Archive | March 2011

The Weight of the Pressure

The weight of the pressure? What the heck?  Isn’t this the A Cup of Cheer blog- the place where I come for motivation, encouragement, positive thoughts?  What are you doing talking about the weight of pressure?  Relax folks! Don’t put your mug down just yet.  The cheer is here, but we are going to discuss pressure.

For the purposes of this discussion we will be examining a combination of two of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of pressure: 1) the action of a force against an opposing force, and 2) the stress or urgency of matters demanding attention. While to most people pressure is a somewhat negative environment which produces unhappy feelings I contend that pressure in our lives is often times exactly what is needed.

You see,  pressure is what we feel when we are going against what our inner spirit knows is best for us.  The force of our free will is pressing against what we “feel” is the right thing to do or the correct road to take which results in a clash of those opposing forces.  This is life attempting to save us from ourselves.  You are supposed to feel the weight of the pressure and STOP to re-examine the choices you are making and perhaps make a better one.  I have not mastered this.  I will be the first to admit.  What I will tell you unequivocably is that when I am doing what is truly best for me, the cards all fall into place, everything flows freely and I feel no pressure.  As a matter of fact, I feel completely at ease.

Pressure in the form of stressful urgency is what we feel when we know what we must do but we are not giving the decision our full time and attention.  Sometimes, even as we are not following our necessary course of action, we are completely unsettled, anxious, and stressed.  You see when you are on the right path the deed must get done as this is but a stop in the road and there is much more road to conquer.  We all know people who are always “on fire,” passionate about the task at hand, driven to succeed.  Those people are often times on the right track.  They are following the proper trail for them and they feel the pressure to get it done.  So again, the pressure does not have anything to do with negative feelings.  It simply means that these are the matters demand our attention and the task needs to be accomplished.

So I challenge you to take a good look at the pressure you feel in your life.  Instead of resisting the feeling, this particular pressure might be exactly what is necessary to propel you forward to the next level, to follow your calling, to achieve your highest heights.  Don’t fight the pressure.  Embrace it.  As long as it is the right kind of pressure, only good things will result from bearing up under the weight.

Spread love…peace and blessings.

 

Words Have Meaning And More Importantly Power

I have admitted previously to being a stubborn kind of gal.  Some my greatest lessons have really been learned the hard way.  One of those is that we are in control of  the outcome of  most of the interactions that we have with others.  Most often exchanges go bad because of interpretations or assumptions.  The key issue- words.  Words have power.  The power to heal or the power to hurt.  I am as guilty as anyone of sometimes using words to harm others.  In my evolution of self, I am more mindful of using my words to harm.  I am also conscious about what I am speaking into existence and what negative energy I am sending in someone else’s direction.  The reason?  My negative words have the power to interrupt and counteract your positive energy if your energy is not strong enough.  Thus, since my desire is never to bring you any harm, I must be careful of the words I use to and about you.

How often do you interrupt the  flow of your life to speak blessings into someone else’s.  It’s not hard to do.  It doesn’t take long and you know what?  Where there was a singular flow of positive energy, it is now doubled.  How does this work?  Let me give you a small but powerful example.  A friend is  awaiting news on a job interview and you are aware of it.  Your comments instead of “good luck” may be “hey call right after you get the offer.”  Do you see the difference?  “Good luck” is hopeful which is…nice, but “call me after you get the offer” is empowering.  You are joining with them in claiming the job and my submission is your energy is helping that offer to come their way.

One must be very mindful of  the words they use to describe others and the words they allow others to use to describe them.  There is an old saying “it’s not what they call you; it’s what you answer to.”  In theory I agree with this, but not in totality.  You see even if I don’t answer to a derogatory term, if you call me it often enough others may begin to think it fits.  Or, more importantly, I may begin to internalize (no matter how subconsciously) that this is who or what I am.  Thus, for me, it is quite important to be inflexible in the terms by which I let myself be identified.  And after all, I think Tirani (pronounced like tyranny) is quite a pretty name and that’s really all you need to call me anyway.  🙂

