Relationships

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud: Summary

Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

In Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud devotes his dominant attention to endings and why it’s vital to terminate certain relationships sometimes. Cloud posits that one’s success depends on how well he or she is able to end specific relationships, and his or her dreams cannot be realized without discontinuing relationships that hinder progress. The author does not give the reader a false impression that endings are easy; he asserts that they are quite difficult. Cloud uses the majority of the pages of the work to offer advice about how to employ endings to one’s advantage.

For Cloud, he finds that humans demonstrate a strong willingness to cope with phenomena that cause them discomfort. He, however, advocates for eliminating unnecessary waste and baggage that we often continue to maintain. A failure to disconnect from troubling waste and baggage prevents one from experiencing life to its fullest.

The book asserts that endings are purposeful and necessary. Cloud explains that one of the most inspiring lessons learned from endings is that we can transcend them, that we can experience tremendous growth on the other side of them. For example, if we are involved in an unproductive relationship—whether a business or personal one—we’re causing ourselves to be in decline. Such a relationship, Cloud argues, can become so a part of us that we think it’s normal to keep it. One cannot truly experience greatness without permitting the unfruitful to end.

Henry Cloud contends that in our personal and business relationships we need to find opportunities to engage in pruning; that is, cutting, trimming those phenomena that have become bloated in our lives. When pruning and endings become natural and welcomed dimensions of our lives, we develop into more successful individuals.

Let a sense of dissatisfaction engender an urgency to end an unnecessary personal or business relationship. One often has to face the reality that he or she will have to be the one who directly cuts the metaphorical umbilical cord to unproductive relationships.

When ending relationships with people, make it clear that those relationships are ending. Don’t dread the conversation involved in ending a relationship; think carefully about what one will say before this conversation occurs. Visualize the conversation and establish clear objectives and desired outcomes.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Juice Soul and L.T. Terror’s “Let Me Have My Way”: A Critical Review

"Let Me Have My Way" Juice Soul

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

“Let Me Have My Way,” the second single from the forthcoming album Too Dark to Turn Back, features the ingenious collaboration of R&B and soul artist Juice Soul, rapper L.T. Terror and producer Chevalier Coleman. These gifted independent black male talents are among the best in the music industry. Without question, they will soon be household names. Last summer’s hottest song, “Tasteless,” their brainchild, put music fans in the mood for romance. With “Let Me Have My Way,” the hot, the sexy, the romance returns—just in time for summer love and lovemaking.

Trained in the Department of English and Modern Languages at the renowned Albany State University, Juice Soul masterfully wields compelling storytelling in his new single; this engrossing storytelling is a singular and characteristic element in his oeuvre. Mr. Soul’s euphonious, mellifluous vocals never disappoint, never auto-tuned, always delivering classic and disarming sounds that drive the ladies wild.

Drawing on the power of vivid, evocative storytelling, Juice takes his listeners on a journey, a love journey, one where sexual satisfaction is promised. We, the listeners, witness a cohesive and intriguing narrative, one apposite for an episode of a quality television drama.

A general proclivity in postmodernism, a historical and cultural phenomenon and the historical and cultural epoch in which we reside, as articulated by cultural critic and theorist Fredric Jameson and scholar Elizabeth Atkinson, is to welcome disorder and ambiguity. Resisting this postmodern impulse, Mr. Soul proffers a substantive story that’s logical and perspicuous and that resonates—he does not simply string some words together, as is, unfortunately, increasingly becoming the case for many popular singers and songwriters. Even some of his distinctive lyrical phrasing, where the vocal styling appears to blur or fade words intentionally for musicality purposes, still permits audiences to understand fundamentally what he attempts to convey.

The song anticipates feminist critique: both artists respectfully invite their desired women to share in an intimate experience with them. In Soul’s case, he wants it to last perpetually: “I never wanna let you go.” Sexual intercourse for him is communal, appropriately tasteful and delicate, never sacrificing, though, healthy masculine performance: “I’m going to give it to you so nice/Tell me how you feel about this?” The artist expresses a genuine interest in evaluative feedback—even during the sexual encounter, suggesting a true wish to please his woman. As artist, father, and professional, Juice Soul remains relentlessly authentic.

While L.T. Terror maintains this authenticity in the song, the rapper does it in a divergent way from Juice. The sagacious rapper, disabusing potential critics of arguments about the song being too idyllic, too mawkish (and it’s not), communicates frank intentions about his desires for the sexual experience, one ephemeral by design, yet vowed to delight. A central characteristic of postmodernism is an explicit embracing and engaging in textual fragmentation, that is, intentional textual discontinuities, and Terror’s lyrics, from a first reading, seem to represent radical textual fragmentation, especially when one juxtaposes them with Juice’s. Sex, however, does not have to be an enduring commitment; it can be a “one-time” experience, as Juice Soul intimates.

