Monday, November 29, 2010

My Father's Seed: A Date Night

 unraveling stories, creating new possibilities

EVERYONE has a STORY about his or her Father, Dad, Daddy or Pops::
Supportive Unavailable Loving Absent Committed Unreliable Loyal Judgmental Misunderstood Concerned Unconcerned Present Unfaithful Hardworking Faithful…..
What’s YOUR Story?
What if you had an opportunity to create a NEW relationship with your father – or a new relationship with your child – would you be open to it?
If so, consider attending and supporting GNEP’s new Annual Fundraising initiative:
My Father’s Seed: A Date Night
An opportunity for us to un-write some of the negative stories we have written about our fathers and write new empowering ones, if only for one night!  It will be an amazing evening of music, food, dancing, appreciation and much more!
If this moves you, or even made you feel a little conflicted, please email or visit to be included in emails regarding the progress of this event and/or to express an interest in helping to plan the event.  I NEED YOUR SUPPORT! 

Coming February 2011…..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Little Holiday Laughter - Madea Style!

Prepping for the Holidays? Having guests? Well if you are the host, Madea (Tyler Perry) has some special advice just for you!

Madea's Thanksgiving Rules and Regulations
Print and give copy to each guest that enters your home.


1. Don't get in line asking questions about the food. "Who made the potato salad? Is it egg in there? Are the greens fresh? Is the meat in the greens turkey or pork? Who made the macaroni and cheese? What kind of pie is that? Who made it?
Ask one more question and I will punch you in your mouth, knocking out all your fronts so you won't be able to eat anything.

 2. If you can't walk or are missing any limbs, sit your BUT down until someone makes your plate for you. Dinner time is not the time for you to be independent. Nibble on them DOGON pecans and walnuts to hold you over until someone makes you a plate.

 3. If you have kids under the age of twelve, I will escort their little BEHINDS to the basement and bring their food down to them. They are not gonna tear my damn house up this year.
Tell them that they are not allowed upstairs until it's time for Uncle Butchie to start telling family stories about their mammas and papas. If they come upstairs for any reason except for that they are bleeding to death, I will break a foot off in their BEHINDS!

 4. There is going to be one prayer for Thanksgiving dinner! JUST ONE!  We do not care that you are thankful that your 13 year old daughter gave birth to a healthy baby or your nephew that just got out of jail. Save that talk for somebody who gives a damn. The time limit for the prayer is one minute. If you are still talking after that one minute is up, you will feel something hard come across your lips and they will be swollen for approximately 20 minutes.

 5. Finish everything on your plate before you go up for seconds! If you don't, you will be cursed out and asked to stay your greedy BEHIND home next year!

 6. BRING YOUR OWN TUPPERWARE!! Don't let me catch you fixing yourself  a plate in my good Tupperware knowing damn well that I will never see it again! Furthermore, if you didn't bring anything over, don't let me catch you making a plate period or it will be a misunderstanding.

 7. What you came with is what you should leave with!! Do not leave my house with anything that doesn't belong to you. EVERYBODY WILL BE SUBJECTED TO A BODY SEARCH COMING AND GOING OUT OF MY DOMAIN!!!

 8. Do not leave your kids so you can go hopping from house to house. This is not a DAYCARE CENTER! There will be a kid-parent roll call every ten minutes. Any parent that is not present at the time of roll call, your child will be put outside until you come and get him or her. After 24 hours, I will call DHS on your ignorant BEHIND!!

 9. BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM BEFORE YOU COME INTO TOWN!! There will be no sleeping over at my house! You are to come and eat dinner and take your BEHIND home or to your hotel room. EVERYBODY GETS KICKED THE HECK OUT AT 11:00 pm. You will get a 15 minute warning bell ring.

 10. Last but not least! ONE PLATE PER PERSON!! This is not a soup kitchen. I am not trying to feed your family until Christmas dinner! You will be supervised when you fix your plate. Anything over the appropriate amount will be charged to you before you leave. There will be a cash register at the door.

Thanks to Cousin Alfred and his greedy family, we now have a credit card machine! So VISA and MASTERCARD are now being accepted. NO FOOD STAMPS OR ACCESS CARDS YET!

