Monthly Archives: April 2013

POETICS: 360 Degrees

360 DEGREES

Walter L. Hilliard III

In search of something seemingly elusive, fleeing, free– something that cannot, shall Not, will not be captured because “it,” or thy “Being,” is deep within the soul, the Spirit– a spirit that also demands we, first and foremost, be comfortable with the Deepness and Attractiveness of our Blackness, preparing us for a journey that leads To our discovering our very own uniqueness, far away from the Shamelessness of Sameness or being nameless, not knowing who we are because we’re not reaching For the Stars, thus, we really RE-gress when we don’t PRO-gress, so move we will, Backward or Forward, 360 Degrees around the horn, following our Higher Power’s “Form,” pattern, a right of way to Our destiny or backwards, reversing and rehearsing A life indelibly tied to the monotony of yesterday, The past, what was, or even worse, What never was– 360 degrees around the horn, back and forth and Forth and back, Again and again we lose, we Win, but the journey is always unique, sometimes Discreet; other times we compete against others or our “Selves”– and every arrival leads To a Departure, for there is no Place for complacency, a place to sit and wait and see– no, we will Move Away from whence we came, 360 degrees, Eventually discovering our humanness, happily or Unhappily, depending on our direction, Which equals our destiny: to Become one with our mission, Or lack there of, and so our Higher Power, despite the fact that our Blackness may be a Distraction to Others but, still, we cannot let it distract us, subtract from us, lessen us, demean us, prevent us from Traveling 360 degrees, hopefully, in the right direction, living and giving, learning our lessons, Again and again, living our lives 360 Degrees . . .  And counting.

Walter L. Hilliard III

It’s Your Life, J.A.M. On It . . . Or Just Go Home

 

By Walter L. Hilliard III

Ready . . . Set . . . Uhhhh, Never Mind!

First, you have to . . . .

J – JUMP Start Your Motivation.

If you’re lucky enough to rise yet again, and live another day (when many have passed on), why not try to make it the best day ever?  And what could be better than starting your day with a short pep talk while you’re staring into that mirror at that underachiever, shaving or brushing his or her teeth?  Also, make sure the tone of your pep talk inspires you, so if you have to swear or chastise your “self,” do it.  And make sure you mix in how much your enemies would love to see you fail or lead a miserable life.   In fact, I spoke with someone who knows you today, and she told me her friends used to laugh at you when you walked by, calling you a loser, but she just felt sorry for you.  

Okay!  Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic and I’m actually stirring up some old feelings and upsetting you, well — good!  That’s the point.

And write down the following affirmation and put it in your pocket with your keys so you know you’ll have to pull it out and read it at least couple of times a day:  “We have a planet full of WINNERS who ACT like Losers.” 

Next, You Gotta . . . .

A – ASSESS Where You’re At In Life, Mentally, Emotionally, Etc.

Every morning I get into my car and head to work, the question, “Where you at?” comes to mind automatically, and I consider how I’m doing, emotionally, and what I need to do next.  What are my goals?  Can I do something big today?  What are my obstacles to getting what I want and feeling how I want to feel – and what can I do about them ASAP.  Focus, maaan!

And Lastly . . . .

M – Movies Move You Towards Where You Need To Be. 

Imaging – or creative visualization – exercises can be done anywhere, anytime.  So imaging exercises require that you try to see yourself in your minds eye doing whatever it is that you’re working towards.  For example, if you want to be social worker, visualize yourself enrolling in classes, finishing your degree, going to work and helping people.  Who are you helping?  How are you helping?  Add color, people, words, scenes, etc.  The point is that your subconscious mind controls your behavior and doesn’t know the difference between you seeing what you see with your eyes open, and you actually closing your eyes and visualizing whatever it is you want to see. 

So, but of course, the choice is yours.  You can do what you’ve always done, and get what you’ve always got?  And if you’ve achieved quite a bit in your life, but you still aren’t living up to your potential (not that you’ll ever fully reach it) or you’re not challenging yourself, this is a problem, too.   Nonetheless, you must challenge yourself by going back to the statement made earlier — “We have a planet full of winners who act like losers ” — and ask yourself if you are taking the easy road in life?  Are you a winner acting, or living, like a loser?

Don’t Quit, Getting That Edu-Ma-Cation Will Always Be Important

By Walter L. Hilliard III –

As a former college retention coordinator and basketball coach, who has created leadership and mentoring programs for a diverse socio-economic pool of students, I know, first hand, what it takes for a student to make it through college.  But every student is an individual, and predicting the result of the interaction between their potential and the influence of the college environment is not a science, either.

Currently, not enough Black kids are making it through or graduating from college.   According to the U.S. Department of Education, Black men are about 8 percent of the population of 18-24-year-olds in the country, yet they are only about 3 percent of the undergrads at flagship public universities.  And only 33 percent of Black males graduate, while 44 percent of Black females do.  Both of these groups of Black students fall below the national average of 57 percent for all students.   In regards to White men, 55 percent graduate, while only 41 percent of Hispanic men do.

By 2017 most of those entering our nation’s colleges will be minority students, outnumbering Whites for the first time.  But what’s disturbing for Black students  when looking at the low graduation rates is that education is one of the few ways Blacks have always “gotten ahead” in our society.  Additionally, one of the facts that we often don’t consider regarding our attending college, prepared or unprepared, is if we don’t graduate, not only does our self-esteem (a self-esteem that is already damaged by racism) take a major hit, but we’re also saddled with debt — and we have no degree to get a better paying job.

I have sat and talked with students who were crying.  And I sometimes stepped in on their behalf and fought for their “college lives” with the academic dean who was going to dismiss them.  I won some, and I lost some.  But the issue in many cases is too many Black (and White) students party and/or ignore their academic responsibilities and end up on academic probation and eventually dismissed, thus, only realizing the error of their ways too late.

Solutions?

Be  be prepared (and feel lucky if you are going into or had some sort of college preparatory class).  Also, treat college like a business, first, and fun , second.  Thirdly, be persistent, despite the obstacles, and decide that they are going to have you throw you out; you cannot have the word quit in your vocabulary.  Most of the Black students I entered with at Kutztown University many moons ago were gone or didn’t graduate, but many did, and all — including those who flunked out or left for financial or other personal reasons — were smart and capable; some just needed more support.