Soul Care

When I first decided to jump into graduate school and get a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, I think many around me were skeptical (including myself at first). Those who know me responded with raised eyebrows and comments such as, “YOU as a therapist?!” I brushed off the skepticism and dove head-first into the coursework. When thinking about the future and what I wanted to do, I always justified the therapy aspect by pointing out that I didn’t have to necessarily be a therapist but could get a job similar to a Social Worker. It wasn’t until I went to Lynchburg for the week and met Dr. Brooks and Dr. Dumont that I truly realized what I got myself into, and why.


Like many others, my view of therapy was strictly based on stereotypes. I have never attended counseling or therapy. I thought to myself, “Hey, I have a great sense of intuition. I’m right most of the time. I would be great at giving advice to others.” And honestly that’s as far as my thinking went with my choice in graduate coursework.


However, when in Lynchburg, never once did either of these two wonderful professors say the word therapy. Counseling, sometimes, but mostly they refer to “our” line of work as soul care. Dr. Jeanie Brooks said that, “it is wounded people that go into soul care.” She went on to explain that whether we want to believe it or not, we are all wounded in some way. Also, wounded doesn’t mean broken. Wounds can heal, and will with the proper tending. We all have baggage, and we must be willing to examine our baggage and learn from it. That is what sets us apart and allows us to be open to listening and sitting with a person who is wounded. After all, if the person comes to you with similar problems as your own and you aren’t even willing to look at your own, how can you help them understand it’s okay to look at theirs.


Also, our job in soul care is not to fix the person’s problem. Our office is simply a container for emotions which people come to pour them in and then leave feeling better and less heavy. The key to this job is listening. And boy, I didn’t know I had such a problem with listening until I actually tried to focus strictly on that.


I have always known I am a control freak. But I truly believe that deciding to go into this field was a blessing for me. It was the Lord’s way of showing me that I don’t always need to be in control; especially in other people’s lives. In soul care, people need me to listen, truly listen. Everyone in their life has told them ways to fix their problem and alleviate their stresses. However, my job is just to listen to them talk and help them figure out if what they are doing is working for them at the present time. This doesn’t call for me to dictate or order them to do something. All I have to do is listen and repeat back to them what they are saying. I am like a mirror. Once I reflect back to them what they are giving me, they will see if that is a good or bad thing for them. They are able to form their own opinions and solutions, or not. I have to be okay with people living their life the way they want and making the mistakes they choose.


In my own life, this has been particularly hard to practice. I want so much to protect those I love and help them make the right choices. However, I’ve realized that “the right choices” that I choose for them, may not be what they want and no one wants to be undermined and told what to do. Ultimately this will just drive people away and make me look like a prude. Instead, my only job is to control my own actions and allow others to do the same. That seems like such an obvious choice, but it has been truly hard for me to do. However, once I came to this realization, I felt liberated! It was like a weight taken off my shoulders. I no longer have to argue with those I love and try to make them see things “my way”. NOPE! If they believe they are doing the right thing, and it’s working for them; then it’s not up to me to tell them otherwise.


Throughout this experience, I realize I was afraid of losing control. However, I now realize that the act of losing control has a negative connotation. And the more I practice this and the more comfortable I get, the more I see the good it has brought into my life. I now like to think of it as giving away control. I no longer need it. I need to only be responsible for my actions, my money, my life, and my salvation. I can focus on bettering myself, and providing a role model for others, instead of trying to force others to act.  


I can already see the benefits from this in my life in just a couple short months. I feel almost weightless, just so much lighter than I was before. I am no longer burdened with other people’s junk. I can just listen and leave them to figure out solutions. Chances are they didn’t want my advice anyway. Most people just want to be heard. In order for a person to change, their situation must be more painful than the act of changing. It’s a personal thing. And if what that person is doing is working for them, whether it’s good or bad, it’s their life. My only job is to listen and love. And that is exactly what I am trying to do. What a blessing this soul care has been so far, and I can’t wait to see what my future holds.


That’s Filthy, Alright.

Take 6 short minutes out of your day to watch this video, with the sound off.

Men, are you aroused yet? Women, are you jealous?

