Guest blogger: the one, the only Mark Manson “Love is Not Enough”

The blog was written by Mark Manson (original blog post and tons of other amazing posts can be found through this link)  Mark, I’m so appreciative you’d let me share your post with my peeps.

There are many people who need this blog (not that I would know anything about that because I am the poster child for “I seek out only healthy, meaningful relationships focused on respectful reciprocity at all times”) because it does bring the truth into the light. It’s not about shaming anyone, anything, or any previously-held notion of how-to. It’s raw, honest, and real.

So, read. Enjoy. Go to Mark’s website and tell him how fabulous he is (both as a man and as a writer). Then find him on FB Twitter and anything else for which he rightfully deserves followers.

As is usually the case, I probably won’t publish your comments, but I’m happy to pass them along to Mark (or you can, on the original post).

Love is Not Enough

In 1967, John Lennon wrote a song called, “All You Need is Love.” He also beat both of his wives, abandoned one of his children, verbally abused his gay Jewish manager with homophobic and anti-semitic slurs, and once had a camera crew film him lying naked in his bed for an entire day.

Thirty-five years later, Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails wrote a song called “Love is Not Enough.” Reznor, despite being famous for his shocking stage performances and his grotesque and disturbing videos, got clean from all drugs and alcohol, married one woman, had two children with her, and then cancelled entire albums and tours so that he could stay home and be a good husband and father.

One of these two men had a clear and realistic understanding of love. One of them did not. One of these men idealized love as the solution to all of his problems. One of them did not. One of these men was probably a narcissistic asshole. One of them was not.

In our culture, many of us idealize love. We see it as some lofty cure-all for all of life’s problems. Our movies and our stories and our history all celebrate it as life’s ultimate goal, the final solution for all of our pain and struggle. And because we idealize love, we overestimate it. As a result, our relationships pay a price.

When we believe that “all we need is love,” then like Lennon, we’re more likely to ignore fundamental values such as respect, humility and commitment towards the people we care about. After all, if love solves everything, then why bother with all the other stuff — all of the hard stuff?

But if, like Reznor, we believe that “love is not enough,” then we understand that healthy relationships require more than pure emotion or lofty passions. We understand that there are things more important in our lives and our relationships than simply being in love. And the success of our relationships hinges on these deeper and more important values.

Three Harsh Truths About Love

The problem with idealizing love is that it causes us to develop unrealistic expectations about what love actually is and what it can do for us. These unrealistic expectations then sabotage the very relationships we hold dear in the first place. Allow me to illustrate:

1. Love does not equal compatibility. Just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good partner for you to be with over the long term. Love is an emotional process; compatibility is a logical process. And the two don’t bleed into one another very well.

It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who doesn’t treat us well, who makes us feel worse about ourselves, who doesn’t hold the same respect for us as we do for them, or who has such a dysfunctional life themselves that they threaten to bring us down with them.

It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who has different ambitions or life goals that are contradictory to our own, who holds different philosophical beliefs or worldviews that clash with our own sense of reality.

It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who sucks for us and our happiness.

That may sound paradoxical, but it’s true.

When I think of all of the disastrous relationships I’ve seen or people have emailed me about, many (or most) of them were entered into on the basis of emotion — they felt that “spark” and so they just dove in head first. Forget that he was a born-again Christian alcoholic and she was an acid-dropping bisexual necrophiliac. It just felt right.

And then six months later, when she’s throwing his shit out onto the lawn and he’s praying to Jesus twelve times a day for her salvation, they look around and wonder, “Gee, where did it go wrong?”

The truth is, it went wrong before it even began.

When dating and looking for a partner, you must use not only your heart, but your mind. Yes, you want to find someone who makes your heart flutter and your farts smell like cherry popsicles. But you also need to evaluate a person’s values, how they treat themselves, how they treat those close to them, their ambitions and their worldviews in general. Because if you fall in love with someone who is incompatible with you…well, as the ski instructor from South Park once said, you’re going to have a bad time.

2. Love does not solve your relationship problems. My first girlfriend and I were madly in love with each other. We also lived in different cities, had no money to see each other, had families who hated each other, and went through weekly bouts of meaningless drama and fighting.

