder of his irrevocable error, or so he believes. Sadly, he departs and ultimately hangs himself.

Judas Repents But is Rejected

Judas Repents But is Rejected

Conversely, without a hint of contrition, the arrogant temple dwellers and their cohorts would foolishly mock Jesus at the cross, saying among other things:

“If he be [the Son of God] let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.”[11]

The Crucifixion (“Good Friday”)

As the final hour drew near, there also was the Beloved Disciple, John, who had stuck by Jesus the most, particularly at the foot of the cross with his beloved mother, Mary. Thus, John neither denied nor betrayed Jesus, ever.

While Scripture notes, “all the disciples forsook him and fled” upon Jesus’ arrest, such is understandable given that their own lives and the future of Christianity were also in grave danger. Of course, Simon Peter’s attempt to defend Jesus with his sword is historic, who then cautions Peter to:

“Put up thy sword…for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” [12]

Before surrendering his spirit to God, Jesus entrusts his mother to John his beloved disciple and John to his mother saying, “Woman, behold thy son!” And to John, “Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Knowing “it is finished,” Jesus, “bowed his head, and gave up the ghost [13] .”

Henceforth, for Christians, this moment becomes Good Friday; the day Jesus redeemed our grievous errors.

The Resurrection (“Easter Sunday”)

On the third day, now known as Easter Sunday, Jesus arises from the grave and reveals his greatest message, which simply states that life is eternal, be glad!

As death, after all, is but a transition from this life-experience to the next.

Easter Lily and The Cross, A Symbol of Death and Rebirth

Easter Lily and The Cross, Symbol of Death and Rebirth

After discovering that the stone covering their teacher’s burial chamber is gone, Mary Magdalene, another close disciple of Jesus, runs to Peter and John believing they have taken away the body of their beloved Lord Jesus and she knew not where. Together they run toward the site, but John out runs Peter.

Thus, John is the first to enter the sacred chamber and finds it empty. Yet, rather than believe that someone had actually stolen their master’s body, John intuitively knows that Jesus had risen. Though, the other disciples had yet to learn that (from Jesus), according to Scripture, he must also arise from the dead.

Inconsolable, Mary Magdalene remains by the site weeping; she then looks into the chamber and sees two angels. Shortly thereafter, Jesus stands before her and, of course, she is elated. He lovingly bids her to touch him not for he is “not yet ascended” to our Father.

This, says the metaphysician, is indicative of the natural transition from the body to spirit that usually takes three days, and is likely the root of prayer vigils and wakes for the departed in many traditions. Jesus then bids Mary to go and tell the others of his ascension.[14]

Finally, Jesus meets with his advanced students: the eleven remaining disciples, whom he had ordained to preach the gospel, heal sickness and cast out error.[15]

Even after hearing from Mary Magdalene that she had seen and spoken to Jesus, still they were frightened thinking they had seen a ghost.

Jesus then invites them to look at his hands and feet, to touch him saying, “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.”

Still frightened, Jesus asked them for meat: “And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish and [honey]. And he took it and did eat before them.”

The Law of Creation (Karma)

He lovingly opens their minds and explains why the Christ had “to suffer and rise from the dead the third day” as written, which is based on the Law of Creation (Karma) and is rarely understood by a closed mind.

According to the Ancients, wisdom cannot be taught; but the way to wisdom can be taught.

This is why Jesus came among us and accepted the consequences of our errors, simply to show us the way back to the Source of all wisdom, which is called God in Christianity. Of course, we must first apply Jesus’ teachings before we can understand the value of Divine wisdom.

Then, Jesus authorizes his disciples to preach in his name, among all nations, the value of contrition and remission of erroneous thoughts and actions for inner peace and happiness, to which they were witnesses.[16]

Jesus’ parting promise endures in the hearts of the faithful: “…Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”[17]

Judas Iscariot, Also to be Redeemed

Sadly, a deeply troubled Judas Iscariot, the twelfth disciple and alleged political zealot who likely lost faith in Jesus’ nonviolent policies, had committed suicide after realizing he betrayed his spiritual teacher, an innocent person. Thus, Judas was not present at Jesus’ final departure and therefore did not receive the promise.

Judas Hangs Himself

Many still wonder why Jesus the Christ, who had extraordinary powers, would allow a Judas to belong to his inner circle. Of course, Jesus, who likely abhorred censure, knowingly came to redeem Judas also.

Yet, the answer to this perplexing question is amazingly simple, which rests entirely in humanity’s absolute freewill that even God will not overturn.

Much like the Prophet Muhammad who could not overturn the ills of society manifested in centuries of slavery, neither could Jesus usurp the heart of one traitor.

Here we must understand that God’s Redeemer cannot just wave a magic wand and undo the mess we made; that would not solve the problem. Only our willingness to change can save us. Thus, if we never discern why we go astray and change, we likely create the same conditions over and over and hurt more people in the process.

Creation Follows Law

We must realize that creation follows law!  It must in order to maintain balance and harmony in the Universe. Somewhat like the laws that uphold our society.

Yet, God’s Love surpasses law. However we must first remember to accept Divine Love and let it flow like a river in our lives. Thus, God’s Teachers can only show us the way; it is up to us to follow it.

So, when Jesus said, “I am [not] come to destroy the law, or the prophets…but to fulfill”[18], he would have us realize that with freewill comes the responsibility to rightly choose that which is in harmony with God’s Plan for our happiness.

Otherwise, we are on our own and, in time, will likely suffer dearly and needlessly as did Judas Iscariot … but not forever!

It is not clear when Judas took his own life, which is a grave error that solves nothing. As the best way to seek peace is through the expedient of forgiveness as taught by Jesus. Perhaps it was on that fateful Friday when the heavens opened up revealing the Christ to all and it was too much for him:

“Now when the centurion and [others] watching Jesus saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying: ‘Truly this was the Son of God.”’[19]

Forgiveness: Jesus’ Least Understood Gift

Of course, forgiveness is Jesus’ gift to humanity directly from God, the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Yet it is the least understood gift of all; that is, until we practice it!

Hence, when Simon Peter once asked Jesus if seven times is sufficient to cease forgiving one who keeps offending, he replied no: “But, until seventy times seven.”[20]

Naturally, this does not mean that we have to stick around and let some poor ignoramus keep hurting us. That too is in error. Actually, what Jesus wants us to realize, always, is the value of God’s Unconditional Love for us, which is the basis of our creation.

When we fail to forgive others (or ourselves) relentlessly, we actually block our awareness of God’s love, which is the only source of life and our real happiness.

Thus, the soul of Judas Iscariot, when ready, is redeemed at last.

The Ascension and The Holy Spirit

After Jesus’ Ascension, the Holy Spirit descends upon the faithful disciples as promised:

Jesus Christ Risen

Jesus Ascends with a Divine Promise

“And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye [awhile] until ye be endued with power from on high.”

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” [21].

Founders Peter, James and John naturally become pillars in the early Christian church.

St. Paul Receives a Fellowship

In recognition of St. Paul’s ministry, a leading convert and chosen Apostle to the Gentiles, as was Peter to the Jews, who would become the New Testament’s most prolific writer: Peter, James and John extend “the right hand of fellowship” to him [22].

Though St. Paul rightly notes that he needed no man’s approval as his mission came by revelation, he no doubt loved and admired the apostle’s relentless dedication very much.

In Acts, Paul writes of Peter and John’s fierce devotion to preaching and healing the sick in the name of Jesus despite persecution by the high priests, that results in imprisonment and trial. As the story goes, an angel releases them from prison and an esteemed lawyer appears at their trial and argues successfully in their favor; though beaten and directed not to “speak in the name of Jesus,” still Peter and John continued to “teach and preach” the gospel of Jesus “daily in the temple and in every house.”[23]

St. John and The Book of Revelations

While the reports of the Apostles continue to inspire and comfort Christians everywhere, still, today, most Christians remain perplexed after reading the Book of Revelations by the Apostle John.

Though often intrigued by it, particularly our gifted dramatists, most of us find St. John’s Revelations from the Christ downright scary or too gloomy to think about; thus preferring to read the Four Gospels and the more comforting thoughts of Jesus the Christ instead.

Yet, for those of us who traverse the road less travelled, the Book of Revelations eventually becomes an affirmation of the advanced teachings of Jesus and the Ancients, rather than something to avoid out of fear.

