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Can Forgiveness Bring Healing During Civil Unrest?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/05/20

Forgiveness must be part of the process if we hope to achieve any level of healing in rebuilding and reconstructing our country.  The process of forgiveness has played a positive role in history when it comes to conflict resolution and we are currently in a world of conflict more than ever. Living with COVID-19, the downfall of our economy, civil unrest, and race relations at an all time low, tempers and temperatures are running high.  When the President of the United States can stand on the global stage and tell white extremists to, “stand back and stand by,” instead of outright condemning their actions, this pushes America further back. Generations of sacrifice, hard work, and progress continues to unravel.   

American Novelist, James Baldwin said, “When any white man in the world picks up a gun and says; give me liberty or give me death, the entire white world applauds. But when a Black man says exactly the same thing, word for word, he is judged as a criminal, (by whites) and treated as one. And everything possible is done to make an example of him to ensure there would not be any more like him." He went on to also say, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” We are a conscious people so you can imagine the rage that lays right under the surface constantly. We must figure out how we can achieve justice, peace, and healing.  Forgiveness will have to be part of the answer.

So, what are we going to do about it?  How do we extend forgiveness when it is something that we either do not understand or do not want to extend to someone who has offended or hurt us? Where do we begin when we feel that justice has not been served? For instance, the pain we still feel behind the lack of justice for Breonna Taylor. Forgiveness has power and when we learn to forgive others, and sometimes even ourselves, the healing process can help start to heal open wounds and create a new beginning. If we want hope for future generations, we must figure out how to rebuild and start anew. Sometimes we may have to learn to release and let some things go. We may never receive complete restitution on some matters, so it is important for us to learn how to keep going and growing through the process. Sometimes the justice we seek will only be realized by future generations because of our sacrifice and the power of the vote.

There are those that have shown us the healing power of forgiveness towards individuals, as well as in the rebuilding of a nation. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a leading expert on forgiveness, shares in his book, “No Future Without Forgiveness,” about South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The Commission exposed the atrocities that were committed and the process they had to go through to get to the other side.  Forgiveness is hard work, but very necessary for the healing process for civil unrest.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu, together wrote, “The Book of Forgiving:  The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World.”  They share four steps that are critical; (1) telling the story; (2) naming the hurt; (3) granting forgiveness; and (4) renewing or releasing the relationship. We tend to stay in a state of unrest when we do not see a path for hope or resolve.  Forgiveness can bring healing during our times of civil unrest. Maybe we need to think about establishing a “Commission?” Hate cannot survive where love and forgiveness abide, but we have to begin the process.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

She Was Notorious and Glorious: Supreme Court Justice RBG!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/28/20

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood at 5’1 and weighed less than most of us; yet what she accomplished during her lifetime stands tall against giants across the board.  She was given the nickname, “Notorious RBG,” and she lived up to that name until the end.  People who went up against her eventually came to realize that her quiet nature did not mean she was a pushover.  She was modest, humble, and glorious. How many people can you name that hold these qualities?  Her mother told her to always be a lady, which meant to be your own person and independent. No one could ever question if she were a lady in her demeanor or style. Sometimes being a lady has been underrated.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg believed that we should fight for the things we care about, but we need to do it in such a way that encourages others to join in what you are fighting for. During her lifetime she sacrificed a lot personally to help make the world a better place. She has been compared to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who was a civil rights giant.  They both demanded equality for all and for America to live up to the promises laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights for all its citizens.  We are currently living in a time, once again, where America is forced to look in the mirror to see how they are treating all their citizens.  If we are going to come out of this on the right side of justice, we must be willing to sacrifice and do our part.  Freedom is not necessarily free.

RBG died on September 18th which happens to be my mother’s birthday.  Of course, I knew who RBG was and many of the accomplishments she achieved over the years, but upon her death it made me a little more inquisitive to learn more about this small lady of great stature.  We can all read about her professional achievements, so I would like to share two things about her personal life that really touched me. I recently celebrated my 59th birthday and with everything that is going on right now, I sometimes have questioned what is next for me?  What can I still accomplish during my lifetime?  When I read that she was 60 years old when she was appointed to the Supreme Court, it made me feel the possibility that there is still so much more ahead for me. Often what we do along our journey opens the doors for where we are meant to end up.