And every time we fought, we’d come back to each other the next day and make up and remind each other how crazy we were about one another and that none of those little things matter because we’re omg sooooooo in love and we’ll find a way to work it out and everything will be great, just you wait and see. Our love made us feel like we were overcoming our issues, when on a practical level, absolutely nothing had changed.

As you can imagine, none of our problems got resolved. The fights repeated themselves. The arguments got worse. Our inability to ever see each other hung around our necks like an albatross. We were both self-absorbed to the point where we couldn’t even communicate that effectively. Hours and hours talking on the phone with nothing actually said. Looking back, there was no hope that it was going to last. Yet we kept it up for three fucking years!

After all, love conquers all, right?

Unsurprisingly, that relationship burst into flames and crashed like the Hindenburg being doused in jet fuel. The break up was ugly. And the big lesson I took away from it was this: while love may make you feel better about your relationship problems, it doesn’t actually solve any of your relationship problems.

The roller coaster of emotions can be intoxicating, each high feeling even more important and more valid than the one before, but unless there’s a stable and practical foundation beneath your feet, that rising tide of emotion will eventually come and wash it all away.

3. Love is not always worth sacrificing yourself. One of the defining characteristics of loving someone is that you are able to think outside of yourself and your own needs to help care for another person and their needs as well.

But the question that doesn’t get asked often enough is exactly what are you sacrificing, and is it worth it?

In loving relationships, it’s normal for both people to occasionally sacrifice their own desires, their own needs, and their own time for one another. I would argue that this is normal and healthy and a big part of what makes a relationship so great.

But when it comes to sacrificing one’s self-respect, one’s dignity, one’s physical body, one’s ambitions and life purpose, just to be with someone, then that same love becomes problematic. A loving relationship is supposed to supplement our individual identity, not damage it or replace it. If we find ourselves in situations where we’re tolerating disrespectful or abusive behavior, then that’s essentially what we’re doing: we’re allowing our love to consume us and negate us, and if we’re not careful, it will leave us as a shell of the person we once were.

The Friendship Test

One of the oldest pieces of relationship advice in the book is, “You and your partner should be best friends.” Most people look at that piece of advice in the positive: I should spend time with my partner like I do my best friend; I should communicate openly with my partner like I do with my best friend; I should have fun with my partner like I do with my best friend.

But people should also look at it in the negative: Would you tolerate your partner’s negative behaviors in your best friend?

Amazingly, when we ask ourselves this question honestly, in most unhealthy and codependent relationships, the answer is “no.”

I know a young woman who just got married. She was madly in love with her husband. And despite the fact that he had been “between jobs” for more than a year, showed no interest in planning the wedding, often ditched her to take surfing trips with his friends, and her friends and family raised not-so-subtle concerns about him, she happily married him anyway.

But once the emotional high of the wedding wore off, reality set in. A year into their marriage, he’s still “between jobs,” he trashes the house while she’s at work, gets angry if she doesn’t cook dinner for him, and any time she complains he tells her that she’s “spoiled” and “arrogant.” Oh, and he still ditches her to take surfing trips with his friends.

And she got into this situation because she ignored all three of the harsh truths above. She idealized love. Despite being slapped in the face by all of the red flags he raised while dating him, she believed that their love signaled relationship compatibility. It didn’t. When her friends and family raised concerns leading up to the wedding, she believed that their love would solve their problems eventually. It didn’t. And now that everything had fallen into a steaming shit heap, she approached her friends for advice on how she could sacrifice herself even more to make it work.

And the truth is, it won’t.

Why do we tolerate behavior in our romantic relationships that we would never ever, ever tolerate in our friendships?

Imagine if your best friend moved in with you, trashed your place, refused to get a job or pay rent, demanded you cook dinner for them, and got angry and yelled at you any time you complained. That friendship would be over faster than Paris Hilton’s acting career.

Or another situation: a man’s girlfriend who was so jealous that she demanded passwords to all of his accounts and insisted on accompanying him on his business trips to make sure he wasn’t tempted by other women. His life was practically under 24/7 surveillance and you could see it wearing on his self-esteem. His self-worth dropped to nothing. She didn’t trust him to do anything. So he quit trusting himself to do anything.

Yet he stays with her! Why? Because he’s in love!

Remember this: The only way you can fully enjoy the love in your life is to choose to make something else more important in your life than love.

