Sometimes, you have to remind people who you are and why they love you. Sounds like vanity, I know. But there is more to it than stroking your ego.
Fundamentally, leadership is service and vice versa. That is, when you optimize your natural gifts and talents, it requires that you help your people solve real problems. Ironically, that's when the trouble often begins.
The Yoruba say, it is when the patient is cured, that he will slap his doctor. It means that people are apt to become arrogant and disrespectful as soon as they get a little relief; as soon as they learn a little, as soon as the pain subsides, as soon as they get what they want, you become obsolete. Some of them will even claim that it was they who did you the favor.
This is totally consistent with the organizing principles of Yoruba spirituality. The Holy Odu OsaOyeku literally means, You run back to me to avert death. In this particular Ifa, Orunmila teaches us how the patient refused to recognize the value of the babalawo's service. Subsequently, it was not until she had one foot in the grave that she went running back to Ifa to be rescued.
Even the Orisa have been susceptible to forgetting their benefactor. The Holy Odu IrosunOse tells us how the divinities once proclaimed that they were responsible for the universe and did not need Olodumare. It was not until the Creator withdrew his ase and the entire universe came to a screeching halt that they came to their senses and realized that they are not the SOURCE of life; they merely MANAGE and SUSTAIN the forces that Olodumare has set into motion.
The key here is that you must properly estimate the value of your contribution. Part of your service includes knowing exactly what problem you solve and being able to articulate what happens when people fail to adhere.
To be absolutely clear, I am not talking about doomsday predictions, fear mongering or making claims of having absolute truth. I am talking about how important it is for you to articulate natural consequences. For example,
In the Orisa Lifestyle Academy, I teach my students and apprentices the importance of embracing their natural gifts and talents, largely because it is through those talents that the students have gained unique insights into natural consequences. They have intimate, firsthand experience with certain practices.
I am looking for leaders who are committed to improving the world through positive influence. If that is who you are, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can help you take your practice and your life to the next level.
Learn more: ObafemiO.com
Choose growth over comfort. For some people, growth means learning to move on. For others, it means learning to settle down.
When I met Darshana, she was running her own company, parenting an adult son and enrolled in a graduate program. She was outwardly very successful and poised to do even more great things.
Internally, however, Darshana was struggling. In her heart and spirit, Darshana would have been much more fulfilled with a simpler life; gardening, cooking and hosting intimate gatherings at home.
Darshana came to me because, every time she tried to create the life she truly wanted, she only ended up with more outward success and inward conflict.
Darshana decided to work with me because she believed her problem was somehow psychological, but had something significant to do with her ancestors. Her mother, aunts and grandmother had very similar experiences as well. She was certain her predisposition was somehow hereditary.
We combined spiritual consultation with Orisa studies to create strategic lifestyle changes for Darshana. She made real progress. The most important breakthrough came when Darshana realized the fact that focus and discipline could only help her attain 70% of her desired experience.
In order for Darshana to fully embody the quality of life that best suited her, she needed a partner who would take care of her, not only by providing resources, but also by setting limitations and maintaining focus on strategic goals.
This required Darshana to practice relinquishing control and subsequently growing as a partner.
I am here for leaders who want to improve the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how
and the OrisaLifestyle Academy can help you take your life and your practice to the next level. Learn more: ObafemiO.com.
Elevation is incomplete without opposition. At times, your adversaries will even intend for you to be completely removed from the scene. They will fight you directly. When they lose, they will recruit others to fight you. When that fails, they will conspire in an attempt to turn others against you.
But the elders teach us, "If you know the beginning well, the end will not be so frightening." Even better, when you have fierce and relentless advocates by your side who also know the beginning very well, they will not be moved by scare tactics.
Ifá says that, in opposing you, your adversaries have committed a critical error. Not only that, the hole they have dug for you shall serve as their own graves. Consider the teachings of the Holy Odu OfunSa:
Ofun marked it with chalk
Ofun marked it with camwood
Ofun marked it with with palm leaves
This was Ifá's message for the land of Oba Igbimo
When planning to seize the land of Oba Akure
He was advised to offer sacrifice
He refused to comply
The kingdom of Oba Igbimo
Which intends to seize the land of Oba Akure
What I know is, that is how you kill yourself
- Holy Odu OfunSa
The king of Igbimo had sought out to take over the king of Akure but he failed to sacrifice. Consequently, the king of Akure arose, victorious. Ifa says, you are destined to conquer. Look faithfully to ori, the seat of destiny. Ori says, you are destined to conquer! Orisegun!
