Posts made in May, 2013

PRISM Magazine Entry

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in News & Updates | Comments Off on PRISM Magazine Entry

Check our my recent article in March/April Issue of PRISM Magazine Thirsty in the Midst of Abundance, pp-18-19 http://prismmagazine.org/currentissue/

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Choosing Weakness

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in News & Updates, What's New | 1 comment

Choosing Weakness Sometimes an idea comes to you like a seed of truth which begins to grow as it is cultivated by seemingly unrelated events. This happened to me over the course of several months. The seed was planted in Fall of 2011 as I listened to one of my colleagues deliver a convocation address entitled “Choosing Weakness”. In his presentation, he reflected on his experiences needing and accepting help during a long illness. He suggested that “instead of pretending to be strong, instead of covering over our zones of weakness, what if we embraced the weakness, chose to be vulnerable, admitted and owned our own and others’ limitations” (Peterson, 2011). Later, it was watered and cultivated as I sat waiting at the hair salon. As I browsed through an issue of Architectural Digest, I came across the words of Gil Schafer: “True authenticity is a lack of perfection.” The seed grew and began to bear fruit when I attended the keynote address by Dr. Brene Brown at the 2012 Women Success Forum in Denver. The presentation was entitled: “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love and Lead. Dr. Brown (2012) writes: “Vulnerability is not weakness… “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.” Lately, I have been thinking about this life lesson. Our loved ones, colleagues and clients are not expecting perfection from us. Rather if we are strong enough to let go of the facades and reveal our authentic selves, I do believe that is where we can make the deepest connections. In choosing to be vulnerable, we dismantle power differentials that hinder relational intimacy. We provide a mirror for others to see a reflection of their own imperfect humanity and that shared image is AMAZINGLY liberating. Will you choose weakness today? Sources Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love and Lead, New York, NY: Gotham Books. +Peterson, D.N. (February, 2012). Choosing Weakness. The Covenant Companion, pp. 7-9. +The quotation above is taken from the unedited transcript of Dr. Peterson’s 2011 speech which he graciously shared with...

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Me, a Leader?

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in News & Updates, What's New | 0 comments

Me, a Leader? On Tuesday evening I attended a toastmasters meeting in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. I had heard about toastmaster, but that was about it. However, my girlfriend was scheduled to give a speech, and invited me along. The lead toastmaster began the session with the following quotation by John Quincy Adams for us to consider. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”After the meeting, my girlfriend and I were still thinking and talking about Adams’ words. I rather like his definition of leadership. It is customary to think of leaders as those in administrative or managerial positions whose job descriptions include formal leadership responsibilities. In fact, a few years aback while conducting a collaborative research project with colleagues who both have formal leadership titles, I struggled to include myself in that category. Me? A leader? No way! Now, I think: “Yes, way!” (As my 5 year-old daughter would say). Whether we choose to accept it or not, as we go about the business of our daily lives we have the capacity to influence others both in positive and negative ways. It doesn’t take much. For instance, as I spent the week in Tortola visiting with my dear friend, I was once again humbled by her vivacity and positive outlook even as she deals with significant life challenges. I thought to myself,” Wow, I can learn from this.” Even without her knowledge, she was inspiring me to “do more, and become more.” If we take this definition to heart, I cannot help but think that it would compel us to live more intentional lives knowing that our actions carry with them the power to lead others in paths of greatness. Several weeks ago, I sent a message to a friend letting her know the great influence she had on my life. We both attended the same church when I was a child, and I always noticed her from a distance. She was and still is a beautiful woman who carried herself with poise—more than that she was pleasant and engaging. She was surprised when I wrote her and confessed that she had no idea I thought of her this way. And yet as a young girl growing up without my mother’s presence, it was so important for me to have a role model in her and to be able to think and dream that when I grew up, I could be someone just like her. Thank you Toastmasters’ group of Tortola for reminding me that we each have the capacity to be leaders within our spheres of...

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Power in the Margins

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Featured | 0 comments

Power in the Margins

Almost everyone can identify with being in the margins. Choosing to stand firm for personal convictions when the status quo dictates alliance with a populous stance, positions us in the margins. At other times, socio-identity markers—like cultural/ethnicity, class, gender or religious beliefs can place us at odds with the cultural zeitgeist. The margins represents those whose issue often get overlooked, and those who must grapple with personal, social and structural injustices before they can position themselves center stage. What I have come to realize is that far from being a position of weakness, there is power in the margins. In this article, I explore how tapping into that power is the basis for making use of the full complement of tools necessary to wage war against such injustices. (Check back soon for the full-length...

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Finding Your Life-Work: Connecting the Personal the Spiritual and the Professional

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Featured | 0 comments

Finding Your Life-Work: Connecting the Personal the Spiritual and the Professional

A while back, I picked up the book Finding Calcutta (2001) by Mary Poplin. It had been sitting on my shelf for several months untouched. I am so glad I did. In this book, Mary Poplin recounts how the two months, she spent working alongside Mother Theresa caring for the crippled, the abandoned and the dying in the streets of India taught her important lessons about meaningful work and service. It taught her how to connect her faith walk with her professional life. This book got me thinking  that one of the biggest tasks each of us faces on the road to personal fulfillment and meaningful service is to connect the other dimensions of our lives to our professional calling—to make the life work connection and find our own Calcutta. So where is Calcutta and how can we find it? Calcutta represents a place of need to which we are called to serve. Calcutta is the place that challenges us often through sacrifice and struggle to fulfill our life purpose. I firmly believe that place lies at the intersection of our various socio-identities—the personal, the spiritual and the professional. And yet, surprisingly it is off the beaten path – because those who find it must embark on an intentional journey to live in opposition to normative professional expectations. It is a personal journey that begins with an interrogation of our personal, spiritual and professional selves to find the place where we are called to offer our best service. This is the makings of my own journey. Interrogating the Personal The most salient aspects of our personal identity are often the most visible markers, for example, our cultural/ethnic, immigrant identity and our gender. Other less visible socio-identity markers include our religious identity, our socio-economic status, professional standing and our identities as outsiders or marginalized group in public and professional spaces.  To understand my positionality in the US academy—I had to confront a few of these identities.  I am a woman. I am also a Black person —what complicates my cultural/ethnic and gender identity is that I am a foreign-born Black woman in a white-male dominated US academe.  Part of my quest to live authentically in this setting was to interrogate how these status-based characteristics were impacting how I negotiate advancement in this context. What I have become intimately aware of is that “we” women of color are woefully under-represented in faculty ranks within US academe. We are outsiders to the dominant institutional culture, and end up grappling with tokenism, micro-aggression, subtle discrimination, and the accompanying stress. The intersection of gender and race/ethnicity–called the double bind syndrome (Alfred, 2001; Bowie, 1995; Opp & Gosetti, 2002; Thomas & Hollenshead 2001; Turner, 2002) –creates unique challenges for us in the academy. At the same time, “I” sense an aloneness, as a foreign-born woman of color. Whereas considerable research has been done on Black women in the academy relevant to these challenges (Bowie, 1995; Gregory, 2001; Thomas & Hollenshead, 2001), the voices of Black immigrant women have not received as much prominence (Alfred, 2005, 2010; Edmonson, 2006.) As I interrogated my position based on these identity markers,  I felt a calling to advocate for others like me in terms of cultural/ethnicity and genderm but also  to advocate for others different from me who were in some way marginalized  because of personal identity markers, for example, black males, children living in poverty, and people of color. Interrogating the Spiritual Spiritually, what are religious/spiritual principles that guide your life journey—although there has been much debate in the academic community about distinction between spirituality and religiosity, I...

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