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I’m A Survivor (not physically health related)

tbsurvivor2
People are complex beings who live through complex circumstances in life. Some make it through those circumstances and some survive them. I am a survivor.

In a family crisis I am the one who holds everyone together. Several years ago I had someone who did everything within their power to try and break me. I didn’t break. The more I didn’t falter the angrier they became. I also didn’t retaliate. Strength does not mean he who hits the hardest but he who works hardest to walk away least bruised and battered. I’m also a strong believer in karma, so I can’t block my blessings because I’m trying to get back at you.

There’s only one thing wrong with being the strong one, the lone survivor if you will. That thing is perception. People tend to think/believe that you can handle anything. Even worse, you believe it as well. So though it may be true that will indeed generally rise to the top, you have a hard time accepting/enduring/being positive as you live through it. I have to remind myself to live THROUGH it. It’s okay to be vulnerable, to show anger, tears, an even disappointment. It’s okay to let others know you are struggling (I usually don’t.) I’m realizing I sometimes must convert the smile on my face (through it all) to a smile in my heart. I mean after all I’m going to survive it, right? Of course, I’m a survivor!!

Do You Believe?

the belief cycleAnyone who knows me knows that I believe we all receive messages from God.  Last Wednesday night I was up to the very wee hours of the night in tears.  I had come to some revelations that I had really yet to face.  The pain was real as I pulled off the scabs to reveal the source of the pain.

So what happened?  Well, I was having a conversation with someone very close to me.  Within the confines of the conversation the person asked me a “normal” set of questions (for them).  I was upset by the line of questioning.  After hanging up I took a moment to reflect on the conversation.  My takeaway was that the person did not TRULY believe that I was capable of achieving greatness.  As I thought about it further, I realized (through my tears) that it was very possible that the other person did not believe in me because I did not fully believe in me.  Oh sure, I know that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.  I know of some of my accomplishments of the past, but when it comes down to truly believing that I can achieve great things and earn lots of money in the process the belief has just not been there.  I always thought “I need to marry a wealthy man to provide in the lifestyle I dream of” not “I will be very financially successful on my own and having a partner who matches that is a bonus.” 

I cried and I cried as I realized that I have been holding me back.  You see the Universe will not bring to you what you can not envision.  Sure, I can find pictures of fabulous homes, jewelry (my true passion), and cars to place on my vision board.  Yes, I love the idea of them and I want them.  BUT, the pictures on the vision board are devoid of me and the pictures in my mind have been also.  I have just admired the pretty pictures.  I have not believed I would/could/should be in those pictures.

So what happens next is where God begins to speak to me.  The message comes at me- hard, loud and clear.  I leave the day after this call to go to Atlanta to attend a sales conference for my Visalus business.  What is the theme of the weekend?  You already know don’t you?  BELIEVE.  Yes, I am about to get it from all angles.  So I sit on Friday night as I listen to dynamic speakers and my company’s co-founders ask “Do you believe in yourself enough to do what is required?” The tears again flowed. I was being hit with the same message from the night before.

SOOOOO… obviously the message of the weekend for me was that  a big change is in order.  It seems like a tall order, but maybe not.  You see I do know and understand the power of belief.  On yesterday morning I missed my 7:00 a.m.  flight out of Atlanta.  Now this wouldnt’ve been a problem except for the fact that I was supposed to appear in a church production on yesterday afternoon.  I called the airline en route to the airport and was told that I should go and request standby on the next plane which was leaving at 10:30.  She said there was “plenty of room.”  I arrived and went to ticket counter to be put on standby.  Done.  Now we’re cooking.  Arrived at the gate (mind you this is now 8:00 a.m.)  and was told by the gate agent “this flight is full.  As a matter of fact it’s oversold by 4 people.  I don’t know why they told you it was open, but I’ve known that since I got here at 6:00 a.m.  I’m gonna have to give vouchers to get people off this flight.”  WOW! She also advised me of the next flight times and confirmed me on a 8:00 p.m. flight home.  What did I do?  I texted my play director and babysitter to advise of the issue and I waited patiently.  I purchased a muffin.. and I waited.  People began to board… and I waited.  Gate agent asked for people to give up seats… and I waited.  I reached out to my team in Atlanta… and I waited.  She called me over “there’s a good change I’m going to get you on”… and I waited.  I counted how many people took the vouchers… and I waited.  It’s now very close to takeoff.  She calls a lady over to give her a seat assignment and then turns to me and says “I’m sorry.  I needed one more person to give up their seat.  I can’t get you on.”… and I waited! I didn’t move… and then I heard her walk around to the boarding door and say something about lady waiting on standby.  She and the lady come back around to the desk and she says “she’s gonna give you her seat and take a voucher.  Here’s your boarding pass.  Go get on the plane.”  The moral of the story?  I never stopped believing I would get on that plane.  Even when she told me that all seats were gone, I didn’t move.  I KNOW how to believe in things outside of myself.  I need to apply that inward.  It is time to have unmovable, unshakable faith in me and all that I can achieve!! I can show you better than I can tell you.  Watch what happens next!!

