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Turn Pain Into Passion

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s-Salaam Alaikum (Peace Be Unto You),

Pain, disappointment and betrayal are feelings everyone can relate to, no matter what your age or religious affiliation. However, the difference is how we address our emotions when they arise that determines our ability to overcome them as opposed to being overwhelmed by them. Although we never set out to lose control of our emotions, the challenge that pain brings can very well cause us to believe we are in a whirlwind that has gotten the best of us. YET, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; a way to take pain by the horns and turn it into something powerful and productive. Some musicians claim the passion they express in their musical master pieces stem from the turmoil they’ve experienced in life. Actors have stated that they become one with their role on film and on the stage by delving into real so-called tragedies they’ve succumb to and took control of.

What is it that allows a person to cross over from being the victim to later becoming the warrior, the victor and the master of their circumstances? In the articles to come, you will discover the answer to that question, and more importantly you will see how YOU possess the peace and power of mind. We pray you enjoy this special edition of H2H! Peace & Blessings Always!

Ebony Safiyyah Ebony S. Muhammad Publisher & Editor-In-Chief


CONTENT

JUNE/JULY 2012

The Pain of Betrayal Forgiving the Unforgivable Page 7 <<<——

Food & Nutrition

Inspire Me

Features

Events

CONTENT | VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 4-5| 2012

The Exclusive W/ Shanise Craft The Good, The Bad, & The Blessing Page 28

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Monthly Affirmations 1. I must not be afraid of my uniqueness, and I must care less and less of what people think of me . 2. Every negative situation contains the possibility for something positive, an opportunity . 3. My lack of resources can be an advantage, forcing me to be more inventive with the little I have. 4. I will not let fear make me wait for a better moment for positive change. 5. My sense of who I am will determine my actions and what I end up getting in life . HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 5


Find Your Happy Place — While there’s no cure-all for the blues, these simple, everyday actions, courtesy of Shawn Achor and Gretchen Rubin, can help you get closer to happiness now — and in the long term.

1. Sing in the morning.

9. Exercise one of your greatest strengths.

2. Laugh out loud.

10. Find an area of refuge.

3. Keep a gratitude notebook.

11. Go to sleep earlier.

4. Commit conscious acts of kindness. 12. Take time for projects. 5. Use good manners.

13. Start a collection.

6. Exercise.

14. Take time to be silly.

7. Tackle a nagging task.

15. Embrace your social network.

8. Spend money— on experiences.

16. find something to look forward to.

[Editor’s note: These tips were reprinted from SUCCESS Magazine ]

From the book, The Power of Purpose by Richard J. Leider What are the signs that indicate that you “actually feel the rapture of being alive”? What are the signs that indicate that, no, your life isn’t as full and vital as you might wish? Think of answering the following Aliveness Questionnaire as you would a periodic physical examination. Check either Yes or No according to how you feel about each question today. The total number of “Yes” responses on the Aliveness Questionnaire provides a general sense of your aliveness. A high number indicates that you have deep life energy. Decide whether you want to take action to modify your habits. No one has mastered all these factors. Everyone experiences self-doubts and ups and down. Aliveness does not mean perfection! It does mean a willingness to live life openly and fully, acknowledging your humanness. Remember to give your credit where you’ve done well!

Aliveness Questionnaire 1.Do I feel a sense of balance in my life? 2.Do I regularly enjoy hearty belly laughs? 3.Do I live my dreams? 4.Do I take time for solitude? 5.Do I have at least two nutritious people in my life? 6.Do I feel the energy of optimum health? 7.Do I have a spiritual practice in my life? 8.Do I feel that my life matters? 9.Does my recreation time re-create me? 10.Do I have the courage to say “No”?

Yes No ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ HURT 2 HEALING | ___ JUNE/JULY 2012 ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

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How to Heal from the Pain of Betrayal: Forgiving the Unforgivable By Niedria Kenny

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hen, exactly, do you arrive at forin”, it was the feeling she had when she met her giveness? Is it after you have been prince charming. He rode in on fire truck. She wasconfronted with the worst thing that n’t looking for a relationship and was very content can happen to you and you find with her single life. She didn’t think anything of it at yourself forgiving those who have wronged first as she cautiously allowed him to sweep you? In actuality, it’s never really the worst her off her feet. Eventually, she decided to let thing, and if you take that approach, you may her guard completely find it easier to forgive. Even though most of us have to be down. They began datEven though most of us angry first, we should always find our- ing and feelings develhave to be angry first, selves back on the path of forgiveness, oped fast, similar to we should always find ourselves back on the because we may need that forgiving puppy love but so cute. path of forgiveness, beheart one day. Furthermore, this is The innocence of it all cause we may need that what it takes to heal. made for a real love forgiving heart one day. story. He captivated her. Furthermore, this is what it takes to heal. The If something were to come of this, it was so “Golden Rule” is doing to others as you would perfect how it unfolded since neither of them have them do unto you. It’s not, doing to them was looking for each other when they had their what they do to you. If you hurt me, I will forgive chance meeting. One day as they were lying next you because if I hurt you, I want you to forgive me. to one another, he blurted out that he is “claiming this”, as if he was praying for this relationship, right Allow me to share a story with you about a girl in the middle of the conversation. To her that was who was just about as fed up as she could possithe perfect, most godly sentiment. It was so approbly be with dating; giving her all and being loyal priate and in line with her fate. and committed to every relationship she found herself in. As the words in the song Love Under She asked him to elaborate and he said, “No, I New Management goes, “Just as I was about to don’t want to mess this up- I want it to last forever. give up my hands and give up real love stepped I want this, and I am here”. To her, for him to make

“ “

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such an engaging statement, it drew her conversation, their communication began to closer. Right there in the moment she believed collapse. The night turned into petty arguhe was the one. Those words competed with ments with no resolutions. Tempers flared and the words I LOVE YOU, as they were so much disagreements aroused out of misunderstood more intense. It seemed so real since he said comments. She began to wonder what this he is claiming this. They continued to date and was really all about. Is he really upset that she shared very simple yet charming momentsdid not eat the calamari she ordered or was such as holding hands, gazing at each other, he insecure about something he did? Was he forehead kisses, strokes of the hair, soft shoul- uneasy about something that his conscious der touches, whispers of him saying I love you, would not let up on? Without letting her asfollowed by “shush, you don’t have to say it sumptions about his instant change invade back”. These moments were intimate and so the issue at hand, she asked to be taken meaningful and much more than any physical home early. That night when he dropped her contact. She met his family and was even inoff, he said, “I will see you later”. She said, troduced playfully as goodbye”. For some “the fiancé”. They reason, she knew spent more and more this was goodbye. time together. They The next day she These moments were took a trip where he met her family and was intimate and so meaningful and sent him a note saying that sometimes asked by her father much more than any physical people come into what his intentions your life for a reason contact. were, to which he reor a purpose and plied “to be her best once that purpose is fulfilled they are no friend and hopefully her husband”. longer there. This does not mean they are Just when it could not get any better, she bebad people because they are no longer there, came ill with the flu and who but he was right just means their purpose has been served. He by her side. He cooked for her, made the phar- responded to her that she is a breath of fresh macy runs in the middle of the night, was there air. That same evening, she received a voicewhen she opened her eyes while in and out of mail from his phone. In listening to the voicea fever filled night. He stroked her head, mail and making out the argument on the rubbed her aching body and told her she would other end of the phone, she realized that it be fine. He carefully administered the appropri- was him and another girl. The message was ate dosage of medication prescribed for her to clear. He was being grilled by a woman who get better. painfully yelled out “who is this other girl…..you are still married to me”!! Much to Days later, when the illness passed, they get her surprise, since she didn’t know he was together with friends for a night on the town. married—she continued to listen. The most Midway in to the night they departed from hurtful part of listening to the message was friends for a quiet dinner alone before meeting not hearing that woman ask, “What does this back up. Strange things started to happen. In woman mean to you Mike”, it was hearing his

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answer “She means nothing”…….…… I believe the greater force was GOD taking her out of a situation that could have been much worst. Ejecting her and giving her discernment the night before, that something is not right with this situation. Again I will say, hurting and being upset initially is natural but forgiveness fixes all. Healing comes quick when you forgive. You ask yourself when will this pain stop—but have you asked yourself why can’t you forgive? Do you really think the worst that can happen, has really happened to you? What if either of these women were you? How would you feel? Could you forgive this man and move on whether it’s with or without him, whether it’s on the same path or in a separate direction? As perfect as this situation was in the beginning—as many reasons as she would have to be upset with the outcome after being fooled, she forgave and moved on. She’s not in love with being hurt, but she’s in love with forgiving. The feeling is so great and irreplaceable. When you can lay down at night without your heart being heavy, and you can smile and laugh at the situation of knowing that GOD fixes all things……is when you know that your healing has begun.

