In the Meantime: Coping With Life in Transition

In 2017, I started regularly writing in my journal. According to the article, Keeping A Journal Can Be Good For Your Health by F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W, writing in a journal can help you feel more grounded, manage stressful events and find clarity. At the end of the year, I read past entries. I notice how major life altering events lose power, over time. The circumstances did not change, but my perception about the issues and their effect on me were transformed. Somehow instead of being broken, I became stronger. What happened?  At a recent talk about being in the middle of change, author and Jungian analyst Dr. James Hollis, PhD shared a quote by Carl Jung that sheds insight on how we grow from unfortunate situations and manage our lives in transition: “We don’t as much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capabilities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than our problems.” How? Let’s discuss...

Thank You - The Importance of Gratitude

Written on November 22, 2018

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally, Thanksgiving is celebrated by gathering family and friends together to contemplate gratitude and share a robust meal. Menus vary by culture, but popular entrees include turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese and desserts.

Follow Your Strengths: An Interview with Dr. Ariela Freedman of MavenTree Consulting

In my post, Why Do Groups Fail? Review of the Law of Triviality and Game Theory, we explored a philosophy of life as being a game, defined as social interactions. If we are the players in life's games, then who are our coaches? During my research, I met Dr. Ariela Freedman, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and owner of MavenTree Consulting. Ariela agreed to meet for coffee and conversations at Chocolate Coffee. We discussed how strengths-based coaching enables you to fully discover and apply your innate gifts to become the best version of yourself. 

Below is our interview:

Stone Mountain, Trees and Meditation

Stone Mountain Park, Georgia - Nature's Gem

Join me as I tour state and federal parks. Stone Mountain Park is a popular park in metro Atlanta. Let's discuss....

Agnes Scott College Hosts 100 Thousand Poets for Change

100 Thousand Poets for Change - 23 of the 38 Poets who read poems 

On September 29, 2018, 38 poets convened on the campus of Agnes Scott College to participate in the annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change poetry reading. Dr. Waqas A. Khwaja, a professor of English at Agnes Scott College, hosted and coordinated the program.The diverse poets covered a wide range of community concerns. The inclusive nature of the program meant that participants, from novice to professionals, could read their own works as well as works of other popular poets. Each unique voice shed light on the human condition and our authentic, yet shared experiences. The event was free and open to the community. Let's discuss...

2018: AJC Decatur Book Festival - A Commentary

In the United States, Labor Day is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. The celebration honors the American labor movement. The holiday is inclusive because everyone has had a job at one point in their lives even it if just included household chores. Most companies give employees the day off, but grocery stores, malls, restaurants, and gas stations usually remain open. Traditionally, families and communities honor the day with barbecues, gatherings, and parties. 

Poems, Poets, and Rudy Francisco

My Rudy Francisco poetry collection

The love of Poetry was introduced to me by my seventh grade teacher, Dr. Ibrahim Bayan, before he died in a tragic boat accident. He taught me the ways poems inspire, motivate, encourage, and connect us with the world. Phenomenal Woman, by Maya Angelou, is one of my favorite poems. I heard it first while watching Poetic Justice, a movie starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. As I listened to the poem all I could think about was its beauty and confidence. My love for reading poetry transferred to me becoming a poet. I also enjoy writing down my thoughts and sharing with others.

Villains: A Case Study of Ressentiment

Why Villains are Important 

Note: For the purpose of this blog, a villain is one who opposes the goals of a hero. The person does not have to be evil like they are painted in movies. They have an agenda that conflicts with the hero. A prominent characteristic is their willingness to use graceless methods to achieve their goals. For me, they serve as tests and teachers.  Let's learn together and reveal the possibilities.

Song Critique - New Attitude by Patti LaBelle Using the Hero's Journey

What are the components that produce successful songs?  I used to believe it was only a combination of three elements: lyrics, music, and recording artist. For an example, New Attitude, a popular 80’s song, has redemptive lyrics, a techno danceable beat, and was recorded by Patti LaBelle, a well-liked R&B singer.  At the peak of its popularity, New Attitude was a staple on the air-ways, an anthem for empowerment, and was the introductory music for the Dr. Laura radio program. Recently, after hearing it on the radio, I became aware of another layer that makes it favored by many and still popular today-the songwriters used elements of the hero’s journey to craft a universally relatable story about redemption.

New Attitude – Song Analysis using the Hero’s Journey

Based on Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, I summarize the hero’s journey into four acts:
I.                Existence in the ordinary world
II.              Ordeal
III.            Confrontation of the ordeal
IV.            Change/redemption.

