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

 

Leadership, philosophy, clear thinking, and living a good life with simplicity


Philosophy professor Marietta McCarty, and New York Times bestselling author questions one of her college students about “what is a good life”.
“Good living means having the time to actually think…”, said the student as reported by Marietta McCarty in her book “how philosophy can change your life, 10 ideas that matter most”.
Good living is about investing time to produce ideas which are the building blocks of our lives.  Thinking produces ideas which help us to find our way and know what really matters.
marietta1Clear thinking is a lasting benefit of quiet introspection, solitude, and good conversation which cultivate our sense of wonder.
The first idea developed in this book turns around the concept of “Simplicity.”
McCarty gives us food for thoughts about simplicity. She develops this topic based on ideas of ancient philosopher Epicurus, and modern thinker Charlotte Joko Beck.
Epicurus, 341 BCE, a citizen of Athens, decided to lead a private life for his tranquility. He decided that public life and politics in particular made tranquility impossible.
Charlotte Joko Beck is an American pianist who delved into the study of Zen Buddhism after assuming the responsibilities of a single mother of 4 children.
With the conceptual framework. and the ideas of these thinkers, McCarty invites us to reflect and hold conversations on simplicity, prudence, needs, wants, independence, and freedom from our own ego and self-concern.
Charlotte Joko Beck calls life “a very simple matter”. What is simplicity? What is a simple way of living? It is as simple as having the basics that we must have for good living.
We need to leave behind complicated lives to “savor a life spent enjoying the simple pleasures which feed our essential selves.
Our first priority is to be a mental and spiritual well-being. We do not need much to satisfy our material needs. We overlook “ordinary” joys when we overextend our reach into the world of things. We are moving fast to acquire things and lifestyle. Debt conquers our peace of mind. We become “multitasker”. We are not in the center of our lives. Our energy is scattered and depleted. Epicurus
We are racing to nowhere. This prevents us to think and produce ideas. Clear thinking is impossible if material concerns remain our priority and our goals.
This endless race of materialism and acquiring stuff is a dead end of anxiety and sadness.
Simplicity is a prerequisite for thinking clearly. It clears the mind as a dust cloth, and as the mind brightens, clear thinking is possible, and the fountain of ideas and simple pleasures is open.
Charlotte Joko Beck agrees with Epicurus on living a life’s simple pleasures.
“Go slow to go fast”, said Best-selling author Chris Brady in his acclaimed book “One month in Italy and Rediscover the art of Vacation.”
Epicurus in his “Letter to Menoecus” said “Pleasure is the end…. Freedom from pain in the body and trouble in the mind.”
His philosophy evolved from his life experience: pleasure is the main ingredient of a good life and simplicity is the key to obtaining pleasure and minimizing pain.
Extravagance has consequences, he said inviting us to discover the freedom that comes from needing little.
Prudence vs Desire
Epicurus is known for his accent on pleasure as the aim of life. But, in my studies of his philosophy as mentioned by McCarty, his central virtue is prudence. This requires a rigorous examination of the circumstances of our lives.
While pleasure is the goal of life, we must be very smart in how we go about achieving it. Desire is a powerful fuel. Prudence can keep desire in check with its sensible detection of the true needs in our lives.
Epicurus made a critical distinction between needs and wants. Some desires are natural, other desires are vain, he said.
We have the power of discernment and we can figure out what is essential for a pleasurable life and what is not.
Just as Epicurus departed from public life in Athens, Professor McCarty invites us to shift- not necessarily physically, but surely mentally and spiritually- away from the roar of mainstream culture’s advertising and media glitz.”charlotte

Bestselling author Orrin Woodward invites us to “escape the financial matrix” which is a web of debt which brings control and profit for the elite, stress, debt,  and anxiety for the masses.
Epicurus is optimistic. His idea is we have the ability to deal with mental disturbance using our reasoning power to adjust our lives accordingly. He elevates mental pleasures over physical pleasures. Mental pleasures are more numerous; more easily controlled, and rarely have painful consequences.
We can temper our desire by disciplining ourselves to need less.

Beck said desire causes suffering. We have to let go our ego by avoiding to manipulate life to suit our expectations. We need to be our own measure of success, and grow confident that an unadorned life is also full of pleasure and lasting satisfaction.

philosophyPhilosophy is the act of asking question. I invite you to reap the rewards of hearts and minds by reflecting, and sharing your personal experiences on the following questions.

-What are some of your life’s simple pleasures? Why do you forget them?

– Do you confuse what you need and what you want?

– Describe what you need for a satisfying life? Are you surprised  at the things that you do not include?

-Are you “too busy”?

– When was the last time you just sit and do nothing?

If you have a good appetite for food for thought, I invite you to read Marietta MacCatty’s book “How Philosophy can save your life, 10 ideas that matter most”.

Roosevelt Jean-Francois

Developing Kids who love to read to build the new generation of leaders


I enjoyed listening to Rascal Radio.  This is my round the clock life changing information. I have this station on my computer, and on my cellphone. I take it with me wherever I go. And I like it.

My 15 year old just listened to a very interesting  audio produced by best selling author Chris Brady and his spouse Terri Brady telling their experiences on developing kids who love to read.  He was on Rascal Radio and here are some of his notes from this program.

Enjoy,

Roosevelt

Reading is one of the most important things to have success in life.

Reading is more than entertainment and pastime.

It’s required to be passionate about reading.

Become a student first before becoming an effective teacher.

Harry Truman, All leaders are not readers but all leaders must be readers. It’s a fact that most of the greatest leaders throughout history have been avid readers.

President Roosevelt was known to read one or two books a day.

Jimmy Buffet said of his mother,” reading is the key to everything.”

A good book contains more wealth than a good bank.

If you read a book a week for a year you’ll have read 52 books.

People who hope to influence what’s going on around them will develop a habit of reading good books.

Many times the reading of a book has made the future of a man.

The best book is the one that gets us off on a train of thought far away.

Readers are encouraged to make reading a regular part of their diet.

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. –Mark Twain

Read to them even as babies

JUST READ. Always read. Reading is very rewarding.

Self-Leadership Education: the power of books, and reading to FREEDOM!


I was in a speaking engagement recently in Atlanta, Georgia, at a Leadership Youth Forum hosted by the Hatian consulate on the theme: Be part of Haiti, remember our roots. I introduced my talk with the power of books, the power of reading, the power of self-leadership education on our way to freedom, wealth creation, and community building in Haiti, its diaspora and throughout the world.

I told my audience about a pioneer founding father of the Haitian revolution which led to independence  named: Bookman.

Dutty Bookman was a self-educated slave born in Jamaica.  He was later sold by his British master to a French plantation owner after he attempted to teach other Jamaican slaves to read. His French name came from his English nickname “Book Man

In 1791, in a village called Bwa Kayiman,  He conducted the first black leadership convention in America which included a religious ceremony in which a freedom covenant was affirmed. This leadership convention has been a catalyst to the slave uprising that marked the beginning of the Haitian revolution.

Boukman was not the first leader to attempt a slave uprising in Saint-Domingue. However, his organized mind, leadership attributes, posture, and fearsome temper made him an effective leader and helped spark the Haitian Revolution which will culminated later to independence through the leadership ability of self-educated Toussaint Louverture, and  warrior Jean-Jacques Dessalines.

It started with a man’s decision to educate himself, spreading the power of books, and the power of reading. It started with a man with conviction, commitment to create the ¨land of the free¨ which will give hope to other blacks in America.

Frederick Douglass who escaped slavery to become a great orator wrote in his narrative of his life: The more I read the more I was led to abhor and detest my slavers. I can regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers. Who left their homes and went to Africa and took us from our homes and into a strange land and reduced us to slavery. I loathe as being the meanest and the wicked of men. As I writhed under it I sometimes felt learning to read was a curse rather than a blessing. It opened my eyes into a horrible pit, but with no ladder to get out. In moment of agony I envied my fellow slaves for agony.¨

We are living a new age where self-slavery. It’s up to us to chose how we invest or spend our time in entertainment for short term gain or self-directed leadership education for long-term gratification.

That’s why I like Life Leadership. It gives me an opportunity to be part of a community of self-educated leaders who take into their own hands their future. If in the times of slavery, books, and reading were an assault, today it’s an open flow to take advantage of , and we can get compensated for it. I like it.

Best-selling author Chris Brady just released a talk on the importance of reading to succeed. Reading is the basic foundation to bring success, significance, and legacy. That will be my next post.

Have a great day. Pick a good book. Read.

Roosevelt

Leadership and the Power of reading


This will be the title of my conversation with the “For Women Book Club” this evening. I will be  asking questions and share the power of reading and personal leadership development.

Oprah Winfrey told her book club members she can’t imagine she could have become the person she is  now without books.

“Books became synonymous with freedom. They showed that you can open doors and walk through”, she said.

English writer Aldous Huxley stated: “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant, and interesting”.

Having a significant full life goes beyond success and fame. It’s Living Intentionally For Excellence.

Our lives change in two ways:  through the people we meet and the books we read.

I’ll be glad to meet, share, talk, and learn with the “For Women Book Club” led by Merline  Mimi Thermora this evening.

Some friends who saw the post on Facebook told me I will miss the Heat-Thunder basketball game. My reply to them:  watching the game on TV will not change the score. I prefer  playing my own game, fuel my passion in my own endeavor.

I will be discussing two questions to challenge my audience:

1.- What happen to our minds when we read?

2.- Why literate cultures out-produce oral cultures?

Please, share your thoughts. That’s why I challenge you to challenge yourself for the next 90 days with the mental fitness challenge.

Go to the http://www.mental-fitness-challenge.com

Let me know.

Best,

Roosevelt