The second thing that really spoke to me was her relationship with her husband Marty.  He was so supportive of her work and calling in life.  He was never intimidated by her accomplishments. Not only did he encourage her, but he was her biggest fan and advocate.  They were a true partnership and example of how positive a relationship can really be.  I have been challenged in this area, but I am thankful that I now understand what that type of relationship looks and feels like.  Having a husband that stands with you can help you accomplish anything life throws your way.  One of the things RBG shared is that it helps to be a little deaf sometimes. Funny, my husband recently said the same thing.  Do not major in the minors.  

Whether male or female, Black or white, Democrat or Republican, we all have so much we can learn from the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We cannot let her life be in vain.  We must all pick up our torch and continue the race.  We must be notorious to bring about justice and the changes necessary for our country to survive our current crisis. We may be “Ruthless,” but her legacy will live on.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Chaos Everywhere!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/14/20

Now we have fires to deal with! Who would have ever thought we would experience so much chaos in one year? In January we learned about the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the rest of the passengers on the small private plane. Our hearts were full of sorrow in such disbelief. In February, we publicly experienced another Black man killed in cold blood by the name of Ahmaud Arbery. March was terrifying as we were officially introduced to COVID-19, the pandemic we all have been living with for months now, and an innocent woman by the name of Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own bed by police officers. 

Some of us thought that the month of April would bring hope, but people continued to die across the globe from the coronavirus. Financially many did not know how they were going to survive, and hope was failing.  On May 25th George Floyd was murdered in cold blood and people said enough is enough. We were beyond tired. The #BlackLivesMatter Movement with peaceful protests began jumping off, but there were some that showed up for other reasons causing chaos.  As we continue to struggle through the hot summer, our hearts were broken when Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian died, and our superhero, Chadwick Boseman, aka “T’Challa,” lost his heroic battle to cancer. To make things worse the political strife in our country is uglier than ever. Those of us in the West, are now fighting fires that are raging out of control and we pray for the safety of the firefighters as they push forward to extinguish and put them out. 

Chaos means complete disorder and confusion.  When chaos is present, oftentimes the behavior of people becomes unpredictable and sometimes random. We are all searching to find ways to return things back to the way they were or to what we call “normal.”  Newsflash: things will never be as they once were and in some cases that is not a bad thing. We need to relax, stay calm and help create what will be our new normal that is just and fair for everyone. Even when we cannot see it, good can come out of bad or chaos because it causes things to get stirred up and revealed.  The question is will we be part of the solution or exacerbate the problem? The choice is ours.  Let us figure out how we can live together, or we will perish.

We all have a moral compass.  We inheritably know right from wrong.  There are some basic life principles that are guiding factors on how we should live and treat others.  There are also situations that need to be challenged because they are based on privilege, history, and uneven playing fields. I recently read, when in doubt listen to your gut.  It is believed that our gut is our second brain.  I remember my grandmother sometimes asking, “What is your gut saying to you?” If we listen and pay attention to our bodies, they will talk to us.  The question is whether we are tuned in and paying attention to what it is saying to us.

There will be some things in this life that will be totally out of our control such as natural (and some man made) disasters, but there are some things that we just need to stand up and take control of such as racism, division, and the lack of respect towards one another.  Even when we disagree, we can do so respectfully.  When history is written about how things were handled during these unsettled times, what will be said about how we handled them? Tough times do not last, but tough people do. We can bring peace where there is chaos if we are willing to make tough choices and do what is right, equitable and just. #vote

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Ladies, Do You Know How to Navigate Perimenopause and Menopause?

by Wendy Gladney on 09/07/20

Navigating the topic of women’s health is a constant struggle.  For whatever reason we have a hard time talking about our anatomy and the changes our bodies go through each decade.  It starts during our teenage years (sometimes earlier!) when we begin our menstrual cycles. If our mother didn’t teach us about the birds and bees, then it was usually a friend who gave us our first lesson (and they probably didn’t know much either).  When we experience motherhood, for some reason, that becomes a little easier to talk about.  However, when it comes to the topic of menopause there seems to be complete silence. 