Act 1 and Act II

Introductory notes express urgency.  A synthesized drum-beat serves as a prelude to an even faster up tempo melody. Your mind immediately thinks about something moving rapidly, possibly people running. Are they escaping danger? The opening lyrics fit the musically enhanced feelings of dread:


“Running hot

Running cold

I was running into overload

That was extreme”


Writers decide where to begin a hero’s story. This story begins at Act II with describing the ordeal; skipping Act I. The hero begins a tale about a stressful life experience from the past. The use of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ in close proximity indicate confusion. Also, the use of temperatures give the impression of a body fever, or possibly an illness.  


“I took it so high so low so long

There was nowhere to go like a bad dream”


These verses reiterate the first four lines, but give more insight into the struggle. This was not a brief episode. The hero hit rock bottom and reached despair. What I really like about these lyrics is that we do not know exactly what caused the meltdown, and neither do we know what ‘it’ is.  The use of the pronoun ‘it’ allows the audience to fill in the blank with events from their own lives which makes the song relevant to a large audience.


Before the next group of lyrics, I hear a decrescendo which lightly relaxes the music’s high intensity.  A positive change has occurred:

New Attitude – Act III

The inciting event described in Act II was confronted and resolved. By using the general word ‘somehow’, we do not know what caused the change. Likewise, we do not know what was the ‘lesson to learn’. Again, the songwriters use non-specific lyrics to make the song relatable to anyone’s journey.


“Somehow the wires uncrossed

The tables were turned

Never knew I had such a lesson to learn”


New Attitude - Act IV

Now, with this new insight, the hero details how her life changed. The music's upbeat intensity reflects the meaning.



“I'm feeling good from my hat to my shoe
Know where I am going and I know what to do
I've tidied up my point of view
I've got a new attitude. I'm in control
My worries are few
'Cause I got love like I never knew
Ooh oh ooo oh
I've got a new attitude”


What caused the hero's ‘New Attitude’?  ‘Cause I got love like I never knew’. The hero found love, but she did not elaborate on what type of love.  Is it romantic love? Friendship love? Intellectual love? Self-love?  With this new love, whatever type of love it was, she has new insights for a fruitful life. Now the hero is in control and has few worries. She feels wonderful, hence the exuberant music that accompanies the chorus.

New Attitude – Act IV

The musical melody is primarily a repeat of the first movement. We hear additional details about the hero’s new life.  The ‘new dress, a new hat’ could be metaphors for both new inner and outer awareness.  She has ‘new ideas’ and is ‘changed for good’.  Notice the general nouns and adjectives. By not being specific, the songwriters allow us, the listeners, to see our personal life experiences in the story. I'm wearing a new dress, new hat  Brand new ideas, As a matter of fact I've changed for good.” The ‘cold nights’ could mean the hero spent time in reflective isolation.  The ‘new moon’ and ‘night changes’ represent an extended period of time

“Must have been the cold nights new moon
Night changes
Or forget your love for just being like I should”

The last line, ’or forget your love for just being like I should’, puzzles me.  When I listen to the track, I cannot make out what Patti LaBelle is singing, exactly. I believe “just being like I should” means the hero let go of a false reality and replaced it with an authentic one.

Repeat: Bridge and Chorus
The Hero sings the end of her story confidently and with purpose.  You cannot help but be happy for her.

Whenever I listen to songs from my youth, they reveal qualities relevant to me now as an adult.  New Attitude is not just a song with an infectious danceable beat. Its cleverly written lyrics and engaging story unfold as a universal hero’s myth about overcoming life’s challenges and obstacles, and finding new reasons for living, of which we all can relate.



Old life. New Life Logo retrieved from

Campbell, Joseph. (1949). The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press.

Song Lyrics, New Attitude. Retrieved from New Attitude lyrics searched on

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Compassionate Disagreements

                                     Left, Dr. Folami Prescott-Adams. Right, McKenzie Wren 

Compassionate Atlanta, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of compassionate action in the Greater Atlanta area, recently sponsored an engaging workshop on empathetic communication at Kavarna coffee house in Decatur, Georgia. Dialogue Across Differences was described as an "introductory, experiential workshop...that will show you how to tap into expanding compassion as you confront your own biases and others', improve your listening skills, and ask powerful questions to help create courageous conversations." McKenzie Wren of Culture on Purpose and Dr. Folami Prescott-Adams of HTI Catalysts, two well-known and highly respected conflict resolution facilitators, led the participants on a journey to uncover the skills and tools needed to create conversations that lead to improved understanding, empathy, and inclusion.  Let's discuss...