Quote of The Day: Some People Are Like Clouds

some-people-are-like-clouds

I heard this quote on July 1st and it made me laugh. It’s true, in my opinion. Some people are just like clouds. They come in and cast a shadow over you, change the energy around you, cause uneasiness within you. But then when they leave–oh wow, everything seemingly regains light and life. There is indeed a shift when they arrive and when they leave.

Here’s the trick: identifying the ‘clouds’ in your world and then making the decision to either limit your contact with them or steer clear altogether.

We do have choices.

Even if one or more of the ‘clouds’ are related to you, and some of you may not want to admit it—but they are in your life, seemingly waiting to stir up a jaw-dropping storm just because they can—but you do have a choice as to how much time and energy that you invest in that person. Just as you have a choice with deciding the time and energy you invest in every person that you encounter.

You also have a choice as to how you respond to their presence.

You don’t have to give in to the pressure to feel negatively about your interaction with this ‘cloud’. You can choose whether to open the floodgates of toxic waters or to relish the sweet moments that you were enjoying before the ‘cloud’ appeared. I’m beginning to learn how to do the latter. It’s better for the mind, heart, body, spirit, and soul. It truly is.

Why on earth would I help a cloud rain upon me?

Grab an umbrella, poncho or rain coat, a hefty pair of rain boots, and get to splashing. Splash until the rain stops and the cloud clears. Don’t derail your day. Don’t be drained of the light that you were carrying around. Push past it and know that soon, just like all clouds, this one will be sliding off away from you.

Have fun with the smile that grows on your face as you think about this truth. The ‘cloud’ will wonder why it’s planted there all big and bold. Smile bigger.

If the ‘cloud’ is leaving, to never return, then smile bigger. Smile like the Kool-aid man in the commercials we loved years ago.

Your day and all days after will be brighter because that ‘cloud’ won’t be a part of it.

Now smile!

~Natasha

Bernice A. King Trying to Stop the Sale of Her Father’s Prized Possessions

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Elder Dr. Bernice A. King, the youngest daughter of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, is trying her best to keep her brothers, Dexter King and Martin Luther King III, from selling their father’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and his personal Bible to a private buyer. Both of these items were his prized possessions.
 
 Wouldn’t they be for you?
 
 It’s not his floss or hair brush, it’s his Bible (road map, tool, accountability source) and his Nobel Peace Prize medal (for sacrificing everything in hopes of a better, more dignified life for all people worldwide).
 
 If you don’t already know the background details about Dexter and Martin suing Bernice, their aunt, Christine King Farris, other family members, loyal friends of their parents, and the King Center (where all three children serve on the board) then read more about the lawsuit and this most recent travesty here
 
 Then share your thoughts.
 
 I wonder what their parents wish they could get them to do and say to stop this madness. I wonder how their parents feel about the legacy they left behind. I wonder what it will take to right these wrongs, set things where they need to be, and build the King legacy where it should be.
 
 Martin Luther King III, is the only child to have offspring, his daughter Yolanda (named after their late sister by the same name). The King legacy will be left to Yolanda and in some ways (if they are willing) her cousins (from great aunt Christine’s side of the family—on the Farris side).
 
 But unless Martin III, Bernice or Dexter have more children (by blood), and more specifically, boys, the King name will end with Yolanda, when everyone else is long gone. Think about that.
 
 I just wonder how what happens today, this year, will impact their parents legacy 10, 15, 20-plus years from now. What will the King name be worth in 50 years?
 
 The King legacy impacts generations yet unborn, worldwide, or so it’s supposed to…
 
 I just wonder.
 
 What about you? What do you think?
 
