Deeping It: Persistence 5

This blog summarises the experiences of being persistent. The costs and some of the benefits of being able to stick with it.

noun: persistence
the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
“Cardiff’s persistence was rewarded with a try”

Similar: perseverance, tenacity, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness, staying power, purposefulness, firmness of purpose, patience, endurance, application, diligence, sedulousness, dedication, commitment, doggedness, persistency, pertinacity, assiduity, assiduousness, steadfastness, tirelessness, indefatigability, stamina, intransigence, obstinacy, Sitzfleisch, stickability, stick-to-it-iveness, continuance, perseveration

the continued or prolonged existence of something.
“the persistence of huge environmental problems”

Peck Peck Peck
When I think about persistence I think about someone who is not giving up on their mission. Whatever their mission might be. Not stopping to seek guidance or support from anyone. Feeling and believing that their mission in life has to be completed at all costs. A number of important individuals come to mind when I think about persistency. My 3 sisters, my wife, a number of friends and people I have worked with who have this drive for fulfilment and will not stop until their goals are met.

How?
It is possible that the question is phrased incorrectly. Perhaps the question should be about the why of being persistent rather than the how to be persistent. For some, the drive to continue comes from a question they are seeking answers for. Others are guided, scolded, rewarded for being consistent and persistent. The outcome for someone who is persistent is that an achievement is made. They arrive at the goal they had worked to achieve.

Internally Motivated
Persisting with Energy

Where?
The drive to be persistent I feel is inherited from a range of sources that can include parents, siblings, school and education, noticing injustices, wanting to see a world where your ideas are seen understood and accessed. Others are born persistent and their drive to achieve was inbuilt from the moment they could crawl or walk.

Looks Like?
Being persistent can be a pain for others to experience. But being knocked back. Shut down and disillusioned, doesn’t stop the desire to benefit others and the will to be persistent. I think of Malcolm X when I think about persistence. His persistence, work ethic and commitment to the cause of uplifting a generation of people was extraordinary. Malcolm and the Nation of Islam gave many people hope. Others much to fear. But the vision of achievement and success of wanting African Americans to emancipate themselves from mental slavery was inspiring for many.

Better Futures
Having a vision is a thing that supports someone’s development and commitment to being persistent. I have 2 visions.
The first is to help make psychology both interesting and accessible for the young. A tool that can be used to improve an individuals or many people’s lives.
The 2nd vision arrives in 2 parts. Part a) is to help make the lives of incarcerated peoples visible. Part b) of this vision is to support those serving sentences in prison to develop a fuller understanding of the lives they had lead. The life they are living whilst in prison and what life they can continue once they leave prison.

So
What steps are you going to take if you want to be persistent? How are you going to maintain your energy, commitment, interest and enthusiasm for your cause? What will it mean to achieve your goal? What will happen if you do not?

Resources
Denzel Washington Acceptance Speech
Malcolm X – The Autobiography Alex Haley
Unlocking Us – Brené Brown with Tarana Burke

Images
Cover photo by Boris Stefanik on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Insistence

Deeping It: Resistance 4

I take the opportunity to let the idea of resistance run riot. This blog in the series attempts to not restrain itself whilst appreciating the topic of resistance.

noun: resistance
the refusal to accept or comply with something.
“they displayed a narrow-minded resistance to change”

the use of force or violence to oppose someone or something.
“government forces were unable to crush guerrilla-style resistance”

a secret organization resisting authority, especially in an occupied country.
plural noun: resistances; noun: resistance movement; plural

noun: resistance movements
“he went underground and joined the resistance”

Current Experiences
There have been a number of current and recent experiences that deal with resistance Feb – April 2020. Staying at home and protecting ourselves and family from contracting COVID19 supports our health services. There are many other experiences that include presenting strong public opinion to those in power like:
Black Lives Matter movement,
the Me Too movement,
resistance protests about nation states going to war,
closing of mines or factories,
the occupy movement and
stopping to pay attention to the crises of global warming by a young Swedish school student that inspired the extinction agenda.

Wall
Putting up a resistance ultimately is about standing up for something you believe in. You may feel that an issue or a problem you face is unfair. You may want the direction of a concept or policy decision or a group of people’s ideas to change.