For L.T. Terror, this “one time” sexual interaction will include psychic stimulation: “My favorite position is in your mind.” Although the artist isn’t looking for a long-term physical commitment (and isn’t willing to give one), he hopes the woman will eternally remember their time together: “trying to find a home inside of your thighs.” Candid as possible, though, the rapper does not want good sex mistaken for love: “Might see love inside of my eyes/But that’s one big disguise/I’m such a horrible guy.” In other words, enjoy this magical moment, but don’t catch any abiding feelings.

Ironically, the divergences between Juice Soul’s lyrics and L.T. Terror’s form a totality, a unified whole, one reflecting real possibilities, diverse interactions and reactions, and nuanced notions of authenticity.

The track can be purchased on iTunes, and one can hear it on all digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

Let’s make this single go viral by sharing this piece and keeping the song in constant rotation on our favorite listening devices and music platforms.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Juice Soul’s “Made Her A Woman”: A Relationship Counternarrative for the Fellas

While male artists, especially those in R&B and Hip-Hop, often receive charges of employing sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic and divisive imagery and language, Juice Soul, Jason Williams of Augusta, Georgia, offers a mature, balanced and compelling counternarrative to those charges. Too many songs across musical genres present an oversimplified ultimate reason why numerous intimate heterosexual relationships fail: it’s the man’s fault. Yes, admittedly, men, more often than not, create the core challenges and problems that plague relationships and inevitably lead to their undoing. In many cases, however, women contribute significantly to these relationship challenges and problems. “Made Her A Woman,” one of the hit tracks from Juice Soul’s 2005 100% Concentration album, boldly, yet respectfully, ventures into this frequently slanted, deficient in nuance discourse.

Juice Soul’s dexterous melding of urban contemporary R&B and neo-soul lends itself useful to illuminating his characteristic deftness in relating an enchanting story through song. The powerful art of storytelling represented in “Made Her A Woman”—and most of his works—facilitates heartfelt emotions expressed. Although the title, “Made Her A Woman,” might give the impression of a standard patriarchal song, the artist deploys an ironic title, to surprise, challenge, unsettle. Early in the song, Mr. Williams disabuses the listener of any thoughts about this work being laced with misogynist or patriarchal words or themes.

Juice Soul Jason Williams

(Photo Courtesy of Juice Soul)

The artist longs for his former love to appreciate the substantial contributions he made in her life that helped her to evolve into a mature and productive woman. Her unwillingness to give him the gratitude he deserves results in a vexing loneliness; a loneliness that engenders a primarily dejected mood. Pain, however, seems to motivate the artist to rise above the limitations of his extant inauspicious circumstances, communicating a slight sense of optimism about his future love life.

Williams’ oeuvre appears intimately grounded in realism. The type of raw emotion and zeal he delivers suggests mostly biographical content rather than purely fictional content, which could explain why his songs connect so strongly with fans.

“Made Her A Woman” taps into the universal human condition by engaging common feelings experienced: loss, loneliness, heartbreak and disenchantment. As an adroit and shrewd lyricist, Juice Soul always releases a sincere, candid piece. This track conveys an important message: heterosexual men’s relationship narratives possess great value, and when artists proffer those narratives without fear, we behold poignant, beautiful art—the type of art represented by his Summer 2016 song featuring rapper L.T. Terror, one of the best songs produced this decade, “Tasteless.”

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Consequences of Being the Other Woman

Adultery

(Photo Credit: Singapore Divorce Lawyers)

Why allow yourself to experience the misery of being “the other woman”? When you become the other woman, you’re exacerbating the low self-esteem problems already present. You should value your body as more than a commodity only useful for a man’s exploitation. If you sleep with a married man, you will suffer numerous consequences. Do wonder why you’ve become such a messy woman? It’s the life you’re living with another woman’s husband. Do you wonder why your depression continues to grow more severe? Yep, you guessed it; it’s the sinful relationship you’re engaged in with a married man.

At some point, you should become exhausted with struggling to find a private room or office or house to have sex in. Is it really worth it? It’s quick, weak and little anyway, right? To cap it all off, you only get it when his wife is away. See, that’s setting yourself up for failure, for pain. You’re an option and not a constant.

Men who commit adultery typically have several other women. When you, therefore, sleep with him, you’re just one of several to get his little filthy genitals. He’s nasty and you’re nasty; he’s a whore and you’re a whore.

In short, stop being a whore and get your own man. Leave that woman’s husband alone.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Show People Themselves

Couple Arguing

(Photo Credit: Urbanette)

One of the most effective ways to show people how they behave is to respond to them the same way they respond to you. This, of course, goes against what is traditionally taught in most faiths. From time to time, however, you need to expose people for who they are by demonstrating to them how they act. Jesus often employed parables (elementary teachings) to make profound and enduring statements. You might contemplate approaching people in the aforementioned way as a means of adopting a similar pedagogical practice used by Jesus.

