A Conversation with Paul Carrick Brunson: #Matchmaker #Coach #Author

My husband and I have been together for over 12 years.  The physical attraction between the two of us was evident from our first encounter.  The appeal heightened after a few seconds into our initial conversation.  Soon after we briefly spoke of that fact that we had a deeper mental chemistry. In other words, we were not only attracted to each other physically but found each other mentally stimulating as well. How sexy is that?

I thought today’s blog would relate to the topic of my book, Feminine Transitions: a photographic celebration of natural beauty, relating the appreciation of authenticity when it comes to uniting two people as a matchmaker. However, after interviewing Paul C. Brunson, matchmaker, coach and author of It’s ComplicatedI gained a new understanding of what attraction and connection truly represent to everyone on an individual basis.  Through our conversation I discovered what shaped the very attraction I had for my husband when we first met.

Cover art for Paul C. Brunson's book, It's Complicated.

What are most men looking for in a woman? What are the majority attracted to?
A mans upbringing most likely determines what he is attracted to. Therefore the females that he grows up with play a significant roll in his life when it comes to choosing a partner. For example, if he grew up in a house hold with sisters that often walked topless he will probably like a woman is a free spirit and may even enjoy walking around topless freely at home.  It’s simply comes down to what he was used to and comfortable with growing up.
(Note: this was an AHA moment for me. Paul’s answer put so many things into perspective. I also realized that what I’m attracted to as a woman is a reflection of my relationship with my father. Although my husband and father have different personalities, they have very similar characteristics. Great stuff!)

Read Paul’s article on Essence.com The Top 7 Things That Really Attract Men (and Why!)

What advice do you give your clients before meeting her match for the first time?
I don’t give any advice. I let the chemistry speak for itself. I always recommend a match meet for no more than 30 minutes on the first date.
Why is that? The first attraction is physical attraction and people typically know right of the back if they are attracted to each other. If two people aren’t interested in each other there is not reason to stay on a date any longer than 30 minutes. This way they don’t waste any time.

Is there a particular age range that you work with most?
I work with all ages but, when I first started I the majority of my clients were professionals in their 30’s-40’s. After I started airing on TV and radio the response shifted. Surprisingly I received a larger reaction from individuals in their 20’s. I believe that’s related to the age group of the particular channels as well as radio.

However, there is no age limit. I’ve set a up a successful match for someone that was 68.

Are there any significant differences when matching younger or older women?
From my observation women in their twenties don’t really have a “list” of what they desire in a man.  If they do, it’s pretty short. The twenties is more of a carefree period. Given that they are not completely aware of who they are as individuals they are still searching for what it is they want.

Women in their thirties typically have long “list” of characteristics for their ideal man. Maybe sometimes even unrealistic.  It is specific about what they want from head to toe.

The forties and fifties women seem to retreat back to the twenties group.  Their list is not very long and more direct and indepth. They also tend to go with the flow and are more secure in who they are and what they want.

Do you think being a Matchmaker is what you were born to do?. Most people don’t know that I’m also a coach. I enjoy working with people to help them discover their purpose and accomplish their goals.  I feel most at harmony with life when I’ve changed or influenced someone’s life positively.

What is beautiful you? Life

BIO
Portrait of Paul C. Brunson In the last 3 years, Paul Carrick Brunson (also known as The Modern Day Hitch) has become internationally recognized as one of the most successful matchmakers and relationship coaches. As a pioneering African-American matchmaker in the world, Paul has served over 400 clients directly and collectively through live events and social media, matched over 3,000 people on dates.

Paul’s unparalleled ability for successful matchmaking and coaching comes from really knowing and understanding his clients and their needs. Like his clients, he is cultured, well-traveled, well-educated and trained – he holds a graduate degree from a top business school, as well as additional certifications. His professional career started as an investment banker and most recently included a senior position with a top international firm. He is also a philanthropist who co-founded and chairs a foundation that focuses on school rehabilitations in the U.S. and Jamaica.

Understanding that a matchmaker is truly a guide to help clients achieve self actualization, Paul received his life coaching certification. Next, Paul further immersed himself in the art and science of matchmaking by training with Harvard Business school graduate, New York Times bestselling author, and matchmaker, Rachel Greenwald. Lastly, to ensure he was as knowledgeable as possible about the dynamics of human relationships and love, Paul undertook a literary review of hundreds of books and academic journals on psychology, sociology and behavioral science. Paul then put his acquired learning to the test by practicing pro-bono throughout 2009.

Paul’s expertise and unique understandings of love and relationship have made him a sought after expert on dating, self-actualization and relationships. Paul’s understanding and insights into romantic and lasting relationships have been featured on Dr. Drew’s LifeChangers, ANDERSON, the Washington Post, Essence, Extra, The Root, The Grio, AOL Black Voices, ABC news and Hot 97. In addition to participating in numerous relationship and community-focused panels, Paul also served as the first male speaker for the 2011 Black Enterprise Women of Power Conference and was the keynote speaker for the 2011 iDate Matchmaking Conference, the largest internet dating conferences in the US.  Read Paul’s inspiring biography on his website.

I’m Working!

Feminine Transitions cover design
Newly designed cover for Feminine Transitions.

I haven’t blogged in a while as I’m heavily indulged in Feminine Transitions.  Although I am enjoying the process I must admit it’s bitter-sweet. I love the creative aspect of this journey and I’m truly enjoying the folks I’m meeting along the way. However, I would honestly prefer to leave the technical part into the hands of a professional (in that particular area).  On the bright side, I am learning more than I’ve ever known about book publishing and the energy, time, creative and technical aspects involved in it.

I finally found a graphic artist to layout the design for me. This is where my project is at the moment.  Presently, I’m gathering leads info for online, radio and TV interviews.  As of last week, my press kit is complete. Since writing is not one of my strengths (and I’m not afraid to admit) I’ve had great success hiring contractors from Elance to complete writing materials, including my press kit. A job well done it was!

Here are a few mock-up pages:

Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 1
Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 2
Feminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions page Layout 4
Feminine Transitions page layoutFeminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions Layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More work has to be done but Feminine Transitions is closer to its completion. Travel exhibits and speaking tours are to come. I’ll continue to keep you posted along the way. Or feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed by making a donation or pre-order. Know that I am working diligently to publish this baby.

Stay connected via my website and social media pages:

Feminine Transitions Re-Design

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions Re-design

I’M IN LOVE!

No more…”What is Feminine Transitions?”

It was a bit frustrating when I received responses via email or my social media pages  asking, “What exactly is Feminine Transitions?” At first I would pause and say, to myself, “What do you mean? Can’t you tell by the cover?”  In order for me to process this, I had to take myself out of the equation (as the Creator of Feminine Transitions) and look at it as an outsider. My niece really helped me to clarify the difference.  She told me that she liked my old design but, comparing the two, the old resembles a poster and the new looks more like a book.  She also mentioned that the various images above shows a transition of ages and tells a clearer story.

Feminine Transitions Title Spread
The title spread

The new design of the front and back cover as well as the inside page were created by Robin Benson, a retired publications designer from the UK.  I originally contacted someone to do a book review for Feminine Transitions.  However, because this contact does not evaluate photography books, he referred me to Mr. Benson.  After connecting with Robin and sending him a few jpgs of my book layout, which I constructed myself, he informed me that my publication was in need of serious help.

Let me first admit that I AM NOT A DESIGNER! Due to the fact that I am self-published and wearing many hats, I did what I thought was (or should I say looked) best at that moment.  Mr. Benson never said my arrangement was horrible but made very valid points, as a TRUE DESIGNER should, about the consistency, flow and color scheme.  Although I previously hired someone to do the actual pre-press work for me, he never mentioned or made reference to any of Robin’s points. All I can say about that is…ASK FOR WORK SAMPLES before hiring anyone. Lesson learned!

Old sample page layout
New sample page layout

So instead of white type on black pages, Feminine Transitions has a beautiful color spread that really compliments the portraits.  Not to mention, I’ve learned more about design in the two months that I’ve connected with Robin than I have in life thus far. Did I mention, Robin’s helped me free of charge?  When he first introduced that idea of course I was extremely appreciative of his offer.  I also thought, YES! MY GOOD KARMA HAS COME BACK TO ME.  I pride myself on sharing what I’ve learned along the way by passing the torch. What use is it to have a wealth of information and talent and keep it to myself?

Although I loved MY previous design of Feminine Transitions, I AM IN LOVE with the new.  I see growth in it, just as I do in myself. I am so very thankful for the continued blessings that are showered upon me. Mr. Benson is one of them.  I thank you for your sincere advice and guidance and send many blessings back your way.

What are your thoughts?

The World Needs A Girl God

The Girl God by Trista Hendren
Paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes

As young as I can remember, hearing everyone refer to God as “He”, never sat well with me.  At church we prayed “The Father, the Son“. Before meal time we prayed, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food“.  Before bed time we prayed, “Our Father, who art in heaven“. And the lists of praises to “Him” goes on and on. At some point I questioned my mom about the absence of the women in prayers. I wanted to know why “She” wasn’t included with “He” when it is “She” in fact that had “Him”  It was then explained to me that God is not a man but instead a spirit. My response, and I clearly remember saying this, “Then why call God he?”

At some point I started to whisper my praises to “Her” during all prayers. I had to acknowledge the feminine aspect of life. The father cannot be a father without mother. The birth of creation is given to this Universe through the womb of a woman. So why is the role of “She” not as important in the presence of many religious practices?

As a mother, I’ve made it my duty to educate my children on the importance of a women and how vital it is for society to acknowledge the feminine power. Women possess the seed for the creation of life that represents the infinite potential with what she is born. In other words, WE GIVE BIRTH TO OUR EXISTENCE. What does that make us? Is that not a GOD?

Showing appreciation to the feminine aspect was yearning in my soul. Then the idea of Feminine Transitions came to me. From there, I discovered a whole new world of powerful feminine projects, bloggers, artist, books, etc.  One book that immediately captured my attention from a post on Facebook was, The Girl God by Trista Hendren.  The title alone is powerful,  the combination of the beautiful paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes create a stunning luminous beauty.  I finally found a children’s book I can share with my daughters that expresses the significance of a woman in a “Godly” manner.

For this blog, I interviewed Trista about her experience with The Girl God.

What is The Girl God?                                                                                                       The Girl God is the feminine form of God. She is the mother, daughter and sister in all of us women. She is the woman who gave birth to each of us and to life itself. She is grace, compassion and love.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

How did you come up with the idea?      I had tried to raise my daughter as both a Muslim (as I had converted) and a Christian (as my family raised me). One day she sneezed, and we had a discussion about what that meant in Islam. I had taken for granted that she knew what I meant as I blessed her, but she did not. The discussion was enlightening for me. I realized I had failed her as a mother. I had used what I knew to raise her the best I could, but somewhere deep inside me I knew that same system had failed me. I had succumbed to materialism in pursuit of “raising a family”. But in doing so, I had lost sense of my own core values and what I needed in order to thrive as a woman. In losing myself, I realized my daughter would not have a fair chance at life.  If I did not honor my truth, she would really struggle to honor hers.

I wrote the original text in about 15 minutes after this conversation.  It has changed some grammatically and in small detail, but the original story and message is still very close to the original.  In a way, it has been sort of an apology and an amends to both my daughter and to all the women of the world. It is also a love story to my daughter and to myself. It is the story of the love our Divine Mother has for all of us and how empowering it is when we embrace her love.

What do you want little girls to walk away with after reading The Girl God?  Alternative views of the well-known scriptures as well as new ideas from feminist *thealogians* and the strength that comes from knowing you are a beautiful creation of the Divine Feminine.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Do you think that there is a lack of appreciation for the feminine in religion? If so, why?                    Yes. I think it is not only not appreciated but intentionally stamped out. All of the world religions come from a place of social justice and all of them have some aspect of the Divine Feminine if you look hard enough. This has benefited men but hurt women.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

                                     

What was your first recollection of praises to “He” and not “She”?    The first idea that God could even be a woman was when I purchased Patricia Lynn Reilly’s “A God Who Looks Like Me” in college.  That was a transformative period in my life. I had come into both Women’s Studies and Islam at the same time. For whatever reason, I did not finish the book then. Perhaps I was not ready for it. But I kept it despite numerous moves over a 15-year period. As I was going through a divorce about 4 years ago, I went finally finished the book and was blown away.

Finish the sentence:

A woman is…powerful

Creation is…transformative and necessary.

When I think of pregnancy I think of…New life. A chance to also re-birth yourself.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

What I love most about being a woman is…Fluidity.

I want to change….The inequality of the sexes. The foundations of which for me are religion, sexuality and economics. Religion is the most powerful force in most of our lives. Until we get to the root of what we believe and why, we can not really change anything.  A change in the way we view the divine – especially when we can imagine the divine as feminine, will change the inequality of sexual norms and economics. And then, women’s lives will change.

I want my daughter to know…That she is worthy. That she does not have to constantly sacrifice herself for the sake of others – as so many of us women do.  That her aspirations are just as important as any one else’s.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

If I can change anything with The Girl God, it would be…That women would come into themselves much sooner.  So often it seems that women wake up after 30, 40 or 50-years.  I want girls to know their worth from the get-go and hold onto it.

FEMININE TRANSITIONS Documentary Film

 

Image

It’s official!  I am honored to announce I will be working on a documentary film for FEMININE TRANSITIONS. Originally, my idea was to create video footage of myself photographing the models in my book as well as commentary from them about their personal experiences about aging. Unfortunately, I was running a one woman show and taking video of myself photographing these beautiful ladies was not an option, as I had only one camera.  However, the completion of my book has provided me the time to finally start the documentary. It only makes sense to produce the film with the book (although it will be after it’s published).  I will be the videographer, photographer, video and photo editor. In other words, I’m wearing all the hats.

