Tuesday, April 9, 2019

"Fake it 'til You Make it" is BS

I've never really appreciated the oft used phrase "Fake it 'til you make it." There, I said it.
Why not, Jeff?
Okay, since you asked... During my 20 years in the Army I changed jobs and locations more times than I can count - the Army likes to keep things spicy that way. At the beginning of pretty much every position, rank, and new duty location I was assigned to it was always full of pretty steep learning curves. "Embrace the suck" is a term often thrown around. It's all 'experience building'. Military life is very unpredictable and fast paced, and when you arrive in a unit or new job it's like jumping into a car and driving while the car is still being built. (by the lowest bidder, but that's another conversation).
The real fun comes when after spending about a year or so in a position and begin to feel like you've got your feet on the ground, got a handle things, and in the flow - Basically "Okay, I got this, I'm good at it, and I'm producing some quantifiable results. Yeah, the real fun happens about then because more than likely you'll be assigned to a new job, often with very little overlap time going in, and your predecessor is either already gone or is more focused on getting on to their next thing. That's super stressful at home base where most of the work involves training; the stakes go way up in combat. There is a ‘zero mistakes’ mindset in those situations. But life throws curveballs and like we'd say in Army Intel - the enemy always has a vote.
True story example
When I was a the lead Intelligence officer of an Artillery Brigade in Baghdad, Iraq our unit was assigned to take over another Area of Operations (AO) in a different part of the city - the largest and one of the most complex swaths of Baghdad. I had about seven people working for me whereas the typical Infantry brigade has an entire Company, about 100 Soldiers strong, supporting that mission. We were all pushed beyond what we could realistically handle. My Soldiers and I were exhausted after being on the ground for almost 12 months already. Faking it til you make it meant troops lives could be at risk; they relied on our Intel to stay alive. You had to make it on the daily. So we get to that AO and the outgoing dude spends about 1-2 hours with me over the course of about 10-12 days; he was too busy doing whatever in his office. He assured me everything was running smoothly and they had a handle on the enemy composition and activities in the area. This was, while reassuring, not really helping me at understanding what my day would/should look like to effectively support my commander. To make matters more fun, I was now in a position slotted for someone with much more experience - I was a fish out of water. Nah, more like a fish in a frying pan.
So about five days after we officially took control my boss comes in my office and matter of factly says - “The commanding general's helicopter will arrive in 20 minutes and he wants as deskside briefing from YOU on the enemy in the area". It's normally takes weeks go get something like this tuned up and ready for someone of that level. This General later went on to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - the President of the United States’ top military leader. After shitting my pants I grabbed my NCOIC (top enlisted Soldier) and we got our briefing queued up - one that the five days since departed intel section had left us; from what we knew it was the ground truth. I felt like my boss threw me under the bus. He was always pretty much of an asshole, so it makes sense. Since I was only a Captain I was never invited into meetings with the brigade field grade officers and felt completely ostracized.
Anyway, This General was smart, tough, respected, and zero bullshit - as most Generals are. I liked the guy. So we brief him up and things seemed to go okay. We answered his questions the best we could, but this was not an opportunity for giving him any 'alternative facts' to make him feel better about things. He left on his helicopter and we felt pretty good. That is until the next day when I’m informed there was a Major from Division staff that is coming down to take over my section. I was now the assistant, and while I felt a major sense of defeat and a big dose of humility in this demotion of sorts, the biggest thing I felt was a sense of relief. Finally, we were getting some help we needed.
Fast forward many years. So now I’m in a brand new career that is a total 180 degree turn from being an Army officer. I mean how much more different can a yoga therapist be from an Army Intel officer? The learning curve has been steep, but at least now I have time to really develop my skills, gain confidence, and really make a meaningful difference in lives. Even better is that I get to help people in the military who are in fish in a frying pan situations.
The lesson in all this to me is that, while it’s a cute saying, we can’t fake it until we make it. That’s not reality. To really make it we need to be honest with ourselves, admit our lack of experience, where we need help, let go of the zero mistakes mindset, and put our best efforts in doing the best we can. We’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to learn from them, and we’re going to one day become experts. Who might be able to help us refine our technique? What fundamentals do we need to incorporate? How can I be kind to myself today? What am I doing or not doing that is preventing me from doing this? Should I (you) just give up and do something else? Maybe, but probably not.
Yoga and life have taught me so much about this concept. If we have the guts to try handstand (or take on any challenge) we’re going to fall and flounder, a lot. It’s going to happen again, and again, and again. I guess If we don’t ever try handstand (or a new thing) we can never fall out of it, but there is the dilemma. What learning opportunity are we withholding from ourselves if we never try?
The real lesson comes by realizing that by showing up in our lives, or on our mats, each day and doing the best we can we’ve, right there, in that moment, already made it. No faking required.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Shadows of Ourselves