Niedria Kenny AKA “Freely Speaking”

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Freely Speaking, Inc. Founder/Owner: Niedria D. Kenny Poet/Novelist/Speaker Email: freelyspeaking3.57@gmail.com Blog: www.freelyspeaking357.blogspot.com Website: http://freelyspeaking.shutterfly.com HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 10


HOSTED BY SISTER CHARLENE MUHAMMAD EVERY SATURDAY ON KPFK

“Liberated Sisters” with Sister Charlene Muhammad is a forum to highlight and seek solutions to critical issues impacting Black women and their communities; hightlight their connection to and collaboration with the global struggle for social, educational and economic justice; and to lift positive images of Black women in media. Tune in every Saturday 1-1:30 P.M. PST on KPFK 90.7 FM or live at www.kpfk.org. Call in and be heard at 818.985.5735 If it’s impacting your community or can life us up as a people, let’s talk about it! Email: liberatedsister@gmail.com Twitter: @liberatedsisters Facebook: Liberated Sisters

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Overcoming the Fear of Letting Go: Embracing A New Life After Disappointment By Lady 4.0

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rowing up as a young girl, just like heard the reason he was not interested in the othmany of you I was introduced to stories ers was that he had already gained the prize, if like “Cinderella” , “Snow White”, you know what I mean. I thought if that were all “Beauty and the Beast”, and he was after, he would definitely not take advan“Rapunzel”. All of these stories have a common tage of me that way. theme. There was a damsel in distress saved by a I decided to allow him to take me to dinner and a prince of some sort. For me those stories became movie. We had a wonderful evening and I was the ideal fantasy life I expected to experience as quite impressed with his conversation. I informed an adult. During my late him of what I had heard teens and early twenties, I about his reputation or the I had a key to his place but had dated regularly. Most of lack there of. He responded the men I dated were still never had a reason to use it. I thought that in each situation, they somewhat immature so I I would do something unexpected and were both consenting really was not interested adults, and the decision to in maintaining a serious surprise him with a home cooked meal stop seeing them had nothafter a hard days work. I was the one ing to do with the physical relationship. interaction. We began datthat was in for a surprise. ing and he treated me like a When I was around queen. We spent quite a bit twenty-four years old, I of time together. I would even stay over at his met the man that would ultimately change my place from time to time. We had not been intimind. He was four years older and seemed to mate yet because I was just not certain of his inhave his life together. He was attending school to tentions. become a CPA and we worked together at a local department store. In the beginning, I pretended When he went away on a business trip for a week not to be interested. Most, if not all, of the women and returned, he stopped by my place as soon as at our location were vying for his attention. He he came from the airport. I was stunned, because never gave them a second glance, and he would he proclaimed during his absence he realized just always make a point of frequenting my departhow much he loved me. I did not know how to ment. We had casual conversation but I still derespond. I equated his love proclamation with nied any attempt to spend time together outside what I thought was my answer to taking our of work. Therefore, through the grapevine I HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 12


relationship to that next level. So at that point, we became intimate. Things were fine for a while, but then I noticed a change in his behavior. We were not spending as much time together, which he suggested, was due to his workload. I had a key to his place but had never had a reason to use it. I thought I would do something unexpected and surprise him with a home cooked meal after a hard days work. I was the one that was in for a surprise. He had prior plans, but because he did not know I would be there did not have time contact his acquaintance. He seemed happy about the surprise and we began making plans for later in the week. While having dinner, there was a knock at the door. We he looked through the peep hole, he informed me he would be right back. I could not hear the entire conversation, but I could tell the person he spoke with was a female and she was very upset. After returning he seemed a bit nervous and I asked, what was going on? He tried to pretend as if it were nothing, but there was another knock on the door, this time disturbingly loud. The person on the other side of the door shouted obscenities and demanded entrance into the apartment. He said, it was an old girlfriend that wanted to get back together. It was not until I saw him at a comedy show with the alleged former girlfriend that I became aware of what was going on. He used an excuse of having to work to decline taking me to the show. The look on his face was worth more than a thousand words. I definitely did not want to hear any more excuses. I abruptly ended the relationship. Several months later, I became aware I was pregnant. I did not intend to disclose this information to

him. We arranged to meet and I gave him the good news. Well at least I thought it would be good news. This would be an opportunity to mend our relationship. The response I received broke my heart into a thousand pieces. I could not believe he expected me to have an abortion. This was the same man, that proclaimed his love for me. Now he wanted me to dispose of my unborn child. I have never felt such a horrid pain in all my life. The sad part is I even contemplated going through with his request. By the time I made the decision to go through with it, I learned I was too far along and it would not be possible. I could not comprehend him not wanting to be a part of his childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life. I prayed and God opened my eyes to something wonderful. James 1:17 says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. On May 28, 1990, I gave birth to Justin Lamar Simmons. I experienced a love so indescribable at the exact moment our eyes met. I knew right then if he never had the pleasure of meeting his father, I would supply him with the type of unconditional love God has always shown me. I also learned that sometimes the choices we make are a result of our own resolve. God has a plan for each one of his children. Be mindful that as your Father, he will sometimes allow you your hearts desire even though, that may not be his ultimate plan. He needs you to know as long as you are patient and have faith in Him; there is no situation or circumstance you cannot overcome. The love God has for you surpasses all understanding, and is unfettering. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 13


When you are broken, and you feel your situation is a result of your own doing, you must first forgive yourself. Philippians 4:9 says whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. I am a walking testimony to this fact. I urge you to employ the three principles I am sharing below. Three Principles for Forgiving Yourself: Don’t isolate – place yourself in the presence of those who love you. Put yourself in a place where you are loved and where you can experience being loved. Do something! Get busy doing something meaningful – something God wants you to do. God has given me the strength and courage to disclose myself in a way I never thought possible. He uses his encounters with me to share with those who are still searching. Not because I am a perfect Christian, or the perfect women, or even the perfect mother. He uses me because I am imperfect; to show the things I do are not of me but of Him. Allow God to speak to your heart. You will forever be grateful. Be Blessed.

Lady 4.0

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A Cure to Domestic Violence: A Male’s Perspective By Benjamin Muhammad

I'd like to deal with a problem that scholars have yet to address, and that is "How do we stop domestic violence”? On the surface, you'd never understand, unless you get beneath the situation. You see, we've become trapped in an insane society and wrongfully accepted the condition as “just the way it is”. A woman shouldn't be physically or verbally abused at all! By all means, no matter what she says or does, a real man controls himself! I cannot stress this enough! We are out of control when we try to control our women by force. I'll repeat it, because I have learned! We are out of control when we try to control our women by force. She says stop! We apologize, make a little love and turn right around and do it again! Why? I raise the question because we are yet to truly ask ourselves or one another for fear that we have no logical answer. Yet, it will stop once we start. We have to first bring ourselves, as men, into a manly position. This is before we foolishly believe that we can handle a relationship. Too often, we begin from a position of weakness and then try to gain control or favor by abusing the woman. That's wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I understand that you may not like it when the "honeymoon stage" of the relationship is over and reality kicks in. This is the part when she no longer cares

about how cute you are or how good you are in bed. A woman needs a man, not just a freak in the bed! We need to understand this, beforehand. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 17


You may be handsome, big and strong my brothers. However, the rent is due, along with the electric, telephone and cable bills. Not to mention, the gas bill and the fact that the refrigerator doesn't refill itself. A manly position would be coming to the table with something. How about a sober mind, some independent living of your own, a legitimate and

visible source of income, realistic goals, a clean bill of health and a desire to be faithful? My sisters, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too much to ask for or expect. Brothers, we expect the world, yet, we can't even offer her a healthy state of mind! We have perfected being dysfunctional and a sight for sore eyes. Meaning, we make our women cry more than we make her smile! Well, she gets on our case about not carrying our portion of the responsibilities! She knows that we are a lion trapped in a cage measuring 3,000 miles by 2,000 miles. Here's the key to free yourself--It will stop once we start! We must interrogate and investigate, then evaluate before we date! A boy will play house as long as you let him. A man will turn a house into a home! I'll repeat it in case you didn't hear me. If you let him, a boy will play house, but a man will make a house into a home! We both need to interrogate. This is our lives and for many our children's lives we're putting on the line. We cannot half-step any longer! As you can see our methods of choosing partners or participants in a relationship is not a game! Ladies, find out if we can read, write, add and subtract! Cover the basics of how does he make a living or does he just exist? Demand for him to show you. Find out by investigating before you end up behind closed doors in the nude, just to regret what was just done. Please believe this ladies, we love and are honored to be in your good grace. There's nothing we wouldn't do for you, just to see you smile. However, we haven't been ourselves lately -at least the past 400 years and counting. This is why we now wear our pants so tight and stay in the mirror longer than you. I'll promise you this, no matter what! If you set the bar high, we'll rise to the occasion just to be with you. So, don't deal with us lightly. You have the right to interrogate and investigate before we date. If a man doesn't love himself enough to take care of himself, then to hell with him! That's just not the man for you and he deserves to be by himself! In the face of truth, a man doesn't have to ask or constantly beg another man to take HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 18


care of him or his. If you don't have a plan for your life, believe me, someone else does! We have to, today; become who we were created to be. Tell yourself, "I am somebody, trying to be somebody to deserve someone like you... "No nation rises higher than its woman!â&#x20AC;? Salaam, Brother Benjamin Muhammad

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Laughter, the instant healer...

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” E.E. Cummings

Smiling, the instant problemsolver...

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hunh HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 21


Against All Odds and Through the Fire By Regina Kelly

Blessings everyone,

For those of you that don’t remember me, my name is Regina Kelly. I am the 35yr old woman who inspired the movie, “American Violet”. Today I would like to share one of my personal stories with you all hoping that it encourages someone with their own personal battle today. Eighteen, with two daughters with two different fathers, and single is a hard situation, but not impossible. I dropped out of school at seventeen to care for my child who was born with cerebral palsy. Initially the doctors told me she wouldn’t live to be two. I left school and committed my life to my girls in every way. I was working in a nursing home living in a three-bedroom housing apartment complex. In my eyes our life is great. At this point I had already been on my own since I was fifteen, and I was determined to give my babies a better life than I had as a child growing up. I was a very strong and vibrant young woman with a set of goals, and I had a mission of making it out the hood. One day this man says, “Hello. You know you’re a very beautiful lady”. I replied, “I know. Thanks”. Then I walked away smiling. He was so ‘different’ in his own special way. From that day forward he courted me with everything a young woman could ask for; balloons, flowers, cards, clothes, toys and clothes for the girls, he was sending money by my friends, buying food for us, etc. I’ve never had anyone cherish me like this. I held HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 22


out for a couple of months and I remember thinking, “this is just too good to be true”. We start dating and I was finally, after all this time, in the perfect relationship. My life at this point couldn’t get any better. We fell into a deep relationship and he moved in with me and the girls. He’s working hard, I’m working hard, and we both are planning our future together. I made it perfectly clear there would be no more children in this picture until I’m married, and he was so understanding and so eager to help me on my mission with my life. On February 1995 we moved out the hood together and to a different town. I have two wonderful healthy children and a wonderful man on my side. I am out of the hood and into a house. I made it. At one point I was working one full- time and two part-time jobs and he’s working on a very good job twelve hours day seven days a week. We’re living the life. He proposed to me and I accepted, of course. The conversation of children came into play after this, and I still refused. Eventually I gave in knowing that this was truly the last thing that I wanted in my life. It took some time but we did it. I took the test at work and my heart fell to the floor. It’s positive! I know I’m supposed to be happy, and I am in a very small way. I rushed to his job to give him the news. Waiting to see the look on his face, he replies by saying, “It ain’t mine!” Our perfect relationship that everyone envied fell apart at that very moment. Marriage was never spoken of again. We start arguing over any and everything in life. I’m sick, feeling stupid and lost. How did I allow myself to get to this point? What was I thinking? What am I going to do with this baby that only he wanted? An abortion was never an option. I prayed on it and asked GOD to just stand with me, because I’m keeping my baby. The arguments turned into fist fights, which continued through the entire pregnancy. I was so tired of fighting him, I wanted to just die and get it over with. His money supported his habits, and my money took care of the household and the children. I’m at work with black eyes and busted lips that I can’t even explain. Never listening to my HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 23


friends and family, I just isolated myself from everyone. They never knew what they were talking about anyway, wanting me to leave the man of my dreams. The man who loved me more than words could explain. With each hit there was always an apology so I knew for a fact that he loved me, regardless of how they felt about him. I cried myself to sleep so many nights. I even asked GOD why was he punishing me? Every day I always tried to make sure everything was perfect for him so there would be no reason for him to go upside my head. My children got to the point where they didn’t want to be around him and would cry when they saw me crying. They began asking about the bruises that I always had. My doctor always knew, he just never said anything. I’m five months pregnant and losing weight more and more with each visit. One weekend we decided to travel to visit my family. He dropped me off and went with his friends. My mother fell to her knees when she saw me. She’s crying hysterically and begging me to stay. I’m tried to reassure her that everything was fine, but she knew better because she went through the same thing when I was younger. We said our good-byes and the children and I were on our way home with the “love of my life”. For some reason we stopped at a store. I made sure not to speak or look at anyone because I don’t want to set him off. It’s two in the morning, I just want to get home to my bed. He sends me in the store to get him a sandwich a coke. I hurry to get it and get back in the car. We’re on our way home with no problems. Suddenly with a coke bottle in his hand, I get the hardest slap across my face. Blood and tears still weren’t enough to keep this man from the next punch in my nose. He stops the car on the highway at almost three o’clock in the morning. Gets out and pulls me from the car and then the children and then drives off. With the children and I both crying where do we go on this dark highway? All I can remember thinking is how embarrassed I’m going to be if someone I know passes us up. How can I explain this? I’ll be the talk of the town. Suddenly a car comes up shining their lights on us. In a way I was at ease because I knew he wouldn’t just leave us like that. I knew he was coming back to get us. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 24


This was a different type vehicle. A man got out and ran over to us and I’m terrified out of my mind. It was the highway patrol man. He looked at the blood all over my face and clothes and was startled. “Maam, are you ok? What happened to you? Are the kids ok? Who in the hell did this?” He puts us in his car and puts blankets on us . With the most compassionate look in his face he asks again, “Maam who did this to you?” Not wanting to talk I just shake my head. He asks where I live and I tell him. I can’t describe the emotions that are going through my mind at this point. He asks me if I want an ambulance and I refuse. I didn’t need anyone else looking at me right now. He volunteers to take us home so I give him the address. On the way home I explain to him what really happened. I just tell him everything. Didn’t have the desire to make any excuses anymore I just needed to get it all of my chest. Someone needed to know what was going on in my life and at that very moment he just happen to be the person there to take it all in. With no judgment or smug remarks he listened! We make it to my house and immediately who car do I see? Before I could ask the policeman to just go and get this man from my house he was already on his radio calling it in. I was all for it. I wanted him out! Finally after all these years I had reached the point where I was fed up and wanted to get my life back. Another policeman arrived very quickly and they went in to find him in the bed sound asleep. They arrested him and hauled him away. No more. I’m free. I can sleep. I can breathe. I can smile. I can live. We all go through things in our relationships and in life. We hide things because we don’t want to hear the judgment, the criticism, the I told you so’s , etc. All we need is encouragement, love and understanding! Sometimes just a listening ear. Peace & Love,

Regina Kelly HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 25


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The Good, The Bad, & The Blessing... How I Turned Pain into POWER

The Exclusive with… Shanise Craft HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 28


Ebony Muhammad (EM) – I wanted to talk about a few of the chapters that really stood out to me throughout your book, personally or in a way that is important for those who will be reading your book. One of the first chapters, entitled “My First Love”, was one that I could personally relate to.

Shanise Craft (SC) – A lot of girls and women can.

EM – And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about that. The relationship that you were in (you were very young) was with someone who was edgy and who lived a dangerous life. You found out he was a kingpin, a major drug dealer. He had a different side that you didn’t know about, and you found out little by little. Reflecting on all of that and understanding that a lot of women, as you just stated, encounter those kinds of relationships, what are you teaching your daughters regarding the dangers of that fast life and how to pick up on abusive or potentially abusive relationships?

SC – Honestly, my daughters don’t even get that chance. I let them know what to look for, but I’m on top of every relationship and every person they become involved with. They couldn’t understand why at first, and they used to tease me saying, “Ma, nobody likes coming over to the house. All of my friends are scared of you”. And I was like, “Good, I want to keep it that way. I’m not here to be friends with the people you’re friends with. I’m here to protect you”. They couldn’t understand why I was so hard on them and who they date and what to look out for until now that the book is out and they’ve had the chance to read it they understand. My problem was that I didn’t have anyone to tell me what to look out for, and I didn’t know what to look for. I try to explain to them that just because no one is putting their hands on you, doesn’t mean that you’re not still in a controlling, abusive relationship. That’s what we’re taught. When we’re growing up no one put their hands on us, and if anyone touched my sister we (family) were going to hurt them. That’s what we were taught to look for, but we don’t look for the other things. You know the ones that can hurt you verbally, talk to you any kind HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 29


of way or put you down. That’s what I try to help them look out for on top of me being on top of what they’re doing as well. EM – Excellent point, because that’s something I really don’t think we have, which is a lot of involvement. When it comes to our children we tend to allow them to make their own mistakes. However, where is the guidance in all of that?

SC – My mother gave me a lot of freedom because of the situation she was in. I think she gave me too much, and I just want to make sure I didn’t do that with my kids. I’m so proud of them, because I was able to break that generational curse. We all started out as young teenage mothers, and now we have broken that curse and we have kids who are going to school and to college right now. There’s no teenage pregnancy right now. So before, they didn’t understand. They used to say I was mean and didn’t want to come around me, but I knew what I was doing.

EM – Now, this next chapter entitled “Hotel” was very touching for me. I don’t have children, but you painted a picture for me in imagining myself being in that position. You and your children were living with your father and stepmother at one point in time due to the circumstances until something, that was unforeseen, took place. As a result, you and your children were forced to live in a hotel, in which you described encountering everything that comes along with being in a hotel; the sounds of other people in the next room and the lack of cleanliness. In spite of that you considered yourself to be a covering for your children as God was a covering for you. I want to ask you if at any point when you were there, did it or when did it cross your mind, “How am I ever going to make it out of here”? What inspired you to push through that particular moment?

SC – Just listening to you talk about the chapter touched me. I was broken during that time. Its one thing when it’s a stranger doing it to you, but when it’s your family it hurts more. They knew that we didn’t have anywhere to go, because it HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 30


was my father who asked me to come to Maryland. So when he put us out he knew that we didn’t have any other family in Maryland, but he didn’t care because of his own foolish, selfish reasons. What got me through were my children. I tried not to be selfish and send them home to New York with my family, but they didn’t want to leave me. That’s what got me through it. We’re here together, I wasn’t going to keep them in this situation. I have to do something better. That’s exactly what inspired me. My children inspired me in a lot of things. Even to the point where I said, “It’s not about me, it’s about them”. As single parents, whether it’s a female or male, we’ve got to understand and the readers have to understand that whatever we go through our children go through.

We can’t make it about us. We can’t say, “Oh woe is me and I don’t know what I’m going to do”. I had to take the hand that I was dealt. I had to see how I was going to make it better. The hotel wasn’t all that clean, so I decided to clean it myself instead of complain about it. There was a lot of noise coming from the room, because that’s what a lot of people use hotels for. I decided I was going to go get my kids some headphones and put those headphones on them. I decided to make the best of what I had at that time. I think that’s what we have to do. We can’t have that give up attitude and feel sorry for ourselves. I was angry and hurt, and I cried when I was alone. I didn’t cry when I was in front of my kids, because I was going to be the strong person for them.

EM – Now with this next chapter, “Discernment”, Lord have mercy (laughing). That chapter…that was such a rollercoaster for me. I saw myself and I saw friends in 3-D in that particular chapter. It made me think about a couple of things. First, understanding the attributes of God and that a woman possesses certain attributes of being merciful and being forgiving. The second thing it made me think of is that Minister Farrakhan talks about how the Black man and the Black woman learn best through experimentation. He said that we learn best through experimentation, not only. When it comes to male-female relationships, women experiment and experience exactly what you went through with “Discernment”; being in a relationship and HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 31


seeing some red flags and not acting upon it, and later seeing more red flags. People are being sent to inform you about something, whether it was intentional or not. It was, as you mentioned, God warning you. We tend to look over those warnings and make excuses. In that particular situation, what would you say is the basis for that cycle among women and girls? What would you say is the remedy, because it seems like this happens at least once in every woman’s life to go through something like that.

SC – Yeah, I think Maya Angelou said it best, “If someone shows you who they really are, believe them”. People show themselves to us, but then we give them the benefit of the doubt and forgive them. However, in reality and later on you’re going to end up in the same situation. I didn’t know what discernment really was, because remember as a child growing up I wasn’t in church. I didn’t become saved until I was an adult. I didn’t know any of this stuff until later on, and I was like, “That was discernment”! I had discernment! He (God) was giving me my warnings, He was giving me signals and I just completely didn’t pay any attention to it. It got to the point where I don’t even know why (laughing). It wasn’t that I was overlooking it because I was in a better situation and that I needed to be with this person. I was the one carrying the load. It gets to the point where we have to ask ourselves why are we doing this. That’s what I wanted women to know and to look out for, because not only are we going to be in this relationship, but it’s going to continue in a cycle, and we have to break it. For some reason I kept attracting the same men. Now it’s my fault. I used to think, “Oh it’s just one or so…it’s just a fluke”, but then I had to sit back and say that I’m making some bad choices. I decided that I am not going to pick another man. I am going to sit back and wait for my Prince Charming from God (laughing) Who will send him to me. If I miss the signal, push me down, do whatever you got to do, because I’m not moving. I wanted women to be aware of that, because if they (men) show it to us already, we really need to be able to pay attention to it. We’re not God, we can’t fix anybody, and it’s not our responsibility to. We can’t take that and put it on ourselves. We have to take people at face value. Yes, we can pray for people, yes we can do a lot of things for people, but we can’t think that we are going to substitute, that person is who they are. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 32


EM – As I was reading the chapter I saw that it was one thing after another. It starts off as small stuff, and I think that’s how we get caught up. We don’t think that it’s a big deal at first. However, little by little, the things you were encountering were beginning to escalate especially when it came to the issue with his son. SC – Right, that’s what we look out for. And we have a habit of involving too many people, and too many people get access into our lives. I took some bad advice from an aunt. She was like, “This is what’s going to happen”, and she tried to make it seem like it was a way of life, and I had to deal with it when I really didn’t have to. We just need to stop relying on everyone else’s opinion, and put it in God’s hands. What made me wake up was recognizing that a mother’s love for her children is endless. When it came to, “Well my kids don’t do this, so I’m not going to put up with someone else’s kid doing this”, that’s what took the case. Yet, it should have ended way sooner than that. EM – Absolutely! It was one of those moments where I was like, “Yes! She did it”! You had that victory! SC – I get so many people who tell me that my book is like a rollercoaster (laughing). They’re like, “One minute I’m crying, the next minute I’m laughing… You put us right in the story with you”.

EM – You definitely make it very relative.

SC – I decided that’s how it had to be. If it was going to help someone, it couldn’t be sugarcoated. Life is not sugarcoated. When you go through hard times, you’re going to go through hard times. If anyone was going to learn from what I did, that’s the way I had to put it out.

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EM – Yes ma’am you were very candid and very open and that’s what I appreciated about your book. It was very honest. You took me from the beginning of your life all the way to present time. I commend you for that, because that was very courageous.

SC – Thank you very much. It was hard because it actually put me back into the situations I lived through. It was hard, but I knew it had to be done.

EM – Another chapter that I found to be very interesting was, “Always seek God”, and it could be very taboo and touchy for some people in regards to the abuse of authority especially within the house of God. I want to read an excerpt that stood out to me:

“I realized that if you give a person control and authority if they are not ready for it, all of the worldly chaos will break loose; in this case, unfortunately, the place was throughout the house of the Lord”.

In this case there was money involved and comprising situations that you were placed in with this particular bishop of a church. When you spoke about people in positions of authority in a religious institution that may not have overcome their worldly weaknesses or shortcomings, how does one qualify himself or herself in your view, for such a position since most of us came from the world?

SC – That was a very touchy situation for me to write about, because I loved my church. I loved the church I went to; I loved the bishops and the church members. Therefore, it was very hard for me to write about that, but I was not the only one it HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 34


happened to. I happened to be the only one to speak out against it. I decided to do it, because it was really pulling at me. I didn’t write that chapter until the book was nearly finished. I really didn’t want to do it, because churches get such a bad name already. I didn’t want them to lump in one with the other. However, I knew that there were a lot of people leaving the presence of God because of that. When you’re betrayed the first thing you’re going to do is use that as an excuse, “These church folks are hypocrites”, or “These pastors are pimps”. That’s what you hear all of the time. People leave the church and then don’t go back to the presence of God. I decided to write the chapter, because we have God in us. We rely on too many people. We rely on that pastor; we rely on that minister as if they’re going to save our soul. They’re not the ones that our souls are going to be saved by, it’s God. I think I had to write this chapter, because I didn’t want people to leave on church and then jump into another. That’s not of God either. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself attached to. I just wanted to make it clear that I can sit at home, and I can go into the presence of God, myself. I seek God, myself. The funny thing about it is when I was in church I didn’t seek God, because I would go to my pastor and say, “Hey, pray for me”. I didn’t realize that I can pray for myself.

EM – That’s right! Yes ma’am!

SC – That’s why I decided that I had to write this chapter. They’re human beings, and because its family, it’s being passed down from mother and father to the child. I know that’s tradition, but I know it has to be done in an orderly fashion for the child to be in line. If he’s not in line I don’t think it should be passed down. That’s why I said sometimes you can get power before you’re supposed to have it. Not only that, he never put in his blood, sweat and tears to build that church. Hence, he doesn’t know how it is to maintain it.

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It was really, really hard for me, trust me, but what was so amazing is that I have received countless letters from church elders, ministers, the membership…every last one of them has sent me a letter saying, “Shanise, we knew this was going on, and we’re sorry that you had to experience this”. Not one person wrote me saying, “Why are you talking about my church”? I didn’t know what kind of feedback I would get, but it’s been positive feedback. You have some pastors who have been out in the world and all they know is how to hustle. You can’t hustle God. He (the pastor) is going to be responsible for every soul that left that church. He doesn’t realize that they’re held accountable more than we are.

EM – Yes ma’am. I wanted to end on this chapter, “Faith”, and you come across as if you are offering your readers positive affirmations. I’ll read just a little bit that stood out to me:

“I decided that today was going to be the start of my new beginning. You will see it in my attitude; I will walk with the boldness of God all over me. I know that God is with me and He will never leave nor forsake me. I will stay prayed up, I will stay in my word, and I will continue to walk towards the promises that God has shown me. Right now my bank account is in the negative and I don’t know how I will be able to pay my rent next month because when God said move He shoved me out the door. I will walk by faith and not by sight. It is very, very important that you understand my circumstances, because when I blossom I want you to know it is God and only God that has made it come to pass”.

I can pin that on my mirror! Those words are so powerful! We are dealing with the power of words here, and you are affirming this. You are for certain and you are convicted. I can feel that in the words you have written here. I believe that the way that you ended this particular part you want people to HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 36


know that it’s not what you’re doing but what God is doing for you and what He can do for us.

SC – Absolutely.

EM – I believe you touched on that at the very end as well where you said, “I want to make all of this clear and lay it out for you because when my situation changes it will be all because of God and I want all the praise to go to Him. You will see what God can do”.

SC – Exactly.

EM – I think that’s important especially in the condition our society is now in. When you say to walk by faith and not by sight, I have a question about that to address those who may not have grown up in the church or in a religious institution who may not have a firm grip on scripture or the understanding of scripture. For those who may be in an abusive relationship, a violent environment, or may be in complete and total chaos, how can they walk in faith if all they have in sight is darkness?

SC – That’s what we have to do, because a lot of people say that, “God promised this or that”. We have people prophesying to us daily, if we allow them to. However, God’s not going to do anything if you’re sitting on your butt not doing anything. You have to walk towards your dreams regardless of how it’s going to look. I said that specifically because people say, “Oh Shanise, you’re so good…you’re so [this]… you’re so [that]”. No, you don’t know me. You just know what’s on HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 37


the outside and what you see. Therefore, I want them to know that if God is going to do that for me, He can do it for you. Yet, you have to put in the same work; you can’t wait for it to happen. You have to let God see you walking towards that dream before He will try and bless you. I had to make that clear, because it is faith, and I know if you try to look at sight it’s going to look like, “I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this”, and you want to take the easy road out. My family told me after they read my book that a lot them didn’t even know what I was going through until they read my book, not even my own mother. She said, “I was amazed at everything you went through and that you didn’t become an alcoholic. You didn’t get on drugs; you didn’t try to kill yourself”. I said, “When you look at things worldly and you look at things through faith, it’s two different things”. A person in the world, when the stock market crashes, they’re jumping off of buildings. However, when we have God in our heart, God isn’t going to let us do that. Yes, it’s going to be stuff that will come up against us. Satan can’t do anything that God doesn’t allow for him to do. That’s what I want to let everyone know. It may look like you don’t know how you’re going to make it. I was there. I did not know how we were going to eat or pay my bills. Not only did I have faith, I said now I have to do my part and I have to try to put something into action. I hope I answered your question (laughing). EM – Absolutely, because I wanted a very realistic response and you definitely gave that. SC – People are going to sit there and think that things are going to come. It’s hard. It is hard. It hasn’t gotten any better. People keep saying that the market’s going to get better. It hasn’t, but you just can’t sit there. We’re going to go through stuff. That’s life. I tell people you’re not going to have a testimony without having a test. You have to first endure that test. I got my testimony. People tell me I should put that one a shirt (laughing). We can’t stay there. As long as you’re in motion and continue to move forward, and God sees you’re trying to progress He’s going to bless you. We can’t sit there and worry about what everybody else has, and cry about it. We have to see what we can do to make the situation better. I have men hitting (flirting) on me asking me why I’m single. I’m single by choice. I have a NFL player asking to take me out, but for what? He’s too young. He’s old enough just to be my daughter’s friend. We have got to stand for something. My thing is, I don’t care about how much money someone else has. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 38


If you want to show me how to get it, that’s one thing, but if you think I have to be with you to get it that’s another . I try to let these young girls know to stop trying to be the groupies, stop trying to be with someone because they have money. I encounter people like that every day and they don’t move me. It’s not what you have that’s going to move me it’s what God wants me to have. EM – Yes ma’am. I have one more question. At the end of the book you stated that you want us to have a very realistic view of where you were at that time, which was pretty much how your book ends. However, I want to cheat a little bit and ask you, once things started rolling after the release of your book what doors have been opened for you as a result? SC – Wow. Since the release of my book I have been approached several times to do my own television show. I have co-hosted on an Atlanta television show. I’ve done quite a few episodes. I’ve been offered slots on radio stations. I’ve been traveling to speak to different events as far as domestic violence situations. I’ve been in front of a lot of people, and right now I’m about to go on tour to continue speaking to people. I’m like, “God, I do the car business, but I got to walk into what You have put in front of me”, (laughing). So my situation has completely changed. I went to being a part of a car dealership to being in media now. I first went on as a guest on the show (in Atlanta), then I was asked to come back and co -host the show, and then I was asked to be on the show permanently (laughing). I’m talking about a talk show being in front of millions of people. I have such blessings as with you guys with magazines and radio shows. Everyone has just embraced this story, and I’ve tried to make it reach as many people as it can. I’m so humbled and honored to talk with you guys especially people who have read the book, because I really don’t have to do any talking; you guys do all of the talking (laughing). God has been opening up so many doors, and people are already starting to ask about my second book. The book is in me right now. I’m thinking it and I’m writing it as I speak. What I’m going to do is keep up with where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I’m going to tell people about my journey now with the (second) book. I have a lot of authors reaching out to me right now to help them promote their book and everything like that. I said, “Why don’t I just put that into a book, and let them know of my journey and what happened with me”? HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 39


The doors are really opening. I’ve had to turn down some events, because I still have kids who are in school. Yet, I get to travel now into different states and speak in front of women and in front of men. EM –Is there anything else you would like to add? How can the readers keep in touch with you and follow you on your tour and other upcoming events? SC – Yes. If any of the book clubs would like to make my book their selection, I would definitely love that. Not just for the selection, but to also set up a date when I can speak to the club, even if it’s via Skype. I want to be a part of their sessions. EM – Yes ma’am and how may they reach you? SC - They can visit me online at www.shanisecraft.com, and my email address is shanise@shanisecraft.com. They can see the events I have now, and they can also request me to come where they are. If they order the book from the website, I’ll be autographing them personally. I’m on Facebook and Twitter and both of them are under my name, Shanise Craft. I’m on MySpace and I’m on LinkedIn EM - What an honor it has been speaking with you! Thank you so much for your time and for putting together such a beautifully and brilliantly written book. SC – Thank you it was my pleasure!

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Lessons Learned for Kevin Durant: "People can say this and that. I learn to just tune it out and just play my game" By Jesse Muhammad No, don’t worry: I am not trying to jump on the Oklahoma Thunder bandwagon with this post. Most who know me, know that I haven’t rooted for a NBA team since Houston broke up our back-to-back Rockets championship teams. Matter of fact, I just started back watching more NBA games within the last two seasons. Although I was once a recovering basketball-a-holic, I stopped watching it. Yes, it was that deep. (smile) However, even if I don’t watch sports that does not mean I’m not studying the lives of certain athletes, and even entertainers, who have caught my eye based upon the way they manage their lives—in and away from the spotlight. Everyone’s life is either an example or a warning. It's the everyday decisions we make that either build our will or destroy it. Kevin Durant caught my attention during his days at the University of Texas. His versatility on the court was awesome, but I also noticed he was extremely humble—barely showing much emotion. He reminded me of how Tim Duncan was when he first entered the league and people would call him “too soft” because he did not express enough emotion on the court. Well, look at Duncan’s career now. What would have happened to him had he just listened to his critics and became the person they wanted him to be versus the person he knew he was? Durant’s star is rising quickly. I admire the way he’s just taking it all in and not getting easily swept away by the applause, adulation and fame. One of my friends recently emailed me an article about him and to my surprise he actually considered quitting the game of basketball twice before entering UT. Yes, twice. He simply got tired of the basketball work and the other time he was disappointed that college scouts kept overlooking him. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 42


Who drove him to stick to it? His mother. A single Black mother who worked late night shifts to take care of him and his brother. She believed that one day those scouts would regret overlooking her baby. She was right. He is without question one of the best in the game. But what I most admire is his humility and quiet confidence. Following their Game 1 victory over the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals, Durant said in an interview, “I have faith in all those things that I do day in and day out: Coming in, working hard, believing in myself and my teammates, and believing in the system. Whatever happens after that, it happens, as long as I know that I come in and give it my all every single day, I can't worry about what other people say or expectations they put on me. It's just all about how I view myself and how my teammates view me, and we'll go from there." In response to criticism, he said “I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything, but I really don't care what people say outside the locker room, outside of this organization, what I need to do or what I didn't do. I really don't care. You know, I'm a guy that lets the game come to me but is also aggressive at the same time. I know when to take shots, when to make the right play. People can say this and that. I learn to just tune it out and just play my game….Just got to be ready for the next day and prepare myself right for whatever happens.” With that type of attitude, you can’t lose. Let’s not give up on ourselves despite the challenges because we never know when our moment will come. Stay dedicated, believe in your skills and don’t get carried away with the applause. (smile)

(Follow Brother Jesse on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/brotherjesse)

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“The purpose of One Woman is two-fold. The conference will equip entrepreneurs with real, actionable, practical knowledge to help them survive and thrive in today’s economy. Secondly, One Woman creates an opportunity for contractors and suppliers to meet and discover opportunities to work together”. —TBA Chairwoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Member of Congress. For more information about the One Woman Conference, the presenters, the workshops, and to register for the 3rd Annual One Woman Conference 2011, please visit www.onewomanconference.com. To learn more about the Texas Business Alliance, go to www.texasbusinessalliance.org. You may also visit MWH Public Relations, the Woman One Conference event coordinator at www.mwhpublicrelations.com.

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ASK MS. MAVIS LICENSED CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY COUNSELOR

7

Tips: How to Fill the Void of Loss In A Natural & Healthy Way

This topic is one that could take up several pages, but I will do my best to address it here in my column. The pain of loss can create a void that we attempt to fill with many unhealthy things or behaviors. For some people they hide it under a veneer of showiness and try to look cool. They dress to impress and get into serious debt just to make it look like they are happy, when in reality, their hearts are breaking. Suffering a loss is always followed by the stages of grief and it is critical that we allow ourselves to go through each of those stages in order to come out of it in a healthy and whole state of being. Here are a few tips:

1

Identify what you're using to try to fill the void. For some people this could be alcohol, illegal drugs, or even prescription drugs to try to make his or her self feel better. Some people eat and eat to get that feeling of comfort. Some people use entertainment as their drug of choice or sex. The

point is, all those external things may feel like they temporarily fill the void, but once they are gone, you realize it’s still there.

2

Realize that you're good enough. No matter what you're using to try to fill the void what you need to hear right now is you do not need that stuff. You really don't need it to feel better. Actually, by using all of these things to numb yourself, you're actually prolonging the agony! You aren't addressing the roots of how you feel! There is a better way.

3

Fill your life with things that interest you outside of work and obligations. Hobbies and special interests are great ways to fill the void. It is very easy to get in a “comfortable rut” by engaging in the same activities and never pursuing our true interest or take the time to do things we really want to do. I like the idea of making a “bucket list”; things I want to do before I kick the bucket. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 46


Take that list out and do at least one thing every few months, it will work wonders in filling that void.

4

Surround yourself with people who enhance your life experiences. Negative people do nothing to help you experience the joy of living. Following this tip sometimes means getting away from people that we normally hang out with and socialize. We can become so entrenched in the routine of it until we stop noticing the negative effects they really have on us. It’s important that we do a periodic check of the company we keep, especially when we are in need of positive reinforcement and encouragement.

5

Practice gratitude for all that is in your life. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, it only focuses your energy onto what you think you do not have, as opposed to focusing on what you do have. This tip is critical because it can serve to fill the void with something good for your mind, body and soul. An attitude of gratitude is the best medicine for anything that ails you and leaves you feeling fulfilled and happy with life.

6

Spiritual exercises like meditation and prayer allow you to connect to yourself, higher self and higher power. Some people may frown at this tip, but it is strictly a personal thing. I’m not suggesting that you believe in what someone else believes in, I’m just suggesting that you believe in something greater than yourself. Otherwise, you will have the mistaken notion that nothing is greater than you, which may prove detrimental to you.

7

Lastly, I must not neglect to offer a most important tip; that there is help. It's priceless information to know that there is help, and it’s a courageous act to step out in faith and get it. All you need to do is find the appropriate professional and contact him or her. They will work with you to get through your problem, and get to the other side. There is absolutely no shame in engaging a therapist when you realize you are worth it and want to live. Be Blessed, Ms. Mavis

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A New Approach to Hip Hop & Education By Tony Muhammad

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In recent years, it has become trendy for many education specialists throughout the country to incorporate Hip Hop as a valuable teaching tool. While these measures have produced both very exciting curricula for many school districts and highly esteemed independently-based outreach community programs, as conscientious educators who have been stimulated to become the inspirational voices that we are today to millions of youth because of Hip Hop, it is absolutely crucial that our creative fire continue to evolve and expand. Truly, the work must transcend the status of mere “trend” and become more of a movement and ultimately an integral part of our culture. In analyzing the current popular and corporate controlled state of the music, it is understandable why many who do not understand Hip Hop beyond its surface level in the present may in ignorance be opposed to the concept of Hip Hop expressed in the classroom; as in the case with recent curricula initiatives in the states of Texas and Arizona. For educators that grew up in what is termed as “The Golden Era” of the culture (late 80s/early 90s) Hip Hop was much deeper than just music. It was as Chuck D of the legendary group Public Enemy put it, “The CNN of the streets.” For many of us that grew up in that era, Hip Hop gave us our first true history lessons and compelled us to look deeper within our roots and deeper understanding as to what our true culture is. In fact, hundreds of Hip Hop albums at the time included samples of speeches by leaders such as Malcolm X and the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan. Some of this continued into the mid to late 90s, which is termed by some as the Wu-Tang era, when the music became more grimier in its expression but still provided enough light to provoke many us to question our selfidentity and true purpose in life. Paralleling CNN, the popular Hip Hop of the past decade has been void of almost all pertinent information. As media mogul Ted Turner has noted, CNN has become “personality -based” with its various news talk show hosts and no longer a viable news source, focused more on ratings than information. Hip Hop music has also been altered for commercial purposes, not for the sale of the art in and of itself, but the products the owners of record labels and their associates have invested in; namely liquor, fashion (including but not limited to clothes that sexually arouse) and prisons. And the artists themselves, the more ignorant consumerist expression they have, the better. As adults who became inspired to become teachers because of the knowledge and wisdom that we learned through Hip Hop, we may find ourselves in many ways, day in and day out, judging our own students because they may like the ignorant expression of the popular music of today. This is problematic because at the mere perception of being judged, students tend to shut down from communicating and they tend to look at the adults who judge them as old has-beens who are not “up with the times.” For a teacher to be stuck in a “pioneer era” or a “golden era” or even a “Wu-Tang era” is what the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan refers to as a “ time warp.” The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan says on page 59 in Closing The Gap: There is a saying, “the only thing that is permanent in creation is change.” As long as we live, we are engulfed in an eternal process of change. Sometimes, however, we get locked into an era of time that gives us great comfort, because in that era of time we became possessors of certain knowledge that acquits us in that time period and we become successful. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 49


This type of thinking violates the mere principle of Hip Hop as defined by KRS-One in the song Hip Hop Lives. He says to be “Hip” means to be “up-date and relevant” and “Hop” meaning “movement” or moving based on what is known. It does not mean that we have to accept all the views and attitudes of our students. It just means that we need to change our methodological approach to teaching and incorporate a style that compels the student, through selfdiscovery, to challenge his/her own thinking in regards to interests, attitudes and values. In these scenarios, the student would be at the center of learning and the teacher would perform more as a coach facilitating the process. In addition, other activities can be developed such as having students write rhymes (or poetry) to history lessons and have them flow over their favorite beats. Conscientious lyrics of the past (as well as the present) can be used to facilitate understanding the development and evolution of realities in the world so that gaps between the generations can be lessened through the qualitative teacher and student interaction. Through this approach to teaching, surely students have more of an opportunity through active participation to develop a greater sense of responsibility and consequently stand a greater chance of giving birth to a new expression of Hip Hop that will eclipse the knowledge and wisdom expressed in all previous forms of the music. This can be a reality if we truly desire it and if we seek it! Be Blessed, Tony Muhammad

Tony Muhammad teaches Social Studies at an innercity high school in Miami and is currently involved in The MIA (Music Is Alive) Campaign for the development of the National Hip Hop Day of Service on August 11th . Tony is most noted for his work as publisher of Urban America Newspaper (2003 – 2007) and co-organizer of the Organic Hip Hop Conference. He is also a member of Difference Makers, Inc. and FLASC (Florida Africana Studies Consortium).

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Macaroni and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken, ice creamâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;these are some of the foods women turn to for comfort when we're feeling emotionally strained, depleted or depressed. These foods can make us feel better for a few minutes, until the negative mood swings back into action. That's often a result of the way certain foods raise and lower blood sugar or disrupt our bodily systems in other ways. Eating too much of one type of food or not enough of a certain nutrient can have both shortand long-term effects on mood. Yet there are terrific foods that bring real, long-lasting comfort when we are at risk of, or struggling with, stress or depression. Reaching for a banana topped with almond or apple butter instead of a cookie can begin a simple, life-altering shift that may help you ward off mood problems as well as lessen the impact if they do occur."The choice you make at the plate

absolutely influences how you're going to feel," says Kathie Swift, MS, RD, LDN, co-director of the Food as Medicine program of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC. "Food is a very powerful modifier when it comes to depression and the brain." By selecting foods for meals and snacks that contain a balance of several beneficial nutritive elements, you can create what Swift calls a "depression defense portfolio" and strengthen your brain and body in ways that boost emotional health. Magnesium for Mood Gail Platts of Gorham, Maine, discovered the power of using food to help with mood when she was in college and interested in natural ways to manage anxiety and depression. She started eating more sunflower seeds, fish and other magnesium-rich foods, because she read they could help. Swift concurs with that idea, explaining that magnesium helps improve mood and energy by producing and supporting HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 53


the brain chemical serotonin. Women frequently have insufficient amounts of magnesium in their system, she adds.

Foods high in magnesium include avocados, spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, salmon, and grains such as oats and brown rice. "Just being aware that some foods are better choices for stress and depression influences my food selection on a regular basis," Platts says.

You need to consume carbohydrates every day to fuel your brain properly, but that doesn't mean eating more sweets, known as simple carbohydrates (or simple sugars) or enduring the related fast rise and swift plunge in blood sugar levels. Think complex carbohydrates (starches), such as whole-grain products, vegetables, and beans. Complex carbs contain fiber, which helps slow blood sugar level changes and reduce negative effects on mood. "Sugars break down easily. Complex carbohydrates are more difficult to break down. They have more of a smooth curve than a roller coaster," says Bonnie TaubDix, MA, RD, CDN, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Friendly Fats and Carbohydrates Avoiding fat seems like a nutritional commandment for good health, but it's a concept that's been woefully misunderstood. Plantbased fats are vital for brain health, in part because they keep cell membranes fluid, Swift says. "The brain is very rich and we need to feed it the right type of fats," she says. "You don't want to shortchange it." Good fat sources: avocados, a wide range of seeds and virgin olive oil. Similarly, many women have shunned carbohydrates as a way to lose weight. Yet we often crave certain carbohydrate-rich foods (think sweets) when we're depressed or stressed because carbohydrates produce serotonin, which floods us with good feelings and calmness. That blood sugar spike is followed quickly by a crashâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;often compounded by feelings of guilt about the enormous piece (or two) of cake we've just eaten.