The release date has not been finalized as yet but I will start the documentary on FEMININE TRANSITIONS upon receiving sponsorship. The book however, I still plan to publish by winter 2012 (before Christmas).  Finances have been the hold up but trust that I’m working diligently hard to accomplish my goal and publish date.  Once I shoot the intro video, I will start my campaign fundraiser with Indiegogo. Although I will create an Indiegogo campaign, corporate sponsorship will be my focus as well.  Sponsorship information will also be posted on my website www.Alyscia.com. Do keep an eye out for that newsletter.  Also, if your interested in being apart of my documentary, please contact me.  Please include your age and the state and city you reside along with your contact information.

I thank you for your support along my journey and I look forward to sharing my experience with you along the way.  Always remember to feed your soul with whatever it is that creates happiness within you.

Peace & blessings,

Alyscia

www.Alyscia.com

Alyscia Cunningham’s Interview with Shawn Mason Spence

Portrait of Alyscia Cunningham
Alyscia Cunningham

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, I will be a guest speaker on The Shawn Mason Spence Show, a lifestyle radio program. The topic of the show is Oh Natural!  From hair care to household products, Shawn is talking to entrepreneurs, health professionals, and artists who support self-love, health and wholeness. My topic will be, the story behind FEMININE TRANSITIONS and how it is a call for girls/women and to encompass self-love.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TIME: 6pm

LINK:  http://blis.fm/shawnmasonspence 

CALL IN NUMBER:  202-629-3746

The production assistant will be tweeting, posting and pinning throughout the show.  Shawn will be quizzing the audience on words or phrases mentions by the guests speakers. You can win cool prizes if you get your answers right. I will be on Twitter as well. My twitter page is https://twitter.com/AlysciaCPhoto and Shawn’s is https://twitter.com/shawnconnects. Looking forward to answering your questions tomorrow! 

Missed the show? No problem, see link below.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/shawn-mason-spence-show/id521719551?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

“What’s Holding You Back?”

Self portrait of Alyscia Cunningham
Alyscia Cunningham, self-portrait.

Was the question my coach asked me during our conversation this week.  Feeling confused, I paused for a little bit, and repeated that same question to myself.  “What’s holding me back?”  I’ve worked passionately hard on FEMININE TRANSITIONS over the past two years. I photographed all the models, collected and edited all quotes, tailored and organized all model releases, shot and edited my videos (self-taught, I never knew anything about video editing before my book), designed my book, followed-up with models, held numerous fundraisers (on-line as well as events), etc. The point is, I wear many hats and have done 95% of everything having to do with FEMININE TRANSITIONS, all by myself. Which is pretty typical of a self-published author.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t raised enough fund necessary to print my book. Is that the reason it’s not published as yet?

Going back to that question…what’s holding me back? Why am I not getting the results from all the energy I’m putting out into the Universe. There can only be one problem. Me. I’ve realized that although it is my desire to share FEMININE TRANSITIONS with the world, I AM HOLDING ME BACK. I know, your thinking, but you’re doing everything necessary to make it possible. Yes I am but I am also getting in my way. I’ve noticed that as blissful as success may seem, I’ve been afraid of it.  It’s like playing a mental tug of war with myself. I want to be a world renowned author and share my vision of self-love but I don’t want to sacrifice the time with my children. I want to travel the globe and share my story but I don’t want to leave my family behind. I want to network and make connections, but I am not allowing myself the opportunity to be present.  I want to move forward but I am still stuck in my past experiences which became present circumstances.

“There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice.”

I make an affirmation to myself. NO MORE STEPPING ON MY OWN TOES. The only person I have to blame for failing and not getting back up to finish the race, is me. Now I make the necessary changes and move forward. I sacrifice the time necessary to promote FEMININE TRANSITIONS. I sacrifice being vulnerable and open to input. I sacrifice letting go of the baggage I’ve been carrying. I sacrifice being a 24×7 mom and wife. No more tug of war!

Does this suggest that I have to turn my back from being with my family?  Does it make me less of a mom if I spend a little more time following my dreams?  Absolutely not!  Furthermore, following my passion will most definitely satisfy my soul, creating more happiness within me. The saying goes,” if moms not happy, no one is happy.”  And this mama needs to satisfy the calls of her inner being.

So today I free myself and allow the spirit of my ancestors and the Universe to guide my path towards progress and opportunity. I OPEN THE DOORS TO WHAT IS WAITING FOR ME. Iyanla Vanzant said it best in a beautiful message she emailed to me yesterday:

“What I know to be true is – – what God has for you, is for you! Continue your work! Stay faithful and prayed up! Ask your guardians, angels and guides to bring the right people, at the right time, to do the right work in your life and all things will work together for your good success.”

Well said!

To my coach, Lane Cobb, who had those tough conversations with me, providing me the with the tools to do a self archaeological dig…I thank you! I look forward to sharing my progress with you! Stay tuned…I’m on it!

Peace, love & blessings

FEMININE TRANSITIONS book cover
FEMININE TRANSITIONS