By temporarily choosing the ways of others, you can cause them to abandon their unfavorable conduct, considering they will not like when these ways are used against them. This strategy presents a meaningful opportunity for you to teach them valuable lessons and change their lives potentially forever.

At some point, you simply have to let folks know their behavior is unacceptable, and you must engage in efforts to discontinue their troubling conduct. You possess the power to ameliorate those around you.  Although they may not know yet, you’re the change they need to see in their lives.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Santresa Glass Celebrates 36 Years of Life

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Happy birthday to one of my best friends, Dr. Santresa Lolita Glass! Yes, I wrote your whole name. And, if you don’t like it, I can revise the previous sentence to include your other names, names that are more apt fits: stalker, for example. Just let me know. On to even more important things, though, I want you to have an excellent birthday; one that is filled with joy, relaxation and peace. With such a great heart, you deserve only the best. Unfortunately, that great heart will never make me desire you—don’t get it twisted sweetie. (I know how much you despise being called “sweetie,” especially from a certain group of people, but that’s another story.)

For the remainder of the year, just breathe, just live.

I’m so fortunate to have you as a best friend. When a person is loved by you, he or she is blessed with authentic love. You love your friends and family genuinely—not for what they can give you or do for you. Always know that your life has tremendous value; it touches, affects and makes the difference for numerous people.

You matter. What you do matters. What you say matters. What you think matters.

Too often, people take for granted the ability to be a true friend. This ability is a gift from Jesus. Having a real friend is a gift from God, and being able to be a real friend is a gift from God. No matter what anyone says, know that you possess the gift of friendship—in both forms.

As I continue to live this wonderful life in Christ Jesus, I learn that the untrustworthy and selfish people in my life will inevitably be exposed. Just recently, I discovered someone I long supported, devoted time and energy to, and loved demonstrated pure selfishness and deceit. With you, San, I never have to concern myself with such foolishness. You’re never thinking about how you can take advantage of someone to fulfill your selfish longings.

Thank you for being a giver. Thank you for being kind. Thank you for being selfless. Thank you for being my friend.

Well, I’ve wasted enough of my day on you—valuable time that I’ll never be able to redeem. You’re not that special to consume so much of my time. Duh!

Understand that I’ll never want you—no matter how many creative advances you try to make—I’ll never desire you. You’re simply obsessed with me and, at this point, it has become really pathetic.

Anyway, have the best birthday ever and know that I love you—not like you want—but with the love one of the best friends in the world deserves!

P.S. Although I will not have time today to give you a live concert, just know in the days to come you will be blessed with the gift of mellifluous, yoke-destroying, harmonious, and chart-topping song.

Love ya,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels (your wildest fantasy)

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 35th Birthday to Dr. Santresa L. Glass

Santresa L. Glass

Courtesy of Santresa L. Glass

I want to take this opportunity to wish Dr. Santresa L. Glass, my best friend, a Happy Birthday! San, as she’s affectionately known, is such a loving, caring and thoughtful person. She’s passionate about friendship and love. Whenever I have good news to share, Dr. Glass is always more excited about the news than I am. In a world saturated with jealousy and envy, one must truly treasure that aforementioned aspect of a person. We have a friendship like none other. It’s a joy to wake up each day and know that you have someone in your corner with the love and support that Santresa extends. Yes, my life is great because of Jesus dwelling on the inside of me, and Dr. Glass is one of those precious treasures He’s given to me that makes life even more special.

Although we disagree 99% of the time, our ardent discourses always add to our friendship rather than take away from it. Too many people are looking for “yes men” and “yes women,” but San and I seek authenticity, and that’s exactly what we receive from one another 100% of the time. We always honor each other’s authenticity because it comes from a genuine place of love. Dr. Glass and I embrace each other’s differences and those differences help us to learn so much from one another.

One of the dimensions of our friendship I appreciate the most is how she’s able to give me valuable insights from a woman’s perspective and I’m able to offer her meaningful insights from a man’s perspective. You would be really surprised how we’ve used this “insider knowledge” to our advantage.

While many still believe we have a sexually intimate relationship, our friendship is not based on sexual relations at all. We share an intimacy that is much deeper and rewarding than what people experience in relationships involving sexual intercourse. The essence of our intimacy and love is best encapsulated and delineated by William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. Our love and intimacy cannot even be eradicated by the ravages of time.

San, I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished. Whatever you set your mind to do, you conquer—no matter what challenges and problems you encounter. As you know, I’m only a call, text, tweet or Facebook message away. It’s my prayer that God’s Grace will manifest into your life on this day an abundance of spiritual elevation, divine health, love, peace, joy, happiness, wealth, faith, favor and miracles.

I love you and want you to have the best birthday ever!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Santresa L. Glass!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison