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Pac-Man and Faith

pac man

As long as we live in this world we will be faced with situations that can easily take us out of our peace.Many of these situations are due to the factor that we are reliving our past or frantic about the future and have skipped over the beautiful place called now. Now is filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, whirls and twirls, enough noise to make you believe that you are in the midst of an emotional tornado.

Thoughts twirling to and fro………

Storms may come on a daily basis and cause us to believe if this thing called faith is really worth it. Like why do I want to expend the energy of believing in something that  I can not see? This was how I used to feel with all of the things that took place in my life. When I left my academic position in Pittsburgh teaching Social Work, my family thought that I was crazy to leave that security for marriage and Ground Zero in Atlanta. I was not fully secure when I would speak to them about my decision and as a result, the mental and emotional tornado would wreak havoc on my life. Shortly after I would have the conversation with my family, my loving fiancee’would get a tongue thrashing filled with doubt and disbelief.

“Why am I doing this?”,  I would ask this question about twenty times. It felt like I was in the middle of a maze or labyrinth with no chance for escape.

Thoughts are persistent like our prayers, doubt is consistent like God’s promises yet we must make a choice to face the uncomfortable, live in the now, love ourselves, stop seeking approval,  and accept that our path is unique and God made. Could it be that you have reached the expiration of your dreams and it is time to come aboard and commit yourself to following what God has put in your heart to do? Is it time to separate from that leaching crowd that is sucking all of the entrepreneurial innovation our of you? Only you would know the answer to that.

The other day I chose to journal and while doing so, I began to think about the game Pac-Man and how I would play it to relieve stress. The game is much like real life where we encounter things that cause us to feel as though we are being chased with no options for rescue, still in the moments of pursuit, we find strength to conquer the ghosts, demons, troubles, and issues of our past and present.

The thing that I realize about this game was that Pac-Man was designed to have no ending – as long as at least one life was left. Such a profound statement and even more revelation. Trouble is not designed to end but we are designed to realize that we have one life and must make it count.  Then it clicked, just as the bible tells us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” That time may not be today or tomorrow, but if we continue to believe in the love God has for us and the promises, we can learn to rest in what he says he will do for us and that is to bless and keep us.

There is no end to trouble but we have been given resources to assist us in dealing with the trouble we face.  It’s important to get clear that we are not to absorb time to seeking the approval of others because that can lend us to unnecessary emotional pain that we are trying to clarify within ourselves.

Two pain free ways that you can rid your life of the trail of emotions that comes with trials is journaling and Pac-Man. Journaling is a great way to get it out and free yourself so that you can move forward knowing that although the challenges are coming, you can break away and release. For me, my second break away was Pac-Man…..it was where I learned how to practice faith in the midst of distractions. Focus in the lifeline (fruit) and keep it moving.

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Culture & Communications, Grief & Loss

Is America Still Grieving the Loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ?

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We’re ever mindful of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today as well as everyday. The fortitude and great courage displayed under fire to lead a nation into freedom and awareness of self was impeccable. For those that were present on this Earth during the time of his assassination,  I pause to write this post for you.

Is America still grieving the loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

President Obama eloquently stated at the passing of Nelson Mandela that Mandela does not belong to us, he belongs to the ages. This statement rings true for many who are going through the grieving process. How do we present our loved ones to the ages, a place where there is no reach until death? The process and stages associated with presenting that loved one to the ages is grief (the acknowledgement that our loved ones are no longer among us.)

I wonder how you approached the grief on that low day on April 4, 1968 at 6:10 pm when time stood still for the nation and the world it sits in. For many, the hope of a nation froze like an ice cube in a tray wondering how we as a nation would move forward creating progress towards a more perfect union between races, religions, and genders. How many Marches on Washington have been held to promote peace, how many movements and sit-ins have been established to break the mold on injustice since that time?

Disappointment and grief are two cousins that can knock a person off of their feet. It is like an unwanted house guest that you want to leave and are not certain of the duration of time for their visit. Long after television announcement such as an assassination of a leader has been published, what happens to the hope of the people who vested all of their hope in forward progress? Have their hope dried up like a raisin in the sun? withered like grass? turned into a state of surviving rather than thriving? provoked courage in the face of fear or a screaming settling to accept the current circumstances of this life? Many have said, including my parents, that Dr. Martin Luther King’s mark in their lives was huge and they would not be able to have certain privileges without his contribution and the favor of God on his life.