We grew up on hero movies. Rambo, the Terminator and Super Man showed us how one man could literally save the whole world.
But this story of the one man army has nothing to do with reality.
In reality, systems are far more powerful than individuals.
African Americans have been conditioned to distrust systems because we have been victimized by institutionalized White supremacism for 400 consecutive years.
The legal system, the medical system, the educational system and the banking system have all conspired against us with total impunity.
So African Americans have a healthy distrust of systems.
We tend to prefer the story of the underdog, who uses raw determination and sincerity to overcome impossible odds and beat the system.
Our folklore is rooted in the underdog archetype. If it's Brer Rabbit or High John the Conquerer, or even Harriet Tubman, African American heroes tend to be lone individuals who defy a corrupt system and win.
Jesus is our favorite hero. We identify strongly with his journey, from an innocent child, who rose from humble beginnings to topple a corrupt system and save the world.
So, in the most important aspects of human activity, African Americans have been conditioned to believe that the highest expression of power is to dismantle and destroy systems.
Our greatest heroes are rebels, like Nat Turner, Dr. King and Malcolm X.
Unfortunately, this perception is not altogether beneficial. More importantly, it is not based upon reality.
In reality, individuals are not as powerful as systems.
Even when Obama became President, we could not seem to grasp this inescapable truth. Some of us expected him to be a magical Negro, who could completely transform some dimension of African American life with a stroke of his pen.
But that was impossible because Obama was and still is, just one man, operating within the confines of a well-organized system.
Now, as it pertains to Orisa Lifestyle, I see the same problem. That is, our people refuse to grasp the significance of systems thinking.
Consequently, too many of us have allowed ourselves to be convinced that rituals and ceremonies will somehow allow us to defy the laws of nature.
Recently, I posed a question on Facebook, "What's more powerful, a degree from Yale or Ifa initiation?" Out of 270 comments, about 95% of the people really believe that a three day ceremony would render them more powerful than if they had a degree from Yale.
That is utter and complete madness.
POWER is not imaginary, subjective nor conceptual. There are three main elements of power:
1. SOURCE (e.g., a battery)
2. CONDUIT (e.g., a wire)
3. OUTPUT (e.g., a toaster)
Together, these elements constitute a system. Power can only be expressed through systems. If you remove or compromise any of the elements, the power will not be fully expressed.
Orisa Lifestyle is an elaborate power system.
Do you know why the electricity never fails in the USA? It's because we have a highly efficient system. It is extremely consistent everywhere you go.
Until we build efficient systems that harness and distribute our spiritual power, we cannot realistically claim that Ifa is as powerful as a degree from Yale.
THIS IS AN OPEN CHALLENGE TO THE LEADERSHIP.
Build a system that properly prepares devotees to optimize the potential power of Orisa and not people who use empty cliches like character and destiny.
Build a system that efficiently distributes knowledge, skill and wisdom across the community instead of peddling beads, pots and titles to anybody with a dollar.
Build a system that empowers the people to be the highest versions of themselves, who can actively solve their own problems and not feeble minded dependents, who never even learn how to pray properly.
I am in search of leaders who are committed to changing the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can take your practice to the next level: ObafemiO.com
There is a difference between a teacher, a mentor and a leader. Teachers provide instruction on how to learn. Mentors are guides, who show you the way inward. Leaders are the embodiment of vision; they reveal the future and your place in it.
If there is just one thing that I cherish about Yoruba culture, it's the overabundance of men who teach, mentor and lead. Nothing touchy-feely. Nothing warm and fuzzy. Just masculinity in all its glory.
Nowadays, I find myself reflecting more and more on my experience with great men, like
Babalade Olamina, Imodoye Shabazz and others. Their generosity, coupled with an astounding intellectual capacity, has made it possible for younger men, like me, to make sense of the madness that is European and African, modern and traditional, physical and metaphysical.
When it comes to his destiny, man should negotiate but he should not compromise. The endurance of OrisaLifestyle is all the evidence you need. The Yoruba remain the Yoruba, in spite of relentless incursions from Christianity, Islam and modernization, precisely because the Yoruba do not compromise. Instead, they absorb those forces that threaten to destroy them.
I call out to every Black man today. I urge you to embolden your brothers. I wish to affirm your OBLIGATIONS to uphold the tradition. I seek to remind you that the Agbole belongs to your fathers and must be handed down to your sons.
What is the Agbole? It is the original family house, where your lineage's ancestral promise was made. The Agbole represents your family's commitment to uphold certain principles and practices in an effort to help bring about the Good Condition.
There is no shame in rulership and governance. Do not hesitate to make your deepest values clear to the entire world. Like Bob Marley sang, I'm a rebel, a soul rebel! I'm a conqueror! Soul adventurer!
Live the medicine!!!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Ọ̀pọ̀ ló fẹ lápa láì lápá, béèyàn ò sì lápá, kò lè lápa. Many want to make a mark without effort, but without effort, no mark can be made. Destiny cannot be attained by wearing beads, possessing pots, nor bearing titles. It is through your efforts to manifest your truth that your destiny is expressed.
Osa take a look
And Iwori take a look
Whatever we consider together
It is bound to come up well
Ifa’s message for Imoran, Deliberation
The elder sibling of Edu, Ifa consultation
He was advised to offer ebo
Imoran I consulted you first before consulting my Ikin
Deliberation is the lord of common sense. When you give deep thought to any issue, common sense will eventually prevail over convenience. Stop asking Ifa to do for you that which you ought to do for yourself; like studying, thinking and learning!
I am looking for leaders, who are committed to changing the world through positive influence. Is that you? If so, find out how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can take your practice to the next level. LEARN MORE
If you do not understand White supremacism, everything else will only confuse you.
- Neely Fuller, Jr.
I taught all of children to play chess before they were in third grade. It provides endless lessons in power.
Black children need to understand their relationship to power; how to establish it, how to expand it and how to refine it.
In the United States, power has been monopolized by White supremacists. I know what you're thinking, "That's extreme." But if you think a bit more deeply, you will agree that the Skinheads and the Klan are just crude expressions of White supremacism.
The church, hospital, courthouse, bank and school are bastions of White supremacism. Make no mistake about it, ALL American institutions are incubators, proponents and defenders of White supremacism.
That is, ALL American institutions are violently hostile towards Black male rulership and governance.
The White king is absolutely certain that the Black king is his most formidable adversary. When the Black king is subdued, the game is over. Therefore, the White king must weaponize EVERY individual in every institution in an effort to neutralize the effect of the Black king.
Likewise, the Black king recognizes the White king as his most formidable foe. Once the White king has been taken down, the game is over. So, the Black king must weaponize every individual in every institution in an effort to neutralize the effects of the White king.
Most urgently, the Black king must educate and empower younger Black men. Prepare them - physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually - for the reality of life behind enemy lines.
Love them with all your heart. But do not allow anyone to compromise their warrior spirit. Train them in the way of empathy and compassion. But never let them forget we came to conquer. Show them how to be fair and equitable in their doings. But teach them to be relentless in their commitment to African liberation.
The Yoruba say, as the spring causes the river to flow, so does the wisdom of the father cause his sons to walk with pride.
The Holy Odu OgbeYonu goes on to tell us of the epic journey of three souls as they travelled from heaven to earth. When given the opportunity to consult with their fathers before selecting their destinies, two travellers refused.
It was only Afuwape who broke ranks and went to seek his father's advice about the journey. His father was none other than ORUNMILA, the lord of wisdom. Orunmila was surrounded by his fleet of priests. They advised him to sacrifice so that his son's journey would be successful. Orunmila complied.
As a result, Afuwape was given the inside track on selecting the most favorable destiny. And while his contemporaries spent most of their lives struggling to compensate for their poor choices of destiny, Afuwape thrived throughout his life.
His friends lamented, "If only I knew where Afuwape had chosen his destiny! I would have chosen mine from that same place" Afuwape replied, "We chose our destinies form the same place! But I sacrificed before I made my selection."
It was because of his father's wisdom that Afuwape became the epitome of excellence.
May we all rise to the occasion and raise our sons to become wise, Black kings! Ase!
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com
Last night, I dreamt of a spiral staircase. Not only that, it was rotating. There were a couple of young boys on the staircase with me. One of them remarked that you never return to the same place on a rotating spiral staircase like this one. In my mind, I agreed with him, but I also make a note of the fact that you do return to the same coordinates. You just reach those coordinates at a higher level each time.
People are fond of the saying, the lessons will repeat until you learn them. It sounds good but it's misleading because it implies that someday, the lessons will end. This is untrue. All of life is learning. When you stop learning you stop living. So except the fact that the lessons are actually very few. It is only a matter of your perspective and the level at which you are learning that determines how you learn it.
Consider for example, the law of reciprocity. You may have learned that lesson at 3 years old, but you will need to learn it again in a very different way at 30 years old. And then, even if you master the law of reciprocity you must turn around and teach it, which requires an entirely different learning process. So maturity is synonymous with endless learning.
I am looking for Leaders with a true commitment to guide others through positive influence, to live the medicine that will heal their lives and heal the lives of those who are they are destined to serve. Is that you?
Learn how Obafemi Origunwa and the Orisa Lifestyle Academy can help take your life to the next level.
Learn more: www.ObafemiO.com
Frederick Douglass asked, What does the 4th of July mean to the slave? That is, what does independence mean to the African American, who is only considered 3/5 of a man by the Constitution of the United States of America? What is the meaning of Independence Day to the African American, when we consider the third verse of the Star Spangled Banner, which boldly affirms the Nation's desire to perpetuate slavery?
I can assure you that freedom does NOT mean the ability to be less African and I am certain that my ancestors would agree. In fact, I can site a few solid examples of when African Americans embodied the truest spirit of freedom. In every instance, they did so in spite of mainstream's insistence that we associate freedom with assimilation.
As custodians of the Ancestral Promise, we are called to observe current events, juxtaposed against historical trends, in search of wisdom that has always been hidden in plain sight; wisdom that accounts for the economic, political and spiritual realities of freedom.
The mainstream American narrative has always emphasized the idea of independence as ‘freedom from oppression by an external force’, namely England. As such, American independence was centralized and institutionalized in the forms of Government, Business and the Church, the three of which are said to be working relentlessly to uphold and defend the virtues of freedom and democracy.
Consequently, according to former US President Jimmy Carter, there have actually only been five years of peace in US history. As a result, billions of dollars have spent, countless local and federal elections have happened, and a plethora of Civil Rights laws have been passed, all in the name of independence that has had an extremely limited merit, from an African American perspective. Ultimately what has happened as a result of these situations has simply been an exchange of one form of limitation for another one, but nothing has really changed for us: In the final analysis, African Americans are expected to assimilate in order to be free.
As emissaries of Ancestral Memory, our most powerful tools are Self Discovery, Daily Discipline and Sacred Service. In order to optimize our natural gifts and talents the quest to help bring about the Good Condition, we must be acutely aware of the underlying energy that supports the base of any existing situation – before we can shift it into another one.
Buckminster Fuller said it best when he explained that, You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. The truly committed practitioners of OrisaLifestyle will quickly recognize this moment in time as a powerful opportunity that holds an energetic message that resonates powerfully with the Ancestral Promise, as it has been handed down since the beginning of time.
That is, in the exact same way that the Orisa themselves have followed the principles of Odu Ifa in order to establish and govern the world as we know it today, so can we use the principles of Odu Ifa to create and sustain economic, political and spiritual freedom for ourselves and those who were are destined to serve. For this reason, Booker T. Washington rightfully declared that, There is no escape; man drags man down, or man lifts man up.
Consider what the Holy Odù Ifá Irosun Iwori says:
Let us do things with joy.
Those who want to go, let them go.
Those who want to stay, let them stay.
Surely, humans have been chosen to bring good into the world.
Omniscience, priest of Òrunmìlà,
Cast Ifá for Òrunmìlà.
He said the people of the world would come to ask him a certain question.
He said that Òrunmìlà should sacrifice fish and two hundred grains of cornmeal. Òrunmìlà heard and complied.
One day, all kinds of people; good people and
those who do not allow good to enter into other people’s lives
They then went to Òrunmìlà saying,
“Coming back and forth to earth tires us, Òrunmìlà.
Therefore, please allow us to rest in here in Heaven
Òrunmìlà said, “You cannot avoid going back and forth to earth
Until you bring about the good condition
that Olódùmarè has ordained for every human being.
After then, you may rest in heaven
They asked, “What is the good condition?
Òrunmìlà asked them to confess their ignorance
They said, “We are ignorant and would like to be given knowledge by Olódùmarè Òrunmìlà said, “The good condition is a good world;
a world in which there is full knowledge of all things; happiness everywhere.
Life without anxiety or fears of enemies.
Without clashes with snakes or other animals,
Without fear of death, disease, litigation, losses, wizards, witches or Èsù.
Without fear of poverty or misery...
Because of your wisdom, your compelling desire for good character
and your internal strength
The things needed to bring about the good
condition in the world then are; Wisdom that is fully adequate to govern the world; Sacrifice, character, the love of doing good for all people, especially those in need, And those who seek our assistance,
And the eagerness and struggle to increase good in the world,
And not let any good at all be lost.
People will continue to go to heaven
And they will go back and forth to earth after their transfiguration Until everyone has achieved the good condition.
Thus, when the children of Odùduà gather together,
Those chosen to bring good into the world
are called Èniyan, or the chosen ones
- Holy Odù ÌrosùnÌwòrì
Eniyan are the chosen. We have been mandated to bring about the Good Condition. Just as our people have been charged by Olodumare to embody the principles of Creation, so will Olodumare bless our endeavors to attain economic, political and spiritual freedom.
MONEY & FREEDOM
The marketplace has deceived you. That is, your social environment relentlessly promotes the idea that money determines possibilities. The equation is simple; more money = more freedom. This is not entirely true, however. In fact, it's quite deceptive.
In reality, the more money you have, the more you have to lose. In other words, the higher the risk, the more conservative you become. Why don't "good" cops speak out against "bad" cops? They are afraid. Why don't ALL Black athletes take a knee during the National Anthem? They are afraid. Why don't you quit your job and become an entrepreneur? You are afraid.
Money is NOT freedom.
Your priorities are simply those things that you need to do NEXT. I'm not talking about putting out fires or resolving conflicts or overcoming crises. When I say priorities, I am referring to those specific activities that have a direct relationship to your mission in life. Your priorities must align with your destiny.
True priorities begin with "WHY" and end with "WHAT." That is, WHY do you exist and WHAT are you trying to accomplish?
My work revolves around helping you derive purpose in your life, not just get results from your actions. There is a huge difference.
I have worked with so many people who have spent tens of thousands of dollars and travelled halfway around the world to get beads, pots and titles but they have no idea why. The overwhelming majority of the people scrambling from teacher to teacher and from tradition to tradition cannot clearly articulate how any of their activities connect directly to their missions in life.
They have fallen into the trap of putting the WHAT before the WHY and their accomplishments leave them hollow and empty as a result.
Everything meaningful begins with a clear definition of WHY. This is especially true when it comes to your spiritual journey.
Your highest priority is to get super clear about why you are seeking guidance, why you must accomplish certain levels of spiritual awakening and why ancestral empowerment is essential to your life's work.
Until you set these priorities, you will remain a customer, whose priorities are incorrect and your development will be defined by external market forces.
Your priorities consist of a short list of things that you must do in order to BE THE PERSON you know you are meant to be and MAKE THE CONTRIBUTION that only you can make.
When you look at your daily routine and you think that the odds are very high that these activities will GUARANTEE that you're aligned with your purpose, then you've probably chosen correctly.
Here's the interesting part, your priorities are probably not very pleasant. You don't necessarily want to do the things that need to be done.
Part of my role is to help you connect the dots between what you have to do and why it really matters. I help you see the link between the immediate actions and the ultimate goals, the most important of which is fulfilling your destiny.
Most people have too many priorities (and too much stuff on their altars!), The best way to fail is to try and please everybody. One of the first things I do with people is remove the clutter. You're distracting yourself with all these irrelevant options that just leave you running in circles.
Eliminate all the unnecessary options because ultimately, too many priorities means you actually have no priorities. I like the Haitian proverb that says, "Dog had four legs, but only walks in one direction."
You can only choose one direction. You can only excel at one discipline. You can only serve one person or cause. Get clear about who you really are and let your priorities follow suit.
FOCUS IS FREEDOM
As you limit your focus you also free yourself from distractions. Your imagination can run wild as you leverage all your resources in support of a single outcome, which is fulfillment of your destiny.
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.