Our spiritual journey is never ending as we traverse throughout life. During the course of this journey, it is important to acknowledge people and let them know how much they are appreciated and valued. This appreciation goes to all the guys who have joined the No Ego Book Club. One of these gentlemen is owed a special thanks, Lamonte Bourgeois, the owner of Image Kafe and host of this extraordinary gathering each Tuesday night.
Lamonte Bourgeois and Lafayette Howell
So, chapter 7, was and remains especially pertinent to me and I think, perhaps for others as well. When Lamonte and I would discuss his vision for the shop before moving to his current location, it was more externally focused (e.g. having social gatherings, watching sporting events, and the like). At the time, there was never discussion of having a book club. I must confess, when I first brought up the idea to Lamonte earlier this year, I had my doubts internally, but after seven chapters and a devastating hurricane (Ike), we continue our spiritual journey together.
What we’ve recognized is that this book club of all men and in particular all African-American men discussing the same book as did Oprah for 10 weeks is a testament that we are aligning with who we truly are and want to be and not necessarily who we THINK we want to be.
The point of this chapter is best summed up by Ben Miller, one of our members and a customer of Lamonte in which he describes our state of people today: “everybody is friendly, but nobody are friends”. So just imagine, if you put together creative ideas, passion for who you truly are and not what you think you are combined with the courage to put yourself out there as we did with the No Ego Book Club, special things will happen.
This is, in many respects, what we are experiencing across the globe with the Presidential election. We all hope and pray that Barack Obama gets elected without controversy. Our small book club consisting of over 20 or so African-American men from all professions, with their own stories, represents the dreams and aspirations of Obama. And just like Senator Obama, we have received inquiries from people who have watched our broadcast from New Jersey and some regular viewers as far away as Ohio and who knows where else. So, we must believe in ourselves and be in the Present at all times. Doing so provides no guarantees, but it puts us on a path that is positive and sustainable for children, our communities and the collective humanity. So, thanks to Lamonte for having the vision to do what he does and the courage to bring us together.