An intentional conversation with blogger, and singer Tara McLeod: A pleasure!


I walked in the Barnes & Nobles in Plantation, Florida, last Saturday morning, thinking in my mind, I am here for a couple of minutes, after missing an earlier appointment with a business acquaintance to discuss about leadership, life issues, and  community building to help people live the life they’ve always wanted. I would be there to take my time, and recompose myself after a glimpse of disappointment.

tara

I rushed in the magazines section in the back, picked up a couple of recent magazines, and walked through the aisles, looking for a comfortable sitting place. Two lazy boy chairs were available, I avoided them preferring a chair by a table where it would be more comfortable to take notes.

It was Christmas eve. The book store was full with last minutes shoppers looking for gifts for their loved ones.

I sat by the Sociology and Cultural Studies bookshelves where was pulling books, after books.

I said “Hi.”

She replied with a direct eye contact “Good morning.”

“Are you in Sociology?”

“No,” she answered shortly.

“What are you looking for,” I asked.

She said she was looking for the book “Women that run with the wolves.”

A customer representative helped her out to find this book. I asked her about the book and her type of reading.

She mentioned personal development, and self-help materials which lead to growth and becoming the best she can be.

She told me she’s very active in her church as a member of the choir, and the women ministry group.

She  blogs and speaks on relationships issues.

I told her what I do as a global connector for Life Leadership in South Florida and the Caribbean.

We agree to continue our conversation, link our communities to reach millions of people, and spread more light in a very dark world.

A pleasure to have met you Tara!

Roosevelt

 

 

My understanding of Christian Spirituality based on the reading of “Guiding principles for a Christian Spirituality” by Michael Downey.


I understand Spirituality as a human quest to discover where we, human beings, are from, where we are going, our connection with each other, and in a large extent, our relationship with a Higher Power greater than ourselves.

Therefore, Christian Spirituality is the global experience through time and space of this quest for meaning to those who accept to follow and believe Jesus-Christ as the One who models this Higher Power perfectly.

Reading the handout “Guiding principles for a Christian Spirituality” by theologian Michael Downey helps me to focus on the concept of “Christian Spirituality” as both a universal lived experience and an academic discipline.

This experience and knowledge are oriented towards the ultimate values and highest ideals perceived and pursued in the mystery of Jesus Christ.

In those 15 paragraphs, Downey specifies some key principles to promote the concrete experience of searching for God through specific guidelines.

I retain the 6 following elements as the main essential points of Downey’s thought in this context :

  1. The Christian life as an experience, and a story
  2. The Christian life as communion
  3. A life of prayer
  4. A life of growth, development, and maturation.
  5. A life of solidarity
  6. A life of stewardship

Each of this point has broadened my understanding of the concept of “Christian Spirituality” as I will develop in the following paragraphs.

  1. The Christian life as an experience, and a story

Christian Spirituality is an experience, and a story to be told. It involves us with God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and others with inner and outer events. God uses human works, images, stories to accomplish His people. His revelation is ongoing. Experience is the source of all meaning. Each individual shapes his or her experiences in a unique way. Sharing stories lead us to spread, the message and style of Jesus are truly life-giving. Our telling stories keep traditions alive and meaningful. This is the base of the experience of the human relationship, and any relationship between human beings and God. (1)

  1. The Christian Life as communion

Christian Spirituality invites us to participate in God’s life through communion. communion is more than a memorial. This symbolic ceremony molds us with the Incarnate Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. Communion is not an individualistic matter; it is a body matter. It leads us to better relationship with God and with others. (2)

  1. A life of prayer

Prayer is the ongoing relation with God. it is one of the greatest gift our Lord has given us outside of salvation. Prayer is the pipeline of communication between God and His people, between God and those who love Him. Prayer engages God, enables God’s people, and enlarges His kingdom.

  1. A life of growth, development, and maturation.

Human growth and maturation are prerequisites for growing and maturing in the spiritual life. Our growth as human beings can often be a measure of our spiritual maturity. Spirituality itself can be defined as a “ fully human phenomenon, and it is a phenomenon of the fully human.” Human development is also applicable in regard to ones relationship with God. (3)

  1. A life of solidarity

Our light is to be shared with others. We are entailed to live in rightly ordered relationship with ourselves, other human beings, and God. The very heart and soul of the Christian Spiritual life is in solidarity with others above with the least disadvantaged, the disenfranchised. It is expressed through communion with the Incarnate Word of the Holy Spirit. The Christian spiritual life is reserved for an elite group usually vowed religious and clergy. All the baptized are called to the fullness of life in the Spirit.

  1. A life stewardship

Christian Spirituality is to be in service to others for the goods of creation. We also develop relationship between human and nonhuman life. We can use our God given gifts and talents to throw our lights on current issues such as global warming, war, human justice.

In Conclusion, this text on Christian Spirituality has helped me to better understand this concept on its aspect of a global experience with God. It has broadened my understanding on the connections between systematic theology and spirituality.  As Christians, we are followers of Christ, and with those guiding principles, we are better equipped to have dialogue and conversations with others based on our faith, and our personal development

Bibliography

“Guiding Principles for a Christian Spirituality” by Michael Downey. Understanding Christian Spirituality. Paulist Press, 1997; 146-150.

(1) Tad Dunne

(Published in The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, ed. Michael Downey, Liturgical Press, 1993). http://users.wowway.com/~tdunne5273/Expernc.pdf

(2) Mark M. Mattison

The meaning of Communion

http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/communion.html

(3) Reflection on Psycho-Spiritual Development   – John Friel C.P.

http://daneoservices.weebly.com/refection-on-psycho-spiritual-development-john-friel-cp.html

 

Confucius philosophical leadership learning: The Great Learning!


What the Great Learning teaches is: to illustrate illustrious virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.

The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, an unperturbed calmness may be attained to.

tglTo that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.

Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning.

The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the world, first ordered well their own States.

Wishing to order well their States, they first regulated their families.

Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons.

Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts.

Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts.

Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost of their knowledge.

Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.

Things being investigated, knowledge became complete.

Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.

Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified.

Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated.

Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated.

Their families being regulated, their States were rightly governed.

Their States being rightly governed, the entire world was at peace.

From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.

It cannot be, when the root is neglected, that what should spring from it will be well ordered.

It never has been the case that what was of great importance has been slightly cared for, and, at the same time, that what was of slight importance has been greatly cared for.

Confucius, The Great Learning.

Hell: ‘Whatever you fear most…’ an oustanding Edwidge Danticat’s folk story!


I am reading Edwige Danticat. Her recent memoir “Brother, I’m dying” is amazing. She tells her family story in poignant way. She combines her story with the story of her dad, her uncle, her countries, her travels, her neighborhood, her grandmas.to free herself, and to free us as well to tell our own story, and to live the life we want.

She used the power of words to include  folktales, stories that she heard from her parents to make good learning lessons from life.

“Hell” is one of those stories told by Danticat’s Granmè Melina.

12501577_114057308995588_315286960_n(1)Here is the story. Enjoy… And share with friends, fans, and family.

A man, one day fell asleep and woke up in a foreign land where he knew no one and no one knew him. Finding himself on his back in the middle of a dirt road, filled with strangers, he looked up at the blurry faces around him, which were framed by a gloomy gray sky, and asked, “Where am I?”

“You’re where you are,” answered a booming voice.

“Where’s that?” he asked.

“Where you need to be,” replied the voice.

“I din’t ask to be here,” the man said, “wherever it is.”

“No matter how you ended up here,” said the voice, “here you are.”

Tired about the roundabout conversation, the man said, “I want you to tell me right now where I am. If you don’t, I’m going to be angry.”

“Who cares about your anger?” answered the voice. “No one is scared of you here.”

Truly upset now, the man said, “Tell me where I am right now!”

“You are in Hell,” replied the voice.

And since these were long time ago, the man didn’t know what hell was, even though he could already see that it was not a happy place.

“What is hell?” he asked.

“Hell”, replied the voice, “is whatever you fear most.”


A story told by Edwige Dandicat in “Brother, I’m dying.” Thanks again Edwige to share with us the power of words and storytelling.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois

Fulbright Scholar, Connector, Speaker

 

 

 

Remember your story, carry your story, and tell your story!


“I hope that you will always remember your story, and that you will carry your story with you as proudly as I carry mine.” First Lady Michele Obama told a graduating class of 100 students, giving the commencement address to Santa Fe Indian School.

Mrs Obama

She personalized the history of the African American experience, and shared her family’s roots in 19th century American chattel slavery. Her remarks seemed geared toward moving beyond a sense of connection between her and the audience, which was already palpable in the hall, to something deeper, something more akin to identification.

I am the great-great-granddaughter of Jim Robinson, who was born in South Carolina, lived as a slave and is likely buried in an unmarked grave on the plantation where he worked.

I am the great-granddaughter of Fraser Robinson, an illiterate houseboy who taught himself to read and became an entrepreneur—selling newspapers and shoes.

She spoke of values, claiming the shared values of respect, perseverance and integrity, three of the ten core values of the Santa Fe Indian School. She remarked on the hopeful, positive trajectory of the school and the accomplishments of its students.

Our story is about who we are. When we talk about our experiences, what we see, feel, do, fear, like with our own words, we create our own life.

Don’t try to be the next so and so. Be the first you. Remember your story, carry your story, and tell your story.

Your story makes you you.

Roosevelt

 

 

 

 

Bill Gates & Warren Buffet: 25 years of friendship, learning and laughing through stories and building memories!


I enjoyed reading Bill Gates’s recent notes published online to mark the anniversary of his 25th friendship anniversary with Warren Buffet.

Bill Gates said this friendship has changed his life for the better in every imaginable way.

He has learned to learn more and laugh more by telling stories and building memories.

Bill met Warren on July 5, 1991 through his parent’s connections. Warren started the conversation by asking questions.

“These were amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked,” Bill said describing Warren as “modest” and “funny.”

It was a deep friendship from this very first conversation.

Warren nurtures friendship. This is the most important thing Gates has learned from Buffet over the last 25 years. He’s gifted at investing in people. He makes it fun for them to learn from him.

“Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren. He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life,” Gates noted.

This was originally published at gatesnotes.com


Roosevelt Jean-Francois is a connector. He blogs, speaks, and coaches on leadership, success, business, economy, personal and organizational development.

Tell your story with your own words, and live your life.


What we talk about is our story. Our story is about who we are. When we talk about our experiences, what we see, feel, do, fear, like with our own words, we create our own life.

We market ourselves by telling our story.

Marketing is storytelling, said best selling author and blogger Seth Goddin.

The story of you built you.  Your story makes you you.

Sometimes the way you see yourself isn’t exactly the way others see you. Not as good as you think you are. Not as bad as they think you are.

Tell your story. Tell it on purpose.

Roosevelt