Resumed my "Defy Ventures" studies. Awesome. I'm impressed with the program all over again. Remember, the only reason I put my Defy studies on hold was to focus on studying for my CATC exam. Glad to be back with Defy Ventures again.
Family emergency. My 48-year-old aunt is supposed to be my 83-year-old grandma's financial caretaker, but my aunt is abusing the position for her selfish financial gain. My poor mom is in the middle. She's stressed out and her health is suffering. As my mom's only child and my grandma's favorite grandson, I wish I could do something.
Flood of emotions. We took the CATC exam today. I felt a great sense of relief when I put down my pencil. I did the best I could do, and I think I passed.
Frontline aired a powerful documentary on the rise of opiate abuse in the United States, entitled "Chasing Heroin." It detailed first-hand accounts of middle-class addicts, their families, and the social workers & recovery workers trying to help them. Best video on the subject I've seen.
Saw a documentary on Tom Bradley, the five-time mayor of Los Angeles. I remember him as the city's mayor in the 80's when I was growing up, but there is a lot I didn't remember and never was made aware of. I remember the criticism against him. I remember the dissatisfaction with the LAPD, Chief Darryl Gates and the battering ram. I remember the crack explosion, gang proliferation and speeches by Minister Farrakhan. Those big things stick out in my mind when I think of that era.
I had no grasp of where Tom Bradley came from, what he overcame, or the forces he was up against during his years as LA's mayor. Watching the documentary "Bridging the Divide" helped change my perspective.
Saw a documentary on Whitney Young, the civil rights "power broker." It's Black History Month...
Attended a Defy Ventures coaching event in the Solano Gym. The event was hosted by Catherine Hoke, the founder of Defy Ventures. It started at 10am.
Everyone in attendance wore name tags and referred to each other by the first names our mommas gave us. For some in attendance it had been a while since they had been addressed by their proper first name. I discovered one of my neighbors was actually named Wilbert. We got a friendly kick out of that.
The dropping of the pretenses was kinda refreshing.
The event lasted until 4pm. For six hours straight, Catherine took charge and led us through some of the same exercises that are done at normal CEO training camps!
Mom is doing better. She got out the hospital on Tuesday. A first cousin on her father's side (Betty Jean) and some of her prayer partners have been taking turns staying at the house and attending to her.
My Grandma's husband died. He and I had a complex relationship. Throughout my mom's childhood and my childhood, he was an alcoholic. He wasn't mean to me, but he ignored me as I was growing up, I saw him stand idly by as my mom's side of the family grew more divided. Nonetheless, he was married to my Grandma for over fifty years. His death is going to affect my Grandma and I fear how my mom's younger siblings might react to losing their father. For some reason the black sheep in the family were especially protective of him.
Started reading Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating. It is on centering prayer. Father Keating describes it as the first step towards establishing a fulfilling mystical connection with God. The book sounds like it's showing the way to something I've been searching for all my life...
Paul Pommells has been an inmate of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than twenty years, and has learned much about himself, his fellow inmates, and where one can find the hope and power to change.
Paul and other inmates & friends bare their souls in words here.