For therein, amid the scary images, lies the complete story of the fall and redemption of humanity and the way home. Or back to our Higher Mind.

[1] St. Matt 4:18-22

[3] St Matthew 17:1-13

[4] See, the Bible Dictionary KJV, p. 65, Pharisee.

[5] St. John 1:19-34; see also Isaiah 40:3; Esaias is Greek for Isaiah (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

[6] St. Matthew 11:7-15

[7] St. Matthew 27:46 to 50.

[8] St. Luke 23:34

[9] See, “Jesus Christ Superstar” from the genius of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, c 1973.

[10] St. Matthew 26:36-75

[11] St. Matthew 27:1-43. See also John 18: 28-40 re malefactor or sedition charge.

[12] St. Matthew 26:52-56; see also St. John 18:10-18

[13] St. John 19: 26-30

[14] St. John 20:1-18

[15] St. Mark 3:14

[16] St. Luke 24:33-53.

[17] St. Matthew 28:18-20

[18] St. Matthew 5:17-20

[19] St. Matthew 27: 50-54

[20] St. Matthew 18:21-22

[21] St Luke 24:49 and St. John 14:26.

[22] Galatians 2: 1-10, KJV and NIV.

[23] Acts 4-5:42.

(Originally published 03/29/2013, Updated 03/25/2016, Endnotes updated 03/28/2016)

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2016. All rights reserved.

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According to the New York Times, and other breaking reports, “Nancy Reagan, an Influential and Protective First Lady dies at 94.” She passed away on Sunday, March 6, 2016 of congestive heart failure at her home in Bel-Air, California. She was 94 years young. Wow! What a long and eventful life. Mrs. Reagan is to be buried next to her beloved husband President Ronald Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004 and is interred at the Reagan Presidential Library in beautiful Simi Valley California.

Nancy Reagan  White House, Dec 1982

Nancy Reagan, White House Dec 1982

As she transitions onward, we extend condolences to the Reagan family, a host of friends, and a profound regard for Mrs. Nancy Reagan, our fashion icon and champion against drug abuse.

Nancy Reagan, A Fashion Icon

The Reagans occupied the White House from 1981-1989. A petit woman with a keen eye for the aesthetics, Mrs. Reagan was also known as a great dresser who loved the color of red. She would become a fashion icon to many women of her time. I can vividly recall my co-worker and kindred spirit, we both loved to wear hats, running up to my desk beaming with joy over having Nancy Reagan in the White House, as stylish hats and dresses were surly coming back!

Tired of only finding fashionable pantsuits in the stores, a big symbol of the women’s lib movement in the 70s which was good, Mrs. Reagan’s feminine sense of style was good news indeed. Sure enough, soon we were able to find fashionable dresses in the department stores again, though we still liked our pantsuits.

And television shows exploded with glamorous, well-dressed women reminiscent of the forties. Only this time, Primetime TV featured a highly independent woman, ready to claim her own space with no apologies. Hence, “Dallas” the popular TV Series, c.1978–1999, with all of its usual human dalliances, became the show to watch back then.

Yet, in retrospect, for me the new Reagan Administration also marks another definitive shift in our great society which, unlike TV’s Dallas, was far from entertaining.

High Crimes in the ‘Hood and Loud Music

One day, seems my quiet world suddenly changed. It was the year of 1981, as I recall. News reports began to escalate of young brothers running up and snatching gold chains off the necks of unsuspecting young women as they waited for the bus. And tension filled the air! Having to keep on the alert, no longer could we read at the bus stop. Things had definitely changed, and for the worse unfortunately.

Soon, someone turns up the volume. And the explosion of a so-called “Rap” music had hit the scene. Young people were playing it as loud as they possibly could in the streets and in their homes. Though an ardent music lover, I hated the discordant sounds passing as music that bounced off the walls of my apartment, which was downright painful.

Thankfully, after praying for peace and harmony in my home, my noisy neighbors soon moved. It was a very nice neighborhood, like folks had real jobs, so things stayed relatively calm.

Yet, depressing news of drug dealers, street gangs and drive-by shootings began to abound in the Black Community that reflected on Primetime TV. Of course, as usual, only Black and Brown folks were spotlighted, while White drug-related crimes and abuses virtually went unreported.

