One to Grow On

17 Oct

Over the weekend I attended a Life Empowerment Seminar sponsored by Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arlington, VA. The topic of the seminar Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt featured presentations by the church pastor Dr. Leonard Smith, family therapist and author Dr. Audrey Chapman, and life coach Dr. Dee Carroll. The seminar was well-attended; I assume because it was free, featured local celebrity Audrey Chapman (it was advertised on her web site and WHUR), and perhaps most significantly due to the nature of the subject. I mean, who hasn’t been hurt?

I was quite impressed by the church pastor. From the onset, he proclaimed that the seminar was not a venting session. “This is about moving forward,” he said. Well praise the Lord, there’s an actual goal! I also liked the fact that the seminar focused on pain/hurt no matter what the cause or context. It wasn’t relegated to the realm of romantic relationships because God knows that’s not the only relationship form. The ultimate goal was to move from hurt to healing or at least to start/continue the process. Pastor Smith also mentioned that he was a pro-mental health pastor and recognizes the importance of good spiritual and mental health. He believes in the power of prayer and psychotherapy. Amen — sometimes you need more than just prayer. He needs to spread the word to his pastor friends.

Audrey’s presentation was informative, a bit disheveled but informative nonetheless. It included role-playing, the ubiquitous PowerPoint (the Pastor Smith had one too), and even a parade of positive thoughts (and I mean this literally). A group of people hoisted large postcards inscribed with inspirational nuggets like we are responsible for our own happiness above their heads  as they walked around the sanctuary, quite the visual (in a good way). She also stressed the importance of physical activity when dealing with pain. Chapman suggests kickboxing to some of her patients in order to work through their grief. Hey — whatever it takes (again in a good way). Side note: I heard an interesting story on this topic while on the way home.

Dr. Chapman also mentioned the importance of life balance and development. She asked us, “How are you balancing your life?” emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually. This question especially resonated with me because I believe that we should be growing in all of those areas simultaneously — this is our journey, our goal. I think we should strive to be well-rounded, healthy individuals but hey that’s just me. Dr. Chapman also announced that she’ll be at Oxon Hill Library for a discussion African American Relationships: Who Has the Power. Count me in.

I’ve included an excerpt from her presentation handout.

The Ten Steps of Acceptance

1. You honor the full sweep of your emotions.

2. You give up your need for revenge but continue to seek a just resolution.

3. You stop obsessing about the injury and reengage with life.

4. You protect yourself from further abuse.

5. You frame the offender’s behavior in terms of his/her own personal struggles.

6. You look honestly at your own contribution to the injury.

7. You challenge your false assumptions about what happened.

8. You look at the offender apart from the offense — weigh the good and the bad.

9. You carefully decide what kind of relationship you want with the person.

10. You forgive yourself for your own failings.

Let’s let it go!

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