You can fall in love with a wide variety of people throughout the course of your life. You can fall in love with people who are good for you and people who are bad for you. You can fall in love in healthy ways and unhealthy ways. You can fall in love when you’re young and when you’re old. Love is not unique. Love is not special. Love is not scarce.

But your self-respect is. So is your dignity. So is your ability to trust. There can potentially be many loves throughout your life, but once you lose your self-respect, your dignity or your ability to trust, they are very hard to get back.

Love is a wonderful experience. It’s one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. And it is something everyone should aspire to feel and enjoy.

But like any other experience, it can be healthy or unhealthy. Like any other experience, it cannot be allowed to define us, our identities or our life purpose. We cannot let it consume us. We cannot sacrifice our identities and self-worth to it. Because the moment we do that, we lose love and we lose ourselves.

Because you need more in life than love. Love is great. Love is necessary. Love is beautiful. But love is not enough.

guest blogger: Stephanie Rodousakis – Stephanie’s love letter to Sophia Mina

I am honored to feature my friend Stephanie’s blog post. Many of my own followers on social media have prayed for Stephanie, her husband Michael, and their baby girl. Many of you all shed a tear when Sophia Mina was taken from this world. Stephanie has generously allowed me to highlight her thoughts and we are both hoping they will help all of us understand the grief process a little bit better.

On a personal note, I am so proud of the woman, wife, and mother you are, my friend. Thank you for sharing this with my community.

I give you Stephanie’s thoughts and her website (http://sophiamina.wordpress.com)…

**

As I reflect on the last 9 months, I think about the victories and the defeats, the smiles and the tears, the anxiety and the relief. So many emotions that filled not only me, but everyone who somehow is a part of our lives. Whether you are an old friend, someone we just met, or someone we have never spoken to before, this little miracle baby brought together the world.

I cry thinking about the love that we have been given, the sympathy, the support and well wishes. I cry thinking about all the friends trying to help raise money to find out WHY Sophia died.

I cry knowing that my dear friends at Carnegie Hall, Jill, Jenny, Mike and my stagehand buddies who I adore, Scooter, Leszek, Zara – who I have never met but is amazing, people who have touched my heart even before Sophia, are raising money to plant trees in her name, so that we can honor her in our 3 home towns. Washington DC, NYC and Seattle. http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/memorial-for-sophia-mina-kuestermann-princess-warrior/124870

I cry thinking about my old friend from undergrad, Keoni Hudoba, who has been through hell and back himself, giving his time, his talent, his love, to set up a fundraiser “Cycle for Sophia” in NYC this February. I cry thinking about my amazing friends at Dicapo Opera Theatre, who have shown extreme generosity by organizing their own donation site and raised such an amazing amount for Sophia’s Fund. I cry because Sophia, my daughter, did this. This little miracle is just a small gem that is changing the world, changing people and their perspectives on life. Michael and I are amazed by how quickly people have rallied around Sophia and around us and I smile. I spoke with Children’s Hospital today. We talked about Sophia’s Fund and how we might want to start a guild in Sophia’s name, how we may want to create an annual event to raise money for Hepatic Failure in Newborns. I love this idea and I hope we can do that. One day, October 5th. Sophia’s Birthday.

I spoke with and texted with many of you today. I got messages from so many of you today. Thank you so much for being here for us.

I sleep with a picture of Sophia in my arms every night. I take this picture with me to all the rooms I go to. I speak to this picture every night before I go to bed. It is insane how much I miss this beautiful little girl. What a courageous baby. I wonder what she is doing, what she is seeing, what she is learning. More than I probably ever could. How I wish so badly to hold her again.

Eonia i mnimi. Memory Eternal.

Guest blogger: Kelley Ayres, “The bird”

I don’t mean “the bird,” like what Cooper shows me with his middle finger, ALL the time. No, he doesn’t know he’s doing it, but he likes to point things out that way. He also shows me “the bird” when he is counting in that awkward way 4-year olds do.

Cooper loves to make up stories. The problem is, he doesn’t give his audience the genre. There is no warning of the ficticious nature of his stories. In fact, most of this child’s creativity is channeled through these stories, highly embellished with varying integrated elements that I am sure the “average child” could not create, ever!

So, it is late in the afternoon on New Year’s Day. I am cleaning up the kitchen (for the 5th or 6th time since breakfast). I am pretty sure I had been through 6 dog-pee towels and 3 brooms to the floor. I had done at least 2 loads of laundry, washing all sheets and pillows since Wyatt woke up sick on New Year’s Eve. Chris has left for the night to go watch the Baylor Bowl game with his friend, Craig. Craig is a story for later. Let’s just say . . . my kids love him!

I hear Cooper yell, “There’s a bird in the house!”

I continue to scrub the dried egg on the stove. I’m thinking, “Oh, yay, I’m about to get a fun story!”

“There it is again!” Coop says.

Come on Coop, make this one good! Is it Batman or Superman. I mean, make it mystical and fun. Maybe it’s a Toucan or a Flamingo. But, sadly, nothing more.

Time passed. About 30-minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I catch what appears to be a bird a bird flying across the family room! “There IS a bird in our house!”

Very matter-of-factly Cooper says, “I said there was a bird in the house.” Well, sweet boy, 75% of what you say is make-believe! So, it is confirmed that Cooper does sometimes tell the truth.

Wyatt, sick and so tired, flips out. I open all of the back doors and send Wyatt to the shower. Cooper and I follow the bird, as it soars across the room. He is determined to get the bird, chasing it around in complete hysterics. I text Chris that there is a bird in the house. I’ve always known that he is the world’s best problem solver. However, his brilliant reply is, “open some windows.” I do believe my reply said, “Duh!”

The bird goes up the stairs. After slamming the doors to the boys rooms, I turn on the playroom light, but hit the fan button. The bird, on one of the blades, enjoys a nice merry-go-round. It finally falls of the fan and flutters back down stairs.

Realizing how long Wyatt has been in the shower, I go check on him. Before I leave, I tell Cooper, “the bird is right there on the middle pendant. See it? Follow it with your eyes. If it flies out one of the doors, close all of the doors so it won’t come back in.”

“Got it, I’m the bird watcher.”

I head back to help Wyatt get toweled off. As he sits on my bathroom floor in tears, we both hear:

“BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!”

I run back to the family room, only to see Cooper with his arms out wide like only a hero would celebrate! “The bird flew out and so I made the doors go BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” So proud.

Til next time . . . attempting a lesson on beginning our “made-up” stories with “once upon a time . . . .”

Guest blogger: Kelley Ayres, “A Typical Day in the Life of a Mother of Two Boys”

I’m really pleased to offer you a great blog post from my talented sister-in-law, Kelley Ayres. I thoroughly enjoy her descriptions of everyday life experiences, she has a wonderful way with words. This was particularly entertaining. Thanks for sharing it with my readers, Kel Kel. Enjoy!

Bit of back story for non-Dallasites: “Gaylord” in Grapevine is a huge Oprylandesque structure and Kel was taking her little, sick-as-dogs guys to enjoy some post-Christmas fun as a getaway treat.

**

Our Gaylord Experience!  So far . . .

So, we head out of our neighborhood and I pull into Preston/Royal for green tea for the road.
Cooper says, “Mom, I forgot my ipad (Leapfrog).”
Wyatt replies, “Well, that doesn’t concern me. Does it concern you, mom?”

We head out to get on LBJ. You got it, totally backed up. The boys don’t understand why the traffic jam does not appear on navigation.
Wyatt, “Why are all these trucks on this road. We’d go a lot faster if they weren’t.”

We’re almost to our turn-off toward Grapevine, when I see two very low airplanes and point them out to the boys.
I say, “Where do you think they came from?”
Cooper, “Half-America!” (You can imagine the enthusiasm)
I reply, “South America?”
“Yes! Half-America!” (More enthusiasm)
(While hibernating in the germ-infested land of hacking, sneezing, and a whole lot of laundry, Wyatt ventured out into the world of “menu” on the car TV. He found some sort of nature landscapes that featured South America. To my complete satisfaction, they were fascinated and I was incredibly thankful for a break from Batman, Angry Birds, Injustice, Clash of Clans and Minecraft.)

So, we turn off onto Gaylord Road and as we approach the monstrosity of what is the Gaylord Hotel, Cooper says, “Mom, it’s bigger than me, Wyatt and YOU!”

We pull through valet, start to unload the back. I tell the boys how big they are and that they can carry their own bags (leaving me, still, with more than I can handle). The lady behind us shows Cooper how to wrap the straps around his neck to make it easier to carry! What?!?!

