Philosophy and Psychology of Change
“It is not enough for you to know that you are well, nor for others to see that you’re well; but if you would encourage other sick folks, you should tell how you got well, and who treated you.” Rev. Sylvester Curtis Richards, Sr.
At the end of the following story, I say that “To honor the wisdom and memory of my mother, I wrote and recorded a spoken-word album titled Hope Needs Never to Die. And to aid others to develop Integral Humanism based on (W)hole® sage perspectives for a sustainable world, I offer myself as an Oracle, who creates Contemplative Courses and Audiobooks for global conflict-resolution.”
My professional background has positively affected me, but it was first by observing my mother that I saw how chaos was to be tamed by wisdom. Now, based on global concerns such a those outlined in the Earth Charter, I teach web-based Perspectacles® Courses to save the world, from customary inadequacies in consciousness, universally found in our perspectives.
To begin this story, my name is Gola Wolfson Richards, and I was born in 1946. Years ago, I authored a text of principles to be contemplated for global conflict-resolution, primarily designed to be a Spoken-Word AudioBook, titled The Way to See (W)hole®. Tersely poetic, complemented with fantastic illustrations, the text concisely outlines a myth to explain consciousness, and key elements to educating for world peace through superior self-cultivation. As it explicates the (W)hole® truth about principles for conflict, it emphasizes how individual progress in learning sage perspectives for conflict-resolution directly and indirectly works with creation to generate collective change. If the book is understood in terms of my own family background, think of it as my father’s gift to the memory of my mother, to amend conflicts he circled around her. Alternatively, as a text for wisdom to compensate for ignorance, think of it as my mother’s gift, as a spiritual revolutionary.
Like Yin/Yang, Cosmos/Chaos, or Heaven and Earth, principles expressing positive and negative, or masculine and feminine energies are the fundaments to universal change. And as change saw fit for my Dad to be born in wintery darkness on December 25, 1900, it also lead him to preach and teach light, amid the shadows that firmly gripped him. Years later, likewise at the time of the Winter Solstice, in the person of a character who is a moose, monk, and Father Christmas figure, the main character in The Way to See (W)hole® is a preacher/teacher for global peace. The preaching teacher in the story represents the universal “Solstice Spirit of Change”; whereby the cosmos brings light, to transform universal darkness.
Contrary to the fact that actual experiences with my own father were painful, I see the book as his spiritual best, acting in union with me, to help save our Mother Earth, for the sake of all her children. Being my father’s birthday, Christmas for me represents two distinct states of mind. In one state I simply accept the existence of chaos. But, on the other hand, because the solstice heralds the advance of light over darkness, I think of chaos existing to be transformed through enlightenment.
My Mama’s unmistakable goodness stood in contrast to my Father’s dark and dangerous moods. Her name was Gola Todd-Richards, and like Mother Earth, she was warm, wise, and inspiring. Born in 1909, after long years of keeping careful watch over her six children and any others that happened by, she eventually died on Valentine’s day in 2001. The beauty in my Mama’s face was that her moral excellence smiled and laughed against a background where she always needed to say, “nothing but a God was bringing her through”.
My father’s name was Rev. Sylvester Richards Sr., and he died on April Fool’s Day, 1958. In visionary dreams that I have had long after his death, he is a shaman, under the headdress of a wolf. Incited by him in one of those dreams, years ago I took the name Gola “Wolfson” Richards; which is his/my way of using my name to symbolize a change of heart, acting as an antidote to tragedy.
No matter how horrific my father was, he was also immensely complex. His tenderness for animals was outstanding. His kindness to homeless people and others in need was never hesitant. He was keenly intelligent, a radio broadcaster, a newspaper columnist, and significantly responsible for labor, housing, and civil rights issues. He was a fire-filled, song-throated Baptist preacher, who ministered in the African Methodist Episcopal tradition in the final years before his death. Sadly, though Daddy sincerely believed in what he preached, the worth of his sermons seemed to die, when the doors to our home shut the world outside. Perhaps Daddy’s childhood of severe neglect, physical abuse, abandonment, and crime caused him to be explosive enough to instantly kill any access to self-control. In 1958, as his last stroke was followed by a heart attack, Daddy passed away in deep remorse and suffering. He was leaving the family with no money, virtually no possessions, no home, no place to go, and under immediate pressure to vacate the parsonage. For the first time in twenty-five years of breaking Mama’s body and demeaning her spirit, though barely able to make himself understood, he tearfully asked for Mama’s forgiveness. Shaking with sorrow, he managed to say, “you have lived with a crazy man”, and Mama forgave him. Standing in the hospital room the day before he died, I was unable to do any more than resent him, and I deliberately acted like a stone. As his eyes pleaded with mine for understanding, the only feeling I intended to project was that if he lived, I would be greatly disappointed. And, given the special way that our eyes always connected, I am sure that he got my message. Years later, as death’s embrace released her from the history of what she had suffered, Mama passed from time to timelessness on Valentine’s Day, 2001. More than the pain of seeing her go, it was her love for wisdom that impressed me as her life faded before my eyes.
Looking back, Mama’s life was years and years of challenges. And courted by the deception in my father’s seeming sanity, the greatest challenge of her life hid in Daddy’s soul. Too soon and too late, in just one moment Mama learned about Daddy’s horribly violent capacities, with no previous indications to the contrary. Pregnancy came quickly after their marriage, but not as quick as Daddy’s fists crushed her face to begin his reign of terror. Miles away from her home for the first time, Daddy fiercely beat Mama on the first night of their marriage; threatening to kill her defenseless father if she tried to make contact with her family. With no where to go and threats to kill her if she tried to leave, on the first night of her wedding, in the early part of the 20th century in Texas, an aggressive and terrifying change took hold of my mother’s life. From the first blow to the day he died, Mama had only fear to replace the brief sense of romance she had known. Realizing that no civil forces in white society or social forces among blacks could or would protect her, Daddy took control of Mama’s life in every way; except for how she inwardly nurtured wisdom, to care for her children, in the midst of hell.
After my father’s death, Mama explained that as quickly as she developed courage to accept imprisonment for being determined to kill Daddy in self-defense, she realized that she was pregnant with her first child. Since prison would mean leaving her baby to God knows what, her choice not be separated from her child meant Daddy would continue to “use” her, with five more kids born; the first four, one year after the other. With no help, no where to run with the children, and no way to imagine running without them, Mama was trapped. And even if she had run, she knew he that would keep his promise to hunt her down and kill her on sight.
Days went on to become years. And, in the years that followed, Mama told me about Daddy putting a gun to her head, making her beg for life while my oldest brother begged Daddy to think of the two youngest children. Despite being the youngest child, when I was five years old my father threatened to kill me, if I ever interrupted him again, while he was pounding Mama’s head onto a concrete floor to kill her. Still today, I never forget the sight of him pounding and pounding to burst her head; then finally flinging me off of his back as I tried to hold on to him screaming over and over, “Daddy please don’t kill my mama!” Mama was sprawled unconscious that day….for scrambling the “wrong sized eggs” for his breakfast. On other occasions, even when a stroke made him unable to get out of bed, he screamed at her to bring him his gun so that he could shoot her. The reason never really mattered.
With no money, no professional skills, and no one safe to talk to, Mama was imprisoned as much by being responsible for her children as she was to being a captive of brute domination. And for as long as he lived, with the community being too weak or too afraid to offer my mother protection, my father’s darkness mocked and controlled my mother with not even a hint of regret. Often sexually humiliated, verbally assaulted, and knocked into unconsciousness like an expected step in a dance, Mama lived in fear from room to room, and even from thought to thought. Yet, over the years of my father’s dark subjugation, when my mother and I were alone, she explained that the insanity that governed my father was less important than the sanity needed to survive injury being done to our souls. Thinking to maintain sanity was how my Mama endured. And whenever it was safe to speak, she told me that when anyone’s character fails, beyond what practically needs to be done, someone will need to learn how and why to forgive.
Three years after my father’s death, at age fifteen, I was walking home from school when from out of the blue, I started running and crying, “I want my Daddy, I want my Daddy”. Once home, I ran to my bedroom, dropped on my bed, and immediately fell asleep. That afternoon and for the two nights that immediately followed, Daddy came in dreams, begging to be forgiven. In the first two dreams I reacted to his pleas by loudly hurling hateful insults and spitting on him. With every insult I hurled, bloody cuts streaked across his face. On the third and final night, while Daddy bled profusely and pitifully pleaded for forgiveness, my sense of compassionate understanding become so strong that instead of cursing him, I kissed him for the first and only time. Immediately, his gratitude was so strong that no room was left in the dream for anger. Then, just as my heart changed, the bloody cuts on his face completely healed. With his form seeming to shift in waves, he became a much younger man, who thanked me sincerely and repeatedly as he receded into a brilliant light. In the morning I opened my eyes and sensed my father near me, totally freed from rage. Now, it seems that he is a warm presence; reminding me to think of my mother as he once wrote, “It is not enough for you to know that you are well, nor for others to see that you’re well; but if you would encourage other sick folks, you should tell how you got well and who treated you.” I am living a dream sealed with my father’s kiss; and blessed by the support of my dear family of friends at Motto Citizens LLC, we work to promote character education for highly civil society. To honor the wisdom and memory of my mother, I wrote and recorded a spoken-word album titled Hope Needs Never to Die. And to aid others to develop Mystical Humanism based on (W)hole® sage perspectives for a sustainable world, I offer myself as an Oracle, who creates Contemplative Courses and Audiobooks for global conflict-resolution.
Rev., Prof., Gola Wolf Richards
“Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.”
Dr. Martin Luther King