Think about your approach to grief. I know that we’ve lost loved ones far greater than the relationship of a leader such as Mandela or Dr. Martin Luther King, but looking back at the approach you took once you heard the news of Dr. King’s assassination, where you satisfied with the steps of grief you went through and your approach to it? Where are you today and how have you changed?

For anyone that has gone through the loss of a loved one would say that grief is a refining fire that burns but when you come through it, your perspective is fortified with a great strength that provides peace and courage, an unshakable courage to approach life fearless because you have already loss in life, yet you are alive, and equipped to move forward in peace that your loved one is at peace. Grief is complex, peaceful,  speechless, and confusing all at the same time.

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How do you choose to remember and celebrate the legacy of Dr. King today? While some capitalize on legacy photo shopping Dr. King in a twerkin contest for their club (SAD) or him rocking a gold chain (c’mon people), we could be taking the time to organize coalitions or assisting the efforts of the NAACP in getting clarity about their vision now in 2014 where we have a multiplicity of issues that affect us individually and collectively like mental health and the agonizing reality of how prolonged grief is impacting our race due to the misconceptions that we hold concerning distrust in mental health providers, how religion and our devout love for God keeps us wrapped up tightly in denial that we are acquiring pain but not releasing it. Dr. King’s Day brings us together in harmony yearly for fellowship but should we be galvanizing our communities expanding the vision rather than continuing to celebrate the legacy that froze in 1968? Hear me well, I honor Dr. King and have the highest admiration for his family, but am always challenging myself to do more. I love how every YouTube video of Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. King, always encourages us to move forward and advance the dream of her father.

So now that many years have gone by and you’ve reflected on how you have processed your grief over the years, how have you made personal change in your life and contributed to the lives of your community?  Creating social and environmental change begins with a choice and a decision to make something of the surroundings that we live in. Giving up and caving in will never resolve issues. If you are disappointed with where the nation is since the death of Dr. King, stop and ask yourself what are you doing to make a difference?

I love community organizing and my time as one in Pittsburgh working with hopeless people who could not see past their current circumstance and surrounding. It is amazing what a cup of coffee and some jazz can do for letting people know that they are not stuck with a memory of Dr. King. No…No. His legacy is very much alive and lives in each one of us. Just as the people of South Africa may be grieving the loss of Mandela, although they have a capable president, they can not erase the effort  and contributions that were made under his leadership. The blueprint that they choose to leave in life will be inspired by his legacy. We too, should do the same. Marches may not be effective, but social media is. What topic are you passionate about? How can you share your story with the masses. Today in honor of the legacy of Dr. King, let this be the day that you draw the line in the sand and move yourself forward to progress, doing something rather than talking about the endless possibilities of it. If Mandela can rise from prisioner to president and Dr. King from minister to global agent for change, what will your story be?

be encouraged……….

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Conferences & Webinairs, Grief & Loss

Seasons of Grief Re-Cap-Thanks Fayetteville, Georgia!

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What an awesome night of remembrance, healing, and shared stories of loved ones that has passed recently. It was an honor to be in the presence of family members who were taking the necessary time out to permit themselves to grieve and understand the stages and tasks associated with the grieving process. The grief process is unique and just because we love God, we MUST take the time to go through the process of grief.

Last night, I taught on the Price of Unresolved Grief and why we need to acknowledge grief. People are still walking around attached to pain that happened to them years ago and are unsure how to go about releasing the pain; wondering what their quality of life will be without it; the pain that is. Many of the people there were newly grieved and I was honored to share in their process.

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There were people there last night that were facing:

  • The 2 month loss of their wife following 64 years
  • The 2-year loss of their husband following 65 years of certainty of who they were in the marriage and not as a single person
  • The 2-month loss of a daughter

We took the time to do a Seasons of Grief Exercise to remember the loved ones. Thanks toImage

,we took the concept of the Memory Jar with Stones and adapted it to the season and used green and red sticks to allow the participants to write the names of their loved ones one them. Walking through the crowd, we took the time to allow moments for them to share stories of their loved ones and how they are coping. The stories of unconditional love and devotion were amazing.

Despite the layers of loss, the atmosphere of peace was thick and it was apparent that the people in attendance felt the need to share and begin the process of healing.

Thank you to all who came out!

We look forward to being with everyone again in Fayetteville, GA on Thursday, December 5 at 7:00pm for Part II of the Grief Seminar: The Art of Grief. Come and bring a friend. We’re gonna laugh, cry, and paint our expression on paper.

Interested in hosting Seasons of Grief in your City? Send inquiries to danitaogandagaventures@gmail.com. 

Individual Grief Recovery Programs and Sessions will begin January 2014! Stay tuned.