We walk through the lobby to find a swarm of orange and black OK State fans and I start to have an anxiety attack. They are waiting for their rooms, which are not ready. What craziness are we in for?

We get our room, which is ready, and we walk about 5 miles to get to it. I start to get a little upset when I realize what a good thing it is to be at the end of the hallway on the far end of the whole place. The fans will be trickling in past midnight and not bothering us! Phew!

We get situated and all the boys want to do is bound from bed to bed. We could have done this at home. At this point, I also realize that I forgot shoes, other than the snow boots I wore here.

After purchasing ICE tickets and Snow tickets at $100, we head that direction. I find a store with some cute flats, purchase them and wear them out, only to enter the world of FREEZING cold! At which point, I put my snow boots back on. Wyatt jumps on board for snow-tubing, Cooper follows but freaks out last-minute. I go up with him with a double-tube, sit on the freakin’ wet, cold fabric for this child and he decides he won’t do it. I say, “I’ll get you ice cream after dinner.” Guess what? Yup. The entire staff is cracking up.

We all put on massive blue coats like total champs and head into what must be 15-degree temperature! Wyatt about throws a fit, after being cold anyway and we scurry through in no more than 4-minutes flat! That was money well-spent!

Outside of ICE is a little stand with hot chocolate and Gigi’s cupcakes. I get the boys hot chocolate. Cooper takes a sip and spits it all over me. “I don’t like it!” I ask what on earth in a nice way and Cooper replies, “Sorry, Little Lady.” I clean up the best I can and we head back to the lobby to find seats by the fire in the lobby. Finally, we’re all happy and relaxed and could hang until dinner.

Wyatt is hungry well before dinner time so I go around the corner and grab some pretzels and use the restroom, at which point I realize I have been sporting a beautiful hot chocolate mole on my nose for at least an hour.

We look at four menus and Wyatt will only have pizza, so we go to the Italian restaurant and sit at a wonderful table by the fire. It is still pretty cold and so I ask Wyatt if he wants my sweater. “Yes!” Leaves me with a thin blouse to shiver through.

After being sick for 4 days, I think to myself how hard a glass of wine could hit me . . . so I opt out (I know most of you don’t believe me!)
You also won’t believe that I ordered a filet. I didn’t eat much of it but justified it based on the book I just read about genotypes. Beef is a superfood for mine! Yippee! I’m a hunter! Roar!

So, here we are. So happy to be in pj’s, cuddled in bed with ice cream, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and a cup of medicine Wyatt needs but won’t take. Cooper is still bouncing of the walls (with a chocolate ice cream mustache, like maybe he face-planted in a pile of mud)

The truth be told, this has been a blast! These boys crack me up. We have one “go with the flow” and one with very particular thoughts and expectations. It works out pretty well. If Cooper winds down, we will have a good night’s sleep and have some more fun in the morning.

They are arguing over who gets me in their bed. It really boils down to who’s kick hurts less and who’s nighttime behavior is less annoying. I’ll be sleeping with Cooper . . .

Stay tuned . . .

Amazing guest blogger from Johannesburg, “Mandela and me”

I asked my gubbie, Jason Stein, to be a guest blogger this week. Here is what he has written and allowed me to share with all of you.

Thank you, Jason.

**

Mandela and Me

‘Jason, please come in and take a seat.’  said the senior psychiatrist in a rather psychiatric voice.

I looked around the room at the sixty eyes of the psychologists and psychiatric nurses who were gathered there to view their next case study.

‘Jason, please help yourself to treats ‘

The bowls of candies, crisps and other irresistible nibbles that lay before me were the only barrier between me and the exponentially multiplying eyes. It was disheartening listening to my crisp crunching psychiatrist companion munching through my wall of protection.

‘No thank you’ was my polite decline.

‘Jason, please would you tell me why it is that you are here?’ asked the psychiatrist

‘Because you called me in here’ was my obvious response

‘No, No. Here! In this institution. Why are you here?’ asked the psychiatrist with a surprising air of frustration

‘I don’t know’ was my response, since I wasn’t entirely sure.

‘How old are you?’ was the next question.

‘Quite stupid’ I thought considering all my details were contained in the dossier of information that he was holding.

‘Eleven’ was my short reply to the man of psychological education.

