Thursday, May 8, 2014

Going Higher: A New You, A New Me

I had hit that point. The place where evolution was inevitable, progress painful and backpedaling inconceivable. I became uncomfortable with my life. Dissatisfied with my circumstances, friction between my truth and others assumptions grew. I had chosen to be small at the expense of shielding others and it had cost me dearly. My disharmony was made complete as the very place I sought sanctuary caused me bitterness, discontent and longing for protection. I felt diminutive and ugly like a slug. Little did I know I was a caterpillar getting ready to sprout butterfly wings. I could no longer hide my light.

I was uneasy with my own efforts. I had prayed, meditated and read scripture. However, what I envisioned, smacked in the face of reality. I groped the air for solace, reaching out to mankind for answers. I thirsted after change, the kind which required a higher-self only God could facilitate. Forced to seek answers and comfort on a higher plane, I took a leap of faith. I sojourned into the unknown.

Oftentimes completing your purpose requires seclusion or as my good friend Victoria reminded me, "separation is necessary for elevation." Jesus Christ often prayed alone before a major moment, scholars often go on sabbatical. How often have you said, "I need a vacation?" In actuality it is not just the much-needed rest, as much as the peace of mind that you crave. It is not the pool or the ocean as much as the feeling of weightlessness that only water can bring. Sure, umbrella-laden fruity drinks are cool, but the real intent is time for you. A pampering, a stepping back where time stands still. I was fortunate enough to visit a place likened to the Garden of Eden. If you do not yet have the means to do so, let me point out the prep work required to reach that destination. I set my intention for change way before I arrived.

1. Decide you are worth living, not just existing. ~No, seriously. Re-read this one.
2. Slow down and breathe.
    How can you recognize the little miracles, the beauty and love around you if your life is a blur?
3. Make time for you. Become your own priority.
    Consider yourself to be an Olympic athlete. Mind, Body, Soul require good health. As I stated in a        
    previous post. Follow the airlines passenger instructions: "Place your oxygen mask on first."
4. Welcome opposition as a challenge that teaches you perseverance, strength and knowledge.
5. Whatever led you to this point...let go of the blame/anger.
    I mean it. Forgive who hurt you. Forgive yourself. Whatever it takes to move forward in your life. Prayer,     Meditation, Counseling, Life Coach, or simply a removal of people, places and things.
6. Accept yourself fully. Someone loves you as you are, and if you disagree. Be your best self and see the  
   different types of people and situations you attract to foster your genuine self.
7. Laugh hardily.
8. Find an outlet: Yoga, Fitness, The Performing Arts or Sports. Writing or Knitting, Restoration Projects or     Volunteering, the possibilities are endless.
9. Be alert, not anxious. (This one really speaks to me). I believe God's timing is the perfect timing.
    Many things need to be lined up just right in the Universe before you achieve specific long-term goals.  
    Learn to wait with joy for what is to come.
10. It is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes.This is how you gain wisdom. Trial and error. If you are a            repeat offender, look towards the common denominators, root out the core issues. Deal with them.        
     Change course.

I sought to practice the 10 items above until they became more natural and less routine. Perhaps you are a parent, executive or a person low on cash or credit. Try a day-cation, or a few hours to yourself per week. How about a 20 min segment at the beginning or end of day where you take a moment of gratitude and peace in your car, bathroom, basement, on your porch, or in a local park. No excuses. Believe it and the opportunity of a trusted baby-sitter, good project partner, vacation discount will come in its own time, when you let go of I CAN'T.

Countless stories of old speak of the all-important step that occurs before an event, breakthrough or miracle. It is the sacrifice of leaving loved ones and your comfort zone behind. I set out to become a better me, not a different me, but a fearless self, one that recognized my inner greatness. This was the moment. I could feel the testing of my faith. Every sign read impossible except for the one far in the distance. It was the final puzzle piece that would push my purpose into existence. If I ignored my surroundings, I hoped I would be able to move forward, yet my conviction had begun to wane. I had to act quickly before hopelessness became my reality.

As i think of it now, my spirit swells. I am not the same and this shifting/molding was one of the hardest things of my life. I let my own God-given voice be my guide and disconnected from society. I removed myself from people and places that refused to resonate with who I was inside. I retreated to a place of refuge sculpted by God. At the behest of my fearless, yet sensitive leader and a merry band of women, I set out on a retreat that would change my scope. Water, sunlight, sky, fire, many elements were personified as my connection with God's glory deepened. In this space, I found a perfect setting to purge, pray, and praise. Removed from modern amenities, I released woes, pressure and fear and activated the true me. Who am I? A free-spirit, unbound by my past. A "Seer" with infinite possibilities.