Can you tell me what that song was about, even though you didn’t listen to it? If so, the video did its job and was appropriate for the song. Now take 1 more minute and read the lyrics to that song.

“Drunk in Love”….really? I would have never guessed. After all, Beyonce didn’t drink the whole video. Jay-Z only had a half-glass of wine. If you ask me, that doesn’t constitute either of them as being drunk. And in love…well that one is hard to portray…but I can guarantee you that rolling around in sand, at night, alone, is not my idea of “in love”.

 No one person or thing can bear the burden of blame for the ruin and corruption of our world. However, this song and this video are concrete examples of the absolute devastation that surrounds us today. Contrary to others perspective, I don’t say this because of the explicit content of the video. These two are married, with a child. Therefore the innuendos seen here are absolutely okay; for the bedroom. If I didn’t know better, I might think this video was leaked from Jay-Z’s personal collection for when Beyonce is out on tour and he is lonely…if you get my drift.

 Sex sells. I get it. Trust me. That’s not what bothers me about this video. What bothers me is the producers continue to portray women this way, and women don’t mind. Although I don’t agree with feministic extremism, I am all for honesty. And those behind the making of this video are just dishonest, plain and simple. And although I don’t believe women have to be exactly “equal” to men, I appreciate positive representation. This woman, who was voted the most beautiful woman in the world by People Magazine in 2012, is depicted as someone so overcome with sexual desires that she is not only touching herself, but dry-humping the air, the sand, even the man. He, on the other hand, is fully clothed, not even getting his clothes wet or taking his jewelry off, sipping his wine while she clings to his body. This portrayal, if you ask me, is a bunch of bologna.

 This video makes me sad to say that I once thought of Beyonce as a good role model for young girls, and frankly makes me feel sorry for her. She seems to have it all together. She is beautiful, has an awesome voice, is confident, beyond rich, has a beautiful family, and is envied by so many. Yet almost 20 years after coming into “the business” and accumulating a net-worth of $350 million, she still is forced to use her sexuality to overpower her musical ability and drown out her talent to make a dollar. How sad is that? I would think after all this time, and all she has done and proven; she, of ALL people, would be able to sell records no matter what. What does that say to our girls; our sweet baby girls? If she can’t do it, how are they to be expected to? And if they follow in her footsteps, what will that end up looking like for them? Beyonce thinks she is helping women stand up for themselves and gain a voice, but in fact she is doing the exact opposite. She is endorsing the very stereotypes our ancestors, both men and women, fought so hard to break.

And what about our baby boys? They are no less harmed by this nonsense. They get their hopes and expectations up that this is what “real” women are like, when that is so far from the truth. I have seen some stuff, but I have never seen a woman do what she is doing…not even one that is drunk and in love. I’ve seen drunks, I’ve seen people in love, and I have even seen drunks in love…but it is never so glamorous. I wonder how Jay-Z would feel if Beyonce had projectile puked all over his white shirt after shaking her head around so much and getting dizzy. That’s sexy, for sure. Again, this video does nothing but emphasize negative stigmas that our society has “fought” to crush for decades. Men deserve to know the truth too. They need to know what real women REALLY go through and how they act. It’s not fair to our men either. Their expectations are built up just to be torn down and never met by women that they meet. I bet the majority of men wouldn’t even know how to act if a woman DID do these things. It is such a far-fetched reality, but it is fantasy that breaks relationships apart every day.

 This video has been viewed over 110 million times on YouTube. This means 110 million people have either fantasized, envied, or been sickened by this sorry excuse for a music video and a sub-par song. Not one person has watched this and truly appreciated the people that are before them. Most fail to realize that although Beyonce and Jay-Z are “real” people, when you see them, they are “REALLY” actors.

At the beginning of the song she says, “I get filthy when that liquor get into me.” I would say this is obvious, but as previously mentioned; she isn’t even drinking. If there is one good lesson in this, it is this lyric. Getting absolutely hammered drunk does make a person do and say filthy things. These are things that can’t be taken back or excused in the sober morning light. So thank you for that little piece of positivity, B. Appreciate it. Everything in moderation my friends.