So far I’ve talked about words we project outward, but some of the most important words are the ones which we use to talk to ourselves.  Be very mindful of what you tell yourself you can’t achieve, can’t amount to, can’t look like, etc.  There is a famous quote by Henry Ford “whether you think you can, or think you can’t you’re right” that comes to mind.  It’s the Law of Attraction at work again.  We don’t allow good things to come to us if our expectation is for nothing but bad.  The navigation can’t take place.  We all have shortcomings.  We all are FAR less than perfect.  That being said, we ALL are uniquely gifted and blessed.  Talk to yourself about your blessings- what you excel at, what you do that brings joy to others.  Don’t be so quick to point out your shortcomings to others.  They will discover them soon enough.  In the meantime, however, they can be so impressed by your virtues and assets that the shortcomings, when discovered, have diminished value.

One last thing and I’m done.  Please let’s work on not allowing ourselves to say whatever to whomever in the name of “keeping it real” or “I’m just being me.”  Your “me”  is a wonderful person- of that I’m certain, but you don’t appear as wonderful when you speak to people badly or negatively sometimes simply for your own entertainment.  Yes, you have successfully (define success) demeaned that person or made them feel bad, but what you have done for your own image is far worse.  Believe me, 20 + years ago I held a Ph. D. in “being me” but I honestly did not like the opinion that some people had of me.  I had to take  the time (and it took a long time lol) to analyze what was causing the rift.  It was words- sometimes the words, lots of times the tone.

Think about your words. They are powerful as weapons of mass destruction or empowerment building.  Work  at building people, including yourself, up instead of tearing them down.  It is so much more rewarding.

Spread love… peace and blessings.

Biting The Bear That Bit You

For most who know me personally, I am perceived as rather laid-back – not easily excited, definitely not hyper, and rarely shocked.  Though I’m known to “not take any stuff” that characteristic is not presented in a loud, abrasive, in your face type of manner.  Thus,  I may appear to some to give up on some things a tad too easily.  Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth.  The truth of the matter is, throughout my years on this Earth I have always chosen to bite the bear that bit me.

What I mean by that is the things that I feel have conquered or bested me I always go back to.  I must claim the victory.  The following are some of the most dramatic examples of such.

As an undergrad at my beloved FAMU I grew weary of attending school and was frustrated that I had not graduated by my predetermined date.  So I declared, in my best voice and my most stubborn mindset that I was in my last semester to all who would listen.  My last semester whether I was done or not.  Now to know me is to know that I say what I mean and I mean what I say.  And trust me, in my early twenties this allowed for no wiggle room or flexibility.  Thus with nine credit hours remaining I left school as promised.  Two and a half years later, after living in two cities, working to pay off my college credit card debt, and saving up funds I returned to FAMU to complete the credits necessary to obtain my degree.  Many asked why I didn’t finish those credits at a school in my hometown of Baltimore.  That, for me, was never an option.  FAMU and The School of Business and Industry (SBI) had beaten me in a few rounds but I needed to return to take the final rounds and end the match.

One of the cities I lived in after leaving FAMU was Atlanta.   I decided I was big and grown enough to live alone (not the first time mind you) until one night someone attempted to enter my apartment without my permission.  Ut oh, this living alone game is now over.  I will not be a sitting duck so bring on the roommates and the degree of hidden fear.  Well, a year and a half later with finances in hand, a job under my belt and strong goals in mind my return to Tallahassee also included finding a small one bedroom apartment.  I had to conquer the fear of living alone.  Nursing that fear for too long was only going to make it worse.  I had to bite the bear back.

These are my most major examples but they abound.   I am not  suggesting that you follow my path and I’m certainly not suggesting that I have all of life’s answers.  I’m simply saying that for me one of the best ways of confronting things that have gotten the best of me involve meeting them head on and successfully completing the task.  It is never too late to achieve a goal. No task is ever too great to be undertaken.  Life is a journey my friends and there are many paths.  Many people take the most direct and shortest path.  I am enjoying the experience of this life by venturing down unknown gravelled paths.  If I need to get back to the paved main road it is always there.  I find the smooth path easy to walk but not as interesting.  Don’t judge me.  We are all here for unique reasons to learn unique lessons.  I’m simply suggesting that if the bear on your path bites you, nurse your wounds, make sure you are emotionally ok and then bite that sucker back!

