“...understand the concept of something that is exceptional, that is so far outside for the curve that it stands alone.”
~ Dr. Jarralynn Agee
During the Plenary Session of the Phenomenal Women's Summit presented by Bishop Teresa Snorton on Friday, August 30, 2013, Dr. Jarralynn Agee, author and Professor at University of Alabama Birmingham, presented the Morning Plenary Session. The co-author (with Candace Sandy and Dawn Marie Daniels) of Tears of Triumph, Women Learn to Live, Love and Thrive and founder of Positive Pathways Program (P3), came with share her wit, knowledge and wisdom.
“What is a hero’s journey?” asked Dr. Agee, echoing the thoughts of the crowd, “How did I get to where I am today?” She mentioned the dichotomy of being the sister of one sibling who went to Ohio State and another who went to the “State Pen”. Dr. Agee mentioned having to walk between the two worlds, never choosing because those experiences shaped her life. She had to learn how to be a Sistah girl and also use the Ohio Bell voice (the “professional voice” used to get things done).
Dr. Agee brought to the conference her ideas of whom you keep in your circle, who you keep as an association, and those you keep far away. “What is a friend?” she asks? The audience mentioned “honesty”, “truth”, “Ride or Die”, and “unconditional love”. “There is a strong emotional bond to friendships”. Dr. Agee shared stories of her own life and friends before engaging the audience in a conversation on the friend we keep in our circles.
The discussion of friendship commences with the discernment of different kinds of friends. “There are different kinds of friendships” said Dr. Agee, “spiritual friendship, worldly friendship and unrooted friendship”. The friendships are defined as follows:
- ¨ spiritual friendship – Those who stand beside you, understand your goals, supports your plan see you pain and celebrate your success, even those you haven’t acquired yet.
- ¨ worldly friendship – Thos who stand with you, support your goals, see you for who you are right now, focus on you right now, and celebrate your successes as they happen
- ¨ unrooted friendship – stand behind you – but at a distance, support your desires, see you for what you used to be, may relish in your pain and personally or behind your back may celebrate your success.
Dr. Agee was certain to have everyone understand what separates “goals” from “desires”. “Goals are things you want to reach versus desires which are things we want to have.” The audience then gave examples of people who were in their circle as spiritual friends.
“What keeps us stuck on other kinds of friends?” Dr. Agee then asked. The audience responded that “the truth hurts” and “the inability to see”. Dr. Agee brought up her co-author, Candace Sandy, to discuss unrooted friends. “Unrooted friend place us in a box and we believe them so we’ll put them there,” Sandy mentioned. These are “boxers” those who “put us there - pack us up and wrap up the tape”. Using volunteers, the participants were able to identify traits of unrooted friends (“those friends [that] keep people in the box and we stay there because we are comfortable”).
Dr. Agee recommended to participants to work around the “negative schema” the way of thinking about where the individual mindset lies in state (the current place of where I am – happy) and the trait (what we carry that will not change tomorrow – height. She encouraged participants to determine, “Who are the believers in your life, who are you supporters?” and only take along those persons who are the believers.
Dr. Agee concluded with visibly showing the circle of influence, using audience members to design where physically people should place their spiritual, worldly and unrooted friends.
The challenge of the session is for the phenomenal women to not be afraid of success. “With success comes responsibility,” declares Dr. Agee. She encouraged participants to think outside of who we are, and pursue abundance. “If we were willing to become everything that we are destined to become, we will be an inspiration to others,” said Dr. Agee. “We ought to be selfish to help others.”