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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dear Hannah: Bag Of Life


Dear Hannah,

we need to talk.

we need to have sustained, substantive conversations with friends, fans, and foes that are affirming, accepting, accountable - and sometimes authoritative.

they can be focused, civil, intra-generational, didactic, inspiring, comforting, strategic ...

... and can still be pleasant & fun.

... or thoughtful, probing, and sobering.

... or downright serious.

they can edify and mature the mind, will, and emotions ...

... by speaking life

... and preventing death.

they can build bonds, teams and camaraderie.

they can birth visions.

they can create frameworks for change.

they can help to keep peace, help to make peace, or help to say "peace".

it all starts with a good question that provides food for thought.

check it ...
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"Bag Of Life"
By Derrick Brown

how you doin
what you up to
yo that's kinda fly
kinda fresh and new

what's on your mind
what you pursuin
steady on your grind
new ideas brewin

where you from
what do you do
man is that right
i've been there, too

what you wanna do
how you dreamin
now when you wake up
how you schemin

do you have some time
let's kick it for a minute
i'm out here tryna climb
up in to win it

hey is all good
tell me if you straight
i hope it's understood
that we met by fate

if not now, when
why and how, then
if not you, who
is all of that true

is there info
that you don't know
can the same facts
lead to other acts

what happened
how that make you feel
now are you for real
will you heal

can you forgive
let it all go
live and let live
know and then grow

am I your equal
do you respect me
am I your sequel
do you subject me

does this make sense
come on tell me now
or am i crazy
'gon do it anyhow

can you help me
please help me now
if would you show me
i'm willing to allow

can we pray, please
i need to find my way
which way to go
should I leave or stay

tell me what u thought
why not
i'm not gon say "you ought ..."

need some space
i'll take a step back
need some grace
i'll give a brotha slack

is it "you" or "they"
stand tall & straight
is it "yea" or "nay"
firmness carries weight

is this enough
or perhaps too much
should I scale back
use a softer touch

tell me what i say
to make you feel that way
tell me we're ok
to see another day

"Bag of Life" is my project-based approach to facilitating sustained, substantive conversations with friends, fans, and foes that are affirming, accepting, accountable - and sometimes authoritative.

You take a bag and fill it with cards containing short fill-in-the-blank statements like "I am afraid of _____" ...

... questions like "what are your core values about money?"

... terms like "commitment", "change", "love" that you describe to make the rest of the group try to guess - and in doing so you see how aligned your thoughts are with the other group members.

there are also some well-known and obscure Bible passages that challenge you to read, wrestle with, and rightly divide God's "words with friends".

then you sit in a circle, pass the bag, learn, grow, and get to know some folks in ways that encourage you to get together once you leave that circle ...

... and then you go serve people together in ways that expand that circle ...

... then rinse and repeat.

this is one small way we work for lasting change ...

... change that starts with "me" and the renewing of my mind.



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dear Hannah: Fight The Good Fight (Life & Opportunities)

Dear Hannah,

Life is a series of opportunities.

Here's how I approach life ...

    I listen, because I don't listen well.

    I am quiet, because I am not quiet.

    I observe, because I can't see.

    I know, because I know that I don't know.

    I speak like no one else is ever going to speak for me.

    I do like no one is ever going to do for me.
<continued below ...>

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<continued from above ...> 
Opportunities are always disguised as work.

    This work always involves details.

    This work always involves people.

    I respect and engage details, because I 
    have paid a dear price for ignoring and 
    disrespecting them.

        They show you what you cannot see.

        They help you learn *that* you do not know ....

        ... by showing you *what* you do not know.

    I also respect and engage people, 
    because I have paid a price for 
    ignoring and disrespecting them.

    I engage people by observing how they 
    view and handle details.

    People are quick to oversimplify and 
    minimize details.

    In doing so, they exaggerate their 
    own importance.

    They believe that someone else should 
    handle the details.

    In doing so, they marginalize and disrespect 
    that person's role and essence.

    They treat 'em like fractions.

    Like "3/5 of a person" fractions.

My approach to life and opportunities can lead to conflict when collaborating.

    When I co-labor, I demonstrate both my 
    commitment and expectations by 
    submitting to and engaging the 
    work's details.

    I engage according to my abilities 
    and the opportunity's requirements.
    My eyes observe the following - engaging 
    *details* that people think are "beneath 
    them" leads them to treat *me* like I am 
    beneath them.

    My spirit observes it differently
    - engaging *details* that people 
    think are "beyond them" leads them 
    to treat *me* like I am beyond them.

    Either way, this leads to the same mistreatment.

    It results in the same marginalization 
    and disrespect of me - and my important 

    I accept this as a clear, sober warning 
    that I need to choose co-laborers 

    Here's another sobering thought - I 
    have this experience often and 
    equally with Black and White people.




Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dear Hannah: Renaissance

Dear Hannah,

I want you to see how to be free ...

... how to forge your own path in your own happy space.

... how to leave an inheritance to your children's children ...

... an inheritance of your heart - full of treasure beyond measure.

Support Our Work - Buy This Song (SEE BELOW)!



By Derrick Brown

my name is Derrick.

my name means
"leader of his people".

my education began
when i finished school.

learning led
to unlearning ...

then a revival
of RElearning
and culture.

i am relearning
both my essence
and function ...

as a



i am relearning that ...

... teaching
is about reaching

... knowing
is knowing that
you DON'T know

... my gifts can
impact the world

... i can relate
to people with
great empathy
and engage the world
around me

& authority

... tradition begins
and ends with change.

... everything must change
- and STAY changED.

... i will build
a dream team
and strategic scheme
that will manifest
all my GOoD ideas.

... prophecy is not seeing
"the future"

it is understanding
"the past"
and speaking
truth to power
in "the present".

... vision is seeing
an idea clearly enough
to stir your passions

and cloudy enough
to make you move towards it
with enthusiasm
and careful intent.

i am relearning that

i am a ...


simple kinda fella

griot frio

stand-up storytella

... i can execute
any role necessary
to express myself
to this world ...

sax player

... i have taken command
of my time and talents,
and invested both

into building and protecting
my creative space
my happy, safe place

where finally
i get to be all of me
who i always was
who i am
who i wanna be.

... it will take
all of that
and all of me

moving with


with ideas & visions

armed with
mighty pen, pad
and boundless

knowledge and wisdom

my risky decisions

my best for last

to cash in
all of these chips.

... to make that happen,
i know that
standards must be set

for battles yet
to be waged,

by tigers yet
to be caged,

believers yet
to be enraged,

soldiers yet
to be engaged.

... i am on a mission to
challenge us to more than

learning to show
learning to owe

I'm about

learning to grow
learning to know

i want my wife to see
that this evolution of
the best version of me
is because of her love
and the freedom it grants.

i want my daughter to see
how to be free
to forge her own path
in her own happy space

and leave an inheritance
to her children's children ...

... an inheritance of her heart
full of treasure beyond measure.

welcome to my renaissance.



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Thoughts On Balance)

Dear Hannah,

Being part of a church has helped me to grow - both in my walk with God, and in my understanding of life and people.

Church helped me to wake up, grow up, speak up, and wise up.

The experience has not always been "pretty" - but has taught me key lessons ...
  1. Your gifts can become weapons (against you and others) without the BALANCE of healing and accepting, affirming, accountable, authoritative relationships (SEE TABLE BELOW).
  2. Hurt people hurt people.
  3. Healed people help people heal.
  4. People who help people sometimes exploit the people they help - and the people who help them.
  5. We are all mentors to each other through shared life experiences - good, bad, and ugly.
  6. Your mentor's good works are beacons of light that show you the path; his missteps are clear warnings to you. Take heed.



Balanced Character Trait Imbalanced
Speak Life Eloquence Speak Death
Wisdom Knowledge Schemes
Ministry Giving Exploitation
No Exploitation Saying "No" No Ministry
God's Glory Anger Bad Story
Meekness Strength Weakness
"Healthy" Fear Courage Foolish Risks
Power Work Ethic Obsession
Peace Confrontation Chaos
Power, Equality, Guidance Mentoring Patronage, Control, Marginalization
Peace, Self-Control Mediation "Checking", Passive Aggression
Solutions, Production Problem Solving Complaints

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Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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