Being someone who resists can bring with it an experience of conflict. For young and mature individuals the idea of conflict can be a break from the norm. Realisations and advances are made at a greater speed in times of conflict. The conflict could involve intellectual, moral, gender concerns and differences, race, scientific, religious, economic, social, ethnic, cultural and educational *awareni.

Fight
When I think about resistance I often think about buildings resisting gravity or of the American Civil Rights Movement. For something to be resistant towards an ideal or a way of thinking, that something is invited to oppose – strongly.

Beach Peace a coming together after fighting with self, another or the day.
After Conflict Comes Peace

Logically and emotionally the idea appears not to hold together much like Dave Chang’s Ugly Delicious Netflix show. But somehow it does! An idea such as capitalism or socialism exist along a continuum. Both existing to support communities and the state and having different ideas of how each achieves good for all.

Food Journeys
In Ugly Delicious The Chef, Dave Chang, travels the world to discover food origins and stories of the people that cook amazing meals. The show presents us with the idea that food can be much more than pleasing to the eye, or technically advanced. That food can be about just bringing people together with the experience of eating. Ugly D is an intellectual fight and an education at the same time through what looks like amazing food.

Day to Day
On a down to earth level, resistance is about recognising what you want and identifying what you don’t. Making sure you recognise another person’s agenda for you. Being okay to stick with your choice. The choice you made may well be in opposition to another or other people’s ideas. Being okay with that is an awareness of tension and continuing to resist!

Continuing
There is a saying that ‘What you resist, persists’. Here I pause for thought. The reason I say this is because acceptance of something becomes a mindful act. When full acknowledgement of an experience happens, we can then accept it and choose to take it, or leave it. Knowing fully what it is. If we are simply resisting something that is not known fully it is likely to persist.

Let Go
The reason that an idea or an experience persists is because part of our minds hasn’t fully appreciated it and so cannot let it go. 10 years ago (Oct 2010), I started my career at a London prison. I had a genuine curiosity about men and women I would meet behind the wall. What lives did they lead before? How were they living now in prison? What would happen once they returned to the community? Until I had satisfied these questions I would find myself wondering.

With Great Power
Not all curiosities without prior research are to be jumped into. Be aware and satisfy wanting to know more by reading or consuming a lot of media on any subject or topic. The internet is like a Library. Use it well.

With Caution
Lived experience is one thing, sometimes accessing information from others is just as useful. Reducing the intensity of an itch could be a goal. Thereby closing a loop. What are you currently resisting? What reasons do you have for pushing against? What would happen if you stopped resisting?

Resources
How a Resistance Movement Succeeds by Nicolas Berggruen
Kerning Cultures Fight or Flight

Images
Cover photo by Mike Ko on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resilience, Persistence, Insistence

Deeping It: Resilience 3

A short story. A long time ago (Mar 1986), in a housing office in Wood Green North London, I completely broke down and cried like I hadn’t ever cried before or since.

I was 12 years old. We had just been kicked out of temporary accommodation and found ourselves homeless on the streets of Finsbury Park. My mum was able to hail a cab and with our few belongings in bags, got us to said housing office.

Shopping Days
It was a Saturday. I thought about my friends and how their Saturday’s perhaps were going. I felt cheated and that what was happening to us was unfair! What my mother, my 2 sisters and me were going through didn’t add up. I couldn’t understand it. Being thrown out of the Majestic Hotel made no sense to me! For roughly 20 minutes I was inconsolable. Nothing like this had ever happened to us. A sense of being lost in familiarity!

The idea of being a man and not buckling under the weight of being evicted I didn’t care about. The tears came. The tears hot and unstoppable. The tears were about the shame I felt, as much as they were about a frustrated internal pain that I hadn’t known before.

Never
I since have gone on to achieve a number of significant personal milestones. I think the largest was getting married to the amazing Dr CW and raising a family of my own.

Professionally – my latest lecturing experience at UEL was another achievement. I presented a passionate argument about incarceration with 3rd year psychology students.. We (they and I) discussed the demerits of prison and the criminal justice system in the UK.

I mention the achievement because at the age of 12 nothing like a career in counselling or presenting at a University had ever crossed my mind. I had designs that I was going to be an Artist.

Resiliencey
Making decisions. Sitting on a wall.

Achievement or?
What does this have to do with resilience? Being able to not only withstand difficult life experiences when they hit, but when knocked on your ass, to get back up! Rising time and again is almost a dare to the universe. You can make it through an incredibly hard time. To look beyond into a different future and ride out this period of discomfort.