 ~Natasha
 
 
 Source:
 http://saportareport.com/blog/2014/02/bernice-king-my-brothers-want-to-sell-my-fathers-nobel-peace-prize-medal-and-bible/
 
 Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. The Paradigm Life. Some Rights Reserved. theparadigmlife.com
 

Women it’s Your Time to Act and Woman Up: A Call to Action, Part One

By Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 Teacher. Corrector. Nurturing. Supportive. Caring. Loving. Tender. Warm. Patient. Understanding. Healing. Healer. Fixer. Graceful. Delicate. Strong. Respectful. Kind. Brave. Meek. Humble. Courageous. Lady. Love.
 
 These words and more describe the traditional woman. These are some of the words that we think about when we think of mothers.
 
 Baby Mama. B*tch. Baddest B*itch. Side Chick. Side piece. Breezy. Butter head. Barbie. Chicken head. Dime. Cougar. MILF. Ho. Jump off. Queen Bee. Diva. Gold digger. Vixen. Trick. Slut.
 
 These are some of the words that are being used to describe women today. These are some of the words that women and young girls are using to describe themselves. These are some of the words being used by mothers to describe themselves and other women. The list continues to grow each year.
 
 Something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong. Painfully wrong. Females. Women. Ladies. Mothers. Sisters. It is time that we step up and act.
 
 We must Woman Up!
 
 I wrote a two-part letter to the men (see the links at the end of this post) asking that they step up and do their part to help bring about positive change in our households, schools, churches, and neighborhoods worldwide. I wrote and asked them to do their part to help young men and boys learn what it means to be a real man, a protector, nurturer, teacher, provider, father, husband, son, and friend. I asked men to do their part to help young women and girls learn what a real man is and is not, why they need to shake their fixation on finding the daddy that left them, was never around, or hardly noticed.
 
 But this change requires us too!
 
 Young men and boys learn how to treat a woman by looking at and getting directions from other males, but they also learn by watching and interacting with us. The kind of woman that you want your son, grandson, brother, nephew, or cousin to marry and raise a family with will either be the woman he sees in you, or the image he sees somewhere else—maybe on television, in magazines, or on the streets. You can either help present an honorable image, or you can carelessly allow him to seek out and connect with the next “jump off”.
 
 It is our responsibility to change the image and view of women. It is our responsibility to not sell out for money, affection, fame, or perceived power.
 
 Your Image: Healthy or Destructive?
 
 Here’s the problem. If your model image of womanhood comes from what you see on television or view in magazines, then you yourself have not been exposed to any positive female role models. You have allowed the media, designers, corporations, and airbrushing experts (all mostly men) dictate to you the epitome of beauty, sensuality, and strength. I just watched an amazing video that reveals what Jean Kilbourne and thousands of women have been trying to make clear for over 40 years—the images we see of fashion models, actresses, and female celebrities are mostly altered and airbrushed in an attempt to entice and seduce men, and embed a message in the mind of women and girls, that only leads to our diminished esteem and an increase in eating disorders, suicide, and heightened destructive sexual behavior. Please watch this video and share it with others, males and females, old and young. We have to change the way we see ourselves and other women. We have to change the way men and boys see us. We have to change the way designers and corporations see and depict us.
 
 Eating Disorders
 
 Eating disorders are not just a “white girl” or wealthy girl issue. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. They can reach all of us. Starvation, forcibly vomiting, binge eating, and emotional eating are actions taken by females around the world from every socioeconomic background, race, color, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation.You can have a seemingly “perfect” life living in a two-parent household, beautiful home, fenced yard, with one or more cute pets, and still have an eating disorder. You can live in the projects with your grandmother or aunt, and have an eating disorder. You can be a straight A student and star athlete, and have an eating disorder. You can be a soccer mom, juggling your demanding career and back-to-back playdates for your kids—and have an eating disorder.
 
 Either we think we’re too skinny, too fat, too wide, have too much cellulite, don’t have big enough breasts, or have some issue with our butt (too big, small, lumpy, flat, or too wide), whatever it is we aren’t happy. This unhappiness turns into us using exercise, food and other substances to drastically alter our bodies. Someone planted this seed in our minds. Someone told us we’re too fat or too skinny, and that seed rooted and grew quickly. We then fixated on this and it became our reality. Then our pain must be inflicted on others, because hurt people hurt people. So we then see the flaws in other women, and we do our part to share with them and others our opinion of these flaws. There is the chain reaction.
 
