When I called Queen Afua to discuss what had happened to my business; the money that had been stolen from me during a time when my son was on his death bed and incidentally, during one of the most painfully trying times of my life in a very mentally abusive marriage- the only thing that she could tell me through my tears, was that I should be thankful.
At the time, it was the last thing that I wanted to hear. I needed justice, I needed someone to tell me how to go after that thief, a woman who claimed to be my sister, but who proved herself to be nothing more than an imposter in some damn dread locks. A woman who, while i struggled to keep my son alive, was steadily removing my name, my details and even trying to steal the name of my business, all for the sake of seemingly blind envy and an insatiable greed.
But, I had been warned. Many who sat in those classes under her direction, found her to be aloof, false and greedy. It was their wish for me to get rid of her and hire someone more classy, kind and, above all, worthy of working with the people. I, however, not knowing what to do, kept her, to my own chagrin.
Now, thoroughly devastated, I sat on the phone and recounted to Queen how she had laughed at me. How she had an arrogant response to my questions and just simply, after a while of taunting, hung up the phone on me. I shared with Queen how she took all of the money I had worked hard for, duplicated my business model, lured away my presenters and started to pay them under the name of her new business, another similar duplication to my own, which was illegally purchased with my own business' funds.
I told Queen all of this, and, despite it all, she simply responded that I was to "Be Thankful, that it only cost you $310,000 dollars to get rid of her, because when you begin to make millions, it will be the least of your worries, then..."
Now, ten years later, I have long begun to see what she was wisely teaching me. Long after I discovered the remedy to my son's grave illness, I began to see the light and love in her words. I began to find peace in the midst of the storm, which eventually became transformed into magnificent streams of happiness. And, yes, Abundance...
That single act of betrayal proved to be one of the best lessons I could have had about business, helping me to properly vet and thoroughly check every single iota in a person's character, focusing instead on their love for the people, versus their love for the money.
It has been five years since I have ventured out to Senegal, building up business contacts, forming strong, lasting relationships and above all, serving as a beacon of hope, service and life to others, but these ventures of doing for others helped to propel me in my own healing. My ability to be trustworthy, dependable and a real sister, hurled me in to emotions of immediate bliss and personal self-fulfillment.
Through service, I discovered humility. I discovered that the phoenix, that mythological bird of paradise, symbolized my ability to rise above adversity and find joy in the midst of seeming disappointments, failures. Through service, I discovered me.
I discovered, too, that when you are given lemons, you don't have to settle on lemonade, but, with a little more thought to it, you could learn to make lemon drops, lemon meringue, lemon-flavoured fudge and lemon-lime bath salts.
I discovered that my pain could birth endless possibilities, with a little more focus on the blessings and less on the stress.
By last year, I discovered that feeling of not being able to hold myself down, not being able to get in my own way and not being able to talk myself out of my own success.
Although my pain had borne numerous physical conditions that kept me overcoming one illness after the other for years, as I began to take responsibility for the unjust actions I had suffered at the hands of others, not for perpetrating the acts, but for perpetrating the fraud that I was comfortable with them, when I knew deep within my heart that I was not.
I had to take responsibility for my inability to love myself enough to protect myself, my children and my family from people who, in their narcissisms, pretended to be in love enough with me, to love and accept children, whom they did not, because they could.
In my taking responsibility, holding my part of the bargain up and confessing my faults, my illnesses began to fade and the clouds made way for the sun. Before long, I could look in the mirror and love that woman in self, like I had never been able to love that little girl within me before. The phoenix was born...
As we prepare for our grand opening to our new Wellness Centre, I am pondering all of the people who I am grateful for, who are responsible for my getting here, and despite the many who have helped me with their kind words of encouragement, gifts and love, I am also ever so thankful for those who have served to be an albatross or an impediment in my path, because, they too, help us to discover the joys of success. They too, help to make our rise all the more sweeter, because, we will never be defeated as long as we are thankful!
Thank you, Allah (God) for giving me the ability to be grateful for everything in this life. The Phoenix has risen, once again...
P.S. I pray that they help someone out there to find their joy in the midst of their sadness....
Are YOU READY...to RiSE?!
Dr. Tisa Muhammad
Founder/Visionary/The Grateful One