Tuesday, November 20, 2012

O green isle of the Indies

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." ― Leo Tolstoy.

This writing is inspired by a request of a friend of mine to find positive news from Jamaica about Jamaica, he lives in New York and all he seems to hear, whether through the media or otherwise is how violent we are, how corrupt we are, how illiterate, undisciplined and crass we are and how shortsighted we are.

So as usual I would like y'all to see one alternate view.

I grew up in Jamaica but migrated to the US when I was 15, I enjoyed living in my adopted home, I met many great people who influenced my world view, made lifelong friendships and had many valuable experiences that helped make me who I am today. The main reason for my emigration was like most other Jamaican youth who do, i.e. to pursue higher education and broaden my employment opportunities. At that time, I told my mother I wanted to study film to further persuade her that my need to migrate was a real necessity (but please. at that time I was only really interested in breakin'..I had no interest whatsoever in film making).

Anyway, I made the most of the American educational experience, one which provides a wealth of opportunities for anyone who wants to learn. I got a couple of degrees , various certificates and a wealth of knowledge as a consequence of exploring so many of my interests; martial arts, power of the mind, music, engineering, fitness, dance, comic book literature, yoga therapy, shiatsu, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, NLP, and whatever else I could cram into my little brain.

Then… after 7 years I decided to visit Jamaica...

WOW! It is soooo important to travel abroad because that is the only way to know how it feels to return home, home to your family, home, where there is this deep understanding of people and their language and their understanding of you, I now understood what it was that I'd been missing, I now understood what it was that I couldn't quite put my finger on while living in New York.

After my vacation I returned to NY, and for the first time in 7 years I felt consciously out of sorts, I now felt trapped or should I say restricted, in contrast to the relative freedom of the Jamaican lifestyle I just left, for the first time in 7 years I felt like, well… an alien. No more Led Zeppelin, Eric Dolphy or De La Soul, I started listening to Bob Marley every day, I started calling friends and family in JA more often and began investigating what it would realistically take to live there.

You see, I realized:
1) My home was NOT my home and
2) Jamaican girls (in Jamaica) are THE only option

Five years later, I packed up my shit and jumped on the first banana boat home.

I ..LOVE.. Jamaica.

It's been 16 years since I've returned home and it has not been all milk and honey. I have suffered financial problems, lost close friends violently, been mistreated by the police, and been a victim of robbery.

With all those negative experiences, I have never one day regretted my decision to come back home.

I LOVE this place with all my heart and will sink with the ship if I have to (although I know it will never go down)

Jamaican people are heirs to a lush tropical paradise with flowing waterfalls, white water beaches, and deep blue lagoons, we have fertile land which can grow almost anything, and magnificent mountain ranges which provide the most picturesque experience and produces the richest coffee and the best marijuana in the world (I hear).

We are home to some of the most beautiful species of birds, fish, insects and animals in the world.

The Jamaican people themselves are resilient, caring, strong and determined. They are also an industrious, creative and fun people. Jamaicans have an infectious attitude to life and our culture has been greatly influential to peoples all over the world from our street slang, to our music and dance styles, to the resourcefulness shown in our many creative enterprises.

Across the world you can find Jamaicans skilled and exceptional in every field imaginable from simple art and crafts to music, fine art, education, dance, athletics, medicine, literature, filmmaking, quantum physics, poetry, computer science, animation and robotics.

The strength of the Jamaican people however lies in how we come together as a community, daily, I see evidence of how this society behaves like a large family; cars stop to allow kids the cross the street, young people go out of their way to help the elderly with heavy bags, we join partner plans with total strangers, in the rural areas people will wave to motorists as they drive by, today on the bus, a young lady stumbled on entering the bus, I said "hush" and we ended up talking about her educational aspirations for the 15 minutes that she rode the bus, the same kind of thing happens whether you're on line at the supermarket, the bank or a utility company, you talk to people as if you've known them for years, no sweat.

It would be easy to over-romanticize the Jamaican experience without addressing its harshness-- the dinginess, the criminal element, the lack of leadership, the ways we are selfish, inconsiderate, and cruel to each other. These traits however usually manifest anywhere that the pursuit of material possessions dominates people's consciousness over any sense of good will.

However, when we badmouth our society or any society, person or experience for that matter, we are looking at the situation from a very limited narrow perspective, one usually based on emotion, prejudice or egotistical tendencies.

From a Taoist perspective.

If you seek to look at a situation, look at the entire case history, the total picture, the evolution, the causes and effect using observation, reasoning, reflection and contemplation then you will eventually understand the how and why.

Once there is deep understanding then there is no need to form strong opinions that cause emotional disturbance inside you or between people. Resist the ego.

The society has evolved from colonialism*, a system where the ruling class brutally victimized and oppressed the slave class, some people believe that this system no longer exists, but it can only be eradicated if we look inside ourselves and root out these attitudes. Jamaica's biggest problem is social discrimination which is directly related to colonialism, it is the basis for our lack of harmony and unity, it makes one set of people believe they are better than another because of their social class, education, skin colour and language skills. It is ignorance of the highest level.

*(In contrast, first world countries have developed thru imperialism)

Some of us have a deep resentment for other classes and we don't know where it comes from, we wonder why our educational system, favours only a few and we blame the government, but we don't see that the unseen framework for the society insists that a certain percentage of the society remain subservient.

We think individuals are where they are ONLY because of their attitude, maybe, but if so, the attitude comes from somewhere not easily purged.

The colonialist mentality is the root of the lack of self worth, the selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty and greed in our society and any other society that was exposed to it.

Most people ignore what they can't see and that's why so many people downplay our past as being so influential. If you want to test this hypothesis, just look at what your opportunities are, and current access to resources then take into consideration your family history and the amount of "help" your predecessors got. Whether skin complexion, access to successful family members, or gracious benefactors etc.

People today pay a lot of attention to being a critic and having THE opinion on how to change situations, but only a few take the time to work on their own personal development, only few know how to change and improve their own situation without expecting others to do it, only few have the required self control and self discipline to change.

To uplift our people, we need to look within ourselves at our own shortcomings; our country is simply a reflection of its people.

Ideas eventually become reality if persistent, so attitudes that reflect anger, aggression, intolerance, selfishness, hotheadedness, prejudice, thoughtlessness, divisiveness, unchecked materialism, and egotistical motives will show clearly in our society. If you want a better society you should cultivate better attitudes.

Yes... Michael Jackson was right, start with the man in the mirror.

Only through the pursuit of self awareness, right action, integrity, order, self love and inner harmony can we heal ourselves and our beautiful country.

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

-Live with awareness
-Train Hard
-Have Fun
-Peace, love, health, prosperity and happiness

Breakboy Nrg

1 comment:

  1. I love this! And wait, has the friend in New York realized that people in Jamaica rich and poor are having FUN? I mean I went down there and went to free beach and me and the little one had the best time...and wooo when night reach? Night beach NICE! Just sitting talking with friends at a bar owned by a friend with GREAT reggae music pulsing and guys getting hyper over pool (it seems to have taken over from domninoes?) is a relaxing environment.

    I will be posting pics soon of the latest trip to Ja...in the meantime, please show him these blog posts I made cause yes, there is plenty to enjoy in Jamaica outside of resort life!

    ATI/DREAM/SPF Weekends:


    JAMAICA 2011:



    LADY SAW OPENS A STUDIO (big in such a male-dominated industry as dancehall):




    If he watches those videos, sees those pictures, feels the vibes in each one, and doesn't remember again what's so GREAT about us...

    And although I constantly live too far from Jamaicans so I now have to keep an open mind cause I am never in a Jamaican heavy area or city like New York and south Florida, yes, I too after seeing how men treat women and ME back home versus how they approach women and relationships here (especially black!) already know if I was back home the men would be "No Problem" (always ups and downs in relationships but there is nothing like being on the same vibe culturally with a man who appreciates everything about what's inside not just the pretty package, nothing like men who value decency and personality not "baddest b*tches" and strippers)! :)