- Created on 16 April 2013
"It is easier to raise strong children than repair broken men." – Frederick Douglass
Douglass said those words years ago, but their wisdom is timeless. Watching DMX on the latest episode of "Iyanla, Fix My Life," I was reminded of them. The rapper/actor, born Earl Simmons, agreed to appear on the show at the urging of his estranged wife, Tashera Simmons. The two were also on the VH1 show "Couples Therapy" where some of DMX's main issues – infidelity and substance abuse – were put on display.
Given the fakeness that is most of reality TV, it's hard to tell if any of DMX's antics on "Fix My Life" were scripted. If so, he deserves way more film work. The twitchy, angry, defensive man who Iyanla met up with didn't seem to be acting. His behavior was so obviously addled that one of the first questions Iyanla asked was "Are you high?"
DMX shared his pain at being abandoned at age 7 by his mother, who put him in a youth home after she got frustrated with his behavior. If DMX has a father that is still alive, he must be long gone, because he's never even mentioned. Iyanla talked to DMX's mother who, like she did on "Couples Therapy," seemed rather unaffected by the pain that her son is in. In Iyanla's conversation with Tashera, Tashera admitted that for 17 years, she played more of a mother role than a wife to DMX, substituting for the mother he'd lost.
DMX admitted to marital infidelity (it was hard not to as he has six kids outside of his marriage), multiple arrests and constant use of alcohol and drugs. He told Iyanla he wasn't ready to stop getting high. Tears, anger and defensiveness, the telltale behaviors of most addicts, were all part of the conversation. When the going got tough, DMX decided he'd had enough and refused to continue the shoot. After some intense persuasion, DMX agreed to return to talk to his oldest son, who he's also estranged from.
Xavier, now 20, wanted to confront his father about his infidelity and drug use. Despite their initially warm interaction, when DMX thought Iyanla was interrupting the conversation between father and son, he cursed her. Iyanla offered to leave but X's son refused to speak to his father alone. When it was all said and done, DMX told his son that their relationship could only continue if his son was able to accept him the way he was. Xavier, though, preferred a relationship with a sober father and wasn't having it.
DMX is a drug addict in need of help. Iyanla, knowing what she had urged viewers to respond to a Twitter hashtag #Support DMX and internet prayer circles were started up via social media. After the interview, DMX's camp issued a statement focusing on his next career moves and saying that DMX felt that appearing on the show hardly fixed his life, but made it worse. While we're trying to figure out what "worse" looks like for DMX, the telling detail is that his camp is focusing on his rap and film career. At this juncture, is that really the main priority? Or should his health, sobriety and welfare come first?
DMX is a sad and angry man and he's all too symbolic of the many men that we all know like that in our own lives. A victim of his childhood circumstances, DMX is unwilling or incapable of moving past his pain. That same issue is being played out in neighborhoods and in homes all across America. That the focus is on a celebrity rap star, whose money and talent gave him advantages most addicts don't get, seems both exploitative and jarring. Sure, Iyanla has ratings to get and a show to keep on the air and she's not doing anything anyone else in her field isn't doing. But would it have been more instructive to have a group of black men on who could talk about what led them to substance abuse and toxic anger in the first place – and also how they've healed?
How do we heal these broken men, without getting broken ourselves? Watching Tashera talk about the verbal abuse she took from DMX, given that she was the one person in his life that showed him love and loyalty was truly sad. How do we hold men like DMX accountable for behavior and choices that have hurt others, while simultaneously supporting them in the healing they so obviously need? How do we as mothers, sisters, aunties and daughters heal ourselves so that we can raise strong sons who can bear what life throws at them and raise strong families themselves?
We need those kinds of solutions in our community. Reality TV does a good job at showcasing the problem. But it is our collective responsibility to fix it.
- Created on 15 April 2013
The term parenting is most readily defined as the act of taking care of and raising children. But parenting is also the act or process of becoming a parent, which we believe is as much about taking care of you as it is about taking care of your children.
“I don’t have time.”
Hands down, time is one of the biggest scarcities for modern parents. But everyone can carve out 10-20 minutes a day for self-care time. Yes, it may require reallocating and prioritizing (I, for one, recommend foregoing perfectly-folded laundry), asking for help or getting creative with how you build the time into your day.