 Plastic Surgery
 
 Then there’s plastic surgery and this obsession with becoming a barbie doll—thinner, uplifted always-smiling face; big and even bigger breasts; perfectly sculpted legs and arms; toned and rounded hips and butt; and a teeny tiny waist. Women are spending one to six months of income (theirs or someone else’s) to achieve their ideal barbie doll image, and then when they still aren’t satisfied, they spend another one to six months of income to make corrections.
 
 That is why honorable plastic surgeons inquire in advance your true intent for wanting plastic surgeon, what outside influences may be encouraging this decision, and if you are mentally and emotionally prepared for this change. You can make all of the physical corrections that you want with the help of a surgeon, but if you aren’t spiritually, mentally, and emotionally healthy, happy and satisfied, then you will never ever be happy with yourself or your looks. We must accept this for ourselves and we must explain this to the young girls and teens who are growing into their bodies and ingesting the toxins delivered by magazines and on television. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with friends and family. It is our responsibility to have this discussion with young school-aged girls and those young women ages 18 to 25.
 
 It is our responsibility to tell the media, fashion designers, advertising and marketing companies, and other corporations that we are not inanimate objects, we are not objects. Period. We are women, ladies, girls, daughters, wives, girlfriends, sisters, cousins, teachers, entrepreneurs, and bearers of life. We are not to be dehumanized and exploited. To make this point clear that means that we have to also refuse to audition and interview for roles, assignments, and jobs that negatively portray us as objects of desire, and we have to stop carrying ourselves (and behaving) like mere objects.
 
 Woman up!
 
 Tune in for Part Two coming soon!
 
 
 Your Sista girl,
 
 Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 To read the two-part Call to Action for men visit:
 
 Part One
 http://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/12/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-one/
 
 Part Two
 http://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/13/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-two/
 
 
 Sources:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWKXit_3rpQ
 
 Jean Kilbourne
 http://www.jeankilbourne.com/
 

“Frankie Leg”: A Fun Image of Grandmothers Shedding their Frail Stereotype, or is this Adding to a More Negative One?

 

I’m really not sure what to say about this video, its message, and the impact (if any). I also am not sure what it says overall about the people it will ultimately reflect upon and clump together into one classification. Is this a fun and possibly healthy image of grandmothers and grandfathers shedding and shaking away the frail stereotype normally associated with getting older? Or is this somehow only adding to the negative stereotypes about Black people?

I start thinking of the buffoonery we once used to fight so hard against, and I wonder if we really have gone full-circle and found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of where we once were; if we have grown to accept not only other nationalities laughing and mocking us, but also embracing it as a reality for ourselves–so we too take part in this…we too find it acceptable; so we laugh, dance, smile, shuck and jive, and roll around comfortably in mediocrity.

Are we really in that much pain that we would rather entertain ourselves in this manner than uplift ourselves out of our pit of shame and despair? What message are our children really getting? Where is our dignity? When is enough truly enough? I believe that music and dance is healthy, healing, and cleansing–but does the “Frankie Leg” fall into those categories?

I am still letting all of this soak into my mind (which may be dangerous). But let’s have a healthy conversation about it shall we?

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. The Paradigm Life. Paradigm Life. Rights Reserved.
Video provided by YouTube

A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
natashaforeman.com
natashaforeman.info
paradigmlife.blogspot.com
theparadigmlife.wordpress.com

>Going Against the Grain: My Pre-Marital Insight- Round 1

>I could possibly step on quite a few toes with this piece, but when have I ever truly been a status quo type of person? I will however spare many of you the pain and agony of a long, drawn-out analysis or reflection on love, relationships, and marriage and cut straight to the chase in this quick two-part series that will address a taboo subject that I feel brave enough to tackle. Let me see that smile!

I have watched many relationships fall apart during the dating and engagement stages and several fall apart through divorce. There are numerous reasons for these break-ups, but a great deal of issues resulted from how money and finances played a role in these relationships. Whether one half of the couple was well-off financially and the other one was living just-over-broke (and sucking the life out of their significant other’s bank account); both were well-off but one mismanaged their funds (or dictated how they would be managed); or both were broker than a bad joke and fought over how they would make a dollar out of fifteen cents- the case is that money became an issue.

I am a firm believer in prenuptial agreements (prenup). Oh gosh did I just cuss?

I know a lot of women who look at me like I just called them some scandalous names, while I also have entered some heated debates in previous relationships with men who could not fathom why I wanted a prenup before marrying them. It is simply this:

If you truly are marrying out of love, not convenience; love not status; love not desperation; love not out of default; love and not because of family and societal pressures; truly because you love and want to spend the rest of your life with this other person- then why not remove the financial aspect out of the equation upfront? One or both of you worked long and hard to attain a level of financial satisfaction and you most likely achieved this before you fell so madly in love with the person you hope to call your spouse one day. So why should this person be granted the right to take upwards of 50% of your personally-acquired wealth as their own simply because they are your husband or wife?

What if right now you don’t have a clue as to how you will pay your Internet Service Provider this month so that you can continue reading my blog posts, but you have aspirations of wealth-building- shouldn’t you consider this and the realities that the person you love today may despise you at some point during your marriage?

I’m a sappy romantic, while at the same time a true-blue realist. For me the reality is clear that if I were to ever become engaged again, I would want a prenup drafted, signed, and the ink dry before we say “I do”. I think that people don’t understand the flexibility and freedom that prenups provide. Yes, it should require lawyer-participation (so that it is legally binding) which means spending some money, but I would rather we shell out several hundred dollars upfront, than several thousands or more in divorce proceedings.

Some people think that prenups say, “you leave with nothing if we divorce”. This simply is not true. Granted, it could say that- but it can also say so much more. Your agreement can be outlined to say a number of things and address all types of scenarios such as how the two of you will handle any future children that you have together, any children that you currently parent as a couple. It can say how the two of you will handle the future acquisition and possible separation of community property; it can say almost anything.

You can have the agreement outline how you will share or maintain separate bank accounts, how you will share a pet, or who gets the pet upon dissolution of marriage. We know we have all heard of couples fighting over family pets- don’t act like you wouldn’t go off if the person you love later says, “and I’m taking Dino with me”. Do you really want the china her parents gave you as a wedding shower gift? Do you really want his golf clubs or his boat? Come on now, you don’t golf and you get motion-sickness, you only want these things out of spite!

A prenup is also an agreement that can be modified post-nuptially if the two of you see fit. Are you rolling your eyes at me right now? Am I kicking up too much dust for you to handle? Well, tomorrow let’s kick up some more as we return for part two of this two-part series!

See ya then. I look forward to your thoughts, reactions, comments, and respectful rantings!

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
paradigmlife.blogspot.com

>Complexities of Relationships: Part Eight…Can You See Home Base?

>Today I sat back and reflected on the last seven parts of this series. I have received some incredible feedback over the past two weeks. What I want to make sure is that I bring things full circle, that our take away is complete, and not lacking. I’m not here to preach or stand on some soap box rambling about “the complexities of relationships”; I desire to explore with you the things that make each of us who we are today. 

Our circumstances don’t have to dictate our futures. You choose to be a testimony or a victim. You choose to be a leader or a follower; you choose to take counsel from those who are where you want to be, or you take the rocky roads and try to figure it out yourself. You choose to change for the better so that you can play an intricate part in a loving relationship, or you walk around professing to be “great the way I am” or ‘damaged goods’. I’m not sure which of those two are worse! 

