be inspired: art uplifts and brightens north philly

My hometown Philly is getting a little makeover with the help of Philly Painting–a beautification project in North Philadelphia in the Germantown and Lehigh section of the city. The goal of this project is to uplift and brighten the North Philadelphia neighborhood through art, community outreach and improved conditions for business. The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program took the initiative on this ambitious endeavor enlisting Dutch artists, Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, known as Haas and Hahn, as the leaders of this endeavor with the help of painters, Felix ‘Flex’ St Fort (lead painter), Lateef ‘TT’ Rawls (painter), Anthony ‘Milk’ Fields (painter) and Reggie ‘Butta’ Johnson (painter). For more information, watch the first episode of the official Philly Painting videoblog above and go to PhillyPainting.org. You can also show your support by following them on Twitter @PhillyPainting.

be active: validate your own wo/manhood

There is this constant belief that in order for a female to be a true woman, a man has to come into her life and validate her worth through sex. Of course, this belief is typically not conscious. It is usually a subconscious belief that is buried in her thoughts but surfaces often in her actions and reactions. For men, there may be a subconscious belief that in order to be a man, a woman has to come into his life and validate his worth through sex. Now the obvious question is what if the opposite sex is not around, then what? What if you are a virgin, then what? Are you worthless? Sadly, many of us feel this way whether we realize it or not. We expect someone else to tell us how great we are, how special we are, how grown we are, how mature we are, how sexual we are in order for us to truly believe it but is the belief really valid when we could not manage to truly feel it within?

We are only worth as much as we value ourselves with or without a mate. The validation should never come from someone outside of ourselves because once that person is gone, then our worthiness disappears because we depended on an external means to determine an internal truth. This arrangement will always lead to disappointment because the results will never match up to the means.

Besides, sex never determines a person’s woman or manhood. Look around you. There are many little girls and boys playing adult roles through their sexuality, creating a sense of worth that is extremely fleeting and really nonexistent. Unfortunately, in a society where sex is often reinforced, one may get lost in the pleasure and forget all the potential pain that may come with it if self-love is not there. Making love should be the goal. Sadly, we forgot the love in our sexuality, in our self-worth, in our validation of our womanliness and our manhood.

However, we always have today to get it right this time, to check ourselves when we put our worth in someone’s hands. We can always begin the process of loving ourselves each and every single day. We first begin with awareness of our true belief systems and thought patterns, which often lead to pain because as Iyanla Vanzant said so poignantly on Oprah’s Life Class, we are “paying attention inward now.” We then dive into an awakening when we realize that a lot of our belief systems and thought patterns are merely illusions and mental programs that were instilled in us as children. Through this second part, we discover this truth: we are great and we are loved and we are powerful and we deserve the best fruits this world has to offer. This process will always have to happen in our lives. It does not end. It is a forever in this realm so we should enjoy the process and grow in a spiral formation upward towards our true selves, the selves we forgot when we formed our energy into tiny shells through a sexual process between two people. You see how important self-love is to the validation of ourselves? We bring it into the formation of another being on this planet.

Let’s bring more love into the Planet Earth through our sexuality; let’s add value to the act of sex. Let’s not use sex as a drug to numb pain and use it to produce love and life. We can work on this every day, little by little, starting with validating our own woman and manhood which really means validating our own worth.

listen & love: flaws and all


Flaws and All
by Beyonce
BDay

I’m a train wreck in the morning
I’m a bitch in the afternoon
Every now and then without warning
I can be really mean towards you

I’m a puzzle yes indeed
Ever complex in every way
And all the pieces aren’t even in the box
And yet, you see the picture clear as day

I don’t know why you love me
And that’s why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me, flaws and all
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love. . . mmmm

I neglect you when I’m working
When I need attention I tend to nag
I’m a host of imperfection
And you see past all that

I’m a peasant by some standards
But in your eyes I’m a queen
You see potential in all my flaws
And that’s exactly what I mean

I don’t know why you love me
And that’s why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me, flaws and all
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love. . .you

I don’t know why you love me
And that’s why I love you
You catch me when I fall
Accept me flaws and all
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love you
And that’s why I love you
You, you, you

(Source)

learn & love: mate, a person or a possession?

Do you treat your mate like a person or a possession? Do you flaunt him or her around like a new car, waiting for others to be in awe? Do you get jealous of other people spending time or even just looking at your mate in fear that he or she may take your mate away from you? Do you try to fill in a void in your life, in your heart, in your love, in your soul with this person? Then, you are treating your mate as a possession and not a person.

A great way to determine this is to ask yourself this question: “Am I expecting this person to add or to share something in my life? Add insinuates there is a void somewhere.  Share insinuates a completeness individually and you simply want to share and relate your complete self to another being, creating a love relation/ship.

Don’t worry. We are all guilty of this action of possession at one time or another. It has become a society norm, an expectancy from single loves who are looking to partner up but it does not mean it has to be the norm for us.

When we treat our mates as people, we value our time with them and value their energy and their worth. We value the other because we value ourselves.  It is immediately reciprocal because when we begin to see people for who they are and not see people as possessions, something to carry around to fill an emptiness inside–an idea of who we think we want in our lives–then we see the truth of others. We know automatically if this person is really worth our time or not. We lose our intuition when we trust our insecurity; and we think that maybe this person can change or this person is this way when he or she is not at all. We ignore the obvious scars because their bright spots are concealing ours.

This also helps relieve some stress and pain when a break up occurs. When we treat our mates like people. We realize the fullness of a moment and do not dwell on future endeavors and possibilities because we want to appreciate this person for the moment. There is also a level of respect for the person if he or she decides to move on from the relationship and wish to share with someone else. We can be okay with that because we would know that this person is respecting us enough to say when he or she is ready to move on. We would have no need to hold onto this person because the mate would not be our possession to keep but a love to share.

By the way, you can ask this same question of “ask or share” for any type of relationship–parent to child, friend to friend, boss to employee, celebrity to fan, etc.  The relationship can be different but the dynamic can be the same and it can be revealing to who–or rather what–we are truly trying to find while in these relationships: esteem, worth and love.