I separated to elevate. Like seeing my life from a bird's-eye view, I gained profound wisdom by glimpsing the grand picture. Meanwhile, I set the intention through faith to find a place and a group where I could disrobe figuratively and literally. To the world it was crazy, a luxury, a whim, an oddity. But I knew I had let life dim my light. I took drastic measures of self-actualization and self-preservation. I give myself love, not shame in this exploratory moment.

Dedicated to Coach Stephanie Alva of My Life Keys, Kalani Retreat (Pahoa, HI) and my new "Titas" (sisters in Hawaiian), who helped facilitate my growth through love and perseverance. In the words of my college motto, "Hazard Zet Forward," (Despite hazards, Move forward).

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Who Dropped the Ball and Who's Building the Bridge?

It is with great emotion that I put fingers to keys today. I haven't posted a blog in over a year. Oftentimes I was tempted; heck I started quite a few drafts. I contemplated going to a different format and even created an unpublished blog space on a different platform. Yet nothing moved me enough to speak. Sure the occasional Mass Media covered issues spurned me to type a few witty soundbites on Social Networking, but it was a "meow" at best.

But the sleeping lion awoke in my spirit when icons Harry Belafonte and Jay-Z became center stage in a dialogue that technically had not occurred. "Music and Responsibility" became the topic of discussion and words shot from mouths like an AK-47 spray. Phrases like: "Down with Jay-Z" "Hip Hop does not care", "Respect your elders", "Old dude ain't had a song in decades. What does he know?" and "He's so irrelevant; he never made half as much money as Hov". I bided my time sifting through countless articles, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram memes and passionate in-person conversations. I vaguely remember saying, "Someone dropped the ball!" I do not think people related to my scant sentences on the subject.

How could I tell people without judgment that I loved and respected both Mr. Belafonte and Mr. Carter? Would I be viewed as less of a community activist or Christian if I said I owned every Jay-Z album? Could a 30-something year old woman be...a dichotomy like so many of her favorite artists? The reasons why I love and dare I say others have loved Marvin Gaye or Al Green is the same reason people love Tupac Shakur and Jay Cole. There is a duality of passions, discoveries and longing in humans. I am not referencing spirit versus man so much as the struggle to become our best selves.

When I think about the time in which I was raised, social activism had a way of cloaking itself. Civil Rights Leaders were not as steadfast and believable as they were in the 60's and 70's. MTV took shape forming awesome alliances like Run-DMC's revamp collaboration of Aerosmith's Walk This Way, solidifying the crossover power of music that inspired a generation. In fact some of my favorite TV moments were In Living Color skits on these icons. Activists had become almost irrelevant or puppet-like public negotiators at best. That mockery solidified the great divide of disconnect between generations.

While perusing the Internet I came across a 2-part video dialogue that made me feel right at home. If you have a minute, check out Bakari Kitwana and Mark Anthony Neal's discussion here: Moving Beyond Jay-Z and Harry Belafonte. Kitwana and Neal held an educated yet candid dialogue about the topic. It could have been because of my local NAACP Exec. Board Membership or the fact that I graduated from the first voluntarily integrated school system in America. Whatever the reason, my ears perked up at the reminder of the funding history of movements and the various roles of the supporters. But, when Rev. Calvin Butts and C. Delores Tucker were mentioned for their roles in the so-called "War Against Hip Hop", I knew I had come to right place.

I will never forget as a teen, watching Rev. Butts steamroll over Rap Music Compact Discs, Cassette tapes and VHS tapes in a well-publicized TV campaign. And Tupac's lyrics in "Don't Stop" regarding the back and forth feud with C. Delores Tucker, who went as far as to buy stock in record companies to protest profanity in Rap Music at shareholders meetings. C. Delores Tucker's War Against Rap was as real as any public feud could get. She waged war financially and politically. Yes, Kitwana and Neal were right. The Mainstream Hip Hop World had a reason to be leery of spokespeople and community activists. In the past, they mixed as well as oil and water.

Fast-forward to the topic at hand, the so-called "beef" between Harry Belafonte and Jay-Z. It is only fitting to take a short moment to introduce and/or reintroduce these iconic public figures in the context of their time. Be careful, you are liable to find more similarities than differences.

Harry Belafonte is an icon, American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist, so respected that I often place "Mr." in front of his name as a sign of respect. A quick Wikipedia search reveals Belafonte's far-reaching brand. Belafonte's 1956, Calypso, a (Mento-Jamaican Folk Music) release, was the first album to sell a million copies. A trailblazer, his global view introduced mainstream America to South African singer Miriam Makeba and Greek Singer Nana Mouskouri. In 1962, his album Midnight Special contained the first recorded feature of Bob Dylan. Paul Robeson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were both good friends of Belafonte who greatly influenced his thinking. From issues like Poverty, to Apartheid, to Gang Violence, Belafonte used his celebrity to change hearts and minds. Eighty-six year old Belafonte is known as a Civil Rights, Political and Humanitarian activist who continues his involvement in many global, social and civil causes.

Sean "Jay-Z" Carter is an internationally known American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and investor. According to Wikipedia, "In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving 17 Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations." An MTV documentary, Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life, chronicled a movement to help raise awareness of water shortages due to combat in Africa. It was the realization of a conversation between Jay-Z and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Jay-Z participated in "Head Count" a movement organizing and engaging young people to register and vote. "Along with Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross' relief effort after Hurricane Katrina. Jay-Z appeared with Russell Simmons in a PSA combating racism and anti-Semitism that organized by the the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding." Partnering with other celebrities for causes has become Jay-Z's new platform to spark the interest of a new generation.

The so-called "beef" between Harry Belafonte and Jay-Z began one year ago. Belafonte was attending a conference in Paris. He used Jay-Z and Jay-Z's wife, Beyonce (a music icon in her own right) as a reference of celebrities not doing enough for society: "High-profile artists, powerful celebrities... have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black," said Belafonte.

Jay-Z then fired back with a line on "Nickels and Dimes", a track from his latest release, Magna Carter Holy Grail:
I’m just trying to find common ground
‘fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a n_____ down
Mr. Day-O, major fail
Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now
Hublot homie, two door homie
You don’t know all the sh!t I do for the homies

When asked about the "beef", Jay-Z made a statement that lit social media and critics on fire:
JAY-Z: Well, I'm offended by that, because, first of all - and this is going to sound arrogant - but my presence is charity, just who I am, just like Obama's is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough.

Guess what? Belafonte was right. "To whom much is given, much is required." There is such a richness of history and international social concern in Belafonte. That wisdom needs to be shared with the Carter Family and many other entertainers. However, Jay-Z is not too far from the mark either. The presence of a celebrity brings instant media coverage and sometimes credibility to a cause. Let's also take into account the friendship between Jay-Z and President Barack Obama. Yes, it is not a figment of "The Left's"imagination; Jay-Z introduced POTUS at a rally. Beyonce sang the First Dance at the 2009 Inaugural Ball, the National Anthem at the 2013 Inauguration and First Lady Michelle Obama and First Daughters Sasha and Malia attended a July 2013 Beyonce Concert in Chicago.

Here's a "Did You Know" Moment inspired by Kitwana and Neal's videos.

1. Belafonte campaigned for then Senator John F. Kennedy on the platform of Civil Rights issues, Global Issues and the Economy. In 1960 Harry Belafonte Campaigned for Senator Jack Kennedy. Belafonte was later recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at President John F. Kennedy's inaugural gala. He also had subsequent interaction with elected President John H. Kennedy.

2. President Barack Obama compared his upbringing to that of Jay-Z's showing mutual respect and friendship. "Every time I talk to Jay-Z, who is a brilliant talent and a good guy, I enjoy how he thinks. That's somebody who is going to start branching out and can help shape attitudes in a real positive way," said President Obama.

3. Paul Robeson brought Harry Belafonte, (a hands-on style activist) into the Civil Rights Movement. Belafonte brought in Sidney Poitier who was more of a check-writer, visibility figure, who approached issues from an Arts view. (Sound familiar yet?) Even the Black Panther Party received funding from Leonard Bernstein. The Harlem Renaissance Movement had Casper Holstein. Every person gave what worked best for them. The organizers, spokespeople, financial backers and workers often were not the same people. I digress. *sigh


Belafonte: I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay-Z and to Beyonce  I'm wide open. My heart is filled with nothing but hope, and then in the promise that we could sit and have a one-on-one. And let's understand each other rather than trying to answer these questions and answer these nuances in a public place. (soundbite from, All in with Chris Hayes)

Guess what? I love this idea! A meeting of the intergenerational minds, bridge building, knowledge sharing, future collaboration conversation.

I think The WILD Foundation said it best. "Intergenerational collaboration describes a dynamic working relationship that emphasizes collaboration to build on the strengths and capacities of people of different ages and generations working together toward common goals...intergenerational means not just passing the torch but really engaging with those in different generations—making decisions together and planning in a way that is meaningful to all. We find that this core value distinguishes our work and our approach and leads to creative and meaningful results!"

I pledge to be a Bridge Builder. I will receive and impart knowledge. I will exercise patience with youth and elders. I will respect myself and recognize my duality. I will continue to recognize that first impressions are hard to clean up. I will listen more. I will pray often. Giving up on my community is not an option. Neglecting my love of music is not going to happen. I will brainstorm ways to mobilize people behind causes, but I will leave with action items to complete. I will ask the tough questions. I will honor my individuality. I will not second-guess the signs. I will see with Spiritual Eyes. I will shine my light because I am made whole by The Light of the World. I will walk on the proverbial moon because it is my job to lay the path as much as it is to walk it.

What will you do?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Arrow to the Heart: Blocking the Urge to Internalize Negativity

Been away from the blogosphere for awhile on a wonderful journey of self-discovery. One thing that stayed with me this past year is the realization that I will face opposition and doubt from the most unlikely of places. It is something every successful and not-quite-there-yet person will face.

Topic:
If you plan on accomplishing anything in life there will be a doubter or two in the mix. People bold enough to voice their discontent with your life choices. Hmm...are you telling yourself that you do not need to read this because you are soooooo past that stage? Do you pride yourself on being the person who has not cared what people thought since grade school? Well if this is you, all I can say is I wish it were that easy.

Yes, with maturity comes greater will and stronger resilience, but there are certain thoughts that penetrate our psyche. If you are like me, you take great effort to fill your inner circle with people who are in essence shareholders in your life. They are vested in your future and when you grow, they grow with you. However, there are times when the most well-intentioned family, friends and mentors may place their fears, doubts and bad experiences in your lap. Some of these folks turn into Naysayers, Haters, Frenemies, Cynics...etc.

1.Focus
The most important thing to pinpoint about these moments is not so much the person, but the underlying issue and how it affects you. Take a minute to focus on the topics:  fear, shame, doubt, inadequacy, insecurity, etc...One or more of these may be your issue and if so the wounds may not be fully healed. Let us take it a step further. On occasion this person might even be you. Some call it the lil' devil on your shoulder", some say it is your inner child who recalls the full timeline of your fears and disappointments.

2.Tactics
Oftentimes these events are accompanied with harsh words that pack a powerful wallop. Then there are the sly remarks and slow cookers. Like drinking liquid sand, you may not feel the pain until later. That excruciating first glass of orange juice alerts you to injury, but it is too late. Some people even resort to saying things about you in front of others that they know will gossip (pardon me) "relay the message". While others take to emails, social networks & texts. No matter how you serve it up, a dish of negative words will never be mistaken for comfort food.

3. My Personal Examples
Believe me I've been there. Here are some that have been said about me: Church Girl, Goodie Two Shoes, B!tch, Teacher's Pet, Just a Lil' Girl, Flower Child, Crazy, Fat, Stupid, Black Power Sista, Broke, Spinster, Push-over, The Token Black Girl, White Girl, Girl with Potential, From the Wrong Side of the Tracks, Suburban Brat, Too "Country", etc..

Guess what? I embrace who I am and reject notions that do not define me. Period. I address all repeat offenders of negativity by first recognizing their frame of reference and life experiences (if known). If I receive more negative than positive I evaluate those relationships and take proper detachment action.

4. Solutions
No qualms about it...words hurt! But there are some easy coping mechanisms that you can use almost anywhere. Prayer, Meditation, Deep Breathing, Exercise, Listening to a favorite song, etc... However, sometimes a quick pick me up is as close as the nearest Fortune Cookie or Tea Bag Tag. QUOTES. Yes those lil' strips of paper we often dismiss. If asked, my friends will tell you I always take time to smell a "word rose."

5. Bonus Tips - Quotes
The next time you or anyone else decides they can limit your rise by choking your spirit, take some of these and internalize the spirit of strength and love they possess. Stay faithful to your purpose in the face of adversity.

    1."Don't dignify dirt." Southern Saying

    2. "Ashes fly back into the face of him who throws them." African Proverb

    3. "The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks." African Proverb

    4. "Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong." ~Leo F. Buscagalia

    5. "Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him." 
                                                                                                                           Mark 11:23 Holy Bible

Jot a few quotes down or save a strip of paper with a good tidbit on it. Keep them in your phone for quick reference or put up a sticky note. Be vigilant in taking care of your atmosphere. Now go reach those goals!












Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Winds of Change

Have you ever been in a situation beyond your control, a place where you were forced to be at the whim of circumstances? Was the outcome a learning tool, failure or victory? Oftentimes people who cannot learn to be flexible perish. They become bogged down with the “what ifs”. Instead of being a reed that bends in the wind, like an oak they snap at the first sign of resistance, the wind and rain of life pulling them down and washing them away.

When we decide that the world is against us, nothing works in our favor. We limit our dreams. We “dummy down” our intellect. We settle down with people who do not appreciate who we are. We belittle others. We neglect ourselves. We become excuse-makers. When it is time to make the next change, will you move forward, or be the person who crumbles in the face of adversity?

A changing wind can be the newness that is required to re-route the destination of your dreams, but if you decide to wallow in the past, you might miss out on an opportunity of growth. Humanity is filled with all sorts of unforeseen calamity, but joys as well. You must take hold of the opportunities that present themselves.

Maybe for you it is a reunion with a loved one, or an offer of a new job in a foreign territory. Those who have taken the leap will tell you that challenges, doubt and hard work are necessary. However, the result could be a turning point, step in the right direction, a catalyst that pushes you towards your destiny and true happiness.

I have seen my fair share of change this year, but the enlightenment that came from it could not have been bought or taught. It had to be lived. Ask yourself, “Am I living”? Can you afford to shun all change and adversity because of fear of the unknown or too much work? If so, you are not ready to receive what you want. History shows us that every great man and/or woman succeeded by overcoming an obstacle, working towards a goal, or being prepared for fortune.

I am a life-learner. I have the responsibility to make everything...yes everything a lesson. I made a vow to myself that mediocrity no longer exists in my world. I will forever be a student-teacher and risk-taker. The difference in this thinking is I do not just believe others can and will succeed, but so will I. I am not bound by obstacles, challenges, poor odds, people’s opinions, self-esteem issues or needless excuses. I am limitless.

I do not know when or how I will reach my destination but I tune-in to God and the things he reveals through people, places, and things. I have begun to recognize the “signs” and believe me this is more common sense then new age theory. You see what you want to see. You are who you want to be. No, you cannot be Paris Hilton, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sammy Davis, Jr. or Brad Pitt, but you can be the best you.

I choose my direction. I control my reactions. I move towards action. Will you accompany me on this journey of self-discovery and ultimately more joy? Anything worth having deserves some passion, a bit of bull-dog persistence and unwavering faith. I use these tools when I stumble or get caught in a road block. It has not been without its casualties and bystanders.

I leave you with this amazing excerpt:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

(A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles", Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3)

My question to you: The winds of change approach. This is the day. Will you decide to live?

My next blog could feature you! The topic is humor. Submit a funny anecdote or share how humor helped you get through something. Email me. Yes, you can choose to remain anonymous.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Have you found it, that thing that you cannot live without? If so, the taste of it in your mouth is succulent, tangible and you crave it through fantasies, day dreams, and envision it at inopportune times. Suffice it to say, many of us have lost sleep over it. Whether it is a person, goal or addiction, you know you would forsake all else for the promise of this exquisite pleasure.

Etta James' rendition of "At Last", speaks of her love interest as the pinnacle of her wants and desires. He is the epitome of everything that is right with the world. You can hear it in her voice, like velvet beckoning you, wooing your innermost senses. The words slink down your spine and trickle into your heart. Before you know it you are lulled to that special place where you share her passionate sensibility.

For many of us the ideal thought of an achievement, loved one, sign of wealth or an accolade stir up these thoughts. Some people may already have this feeling about their career, home life or significant other. However, all too often we are unsatisfied with our lives, nowhere near the mountaintop oasis of our dreams.

