Each of us travels through life at a different pace, in different steps, and in different directions. Just as pansies bloom in the spring, marigolds bloom in the summer, mums bloom in the autumn, and primroses bloom in the winter, so each of us gives forth our most profuse blossoms during different seasons of our lives. Most important, and as much as possible, it is best when we journey through life guided by our own life’s force and purpose, nurtured by our source-connection and on universal time.

We have to do what we have to do, to enable us to do what we want to do.

When we are reactive in any situation, in essence we hand over our personal power to the other and permit their behavior or attitude to determine who we are and how we respond. By allowing those negative feelings to permeate and fuel our response, we become what is distasteful or abhorrent to us.

I strongly believe that we don’t truly face a situation or take it on until we are ready to deal with it.

Everyone has the right to freedom of religion. What they don’t have is the right to interfere in my secular life.

Civility is a state of mind. At its core is a basic decency built on mindfulness, gratitude, concern, integrity, empathy, equality, inclusion, and respect for others. Civility extends far beyond politely uttering “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “hello,” “excuse me,” “pardon,” “please,” and “thank you.” When we live in a state of civility, we take nothing for granted. We are grateful for the smallest gestures, realizing deeply that they are often more gratifying than the bigger things in life. Small annoyances, which may be irritants to others, are just not a part of our day. We just don’t sweat the small stuff or take it on. Bearing an attitude of “good enough,” “make do,” “I’m okay,” and “strive to do my best” are responses that develop gratitude, encourage ingenuity and creativity to work with what we have to achieve what is possible.

I have sensed enslavement in your voices, I have heard it in your words, I have seen it in your eyes, I have read it in your stories, I have experienced it in my loved ones’ expressions and halted responses, and I have felt your piercing pain in my heart. You, just like everyone else, are far, far greater than any one horrific experience or history. You and I, and those not yet born, and every other human being on this earth, past and present, came from the same vast, rich, beautiful, historical ancestry, the cradle of civilization in the Rift Valley of that ancient, abundantly endowed continent named Africa. I plead with everything that I have within that you rip off any yoke that stifles you, and that you and every person who remain captured and bound by a condition with which they were born, developed, or that family or society thrust on them—please break free.

Glance at the sky that encapsulates our planet, which at some instant most can view. As you breathe in the air whose molecules have circled the planet, wonder how many other human beings have and will inhale and exhale those exact molecules. Perhaps you, along with every other person who has breathed and will breathe those molecules, added an invisible and undetectable molecule to it, and every other person until eternity will repeat—adding their one-and-only minuscule “breathspeck” as well.

Because of the incredible and gratifying experience I’ve gained from working with hundreds of people from a host of cultures, living among the Nevisian people for more than fifteen years, interacting with family members, dear friends and colleagues from a variety of cultures, and touring on my world travels, I have been deeply touched by the rich tapestry of diversity. My experience with others’ ideas, traditions, resolutions, and well-being—especially their values of cohesion, family, friends, and community—has profoundly enriched me. Collectively, these relationships uplifted my outlook and guide how I live each day in deep gratitude. This chapter is dedicated to all the people of differing cultures whom I met along my life’s journey. I have laughed with them in play, smiled with them in joy, consoled and cried with them in sorrow, and felt their pain in my heart.