I dare to hope!

Exhausted…

Yup! These past few weeks, I have felt nothing but emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion.

I avoided the news channels for a few weeks, but my social media posts seemed to keep me connected to all the current news and all the anxiety we are experiencing in our neighborhoods, state, and world.

It is my practice to journal and list the many things that I may not share verbally. This allows me to measure my words throughout the day, so I don’t offend as many folks along the way.

Simply because I am exhausted.

Exhausted from the lying

Exhausted from the debating

Exhausted from the bigotry

Exhausted from the fear and control exercised over us

Exhausted from the unpredictable moments that seem to surge every hour.

So, in order to avoid arguing or trying to get a point across that may fall on deaf ears, I write, pray, and hope.

During my exhaustion, I push through with hope.

I hope that we will seek and see the truth

I hope that we start having conversations

I hope that we start understanding the pain of misunderstandings

I hope that in the weeks, days, hours, and minutes ahead, we begin to find peace, joy, and laughter and allow that to surge from our hearts.

Lesson:

When you are pressed to the point of no return…pause…and dare to Hope!

‘Til Tuesday

The weight of it all was too much…

 It was calming down and then BAM!

We get hit with a racial pandemic!

Here we are trying to navigate masks, social distancing, slow integration. All the new normals that have been imposed upon us and now the most heinous of prejudices “RACE.”

This, my friend, is no new occurrence. It’s the way we, the “other”, have lived all our lives. But the blatant disregard of life caught on film was all too much, and the dam broke. 

We broke. 

The weight of it all…was too much! 

The burden we carried of intolerance of our differences was finally laid at the feet of the offender!

As you can imagine, the world turned upside down. The world was required to come face to face with their biases.

They were confronted!

They were emotionally assaulted. 

They were exposed.

It was time to stop pretending we were all getting along. It was time to stop pretending we were moving up the ladder equally. It was time to stop pretending that my success was equal to your success. Racism is a great un-equalizer. 

So here we are.  

The idea that so many have struggled with the utterance of Black Lives Matter, and have suggested the All Lives Matters goes to the point…

  Because our lives haven’t mattered is why we have to remind you.  It is because you have dismissed us as “other,” “different,” “the exception” that we have had to go to the streets, social media, Congress, to wherever we can garner the attention we need to remind you that our LIVES MATTER! 

Stop thinking that we are criminals because our skins say so. Stop assuming that we are not capable because our skin might suggest so. Stop asking me if I understand, as if the color of my skin creates a barrier for comprehension. 

Stop it!

Breathe…and see that my life experience has never been like your white experience.  To suggest we should just try harder, do better…well…

By the mere fact that our skin enters the room first before we utter one word, we must always do better and try harder.

Racism is the real pandemic we are facing—inequality to healthcare; inequality in salary, education, housing are all limitations that have been placed and imposed on my skin color.  

So, as we navigate the viral pandemic, remember we are fighting a racial pandemic as well.

Treat my heart, mind, and soul with the same care that you have treated your heart, mind, and soul.  

The beautiful reality is we are all created in the image of God. 

He chose to add a bit more color to mine. 

And for that, I am thankful.

Lesson:  

Who have you offended? What can you do about it? Where have you lacked in understanding? Why did you lack understanding?  How can you live a life of understanding?

‘Til Tuesday

Living your life…

I thought I knew what I truly wanted, but when I got it I realized I didn’t want it at all.

I was in love with the illusion of what it could be and not the reality of what it truly was.

Have you found yourself yearning, fantasizing, idealizing a life, a job, a relationship, and when it comes to fruition, it’s not what you imagine it to be!

I’ve come to the conclusion that we all must find peace and purpose within ourselves. The contentment of living our best life even if we are living it all alone.

Focus on what is real, what is true and live authentically acknowledging what is before you.

Stop thinking that which makes another person happy can be fulfilling for you.

Find what is peace-filling, fun-loving, affirming and uplifting for you, your life. Realize these may require work but the reward is a life filled with the love and joy that is supposed to be in your life, not in anyone else’s.

Lesson:

Stop thinking that what’s good for others is good for you.

‘Til Tuesday

It is time to ….pivot!

This global quarantine has exposed the best and worst of us.

Who will survive?

Who will thrive?

I spent the first three months submitted to focused stillness- then BAM!

The physical/social distancing kicked in…and I struggled!!

You see, the first three months were my decisions, my choices, my focus. 

When the self – distancing was required, imposed, demanded, and judicial then I was upset (as many still are)!

This is not what I wanted, or expected for a year of yes!

This was not what I wanted to say YES to, yet, I HAD to, and therein came the rub and the realization.