Just Say No: A Powerful Spiritual Command

Around this time, in 1981, Nancy Reagan envisions an anti-drug educational program to prevent illegal or “recreational” drug use, particularly among young people. Part of the government’s War on Drugs, this anti-drug campaign would simply become known as Just Say No, an advertising slogan created by Nancy Reagan, as a First Lady initiative, who obviously knew something about self-direction being an accomplished actress in her previous life.

With Nancy Reagan’s dedication and hard work, both national and international attention was drawn to the ever-increasing drug problem. Of course, the anti-drug campaign also drew the usual unfair criticism. The program’s critics erroneously labeled such efforts as too simplistic, a catch phrase not really addressing the hardcore issues of systemic drug addiction, and so on.

Thankfully, some drug abusers were reportedly helped by Mrs. Reagan’s vigorous efforts, who once said: “If you can save just one child, it’s worth it.”

Sadly today, some thirty-five years later, seems drug abuse in America has reached epidemic proportions across all social realities. Still, there are those who keep trying to help the hopeless as best they can.

I’ve always liked Nancy Reagan’s creative slogan of “Just Say No” to drug abuse. Actually, this is a powerful spiritual command, classically known as self-discipline, which we can deploy on our behalf. Self-discipline (or self-direction) is a great mental tool worth having; particularly in combating toxic anger, drug addiction, or any self-destructive habit within us.

The Importance of Good Government

Today, as we move toward electing a new president, the importance of good government is loudly before us once again! Sadly, the candidates usual pandering to self-interest groups (who often represent blocks of votes) seems to be the norm, except for one perhaps.

If only we can learn that what is good for one, is actually good for all on the level that really matters. Then we can really get things done and make democracy work for all.

Perhaps, one day, We-the-People will realize that democracy works best when we lay aside our smoldering self-interests and actually vote for the good of all. Why not today?

Saying Goodbye to Nancy Reagan

Meanwhile, as we say our goodbyes to Fmr First Lady Nancy Reagan, let us honor her good works against drug abuse, and revive the Just Say No Anti-drug Campaign in her name. I’m sure she will be there in spirit and praying for its success.

Free the mind and think before you vote!

© 2016 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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Season 21-dwts-premiere

DWTS Season 21 Premier/ABC

 “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow … I hear my being dance from ear to ear … I learn by going where I have to go.”   ~from The Waking by Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) is an American version of the British television series, Strictly Come Dancing that first aired in 2005 on ABC.  A natural lover of the arts with dance being my favorite art form, I have become a fan of DWTS despite its historic biases.

Overall, the show’s energy is joyful, the production numbers are classic, and the sets are spectacular.  Now, if only the show’s producers would present all American cultures with the same deference it affords Eurocentric cultures (“the West”).  DWTS would then be a perfect vehicle toward world peace and unity.

A Little History Lesson

Sadly, most of us don’t realize the extent of our biases, or how hurtful such can be.  Moreover, believing that we are right, rarely do we consider the origin of our thoughts or the fact that we can actually change our minds at will.  Yet, herein lies the root cause of our destructive biases longing to be transformed.

In January 1492, Granada Spain is retaken.  Thus falls the last bastion of Moorish civilization that had conquered parts of Europe during the 8th Century. The Moors (“the Blacks”) were mainly Black Africans of the Islamic faith.  Now ruled by White Christians of the Catholic faith, Islamic books are burned and historic records allegedly hidden.

Concurrently, Christopher Columbus and his long awaited voyages of discovery are financed by the victorious Catholic monarchs. The Americas are discovered, and the sad conquest of land and human slavery is repeated.  Around 1600 AD, the Moors are expelled from Spain.  Europe’s Transatlantic Slave Trade emerges destined to divide civilization, but not forever!

With the enslavement of some Black folks and other people of color, White folks of all stripes are erroneously socialized into believing that their civilization is superior to all other Races on the planet, and “race-mixing” is deemed a civil wrong with grave consequences.

Today, racism is slowly dying in the West.  Yet, the root of racism remains, but not forever!

