Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sneak Peek: Freedom Felt

Photo by Alice Popkorn

I've been working on this piece, but haven't quite finished it yet.  I wanted to share part of it and see what you guys think so far.  
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I took myself to lunch today.  Alone. 

I often travel by myself, so I'm used to eating and exploring alone, but this time is different.  I am home.  I don't have the visage of security and anonymity that I do when I travel. 

When you're away from home, fear of how others view you or what they may think about you doesn't matter.  You feel more comfortable as your authentic self.  You feel like you can totally be who you are when no one knows you. 

However, the minute that you arrive home, you reattach your daily mask and matching body armor.  You're not quite as anonymous as before.  It can be harder to be alone at home.  

For many, it's a habit to find someone to do things with or not do them at all just to avoid the solitude.  To escape the voice in your head that tells you that you are standing out for all the wrong reasons.  Something is wrong.  Someone may see you.  People will think that you're some lonely cat lady with no friends. 

You know that internal voice can be relentless.

So here I am, two days before my 37th birthday eating alone and writing at a cute little restaurant around the corner from my job...

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Does this resonate with you at all?  Would love to hear your feedback!

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Alice Popkorn

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post Spotlight: Layers

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 37 years old.  

I can't tell you how good I feel about the way my life has progressed.  My cup runneth over with so much love and joy.  I leave for a trip to the  Bahamas tomorrow to celebrate the nuptials of my big sister.  I'm so excited and happy to be able to share in her special day.  

So much is happening right now.  I've been so busy on a new project, writing, working, and travelling, so today we'll do a Post Spotlight.  Who knew that something so mundane as mopping a floor could lead to a profound "a-ha".  

I'll be back here on the first Wednesday of July with a special new post.  I can't thank you all enough for your support, comments, emails, words of encouragement, and for sharing my work.  Wishing you all the love and peace that your hearts can handle.  XOXO


Post of the Hour: "Layers"

About: Giving special attention to truly heal, forgive, and let go

Inspiration: Mopping my floor

Favorite quote:  
I thought that I was fine.  I can say an ex's name with out breaking out a voodoo doll or wishing for his penis to fall off.  I can think about a past relationship and take responsibility for my own mistakes.  I can see them or talk to them and be civil.  I can think of exes and honestly wish the best for them.  I moved on and they did too, but there was this thin film that I didn't know was there.  It recently came up when I took it upon myself to focus on true forgiveness and healing in my life.

Read the full post by clicking here! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Didn't Understand... Until Now

Photo by Sven Manguard

I didn't understand you.  

I was pretty young when I tried to read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  I didn't make it very far.  I lost interest after reading the part about wishing for blond hair and blue eyes.  I didn't understand what you were saying or why it was important.  So I stopped.

Sometime later, after reading the first 2 pages of Alice Walker's The Color Purple, I had decided that I was over trying to read what I considered old and depressing stories by us.  I didn't want to read stories of child molestation, self-hatred, rape, prostitution, abuse, hating men, and extreme poverty.  

I was sick of those things being the only stories that we told.  I refused to immerse myself in any stories where children and innocent people experience and / or exist in the darkest, basest recesses of society that begets unconscionable social behavior.  Especially when it involved people of color and women.  It just wasn't for me.  

In adulthood, I had met so many who read your work, related to it, and adopted it into their being, which surprised me.  I still didn't understand.  My feelings had not changed.

I slowly came back around to you.  I enjoyed some of your poetry, and took to heart so many of your quotes that I had found around the Web.   I gained an admiration for your way with words, but I still couldn't bring myself to read more.

After watching your interview on OWN, I felt so proud of you.  I learned more about your story and thoughts.  You emerged as someone who deserved the utmost respect for all that you've done for people of color and for women.  I was riveted by the story you told, but even still, I couldn't bring myself to read your books.

When I opened up my Facebook page on May 28th, I saw such an outpouring of love and statements on how much you and your work had meant to many of my peers, celebrities, and dignitaries.  It touched me in a way that I didn't expect.  What I saw was your legacy.

