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

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

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

Coronavirus COVID19

Plans on hold

Dreams deferred

——

We are forced to do what so many have complained they never have the time to do

Have dinners at home

Walks in the park

Talk with our kids

Laugh with our spouses

Call our friends

Catch up on our favorite TV shows

Read our favorite books

Sleep more

Exercise at home or outside 

Check-in on our neighbors 

And yet, all that we have seen on social media is an incredible amount of complaining and desperate anxiety that demonstrates our uneasiness with ourselves.

This should be a time of reflection.

Prayer

Sharing

Rest

Comfort

Hope

Cleanliness

This should have been a time of Thanksgiving.

 a warm bed

food on the table

running water

We are quick to share how much time we don’t have to do the things we want to do

Well, our world has hit the pause button giving us the time!

May we all come out better from this.

May we all experience a change.

May we all recognize what is truly important.

May we all learn the difference between a need and a want

May we all recognize the price you pay for both.

Lesson:

Who will you be after all this is done?

‘Til Tuesday

Sixteen Months in my life…

 

I logged on and there I was.

A virtual classroom with attorneys and legal counsel from all around the world.

Here I was a housewife/mom/blogger/former podcast host gearing up to learn and take in as much information as I could possibly understand about the LAW!!

Who was I kidding?

This was going to prove to be one of the most challenging exercises of my life! There were courses that presented information that seemed way above my pay grade, and as the semesters progressed, the classes became a bit more intense.  There were several times I believed I was in way over my head, and quite frankly, I actually was!

I was determined to learn and keep up with those legal eagles that were my classmates who were better informed.  At times I believed the professors were just gracious, but as I committed to the work, it became clear to them that I was serious.

As the months moved along, and it became apparent that I was going to complete the program, the last semester proved to be the most difficult.  So much so, my advisor called me and asked if I was okay.  I told him I committed to the program and its completion, and I wanted to finish strong and he believed that I would, and I did.

Constitutional Law, dense and tedious.  Not as black or white as proposed.  You see, as I studied Law, there was nothing black or white.  It all began with, “it depends.”

That much I learned.

Then there it was.

The email confirming that I had, in fact, completed my Masters in the Studies of Law successfully, and I was being awarded my degree.  Actually two degrees – Certification in Entertainment Law!

I cried bitterly.  But these tears were different.  I actually recognize what tears of joy truly felt like.

I did it.  I took 16 months of my life and dedicated it to studying something that I thought I wasn’t smart enough to do.  It seemed like a dream. But I did it.

What have you put off that you think would take too much of your time?

What dream have you differed? Do it! Now is the time!!!

Lesson:

Sixteen months goes by fast…get it done!!

‘Til Tuesday

I am no longer asking for permission…

All my life, I’ve made measured decisions.

Is this a good idea?  Will it be disrespectful?  Will I hurt someone’s feelings?  Will I be judged? Will they stop being my friend?  Am I talented enough? Will I be pretty enough?  Will I be smart enough?  Will I be respected?  Will they accept me?

As I’ve grown into my true self, I have come to the horrific realization that I have lived my life seeking permission and approval of everyone around me accept myself.  I have lived with the hope that I am doing the right thing according to the “them”!

Well, I am here to tell you that with kindness, I am no longer doing that!

 I am no longer seeking to be “approved” by those around me.  The role of a woman as a quiet nurturer and caregiver needs to shift, and we have to stop labeling each other.

In this unbelievable culture of disrespect to the role of the woman, we must stop and ask ourselves, are we doing this to each other.  Are we looking at each other judging each other because “we didn’t ask permission” to be a certain way?

That is nonsense, we must rise up to the voice, brilliance, and strength that we were given when we were created.

Yes, there are shy women, quiet women, but by no means are they weak women. Don’t mistake their shyness for weakness, and don’t mistake my boldness for anger.

We each bring a powerful voice to the table.  We each bring a brilliant thought to the conversation.

Sometimes the difference we judge in each other is the desire we have to be that way but are too afraid.

Give yourself permission to be who God intended you to be!

Lesson:

Stop asking for permission…

you’ve already entered the room the minute you were born!  

‘Til Tuesday