2017 ends, 2018 is about to begin…


One year ends and another begins! What have we learned? How have our future plans adjusted?

I wrote a poem some time ago while traveling to Japan. Here I was about 30,000+ plus feet up in the heavens, cruising at about 600+ miles per hour. I was having one of those “me” moments.

This was one of the many opportunities to reach out to God (SWT). I pondered life and my reason for existing. The funny thing that happened was I received a Yoda-like answer:


Why am  I here?

I am here for this moment!

It is a reflection of time past;

The culmination of all my experiences.

I am what I have learned.

Why am I here?

I am here for this moment…


At the time, I was in pursuit of my YonDan (4th degree) in Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing. I was also in the process of overcoming a fear of flying.

I was successful in my challenge for YonDan. This event broke a series of numerous failures. I learned about perseverance and not “giving up,” especially in the face of adversity.

With regard to my fear of flying, I now just “let go and let God…” It helps that one of my best friends is a commercial airline pilot! We have known each other since high school. Once, we faced the eminent possibility of death during a highway accident on our way back to college. We remain here by the grace of God. I remember my first hangover the night before he was to take his first solo flight. These were tense moments that contributed to our development processes.

He has flow numerous times, around the world, piloting the most complex airplanes. If he can accomplish this, surely I can sit back and enjoy the ride! If there’s turbulence, I imagine I’m on a bucking bronco. It works for me. Let the pilot fly the plane! That is what they are trained to do, safely, I might add.

For a period of time, I lost touch with my “inner feelings” and that “inner voice” that I might hear. I wondered if it was due to the stroke I experienced and the subsequent depression. Now I view it as God (SWT) just putting me through a test to enhance my understanding of life. Alhamdulillah! I am ever grateful for such experiences these days.

Today, I feel especially good. My family is ever expanding. Many of my friends and I keep in touch on a regular basis. I feel rather “feisty” these days. Perhaps a return to Kendo in 2018, inshaAllah (God willing…)


My Lord, from Thee we all come, and indeed, to Thee, we shall all return!

Please forgive me my past sins and transgressions and keep me on the straight path.

Please reward me for my hardships and exchange them for something better.


Please help me to overcome all the challenges placed before me.

Please help me to attain the peace and harmony seek.


My Lord, Thou has always been there for me, and I am most grateful.

Thou art my Nurturer, thou art my Sustainer,

Thou art my Provider and Protector!

Indeed, Thou art my Lord and Savior!

I am in need of whatever good Thou may send in my direction.

Please continue to watch over me and my family.

Please watch over my friends and colleagues.

Please protect us all from bad, evil and immoral things.

Please save us all from the Hellfire!

Please help me to gain the success and prosperity I seek.

Please help me to be a better human being.

Please help me to get healthier.

My Lord, please help me to stay in Thy favor and get closer to Thee!



Wishing you and your family a Happy & Prosperous 2018!


I had just traveled about 8,000 miles on a 14 hour trip to Japan. I was to take the test for YonDan, 4th-degree black belt in Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing. As I had said earlier (http://wp.me/p2hekR-d), I had to delay my departure due to passport problems. I did not have adequate time to train in Japan prior to challenging for my YonDan shinsa (test). While everyone else had succeeded in their tests, I had failed!

There was a celebration for the group of us that had traveled from all the way from New York to take the test. As part of the festivities, the HachiDan (Nishino Sensei, 8th-degree black belt) in charge asked each of us to say a few words about our experiences. Everyone before me had happy things to say, after all, they had met their objectives.

When my turn to speak came, there was a deafening silence in the room. I began to tell the other Senseis there about how I tried to channel my frustrations into positive learning experiences. In this particular instance, I had written a poem…

I did not pass
There are always obstacles to overcome
Others may try to impede my progress
I will press on, I will never give up!
I have only failed when I start to doubt myself.

I could see some of the Senseis fighting back tears. I had touched them that night and made many friends. Nishino Sensei got up and exclaimed that I understood the true meaning of being a Samurai and he, in turn, took a napkin and wrote his own words about never giving up. I framed that napkin and look at it during times when success does not come easily, which is often.

Dragon’s Spirit

This poem has very special meaning to me. I was born in the year of the Dragon. I turn 60 later this year, God willing. I reflect on what I have encountered in life. When knocked down, I must get up! Just when you think the battle is lost, you find a way to come back. It is about resourcefulness. It is about survival! I draw strength from this poem. This is my spirit!


I am an OlderDragon.
Yet I can still Breathe Fire!
My Skin is bruised.
My Spirit is has been weakened.
But I can still Breathe Fire!
My mind remains calm.
My talons remain sharp and ready.
And I can still Breathe Fire!
I grow Wiser and Stronger with time.
A Dragon can do anything he sets his mind to do.
If necessary, he can move a mountain!