The Underground Railroad Odyssey Training is the culmination of a several year venture to create an experience for Black people to help us leave the dark places that reside in our psyche. There is an abundance of evidence which strongly suggests that the hurt, pain, and degradation to which our ancestors were subjected, were transferred from generation to generation. We believe that what we are experiencing today is a mutated form of this toxicity as it has evolved in forms of addiction, violence and disrespect infecting our community. You encounter it in the sanctuary as well as the neighborhood bar. It is manifested as blame, intolerance, self-righteousness, self-debasement, self-depreciation and self-hatred. As a result, we project our negativity onto others, even our children, then we complain that we have a lost generation that, “just don’t know how to act.” We could go on defining the problem for eons, but we are more interested in a solution. The one thing we are absolutely certain of is that, for any community, village, town, city, or nation to survive, it must have vibrant, healthy adults. The adults’ job was and still is to protect the village. Only when this happens can prosperity occur. Only when this happens can Elders emerge to share the collective wisdom of the village. Well, where are Elders with all of their wisdom? Hiding, we suspect, afraid that if they speak up they will be harmed. Can you really blame them? You see, it is our responsibility to protect and honor the Elders, so that they may pass the torch of enlightenment on to future generations.
So, why an Underground Railroad Odyssey? An odyssey is any long series of wanderings, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc. The Underground Railroad was a network of people who helped enslaved people escape to freedom. They were very courageous and noble people. The problem was, even though the enslaved people escaped physical bondage, oftentimes they found themselves in even worse positions as so-called “freemen.” The paradox to this all is there is no physical escape from mental bondage; that escape must occur in the depths of the soul. Since the soul travels on uncharted waters, we found men needed guides or scouts to go first, come back, and accompany men who have the courage to take the plunge.
Our Odyssey is designed to free a person’s soul to the genuine possibility of true freedom and the power and response-ability that comes with it. This training occurs during a weekend, starting Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon. It is staffed by highly trained and dedicated men and women from all walks of life and from different parts of the country. If accepted, you will find yourself taking the mythical journey, backward, forward, and inward. You are certain to face those things that hold you back and oppress your soul. This time it will be different. You will be accompanied by brothers and sisters who have made the Journey and survived and who have come to steward other men and women to the real promised land, the land of just being, the original village.
How and what is it that we do that is different? One of our slogans and commitments is: “We don’t do things differently, we do different things.” You can be assured that your body or your person will not be disrespected and that your personal and religious beliefs will be honored. This process is an immersion into the human soul, and hence, it is not unusual for an individual attending our training to experience a transformation. We employ role play, shadow drama, and guided imagery to reopen a psychic portal back into that time to start the healing process. You are in charge of your training at all times. This is not a therapy session. It is an educational training. If you are willing to risk trusting yourself and believing us, perhaps you are ready!