The State of Black Boys in Urban Schools

The entry below is written by Liz Dwyer from an article titled: "New Report Puts the Black Male Achievement Crisis in the Spotlight". To read the full report click here.
The latest study on urban black male academic achievement is out, and the news isn't good. In fact, it's downright depressing.
A 120-page report titled A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schoolsshines a light on six key areas affecting black males, including achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, college and career readiness, and school experiences.
The report is produced by the Washington, D.C.-based Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of 66 of the nation's largest urban public school systems. One superintendent and one school board member from each member city sits on the Council's board.
According to the report's findings, in 2009, a national average of 51 percent of black male eighth graders scored below the basic level in reading on the NAEP test. The lowest performing cities? In Detroit, 70 percent are below the basic level, and in Fresno, California, 72 percent are below basic.
Mathematics results are even worse. Nationally, 58 percent of black male eighth graders scored below basic in math. Again, black males in Detroit perform the worst with 80 percent of black males scoring below basic. Los Angeles and Cleveland aren't doing much better—78 percent of black males in both cities score below basic.
These low achievement levels aren't just the result of poverty. The average black fourth and eighth grade male who is not poor doesn't do any better on the NAEP than white males who come from low-income backgrounds. The data also shows that black males without special education challenges also don't score any higher than white males withspecial needs.
To read more.....Click Here!

Next Steps:
What the Gye Nyame Empowerment Project is doing to reach young black men: Creating our first annual Brotha-2-Brotha Youth Summit for young high school men in May 2011. We believe that if one provides support and offers love, everything else will fall into place. 

What can you do?

What Inspires Me to Overcome Fear

This poem inspires me to keep pushing when I hear the voice in my head telling me to “quit” and that “I can’t do it”.  These carefully chosen words reignite the flame in me that allows me to push through the fire.

Our Greatest Fear
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Monday, November 22, 2010

What will BE - Feb 2011 -12.27.10 UPDATE

When you really want something, all you have to do is say it, and act accordingly.  I know that my language is power and it becomes my reality.  I know that once I declare it, the universe immediately aligns.

I am proclaiming to the world what will BE by February 17, 2011.

I will:

1. Have gained a tremedous amount of financial backers (foundations, individual sponsors, etc.) for all of the projects/programming offered through the Gye Nyame Empowerment Project on a long-term basis (e.g. 5+ years).
2. Have paid off my credit card bill - Done as of 12.27.10 WOOP WOOP!
3. Be in a committed, loving, open and authentic relationship.
4. Embody the following mantra - Conversation NOT Confrontation.
5. Be fully self-expressed as it relates to my "feelings" at any given moment. - It is DEFINITELY in motion!
6. Have 4 paid clients committed to unraveling their stories.
7. Have received full financial support to pay for NLP Certification Training.
8. Have developed an even more open and loving relationship with my parents. 

I’ve made my declaration, and now I just give thanks for already receiving everything that is noted above, and THEN SOME!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Conversation not Confrontation

My story is that when it comes to fight versus flight, I would much rather flight! I would prefer NOT to have the challenging conversation because of fear. However, I realize that when I run, I continue to be confronted with the same "issue" over and over again.  It is clear that I will continue to be confronted with these issues until I stop running from them. I need to have these conversations more regularly so that I can be more comfortable with having them. 

Today's Daily Lesson: It is merely a conversation. It is not confrontation. Conversation NOT confrontation.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are you Tuned in?

I am sitting at a cafe and I overheard a couple talking.  The woman expressed that she felt like he didn't trust her with the decision she made, and he expressed that he just wanted to be clear on the "why" behind it.  She disregarded him and for about 2 minutes suggested things to order and he was non-responsive, his mind was clearly still on the previous conversation.  She proceeded, and after about 4 minutes, he finally made a suggestion on what to eat.  

What I have to offer:
Why is it always so apparent for a complete stranger to understand what's going on, but not for the people involved?  Are we that into ourselves that we are not present to the other? I would say I was DEFINITELY this woman.  I was so not present in my relationships for a while.  It helps NO ONE. EVER.