Resilience
Is as much an idea as it is a continuous practice. We all have areas that we can be resilient about. Other words to describe resilience can include Determination, Grit, Toughness or Stubbornness. You may have heard the phrase, get knocked down 7 times, get up 8. The idea is resiliency, in and of itself.

Reset
It’s the getting back up part and being willing capable and curious enough to go again. A perfect film that describes a person’s resilience is the 2020 Netflix release of Uncorked. The tale of a young African American Sommelier (Wine Taster) who takes on the challenge to become what in his heart of hearts he longs to be. A knowledgeable wine connoisseur who can choose wine for guests at a restaurant or hotel and describe what the guests are going to enjoy in their glass.

Propulsion

I mentioned him earlier. George the poet from Have You Heard George’s Podcast, is another person who sums up the experience of a person who is resilient.

George the Poet, has experienced personal tragedy and turmoil. The difficulties jet propel him to go in another direction with his skills in music and words. I can see his poetry becoming lessons for anyone with ears to hear and a mind that is willing to go deeper, to see.

Take Off
Perhaps secondary schools and colleges will unpack George’s many ideas and commentaries about social mobility and being able to pivot. Another Poet/Rapper whose words and music have been made in to school lessons is Kendrick Lamar. To be resilient then is not only for our ‘nows’. But for what follows after. Stick around. You’ll see…

Resources
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and Otegha Uwagba
Science of Success Matt Bodnar with Jim Kwik
Wanna Be Podcast Imrie with Emilie Wapnick Multipotentialite
Pivot – Book Jenny Blake

Images
Cover photo by Lou Batier on Unsplash
Inlay photo by James Baldwin on Unsplash
Intro, Substance, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence

Deeping It: Substance 2

When I initially think of substance, two conflicting ideas present themselves. One is positive. The other invites risk. Below I will explain my thinking.

Substance Definition
noun
A particular matter tube with uniform properties. “a steel tube coated with a waxy substance”

Similar: Material, Matter, Stuff, Medium, Fabric.

The real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible solid presence. “proteins compose much of the actual substance of the body”

Substances
The other definition is related to substance misuse or substance abuse: Loosely this relates to using various forms of intoxicating elements that cause people to feel differently about oneself or life experiences. The abuse happens when someone uses a substance regularly to feel better. Their using of a substance can be reasonably controlled. When a substance like alcohol is used a part of the brain can stop working properly for a time. Hormones called serotonin and dopamine are released which can make someone feel good. The length of time they feel good for can last for a few moments or a number of hours.

Having Substance
When a person is said to have substance that person usually is: Safe, Honest, Good to be around, Solid, Fair in nature, Level headed, Trustworthy, Charitable, Kind, sort of Golden. They appear to be well liked and have a good circle of friends around them. They stick to their morals and can stand up for what they believe is right. This person of substance can be stubborn and get in the way of other people’s ideas of having fun. They may be left in their own company but seem to accept that others don’t see things their way. They can also admit when they have got it wrong, and not become bitter with people in their close circle.

Having Substance
Jumping into It

Beginning
The person who has substance comes from a range of backgrounds that could include poor, refugee, from lower classes, or from wealthy families. In some instances their character is honed from adversities/tough experiences. Others find their substance going against their families wishes. They may become ostracised/divorced from their family of origin. For many people going through tough times that person can break. For a person of substance the breaking is what is needed to arrive at what they now know, and want to share with the rest of the world. Breaking down can lead to break through.

Light Shine
For someone who is of substance they appear to emit a glow, a deep sense of knowing that is as comforting as it is attractive. We often find ourselves pulled in to their gravity of being – much like a star – a hole in space. Possibly they were not always the way they seem now. We may not have been there as they battled with unseen demons, emotions, thoughts or personal tragedies. But the who they are now, we find captivates our imagination and invites us, also to be more.

Resources
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and Mo Gawdat
Have You Heard George’s Podcast ep 9

Images
Cover photo by Conrad Ziebland on Unsplash
Inlay photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash
Intro, Resilience, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence

Intro to Deeping/Deepening It: Substance, Resilience, Resistance, and Persistence 1

A good friend asked me to write something for young people. She WhatsApp’ed – ‘Hi Michael, some words which last year I was playing around with, in regards to much but, our young. Is there something you might be able to say with them? Substance, Resilience, Resistance and Persistence.’