You can smile if you want to, but when others receive something, are you the person with " I Can't Get No Satisfaction", playing in your head? I bet you are hearing questions like, "why him or her and not me"? The internal banter begins and you make a list of all the reasons "this" should have happened to you. You tell yourself that you deserve that new house, great paying job, record deal, signing bonus, devoted spouse,pay raise, new SUV, etc...

Here lies the problem with this type of thinking. Are you a person that good things CAN happen to? I am not speaking directly to the Law of Attraction featured in books like "The Secret". I am talking about the basics. Are you a magnet for confusion, mishaps, overlooks, betrayal and the bad getting worse? It sounds like self-evaluation time.

Right now, yes, at this very moment, if you received what you are looking for, would you be able to handle it? How would your life change? Are your priorities and responsibilities in order?

So you want that big job...now, are you trust worthy enough to not to cut corners? Would you try to get away with everything you possibly could when people's backs were turned? If so, would you really want someone like you as a boss when it is time to fatten your pockets or think of the livelihood of the company's employees and their families?

Perhaps you want a wife/husband/significant other, yet your behavior does not warrant that blessing.You sit around grimacing at couples, disrespecting potential mates, and sabotaging every relationship you come across. Whenever you come close to the "L" word, you conveniently find something that you just cannot accept about he or she.

No money saved, no personal well-being goals, and hopping from one climax to the next is not the ideal situation for a serious love interest. You have to have a plan,even for attracting the right love interest. If you do find that person, you have to know what things you would give up or add for the good of the relationship.

It is time to get real. At some point, we have to be happy about the good things that happens to others. We are not decent family members, colleagues or friends if every time someone else gets a "blessing" we secretly harbor negative thoughts. If you feel someone does not deserve what they have received, then go ahead, be distracted by trying to be judge and jury.

If the only way you are gonna reach X,Y,Z goal realistically, is to sell-out, lose your soul, or become someone else...is it worth it? If your answer is yes, do not pass go! Morph into that person no one really wants to be around, but out of obligation, is required to brown-nose.

If you can live with the "fakeness", heartache, and stench of death that comes with using people as a footstool, the type of person who only does things to perpetuate hate and jealousy, why wait? Become a souless flake of a zombie now. Maybe I am speaking in extremes, but everyone should know their limits before someone makes them for you. Because by the, it may be too late.

If we truly desire satisfaction...we need to be people who satisfy, who are already satisfied, yet never satisfied. Say what? Essentially, we have to be satisfied with ourselves, but never satisfied in terms of how much we can accomplish or achieve. Be a person that is satisfying to be around, yet ready to raise the level of what satisfies you personally. No more complaining, silently brooding, or dismissing our feelings.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Roll with the Punches or Get Knocked Out

As the year comes to a close, my reflection period begins. Like a movie on fast forward, many glimpses come to mind. One of the most significant thoughts is the concept of the K.O. (Knock Out). Did I get back up or give up when things got tough? We have all experienced tragedies, disappointments, turn-arounds, and mistakes. Although some deal with them more than others, the experience remains the same.

How we handle these hurdles and utterly painful upsets, speaks to our inner core. Do you face life's obstacles head-on? My Thai Kickboxing Teacher often says "Roll with the Punches". After a few drills you realize the goal is different from a "bob and weave" or a "slip" move. When rolling with a punch, you lessen the force behind the hit. You almost redirect the energy. You will more than likely get touched, but not injured.

So you received an injury. Perhaps your pride has been hurt. Do you go quietly into the night? No. A conqueror is not the person who comes out of the battle unscathed. He/she leaves the battlefield with something. It could be as simple as a new perspective or a lesson learned. A seemingly infinitesimal bit of "booty" (in the warrior/pirate sense), makes you the sole survivor.

The battle scars are a reminder that you have gone through hard times, BUT you are still here. Others met the sword and lost their lives and/or mind. Some became turn coats and lost their integrity. What about those who refused to change strategy and became irrelevant? Yet you remain.

In the spirit of the second day of Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), I am defining who I am and declaring I will achieve my goals. Labels others place on me will not "speak for me". I am a winner, survivor, mentor, friend, daughter full of greatness. Life may be overwhelming at times, but a loss does not wipe out a dream. I will make a path where there is none. Humbly, I will continue to learn from my ancestors, living legends, and everyday people.

I have a great deal of training to commit to before I can call myself a Mighty Warrior. My weapon of choice is my faith. I just signed up for a "Read the Bible in 90 Days program". Choose your weapon wisely and let us give it all we have in 2011!