You are no longer here in body, but in spirit you are here always, woven into the very fabric of our history, of our struggles, of our humanity, and of our future.  It's amazing to see all of the people who you've touched and inspired through your honesty, through your experiences, and through your life.  I look at all the pictures of you with your head thrown back in a bout of laughter.  Victorious.  

That's when I got it.  I finally understood.  

Your darkest hours happened, but you didn't allow them to define you as less than or unworthy.  Those experiences made you strong.  

Despite pain and struggle, you've emerged as a priceless gem, shining as a beacon of hope for every single one of us.  Smiling brightly and in victory.

Thank you for your gift.  Thank you for your courage.  Thank you for your grace.  May God bless you, Ms. Angelou, as you have blessed all of us.  Rest in Power.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Post Spotlight: "L'elevator? It's for handicapped people..."



Post of the Hour: "L'elevator? It's for handicapped people..."

About: Feeling the fear and negativity and doing it anyway.  Success!!

Inspiration: My vacation in Paris

Favorite quote:  The most important thing out of all of this was that I made it.  I had a preconceived notion as to how it would play out on those steps:  I would need to rest several times, I'd have an asthma attack, I'd hold up everyone else trying to make it to the top, etc.  My mind was racing with all of the most negative possible scenarios, but instead of giving up before I even started, I went through it and made it successfully.   


Read the full post by clicking here! 

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Yours truly

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Back to Gratitude

I tweaked my knee over almost a week ago.  I don't know how it happened.  I could still put weight on it and walk, but it was a little uncomfortable to bend.  Plus, it was swollen.  

I was in Birmingham with my crew and we got a bit crazy every day at lunch with all of the good, yet bad-for-you, eatin' down there.  I desperately wanted to go to the gym and walk off the excess calories, but I couldn't.  

One morning, I was especially disgusted with myself for not going to the gym and I was mad that my knee was the reason why.  In the middle of my internal tirade, something out of the ordinary came to mind.  Gratitude.   

In October of 2009, I wrote a post called Be Grateful.  In it, I talked about following in the path of people like Oprah, Jim Rohn, and plenty of other successful thought leaders in being grateful.  This includes finding things to be grateful for during trying times especially.  
My knee reminded me of what is important.  In that moment, I stopped berating myself and instead thought of things for which to be grateful.  I purposefully focused my gratitude on my knee.

I am grateful.
I am grateful for my knees for being an integral part of moving me from place to place.
I am grateful to my knees for supporting all of me throughout my life.
I am grateful for this pain.
I am grateful that my knee is telling me something that I need to hear.
I am grateful that I am still able to walk without much pain.  Things could be a lot worse.
I am grateful for the sign that I need to take it easy, otherwise I would be at the gym possibly causing more damage.  
I am grateful for the sign that knees are fragile, need care, and strenghtening.
I am grateful.

I gently massaged my knee and repeated some of the statements above.   Shortly afterward, I noticed that the swelling had decreased and that my knee felt better than it had in the past few days.  It's heald even more since.

Lights.  Camera.  Action
What is one issue that you're currently experiencing?  What are somethings about the situation for which you can be grateful?  

This may be difficult, but in thinking through it to find ways to be grateful, the healing process can begin.  Just start with one reason.  I found that once one thing came up, more reasons started to flow.  

As always, your comments are very helpful to the community and we look forward to reading them.  Until next time...  Take care!! 

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Chris Lofqvist

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

These Three Words Have the Power to Change Everything

Before I tell you what the words are, let me first start out by telling you about my introduction to the person who brought this up.  

Every day at work, I listen to YouTube videos.  I have a bunch of channels that go to for music, but most of the time, I like to listen to speakers or podcasts about entrepreneurship, personal development, spirituality, and so on.   

Usually I go right to my faves, but lately I've been picking videos from the YouTube Recommendations section.  I feel like there might be a message there that the Universe would like me to receive.    A little woo woo, I know.  

