Rites of passage are one way in which a culture anticipates personal changes and prepares the individual to manage his transition with the least amount of strife.
Birth, puberty, marriage and death are inevitable. But if you're not prepared for those experiences, you will probably be overwhelmed by the changes they bring.
Traditionally, there are elders who act as mentors that facilitate rites of passage. Even in business, all successful professionals attest to the importance of having a mentor who supports their ability to move up or move on.
How about you? Who is your mentor? Who is actively coaching you on how to successfully transition from where you are to where you really want to be?
Don't leave your fulfillment to chance any longer. Follow the best practices of successful businesses and ancient cultures: Get a mentor today!
Learn more at ObafemiO.com
Change is synonymous with uncertainty. If you're like most people, uncertainty reminds you of all the things that could go wrong. Changes to your income or expenses, changes in your living conditions, changes in your relationship status all create lots of uncertainty and generate fear.
One of the most difficult things about change is that you lose the ability to decide what to do next. In truth, that's the number one question people ask me in the face of great uncertainty: "What am I supposed to do now?" And although there are many details involved with managing change, I want to share the first step in reducing your anxiety.
Step #1: “You must face reality.” Reality starts with yourself. Before you look anywhere for answers, you need to look yourself in the mirror and recognize your role in creating the problem. But you can't stop there.
Then, you must assemble your team and come to some agreement about the root causes. Note that your team is not a group of cheerleaders, enablers and yes men. Instead, your team is that group of people who will invest time, money and energy in helping you to improve, even if that means not getting your way.
If you're like most people I work with, you've got that one friend, who is the designated truth teller. Under any circumstances, you can depend on this person to tell it like it is. But in order to create enduring change without fear, it's not enough to have one person on your team who is a truth teller. Everyone on the team must be candid in sharing the entire truth, no matter how painful it is. How else can you solve problems if you don’t acknowledge their existence?
Your team has to recognize what's really going on before problems can be solved. Failure to involve the team will invariably lead to short-term fixes that merely address the symptoms of the problem and ensure that you'll be back in the same situation shortly.
Learn more at: ObafemiO.com
Change is the only constant... You would think that we would be used to managing change gracefully, but that's not the case at all. Instead, change usually creates lots of stress.
Imagine what it would be like if you could meet changes with a smile and sense of optimism. Imagine how your life would be if you felt ready to deal with changes without anxiety.
Many years ago, I did a little bit of martial arts. One very powerful lesson was learning to differentiate between fear and adrenaline. Fear creates anxiety. Adrenaline creates clarity.
A mentor works with you to slow down the action and methodically choose the adrenaline path. Gradually, raw, unbridled emotion gives way to rigid, mechanical reaction. Finally, natural, spontaneous responses, fueled by adrenaline, will emerge.
But mastering change is not natural. You have to learn to internalize it. The best way to do that is with a mentor or coach. The first step is the toughest and the greatest.
Learn more: ObafemiO.com
Stories - not money - makes the world go round. Ben Okri once said that the world is made up of stories, just like the ocean is made up of water. We have been swimming in stories since the beginning of time.
In fact, you cannot separate human identity from stories! Your lineage, your culture, your religion are all made up of endless compilations of stories.
Stories are especially important during times of transition. At the birth of a child or the loss of a home, the stories you tell will define the quality of your experience. When you finally decide to file for divorce or start your own business, your ability to recognize where you are in the story of your life will give you the sense of purpose you need to proceed with certainty. When you feel your entire reality shifting around you - and sometimes WITHIN you - it is your stories that provide the bridge to what is most meaningful and most enduring.
Learn more about how stories facilitate smooth transitions at ObafemiO.com
When I started my career, I was a diversity consultant. The group I worked with focused on educational institutions in Southern California. It was then that I came to realize how phony people never enjoy true success.
Sure, you might have a degree from Stanford, a house in the right neighborhood and shop at the most trendy places. But every time you walk into a room and nothing happens you know you have failed. Every time you speak and nobody is moved, you know you have failed. Every time you write a report and nobody responds, you know have failed.
What's missing? Your culture! Recently, I attended a fund raiser in San Francisco. It was organized two Black men, each of whom was an multimillionaire. What struck me from the very beginning was how unapologetically Black they were. Of course, they were wearing expensive, European suits and spoke standard American English. But the tempo, flow and overall vibe was undeniably Black. Within an hour, I watched them raise about three million dollars!
People patronize and promote individuals, organizations and groups who they trust, like and admire. When you're not being true to yourself, people will sense it. Your culture shows you how to express yourself fully, no matter what role or industry you're in. German engineering, Italian design and Asian efficiency are not just stereotypes. They are culturally-driven brand characteristics. The higher you wish to climb in the world of business and life, the deeper you must delve into your culture. Let me show you how: ObafemiO.com
It has been said that the world loves African culture but not African people. If you believe that's true, I want to know what you're going to do about it.
In response to today’s marketplace, in which many brands use Blackness to expand their businesses, Black professionals have a unique opportunity to lead the strategic use of cultural authenticity for financial success.
The benefits of using cultural heritage in brand strategies has a positive influence on a brand's success. Nike's endorsement of athletes like Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and Colin Kapernick are prime examples.
Blackness is an important tool in exuding a brand’s sense of cultural authenticity to the Global Marketplace. So, why are professional African Americans working so hard to tone down their Blackness in the work space? Why aren't African Americans leading the trend in ways that guarantee cultural integrity?
We're afraid of getting shut down.
We're afraid of being rejected.
We're afraid the glass ceiling will just get thicker and lower. We're afraid of losing money.
Here's the big secret: FEAR IS A MASTER TEACHER. We specialize in what we struggle with. Imagine what might happen if you could turn your fear into economic opportunity? Imagine if you learned to use your authentic voice to demonstrate your authority in the market. Imagine if your life experience gave you competitive advantage in ways you never thought possible.
Learn more: ObafemiO.com
Why are you afraid to compete with White people in any way, shape or form? Is it because of Black Wall Street or is it because of what happened to both King AND X? You do everything to be acceptable, by White standards, including giving your children the best White names, sending them to the best White schools and teaching to wear the best White clothes. Still, you are rejected at every corner. Is that why you're discouraged and reluctant to take risks?
Tell the truth! The closer you get to the White power structure, the less confidence you feel. So, the greater the opportunity to be free, the more terrified you become. Instead of doing your homework, you distract yourself with an endless flood of foolishness. Instead of identifying your true enemy, you squabble relentlessly with the people you should be learning from and partnering with.
You. Scared. Of. White. Folks.
The brother got shot in his own apartment? A 26 year old business man and Bible teacher. That's almost as bad as the brother they shot while he was laying on his back, with his hands up!
Yeah, you scared.
Colin and Serena only provide entertaining opportunities for you to talk about it in public. But I know what's in the back of your mind.
You. Scared. Of. White. Folks.
But know this: Fear is only the beginning of greatness. It is a reminder that you are vulnerable.
Courage is simply finding the will to stand in the face of your frailties.
The hero is the one who remains standing for what you believe when the others have retreated to safety and security.
Give thanks for your fears today. Let them remind you of the hairline distinction between fear and adrenaline. Learn to choose adrenaline over fear and experience a power that will elevate you beyond your weaknesses.
Today is your day of victory. Today, fear is the wind beneath your wings. Fly high!
Live the medicine!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Protective charms, amulets and powders are important parts of Orisa Lifestyle. There is a spiritual remedy for everything, from impotence to incarceration. And while some of these medicines will take effect, no matter what, the vast majority come with certain behavioral requirements. These are commonly referred to as taboos. But I like to call them observances because taboos only point to the things you CANNOT do, which is a bit misleading when it comes to these charms. That is, in addition to the things you cannot do, there are other things that you MUST do in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the medicine. Sometimes, you have to tell the truth. Other times, you have to perform certain rituals at specific hours of the day or night.
This is why the elders will say, Invoke it exactly as the maker of the charm instructed. It might not make any sense to you. But it doesn't really have to appeal to YOUR sense of reason. You have gone to the healer in search of his specialized knowledge and skill. Why should you question his expertise? By extension, the same thing is true of Orisa Lifestyle as a whole. We see countless generations of tradition across West Africa and we want to participate in it, but we insist upon doing it according to what we WANT to do, as opposed to what we're SUPPOSED to do. Everything, from learning Yoruba language to seniority to gender roles, is subject to interpretation and renegotiation in this day and age. But the tradition is a complex prescription, which was written with the intention to HEAL. How do you expect to ignore the prescription and live the medicine at the same time?
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | OrisaLifestyle.com
"Twenty blades cannot shave a pillar
Only one live ember of charcoal turns a forest into dry land
These were Ifa's messages to Orunmila
When he was to turn himself into a slave
He was advised to offer sacrifice
Travellersto Ipo and Ofa towna
Come and join us in the midst of happiness
Come and behold all blessings of life
- Holy Odu OrangunMeji*
Humility is a commitment to something greater than the ego. To demonstrate respect to all people, even those less advantaged than yourself, is a show of good will. There are times, however, when humility is requisite for success. In those times, the only way to elevate is through selfless service.
Such was the case for Orunmila, when he descended from heaven to earth. His highest ambition was to improve the world! He went to consult Ifa, at which point he was advised to make sacrifice. In addition, however, the awos told Orunmila that his personal ritual would be to help people but to do so in a way that made it appear as if the ones who he had helped were actually helping HIM! It must seem as if they were doing Orunmila a favor by ALLOWING him to serve them. Why? Because if the people refused to accept Orunmila's help, then the effect of his sacrifice would be neutralized and he would not receive Olodumare's blessings.
And so it was that Orunmila became a slave among men. He went out of his way to serve, serve and serve. In every act of service, Orunmila felt honored to be allowed to help and made it abundantly clear to all that he cherished the opportunity to participate in their journeys. Of course, this made Orunmila exceedingly popular and people flooded into his shrine constantly. Consequently, Orunmila was blessed and highly favored by humanity and Olodumare alike.
Today, you will be called to serve. Perhaps, it will be as simple as giving directions or as complicated as helping someone move into a new apartment. Whatever it is, do it with a spirit of joy. More importantly, however, Ifa is teaching you the importance of knowing exactly who you serve and keeping those people forever focused in your mind. Remember, you do what you do because of them. Never lose sight of that truth. This is the only way to live the medicine. Aboru aboye abosise. "
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
*Popoola, Solagbade. Ifa Dida v1
Ase is the animating force of the universe. It is the power that Olodumare used to activate the patterns of creation. Ifa articulates and itemizes the various scenarios through which ase is expressed. Odu is, in this sense, a vessel of ase. Each verse gives shape and form to the undifferentiated consciousness of Olodumare as it flows between the heavenly and earthly realms. In this interplay, it is Elegba who conducts and distributes ase. As the bearer of sacrifice, he is the lord of manifestation, whose ceaseless motion reveals abilities, hopes and desires. Hail to Elegba. Without him, there can be no fulfillment, nor resolution. Faithful companion of Orunmila, enforcer of divine law, he who cries tears of blood, we give thanks for the open road of progress that you have created for us. Ase!
If the destiny is unfavorable,
it may be due to a lack of wisdom
Water is abundant in the ocean,
ocean, king of the sea
Water is available in the lagoon,
lagoon, second in command
There is wisdom in Akoda,
Akoda, who teaches the world Ifa
there is intelligence in Aseda
Aseda, who teaches the elder philosophy
there is wisdom in Orunmila,
The world stabilizer, he who protects
the child's head from breaking,
he who corrects bad destiny
Cast Ifa for the incapable with no good character
Ifa says, incapable with no good character,
if they learn Ifa they will eventually succeed
- Holy Odu OseOfun*
Abundance is everywhere. But where you look determines what you will find. Even within orisa lifestyle, there is need to seek carefully. The wisdom of Ifa is expansive, including philosophy, history, medicine and theology. It is tempting to become so immersed in one aspect of the teachings that you ignore the others. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge. So, whatever you learn does not yield wisdom until you can correctly apply it. The Fundamentals or Orisa Lifestyle is a highly sought after and unique class that is specifically designed to introduce you to the wise teachings in a way that you can apply them directly to your life IMMEDIATELY.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
*Agboola, Awodiran. Ifa Philosophy of Life.
Live the Medicine
Obafemi Origunwa, MA
Thought leader, Ifa priest and author of four definitive books, Obafemi Origunwa inspires metamorphosis through living the medicine that will heal your life and heal the lives of the people you're destined to serve.