The Power Within

I remember speaking at a meeting organised by the Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago a few years ago. At that meeting, the energy was palpable!

In the presence of so many independent women, women of intellect and influence, I was elated to be sharing with them. Being with them reminded me that the driving force behind meaningful transformation has always been an intricately woven matrix created by the coming together of women of varying ages, attributes and actions.

Women can choose to be supportive of each other or they can choose to bring down other women.

Repeatedly, history has shown that women who build up others have so much more influence than those who seek to destroy.

Image result for the power within

We have the power to transform nothing into something. We can guide others to paths of success. We hold the necessary keys to destabilize negativity and lead people through our positive energy.

Women exude love, if they want to, if they choose to, if they know what it is because they love God and themselves.

After a lifetime of trials and challenges, I have learnt to love myself as I am. I recognize my faults and work at my strengths.

I know that I cannot be everything to everyone and that no matter what I do, there will be others who choose not to like my actions or what they perceive to be my actions.

However, there are many women, even professional women, who are doing well enough but, who know within themselves that they are capable of so much more.

Somehow it is not always clear exactly what has to be done to move from one level to another, either in  your professional life or in your personal life.

Sometimes it happens by chance; sometimes it happens just because you have been at it for a long time.

Sometimes it happens as a result of committed, focused and intentional work, not looking for anything but to make a vision a reality.

There is a method for turning visions into reality and it requires some knowledge, some sweat, faith and a little good luck.

For me that method became clear when I was recovering from one of the major challenges in my life. I had struck ground zero. I had to re-define every aspect of my life.

By steadfastly holding on to a vision of a brighter future, by knowing what I wanted out of the rest of my life, by discovering my purpose and then focusing efforts in that direction while maintaining a degree of practicality and engaging in some calculated risk, I was able to transition from a very dark place into a brighter space and time.

The GAMESHIFTER, a system I realized, only in hindsight, that I used, provides some valuable steps for helping anyone who feels stuck or who is having a hard time getting over a life hurdle.

What is significant is the emphasis placed on faith. Faith is the central pillar of the GAMESHIFTER.

Some of the great scientific minds in history have accepted that there is a greater force, a higher being. Even Albert Einstein.

Faith is intangible but with it anything is possible. Faith does not preach religion. It is a simple of act of trusting that there is a God that cares about you and that needs you to love Him, to love yourself and to love others.

A person with a weapon feels powerful but a person armed with love for humanity is  dynamic and potent, capable of transforming rather than destroying.

Are you poised to make a powerful transformation in your life? Do you know how to move out of that place in which you have been stuck for a while?

Are you ready to take a leap of faith and use proven steps to help you out of your zone?

Leave a comment and share with me what you think is keeping you back from experiencing your greatest life yet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

How Many More?

This was a post I wrote on Facebook. It addresses the excessive criminal activity we are experiencing in Trinidad and Tobago.

When will it end? It will begin to end when each of us average citizens say it will end, in one collective, loud voice.

When will it end? When the State recognizes that an intervention is needed, one that involves definitive action and courage; one that is not dictated by a political agenda but by a human one.

When will it end? When the “leaders” of our beloved country recognize that the population is not just a bunch of statistics to be bandied about like a trophy. Each one of us counts. Hurt one, hurt many.

When will it end? When greed for money, status and power no longer are the driving forces of policies and actions of those in authority.

When the “higher ups” can develop higher qualities, such as empathy, that many of the rest of the population possess;

when they realize that the blood of innocents are staining their hands and they wash in futility like Lady Macbeth;

when we COME TOGETHER, in large enough numbers, to clamour for more arrests, more convictions, more police presence, maybe a state of emergency in designated areas or nationwide, for faster and more effective justice, for more…

when we, each one of us, stop going about our activities as if things are normal, not filled with violence and bloodshed, and respond to calls for support by groups that are willing to fight on our behalf.

Our government needs to feel it, and feel it hard enough it seems, before they stop pretending that things are getting better. They need to know that this is no longer about votes, race, power or money.

This is about life and death. This is about a people under siege by criminal elements. This is about losing human capital, losing international confidence and respect, losing loved ones and motivation.

This is about a hurting population, one whose tears are not sufficient to remove the stain of red on our nation.

This is about children growing up in an atmosphere of conflict and violence even as those who should protect and provide, fight for material things.

This is about depriving the future generation of their childhood, innocence, right to education, safety, and creativity.

This is about providing lessons of surviving surrounded by violence, bloodshed and other criminal activities. What will be learnt???

The reverberation of firearms seems to have shaken the grey matter of our decision makers or made them deaf to the cries of a nation in pain!

Is the transient gain of new vehicles, travel and job opportunities, fame and fortune worth the sacrifice of our people?

The people of Trinidad and Tobago are crying out for solutions, for an ease of this pain.

As I did in a previous post, I end with the words of the Mighty Duke, “HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE? HOW MANY MORE?” and I add, since it is not just murders but all types of criminal attacks, how much more of this madness must we endure before action is taken?

Book Launch Review – 2 Additional Steps for Success.

After reviewing the statistics on my blog posts, I am compelled to write this follow up entry to supplement the original post, 12 Steps for a Successful Book Launch.

I have learnt a few things from 2014 to now.

Basically, for a first book launch, particularly one with strong sentimental value, those steps outlined in the first post are relevant and sure to bring about the satisfaction that the author seeks.

However, even if the author is strongly connected in a very intimate way with the book, because it is a memoir or about a trying time or a loved one, it is possible to host a successful book launch with a different approach.

With the 20/20 hindsight that we all have, I recognize now that  there are several other steps that are critical if you want your book to launch and to maintain viability.

In this post I will share a few of those critical steps.

Image result for building relationships

  1. Building Relationships

It is vital to build a relationship and a following prior to the actual launch. This can be done in several ways and it is vital for at least one reason.

Building relationships in any endeavour is important. Relationships are the ties that bind us together in this universe. This is what connects people and this is how we can share messages and communicate effectively.

And, of course, if you are writing or have written a book, you have a message to share or a story to tell for sheer entertainment.

So if you want your book to be in demand when it is published, then you need to be establishing a base of followers who are waiting eagerly to read your message before it is even completed.

This you can do through blog posts, a Facebook author page or group page or even a simple, regular email message or newsletter. The idea is to make yourself known to a wide cross section of persons and to provide these people with valuable information in which they are interested and which hopefully is related to the content in your book.

What this means is that you are going to have to make sure that you know the type of person who would benefit the most from your book’s message. Knowing as much as you can about your audience, enables you to know the best places to find them. This, in turn, allows you to direct your content in those places.

So, if you are writing a book on make up techniques, you may not want to post in arenas that address mechanics or aviation. Yes, there will be some interested readers in such groups but the percentages will be small compared to a group that is strictly about make up and fashion sense.

The outcome of posting in a distantly related group is that you stand to aggravate a large portion of the participants and rather than build a relationship, you end up eroding one.

Apart from writing or posting, networking in real time is important. This means reaching out at in person workshops, seminars or events centred on your particular topic. It also includes reaching out in webinars, through podcasts and other online media.

The one thing that is clear is that the greater the value you provide to a unique set of individuals prior to your launch, the more success your book will achieve at the launch and thereafter.

Image result for promotional items

     2. Invest in Promotional Items

If you have the resources to invest in promotional items, then it is a good idea to do just that.

Coupling your book with a bookmark or a pen or even a coffee cup is a great idea. People like to get or, at least, to feel that they are getting their money’s worth or more! I know that I would like that.

Also it is a great way for them to have a memento of the event and a reminder of your book, a reminder that possibly will not lie only on a book shelf after it is used.

In fact one of the best promotional items is a refrigerator magnet. Every time you go for some ice, go to put leftovers away or go for a midnight snack, you see the magnets on your fridge door. What a great way to stay in someone’s subconscious.

Other items can be coupled with the book and offered for sale as a special. If your book is on the art and science of jam making then you can couple it with a mason jar or a printed calendar with recipes for jams at a great combo price!

There are other ways in which a book launch can move from very good to outstanding. These are just two of the ways. I will share some more with you in another post.

Why don’t you share an unusual idea that you used at your book launch in the comments below?

Blood Red Rain: A Mother’s Pain

Emotions are running high as more murders have been reported over the last two days. Two of those have been the murders of two youths.

The pain of a mother’s loss was recorded and circulated via social media. Those gut wrenching cries are capable of eliciting tears even from one whose tear ducts have become depleted.

Image result for a mothers pain

The pain of a nation is reflected in the outrage expressed via the same social media.

We all seem to have the answers and wonder why the authorities are failing to take action.

Yet when I examined some of the comments on various posts of these incidents, I became acutely aware of how each of us is also contributing to the ridiculous level of crime.

Comments are laced with hatred, disgust at other persons’ viewpoints. There are comments about retribution killings, about intolerance and comments crafted with colourful language.

While we personally cannot do the work needed to remove the guns, prevent the firearm trade, arrest and convict criminals, there are other things that we can do. In this context, we is used meaning we who are not law enforcement officers or National Security personnel or Government Ministers for example.

We can begin by honing our basic conflict resolution skills. Those who know me prior to the incident of 2013, would gasp in horror that I write on this topic.

You see, I had a bad temper from very young. It took many years before I could successfully manage anger. In fact, it is still a work in progress but thankfully temper comes out rarely these days.

So I know how difficult it can seem to encounter conflict and not to react in haste and with anger. On the flip side, I also know how easy it can be to not lash out when irked; all it takes is conscious practice.

Knowing and acknowledging your weakness, your angry response, is the first step in managing conflict properly.

While this may seem trivial against the backdrop of red that is currently on the stage of our beloved island, it is one of the vital elements needed to chart the future.

We ought not to be swayed by the emotion of anger during conflict. Likewise, we should not let our emotions call us to action only for a fleeting instant to be gone as the ink on the headlines dries, returning only when the breath of another Trinbagonian is snuffed out.

Instead we need to inculcate discipline in our thoughts, words and actions. There must be synchronized movement toward the reduction of the violence that is overshadowing our nation.

We must call continuously for change; an unfaltering, steadfast call is needed: a call  for our leaders to take action.

Blinders must be removed so that we do not allow politics, race, religion or other biases prevent us from demanding the type of law enforcement, policy changes or resources desperately needed for a more peaceful country.

In unison, putting aside differences of all types, we must demand more commitment to reducing current levels of gun violence. Together we can let our voices be heard for effective patrolling of our borders. If we shout loudly enough as one voice, perhaps international help can be garnered.

If individually we demand integrity of ourselves and those in our sphere of influence perhaps we can collectively bring down corruption levels among our leaders and those responsible for our security.

Yes, we cannot hide from the pain of a mother whose child is unnaturally ripped away from this earthly abode. Every woman feels that deep rooted hurt. Every citizen’s security is threatened and their hearts bleed for the loss of potential and life. Yes, emotions are part of who we are.

But, they do not define us unless we allow them. We must transform those emotions, harness their energy and use it to build the momentum for sustainable, peaceful development.

Presentations from Beyond the Bullet 2

One more presentation was made available to me yesterday. Of course, as is the case with good power point presentations, most of the “meat” of the speech was off script. However, you may still be able to glean some benefit from it.

Those who attended most likely will have the maximum benefit.

Whether you attended or not, I hope that you are able to use some of the information to guide your actions, decisions and thought processes.

Here is one link for the presentation from Ms. Elizabeth Solomon, executive director at Dispute Resolution Centre and here is the other.

 

Image result for dispute resolution centre trinidad

Please let me know if the links work.

All the best as we work together to understand and reduce gun violence. Comments and/or suggestions are most welcomed.

Presentations from Beyond the Bullet (part 1)

As promised, as I receive the presentations, I will make them available for anyone to access. In this way more persons will benefit from the conference, Beyond the Bullet: Understanding and Reducing Gun Violence in Trinidad and Tobago, held on Monday 28 May at UTT Chaguanas Campus jointly by ICPS UTT and Project R.A.R.E.

The two I have received today are from WINAD, Women’s Institute for Alternative Development and VSF, Victim Support Foundation of T&T.

Ms. Susan Alfonso, a past president of WINAD, represented WINAD on the morning whilst Mrs. Loverne Henry, co-founder of VSF, did their presentation.

Below are the links for each of the presentations.

WINAD’s presentation.

VSF’s presentation.

It is our hope that this information will help inform or direct your work in some way.

Please indicate in the comments or via message if you are unable to access the files.

Beyond the Bullet: Understanding and Reducing Gun Violence in T&T

I have been swamped with work. Lots of preparations for this week of activities advocating for peace and against gun violence. Some activities are on a much smaller scale than others.

IMG_6787

One of the major events passed smoothly on Monday. Last November I had approached Professor Kevin Haines of the Institute of Criminology and Public Safety, University of Trinidad and Tobago, to collaborate with my not for profit organization, Project R.A.R.E.

I had the vision of hosting a forum for bringing together experts in the field of gun violence in Trinidad and Tobago to enlighten our ground workers on causes, factors, gender issues, international and national security perspectives that affect gun violence in our beloved country.

The mission was to have the information made available in one space so that more groups will have access to data that could help inform the decisions they make and the actions they take in their work against gun violence.

The scourge of gun violence has taken a turn for the worse in our country. The apparent reasons for the commission of some of these criminal acts are horrifyingly unbelievable. A watermelon vendor was shot fatally yesterday for allegedly selling a customer two pounds short on his watermelon.

What have we come to? What motivates someone to do such disproportionate harm in revenge for a perceived hurt? I read one person’s comment and it reflects the general feeling in the country: “There is no hope for this country. #reality.”

But the truth is we cannot lose hope. If we lose hope, then we essentially throw our hands up into the air and give up. If we give up then there can be no chance for transformation to be initiated or continued.

So Project R.A.R.E. did its part in beginning or for some, continuing the work against gun violence. Together with ICPS, UTT the conference Beyond the Bullet was organized. To ensure it does not become another talk shop, the presentations will be made available to the wider public by posting to a site that anyone can access.

Unfortunately, despite all the talk by various sectors in the community, many who did RSVP, did not turn up for the conference. This included 16 members of the law enforcement agency, two from each of the eight divisions. Hopefully, they were engaged in active duty solving some of the many unsolved murders/shooting incidents or acting to protect some innocent citizen.

I have posted here a video of the list of speakers and their respective presentations as well as a news paper article written by one of the speakers, Dr. Gabrielle Hosein.

http://newsday.co.tt/2018/05/29/beyond-the-bullet/

speakers topics

I must mention that the keynote at this conference was a keynote with a big difference. We asked another Not for Profit, The Roots Foundation to prepare two of their young men to do a presentation. This was to address gun violence from a youth perspective.

The young men were from the El Socorro Servol Life Centre and East Mucurapo Secondary School. One had lost his brother through the gun some time ago. The other lost a cousin through gun violence the night BEFORE the conference. Stirring presentations indeed.

These are the types of stakeholder collaborations we need to encourage positive forward movement and for addressing social reform. We had representation from  tertiary education institutions, national security, gender and development issues, young persons, a pastor and several NGOs.

Another highlight was a presentation by Her Excellency, Liliana Edgerton Picado, the Ambassador of Costa Rica. She presented on the abolition of their army. For the record Costa Rica has not had a standing army for the past seventy years.

Have we lost all hope? I do not think so. The situation is bad. We are being held hostage by criminals armed with firearms but we can never stop trying to re-shape our landscape and culture into one that is more peaceful and disciplined. When we stop trying is when all hope will be lost.

Photos from Beyond the Bullet may be viewed here.

 

Faith not Fear

I have not posted for quite a while on this blog. Today, after the morning experienced at Church for Mother’s Day, I feel compelled to write.

I brought the message at the Corinth Presbyterian Church this morning. My message was “Faith not Fear: the Faithfulness of Mother in a Crime Filled World.”

Image result for 2 corinthians 4 :6 -10

The Scripture was 2 Corinthians 4:6-10:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.“7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

Essentially what I did was to share my story, relating it to the passage and emphasizing the power of collective faith and shifting to an inner and unseen focus.

The selected passage has eight pronouns in five verses: we, us, our. No mention is made of I. Using the context of Paul’s persecution, I examined how he spoke of dealing with difficulties, working as a team, with his travelling companions.

Then I used my story to illustrate how it could relate to our current times.

I spoke about welcoming trials as they lead to maturation.

Most important this morning though, was the inspiration that I received from being with that congregation. The people were warm and friendly. They allowed the young persons to lead the service (kudos to them).

The men had organized gifts and breakfast for the women for Mother’s Day and at the end of the service, they announced that they did not want to see any of the women doing anything for the serving of the breakfast.

There is hope. There are still a lot of good people with loving dispositions. The challenge now is to mobilize these people to unite and work for our collective good.

The peace I have experienced at this service is lingering still.

Do you think there is still hope for this crime filled world to become more peace-loving?

 

Domestic Violence & Firearms

Domestic violence refers to acts of abuse, physical or emotional for example, against one person by the other in a mutual relationship such as a spouse or intimate partner. But it may also involve acts against parents or children. In the majority of cases, it involves acts perpetrated against females, but this does not mean that men are never victims.

Image result for domestic violence and firearms

In terms of physical abuse, methods could include using fists or some type of weapon to inflict hurt and pain to the victim. The choice of weapon can include a knife, cutlass, piece of furniture, a bat, a household tool, acid, a stone, a gun or almost anything on which the assailant can lay his or her hand.

According to Trinidadian criminologist, Dr. Randy Seepersad,  domestic violence “includes, but is not limited to, kicking, shoving, pushing, slapping, clubbing, stabbing, shooting, or verbal and psychological terrorization of the individual concerned. As well as causing physical damage, domestic violence can lead to psychological distress and trauma, with effects possibly lasting a lifetime.”

Classification of physical trauma may include blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma.

The first, blunt force trauma refers to injuries that occur at the surface of the body but which may or may not lead to deeper levels of injury including bone fractures.

Penetrating trauma is injury that occurs when an external object breaks the surface of the skin and enters the body, for example when a bullet bores into someone.

Penetrating trauma is associated with the use of firearms. Firearms are weapons that can be carried by hand and inflict wounds by utilizing missiles or small projectiles such as bullets or fragments that possess sufficient kinetic energy to penetrate living tissue.

The type and extent of injury inflicted depends two main factors: the dynamics of the projectile and the local reaction of the tissue under attack.

Generally all firearms are made up with a tube of variable length called the barrel. Within the barrel is an area, called the chamber, that contains the cartridge of ammunition, the bullet, a propellant and a primer.

When the trigger is pulled, the propellant undergoes combustion, a reaction that is highly exothermic ( a lot of energy is given off). This helps to develop a high pressure due to the presence of expanding gases in the chamber and causes the bullet to be accelerated down the barrel.

As the bullet leaves the firearm, it spins and yaws (moves from side to side along the main axis of the trajectory). The amount of kinetic energy transferred by the bullet to the tissue and the angle at which the bullet enters the tissue determine the extent and nature of the injury.

The types of injuries received by women as a result of domestic violence result from some of the most gruesome violent attacks. The statistics internationally on acts against women are staggering. [Please note that this is not a comprehensive study on domestic violence but one that focuses on the use of firearms to commit acts of domestic violence.]

Strangulation seems to be a common means for murder in this context. Beatings by hand or the use of some other tool, use of acid or knife may leave the victim with significant signs of battering. The victim may end up in the hospital needing stitches, painkillers, surgery and other medical assistance.

The use of firearms in domestic violence raises the bar. With a gun or firearm, the capacity to kill is greatly enhanced.

Image result for domestic violence and firearms

Empirical evidence provided by American criminologist, Franklin Zimring, points to the conclusion that whether a victim lives or dies in an attack depends on the lethality of the weapon with which the first two strikes are made.

A firearm is a tool designed for destruction. Any tool that makes a task easier will encourage that task to be done more frequently and with greater probability of success.

Thus, the ready availability of firearms, internationally and locally, make them an increasingly more popular choice for domestic violence with the accompanying more appalling and lethal results.

What this says then, is that violence with the use of a firearm is heavily weighted in favour of murder as opposed to violence using weapons with less capacity to kill.

Violence of any type is unwanted and unnecessary. Domestic violence, violence against “loved” ones, is abhorrent. Domestic violence with the use of a firearm is sure to result in critical wounding or fatality.

We must make efforts to stem the tide of violence resulting from frustration, anger, lack of coping skills and the need for control and immediate acquisition of wealth or property.

We need to do all that we can as a nation to remove firearms from our streets and homes, to make them less easily accessible.

It is alarming that the man on the street who may be experiencing domestic problems or who is either a criminal or potential criminal can easily obtain an illegal firearm while persons seeking through legitimate channels to obtain licensed firearms have great difficulty accessing same.

I do not endorse the possession of firearms, legally or illegally.

Reducing the volume of available guns, reduces the chance of violence that results in fatalities.

Saturating every aspect of school life with character development programmes is highly recommended for long term and sustainable crime prevention. This can lead to reduction in anger, frustration, self-absorption and lack of respect for self, others and life and to an increase in modes of conflict management, leading to decreased violent responses.

Christmas time again

It has been some time since I wrote here…yet it seems that the time has sped past so quickly.

Today one of our local radio talk show hosts and political activist, Barrington “Skippy” Thomas is at hospital. He was shot in both legs during a robbery last night.

Image result for robbery at gunpoint

Our beloved country is a haven for indiscriminate acts of violence by criminals. Men with guns have acquired a false sense of courage with this extension of their manhood.

Take away the gun and watch how easily they will whimper at the slightest threat, perceived or real.

I am saddened that it has come to this but we cannot lose hope that every positive action can still have a significant effect.

These criminals need to experience justice in its true form, not the perfunctory attempt at it that seems to be the case in Trinidad.

Beyond that we need to be able to reach our young men and women so that we can offer them alternatives to crime and violence that are meaningful. Alternatives that show them how their negative actions can redound to their own family members.

This post was not intended to be about gun violence but it seems that, much as I try to compartmentalize my different functions, I am unable to disconnect them.

My intention today was to remind you folks about my two books that are so great as Christmas gifts. These two books explore the effects of gun violence in the life of a victim. They are both written to imbue hope and to inspire others into change processes.

One of the books, Bounce Back Better, provides valuable guidance for persons seeking to rebuild their lives after experiencing some life setbacks. It is also the foundational text for a crime prevention programme, Touching Minds, Saving Lives.

If you are concerned about the spiraling statistics for violence, particularly gun violence, then take a leap of faith and be a part of the solution.

Purchase a copy or copies of each of the two books, From Lion to Lamb and Bounce Back Better as gifts for young persons especially or for someone who is going through a tough time.

You may call me at 1-868-370-4086 or buy them online at amazon.com