We live our lives doing the things we are taught we are supposed to do. We integrate those teachings into the teachings our DNA brings into this world and go forth. We do our best in the process. Sometimes we succeed in pleasing others. We bring them joy with our light. Sometimes we please ourselves and our own light provides a big blast of goodness to our being. Those two aren't always in alignment with who we are. 

Waking up and looking in the mirror liking the person looking back is a good feeling. We get ready for the day, doing our hair, putting on makeup or whatever accoutrements come into the necessity of our situation. We try to put our best selves on to go out in the world and present ourselves as the best we can. It's a hard venture sometimes. Sometimes we don't feel like going through all the mechanics of what it takes to conform to the norms. Sometimes we get lazy and just roll in whatever getup happens to be not too dirty or too wrinkled.

Sometimes we need to just stop. And look. Do we really like that person looking back? Do we get ready for the day because it makes us feel good in doing so, or are we simply going through the motions of the process to fit? 

Today I was walking and noticed my shadow. It was staring back at me in boldness. And then I thought. Our shadows do tell us so much. The way we present ourselves is only a reflection of who we are. The shadows don't care about color. The shadows don't care about our clothes, and they certainly don't care about how we feel. They only reflect when light shines upon us. That's what shadows do. That light reflects back on us and creates a rebound of darkness we can see if we only look in the right direction. 

And then all the other shadows of the other people present themselves to us in the light. Each one of them is very unique in expression. Each one of them has a reflection cast by their truth. These many shadows interact and sometimes blend into one giant blob of a shadow that makes it hard for us to distinguish what the hell that giant shadow represents. Luckily, It's not our job to figure that out. Our task is to keep our eyes on our own shadow teacher.

The point it each one of us has a shadow. It's a dark side of our being that hides when things are bright and sunny. It takes a light from outside to show us where that shadow falls, and when we see it we have an opportunity to stop and look. We have a choice right there. We can either keep walking and ignore it, or we can stop and look at it with discernment for a while and breathe, take notice, and decide the direction we want to walk. 

It's what we do next that really matters.

Which way do we walk from here?

We can either stay and stare at that darkness, or...

just or

We can light a flame inside of us

That flame is knowledge.

We use that knowledge to kindle our flames and become brighter and eventually that particular shadow is gone.

But we are human and life is such a good teacher.

So we keep walking. We keep putting on the best version of ourselves to go out into the world. Alas inevitably another shadow will present itself.

We've learned that stopping and looking is a pretty good idea, so we stop, again. And do the process all over, again.

This is life. 

There is no endstate, there is only practice and process.

Our work is to stand with awareness of the shadows of ourselves and keep doing what it takes to light the fire of internal light.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Valley of My Own Shadow

This song is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard lately. A teacher played it during a yoga class this week and I just loved the beat and the singer's beautiful voice. After class I asked what the song was and immediately played it again in my car. Later, I Googled the lyrics; just perfect. If you choose to listen I suggest not reading the lyrics just yet, simply listen with your ears and your heart. Then come back and read the lyrics. My thoughts follow at the bottom.