So on Monday, at the top of the page, there was a video called Love and Entrepreneurship by Kamal Ravikant.  I was going to skip to something else, but then I saw that the video was from the Awesomeness Fest.  I had never heard of the Awesomeness Fest, but man, it sounds pretty... wait for it... AWESOME!  

The speech was just 20 minutes, so I figured, "Why not?".




One of the biggest gems that I got from Kamal's speech was that when something scares him, he knows that there is magic on the other side.  That is what he says to himself to get past the fear and do it anyway.

I remember the first time that I did a software training webinar for a writing group and even though it was for a small group and I knew most of the attendees, I was scared to death.  The feeling that I felt right after it was finished was exhilarating!  Most importantly, things opened up for me that I didn't see coming, so I can testify that the magic is real people!

Kamal's story was riveting.  I was so engaged that when the video ended, I sat there, taking in what he had shared.  

There was something about him that I liked a lot.  He has a sense of humor, and despite his extraordinary success and trajectory, he was easy to relate to.  I had to know more.  I found another video of an interview that he had with John Assaraf, an author and speaker in the movie The Secret.


My next stop was to Amazon to purchase his book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It.  It turns out that I had purchased it over a year ago and never read it.  Man, isn't the Universe at work all the time?!

I finished most of the book in a day and I am telling all of you that you need to get it!!  This book is awesome, but what's so great about it is its simplicity.  It seems easy, but it takes some work, and yet it feels right.  There is a resonance in reading each word, each experience, each tip.  

This book is a great reminder, an eye-opener for some, and is filled with so much great insight.  It's not very long, only about 65 pages, but there is plenty in there to help us all experience this magic that he speaks of.

And the Three Words Are?
I've already written a small book about this small book and I have yet to tell you what you can here to see.  Are you ready?  These three words are a game changer.  Here goes!

The three words are:  I. Love. Myself.

See?  So very simple, but they have the power to completely change your life and open your heart to more joy than you have ever known.  

Lights. Camera. Action.
We would love to hear from you.  What magic have you experienced when you pushed fear aside and did it anyway?  What technique did you use to get over the fear?  As always, your responses are helpful and inspiring to the community and we look forward to reading them.

Hop on the Self Love Train With Me
I want you to experiment and experience this self love journey with me.

First, I urge you to pick up Kamal's book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It.  I would love to hear your thoughts about it, plus Kamal has a few exercises and tips to help you along the way, but you can still participate in the experiment without it.   

For the next two weeks, starting now, say the three words, "I love myself", out loud or to yourself throughout each day.  There is no set number of times to do this, but the more often, the better.  

Take into account how you feel when you say it.  Is it uncomfortable?  Do you believe it?  Does it make you feel happy?  Check in with yourself periodically to see if there are some obvious internal changes.  Keep going even if you don't believe it or notice anything different.  Even if you think it is stupid and don't feel like doing it, notice the resistance, acknowledge it and keep going.

Let's revisit this on the next post where we can share if and how this has worked.  We'd like to read about your observations such as when you found it hardest to say "I love myself"?  When it was the easiest and by the end of the experiment, did it come naturally to do it?  Did you notice a change in how it made you feel whenever you said it?  You can also share any tips that helped you to keep doing it.  

Have a great week and let's meet back here next month.  :-)

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Florian Seroussi

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Person You Want to Be

Photo by Wendy House
The theme of this month O Magazine is 20 questions that all women should answer. The premise is that these questions have the power to propel huge life lessons and catapult you into a major shift.  

I wasn't much of a believer until 20 minutes later when I found that I had dog eared most of the questions, pondered many areas of my life, and walked away with a handful of future post ideas.  The questions did indeed open my mind.  It all started with, "How do I want to be remembered?", then after reading "What I Know For Sure", this post was born. 

The Light was Fading
I noticed that I hadn't been myself for the last couple of months.  The viciousness of my inner voice was at an all time high.  It wasn't sassing or berating me as it usually does, but it was extremely nasty with regards to others.  My patience seemed shorter than usual and I felt annoyed by even the smallest thing.  My light felt dimmer.  After years of cursing like a sailor long at sea, I quit cold turkey, with a words slipping out here or there.  I noticed that I was cursing more frequently.  Even though I had tried to keep my funkiness to myself, I know that people had noticed and / or felt the difference in me.

The Answer to the Question
While reading this month's issue, the question, "what kind of person do you want to be?" jumped out at me.  I felt this overwhelming need to answer the question, so I sat in peace and this is my answer.

I want to be kind.  I want to be known as someone who has prided herself on being considerate of others.  I want to be someone who is giving of all that I have: time, money, a shoulder, love, a warm smile, and great hugs (just like my mom).  I want to personify my daily affirmation, "I am radiant.  I am the sun."  I want to be a pillar for others and a safe space for them.  
I want to be a source of positivity.  

Oprah puts it perfectly, "I want to live with a heart open to life."  Ultimately, I want to be a woman who drinks life in like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  A woman who truly wishes for the best for all people.  I want to be a woman that my mom and everyone in our "village" raised me to be.

Then I asked myself, "Do my current actions and attitudes reflect the kind of person that I want to be?"  My honest answer was, "Sorta kinda.  Ok, not really."

Reflection
I am some those things, at times, some a more than others and some not at all.  The times that I have truly embodied the person that I want to be, I've felt so weightless.  Unburdened.  Boundless.  It is such a great feeling when I'm there, but it is hard to remain there.      

Now, I could go further and figure out some things to do that could bring me back there.  (Look for a post about that soon.)

Why Do It?
The biggest thing that these questions brought home, is that we should answer thought provoking questions like these on a regular basis.  It is so important to check in, because we are constantly changing.  What worked before to ensure your happiness may not be working now.  If through our answers, we're unhappy and progressing in a manner that isn't working, we can take note and dig deeper into it to make changes. 

These questions help us examine where we are in our lives, figure out what is important, what makes us happy, areas where we could use help, and how we can be helpful to others.  Armed with fresh information, we can course correct or add little bits that bridge gaps and bring us closer to living the way that brings us the most joy.  

If you need help figuring out what questions to answer, this month's O Magazine is a great place to start.  :-)

Lights. Camera. Action.
What are some characteristic that describe who you want to be?  Do your current actions and attitude reflect the person you described?  What are some things you can do now to bring you closer to being more like that person?

As always, your responses are helpful to the entire community here and I look forward to reading your them.  Thank you for reading!

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Wendy House

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Post Spotlight: Moving Right Along

Tomorrow, I leave for a vacation in beautiful, sunny, and, most importantly, warm Scottsdale.  I think we're all over the cold snowy weather at this point.  I've been working pretty hard, burning the candle at both ends, so it's time for a much needed relaxing break.

With that in mind, I am going to save my new post for April 9th.  I've been writing quite a bit lately and haven't decided what to post just yet, but be assured that it will be fresh, new, and thoughtful.  So, with that said, have a great week everyone and please check out the post below.  :-)



Post of the Hour: Moving Right Along

About: 3 ways to alleviate the feeling of overwhelm and why you should make time for you.

Inspiration: I had just started a new business and was feeling overwhelmed.  That was the perfect time to explore how to release the feeling and share ways that you could do it too.

Favorite quote:  Here's the deal, you have to do what's best for your health and well being.  Saying no to things that don't serve you, don't enrich you, or take you off of your path and purpose is your RIGHT and it should be exercised on the regular!  Don't you dare apologize!  


Hold your head up and say, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"  Ok, don't say that, but say something to the effect of not having the time to do it or offer another solution FOR THEM to get it done.  You teach people how to treat you and by always saying yes, you are teaching them that no matter what they give you, you'll do it and they don't have to make any effort at all.   


Read the full post by clicking here! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Swimming Downstream - Part 2

Photo by Trey Ratcliff
In Swimming Downstream, we were discussing the path of least resistance and inherent beliefs about struggling with respect to achieving goals and living our dreams.

We left off trying to find the balance between doing what we know needs to be done and finding the path of least resistance, which would make it easier for us to do those things.

Finding the Flow
It isn't hard to find your flow at all.  Pick an area and notice where you are naturally pulled.  Don't think about what you should be doing.  Don't think about what you have to do.  Don't judge it.  Just simply notice what you would like to do.  

For example, when you come home from work, what would you like to do?  Don't think about having to fix dinner for the family or doing homework.  If you had the night off, where would you want to spend your time?  What is pulling you?  Is it the tv to catch up on your shows?  Finishing that novel that you haven't had time to read?  Maybe it's working on a painting or some other craft project or going for a walk around your neighborhood?  What feels good to you?  

Where Things Get Tricky
The tricky part about the Path of Least Resistance are our thoughts and feelings about it.  We love the idea of things being easy.  It is a relief when something is easy, but then our doubts come into play.  We have been taught that easy should be questioned.  What happens when something that you thought would be difficult turns out to be easy?  Do you find yourself second guessing how easy it was?   How many of you have ever said, "This is too easy.  It's too good to be true...", or "this can't possibly be this easy..."?

The First Step
The idea here is that we want to be able to accept and allow ease in our lives.  We want to swim downstream when it comes to our goals and all of the things that we want for ourselves.  In order to move into that existence, the first thing for us to do is to get comfortable with easy.  

You can't remain in the flow if you are unconsciously uncomfortable with things feeling easy.  If that is how you feel, you will constantly question anything that feels easy.  You will feel ashamed when things come easy to you and you will feel the need to defend yourself against the judgment of others and also your own thoughts.  

Tap Along
As many of you know, I frequently practice Emotional Freedom Technique, which has helped me in countless ways, some of which you can read here and here.

Below is an EFT tap along video that I hope will help you in allowing miracles to happen in your life (with ease):


Lights. Camera. Action.
What are some things that you have tried that have helped you feel more comfortable with ease?  What are some things that you would like to try?

Did you tap along with the video?  How did you feel after it was finished?   Have you noticed any miracles lately??  :-)

I'm looking forward to hearing your responses and, as always, your comments can help each and every one us in this community.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's On Your Rider?

Photo by Sint-Katelijne-Wave

I was planning to post the second part of Swimming Downstream, but I felt like keeping it light today.    

What's a Rider?
For those that don't know, a rider is a list of requests for the artist who is performing.  The artist typically asks for these things to provide them comfort, a sense of stability, safety, and helps them maintain their mental and physical well-being.  

Rider Controversies
Last year, people were up in arms over Beyonce's alleged rider.  It was reported that she required alkaline water be chilled to 21 degrees, red toilet paper, and $900 titanium straws, among other things.  

Mariah Carey's rider has people calling her the ultimate diva.  She requires champagne with a straw, a red carpet for entry into buildings, air purifiers, white candles, and more.  

Jennifer Lopez's rider has people thinking that she is no longer low maintenance Jenny from the block.  Everything must be white: furniture, drapery, candles, flowers, the works!  

Madonna requests 20 international phone lines and lilies and white and light pink roses with stems trimmed to exactly 6 inches.  

The media likes to call riders "demands".  The word "demand" has such a negative connotation to it.  When someone demands something, usually our response is, "Who the hell do you think you are?"

What's On Your Rider?
Think of a rider as something that you deserve, because of how hard you work.  Your hard work has gotten you to the level where a rider is customary.  It's something that helps you continue to do your job to the best of your ability.  

If you were a performer or a speaker, what would be on your rider?  Would you want your room painted a certain color?  Would you request flowers?  If so, what kind?  What kind of snacks would your dressing room need to have?  Don't forget about your family, entourage, or staff!  Would you include special requests for them?  Let's have some fun!  Throw in one really wacky and explain why you need it.  Totally looking forward to reading your responses!

In the Meantime...
Head on over to Swimming Downstream and be sure to leave a comment.  We would love to hear about some of your beliefs about achieving goals and ways that you've made it easier to be healthy.  We'll pick up the discussion about the Path in the next post!