"It is never easy to recognize opportunities buried within insurmountable odds, but I've learned just as the sun rises to radiate fertile soil so does the opportunity to transform mistakes into defining lessons". ~ De
God’s seed grew him into a cactus to survive four seasons of intense, intended, toxic rays. The sun’s ray beat unconsciously into subconscious. Stuck within, an inner city hostage as he was, he lived to learn paradoxes of the desolate desert. Without rain for times, he nurtured from his own reservoir, becoming his own temple. Sacred of what he was given, he reciprocated rays to nourish souls. Sitting alone nourishing, absorbing love from pain into his spirit, he fathomed…truth!
Satan’s accident has become a parasite within the belly of the beast.
“Self-esteem makes me super, superb and supreme” ~ Rakim
Have you ever walked out of a department store dressing room glowing while looking for the nearest mirror to see if you look as good as you feel? The length and color are just right while you’re standing and admiring your reflection, the mirror is shouting “yes”! Tell me you know this feeling! Despite your instinctual approval you turn with bright eyes to ask your friend “how do I look”? Your friend looks you up and down with a sly smile and replies…
Within those milliseconds your complete satisfaction is suspended until you hear what your hoping for, an enthusiastic "yes". Approval feels good and confirms good taste. I understand, you deserve those moments of positive reinforcement. But what if you walked out of the dressing room with the same pep and didn't ask "how do I look? How self-assured do you have to be to know without asking? It starts from within, an inner vibration the great Rakim declared “self-esteem makes me super, superb and supreme." As a youngster I felt the weight of his proclamation, but I didn’t fully understand what he meant outside of being cocky.
Now that I understand the depth of his rhyme, I can assure you it’s no easy task to reach his elevated level of esteem but its worth the price. Acquiring this characteristic can be challenging for two reasons, first: many are used to things making them feel better, second: it's a solo journey. No worries though, we're all build to handle this mental process. Learning the process of raising your esteem is a true nugget that you'll be able to use again and again.
The foundation for esteem is self-acceptance; learning to love and embrace everything about yourself. Having the wherewithal to honestly face your flaws and focus on only what you can change. We live in a sometimes merciless society that values demeaning others. No one wants their insecurities put on front street for others to pick apart, but it'll still happen, what matters is how you affected. If you are overweight or short, have poor skin or bad teeth, own it, it’s yours anyway. Remember Eminem’s final battle in 8 mile? “I know everything you got to say against me, I am white, I am a fucking bum, I do live in a trailer with my moms…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHE0wmgljco
When I really started beating to my own drum I went sky diving, which was unheard of for a dude living in the hood. I was afraid of heights and wanted to challenge my fear. Once I made up my mind and put it out there I heard all kinds of jokes and questions from friends and co-workers like what the “fuck” am I thinking? Or had I wondered what I would I’d look like splattered across ground (you gotta love my boys). I sensed fear in their jokes which made me more determined to jump from 10,000 feet. When the day finally arrived I was so excited during free-falling you can actually see the veins in my forehead bulging. It was an awesome experience.
A week later around 1:30am, Sunday morning, I received a call, and the first sound I heard were slurred words with blaring music in the background, “fool what the fuck are doing”? "You really did it huh?" My folks couldn’t believe I did, after a little back and forth I was given a gem. “Let me know if you go again, I want to try that shit”!
No one's opinion can devalue what I think of myself. And I attest to the power of taking a risk no one understands, and have realized these are small steps toward leadership and embracing a vision. Empowering yourself is contagious and influences others to value your opinion because “light” is tangible and leaves an indelible impression. You don’t have to be a torch bearer, a candle holder serves the same purpose to guide our children, friends and family through turmoil, instead of brain altering pharmaceuticals such as ritialin and antidepressants. All of these wonderful characteristics grow from self-love and why I’m challenging you to walk out of the dressing room with pep in your step and already know you "look good".
“blood of a slave, heart of a king” ~ Nas
I remember walking down the hill on my way to school one morning when I passed our neighborhood middle school. There was a small crowd of kids in a semi-circle with two boys in the middle. Although I was in fourth or fifth grade I knew what was going on, there was about to be a fight. I stopped for a minute to watch but kept going after two or three minutes. As soon as I was out of sight I heard a ruckus and a scream, I ran up the hill and but before I could turn the corner, one of the boys were running toward me screaming with blood dripping from the left side of his face. His facial expression is one of many images I would see over and over again, but this one stayed with me. Why does confrontation accelerate to violence so quickly? Perhaps one answer lies in our heritage, in the form of punishment. You see, my first experiences came from my mother, which shapes my theory of why violence extenuates in black communities.
Like many kids, I was spanked as a form of punishment and discipline. Can't remember the first time but do recall experiences from 7 until 12 or so. Over time being punished began to feel like an ass-kicking where I suffered welts, nosebleeds and mouth bleeds from belts, punches, and slaps. Spankings were most humiliating as I had to pull my pants down lay across the bed and forced to take lashes on my ass and back. Instead of discipline I developed anger, hate and fear. Over time, my emotions diminished from screams to cries to clinched teeth to stoicism.
While watching a movie scene of a slave being whipped I connected to the similarities of slave punishment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDOPJawut4Y (Preview) (Preview). Mystically speaking, trauma is being passed down from parent to child, older generation to younger. I’ve heard all the too spank arguments, and I reject them because of long-term ramifications. The impact of spanking is difficult to study as it is most often performed in private and behind closed doors, yet, what we do know from research conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa is that spanking causes cognitive impairment and long-term developmental difficulties. And may reduce the brain’s grey matter, which is an integral part of the central nervous system. My theory is that kids spanked are hypersensitive to confrontation and are more willing to respond to tense situations with violence. Not to mention how we learn to address issues with other world citizens. For many years, my emotional biochemistry reacted to yelling and screaming with clenched teeth and hands, similar to how post-traumatic stress disorder affects soldiers after war. If my armchair Psychology is true where do we go from here?
As Mahatma Gandhi said, "we must be the change we want to see in the world." From one resolute soul to another learn how to deal with issues with patience and mature emotion. Your issues may have been passed down to you but now it is up to you to break this tortuous tradition. Plus, spanking says more about your abilities than it does your child. Visualization is one my favorite and important tools (which I’ll discuss in more depth in a future post), go over the mistakes and scenarios in your mind that you know will happen, and plan how to deal with yourself and your response. There is a three step process for every incident; 1) a child’s mistake, 2) your inner reaction, 3) how you will respond to your child. You will be protecting your child’s emotional health and planting a new seed for how issues are resolved.