Creating concrete visions of a macroscopic prism with a brilliant optimism and appropriate ambition to be open from the center redirected to the moment this is it love this is it love- unrestrainable nature - we can change it from the edges - we can challenge all our borders - there is always a new leader there is always a new order - our pathway is proceeding and the way is always changing - we are free from what prevents us to realize our destination free from all old stories I've been told- I walk through the valley of my own shadow free from all old stories I've been told- I walk through the valley of my own shadow Awareness is my virtue and I'm grateful for the search to dive deep within my own mind and to trust the intuition of the lives I've lived before this- our essential form of gnosis its a simple form of freedom its as smooth as inhalation oh the exhale is releasing all the tension I've been feeling on the surface and beneath me I'm connecting to my spirit and I'm here now right before you I am present in this moment and my life's work is to honor the great beauty all around youfree from all old stories I've been told- I walk through the valley of my own shadow free from all old stories I've been told- I walk through the valley of my own shadow. Creating concrete visions of a macrocosmic prism with a brilliant optimism and appropriate ambition / to be open from the center, redirected to the moment this is it love, this is it love, this is it love...

Damn that's so beautiful...To me it speaks of letting go, to listening to the truth of who we are as human beings in a world that is typically more full of questions, self doubt, fear, and pain than it is of answers, love, joy, and freedom. Or maybe that's just my self narrative, I don't know, I'm just one human and I've only had my own experience, but I do think we're all more alike than different. We all live in the shadows of our choices, but they key in this whole equation is walking forward with faith in the path we're on. We've all lived many lives and played different roles

I've been
the Soldier
the leader
the follower
the student, the teacher
the husband
the father, the son, and now grandfather
the lonely, wandering human
the heartbroken man
the hopeful dreamer
the aspiring yogi
Each one of those roles, those lifetimes, has led me to where I am, which quite frankly is that point in life where I've got more time under my belt than ahead of me. I still truly feel the best is yet to come. That said, sometimes I'm overwhelmed with trying to figure everything out, a feeling I'm sure you all can relate to. The most truth I've found is the more I allow things to unfold, to simply let go, the more things just seem to work out. I've been feeling quite alone in my new home and I think that's the lesson I'm supposed to learn right now. With that solitude I've been working on leaning into discomfort. Just BEING. The weight seems to get a bit lighter when I lighten up on myself and what I think I'm "supposed" to do or be.
This song also tells us to be focus on the present moment, in which we always have the opportunity to make the choices that best serve our path. We have all experienced and lived with pain, but we don't need to carry around our pain suitcase everywhere we go. Our healing and freedom is truly our own choice.
The beauty of our lives is we all get to be our own storyteller. Here's to whatever chapter comes next...

Provided by Indmusic Gajumaru · Yaima Peullucidity ℗ 2016

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Persistency & the People We Meet