Your partner wants to be heard, and so do you.  By dismissing someones voice, you are dismissing the relationship.  When you silence someone, you leave no room for possibilities and only room for YOUR ideas and opinions.  If you want to only hear your voice, do both of yourselves a favor and end the relationship.

What's YOUR story?

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Story Around Inadequacy

I was walking into my building yesterday evening from a wonderful (and tiring day) with my sister and my beautiful niece, eating a slice of my favorite pizza in my neighborhood, thinking about a conference call I had to be on in about 43 minutes. As I approached the last flight of stairs in my four-story walk up, I walked into a “conversation” between my Super and my neighbor. The Super has been in the building for about 6 months.

My neighbor (who we call “Nana”) was concerned about the heat which had not been on for an extended period of time, if at all, during the week. She is an older woman who is retired and in the building the majority of the time. She needs heat. The Super, a gentleman, appeared to me as being really aggressive and was raising his voice at Nana. From what I could tell, he felt that because she suggested that there was another way to control the heat, mentioning that in her 30 years in the building she is privy to the fact that there is a button to modify the heat in the basement, that she was insulting him, and trying to tell him how to do his job. He became extremely upset when another tenant and I stepped in, and he even took it so far as to ask the other tenant if her husband was home, to only tell him when he did come out, that he would appreciate it if his wife stayed out of conversations that didn’t directly involve her.

This is what I walked in to. Yeah – I thought the sammmmmme thing! I said to myself, wow what did I just walk into and what am I missing. It started off with him and one woman in the hallway, and it had escalated to 5 of us in the hallway now.

I listened intently to ensure that I wasn’t missing anything. After about 5 minutes I realized I wasn’t missing anything at all. Nana was simply inquiring about the heat, wanting to know when we could expect it to be on, and she mentioned that she is aware of a button that can turn on the heat for the entire building. The Super expressed again that she was trying to tell him how to do his job. We calmly told him that Nana was NOT telling him HOW to do his job, and that she simply wanted to know WHEN he was going to do something about the heat because she was freezing. He still felt offended and could only “hear” his feelings. He kept mentioning, over and over again, that she, and anyone for that matter, should not tell him how to do his job. He kept stating that we should let him talk, yet he would never say more than the fact that she was trying to tell him how to do his job and we won’t let him speak. After about 10 rounds of this I spoke for the last time and said:

Super, you and I have had some very intimate conversations in the past, so I believe you know my true character and that anything I say to you is coming from a place of love because I know how hard you want to ensure that everyone in this building is content and problem-free. I know you are a hard worker. That being said, I offer you this: as a Super, whether you like it or not, you are a customer service representative for the building. It is a tenant’s right to come to you when they have a concern with their unit, or with the building in general. As a matter of fact, management strongly encourages us to speak with the Super first. As such, this is why we come to your door. This is the only reason why we come to your door. What we expect as a result of following management’s request, is that you respond to our concerns respectfully, expediently and honestly. If you cannot do something for whatever reason, we have a right to know this so that we can escalate it to whatever level we need to escalate it to.

At the end of what felt like a 5-hour conversation to no-where, the Super finally informed us that he is not permitted to adjust the heat and that any concerns we have with heat we have to take that up with building management. We thanked him and informed him that as it relates to heat, we will no longer be coming to him because he can’t do anything about it.

Today’s Daily Lesson: Put your ego aside, listen, and then respond from that place. If you listen, you can actually hear the concern(s) being raised, and provide relevant information. Don’t be so attached to what you think you are hearing that you create an unproductive production out of it.
Unraveling Stories, Creating New Possibilities: So what I got out of the “conversation” is that one of the stories that the Super needs to unravel and create something powerful around is his underlying belief that he is not adequate enough to do……..fill in the blank. I am certain that this is not the first time the Super felt this way, whether in this job, another job or in other areas of his life. We were just additional “chess pieces” in HIS chess game.

If you find yourself having the same “types” of situations occurring in your life, I challenge you to not take it out on who you THINK the culprit is, but to rather assess how you are being that someone else is being.

Next Steps: I will check in with Nana and see if she feels the desire to organize around this, and if so, I will support her.