I remember when I went through menopause a few years ago. My mind, body and spirit went through so many changes I did not understand and I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling or going through. Menopause is when a year passes where we no longer have our periods. Our ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making estrogen. Menopause is a natural process that all women experience at one point or another during their lifetime. Studies have shown that women of color oftentimes experience more severe symptoms for various health and environmental reasons. What I have learned is that we do not have to suffer in silence.  There is information available to us that can help us navigate the perimenopause and menopause stages much easier.

Although most women will experience symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, increased weight, a decrease in their libido, and others, there are things we can do to improve our health and the process.  Taking responsibility for our own health should be our number one priority.  We must be willing to take the time to get to know our bodies and listen to what they’re saying to us.  Our bodies will speak to us if we listen.  Secondly, we need to make sure our doctor understands us and how our bodies change.  If our doctor cannot provide us with the proper help and support, it may be time to get a new physician.  Third, take care of yourself.  It is critical that we eat right, get our rest and make exercise a priority.  The sooner we get started on this track the better.

We are beginning to live longer, and we want to live healthy productive lives.  On my next birthday I will be 60 and I want to thrive. My friends also want to live their best lives. I recently learned about an organization called WisePause that is committed to helping women navigate through perimenopause and menopause.  This Saturday, September 12th, WISEPAUSE LIFESTYLE will present a free virtual experience that will feature respected experts, healthcare practitioners, nutritionists, fitness trainers and more to help us thrive beyond our wildest expectations. As women, we need to normalize these conversations with our daughters, sisters and friends. And it is also important for men to understand how to be sensitive to their partners or spouses as well.

Some refer to menopause as the “change of life” or “orchids.”  An orchid is a flowering plant and when it blooms it is often colorful and fragrant.  There is no reason why our best years cannot be in front of us, but we cannot leave it up to chance.  It is important for us to arm ourselves with the right information so we can bloom, be colorful and fragrant.  Do it for your sisters, do it for your daughters, do it for yourself.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

We Have Only Just Begun!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/01/20

The Democratic and Republican Conventions have always been a sight to behold. Most of us wait in anticipation over all the fanfare and excitement that happens when they occur.  Every four years, leaders and party supporters come together to rally around their chosen candidate and to help the voters get to know a little more about the candidates and their families. The pandemic has made all of us adjust to a new way of doing things and this even includes political conventions.  Everything has gone virtual.   Or at least we are told that is how things should be; but there will always be those that do not follow the rules.

Now that the conventions have come and gone the real work has just begun.  We must all chip in and do our part and vote.  We must also make sure everyone we know registers and votes.  Shortly before Congressman John Lewis died, he wrote an essay in which he shared that together we can redeem the soul of our nation.  He urged each of us to answer the highest calling of our hearts and stand up for what we truly believe.   Now is that time.  We must all be willing to make sacrifices now more than ever for the betterment of our country and families.  This includes being a patriot in the real essence of its meaning.  A patriot is a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors; foreign or domestic.  Just like our flag, being a patriot does not belong to a specific party, but rather to all Americans. We must stand up for issues that affect us all and not just for the privileged.  

No matter which party with whom you may be registered, right now it is important for all of us to stand on the side of justice.  Eventually the arc of justice always bends towards what is right.  Will you be standing on the side that promotes justice and equality for everyone?  I am not of the belief that a group of people should all be registered with one specific party.  I feel it is necessary that we have representatives with a voice across both sides of the aisle.  Right now, we should be more concerned with what is right for the future of our country more so than being wrapped up in political differences and stand up for what is right for the sake of humanity and justice.

As you ponder how you will make your voice be heard this political season, my choice is with Joe and my sorority sister Kamala Harris!  Each of us must travel our own road.  We must do what we know is right in our own heart.  Right now is not the time for any of us to sit on the sidelines.  Get up and get in the race. Get involved as if your future depends on it because it does; and it is also true for future generations.  Although I am a Democrat, I am not against Republicans. I believe there is good and bad in both parties.  As I stated I believe there needs to be representation across the board. As a matter of fact, I have several people in my family that are Republicans and we have lively conversations.  However, I do believe that the current President, although he may be a Republican, has created his own party (“Trumpism”) and that I cannot stand with or for. So, let us all make up our minds to get into some good trouble and make sure we all vote. Build back better sounds pretty good to me! What say ye?

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.