Thanksgiving 2017
I met Chris last year in Norfolk at 80/20 Burger Bar where he’d come in to get out of the cold, drink a Coca Cola, and watch football games. Chris was born and raised here in Norfolk,Virginia and loves the Redskins, like REALLY loves them. And while I’m not a huge sports fanatic, I’ve always been a football fan. I played football at the age of 12 and continued playing through high school. There’s also some nostalgia from watching games on Sunday afternoons with my Dad; him in his La-Z Boy, me on the sofa with a blanket. So Chris and I had a connection, we talked about the teams, the games, playoff possibilities, etc. The first time we hung out I learned Chris was homeless, he slept wrapped up in blankets in the bushes not a ¼ mile away from where we were sitting…warm and dry at the bar.
Chris is a happy and polite man who often cracks jokes, and always asks me how I’m doing. He’s a really warm and outgoing individual. One of the most interesting things about Chris is his knowledge of Astrology. He knows interesting details about every sign, including the dates they begin and end, who each sign is compatible and incompatible with, character traits, etc. It’s always fun to hear him talk with people and ask them about their birthday. Chris doesn’t drink, doesn’t use drugs, always says thank you, gives hugs, doesn’t beg for anything. As time went by we started talking more about his situation. He really wants to get off the street, get a job, find a place to live, take care of his needs…you know, stuff most of us take for granted.
One of the reasons he hasn’t been able to get a job is because he doesn’t have an Identification Card (ID). He couldn’t stay at the homeless shelter without an ID, and the shelters are where a lot of the services homeless folks can tap into are located. They can help with employment, housing, etc. When I met him he didn’t have a birth certificate, Social Security card, or any documentation to prove who he was. So besides giving him some pocket money for something to eat I saw this as an opportunity to help him start to get on his feet. That was it, we had to get his Virginia ID. This story seeks to convey how extremely difficult this process can be, especially for someone without means to provide the required documentation and travel all over the place on foot.
We scheduled a time that week to meet up so I could accompany him to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), an easy 15 minute drive across town, but it would have taken him hours by foot and bus. It didn’t look good from the beginning, as Virginia requires two forms of ID to get an ID, and without even so much as a birth certificate there wasn’t much we could do, but we had to start somewhere. In order to get a birth certificate you have to have an ID and vice versa, a total catch 22. The people at the DMV were nice and all, but they really couldn’t do anything to help Chris. They handed him a piece of paper with the required documents he needed. Check it out Here.  It’s a huge laundry list of items, none of which he had. The only way he could get a copy of his birth certificate was is if his Mother requested it, and Chris hasn’t really been on great speaking terms with his Mom. I don’t pepper him with questions about the situation. To make things more challenging, without a physical address he was pretty much screwed. He doesn’t have a bank account, a residence, passport....nada. The only thing there was a possibility of obtaining was a copy of his high school transcripts, which were were able to get by driving to his old high school in Chesapeake, another several hour walk/bus ride ordeal had we not had a car. Chris hadn’t been there in 20 years, and while we were there he ran into one of his old teachers. Chris lit up and gave her a hug, it was an emotional thing to witness. So yeah, we finally had one document from the list, but still no means of proving his physical address. I couldn’t simply let him use my address because his name isn’t on my lease, and those bushes where he sleeps don’t have mailboxes attached to them.
Weeks go by and Chris was finally able to get a copy of his birth certificate thanks to his Mother after I’d left several phone messages for her. So we now had the proof of identification documents required, but still no way to prove physical address. Since this all began back in November, it’s almost February now, we’ve been to the DMV four times, his high school, and to Social Services. On the third DMV trip I pleaded with the manager to make an exception because he really couldn’t prove his address. She agreed to use his childhood address and my PO Box as a secondary mailing address.
From here it gets even more complicated. Several years ago Chris’s identity was compromised when another man used Chris’s name to get a Virginia ID. I’m not sure how that happened, but it did. The DMV wouldn’t issue Chris a new ID until his record was clear. DMV investigators now had to get involved. The following week I received a phone call from a DMV Special Agent asking about the situation. He said he needed to speak with Chris to get info on who the identity thief was; Chris knew who the dude was. I had no way to contact Chris because he doesn’t own a cell phone, which obviously has made this whole situation more complicated. It was a waiting game from then on, just like most of this has been. When I have a goal I like to do whatever it takes to get it done, but in this case I had to wait to run into Chris in my neighborhood. He often hung out at a nearby 24 hour I-HOP so I’d go there frequently to ask Lisa, the General Manager and super nice person, if she’d seen him around. I finally ran into Chris while eating at the Grilled Cheese bistro in downtown Norfolk. Thank god for those window seats or I’d never have seen him walking down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. We called up the special agent and Chris provided all the info he needed. Within a few days his record was cleared and we were good to go for finally getting his ID. Fourth time to the DMV and success! Almost…
January 31, 2018
The DMV sent his ID to my PO Box, but since Chris’s name wasn’t on my box the post office returned it to Richmond. Chris had to call Richmond in order to request they resend it. I added him to my PO Box so it wouldn’t get sent back again. Weeks go by as I wait to run into Chris so we could call Richmond. Last week we finally got it all sorted out and today, three months after this whole thing started, Chris finally got his ID!!!
This whole ordeal had really made me think about how difficult it is for our less fortunate neighbors to accomplish even the smallest tasks we take for granted, and in this case would have been impossible except for the DMV manager who let Chris slide on using my PO Box for a mailing address. I mean, shit, everyone hates going to the DMV, but I’ll never complain again about having to wait at the DMV for two hours to renew something.

We celebrated with some KFC, Chris's favorite, and a fresh new haircut. It'd been a year since he got a nice trim and man does he look great! Thanks to the kick ass folks at Lionshead Barbershop in Ocean View. Of course he talked with the barber about football for 20 minutes, then the discussion changed to favorite rappers. Chris brought up Lil' Wayne and the barber said, "Man, the last time he was on top was when he had the top bunk in prison." Everyone in the place was laughing pretty good.

Now it's time to get this man a place to live and a job!!!
Before and after with a new man!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Snail Mail and the Lost Art of Waiting

When I was a kid growing up in California there was no such thing as email, there was no AOL, and thankfully no “lol”. Side note, I have a thing against lol. Like did they actually just laugh out loud at that? Maybe they did, but I’m skeptical…
There was no Facebook, no Messenger, no Twitter, no Instagram, no text messages, and I’m thankful there was no Snapchat.  If we wanted to get in touch with someone we had three options. 1) Go visit them, 2) call them on the house or pay phone, or 3) write them a letter. I guess telegram could have been an option, but those were “so 1800’s” by that time.
Last night I reminisced to those days as I walked past my local post office and recalled the feelings evoked by opening the mailbox and seeing a handwritten card or letter addressed to me from someone. The USPS mail delivery person was always a treat to see at your house. A personal example I'll share is when 57 letters arrived in the mail with orders for “How to Survive When Mom’s Away, a kids’ cookbook I thought of making when I was 13 years old and needed to earn money to go to the Boy Scout National Jamboree in 1981. That mailbox was full from something that started as an idea that quickly gained regional and even national attention thanks to the Associated Press. We sold 2,000 of those books at $2 a pop which was enough to pay for the trip and the adventure of this 13 year old boy’s lifetime.
Today when I go to the mailbox it’s typically flooded with loads of junk mail - weekly shopping flyers, clothing catalogs, mortgage refinance deals, and credit card offers, all which go directly in the recycle bin. And to make things worse, email far exceeds the junk mail I physically receive. Let’s not even get started on the spam folder. Are you feeling me yet?
With the invention of such things as email, cell phones, and the various digital leashes we have integrated into our lives to make things easier and faster (Hell, I’m writing this from a Macbook), we’ve also let go of some of the things that keep us connected on an organic level. And while nothing can replace face to face interactions, there’s just something special about hand-written cards, postcards, and notes. Our handwriting is like a fingerprint, and I'd venture to say you have people in your lives that you could tell who wrote something just by their handwriting; It’s a piece of ourselves we let go of when we send an email. Sure, email allows us to craft the perfectly worded reply and get a quick response, sometimes, but there’s something exciting about putting pen to paper and seeing what comes out.  The most valuable lifetime skill class I took in high school was Typing 1 on those old school mechanical typewriters. I loved them and the unique way each one would type different letters differently, which also took into account the keystroke of the typist, a signature if you will. When you wanted to emphasize something you might type over the same word twice with heavy fingers, now it’s the press of Control + B. And while typewriters are cool, Tom Hanks has a huge collection of them and a new book about typewriters he spoke about on NPR. I've heard if you send him a letter written with a typewriter he'll reply via typed letter. How cool is that?! One of the beautiful things about sending a handwritten, enveloped, and stamped card or letter to someone is the waiting that goes on between sending and receipt; the anticipation if you will. Knowing you might make someone’s day when they open the mailbox.
Yoga has helped me connect with myself and others in a way I’d not experienced in my life, and it’s been life changing for me in ways I’m only beginning to discover. The more I practice the more I get back. It’s with this spirit I’m going into 2018 with an effort to send more physical cards, postcards, and letters and I invite you to join with me in this if you feel inspired. My address is PO Box 11201, Norfolk, Virginia 23517. ;)
Now who wants to get this card?

Monday, October 16, 2017

In Solidarity With Me Too

As I sat on my patio last night scrolling through my Facebook feed I was deeply saddened by the number of times I read “Me too.” posted by women I know, love, and respect. And while I cannot fix this alone I feel it’s partly my responsibility as a man, son, veteran, father, grandfather, and yoga teacher to share a few thoughts on the subject. If we’re going to make changes, real lasting changes, it has to start with acknowledging the problem and deciding right here and now to own it.

While I am not perfect in any stretch of the imagination I do try my best to live the very best I can each and every day. Over recent years I’ve been surrounded by women who have inspired me beyond words. Because of women I’ve been able to overcome a lifelong struggle with bulimia and I cannot fully express in words my gratitude for every single one of them who supported my heart and provided that safe container for healing to happen. We hold trauma in our physical bodies and yoga has helped me to see and understand this first hand. I’ve received extensive training on how trauma, sexual or otherwise, actually changes our physical self. Our brains actually change as a result of traumatic events, but there is a way to heal.

I was raised to respect women and for that I owe the deepest gratitude to my Mother for teaching me to do the simple things such as holding open doors, respecting women’s space, standing when a women leaves the table....basically things we call “chivalrous”, but truly things we need to call “being a decent fucking man”.  I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16 years old, and even then was only allowed to go on group dates. Young people, and especially young men, need to be taught to own the responsibility of being in the company of women. Period.

Change starts inside, it starts with owning our shit, it starts with stopping. Stopping the behavior that leads to the pain of others, because when others hurt we all hurt. We cannot make lasting changes for the betterment of our world when half of the population feels threatened, fearful, and hurt. An analogy comes to mind - When we hammer a nail into a piece of wood we can remove the nail, patch up the hole, and paint over it, but the wood is never the same. The scars of trauma will be there, but we can learn to overcome the painful memories, or at least rise above the pain to a place of peace. 

It’s time to bring this discussion to the next level. Right now. I want to be part of the solution and I hope other men will continue to speak out and set the example for the next generation of men who will inherit what society has allowed to be the status quo. WE MUST DO BETTER. We owe it to our Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, co-workers, friends, and neighbors.  It starts at home, it starts in our schools, it starts in our proverbial locker rooms, it starts in places of worship, it starts on our yoga mats, it starts on our meditation cushions, it starts inside our hearts, it starts with you and me. If there are women who are hurting and need a man to listen I’ll be here. If there are men who need mentoring I’ll be here.

I’m humbled today and am sending energy of love, balance, solidarity, acceptance, and support to all the women who have been personally violated. One love.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Breathing Into Turning 50

I was born on a Tuesday 50 years ago today. On this September 26th I have a few thoughts to share on a topic flooding mainstream news, this idea of taking a knee during our national anthem. Whatever side you fall on I support your right to have an opinion on the topic.  A battle over freedom of speech and expression has commenced between the president of our country, a man who never served a day in uniform in his life, and professional athletes and team owners, most of which have also never served in uniform. While I was in the Army it was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to speak out against the Commander in Chief, but now that I'm a civilian that doesn't apply. Our president has disrespected women, blacks, Jews, Muslims, veterans, Gold Star families, and a great number of other people, and quite frankly I'm ashamed we put this self-serving disrespectful piece of garbage in office.
Some of the greatest ideals of our nation are based on freedom of speech and expression, and we cannot allow that right to be infringed upon. I've risked my life on many occasions serving our country overseas in wars we are still fighting.  During that time I attended many memorial ceremonies for fallen comrades who lost their lives defending the ideals that make our nation greater than we seem to remember we are sometimes. I’ve participated in funeral details where I've carried caskets containing deceased veterans where we’ve folded and given American flags to surviving next of kin and I can tell you there is nothing more humbling than seeing a weeping spouse being handed a folded piece of red white and blue cloth; the symbol of our nation is given with utmost respect and gratitude. I’ve taken a knee many times at memorial ceremonies during peace and war as a sign of respect and reverence for the sacrifices these individuals and their families have made. For many veterans the war doesn’t stop when they return home; on average 20 veterans commit suicide everyday in our country. Stop and take a knee to ponder that statistic. We cannot forget the individuals who have put their lives on the line, and in many cases lost limbs, suffered massive burns, and an even greater number who are scarred with invisible wounds such as post traumatic stress.  
Since my 40th birthday I have discovered yoga and have done my best to apply the principles of kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity to my own life and to set an example of how yoga can help heal from the painful memories of traumatic times gone by. Yoga has helped me remain more in the present moment and to appreciate the ability to breath, to move, to let go, and to live in the now. Today I take a knee in support of our veterans and in support of freedom of expression and unity of all people. I take a knee in support of what has already made America great, for I've been there on the front lines with these people who have sacrificed so much for so long. I love my country and what we truly stand for as a people, for I truly believe the vast majority of us hold the American ideals written in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence as non waiverable.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  So support them taking a knee, or not, I’ll be here spreading love, for we cannot forcefully remove darkness, we can only turn on our light and let it shine. One Love.