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I learned the hard way how to stop hate

Jae Alan



Arno Michaelis is a former activist in the white power movement. He is the author of “My Life After Hate” and works with Serve 2 Unite, an organization founded to stand against violence and hate in the wake of the 2012 Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. Follow him @mylifeafterhate. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)After Charlottesville, many around the country and the world are talking about hate. I define hate as the willful denial of compassion, a lesson I learned from a Marxist who once told me, “I will never have an ounce of compassion for a Nazi!” It’s a definition of hate I learned the hard way.

Arno Michaelis

I’ve come to understand this definition after a long journey, which includes seven years in hate groups as an active organizer, leader, recruiter and street fighter from 1987 to 1994. I recruited white people who were as angry as I was. I wallowed in violence during that time and got beat up as often as I beat anyone else up.
I grew up in a well-to-do suburb of Milwaukee. Compared with my classmates, my family was poor. By world standards, we were incredibly wealthy. My parents were together and both loved me very much. I was showered with affirmation by all of the adults in my life and reminded how gifted I was at every turn.
Yet I came from two long lines of alcoholism that resulted in a lot of emotional violence in the household. That twisted my adrenaline junkie personality toward lashing out at other kids, which soon became a habit that required ever-escalating, anti-social behavior to be satisfied. By the time I was a teenager, and drinking myself, I was all too familiar with hate and violence. White power skinhead music gave it all a seductive, glorious meaning.
Being on the receiving end of violence never made me any less violent or filled with hate. What changed the course of my life was the profound courage extended to me by those I claimed to hate; their kindness, forgiveness and compassion destroyed my narrative of oppression. As ridiculous as it may sound, I had myself convinced that white people were oppressed, and that there was a centuries-old Jewish conspiracy to exterminate us.
Read more @ CNN


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Blogs & Op-eds

How Adopting Mindfulness Can Benefit You and Your Business by Dr. Toya Wilson

Jae Alan



What is mindfulness?

A simple definition could be stated as: the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Why should business owners care about mindfulness?

Top executives are starting to see by decreasing how much they stress out over today’s problems, and decreasing anxiety over tomorrow’s potential woes, they pave the way for mental clarity, creative thinking, higher-level awareness for better decision making.

But what about entrepreneurs: The startups, the one-woman show, life coaches, mentors, speakers, and authors— those out in the wilderness on their own, taking risks and trying to change the world in their own little (or big) way. How can mindfulness help these ladies?

When we give ourselves 10 minutes (or more) of space to quiet our mind we become better at noticing the opportunities that otherwise might pass us by as we go around in a state of overwhelm. As you create a regular time for yourselves you’ll notice that you can achieve more in less time, interruptions become less bothersome and life feels more effortless.

By creating time and space for you to think, to quiet your mind and focus you can grow your business without distraction and hard work. I don’t mean you don’t need to work hard, I mean it doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Here are 3 mindful practices you can incorporate into your day to help yourself and grow your business:

1. Create time for a ‘Creative Hour’ where you turn off all external distractions, gather your thoughts, settle into what you want to achieve for the day and bring your full attention to the tasks at hand. Perhaps you don’t need an hour – do what works for you.

2. Make time for regular breaks – get outside if you can and go for a walk around the block. It can transform your mindset and bring inspiration, focus, and insights.

3. Practice “active listening”. When we focus on listening fully to what the other person is saying we have to be present. Go into conversations with clients/potential clients/stakeholders with an open mind, trusting your intuition to guide you to say or do the best thing.

The benefits of all this on your business will be reduced stress, more time to think about your business and making decisions from a place of wisdom and authenticity, and strong working relationships with those you do business with and the clients you serve.

Read more HERE

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Blogs & Op-eds

#Winning by Dr. Deborah Tillman

Jae Alan



For too many of us, perception has become reality, but perception is not always the TRUTH. The emergence of social media has afforded people the opportunity to become professionals at making their lives look like an awesome photo album of sheer perfection. We are bombarded with images of flawless faces, powerful positions, remarkable relationships and astounding abundance. All of which is wonderful and harmless if countless hours weren’t spent comparing and critiquing our lives based off of the “appearance” of someone else’s. We are not always the people we pretend to be which serves no purpose of showing the world what #Winning really means. Let me be transparent, it would seem in 2013,
I was #Winning. Founder and CEO of three schools serving over 300 children and families, the host of a Lifetime Television show America’s Supernanny, speaking and traveling all over the world and married for over two decades. However, the reality was within three years, I had to give up two schools, a show, and a 25-year marriage that left me with the broken pieces. But somebody said, broken pieces can still color. I have learned that #Winning is less about what we “get” in life and more about our ability to “give up” what we think serves our soul in order to “gain” life more abundantly.
#Winning requires us to Face Our Fears
Henry Ford said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do. Never allow fear to stop you from being all that God has called you to be. When your knees are knocking, have the courage to do it afraid.
#Winning requires us to Fill our Hearts with Humility
It’s tough to be transparent and open–even those who consider themselves humble don’t want to look like they’ve messed up. But, as human beings we all make mistakes. It is through the lessons of life that we are able to provide value and be a blessing to others. As my Pastor would often say, we can’t heal it until we reveal it.
#Winning requires us to Focus on our Faith
We win when we believe that there is light at the end of a dark tunnel and
continue walking toward it even though we can’t see it understanding that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it.
Finally, #Winning requires us to Finish Well
Read more HERE

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Blogs & Op-eds

Remembering Dick Gregory: Comedian, Activist, and Entrepreneur

Jae Alan



Iconic comedian and activist Dick Gregory passed away on Saturday at the age of 84. Beginning his career in 1953, Dick Gregory used his comedy to convey his political ideals to white and black audiences alike.

For instance, he spoke for two uninterrupted hours at “Freedom Day” in 1963, which was a rally to drive black voter registration. He also unsuccessfully ran for president of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate.

Gregory eventually became a successful entrepreneur. A longtime vegan and healthy eating advocate, many may remember Gregory’s Slim-Safe Bahamian Diet—a meal replacement powder to help with weight loss.

Read more @ Black Enterprise

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