HOW MANY TIMES???

dont' give up

There is a verse in the 18th chapter of Matthew in  the Bible where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who has sinned against him.  His question: “Seven times Lord?” and Jesus answers not seven times but seven times seventy.  This piece is not religious but that question got me thinking over the weekend.  I know if you are anything like me you often find yourself asking “how many times?”

I am a mom so I find myself asking “How many times do I have to tell you to do the same thing over and over again?  How many times do I have to tell you not to do that? How many times are you gonna ask me that same question?” and the list goes on and on and on.

But this piece is not about being a mom.  It is about being a “me.”  There are many times when we grow frustrated with life and our circumstances.  It is in these times that it may help to remember “7 x 70.”  Now is the answer really 490 times?  I doubt it.  The true answer is: as many times as it takes.  Funnily (my own word) enough the amount of times is probably FAR less than a random 490.  It takes 21 days for something to become a habit.  That sounds really doable when compared to 490 doesn’t it?

Let’s look at other examples where we can apply this notion to motivate ourselves to move forward:

1.  How many times will I keep trying to master something new?  As many times as it takes!  You can learn a foreign language in far less time than 490 straight days.  So, keep going!

2.  How many times will I pick myself up when I’ve fallen down?  As many times as it takes! Anyone who has succeeded at something has failed at something else.  Often times it is through the failures that the knowledge comes for the great success.  Even the great Michael Jordan absolutely SUCKED at pro baseball.  Does that diminish his greatness as a basketball player?  Absolutely not! It highlights the fact that he is human and as such has limitations.

I believe that one of the purposes of life is to learn the lessons.  You can not learn all lessons by skipping through the poppy field.  Most are learned through hardship and struggle.  So as you sit there knocked down but not out pick yourself up that one more time.  Brushing yourself off gets easier every time.

3.  How many times must I listen to my coworker tell offensive jokes/be a negative Nelly or Ned or watch them get projects/promotions that I feel belong to me? As many times as it takes for you to learn the lesson of why them not you, to discover that this job is not your passion, to learn the skills you need to learn to move forward.  Sometimes we don’t see ourselves the way others see us.  Look in the mirror.  Recognize your shortcomings.  This will help you deal with the offensive person and will most likely give you the rocket power to propel forward.

4.  How many times must I challenge myself?  As many times as it takes! There is great reward in mastering something new or outside of your comfort zones.  The sense of accomplishment is tremendous.  Why is the reward so great?  Because it is NOT easy!  If it were easy everyone would do it!  But you, my friend, are not everyone.  You are very uniquely you and as such you have a unique purpose in life.  Find your passion- that thing that makes you tick, makes you get out of bed even when you don’t want to and then put on your cape and go conquer.  Will it be challenging?  Oh yes! Will it be worth it?  Oh yes!  Will you have it to give it many times before you get it right?  For SURE!  How many times?  Frankly I have no idea.  Count on the fact that you may lose count… and then STOP COUNTING and just do it.

If you are worried about how many times you missing part of the lesson.  You are probably taking some of the joy out of the journey, and you for sure will make the process longer (or at least feel longer) in your mind.  We generally think of how many times in a negative context, but I propose that if we master the art of just plowing through to our destiny then these may instead be your questions:

1.  How many times am I going to grant myself a vacation this year?

2.  How many times will I get to show my loved ones I love them?

3. How many times will I watch attend my kids’ sports event?

4.  How many times will I be the one there to kiss the boo boo instead of hearing about it afterward?

5.  How many times will I be there to comfort a friend/loved one in need?

Your quality of life will change my friends once you are willing to do the things you don’t want to do for as many times as it takes.

Spread love! Peace and Blessings…

It’s TIME… To Handle Your Business

I know that it has been a long minute since you’ve seen a blog but that does not mean that this blog, or you the readers have been far from my thoughts.  Sometimes circumstances force you to take a break, but I will never be gone too long.

As many of you know, most of my blogs involve me having a conversation with myself.  Today is no exception.  This blog has been composing itself for about 2 weeks and the message is painfully obvious (side note: I began this blog on 5/10/13; sadly it is still relevant enough today for me to continue from this point.)