Spread love…peace and blessings.

Lent: A Period of Self-Denial and Growth

The purpose of Lent is to be a season of fasting, self-denial, Christian growth, penitence, conversion, and simplicity. Lent, which comes from the Teutonic (Germanic) word for springtime, can be viewed as a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking spiritual inventory and then cleaning out those things which hinder our corporate and personal relationships with Jesus Christ and our service to him. Thus it is fitting that the season of Lent begin with a symbol of repentance: placing ashes mixed with oil on one’s head or forehead. However, we must remember that our Lenten disciplines are supposed to ultimately transform our entire person: body, soul, and spirit. Our Lenten disciplines are supposed to help us become more like Christ. Eastern Christians call this process theosis, which St. Athanasius aptly describes as “becoming by grace what God is by nature.”

For many,  Ash Wednesday marks a time to “give up” something that they enjoy a lot- generallya food or activity, i.e. eating sweets or chocolate, or not drinking.  While I am not the one to criticize what anyone does in the name of sacrifice, I am urging us to give up things that will, as stated above, transform our entire person.  So, my personal sacrifices will not be my usual sugar products but things more integral to my growth hindrance.  Your list might not be the same as mine, but I suggest that we all may benefit from choosing from the following list for our fasting and denial:

1.  Fast from comparing yourself to anyone else.  You are uniquely you and in order to fully appreciate you there must be a celebration of the God within and a recognition of your unique purpose for this lifetime.

2.  Fast from excuses.  In order to transform we have to do the work that allows the transformation to occur.  You MUST do the work.  NO excuses accepted.

3.  Deny others the right to steal your joy.  If someone else is unhappy and unsettled in their spirit, they often look for company.  Recognize it for what it is.  Have sympathy and empathy for them, but do not allow them to pull you onto their unhappy train.  Smile, feel bad for them but not with them, and keep going in your glory.

4.  Deny yourself the right to be lazy.  We all need to exercise regularly and yes EVERYONE does have the time to do it.  It is simply a matter of deciding to make the time.  In addition to exercise, do not allow yourself to rest on your laurels.  Press forward.  The very best you is right in front of your eyes.   Do whatever (probably small) things are required to reach him/her.

5.  Sacrifice spending any of your time and energy worrying about what others are doing.  Your focus during this time period and always is on transforming yourself.  You can not do that by  looking outward, only inward.  If we are looking at others we are missing the opportunity to do some very necessary self-examination.

6.  Fast from self-criticism.  When you know better you do better.  Again focus on self and do what you need to do from THIS moment in time to do better.  There is nothing we can do today to change yesterday.  We live in today and look forward to tomorrow.  You can, however, recognize “wrong” you have done in the past.  This still does not involve self-criticism but self-assessment.  If you have negative feelings over some action from the past do what is necessary to repent or correct it.  You can not force the other person (s) to accept your act, you can only offer it and once that is done you should be done with it.

7.  Fast from doing things that are not good for us.  While this may include the traditional Lenten sacrifices of smoking or over-indulging, it can also include spending time with those who mean us no good, remaining in a relationship that is toxic, gossiping (how difficult is this to give up?), allowing people to disrespect or mistreat us, remaining on a job where we are not thriving, etc.  You get the idea.  Now is the time to let these things go.  Some are done more quickly than others,but begin to put the wheels in motion that will allow you to move toward your greatness.

I am deliberately keeping this list somewhat short, but I believe you get the point.  Lent is intended to be about so much more  than not eating a candy bar or having a glass of wine for 40 days.  We are still early.  My delay in getting this posted puts us at day 2 of the season, but it’s not to late to begin working toward your best self.  I have a feeling we will all feel better with sticking to some of the items from this list (or others you may come up with) than we would not eating ice cream for a month and a half.  🙂

Spread love…peace and blessings.

Winning Is An Attitude

Merriam- Webster defines winning as successful especially in competition; and tending to please or delight. For many, it appears that the concept of winning is solely based on the former definition which, of course, has measurable achievement.  I am suggesting that we spend a lot more time focusing on the latter definition.  For me, winning is less about an action and more about an attitude.  If you have a winning attitude you will see examples of how you are winning all day long and in most situations.  The benefit of such an attitude is that you attract even more wins.  I contend that by focusing on what is pleasing and delightful you will also begin to see more measurable achievement in competition as well.  For, even measurable achievement can always be linked back to one’s attitude.

As many of you know by now, I am a twitterholic.  One popular aspect of twitter is what’s known as a trending topic.  This is always designated by the pound sign (#).  #Fail has been a popular trending topic for at least the past year.  An example of its usage might be “Went to McDonald’s drive -thru for lunch and they forgot to put my fries in the bag.  Now my break is over. #Fail”  You get the point right?  Well, here’s what I’m suggesting – as you go through the day note the ways you are winning.  Failure is not an option for the purposes of this exercise.  As a matter of fact let’s just eliminate that word from our vocabulary starting NOW!

One of my good friends and I have been engaged in this exercise since the end of last week. To say that I am noticing dramatic results would be well …an understatement.  Some examples? Ever since I’ve decided to start counting wins there is always an open space near the door at my very busy gym parking lot.  As I am currently in the job hunt, I approached a member at my church whom I’ve been advised is in human resources for the City of Baltimore.  She agreed to not only forward information to me but states that once I fill out the general application she will automatically submit it on my behalf for every job she thinks I may have an interest in.  I am noticing that people I’m encountering on a regular basis seem to be more friendly and open.  Could it be because Spring is right around the corner? Perhaps, but I offer to you it is because that is what I am looking for and the universe naturally brings to us that which we are open to.

On that note, be mindful that you don’t hold onto negative views while constantly looking for validation of them.  I assure you, you will get it because that is what you are attracting.  I’m suggesting that you fine tune your own winning attitude and look for ways every day to validate that you are indeed doing  just that- WINNING! Won’t you join me in the movement?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Spread love…peace and blessings.

The Beauty of Family

Have you ever seen one of those families that is just full of pretty people?  I have a friend whose family is like that.  On her maternal and paternal side everyone is gorgeous.  The women are beautiful and the men are very handsome.  Ever wonder how this happens? Do you think it’s just that like attracts like?  I don’t think so.  I have a slightly different theory.

The other day my aunt posted a picture of my grandmother as a teen.  The first thing I thought upon viewing was “wow, this looks just like me.” (technically it should be I look just like her but you get the point)  Many who commented on the picture stated how beautiful my grandmother was.  My aunt also posted a picture of my grandfather in his youth.  Pop pop was a very handsome man.  As I thought about beauty that sometimes runs through families I concentrated on the notion that beauty is so much more internal than external.  There are many ugly people with physically beautiful faces and the ugly definitely overcomes.

The conclusion I came to is simple.  Many families have beauty running throughout them because the head of the family houses a beautiful spirit.  This spirit then flows downward and throughout.  It allows prodigal children to return home.  It encourages rather than tears down.  It holds family above all but the creator.  This feeling of complete acceptance, of expected accomplishment, of encouragement, love, and understanding is what allows the beauty of all within its grasp and bloodline to shine with beauty.  It also allows, when the inevitable time of crossover comes, for more peaceful transitions.  When you know you’ve loved a family member as completely as possible while they were here you don’t feel as much sadness in letting them go.

I know some of you are thinking “c’mon Tee that’s just not true.”  I challenge you to examine the beautiful families you are familiar with.     When you take a closer look you will see that what I’m saying is true.  The beauty of the family is a result of the love they share. The way they accept one another and outsiders into their space.

The good news is that even if your own family is not one that exists with this type of vibe, you can be the catalyst of change.  Live long enough and you may find yourself the matriarch or patriarch of your family.  There is no better time, however, than now to begin.  Positive energy and love is catching and multiplies.  As I stated in the previous blog, where an abundance of love and positivity exists negativity can not.

I would love to hear your experiences with attempting to be the catalyst of change.

Spread love…peace and blessings