Monday, December 29, 2014

My Leap of Faith

Launching out into my Faith Walk has been a rather enjoyable journey for me. This Fall I resigned from my full time clinical position as a medical physician at a prestigious institution.  I knew my time on that job was coming to a close and once I resigned the most amazing thing happened.  I was invited by the U.S. State Department as their international guest speaker for the South Pacific Islands!!  The timing of the invitation was surreal.  I had no idea this invitation would present itself when it did.  The exact day I made a decision to step down was the same day I received their verbal invitation.

Thirty days after my resignation I was flying to Suva, Fiji and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) to launch my global speaking tour.  During my travels I also visited Brisbane, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.  My intended audience was adolescents (teens and young adults) but by the time the tour ended there were more adults in the room than adolescents.   The tour's theme was "Find Your Voice & Activate Your Life!"
Our timing of the tour could not have been any better!  I was invited by the U.S. Embassies there to speak during three major events: 16 Days of Activism, Day of Tolerance and World AIDS Day. Each observation important on its own yet delicately relevant to the others. (If you are like I was with little knowledge of the first two I encourage you to look them up.)

As I journeyed to the other side of the  world an extraordinarily long way from home: 24 hours from Los Angeles, 6 hours from Singapore, 2 hours from Cairns, off Australia's northern coast I realized one thing; the women of these countries needed the same things all humans need. To be acknowledged
To be heard
To have folks listen open heartedly without judgement.

Throughout my two week tour I was given the opportunity to speak to hundreds of school aged youth during my visits in Fjij and PNG.  I visited secondary schools, colleges, a shelter for battered women, held meetings with governmental officials, educators and community leaders. I even toured the women's facilities at their regional prison and spoke for and with the inmates. 

Although my trip had a dark subject matter from time to time I couldn't help but be excited about the futures of these young people.  What encouraged me most were the hundreds of younger women who were eager for empowerment and the young men willing to aid them in their quest for change.   To say I was blessed with the opportunity to speak life into the next generation of world changers is an understatement.

Typically a more reserved culture with extremely quiet youth boxed in by imposed taboos and beliefs they literally talked to me for hours.   As I spoke to the crowds of "hungry" youth I could sense the power of change and enlightenment flowing through me to them igniting the atmosphere.
One common theme often expressed regardless of where I went was the outcry for improved women's rights in these countries. PNG has one of the highest rates of gender based violence and rape globally and many of the women are sexually violated in their teen years.
I'll close with this: Whenever you're feeling fearful about your next leap of faith just think of all the lives that will be touched by your act of boldness, namely your own.  Take a deep breath, say a prayer of courage and JUMP!!!  If you start falling remember to spread your wings and soar!!  

For more information and pictures of my South Pacific speaking tour check out my website and let me know what you plan on doing to soar in 2015.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maybe all the ice in these buckets will WAKE us up!

What's all the hype about?  Was the first question I posed when I initially saw all these people responding to the ice bucket challenge on social media.  At first I was unclear about this entire ALS fundraising campaign and decided to gather more information before commenting about it.

My assumption was when you dump the ice on your head you were agreeing to make a financial donation to the ALS society. There were quite a few questions rolling around in my head.  First and foremost, "How will the ALS Association collect on these challenges? And who's to say that everyone dumping ice is going to donate?  Or do they dump the ice water on themselves instead of donating money to the research of ALS? Hmmmm..."

I saw an article that read: "The ice bucket challenge videos are raising the awareness of the disease."  Really?  Before trying to answer the finance questions I wondered how many of the people pouring ice water even understood what ALS was.  No let's make it simpler than that, "What does the acronym ALS stand for?"  That should get a rousing group on answers.  

So I started asking? 

I would have thought in all the media coverage and television ice bucket challenges that SOMEONE would have done a report on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  NOT the ice bucket challenge but the disease that inspired the challenge.  So I went to friends and the internet to find out what they know about ALS. Hmmmmmm..............  

Let's just say we know more about the ice bucket challenge than anything else associated with it.  

ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease are different names of the same debilitating illness of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement.  

I have a friend wino went to the best physicians in the world for more than five years before he was diagnosed with  this disease.  To see him move like a crippled senior at the age of 38 is heart wrenching.  You can see from his facial expression that each movement is an internal fight between his brain and his arms and legs.  It's as if his limbs have decided to rebel against him and all do their own separate thing!  As I thought about him, a young black man with this disease I couldn't help but wonder how much of that money will go towards EDUCATING doctors about diagnosing this disease earlier.  You see my friend doesn't fit the typical picture of an ALS patient:  He is African American (93% of patients are Caucasian) and started exhibiting signs in his early 30's (average age of diagnosis is 55.)

I don't know... Not judging anyone who has participated in any way to raise money for ALS research. Just hopeful.  Maybe all these public cold showers will make people truly WAKE UP!  The next few months will tell 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Too Many Thoughts to Process

There are a million thoughts going through my mind...
all photos obtained from google images

thoughts of black boys being murdered
thoughts of disunity
thoughts of disconnected Blacks, disconnected Whites, disconnected parents, disconnected kids
thoughts of people pouring ice water over their heads without knowledge of the disease they are raising money for
thoughts of frustration....


thoughts of peace

thoughts of unity
thoughts of love
thoughts of celebration
thoughts of equality


thoughts of dis-ease
thoughts of health
thoughts of my ancestors
thoughts of change
thoughts of fear

thoughts of new beginnings
thoughts of healing
thoughts of life

thoughts of love
thoughts of love
thoughts of haaaaa.....

thoughts of love
thoughts of love

thoughts of love
thoughts of love...  love... love... love... loooooooooove...

(think with me)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

True Freedom Starts on the Inside

Life up to this point has absolutely been wonderful for me but recent circumstances have led me to ponder if I'm really utilizing all that life has to offer me.  Like so many others I found myself so consumed with obligations, work and the routines of life that I seldom asked myself:

"Jeri, is this all you desire from life?"
"Is there more for you that you have not taped into?"
"If you knew you would not fail what would you do today, right now, in this moment?"
"What can you allow in that would enhance your life?"

Yes, sometimes we can become so ambitious with chasing a vision that our entire existence becomes "chasing a vision."  That is not what I'm referring to here. 

Sculpture on 16th & Vine in Philadelphia

At this time in my life, in this very moment, I have made a decision to maximize my life.  I am choosing NOW to live life to the fullest!  No longer relegating myself to other's expectations, other's requirements and checklists.  No!  This time around I'm repainting MY picture.  Regardless of who else comes along.  I choose to live an exuberant, exciting, stimulating and spiritually expanded life.  Not sometime in the near future but now!    I'm granting myself FREEDOM to come out of the MOLD of restriction.  So often we allow others to create a picture for our lives when they haven't fully maximized their own life.

Break FREE from the world's mold

During a recent trip to Accra, Ghana West Africa my family and I toured the slave castles where millions of slaves were sent from West Africa to The Islands, Europe and The Americas.  Millions!!!  As I was listening to our guide Morgan Mensa I couldn't help but think about how much things have NOT changed.  Even in 2014 things have not progressed that much.  Not to negate all of the sacrifices made by my forefathers but I tend to believe somewhere deep within me that we can BE much better than we are currently.  

Door of No Return, Ghana 2014
Elmina Castle in Ghana, 2014

Sure humans at large have made some strides in life but things continue to be unequal.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the mental and emotional effects of slavery on today's society.  The dehumanization of ethnic groups continues to keep many people, not just African descendants in a mental "self-containment pattern."  I see it in my every day dealings with people.  I have decided to change things for myself.  Instead of fighting a group of people to allow me to fully live in a nation that my forefathers helped design, create and build I have decided to internally free myself.  Yes!!  I'm freeing myself.  Each of us has been given the keys to unlock every doorway leading to a better life for us and the generations that follow.  

Others may be comfortable in the box but not you.

When you make the decision to live a better life don't expect others to cheer you on.  In many cases those around you will fear your new gesture towards freedom and say all manner of things to keep you at the same place.  Don't listen to them.  Yes, they love you but fear has kept many of us in very uncomfortable positions for way too long.  When you seem to lose your way or want to turn back DON'T.  Brace yourself. Ask God for the courage to continue towards a better life. And above all, STAND firm in your decision to BE better, LIVE better and DO better!  It's your birthright!!

Your sister on a great journey.
No turning back!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Flirting Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Hello, Men!!
I gave you all a few weeks to forward my last blog to all of your estranged exes, the "crazy girls" lurking in the bushes, and the other women who insist on winning your heart! But this week it's all about you: The MEN!!!

I have a few male friends who repeatedly find themselves in relationships with what they call "crazy women!"  They say these women...
~stalk them
~show up at their jobs unexpectedly
~call them incessantly
~get mad when the fellas don't call them back
~text them a million times in one day
~go around telling other people the two of them are together
~threaten other women who may show the slightest interest in these guys...

To that I say, "Hmmmmm..."

I am quite familiar with clingly women however men need to be honest and shed a little light on the things you do to invite such behavior from women.  I am clear there are women who don't seem to take a smooth let down; we aren't speaking of that here.  This blog is about the male flirter gone wrong.

Gentlemen, please stop leading these ladies to believe there is something more between the two of you when there isn't.  For some strange reason men have a difficult time being honest and straight forward with women.  Maybe there is this Man's-Guide-to-Charming-Women that says "Keep all communication with the woman-species vague and obsure as this will enhance the possibility of your platonic relationship shifting into a sexual one should you decide to proceed in the future."

What in the WORLD?  Men, please stop inappropriately engaging women in hours upon hours of conversation about what you like, what you would like to do if you were in a romantic relationship and how you have just gotten over your ex-girlfriend now you think you're ready to date...  When you're talking like this to a woman who thinks she may have the slightest chance with you, she will jump all over your words and fast forward to "...And they lived happily ever after..."

I cannot begin to tell you of the close encounters of a strange kind men have had because they live in a world where obscurantism is sensual, thrilling even invigorating to them.  If a woman did this to a guy some men would consider her a tease. - (tease: someone who is vaguely sexually suggestive towards another   only to slam on breaks when those advances are reciprocated.)

Flirting and engaging can be fun.  I'm not asking you to avoid complimenting women.   I'm just saying don't start down lover's lane cooing & catering to her only to become surprised when you find out she's into you.  Place some boundaries on what you do and what you say.
I know plenty of men who get a thrill in dropping suggestive hints, making obscure statements with sexual undertones and standing by watching the women they taunt try to understand their innuendoes.
In your mind you feel like your flirtation and subtle compliments make a woman feel special about herself.

Well, you might be right.  But at the end of it all when you wake up and find key scratches in your car door, or it's not so cool.  Valentine's Day is quickly approaching - don't start anything you can't finish.  Remember, flirting with the wrong person can be hazardous to your health.  Be Safe!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Stop Living in Your Head: A Message for Women

Stop living in your head!
Recent conversations and events have lead me to come back to my blog.   This is the first time since releasing my book that I have had a moment to just sit and type out my thoughts.  What I am about to say may rub some women the wrong way but there is an overwhelming feeling that I MUST submit this entry and do it quickly.

I want to handle this subject gently because I am certain a few egos will be braised during this blog moment. 

I have heard stories from male friends of women stalking them, calling them incessantly and proclaiming he is their husband.  This concerns me, especially when the man doesn’t even know you exist.  I understand there are two sides to every story and in some cases there are men who lead women to believe there is something more to their friendly exchanges.  I plan on addressing the men in my next blog but right now I want to talk with my ladies. Ladies, you must allow a love interest to share a mutual interest with you. 

How many times have one of your girlfriends gone on a date with a guy and planned out her entire future with him based on ONE date?  I believe that some women have become so desperate to find romantic love that they create these fantasies in their minds.  They have imaginary love interests, imaginary boyfriends and imaginary fianc├ęs’.  The imagination is a tricky thing indeed.
I had one friend who told me this woman he met casually at a dinner party went so far as to show up at his job telling everyone they were engaged.  How she found his job remains a mystery to me.  He said he didn’t even have her phone number.  I guess if you’re desperate enough you can find ways to get what you want.   This is extremely delusional and it alarms me. 
You have to remain clear of what is truly going on in any situation involving you and someone you are interested in.    Sometimes your friends can make matters worse.  I remember going on a date with this guy and one of my girlfriends (and her husband) had completely planned out my wedding after I told them about the date.  She had chosen the colors of the wedding, the reception, what time it should start for the best lighting and the location.  As she was planning this premature wedding I couldn’t help but think “Are you that concerned that no one will love me that I need to snag this guy after one date?  Geez!  Are you serious?  I’m glad I believe in my future.”  

I'm not certain if our fascination for weddings and spouses are remnants of those girlhood dreams some of us had for marriage, babies and a life of perfect love where they live happily ever after but the reality is in times like these we must be certain we understand singular (self) love first.   

I know finding the love of a lifetime may be difficult for some.   I ought to know I have been single for quite some time but honestly, tricking someone into loving you or trying to convince them that you are the one for them is a big fat waste of time. 

I have a good number of platonic male friends and one thing they all tell me is when a man meets a woman he feels he can’t live without, he will do everything in his power to pursue her.  If a man is not pursuing you, he is not interested in you. Period. 
  • You can’t cook your way into his heart. 
  • You can’t go by his house and start playing good housekeeper. 
  • Manipulating his children into liking you is a waste of time. 
  • And please, please, please know that you can sex a man until his privates ache but if he is not interested in you, you will quickly become a sex toy and not his woman.  So put down your kama sutra handbooks and start working on developing yourself as a woman first.   (If he needs these things he can hire a cook, a maid, a baby sitter or a sex buddy.)  Trust me that is not the role you wanna play because you will be dropped when he finds who he’s looking for.  
My desire for women everywhere is that we learn who we are, what we need, why we are here and harness our energy into being a great woman because when you radiate self love you become irresistible.  Stop hunting these men...  Women are not designed to hunt for love.  Fall in love with you and understand your value.  Once you really get this the right man will come along. 

All my love to you!

Dr. Jeri


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