For those of you who don’t know it, I grew up in the ‘hood. It wasn’t exactly the ghetto. My neighbors were working class stiffs who did whatever they could to legally make ends meet. Their children on the other hand were sometimes another story.

The difference between the hood and the ghetto is not the vicinity, but the mentality. People with a hood mentality are always trying to get up, they hustle and grind in an effort to achieve social mobility and advancement. People with a ghetto mentality are always trying to get over. Their goal is to get whatever they can from whomever they can with minimal effort on their parts.

One thing I remember about growing up in the hood were the slap-boxing matches. Slap boxing is an open-hand sparring style. With your hands open, you block your opponents slaps – usually at your face, head and core. I participated in these matches myself, and still do from time to time when I hang out with friends from the old neighborhood.

Being older (and wiser) we know better than to slap with so much force. When we were younger however we would throw blows that could literally knock the wind out of someone’s sails. It was at those moments that something critical would happen. The fun and games would cease and it would get real. Suddenly, you would hear someone nearby yell, “Uh-oh! It’s about to go down!”

It occurred to me recently that this statement holds so much weight. You see, the whole point of it “going down” is to get some things in order, put some stuff in check, and make things right again. If your opponent, more than likely a friend, can catch you off-guard and slap you – especially in the head or the face – your integrity is jeopardized.

Do you really have the kids of skills you profess to possess? Can I depend on you to handle yourself and have my back if things really “go down” and we encounter some opposition from unfriendly sources?

As I took a moment to recall these experiences where it “went down”, I considered that something similar happens to us spiritually. This physical stance of defense is parallel to the stance many of us need to take when we are threatened with adversity.

More often than not, we become irritated, perturbed and determined. We may decide that we aren’t going to let turmoil lick us, but rolling up into a ball and blocking the blows isn’t the same as fighting back. It’s no way to win a fight.

We all spar with life’s challenges every day, but not enough of us are willing to look at our circumstances and say, “It’s about to go down!”

Once you decide it’s going down, you have made a commitment to seeing things set right. You have declared that you are digging in your heels and doing what it takes to get to where you want (and deserve) to be. When it “goes down” you are not only slapping back life’s blows, but you’re throwing some punches of your own. You’re not sitting on the sidelines and hoping things get better, you’re in the middle of the action doing your part.

What’s holding you back? What’s beating you up? What’s weighing heavy on you that you’re ready to remedy and release? What has you rolled up in ball blocking the blows? What situation could you knock down (and knock out) if you had the right kind of “hand game” – if you knew how to charge it just right and slap it back?

Take a good look at it. Really study it and understand it. Examine it from all sides. Get some help if you need it. And when you fine that vulnerable point – that weak spot, left unprotected – face up to your challenge and boldly declare, “It’s about to go down!”

Good luck and Namaste!

Posted by The Blue Jean Diva, mz. iscis malone, with WordPress for BlackBerry.