Spark!

Spark! is dedicated to igniting thought, provoking conversation, and moving individuals into a deeper reflection of life. The SPARK! is just the beginning of the journey. Will you let your SPARK! burn brighter and expand your horizon or will you let it simmer out and dissipate? BrotherWord is here to help SPARK! your deepest desires, motivate you to a higher plain of thought, and help broaden your expectations beyond your circumstances.

Motivational Monday

BrotherWord - Make Your Own Path

Opportunity waits on no one and unless you are willing to face the challenge head on, you will constantly miss the mark.  Those that succeed the most are those that not only seize opportunity when it appears, but are prepared to capitalize at a moment’s notice.  But it’s the rare few that make their own opportunity that really stand out!

With so much controversy and hoopla over #Oscars2016 and the lack of nominees for African-Americans, it shines a tremendous spotlight on how important it is to carve out your own path and make your own way.  Not every breakthrough is by traditional means, i.e., go to school, develop a trade, work your way up the ladder, and retire happily.  Sometimes the path to success means paving the road yourself, a leap of faith, or building your empire from the ground up through unconventional means.

Many have heard the familiar stories about Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and so many others, but what escapes most is that the path that lead to their success was a lonely, grueling, and self-inflicting journey that they chose.  They decided at some point that in order to find success and their own happiness, they would have to build their own lane and ride it to the end no matter where it led.

In a world where too many are waiting for handouts or depending on someone else to give them a chance, those that have chosen to chase their dreams have discovered what to some seemed to be an elusive chase meant breaking down walls and barriers and paving their own road.  If you want it, make it happen.  If you are passionate about it, pursue it.  If you want to succeed, be willing to map your own success.  If you want to be happy, do not be afraid to follow where it leads.  And finally, if the road does not already exist, build it yourself!

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

BrotherWord - Failures

Is Doing Right Ever Wrong?

BrotherWord - Right

In a world where people are quick to turn a blind eye and are reluctant to help others out of fear of being sued for their good samaritan efforts, when does doing the right thing become so wrong?  On the heels of celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., who courageously championed doing right no matter the consequences, how can anyone justify a 12 year old child for stepping up in a moment of crisis to save her friend?

That is the dilemma Indiyah Rush, an honor roll student at Schrade Middle School in Garland, TX is facing.  Indiyah, having suffered with asthma since the age of five, immediately recognized her friend wheezing, gasping for air, and on the verge of an attack herself, and offered her friend, Alexis Kyle, her inhaler.  An inhaler!  Young Alexis, by all accounts, was gasping for air and in distress and Indiyah helped her friend and is quoted as saying, “I was only trying to save her life.”  And for this, both ladies were suspended and are now facing a month in an alternative school for their actions.  (more…)

Don’t Be Afraid To be Great!

BrotherWord - Paradoxical Commandments“The future we want — opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. It will only happen if we fix our politics.” ~President Barack Obama – State Of the Union Address 2016

Politics aside, the aforementioned statement can apply in all facets of life.  The future you desire is very attainable, but like with many things in life, it will require fortitude, perseverance, and an ability to work with others, learn from them, and prosper despite them.

The President touched on many subjects tonight, many of which can and will be dissected and ridiculed, but no one can deny his tenacious approach dispelling the naysayers and putting all others on alert that no matter the obstacle or the challenge, he will not succumb to the barrage of attacks or turn a blind eye to the blatant disrespect or coward away from the threats.  POTUS made it very clear that no matter what may lie ahead, he is ready to go toe to toe with whatever may come.  He put the members of Congress, the American public, and the world on notice that he is not afraid to be great!

And neither should you.  Life is full of obstacles and those who will try to prevent you from reaching your prime objective, but do not be deterred.  Greatness lies in all of us and if you are not afraid to pursue it, it can be reached. In the paradoxical commandments, it speaks about pushing forward and regardless of what may arise, do it anyway!

President Barack Obama has the weight of a country on his shoulders and although none of us will know the pressure and stress that comes in such a position, we each can take solace in watching it done with elegance and grace.  Whatever challenge or challenger you face, do not be afraid to be great and despite the fear, doubts, or unreadiness, do it anyway.  

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”  ~ William Shakespeare

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”  ~ Albert Einstein

Perverted Power

BrotherWord - Perverted Power

BrotherWord-Mature Content

 

The following material contains mature subject matter and may not be suitable for all audiences.

Editorial:  There has been a recent rash of horrifying incidents in which so-called leaders have used their misguided power and influence to manipulate, exploit, and tragically, kill the very members who look up to them, follow them, and depend on them to better their lives.  What makes this situation perverse and sickening is that these horrendous acts were done in the name of religion.   (more…)

Motivational Monday

BrotherWord - Eagle

When God pushes you to the edge of difficulty, trust Him fully because two things can happen.  Either He can catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly!

Are you familiar with the story of the mother eagle?  She provides a nest for her eaglets, nurturing them, feeding them, protecting, and ensuring that they are well taken care of and have an opportunity to grow and experience what life has to offer.  But this is not a lifelong setting and soon the realities of life start to unfold.  Soon the mother eagle will take her offspring in her mouth, fly out the nest and release them!  As the baby eagle begins to descend, she swoops in, catching them and returning them to the nest.  The process is repeated over and over and she begins to disassemble the nest in the process as well.  

The purpose is multi-faceted:

1.) Encourage the offspring to fly and fulfill their potential.  By dropping them, they quickly learn how fleeing life can be and how at a moment’s notice you could be sitting up high and have it all come tumbling down.  In order to soar in life, you have to spread your wings and fly.

2.) To show them that life is not about being comfortable and no matter how much others may provide a comfortable environment, at some point each of us has to leave home and discover our own paths.

3.) That no matter how far we fall, those that love us and care about us will be there to catch us no matter what.  We all will fall short and at one point or another come crashing down, but there will still be those who care who will be there to soften the blow and rescue us for certain doom.

4.) To not be afraid of our potential and even if we are afraid, to overcome it.  We each have to discover who we are and what we are capable of and the only way to do that is my stepping out on faith!

Like the eaglets, many of us want to be at ease, no difficulties, and coasting through life, but it is the challenges of life that shape us and mold us into who we are destined to become.  Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.  

The challenge today is to let go of anything or anyone that is holding you back, anything that is stopping your from fulfilling your destiny, anything that is prevented you from spreading your wings and flying.  If it is not challenging you, it is not growing you, and anything that is not growing you is causing you to become stagnant and decay.  As uncomfortable and frightening as the ledge may seem, it isn’t until you take that leap that you realize you don’t have to fall, but instead roam the sky and discover new horizons.

“In the ashes of adversity, lies opportunity.” ~ S.L. Coelho

I Am An Overcomer!

Humans of New YorkPosted @HumansOfNewYork is the story of a man who refused to settle.  It is one thing to know what you want out of life and a complete other to go after it with everything you have and without reservation or hesitation.  To achieve is good, but to overcome is inspiring.  Enjoy and know that you too are an overcomer!

“I was a maître d’ at a restaurant for thirteen years. But one week I got a really bad case of pneumonia that put me in the hospital. While I was lying in that hospital bed, I was thinking about how I really didn’t want to go back to work. Then that motivational speaker came on TV. You know– the one that has all those teeth in his mouth. And he said: ‘Think back to what made you happy when you were young! That’s what you should be doing!’ Well I grew up in the country, and I always had a lot of dogs, so I thought that nothing would make me happier than to be a dog walker. But I knew I needed to distinguish myself. So I decided to make a uniform. I smoked a joint and came up with this outfit. I wanted people to look at me and think: ‘If this man is walking our dog, and there’s some sort of major disaster, he’s going to survive. He’s going to fish for those dogs. He’s going to build a bunker and shelter those dogs until it’s safe to bring them home.’ After I finished the design, I got four of my friends to wear the uniform, and we borrowed all the neighbors’ dogs, and we walked them down 5th avenue while handing out business cards. I got five customers that first day.” 

I Am An Overcomer!

What Did She Say?

BrotherWord - What She Said

“My grandmother told me that, ‘The man is the stem, and the woman is the flower… He must always be looking up at her. He’s the root, and she’s the blossom from that.’” ~ Jill Scott

Ladies, BrotherWord is reaching out to you to get your opinion and help me figure this one out.  Jill made the comment above and trying to get to the bottom of what she really meant and whether or not you agree, disagree, or if there is even any validity to the statement.

Not knowing exactly what Ms. Scott meant and definitely not trying to put words in her mouth, I would surmise that her grandmother’s statement and the underlying meaning she was conveying is based on the idea that men choose their significant other and like a stem on a flower, based on how sturdy he is in his conviction and decision, it will ultimately determine how the flower blossoms.

The stem of a flower supports the flower acts like a plumbing system, conducting water and nutrients from the roots and food in the form of glucose from the leaves to other parts; holds it upright and steady; and is the base and the foundation in which the flower is deeply rooted.  Taken this analogy to a literal meaning, it is easy to see when a man chooses his mate, he is agreeing to be priest, provider, and protector, supporting and developing his delicate flower, providing whatever is necessary to sustain and help it grow, and doing all within its power to protect this precious possession.

Following that logic, the man is the root, deeply dug in, grounded, spiritually connected to the earth, and life flows through the stem allowing her to blossom and flourish.  If he is the stem though, does he always have to look up to her, the blossom?  Does the blossom never look down to the stem, thanking him for his constant efforts to uplift her?  All the work the stem does and it not get any recognition or thanks?

I understand the each has a part in the growth process and one may have a little more than the other, but are they not equally important?  Ladies, and gentleman, what do you think?  Is the stem (the man) built to do all the work, provide everything that is needed or wanted, hold the flower (the woman) up constantly supporting it while the flower blossoms, is admired for its beauty and radiance, and receives all of the accolades and praise? 

Leave your comment here or @BrotherWord on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Let’s keep the conversation going and share your thoughts on what purpose you think the stem and flower play.

Test Of a Man

BrotherWord - Character

The test of a man is the fight that he makes, the grit that he daily shows;

the way that he stands upon his feet, and takes life’s numerous bumps and blows… 

Character can be described as the mental and moral fiber that is distinctive to an individual.  It is the thing that makes a person uniquely who they are and separates them from everyone else.  But most importantly, character is the one trait that defines us at our core and comes to the forefront at the most crucial of times.  Do we fold when it gets tough, act out when life throws obstacles at us, allow others to “take us out of character,” or do we rise above the worst life has to offer, fighting and clawing with everything in us to prevail and overcome. 

The Josephson Institute talks about the six pillars of character and by using a color code, it breaks down character into six major categories – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.  

Each category provides a meaningful definition of what builds character and why it is so important to maintain one’s character.  Once character has been tarnished, it will follow you the rest of your life.  Ironically, character is developed over the span of a person’s life and is not something that happens over night.  Study the character assessment, determine what you possess and what is lacking, and start building the person you want to be.

Come back soon as we put the six pillars to test and find out how each one affects us on their own and how they work together!

“Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“A good name will shine forever.” ~ Proverb

“A man’s character is like his shadow, which sometimes follows and sometimes precedes him, and which is occasionally longer, occasionally shorter, than he is.” ~ Madame de la Rochejuquelein

BrotherWord - 6 Pillars of Character

Tell Your Story

BrotherWord - Tell Your Story

When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” ~ Harley Davidson

A musician’s first album is always their best.  It is their life’s story, the pain, the glory, the heartbreak, the victories, the highs and the lows and everything in between.  It is a culmination of hustle and desire, the blood, sweat and tears of pursuing a dream, a passion that burns deep within and comes flooding out with a force so magnanimous it is hard to contain, and a humbled spirit that never accepted no or rejection.  When finally given a chance to tell their story and pour it out on wax, art is born.  No different for a writer.

As writers we pour our souls out through the pen that paints a prolific picture on paper (or the computer screen – lol).  Scribe, griot, narrator, voice of the mistreated and misunderstood, or storyteller.  No matter how depicted, a writer finds freedom in allowing his or her pen to bleed with syllables and soliloquies that supersede mere conjecture or random thought, but instead take us on a spiritual, emotional, and physical ride that surpasses what was once seen or imagined.  A writer’s greatest gift is bringing the reader into the writer’s world, luring them in, captivating them, and holding their conscious captive for the duration, while permeating their subconscious well after they have finished reading.  If you ask any writer what their objective is when writing, 9 out 10 will readily tell you to allow the reader a glimpse into my world while telling my story with a vivid picture.

One writer when asked why he wrote responded by saying, “You might as well ask me why I breathe.”  How profound to equate the art of writing to the very breath that gives and sustains life.  Writing in and of itself is a lifeline, a metaphysical bridge that transforms words into literary oasis that quenches any thirst, fulfills any desire, and takes us on a magical journey that is only limited by our very own concept of reality and how far our imagination wishes to travel.  There are no other mediums that can transport you to a distant land without ever leaving the comfort and confines of your home such as writing.   (more…)

Can You Hear Me Now?

 

BrotherWord - Can You Hear Me Now

9 times out of 10 people simply want to be heard. They want to know that what they are saying matters, that even if you do not agree, you can at least respect their opinion, and that while they are speaking, they have your undivided attention.  People really just want to know that you are listening and they have been heard..

The problem with listening is that all of us are guilty of allowing everything and anything to distract us, prevent us from hearing, and tune out the speaker before a single word can be spoken.  We may not like the person, feel they are not qualified, do not care about the subject matter, or have personal prejudices and pre-judgments that have no merit or bearing whatsoever.  This is the hardest person to connect with or reach because what do you when they have already decided they could care less about what you have to say?  You change how the message is delivered.

During the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley used the platform to not speak about their own struggles and dreams, but that of their counterpart.  Performing their riveting piece entitled Lost Voices, they touched on the plight of black males, reproductive rights, and perceived privilege, but instead of using their own voice to share their own story, they spoke each other’s truth and experiences.  As the two wordsmiths exchange barbs expressing the thoughts, challenges, and complicated realities of the other person’s life, you finally begin to hear the essence of their commentary and feel the power in their conviction.  The stereotypes are removed because the words flow from a different source and it is at that very moment the syllables travel beyond the ears and begin to penetrate the soul.

Take a moment to listen and as you do, I dare you to close your eyes and concentrate on the words not allowing your eyes to deafening you from actually hearing.  As Simpson and Bostley conclude, once again speaking for themselves and through their own voices, they conclude by saying, “I fight so my voice can be heard.  I fight for the voices you silence all in the name of what is right.  I am black and bold and beautiful by nature.”

Can you hear me now?

“Being heard is so close to being loved, that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” ~

David Augsburger

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