While this might seem like a bit of a left field kind of article, please believe there is a method to the madness 'cause, y'all…Y'ALL. If there's one thing that is pretty big in Black culture (because interestingly enough, several white people I know actually needed me to break down what a godparent even is…hmph), especially in Black church culture, it's the concept of children having a set of godparents. Typically, they are formally introduced to the world (relatively speaking) when a little one is getting blessed or dedicated (or christened) to the Lord.
Over the course of my life, I have witnessed a lot of people become godparents. Shoot, I've even had two sets of my own…who were disappointing as all get out. Matter of fact, the wife of the second pair, after not reaching out in years, flew into Nashville, asked to meet for lunch and then proceeded to tell me that she was an inactive godmother because my mom basically made her feel intimidated into accepting the position. What in the world? And I'm saying that to her and my mother (and not necessarily in that order).
And here's the thing — unfortunately, my story isn't a rare one. I know countless people who have godparents "on paper" and yet those people haven't been a part of their lives (especially in any real or consistent way) since…shoot, they can't remember when. And if there's something that all of them have in common, it's the fact that their godparents being MIA on their commitment has ultimately affected their trust of older adults while making them mad leery about ever agreeing to become a godparent themselves. Yep. It can be just that deep.
So, while an article like this may only target a very niche group, for the sake of current and future children who absolutely deserve to have more than godparents in name (along with a picture day at church) only, let's touch on some things that you definitely should think — meditate and pray — long and hard about before ever agreeing to such a privileged and lifelong position like godparenting.
Be Clear on What the Position Entails
Y'all, I actually know a couple who has 15 godchildren (I know, right?). Even they admit that they have dropped the ball on more than half of them. I mean, really — if you know what comes with being a godparent, there is no way that you can handle that many kids. And just what does it mean to be a godparent? The two main responsibilities include 1) being present when the child is dedicated to the Lord as a way of saying that you are willing to play a pivotal and significant role in their spiritual growth and development and 2) assuming the role of taking care of the children should their parents pass on or be unable to maintain their own roles for some reason. And y'all, both of these things are HUGE.
In fact, I know some people who have been asked to be a godparent and they've turned the offer down, not because of the first expectation but the second — they simply don't want to accept the huge responsibility of raising children if something dire were to happen to those kids' parents. However, as a godmother myself, while some folks think that is an automatic responsibility, before I accepted the position, I discussed that part with my godchildren's mom, for a while. She and her husband's will states that her brother would get custody of my goddaughters should something happen to them. It also states that I am the godmother and so provisions should be made for me to remain in their life — long-term.
Now I will say that as more and more people are opting out of traditional religious practices, there is a role of a modern-day godparent that basically consists of committing to being a good role model for children while also serving as an additional loved one in their life (especially if their parents don't have a lot of blood family or they aren't close to them). All of this to say, if you've always been familiar with the term "godparent" yet you were never really sure what it consisted of, while it tends to take on various forms for some folks, that's basically the gist.
Discuss with the Parents What Their Expectations of a Godparent Are
Can you imagine how many relationships would remain intact if folks simply, openly and honestly discussed their expectations before moving forward rather than assuming that 1) the other person should already know them and/or 2) the other person is automatically going to be on the same page as they are?
When it comes to becoming a godparent, this point definitely applies which is why, before accepting, you should ask the parents what they would like you to do in their child's life and, if need be, how often/consistently they would like you to do those things.
As for me and my goddaughters, their parents just wanted me to be constantly present to the point where both girls would know who I am and feel comfortable coming to talk to me about various topics throughout various stages of their life. My goddaughters' parents also trust my opinion when it comes to them making certain decisions that directly affect their girls. Honestly, when it came to Grace (who is 10), I had so much PTSD from my own poor godparent experience that it took me a bit longer to be physically present in the sense of proactively going to see her (although we talked on the phone all of the time and her family would come to Nashville fairly often for business).
However, with her sister, Nova (who is currently 2), I've been putting forth more effort into spending quality time with both girls in their own space, energy and environment. Their parents don't expect more from me than that; however, they do expect that much. I am clear on that and have been intentional about staying active in these capacities.