Though I thought this year was coming with some incredible life-changing revelation that would be so immense that I would not be able to contain, it hasn’t…yet! The job offer that would blow my mind, the management/consulting firm that would blow up with clients, it hasn’t…yet!

 The year of yes was going to require me to say yes to more than my own choices, but the choices that affected the greater good.

I was to say yes to health for others

I was to say yes to controlled shopping

I was to say yes to home-cooked meals

I was to say yes to a stillness that was to be uncomfortable 

I was to say yes to finances that required a budget

I was to say yes to the things that I never considered to be a point of consideration in my life.

So as the months go by and I continue to say yes to the unknown…

I will choose to stop complaining and live these moments with intention for they may never come again.

I choose to survive in greatness and so, the pivot begins…

Lesson:

What is going to take for you to pivot?  The time is now.

1, 8, 3 – They Say…

I was reluctant at first.  Another quiz?  Another label? Aye…really…but I did it.

I took the Enneagram Test.

I subjected myself to the algorithms that would accurately describe in detail my personality type.  Did I learn anything new?  Nah, not really.

What I did learn is the test revealed that I apparently do live in my truth.

I’ve often tried to disguise what the Enneagram disclosed. Try not to be as “idealistic” or “too assertive”.  Yet, there it was…all my good attributes along with those that prove to be challenging for most.  What did I gain? I have come to accept that I am “opinionated.” I am “ethical.”  I am “assertive.” I am “ambitious.”  With all those “personality attributes,” I chose to live with intention.

 Don’t change to accommodate those who are uncomfortable.  It does explain why quarantine has been such a challenging season…I’m a doer!

Being still has exposed a lot of and for me…thankful I’m teachable!

Here are some of the traits that describe me…

Personality Type – The Reformer #1Generally, Ones are conscientious, sensible, responsible, idealistic, ethical, serious, self-disciplined, orderly, and feel personally obligated to improve themselves and their world. Ones get into conflicts by being opinionated, impatient, irritable, rigid, perfectionistic, critical (and self-critical), sarcastic, and judgmental. At their best, Ones are tolerant, accepting, discerning, wise, humane, prudent, principled, fair, and able to delay rewards for a higher good.

Personality Type – The Challenger #8 – Generally, Eights are strong, assertive, resourceful, independent, determined, action-oriented, pragmatic, competitive, straight-talking, shrewd, and insistent. Eights get into conflicts by being blunt, willful, domineering, forceful, defiant, confrontational, bad-tempered, rageful, cynical, and vengeful. At their best, Eights are honorable, heroic, empowering, generous, gentle, constructive, initiating, decisive, and inspiring.

Personality Type – The Achiever #3 – Generally, Threes are effective, competent, adaptable, goal-oriented, ambitious, organized, diplomatic, charming, into performance, and image-conscious. Threes get into conflicts by being expedient, excessively driven, competitive, self-promoting, “appropriate” instead of sincere, boastful, and grandiose. At their best, Threes are inner-directed, authentic, modest, admirable, well-adjusted, gracious, interested in others, and self-accepting.

Let’s all live our best self whether the Enneagram tells you so!

Lesson:

We already know who we are, and these tests are just a reminder.

‘Til Tuesday

A Seat at my table…

During this physical distancing time, I have re-organized my closets, my dresser, the kitchen cabinets, my office desk, and the bookshelves. I have sorted in stacks of what I will keep, donate, and throw away.

So it occurred to me, what in my relationships do I need to re-organize? How am I relating to the people around me? How am I serving them? How are they serving me?

It is not an easy conversation to have with oneself because you don’t want to feel alone, nor are people disposable, or at least they shouldn’t be treated that way. My circle is small and intimate, which keeps things healthy. Yet, I know that several relationships are not serving me well.

Where do they belong? Where do I place them? How do I sort them out?

I have not figured that out as of yet; it’s a work in progress. I am setting a new table during my physical distancing, and I am inviting those that will help me grow, those who will sharpen me, those who will challenge me, those who will call me out when they see me losing my way. I am inviting those that will lift me, cheer me on, sit quietly when it’s necessary, and party when required.

A seat at my table will come with some rules…you must be exceptional!

Exceptional potential to be the best you can be without tearing anyone else down. Exceptional ways of loving. Exceptional ways of caring for one another. Exceptional ways of respecting each other’s opinions. Exceptional ways of living with an open mind.

My table is going to look a little different when we meet again, but that’s because I seek to be exceptional in loving, caring, giving, sharing, and living with open hands.

Lesson:
In this season of re-set, where can you learn to be exceptional? Who will have a seat at your table?

‘Til Tuesday

I thought I was done…

Three years and over 100  blog posts, I thought I had written enough, said enough, encouraged enough, brought enough insight, and it was time to wrap my blog in a beautiful, pretty bow.

I didn’t believe that my weekly blogging had many legs left, and this was going to be my last post.

BUT GOD!

So as I was feeling that enough was enough, I was at peace but slightly sad at the prospect that my weekly musings had reached its designated audience.

And suddenly, I receive a text that literally shook me to my core…

“Girl, I just came across your postings on Soul of a Woman. WOW! They are so amazing! I honestly believe you have the gift of writing. There is a lovely flow in your writing- one which captives your readers with anticipation for your next blog. Great job!!! Don’t become discouraged-your blogs are very powerful! They serve as encouragement for women to analyze where they are in their life and make choices to improve themselves. Don’t second guess your ability to inspire women through your writing. You’re awesome!!!” –

 From my sister, Rachel!

As you may have guessed it, I just started to cry. As the youngest of seven, reading a text from your big sister validating your thoughts and writing is the ultimate approval.

So, with the extra shot of encouragement, I will continue to write, share, inspire, and celebrate with my readers. It made me think who in my life did I need to give a word of motivation and validation.

Stop and think who in your circle needs a word of encouragement. It may make the difference between them giving up or moving forward.

Thank you, Ray. I will forever count this as my writing re-birth!

Lesson:

Just when you think you have done enough…

God sends a tender nudge to let you know to keep going!

‘Til Tuesday

Lessons during Quarantine…

Letting go requires self-control.

Read that again…slowly.

By definition, self-control requires -restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.

When we let something go, when we release control of all things, self-control must take front and center.

 In our human nature, when we let things go, we panic, fear sets in, and we immediately think everything will change, fall apart, cease to be what you wanted.

All along, it was not what you needed.

As this pandemic has shown us, we are not in control of the societal norms that have been placed on us. The physical liberties, the daily freedoms of deciding where we want to go, who do we want to see have been restricted to the point of ceasing.

I began to wonder what is truly in my control and if what I am controlling is bringing me joy and joy to those around me.

So I decided to let go. 

Letting go of wanting things my way or no way.

Letting go of illusions 

Letting go of accolades

Letting go of measured outcomes

Letting go of inputs and outputs

Letting go of expectations 

I didn’t realize the burden I was carrying was weighted by what I was controlling.

I feel lighter. I feel relieved. I feel freedom. 

What are you controlling that is bringing your strife?

Exercise self-control and let it go!

Lesson:

Often we think if we control the input, we can control the output.

Controlling is suffocating- learn to breathe!

‘Til Tuesday

You are safe…

The other day I read the funniest tweet ever…

“been quarantined with my wife for four weeks now. At this point, I have more risk of getting killed by her than by a crummy virus.” 

I laughed out loud and shared it with my friends and especially my husband.

I couldn’t help but think how stretched our relationship has become during this time.

Robert and I have a strong relationship. It’s definitely not perfect, but we have mutual respect for each other that allows for each of us to live in our lanes confidently, cheering each other on to be and do our best.

We laugh, argue, cry, love, with respect and when we’ve had enough we can sit quietly.

What have I learned about marriage during this forced in your face quarantine with your significant other is the following: 

Marry someone you like

Marry someone you respect

Marry someone that makes you laugh 

Marry someone that respects your need for space in the same space!

Marry someone that will step up when you need to step away 

Marry someone that lets you sleep

Marry someone that brings you breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed!

Marry someone of the same faith

Marry someone that will encourage you when you feel discouraged 

Marry someone that loves the natural you

These past 20 plus days have been nothing but a rollercoaster ride in our home. Navigating through food, toiletries, finances, family issues, and figuring out how not to lose our way.

One thing I know for sure, when we look at each other we know we are safe. 

We are in the same space together,  yet we are safe.

We are laughing so hard we cry,  yet we are safe.

We argue to the point of exhaustion, yet we are safe.

So for those relationships that feel stretched, challenged, and are exhausted- remember you should always feel safe.

Lesson:

Choose your partner wisely.

‘Til Tuesday

A few questions…

Who will we be when all of this is said and done?

An interesting season in our world.  Forcing us to look at each other and deal with our families, our finances, and our environment. Requiring us to pay attention to the details.

I have pondered several questions and wanted to share them with you –

What do you miss the most?

What do you hate the most?

What is making you the most uncomfortable?

What are you loving?

If you could change one thing during this time of self-isolation, knowing the weeks that are left, what would it be?

What have you learned about yourself during this time of self-distancing?

What have you tried that is new?

What old habits have you picked up?

Who are we going to be when this all over?

What are we going to change?

What will we resume?

Take some time to sit with these questions, and hopefully, you can answer honestly. Let us all rise up changed from this experience because what was working before was simply not working at all.

Lesson:

Listen to the LOUD crash of our world and strive to be better. We are in this together.

‘Til Tuesday