How DWTS’ Historic Bias Spoils the Fun

Mahatma Gandhi, who freed India of colonialism by use of Spiritual Force, which he called “the Force of Truth,” once declared: “We must become the change we want to see.”  Yet, in order to see that change, we must transform our flawed biases.

In my opinion, DWTS have literally taken the fun out of Latin dance.  Clearly a major point of contention for me from the beginning, as authentic Latin music is rarely played.  Still, I’ve learned to overlook such Western biases and enjoy the rest of the show.

That is, until it became obvious that Season 21 judges (Carrie Ann, Bruno, and Julianne whom I like and God loves) were clueless about Latin dance techniques, thus were unwittingly sending the wrong message.  Did they ever study Latin Dance with its actual creators?

After his Western Cha-cha dance on 9-22, the judges unduly criticize actor-singer Carlos PenaVega whose talent and Hispanic heritage is undeniable.  All deem his dance form “too squatty,” like he was “sitting on a horse,” adds Bruno.  Cary Ann abruptly said she was “not impressed.”  Julianne wrongly advises him to keep the legs straight, which is contrary to certain dance steps.

Actually, Carlos’ Cha-Cha was ideal.  His study of musical theater at the Boston Conservatory showed well.  Set to “Hound Dog” an old R&B song first recorded by Big Mama Thornton in 1952, Carlos and Witney delivered a great story. Bravo!

Being human, such biases likely hurt.  Yet, Carlos remained polite and brought it to the dance floor with style and vigor.  He would finish in fourth place.

Next, Hispanic jockey Victor Espinoza, a recent winner of the legendary Triple Crown who uses his good fortune to help others, could not escape the judges’ historic biases either.

After Karina and Victor’s Jive Dance on 9-21, Bruno seemingly refers to Victor’s variation on a theme of La Bamba, a beloved Mexican folk song and courtship dance from Veracruz, as a chaotic “jumping bean”, while Carrie Ann seemed fixated on his diminutive height.  Likely meant as a cultural gift, Victor’s handsome face radiated his humanity and good-humor despite the judges’ very bad manners.

In sharp contrast, seems the judges unfairly favored young Bindi Irwin, a perky teen of European heritage. Much to the exclusion of her rivals, she was often called special, a star, a diva and such; which, of course, ultimately became very influential.

Exceeding his usual dramatics, after Bindi & Derek’s “Freestyle” Dance in Week 11, Bruno tells Bindi: “You showed us the power of dance at its most pure and effective form…” clearly an overstatement that was not amusing this time.

While Carrie Ann’s remarks to Bindi really got mushy, thus tearfully saying: “Thanks to your mom and dad for creating you.  I am so grateful for you…”  Like, way over the top perhaps?

Bindi Irwin would win the grand prize.  Given all the unfair sentiment the judges unabashedly heaped upon her throughout the season, how could she not!

Her final dance, a so-called Latin dance fusion, finished with a few twists and turns on the balls of her feet.  Hopefully, one day Bindi will learn Latin dance and realize the vibrant spirit of its wonderful people, which is what DWTS must really be about.

Alek Skarlatos, a polite young man who received national honor from President Obama for stopping an attack on a Paris train along with his two childhood friends, was also overly glorified by the judges.  Alek would make it to the finals and finish in third place, though he admits to being a limited dancer.

Honoring World Dance and Music

Given its badly informed emphases on hip thrusts and gyrations, which is a joke, and the unusual twirly-whirly movements, seems DWTS is way out of touch with Latin Dance that is both joyful and timeless, which uplifts the human spirit.

After Bindi & Derek’s Salsa dance on 11-16, I was shocked when Julianne said to Bindi: “For me, I wish I would have seen a more down and dirty because that’s what Salsa is all about.” Being very offensive, this remark drew unexpected boos from the audience.

Actually Salsa, and other dance traditions, is a family affair meant for everybody.  At home or family gatherings, its dancers can range from toddlers to senior citizens.

Besides the lyrical rhythms of the Spanish language, Latin American music is a mix of the Afro-Cuban rhythms created by the African slaves in need of spiritual renewal.  Seems Julianne’s “down and dirty” remark about Salsa dance is so typical of the historic biases we are referring to here, and on so many levels.

Dance traditions differ throughout the world.  Some dance to the ground (African and Spanish Flamenco dance), some barely touch the ground (Native American dance), some nearly sit (Hindu Temple dance), the Dervishes whirl in ecstasy (Sufi-Islamic Sacred dance), while other traditions keep the posture erect (Celtic, Ballet, and Ballroom dance).

In general, art is more fluid than linear.  Yet, there is truth, discipline and passion at its core.  A true artist recognizes the presence of art and honors it well.

As the Reggae troubadour often sings: “Who feels it knows it.”

Being born and raised in the West, it took me a long time to flex my knees enough to properly move through Reggae dance.  But I did!  My formal study of Bharata Natyam, Hindu classical dance, helped a lot.  A big fan of Reggae music, I also hung out in the culture that created it, and quietly studied the movements of the people.

So I really appreciated the veteran dancers on DWTS who actually executed Latin Dance with knowledge and grace, though generally absent its indigenous rhythms.

Dance Can Be Big Fun and Very Healing

Having the soul of a dancer, over the years I’ve learned that the pure joy of dance heals sadness, fatigue, the flu, and even an open wound when naturally open to its spiritual vibrations.

Years ago, I was healed of a small open wound during Latin dance.  The next morning, unlike finding the usual lumpy scab, to my amazement a smooth, seemly days-old tissue had formed. Thus, my band-aid fix was discarded.

Tito Puente/ Photo biography.com

Such healing appeared after dancing all night to the live music of the legendary Tito Puente, also known as “El Rey de los Timbales” (The King of the Timbales).   Wow! I can still see his great smile and feel the joy as he played his famous timbales, now in the Smithsonian Museum.

Though born and raised in New York City, studied at Julliard School of Music on his GI Bill, some thought El Rey was Cuban. In June of 2000, the beloved Tito Puente dies at age 77. The world grieves, while local fans wait in line to bid him goodbye.  Having lost her native son, America weeps.  Yet, Tito Puente’s musical legacy lives on!

Be More Like Water and Change The World

Often attributed to the legendary Bruce Lee, a Chinese-American actor and acclaimed martial artist of the 60s and 70s, the following motto is revered in the Martial Arts community:

“I want to be like water. Water is the softest substance in the world, yet it can penetrate the hardest rock.”

Likely a metaphor for Universal Love, as water flows naturally unless we block it.  Only love can conquer hate and self-indulgence, the source of all wars.  Thus, the classic goal of the artist is to rise above the primitive passions of egotism and elevate the human spirit.

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Chef Joseph of the Nez Perce/ Photo Wikipedia

Outnumbered and facing defeat, in surrendering to the U.S. in October of 1877, the honorable Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe, a Native American leader who fought valiantly for their homeland, states these immortal words:

“I am tired of fighting … From where the sun stands, I will fight no more forever.”

With all the talk of terrorism these days and how to avert it, still the world is advancing towards unity.  Thus, it is best for all of us to be more like water, and seek to penetrate the hardest biases of those bent on hate and segregation.

Universal Love lights the way, which often begins in our families, our churches, and in our arts.

While we can’t change the past, we can change our minds about how we chose to see the world, and how we react to those around us.  And we can do this now.  Herein is a direct path to the peace and transformation we all seek.

In closing his Noble Peace Prize Lecture, Dec 2002, James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr., 39th U.S. President and Global Peacemaker awarded for his work with the Carter Center, states:

“The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us a capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes ̶ ̶ and we must.”

So let us resolve to make the world a better place.  Let us awaken to a new day, relax our biases, lovingly embrace the world’s cultures, and gladly learn by going where we have to go.  Thus, the world is changed one step at a time, as only the true artist can do.

Happy New Year.  Free the mind!

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© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2016. All rights reserved.


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Happy New Year and Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Time is but an illusion really. The past is over and the future is now, go figure.

Only love is real. Yet, pain and suffering can seem more real than real at the time. Perhaps this is why some think of hell as eternal damnation, go figure.

Actually nothing lasts forever. And since hell is not real and only love is real, the odds of escaping an eternal hell are definitely in our favor, go figure.

Thankfully, it’s already been figured out for us. Thus say the Ancients:

Choose once again! But remember, what we chose for others we also choose for our self. Choose love.

Have a blessed and prosperous year. Free the mind!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2016. All rights reserved.

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