We don’t need to walk around with invisible signs on us that say, “I’ve been hurt” or “I have trust issues”. 

In order to have healthy relationships both personal and professional we must look at ourselves first, not the other person…start with self. What are you really ‘bringing to the table’ and in what areas do you fall short of a ‘full deck’? What things about you do you acknowledge need changing, improving, or tweaking? What things are you adamant that don’t need adjusting? Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses you notice about yourself and then consider what your love ones see as your strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever sat down and written a list of your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever included what loved ones had to say?

SWOT ANALYSIS
Those of you who know me, or at least spent two minutes reading my blog profile know that I am a Business Consultant; so it should not surprise you that I would find a way to sprinkle in business concepts into this series. A SWOT Analysis is a process performed in business to help an organization determine their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and Weaknesses may be easy enough for me not to have to elaborate, but let me briefly explain the Opportunities and Threats, and then explain how all of this ties in to today’s post and the series as a whole.

Opportunities are those things, areas, concepts that work as an advantage for the organization; what gives them that competitive advantage over another company, and potentially elevates them to levels of long-term success. Opportunities can also be broken down by sub-divisions  and departments within the organization.

Threats seems easy enough to figure out. Threats are all the possible ways the organization can mess up, lose or fail to gain a competitive advantage; all of the possible risks that could ultimately lead to the demise of a project, division, department, account, or the company as a whole.

PERSONAL SWOT ANALYSIS
This segment of the series we will draft our own SWOT Analysis and look at our personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities (for improvement, success personally and professionally, etc) and the Threats that put us at risk of not reaching our goals, overcoming fears and other obstacles, and having poor relationships with others, etc.

Here’s a quick example using one characteristic or trait in each category:

Natasha’s SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS: “get it done right” person 
WEAKNESSES: procrastinator
OPPORTUNITIES: being mentored by great business and civic leaders
THREATS: my fear of failing could cause me not to act

The idea is to have several things in each category. Shoot for 10-20. Don’t worry if you have more or less. Allow yourself to let things flow from you. The moment you get out of your way and out of your head you will experience a surge of information flow!

Once we complete our Personal SWOT Analysis we need to step outside of our comfort zone and share it with others that we love and care for, and who love and care for us. This person or persons must also be objective, willing to be open and honest with you without fear or concern of reprisal; and you must be open for healthy dialogue and analysis. Because once you finish sharing, they are to provide you an analysis of what they see as your SWOT. See how many traits and areas that you all agree, and be sure to rationally, calmly, and lovingly discuss those traits and areas where you disagree. It should be interesting what you discover.

Now wait a minute…stop rolling your eyes and sucking your teeth. Don’t give up before you even get started. The only way you can effectively perform a SWOT Analysis is to have other people participating and providing healthy, grounded, well-thought out feedback. You see yourself from one angle and point of view, while friends and family see you from varying angles and viewpoints. The only way to see and appreciate the whole picture is to look at it from different angles. You have to step back, to either side, turn slowly, then quickly, look at it standing then sitting, then in a prone position. You have to look at it from below and up high.

If performing this exercise is too stressful, I want you to ask yourself “why?” 

We’re talking about growth through healing, growth through exploration, growth through experience, growth through proper nourishment. 

The goal is to leverage our strengths, strengthen our weaknesses, increase and take full advantage of our opportunities, and reduce and control our threats so that they don’t overpower (and eventually rule) us. 

How many of you plan to create your Personal SWOT Analysis? How many of you will go a step farther and perform the analysis with one or more loved ones? How many of you will then share with me how things played out, how it felt, and what you learned about yourself and how others truly view you?

This exercise can be completed and results shared anytime between today and next week, preferably next Monday. I’m excited about this exercise and can’t wait to share my analysis and to receive feedback about yours.

Have fun, dig deep, want more, and dream big!

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.