Figure Out If Godchildren Will Complement Your Lifestyle/Schedule
When my godchildren's mom first asked me to be her firstborn's godparent, believe it or not, it took me an entire year to agree to do it. While that might seem really ungracious on the surface, again, because I had been burned by so-called godparents as a child and because my godchildren's mom is actually named after her own godmother (which means she takes the role really seriously), I needed to make sure that I wouldn't disappoint anyone like I had been disappointed by others. That included really processing if my lifestyle and schedule were conducive to such a position because, to me, godparenting isn't just about sending a birthday card and calling a couple of times a year.
My godchildren actually hear from me 2-3 times a week, the older one and I try and have an online movie date once a month (when we can't, it's due to her busy schedule) and I'm actually flying out to see them before this month is out. I know that there will be graduations that I need to be present for. That I need to take interest in my goddaughters' gifts, talents and interests. And that someday, there will be weddings and baby blessings of their own that I need to do everything my power to attend.
While being a godparent isn't even a fraction of as mentally, emotionally or financially taxing as being a parent is, it does come with some sacrifices of time and resources (again, if you're taking the role seriously enough). That's why I don't knock it at all if people are asked and humbly decline because they just aren't sure if they can be that present for someone else's kids. Sometimes, being a godparent is too much and being a "love aunt" or uncle (that's my way of calling someone who isn't a blood relative a family member) is easier. Understood.
Know That Being a Godparent Is a Lifelong Commitment
I actually have another goddaughter. She's a teenager now and that is mind-blowing to even fathom. We don't have a relationship because her mother and I parted ways years ago. However, a couple of years ago, when I ran into her mom and we made our own peace, I told her that I intended on putting her daughter on a life insurance policy — that I wanted to do it for all three of my goddaughters at some point (life insurance companies have advised that I wait until around my mid-late 50s to entertain doing that since they are technically not my children; according to them, I shouldn't "burden myself" with that financial obligation right now. Noted). That mom and my other goddaughters' parents thought that was going above and beyond. Maybe. To me, though, since I don't have my own children, I want to make sure that my goddaughters have some extra support in living out their best life.
Besides. GOD-parent. I don't think most folks get the magnitude of that word. I mean, even parents don't have "GOD" in front of their title. I don't know about y'all, but I know the way that God loves me — continually and in spite of whatever I do or don't do. When you sign up to be someone's godparent, you should look at your commitment to them in a similar fashion. It's not to be an emotional (which can be fickle) or unspiritual (which can be selfish) move. Godly love should always be seen as healthy, somewhat sacrificial and everlasting. As long as my goddaughters are here and I am here to see them evolve, I will be available to them. That is what I signed up for.
Don’t Agree Just Because It Strokes Your Ego
I remember once talking to a friend before the birth of his son. He was telling me that although (at the time), he had only daughters, he did have a godson who he wasn't proactive with when it came to interacting with him. Last I checked, that child is now a grown man and incarcerated (due to a myriad of broken issues). Is that my friend's fault? Absolutely not. At the same time, when he stood up and said that he would be that guy's godparent, there's no telling how much his active influence could've played a direct role in that man's life possibly taking a different path.
Do I know some great godparents? Indeed, I do. I've gotta admit, though, when it comes to the tales of those who admit that they have not stepped up to the plate past maybe a year or so of agreeing to be someone's godparent, those names are endless. And that's got me honestly wondering how many people agree to do it only for the ego stroke of being asked without really taking into account how serious the position actually is.
You know, one of my favorite lines in the movieThe Fault in Our Stars is when one of the characters said, "Sometimes, people don't understand the promises that they make when they make them." Preach. That said, there's a Scripture in the Bible that I fear a lot of us don't take very seriously but we definitely should:
"Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool's voice is known by his many words. When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—better not to vow than to vow and not pay." (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5-NKJV)
When you vow to be a godparent — to passionately care about a child's spiritual needs and well-being while also supporting their parents as they develop — because it is such a solid spiritual position, I believe that God takes it very seriously and literally. That's why, if you agree to be one, while it is indeed an honor, it also requires a ton of grace, humility and consistency.
I know. This is a lot to think about yet if you're currently on the fence about either becoming a godparent or asking someone else to be one for your own kids, it's my prayer that all of this shed some additional light. A godparent isn't just a pat on the back. It's a huge responsibility. For the sake of the children who you may influence at this magnitude…please choose wisely.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy