How much I liked to read it? 6/10

That is a sweat short book, a set of lifetime memories that still pops up after four decades or so.
I'm glad some people think alike with me, for example regarding the automatic “How are you?”, “Fine, thank you, and you?”.
It's just a very simple book, that makes you reflect on your own life.


1. Home

I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias.

We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe we feel safest when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.


2. Philanthropy

The word philanthropy was taken from the two Greek words, philo—lover of; and anthro—mankind.
Rather I like to think of myself as charitable.
“I seem to have more than I need and you seem to have less than you need. I would like to share my excess with you.”

I learned that I could be a giver by simply bringing a smile to another person.
a kind word, a vote of support is a charitable gift.


3. Revelations

From the moment I saw him at the door I knew I had made the wrong choice. There were no endearments spoken, no warm caresses shared.

I learned to love my son without wanting to possess him and I learned how to teach him to teach himself.

The Revelation is that day, so long ago, was the greatest day of my life—Hallelujah!


5. Accident, Coincident, or Answered Prayer

She felt guilty like all mothers who blamed themselves when terrible events happen to their children.

I could not speak or even touch her but I have never loved her more than at that moment in that suffocating stinking room.

In the hospital room I thought about the two young criminals, who threw stolen cigarette cartons into a stranger’s car. When he was arrested he called Boyd Pucinelli, who called my mother, who gathered three of the most daring men from her pool hall.

They broke down the door of the room where I was being held. My life was saved. Was that event incident, coincident, accident, or answered prayer?

I believe my prayers were answered.


6. To Tell the Truth

“How are you?”
we all say, “Fine, thank you, and you?”
however, it is wonderfully liberating to be honest.

Let’s tell the truth to the people. When people ask, “How are you,” have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know however, that people will start avoiding you because they too have knees that pain them and heads which hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way, if people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.


9. Mother’s Long View

Now I thought of her statement. I thought, “Suppose she is right. She’s very intelligent and she often said she didn’t fear anyone enough to lie. Suppose I really am going to become somebody. Imagine.”

I decided the time had come when I should cut down on dangerous habits like smoking, drinking, and cursing.

Imagine, I might really become somebody. Someday.


11. Porgy and Bess

I want you to write down your blessings.
He said, “First write down that I said write down and think of the millions of people all over the world who cannot hear a choir, or a symphony, or their own babies crying. Write down, I can hear—Thank God. Then write down that you can see this yellow pad, and think of the millions of people around the world who cannot see a waterfall, or flowers blooming, or their lover’s face. Write I can see—Thank God. Then write down that you can read. Think of the millions of people around the world who cannot read the news of the day, or a letter from home, a stop sign on a busy street, or…”

That incident took place over fifty years ago. I have written some twenty-five books, maybe fifty articles, poems, plays, and speeches all using ballpoint pens and writing on yellow pads.

When I decide to write anything, I get caught up in my insecurity. I really cannot write and write really well.
then I pull out a new yellow pad and as I approach the clean page, I think of how blessed I am.

I maintain an attitude of gratitude. Today I am blessed.


13. Celia Cruz

She exploded on the stage and was sensual and touchingly present. From her, I learned to bring everything I had onto the stage with me.

And now, some forty-plus years later, without music and by simply reading, I am able to read poetry and satisfy audiences. Much of the presence I bring to my performance, I learned from Celia Cruz.

All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.


17. In Self-Defense

I am never proud to participate in violence, yet, I know that each of us must care enough for ourselves, that we can be ready and able to come to our own defense when and wherever needed.


18. Mrs. Coretta Scott King

When I find myself filling with rage over the loss of a beloved, I try as soon as possible to remember that my concerns and questions should be focused on what I learned or what I have yet to learn from my departed love. What legacy was left which can help me in the art of living a good life?


27. Mt. Zion

I suddenly began to cry at the gravity and grandeur of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve anything. For what could stand against me, since one person, with God, constitutes the majority?


28. Keep the Faith

people walk up to me and without being questioned inform me that they are Christians. My first response is the question “Already?”

It seems to me that becoming a Christian is a lifelong endeavor. I believe that is also true for one wanting to become a Buddhist, or a Muslim, a Jew, Jainist, or a Taoist.

It is in the search itself that one finds the ecstasy.