‘What is it like at home with your mother and father?’

‘Everything is fine’ I said sensing the disappointment of the audience who had been wringing their hands with anticipation.

‘Then why are you here?’ came the question for the second time.

‘I guess it’s because I’m different.’ I replied despairingly.

It was not long before the audience became tired of my vague and unexciting responses, and I was dismissed to be taken to the ward where I would meet my room mate.

He had long ladders of scars running up his arms from wrist to shoulder that appeared to follow a chronology like the rings of a tree. But unlike a tree they were imperfect. They were scars that had been revisited and reopened multiple times. He looked at me curiously while slowly carving another masterpiece using a tiny blade he had extracted from a razor.

‘I’m Jason’ I said timidly, not knowing what else to say to someone who was in the process of dissecting his arm.

I sat on my bed looking out at the gardens trying to visualize what they might look like in the height of Summer. The Jacaranda trees stood patiently waiting for their purple flowers to blossom. The long road leading out of the Johannesburg institution was broken in many places. I wondered if the powerful roots of the Jacaranda were capable of such destruction.

The year was 1989. South Africa was at the edge of a political precipice that was about to change world history. I too was at an edge, frozen, unable to jump and unwilling to look back.

‘I’ve never had a little brother’ came a voice suddenly.

The self butchering ceased temporarily as my room mate looked up from his surgical work. He was only eighteen yet his face looked old and seemed as deeply scarred as his arms. Though no physical signs of injury were apparent.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked rhetorically

‘Do you believe in God?’ he asked. ‘Because I don’t. I’m doing this for Satan’ he continued sourly before getting back to work.

A struggle was raging in the country. It had been a 26 year battle that had caused the waters of the Cape Coast to boil with a desire for justice and democracy. Robbin Island stood alone and unreachable in the distance containing a volcano of humility that the world was yet to encounter.

That night I lay in bed cautiously watching my room mate prepare for bed. The tiny blade that lay on his side table made me feel uneasy.

‘Can I tuck you in?’ he asked after washing himself at the little basin across the room.

My trepidation dissolved as I sensed his kindness and felt a sense of warmth as he pulled the covers over me. His eyes told a story that I didn’t have the courage to probe further.

On 11 February 1990 not long after my discharge from the institution, I sat in front of the television watching as Robbin Island finally erupted and a man walked free, upright and stern yet clearly weathered. It was the best of times for most, yet for some it was the worst of times. It was a time of uncertainty as the country stumbled forward into the unknown. It was a time of fear in which many questioned their futures as a white minority who had by default benefited from an evil system at the expense of an entire nation.

As the years rolled patiently forward the country went through a metamorphosis in which colour lines began to blur and corrective measures were put in place to bring about equality.

My later exploration of the world took me to England where I would live in a city where the streets to my surprise were not paved with gold. I explored Britain’s pebble coast line, traversed the white cliffs of Dover and admired the lush green landscapes of Devon and Dorset. All the while the embers of an unextinguished fire were trembling inside me though I wasn’t fully aware of their presence.

Eight years later I was relocated to Switzerland where I would remain for four years. I was vehemently against returning to South Africa but the fire inside me began to rage with a fury that made the picture perfect and serene Swiss landscapes revile my presence.

In August of this year I returned to South Africa in a quest to settle what seemed to have become an uncontrollable blaze. My return came just in time to experience yet another turning point in South African and world history.

As South Africa now prepares to lay the father of its nation to rest, we celebrate the glow of wisdom at one mans core that burned brightly enough to penetrate the overpowering darkness that grave injustice and oppression can bring.

I think back on my encounters along my own journey and the faint glow of hope, love and humility that I have found in those shrouded in the most encompassing darkness. I wonder what happened to my room mate who despite being consumed by his own demons, possessed enough light to show compassion to a lost and afraid eleven year old child.

We are all prisoners. Some of us by external forces and some of us through our own incarceration. Self liberation happens not through blind optimism, but by having enough hope and belief in our own internal glow no matter how faint it may be. Only then can we tread an uncertain road and embark on our long walk to freedom.

Jason Stein

Johannesburg, South Africa

Jason at Mandela's house shortly after Mandela's death is announced to the world
Jason at Mandela’s house shortly after Mandela’s death is announced to the world
Mandela's house
Mandela’s house