Er…
The first words that came to me was I don’t think I have ever been commissioned to write for a specific group of people on a blog before. Come to think about it some more, there was the lecture series at Greenwich University. I developed and delivered 6 lectures for their under grad psychology and counselling students in 2018. But a blog I have not specifically been asked to write before. So here goes…

A working week
This request I feel is something else. I haven’t been prescribed length, style or a content delivery method by my friend. These pieces have been left for me to choose which directions I go.

What I can say about what will happen is, I will write a series of roughly 500-600 word *synopsi. These *synopsi will cover each topic over a 5-day period in a quasi-tutorial of my thinking. The intention is to make the information impactful.

A short anonymous questionnaire will be added to the last topic: Insistence and will insist you to complete. There will be a call for a change of perspectives. For long held opinions to be uprooted and chance to experience life differently, perhaps.

George’s
If you are late to the party of ‘Have You Heard George’s Podcast’, I would say stop here and listen to the first 3 episodes. Why? Well apart from every episode being absolute line for line brilliance. And they are. George’s podcasts series is a perfect example of the 4 words I have been invited to speak/write about.

Substance:
Throughout the series of podcasts George talks about his experiences growing up and seeing his neighbourhood turn. Throughout each episode George gives an insight to his beginnings and about his family. He speaks about his home, his country of origin, music and becoming the man he is as a result of what he has seen and lived through.

Considering it all. What lies ahead. MichaelForfiehCounselling
Deeping It

Resilience:
At one point in his life George was to become a rapper and turned away from this path to do something (different) more. The knock back gave him a push to travel somewhere other than his friends and contemporaries had. He learned to believe in himself and how amazing his journey has been. *Inspirator.

Resistance:
I played part 16 of George’s podcast to my family, on one of the 1st Lockdown weekends here in London. They didn’t get it. George used the metaphors of the internal workings of his mind to help explain his creative processes. His rhyme and meter were used by differing voices to explain what they were doing in George’s head.

My wife (Dr CW) thought that George was having a schizophrenic episode. Their voices were of the streets. Using patois and London street *slanguage to explain their position within George’s mind. This episode was wild. What George illustrates over and over is how determined he is to see his vision exist and help others to have their realities exist too.

Lastly Persistence:
In one episode of the podcast series George speaks about leaving his area and moving to go to a private school on a full scholarship. He explains that he doesn’t want to go. But his parents and the school he is going to recognise his potential, fully.

George eventually sees the error in his pre-judgement. He becomes an agent in wanting to remain aspiring rather than simply achieving. There are knocks but he makes his journey beyond North London to a Russel Group University. To become…

Renew/Review/Rethink?
My intention for this mini-series of blogs; is for you to find something useful within these words. That the mini series of blogs, titled Deeping It, at least invite you to rethink elements of life and make appropriate plans to suit.

Resources
Have You Heard George’s Podcast  look for episode 1
Tom Bilyeux Impact Theory ep 162
TED Radio Hour Comfort Zone

Images
Cover photo by Jadon Barnes on Unsplash
Inlaid photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash
Substance, Resilience, Resistance, Persistence, Insistence

Shepherds Pie

On Writing

Obsession
This writing thing has become an important part of my self-expression and sharing these thoughts with you has been a commitment to the art of crafting something from nothing.

Feint wisps of ideas.

Gossamer on air.

Insecto
I use my notepad on my phone to catch a fly through thought, before it completely disappears. There’s something wild about these fresh new ideas, like capturing a butterfly or firefly.

Net it
There have been many I miss. Usually I am driving to one of the prisons I work at listening to a podcast. A new idea will arrive with what I am listening to. Most of the time when I park the car and get out, the thought has left me. Foolishly I think the thought much like that butterfly will return.

Sometimes
Like that delicate insect, the idea sort of does and sort of doesn’t. It twists and is lost in the turbulence of other thoughts. Then returns changed adapted and disguised with a cacophony of close and distant cousin ideas. There are times when I fret that Thursday mornings will arrive and at 08:30am BST I will have nothing to say, share or display. There have been close calls where I am honing and shaping unruly paragraphs or hyperlinks in before my weekly deadline of Thursday 08:30.

Real Artists
Then there are those weeks when the butterfly returns with friends. I find that I cannot keep my hands still or supple enough to capture all that my mind is whizzing through. Much like my *inspirator Jeff Goins. I feel that art is in each and everyone of us.

Capturing Moments

Scribble
Like the Islamic Calligrapher friend that I know. Who’s artistic talent of putting brush to paper I am ardently waiting to see, or the chef, the poet, stand up comedian, the teacher, the rapper, presentation maker, film producer, coach and fellow writers – their craft all waiting for daylight to see what they release.

Schedule
Generally I don’t have a regular pattern to my time of writing. I just do. Some write every morning. Some in the evening. For me it’s as often as I can and when I do, I am searching for diamonds or gold amongst acres of untilled soil. Currently this paragraph is being written whilst the last touches to a shepherd’s pie are added. I stand in the kitchen watching, so that just enough of everything including spice is introduced. My job was to mash the potatoes add milk, butter and then add freshly grated nutmeg.

Authoring Trumpets
The episode of Broken Record exemplifies my experience of writing. What Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers says about the experience of writing in the podcast, resonates with me.

Flea raises what my day to day battles, triumphs and failures, with writing are like and largely lie unknown. The failures get deleted before they are released. I try hard to polish these pieces before they are let loose.

Some blogs land like damp dish sponges. Others I feel stand out like jewels. Acid For the Children from Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond is a great portrayal of a person willing to find their riddle.

Inherent
With just over 100 pieces of sprawling thought. Filling time and air and web space the goal is to get to 200 and then see:

  • Have these blogs provided value
  • Are they worth reading
  • What would Thursday’s or Fridays look like without these musings

I value what 2 years of consistent insistent and persistent practice have taught and helped me to unearth. I can only hope that you have appreciated what 1 – 3 hours of processed thoughts do.

Cavernous
In 2015 when I began writing I did not realise what I had started. How much I would gain from putting pen to paper – Now more type to screen.

I am surprised by the amount of learning I would gather. Be a willing contributor to a sharing economy with these pages. A highlight for me is when speaking with others knowing that there are tunnel’s worth of processed thought and impressions. Waiting to be discovered at the push of a button. These embossed ideas lay behind and underneath me. I have used my blogs to illustrate a point that reference other’s words and ideas too. Like a labyrinth with no Minotaur I am curious about everything and what lies at the tunnel’s ending.


Resources
Broken Record Acid for the children – a conversation with Flea
2 Guys on Your Head – on Writing
Everything is Alive – Sharpie Pen

Images
Cover photo by Michael Opoku-Forfieh
Inlay photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

Compadre

Together until hats and
Sabres, scarves and
Ammo belts tilt and
Fall or thrown
Down! Bullets
In psychological
Psychobable we blew
Others away
Like Chaff!

You dashing and
Daring and me
Quiet, dismissive, assessing.
Our foes dodging and
Careening to get ‘way
From your shots.
My warnings.

Balance Power And Poise Personified

Sparing none. Killing
With kindness and
Flare. Tragedy and
Trauma. Both lived
Brushed off, scarred
A little, and so knew
Our enemies
Well.

Not versed and
Unable to battle
Similar. Spat ‘n
Cursed ‘n had to
Let us
Pass undeterred.

But harm they
Did. Blatantly. Traps.
Audaciously, withering with
Lies and supported by
Cavalry and legions of
Followers, sheep, braying,
Stinking others who
Thought we were
Outgunned by seniority.

Pseudo superiority. They
Shot down, we battle
Weary. Back to back.
Butch and Sun
Dance. You slim and
Deft and defiant. Confident.
Me heavy and
Slow, somber looking.
Attached to thinking.
Acting mute.

Throwing all, silent
Fingers of vengeance and
Despised eyes of
Demise, a Phoenix rises
From ashes and
So warned they
Burned. Mightily. We
Still laugh at their
Moxie and
With our children tell
Of bravery in
Battle, little big stories.

Inspired by your tracings of invisible marks and rememberings of days past EK.

Resources
Seven is the Wind by Menahan Street Band – this song frames this poem
Sketches in Spain by Miles Davis
Pecking Order Margaret Heffernan T.E.D. Talk
Fugitive – Indigo Girls
This is Love Podcast The Wolves

Images
Cover photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash
Inlay photo by yoo soosang on Unsplash
2nd inlay photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash