Let me keep it real, our community is something else. I can observe, study and learn about other communities but I have lived the black experience which makes me able to intelligently speak on the subject. In fact, I have been living in or connected to East Cleveland, Ohio my entire life and East Cleveland is as urban as it gets. In my experience as a man, lawyer and Judge I know that all people can be messy but I have also learned that to battle other people’s messiness, we have to block the haters.
IDENTIFYING THE HATERS
Haters come in all shapes and sizes. They are your friends, your co-workers, your mate and even your family. It’s not that haters are hard to find, its more that it’s hard for us to allow ourselves to understand and believe who the haters are. Why? Because we are often connected to the haters and maybe even love them. In order to block the haters, you have to be bold and strong enough to call out the haters who are in your life or in your environment.
CALLING THEM OUT
Today its dangerous to call out haters because they will defend there position to the end. Instead of being loud or embarrassing, simply let your haters know that you see them. Let them know the expectations that you have for your life and, maybe after an opportunity for them to change, tell them, better yet, show them that you are done with them.
REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE MESS
Calling out haters is a way to your freedom and its a way to put them on notice. The next step is for you to be proactive in removing yourself from the mess. It sounds easy to do but it is a challenge. The challenge is for you to understand that when people are at their highest state of negativity, it is very hard to beat them at that game. Instead of removing your self from the mess, you probably try to fight the mess, hang in there or even change the person. The question that you have to ask yourself is, “how much energy and effort do I want to put into playing around with this hater?”.
CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT
Change your phone number.
Changing your number is simply changing the way you allow access to your time and energy. Maybe its changing your actual phone number, maybe its changing some other way that you used to communicate. The bottom line is that you have to cut off the access that haters have to your mind.
Block them on social media.
Block them! I had a hater that I allowed to post negative stuff on my page. I tried to ignore it. I tried to dispute it. I tried to convince them of my value. It was all a waste of time. Remember, negative energy is hard to beat. Once I woke up, I blocked them!
Physically move to a new environment.
Sometimes you have to change the way you move and the places where you move. Your environment is yours to protect. If the people who have access to you are making your environment toxic, move. Don’t wait for them to move. Get up and get out for your own good.
You Are Black History
February is the month that we celebrate Black History. There are some who complain that it’s only one month or that the month is not long enough. For me, I simply propose that you are black history and you are making black history everyday. Now make it a reason to celebrate.
On Your Job
A job is a blessing. The history of immigrants in this country, and African Americans specifically, is one of forced labor, servitude and slavery. It took a very long time for African Americans to gain rights in this country and once rights were legally established, we were unable to get hired in meaningful or beneficial jobs like those highly coveted factory jobs of the past.
Today, it’s not many discriminatory barriers that keep us from getting a job but it’s the economy on a whole and our lack of effort. Some people don’t want to work. Some people are picky about where they work. Some people simply don’t value their jobs. Let’s change this trend by realizing that you are black history on your job. Every day that you show up for work you have an opportunity to show a positive representation of your self, your family and your community. You and how you handle your job may be the reason that another person is given an opportunity later.
Your Level of Education
Today education is available for every one who wants to pursue it, yet too many people don’t take education seriously and don’t value learning. African Americans don’t have the leisure or space to have a lazy or disinterested approach to education. There was a time when we were denied the ability to learn. Do you understand that statement? You were told, “NO, you are not allowed to learn.” With that background we should all be more motivated to pursue education and learning so that we can properly represent today what our ancestors, not too long ago, were denied but fought so hard to get.
How You Represent Yourself
Being ghetto, being criminal, being obnoxious, and fighting are a few examples of times when we poorly represent the struggle for equality that our ancestors went through. When you act like an animal in the streets you are spiting on the graves of those who marched, were denied and were beaten just so that we could be considered human.
It’s Not Just The Streets
Represent yourself correctly in court.
Don’t disrespect the Judge because you are making an impression for all of us.
Represent yourself correctly while in the store.
Stop being willing to “go off” on people who don’t do exactly what you want them to do.
Represent yourself correctly at public gatherings.
When you go out you represent your upbringing and your environment. It should be a no brainer to present yourself with pride. Instead too many represent the worse part, mentality and mindset of our community.
Do it for yourself and do it for your history because YOU ARE MAKING BLACK HISTORY EVERYDAY!
Superstar Rapper TakeOff was killed during an altercation at a dice game. Kanye West lost over $500,000,000 in a few days by the stroke of a pen. Kylie Irvin was suspended by the Brooklyn Nets and called “unfit to be associated” with the team. A young lady on vacation in Cabo with her “friends” was severely beaten and recorded by those “friends.”
One thing that I noticed during all of those events was the lack of a collective black voice going to bat, defending, supporting or simply lending compassion to those harmed. Simply put, we have to do better protecting each other.
The killing of Rapper TakeOff is the easiest example of us not protecting each other. Add to him, Young Dolph, Nipsey Hussle, Biggie, Tupac, Malcom X, and the countless others being killed, disrespected and destroyed either by us, or while we sit back quietly and let it happen.
I am tired of this form of victimization and everyday I try to do something about it. If you have been in my court over the last 11 years you know how I break my back to give second chances, allow others to be heard and give lessons from my court room. Above all, I show compassion.
But I am only one person. We need so much more.
We need a council of successful African Americans who are willing to put their money, reputation and comfort on the line to stand up for us, especially when we are right. We also need you to get involved in protecting our people:
Another way that I am going to further support our people is by starting “The Judge Dawson School of Transformation” through the East Cleveland Municipal Court. It’s formally known as “being on probation.” This new program, and the team I am forming, will focus on empowering people who have made mistakes while letting them know that they are Cycle Breakers. Instead of being on probation, people who make mistakes in my court will be assigned to one of my “Empowerment Officers” (formally Probation Officers) and entered in “The School of Transformation” until they gain the skills necessary to transform their lives and behavior. That’s what “protecting each other” looks like for me. Now its your turn, what can you do to better protect your people and then all people?
The daily headlines have me contemplating how we live and what we accept. For instance:
▪️Rapper “Lil Meech” was arrested for attempting to carry a 9mm on a plane.
▪️Rapper “Lil Mo was involved in a physical altercation in an airport terminal.’
▪️Megan The Stallion was shot by while spending a night with friends.
These are just a few examples of the headlines that we see on a regular basis. The question I have is, “why would anyone want to live like that?” A better question is “why would you want to live like that?”
There are many other examples but the common denominator is that you will not have any peace in your life or your family when you live “like that.”
There Is A Better Way:
Would you rather live a life in pain and suffering or a life in wellness and peace? I submit to you that seeking a life of peace and wellness is more valuable in the end. Peace and wellness may sound boring but the benefits to your body and mind are undeniable. In fact, you will live longer and actually be able to enjoy your life for an extended period of time when you seek wellness and peace. Additionally, living on the edge or “like that,” can be detrimental to your body and mind. Living “like that” will surely cause you suffering. I’m here to tell you that wellness and peace is worth more than any dollar you can make by risky hustling, the reputation that you seek by being out all the time or negative associations that take up your time.
Here are a few tips on how to ensure wellness and peace in your life for today and tomorrow.
This advice may sound easy to some but consider the person who grew up conditioned to accept chaos, operate in chaos and to be attracted to chaos. If you are this person, it will take time to change your appetite but I beg you to do it so that you and your family can live in peace.
I am a Judge in the City of East Cleveland. I am also a Yoga / Meditation Teacher. With those two seemingly different career paths I gain a unique insight into what causes suffering in the lives of so many people. One cause of suffering is the fact that so many of us live in jails that we have created on our own.
The jail is comparison. We spend and wastes so much time in comparison. We compare the car we have with someone else’s. We compare where we live with the homes of others. We compare the person who we are in relationships with to others. The list goes on and on. The sad fact is that we spend so much time in comparison that we have created a mindset of lack.
When you have a mindset of lack you are more likely to be depressed. When you have a mindset of lack you are more likely to be a hard person to work with and thereby you’ll have difficulty keeping a job. When you have a mindset of lack you will not be able to see the opportunities that are present in your life.
The worst scenario that I have witnessed as a Judge is the mindset of lack leading to criminal activity like:
How do we break out of the jail of comparison and walk in to a life of success, abundance and blessings?
You Have The Ability To Break Out Of This Jail: Every day, every moment is an opportunity to stop living in the negative space of comparison. Here is the key, you have to monitor and then control your thoughts. Monitoring your thoughts means being aware of exactly what you are thinking and then feeling, good or bad. Once you are aware you can then stop that thought right in its track. The hard part is that you will have to do this all day long because the mind is a busy body that will take you down a rabbit hole over and over again.
Be Thankful For It All: There is a bible verse that says, “Count it all joy” James 1:2. I believe that this verse means that we can choose to find contentment in every situation. I know that may sound hard and you’ll say, “Judge, how do I find contentment in death, and other bad situations?” Here is the key, understand that as long as you have breath, as long as you are living, you have the opportunity to turn your sorrow into a smile. Remember the rain doesn't last always. Even when you are in the lowest valley there will be a chance to rise up again.
Surround Yourself with People Who Lift You Up: Comparison is made worse when you are constantly around people trying to impress, brag or criticize. Dismiss those people from you life immediately.
So the next time that you walk into or are put into the jail of comparison, use these tools to get out of the dark and on to your life of success.
“Live Strong” was a brand created by Nike and Cyclist Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was world renowned for his greatness in cycle races, he became infamous based on the revelation that he used performance enhancing drugs to assist him during his great career. During his time on top he created “Live Strong” to represent recovery from Cancer. He survived cancer a few times and wanted to be a source of inspiration to others dealing with illnesses. "Live Strong" became a symbol of hope for many and a popular brand for Nike as a company.
Lessons On How To Live Strong
"Choose To Be Your Greatest Self."
As Cycle Breakers we have to choose to be our greatest selves at all times. There is no other acceptable option. We are all human and we all make mistakes, however those mistakes do not have to drown out our contributions. Armstrong was using drugs to win races, but that doesn’t change the fact that he made a positive contribution to the world through the “Live Strong” movement.
Let’s take “Live Strong” and apply it to our lives so that we can strive to be successful and positive despite our “failures, flops and flaws.”
“Live Strong in Your Relationships.”
To "Live Strong" in your relationships is to put your best foot forward and expect the best from those who are in relationship with you. Life is too short and too fragile to spend time in relationships with people who are not adding value to your existence. Seek strong and powerful relationships built on support, transparency and loyalty.
“Live Strong in Your Associations.”
Your associations are different than your relationships. Relationships require some level of intimacy or friendship. An association is not as strong as a relationship. It's simply a connection with a person who you have allowed to occupy some area of your life. It is important to “Live Strong” in your associations because your associations can lead to bad situations. For example:
☯️ Being in the car with an unlicensed driver can be the difference between you walking or riding home.
☯️ Going out with a group of people can be the difference between you having a good time or you being caught up in “The Legal Matrix.”
☯️ Listening to advice from the wrong person can cause you to make a decision that will change the direction of your future
"Living Strong For Your Reputation."
Your life matters, your assets matter. One of your greatest assets is your reputation. Choose to “Live Strong” so that your reputation creates opportunities for you long before you even arrive.
Until next time,
🙏🏾 Please subscribe to my YouTube page where I go deeper into this subject and where I’m building a library of empowerment workshops.🙏🏾
The Power of Meditation
I made it to 751 days of daily meditation!!
I can tell you that it has been a game changer for the way that I approach conflict, challenges and every day living. It doesn’t make me or anything I face perfect but meditation has provided me with a tool that has helped me navigate life’s obstacles in a healthier way.
Meditation has become a popular trend. You can find meditation experts, classes, challenges pretty much everywhere. There is no doubt that meditation has become an example of being “woke”. Diving deeper than just the glitz you will find that meditation has many benefits.
The Power of Meditation
Through silence there is speech
When you sit still and intentionally block out the noise of the world messages will come to you. It doesn’t matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs may be, we all can acknowledge that there is a voice inside of us that speaks when we listen. If you want that voice to speak life to you, you have to listen. I must add a word of caution that depending upon what your current dominate thoughts are, that voice could be dark and negative. Don’t listen to a dark or negative message while you are meditating. Once you feel that emotion/message coming, acknowledge it and let it pass.
Meditation strengthens the mind. Your mind is a muscle. All muscles need exercise or they will decrease in ability. Meditation can build your mental stability and memory, thereby slowing down decay.
Meditation gives you space. When you meditate, even for a few minutes you are able to create space between actions and reactions. When you create space you are able to make better decisions.
How To Meditate
There is another amazing tool. You can join Me and Carmen Wheatley, the “Nurse Yogi,” on a 30 day journey to healing and power! This Zoom group will meditate, pray, study and move our bodies! You will be amazed at the transformation your life will make after this program.
The link is below.🙏🏾
Until next time,
Who Are You Listening To?
Who are you listening to? Why are you listening to that person?
We are creatures of habit and environment. Our habits are picked up by the repeated actions, tendencies and behaviors that became normal to us. In our environment we do what we see and we are expanded or limited by the expanse of our environment. However, time and knowledge has shown us that it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to stay in the prison of our past or our experiences. We can expand to new growth but it requires intentional behavior.
Intentional behavior includes being mindful of who we are seeking wisdom from. A common mistake that we make in seeking wisdom is that we primarily listen to and get advice from people who we are comfortable with. However, we never stop and ask ourselves why are we comfortable with them in the first place. The truth is that we are comfortable with certain people because we have been in the same environment with them for a long time or we share a similar opinion about certain subjects.
For example, those friends that you grew up with in the neighborhood you still look to them for advice and approval because you always did.
That girlfriend that you meet for happy hour, she thinks you have the best relationship with the best guy, even though he physically and mentally abuses you. She supports your messy relationships so she is your confidant of wisdom.
There is a better way. The better way is to be intentional about your pursuit of wisdom.
The Wisdom Equation
Wisdom is experience + knowledge + good judgement.
A person with experience, who has gone through, survived and thrived in the area you seek needs knowledge and good judgement. Sometimes people survive and win by luck. Luck is not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for wisdom, so you have to make sure that the person you are listening to actually gained knowledge from the situation they experienced.
How will you know if they gained knowledge? Knowledge is facts, information and skills gained through experience or education. In other words, what are the facts they learned? What information or skills did they gain from that situation?
Lastly, the wisdom equation requires good judgement. A person can have all the experience and knowledge in the world but do they display good judgement on a regular basis?
Life is too short to waste your time. Seek wisdom so that you don’t make unnecessary mistakes. Seek wisdom from the right people.
Until next time,
🙏🏾 Please subscribe to my YouTube page where I go deeper into this subject and where I’m building a library of empower workshops.🙏🏾