For example, one way I fit self-care into my schedule is by building it into child care transit time. I push my 2-year-old, Violet, in the jogger to day care and then run home (or run a longer loop ending at home). It’s a win for everyone; Violet gets to hunt for dogs, buses and trucks en route, and I get my self-care.
We all deserve at least ten minutes a day to focus on ourselves; schedule it in the calendar as a non-negotiable meeting!
“I don’t have money for self-care.”
Self-care doesn’t have to mean expensive spa treatments. We define it as whatever feels relaxing and rejuvenating to YOU. Curling up with a book or magazine, going for a walk, writing in a journal, sitting with a cup of tea and doing absolutely nothing? All are forms of self-care and all are deliciously within your reach.
Another crucial aspect of self-care is looking after your health. While getting a mammogram isn’t exactly the relaxing “massage” we look forward to, it’s one example of the importance of caring for yourself.
“It seems selfish to take time for myself.”
Repeat after me: Self-care is not selfish. When you treat yourself well, goodness trickles down into your relationships with your partner, your kids, your friends and your community. It’s like a big circle of awesomeness. Your ability to take care of others is directly proportional to your own vitality and happiness.
- Created on 10 April 2013
Bishop TD Jakes is calling out the star struck faith that has taken over national churches.
"I am so sick of this Hollywood spirit that has overtaken the church!"
On Sunday, April 8, while promoting an upcoming worship service featuring largely unknown guest ministers, The Potter's House leader expressed displeasure over the amount of focus placed on preachers' popularity.
"We do not have to have big names to have a big move of God," he said. "I got filled up with the Holy Ghost by somebody that didn't have no name at all."
But nowadays, "no name" preachers–those who are not exposed to the masses through national media and large preaching platforms–have trouble attracting crowds and filling up the church pews.
Furthermore, the rise of the mega church has crippled some leaders who are considered "small time" or ineffective if their membership has not reached thousands.
Research shows, in 1960, there was 1 mega church for every 7.5 million Americans. In 2010, there was 1 for every 200,000 Americans, and growth is continuing.
In the minds of many, bigger is better and more popular means more powerful. Click here to read more.
- Created on 12 April 2013
Strength is a characteristic that is often underrated. Praying for strength is merely understanding that you are seeking out the ability to survive in our insane world.
We can compare our spiritual development to the construction process of building a home. When building anything from the ground up, a great deal of time is spent on preparing the foundation for the massive weight of the building.
If the foundation is not prepared correctly, then after the weight of the building is applied, the foundation may crack, thereby causing serious concern for the stability of the building. So it is too with our spiritual lives. We spend time training our minds to sharpen our intellectual skills.
In this time of need, strengthen me. You are my strength and my shield; You are my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. I know, Father, that Your eyes go to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts long for You. The body grows weary, but my hope is in you to renew my strength.
I do not fear, for you are with me.
I am not dismayed or overwhelmed, for you are my God. I know You will strengthen me and help me; that You will uphold me with Your righteous hand. Even as the shadows of illness cover me, I feel the comfort of Your strength, Or Lord.Amen.
So what is spiritual strength and capacity and how can we develop ourselves? Spiritual strength is the ability to carry an enduring spirit that follows the unpopular path when the world seems to want to fold in on itself. It is being able to stand for something when doing the right thing is not popular at the time. (Numbers 14:24) It is the development of a strong prayer life, never avoiding spiritual conflict and a willingness to be inconvenienced.
- Created on 09 April 2013
Inner peace takes time.
We try to fix ourselves in different ways. Although it is undeniable that therapy can offer many benefits, there is also a trap to be aware of. By focusing on what is wrong, therapy reinforces the idea that we are in some way broken and incapable of experiencing fulfillment now.
Accept that some things will not change.- There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over.
Never lose hope - Hope is something you can never afford to lose. With hope you always have a path towards peace. Whenever we get too stressed out and overwhelmed within our own life, we forget that hope.
Keep learning- One thing that provides us with much stress in life is the fact that we always worry about not having all the answers. Just accepting that you do not know everything, and that you are open to always keep learning is a tremendous step to take towards achieving inner peace.
Be patient - Remember that this develops over time. Fluctuations occur throughout the day.