Arlene Lee sought to handle the stress of graduate school by changing her diet to incorporate complex carbs such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, and wheat pasta. Her food changes and eating plan were "great for the stress," says Lee. "It gave me an even level of energy with a remarkable sense of calm." To get the most sustained energy, TaubDix recommends combining a complex carbohydrate with protein, another important nutritional depression fighter. Her suggestions for snacks to keep you going: low -fat cheese and whole grain crackers, turkey on whole-grain toast, or yogurt. (This article is an excerpt that was taken from HealthyWomen.org) HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 54


Harlem 411

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You Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Need A Backyard to Grow A Garden One on One w/ Ray Muhammad,

Certified Urban

Gardening Specialist

Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): What is Muhammad Organic Farms and what types of produce does it provide? What is your certification and how did farming become a passion of yours? Ray J. Muhammad (RJM): Muhammad Organic Farms is an Urban Farm located in the inner city of Houston, Texas. We provide all types of produce that can be grown in this region and in the current season. I'm currently a Certified Organic Gardening Specialist, and I just recently graduated from Growing Powers five month course in Urban Farming. Farming became a passion of mine by having the desire to be a servant for the people, and God lead me in this direction. About five years ago I decided I was going to help Brother Kelvin Muhammad on his dairy farm, which at that time located in Alvin, Texas. While I was there, I decided I didn't like cows; therefore, I looked for something else. I decided I'll try helping out in the garden. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where it started. EM: Recently we've seen an increase in the general population growing their own foods and taking an active role in living healthier lives. However, not everyone resides in a house with a backyard for such gardens. How can people who live in apartments or townhomes facilitate organic gardens? RJM: Container gardening is the way if you are in a apartment or a townhome with a porch or balcony. The good thing about container gardening is you can use any container. Just put hole at the bottom to drain water. EM: There are countless products that have "organic" on the label. Are organic items in the grocery store 100% safe? How can we be sure that what we are buying is indeed certified organic? RJM: The USDA requires 70% organic ingredients to be labeled "made with organic ingredients" and for it to be labeled organic. To use the USDA organic seal it has to be 95% organic. Yet, last year I read an article stating that the USDA had been missing some of the inspections, so the best thing to do and to know that it's 100% organic is to grow it yourself. HURT 2 HEALING | JUNE/JULY 2012 56


EM: How much time and manual labor is involved when considering building an organic garden? How expensive is it? Does Muhammad Organic Farms build gardens if time or ability is an issue? What are the details in this service? RJM: The amount of time and work you have to put in depends on how many raised beds you construct. So it could be anywhere from 5 minutes a day or an hour. It is not that expensive at all; less than $40 a bed. Starting in August we will be offering a service where we would come build and maintain your bed. EM: The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan declared 2011 to be the Year of the Farm. What exactly does this mean and how are you taking an active role in supporting the efforts of Minister Farrakhan (i.e. workshops, classes, etc.)? RJM: When I heard the Minister say that 2011 was the year of the farm, I was so excited I had tears in my eyes. To hear that what I was doing and planning to do was right in line with the time was amazing. In that same lecture he talked about the health effects of eating foods with these high levels of pesticide residue, which illustrated to me that the people needed to learn this information so that they can make informed decisions about the food they consume. So at Muhammad Organic Farms we offer seasonal classes and workshops to help people understand the pros of growing and eating organic foods. EM: How can we learn more about organic/urban gardening? How may the readers contact you? RJM: Beside the classes that we offer, which we will be offering on a monthly bases, there are plenty of YouTube videos and books that they can get information from. Visit us online at www.muhammadorganicfarms.com. I can be reached at muhammadfarms@yahoo.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/ muhammadorganicfarm EM: Thank you very much, and may Allah (God) continue to bless you!

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T

he definition of Overcome is to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations,

JUST GIRLS ACADEMY (Houston, Texas) ACADEMICS-FEMININITY-MODESTY-VIRTUE-CULTURE-REFINEMENT


11 Ways To Handle Stress By: Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc.

*Take a deep breath.

*Think positive.

*Talk with someone.

*Relax and chill out!

*Let anger out - Scream!

*Let go and Let God.

*Get a massage!

*Take a trip!

*Do some fun things-Laugh!

*Exercise and eat nutritiously. HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010 60

*Forgive yourself and others.


Our Cure Is In the Kitchen Natural Home Remedies for Common Health Problems Issues w/ Acne Egg Whites Egg whites are effective in drawing up oil from problematic areas. After removing make-up or grim with soap or a cleansing lotion, separate the yolk from the white as you would when baking a cake. Use a cotton swab to apply the egg white to the blemish and, usually within 24 to 48 hours you will notice an improvement. Oatmeal Mix up a bowl of oatmeal and allow it to cool. Spread the oatmeal on your face evenly and cover it with a clean, damp washcloth for 15 minutes. Wash off. Repeat this process each day for a week (severe acne). Vinegar or Lemon Juice Vinegar and lemon juice contain natural acidic properties that dry up oil and kill bacteria. After soaking a cotton ball in vinegar or lemon juice, apply to face or affected area. For medical concerns, Consult your physician.

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Safiyyah’s Sweets & Treats

Banana-Nectarine Delight Don’t reach for the bag of cookies, cupcakes, or tub of ice cream to sooth emotional anguish or those “monthly moments”. This recipe is sure to do the trick with the same sense of sweetness, yet, with more nutritional benefits. Ingredients: 1 whole banana, peeled 1/4 cup granola oats or a crushed granola bar 2 nectarines, peeled 2 tablespoons of butter Tools: Blender STEP 1 Semi-melt the butter in a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat. While butter is melting slice both nectarines (discard the seeds). Place sliced nectarines into melting butter, stirring occasionally. Cook for five minutes or until softened. Remove from heat. STEP 2 Pour the nectarine butter sauce into the blender and blend until creamy. Add a little milk if needed for creamier consistency. STEP 3 Take your peeled banana (on a plate) and pour the nectarine butter sauce over the entire banana. Sprinkle the granola oats on top of the sauce. STEP 4 ENJOY!!!!! HURT 2 HEALING | AUGUST 2011 62


Links / Resources Stay Connected Wholistic Stress Control Institute, Inc. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence American Holistic Health Association Houston Association of Black Psychologists American Bar Association: Commission on Domestic Violence (Statistics) Social Issues Research Center Association for Death Education and Counseling

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Special Thanks… I would first like to thank Almighty God, Allah, Who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, His exalted and living Christ, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and Their divine reminder and guide, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for the courage and inspiration to compile such writings and subjects for the betterment of myself and others, THANK YOU! I would like to extend my deepest and most sincere thanks to all of the contributors to this month’s edition; Shanise Craft Regina Kelly Niedria Kenny Tony Muhammad Benjamin Muhammad Ray J. Muhammad Mavis Jackson Felicia “Lady 4.0” Watson Nation of Islam The Final Call News The Ministry of Justice Connect the Dots The Elevated Places Liberated Sisters Sounds of Soul Harlem 411 Wise Intelligent Brother Jesse Blog Brother Hannibal Blog National Black United Front Ministry of Justice

To ALL of the Hurt2Healing supporters...I cannot find the words adequate enough to express to you of how much I appreciate all of the love and encouragement you give! I don’t take for granted the time you lend to read this publication! THANK YOU! HURT 2 HEALING | NOVEMBER 2010 64


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June.July 2012  

Overcoming Pain & Disappointment

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