You may be aware that I believe that God/the Universe speaks to us in many ways.  Sometimes a thing becomes so obvious that it is pretty hard to ignore the message or frankly to pretend that you can’t discern what it is.

So here is the message I’ve been receiving: It’s time … to handle your business! It began as a whisper quite a few months ago, by July it was quite audible and now it is shouting from the rooftops.  I mean really, it’s that loud.

How can God/the Universe be shouting at you?  Well for hard heads like me that is often times what is required.  I can see people around me doing something, making it look relatively easy (or at least worth the effort) and if not completely ready I respond with “Yeah… but not yet.” So then, the picture becomes even more clear.  You are surrounded by people who are who are doing the thing you should be doing, excelling at it, and seemingly grasping it at a much faster rate than you.  “Yeah… but not yet.”

So for the seriously hard-headed God becomes really serious.  He knocks away whatever crutch, support system, excuse you could draw upon and says “What about now?”  So finally, hard-headed ole me is forced to admit “It’s time… to handle my business!”

What are the things you procrastinate about until given no choice?  Do you learn the lesson and take less time in the future to get the message?  Do you realize that your hesitation is purely a result of your fear and pres s onward knowing that fear itself has never killed anyone?  Trust me, these and more are questions I wrestle with.  But in the end I recognize that sometimes I am my own worse enemy, block my own blessings, get in my own way, and am the stumbling block to my own success.  I’m sure there are other clichés you can add, but it doesn’t change the facts or the circumstances.  Change is rarely easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary.  Most importantly there is a tremendous growth opportunity in changing as required.  Sometimes you just have to do it. We miss 100 % of the shots we don’t take.

This post is very personal, but it is not for me alone.  Someone reading needs to hear these words.  Someone needs to understand that most people give up right before their breakthrough.  You are not most people.  You are a winner, so It’s TIME… to handle your business!

“Ain’t No Need To Worry What The Night Is Gonna Bring. It’ll Be All Over In The Morning.”

This week I was tested on the concept of worry.  I am so glad to report that I’ve obviously learned the lesson and passed the test.  I encountered a situation.  What made me most anxious was the amount of uncertainty involved.  Uncertainty, for me, means lack of control. I do not like feeling that a situation is outside of my control even though I often realize that it is.  But I sat back in this instance and thought “don’t worry about it.  Just don’t worry.”  It’s funny that when the lesson is clear, all of the answers come clearly.  So, here’s what came to me with crystal clear clarity.

No matter what happens in life, worrying is not going to change the situation or the outcome.  It will only serve to drain your energy, foster negativity, and possibly cause or contribute to physical malaise or illness.  Now I’m not suggesting that we don’t encounter situations in life where one potential outcome is very bad or detrimental.  I’m simply suggesting that worrying about it is not the best solution.  What should you do instead?

1.  Prepare for the worst- Ask yourself  a) what’s the worst than can happen?   Once you know the answer to that question, ask yourself  b)what can I do to repair things  if the worst thing occurs?   One of the most interesting facts of life is that the worst that can happen rarely does.  We worry and we stress thinking about how bad the worst thing will be… and THEN it never occurs.  So we have spent days, weeks, months devoting a lot of time, energy, and attention to something that never comes to fruition.

But, in the rare instance that the worst that can happen actually occurs you need to be ready with guns blazing.  The diagnosis is what you feared most?  You are not able to keep your home?  Your family member is guilty of what they’ve been accused of?  In  the case of a medical diagnosis, worrying is the WORST thing for you.  You are in a fight, often times for your life, and you have to be ready for battle.  The worst that can happen is that you have the illness but understand that this is NOT the worst thing.  You are still ALIVE and now you have to put on your armor, surround yourself with other warriors (at least in spirit) and you have to fight for your life.  And trust me, you can not fight and worry at the same time.

2.  Recognize what is outside of the realm of your control.  Sometimes we worry about things that are outside of our control.  Let’s face it.  Some of us are professional worriers.  We spend our time worrying about other people’s lives, jobs, relationships, children, etc. There are several things that may be in play a)some people need to learn the lesson the hard way or b)”you’re gonna learn today” may be in play.   Even our children, whom we always seek to protect, must learn their own lessons.  As much as it may hurt us, we have to allow others to follow their own paths and learn their own lessons.  Worrying about the outcomes of certain lessons, while perfectly natural, is not going to lesson the pain sometimes involved for the other person nor help.  You can only work on orchestrating your life.  Let others follow their own paths.

3.  Be proactive- instead of sitting around and waiting for the worst that can happen think about what you can do NOW to prevent the worst from happening.  Spend your energy there.  You have work to do.  There really is no time for worry.  Make it happen.

Solutions 1 and 3 may seem in direct contrast to one another.  I contend that they are not.  I’m suggesting that you do whatever is within your power to prevent the worst thing from happening.  However, because everything is not always within our control, the worst may happen (or what appears to be the worst at that time).  If that occurs then you must go to solution #1.  Now that this has occurred what can I do to change the circumstances?  There is always something you can do and technically worrying is not DOING anything.

You are blessed with the life you have been given.  It is your most precious gift.  Don’t spend any time on wasted, fruitless effort.  Life is for the living.  See everything as a blessing and an opportunity for growth and change.  Once you realize the truth of this, you begin to really internalize the notion that there is no need to worry.  It’ll be all over in the morning.

The POWER Of Forgiveness

The ability to forgive another is one of the greatest gifts we can bestow, upon that person and upon ourselves.  There is a at least a small part of everyone that knows this to be true.  For some, however, it is indeed one of the hardest things to do.  Because of the extent of their hurt, anger, sense of betrayal, etc.,  they just are not able to forgive.  They think  they feel better by holding on to the pain and bitterness.  It is a scientific fact that holding on has no physical or psychological benefits.  In fact quite the opposite is true.

We have all heard the statement made that by forgiving the other person you are actually helping yourself.  You are getting rid of the toxic thoughts and behaviors that are part of maintaining the anger. You are also freeing yourself of negative energy for it does, indeed, take a lot of energy to remain angry at someone for a sustained amount of time.  Let’s face it, if you have to remind yourself that you are angry and why it is time to let it go.

Free yourself.  Take back your power.  You see when you chose (and yes, it is INDEED a CHOICE) to stay angry at someone they have power over you.  The funny thing is often they are not even aware of such.  But, when you elect to keep rehashing the wrong they have done you give them power over your emotions.  When you recognize and accept that you can exercise a different option, the pendulum swings.  When you choose how you will react when you see the person (positively), and how you will view the situation (as the learning experience that it was) then you are now in the catbird seat.  You now have control of yourself and the situation.

This is all well and good, but what about when the hardest person to forgive is the man/woman in the mirror?  Sometimes we beat ourselves up harder than anyone else EVER would over our actions, choices, outcomes, decisions, etc. Why would I do such a thing knowing that this was a possible outcome?  What was I thinking?  How could I be so stupid (that’s a big one )?  Forgiveness of self can be one of life’s greatest hurdles especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard. We don’t like to disappoint others and we certainly don’t like to disappoint ourselves.

I find myself working through such a situation right now.  What I did is not the issue.  The issue is how I feel about the action and it’s outcomes.  I especially find myself on the “How could I be so stupid?” page.  As I counsel myself (yes, I’m fond of doing that) through the process of eventual forgiveness I have to face the honest facts:

1.  I am not perfect and as a result of that I will make mistakes.

2. Some of the greatest periods of growth are a result of  big mistakes.

3.  “Big” is a relative word.  This is only a big mistake until the next big one comes along.

4.  I am as worthy of my own forgiveness as anyone else I grant forgiveness to.

5.  Anything I learn from can’t be all bad or a total mistake.

6.  Listen to your gut instinct.  It will not steer you wrong.

As I work toward forgiving myself I encourage you to do the same. If you are constantly beating yourself up over something you are rendering yourself powerless and thus impeding your growth. Let it go.  You are not made to be perfect.  You are made to do and be your best.  We are all works in progress.

Spread love…peace and blessings.

The Point of It All

In life there are always times of stability and times of change.  Sometimes the change is welcomed and initiated by us.  Sometimes it beyond our control, but as the song says “a change is gonna come.”  My life is in a period of deep change and growth at the moment.  Most of it, thankfully, is desired.  I am learning, however, through this change that I am not as “together” as I fancied myself to be.  There are lots of lessons that I am learning and that… perhaps … probably is the point of it all.

(This is one of those blogs that is really written entirely for me, but I have learned that when I write these so many others relate as well.  We truly are all more alike than we are different.)  As I navigate through this process of change here are some of the lessons I am learning.  The good thing is that the journey is not over and thus this list is incomplete.  The bad thing is… the list is incomplete. 😉

1.  Don’t sabotage your own happiness

Bad/trying/hard times don’t last always.  Eventually they go away. The tide turns and things begin to look up.  The grass is greener and the roses are in bloom.  Why are you then checking the Farmer’s Almanac to see when the next drought is set to hit?!  The beauty of the happy times come from actually appreciating them.  If we become so stuck in the rut of what is wrong we deprive ourselves from living in the happiness of the moment of this is good and all is right.

2.  Don’t second guess everything

You are perfectly capable of making good decisions.  Sometimes you will err on the side of caution.  Sometimes you are not cautious enough.  All that being said, things generally work out as they should.  Don’t sweat it.  Life goes on, this too shall pass, it’s all small stuff (and five thousand other clichés that are true).

3.  Appreciate those who are in it for the long haul

Most people are around for the good times- when the money is flowing, the kids are behaving perfectly, you are extending invitations to all of the events.  Yup, they are there and in the amen corner singing your praises and loving some you.  BUT, when the chips are down, when circumstances are not fully to their understanding and you exercise your God-given right not to explain yourself, or when others have turned against you they lose your number and forget where you live.  This will be some people. Others wouldn’t dare leave you.  They support, celebrate and love you even when you don’t love yourself.  Those cheerleaders are not doing it for fame or recognition, but they must realize how much you appreciate them.  This must be done in their language of which there are a few.  If you don’t acknowledge them in their way, they may not ever realize how grateful you are.  This may take some effort to decipher but it isn’t it worth the time for someone who has always had time for you?

4.  Life is not consistent.  Everything must change. 

That being said, those who are in your corner may change.  Those whom you value may change.  Those who loved you yesterday may be very underwhelmed today.  It’s all good. It’s life.  Let it change.  Grow with it. You may not be comfortable with change but it will happen and is often for the best.

5.  Patience really is a virtue and your lack of it may cause undesired results. 

Another way to express this is: you don’t control everything.  Many people are uncomfortable with feeling out of control.  Learn to accept the fun in not having to know it all and do it all.  Let someone cater to you.  Wait for the love instead of trying to force it with the wrong person.  Everything that is yours is coming to you if you are open to receiving it.  That does not mean the picture will look as you envisioned it on your vision board.  But it does mean that you will get what you are supposed to have.

6.  Love trumps all.

Envy, deceit, turmoil and deception have nothing on love.  We are full of the spirit of love.  If we let it surface and don’t worry about the possible resulting repercussions we live settled, more peaceful lives.

7 .  Sometimes you can revisit the past. 

This is a proceed with caution lesson.  You can go back to unfinished business but you have to monitor your expectations.  There are no guarantees in life, but sometimes there is reward to be found.  Remember though that those who loved you in the past may not love you now and those who didn’t like you may now love you.  This seems to be surprisingly relevant to old schoolmates.  Time mellows us all, and most of us are more similar than different.  Sometimes, it just takes us a while to realize that.

8. Don’t allow your fear of prosperity to keep you from success. 

(this is kissing cousin to #1 issue of sabotage)  Sometimes we live the way we do because we are afraid to live another way.  We are comfortable with what we know.  We don’t want to go out on the ledge to do something new, or different or *gasp* scary.  Our comfort zone is perfectly fine with us thank you very much.  So, unconsciously we keep ourselves stagnant and mediocre.  Soaring, excelling, being all that we can be and being proud look like they would bring their own challenges of jealousy, envy, and unwanted attention so we stay with what we know. We bemoan our circumstances not realizing that we are subconsciously doing everything that we can to stay put.  Living a full and prosperous life (not just financially) may appear daunting but is highly rewarding (or so I’ve heard and read by those who live it).  The trials of living well can’t be as draining as the the task of living in want and having a sub par existence.  Don’t be afraid to soar because others (may) talk about you.  Eagles are meant to SOAR alone.

9.  Put the voice in your head on mute.

I am  a strong advocate of following my own intuition, but I also realize that there is absolutely NO ONE who drives me more crazy than me! Sometimes we just need to tell the voice in our head to shut up while we enjoy the beauty of the moment.  If it screams a long, loud warning I suggest you listen, but there is no need to over think EVERYTHING.  Sometimes you need to just BE and live in the moment.  Most of the time the voice is listening to or focused on the most inane sideline matters anyway and not the main point.

These are my lessons. They are  meant especially to address shortcomings within me.  I’m a
work in progress but I am doing the work. Sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes I feel alone.  Most times I know that is a feeling and is not reality.  The bottom line is I have  a lot more living left to do.  I’ve got miles to go before I sleep and I might as well enjoy the scenery and the ride as I move down the track.  Derailments rarely happen.  Life is good and a gift to be appreciated.  Enjoy and appreciate the joy in every moment.

Peace and Blessings