Frederick Douglass shows us something unexpected

“I went, one day, on the wharf of Mr. Waters; and seeing two Irishmen unloading a large scow of stone, or ballast I went on board, unasked, and helped them. When we had finished the work, one of the men came to me, aside, and asked me a number of questions, and among them, if I were a slave.

I told him “I was a slave, and a slave for life.”

The good Irishman gave his shoulders a shrug, and seemed deeply affected by the statement. He said, “it was a pity so fine a little fellow as myself should be a slave for life.”

They both had much to say about the matter, and expressed the deepest sympathy with me, and the most decided hatred of slavery. They went so far as to tell me that I ought to run away, and go to the north; that I should find friends there, and that I would be as free as anybody.

I, however, pretended not to be interested in what they said, for I feared they might be treacherous. White men have been known to encourage slaves to escape, and then—to get the reward—they have kidnapped them, and returned them to their masters. And while I mainly inclined to the notion that these men were honest and meant me no ill, I feared it might be otherwise.

I nevertheless remembered their words and their advice, and looked forward to an escape to the north, as a possible means of gaining the liberty for which my heart panted. It was not my enslavement, at the then present time, that most affected me; the being a slave for life, was the saddest thought.

I was too young to think of running away immediately; besides, I wished to learn how to write, before going, as I might have occasion to write my own pass.

I now not only had the hope of freedom, but a foreshadowing of the means by which I might, some day, gain that inestimable boon. Meanwhile, I resolved to add to my educational attainments the art of writing.”

Excerpted from My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass

There is not a single paragraph in Frederick Douglass’s autobiography that doesn’t have you leaning forward pulled into the intensity of his life as a slave and his quest for freedom.

This passage in particular I felt I needed to share with you. It shows how others can fan the flame of a dream, yes, but most remarkable to me in this short passage is how this young teenage boy immediately set himself the task of learning to read and write to prepare for his undertaking.

Even gaining literacy is fraught with peril in a society bent on keeping slaves in chains. It was a monumental endeavor, one he pulled off in secrecy.

If you’ve not read one of Frederick Douglass’s autobiographies yet — he wrote five — do yourself the favor of a lifetime. Go and grab one and set yourself down in a quiet corner for a transformative ride.

To read from the lips of an escaped slave of his bondage and pains and triumphs will forever put your own obstacles in perspective.

You will feel awed by his experience — and audacity — while also realizing how puny in actuality are the constraints you perceive in your own life.

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Sometimes you just need Gandhi to remind you

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

~ Mahatma Gandhi
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Note: Blink

Ye God, sometimes it takes eons to alter your viewpoint. Like how long it took me to give up Mountain Dew. Decades.

Then there are those other times, where something changes in an instant. You’ve arrived at a new understanding — it catches your breath!

Oh damn, I think I’m in love with her.

I might just like fish afterall….

Those tend to sneak up on you. You didn’t foresee the shift yet there it is.

I’ve discovered a shortcut too. Let’s say you know a certain thought will serve you better but you can’t quite get there.

I’m going to come through this better than before.

I like veggies. Yum yum.

Play this game with yourself. Tell yourself the preferred thought you’d like to entertain — it takes but a moment — then blink!

Maybe blink twice for emphasis.

It can have a surprising effect. As if you’ve just stated the thought reality you wish to inhabit, then blink, you’re in it.

You’re (playfully) seeing through new eyes.

You’re (playfully) trying on this new thought habit.

You can let this new thought reside within you for awhile — and every time it begins to fade, blink again.

Life has got my back.

I’m coursing with vitality!

I deal with disappointments with humor now, that’s my way.

You may feel like a blinking fool — best not to do this when all eyes are focused on you — still — try it — sometimes the thought you want is only a blink away.

. . . . .

Change your perception —
Blink your eyes —
There — it’s all different now

Evan Griffith
#NotesForCreators



For insights and stories on the connected creative life, check out these bookitos:

The Creative Morning Challenge

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

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Thich Nhat Hanh: Walking and your cosmic body

“We have a physical body, which is a wonder. But this physical body will one day disintegrate. That is the truth we have to accept.

On the surface, there is birth and death, being and nonbeing. But if you go more deeply, you recognize that you also have a cosmic body that exists outside of birth and death, being and nonbeing.

A wave on the ocean doesn’t last very long. A wave’s physical body lasts five, ten, or twenty seconds. But the wave has her ocean body, because she comes from the ocean and she will go back to the ocean.

If you walk mindfully, if your concentration and insight are powerful, with every step you can touch your cosmic body and you will lose all your fear and uncertainty.”

How to Walk (Mindfulness Essentials)” by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Note: You’ve got this

Man, more than ever we need this reminder!

The next sale is coming. The next gig is coming. The next project is around the corner. The next bit of relief is on its way to you now.

. . . . .

You’ve got what it takes —
Keep going —
More of what you need will come

Evan Griffith
#NotesForCreators



For insights and stories on the connected creative life, check out these bookitos:

The Creative Morning Challenge

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

.

.

.

Share