I’m constantly amazed at how easily we nix meals in the name of (what’s perceived as) old-fashioned, hard work. I understand both deadlines and urgency, but taking time to stop and eat breakfast, lunch (or dinner) is not an act of selfishness. Could we agree that in our busyness, we compromise self-care?
Food is necessary! Not only do we think more clearly when we’re not distracted by hunger pangs, we give ourselves the opportunity to recharge and refuel. High pressure situations are often managed even better if we can take a step away.
Eating for me is both practical and pleasurable – and among my favorite parts of traveling as a speaker. It need not be elaborate nor time consuming, but don’t sacrifice a nourishing moment because you have “so much to do.”
It’s better for you, your company and your client. If you’ve believed anything else, may you reconsider the implications. I promise, your body and mind will thank you later (smile).
Ever had a day that caught you by surprise when you really thought you were ready for just about anything? I mean the types of things that left you with your mouth open, both good and bad – because you found them to be simply unbelievable.
That would be an accurate description of my week (if not, my last few months).
In this unbelievable week:
– I was celebrated by a former student turned professional actor on social media because of my impact in his life over a dozen years ago.
– I was crushed to learn two people I loved were diagnosed with two forms of cancer, and I’d spoken with them just days ago.
– I was humbled to learn new students I’m teaching are catalyzed to exceed expectations because of what they are learning in our class.
– I was baffled to see many I love mishandled by people who were rank and raucous, though most would be in shock and awe.
– I was devastated to learn a childhood friend lost a spouse she’s loved nearly 30 yrs – 38 days ago…because she’s still counting.
My mouth was open.
I wasn’t ready.
I decided as a young woman I would stop asking God, “Why?” At least that was the plan; but, I’ve been unsuccessful because when heartbreaking things happen, I find myself searching for the rhyme and the reason. When amazing things happen, I wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?”
It is there that I unearth the source of my intrigue…
I marvel at God’s ability to move in my life unbeknownst to me. Those trials and tragedies and trauma-laden moments are merely stepping stones for Him. They are events that I will get past; places I will landmark; people I will learn far better than they realize – that I may grow stronger in Him.
In the mystery of what I do not understand, He anchors me. He lifts my spirit with His life-giving Word. He comforts me when my heart collapses. He consoles me when my enemies conspire, and often without fulfilling my request to ”just tell me everything I want to know.”
He knows better.
o He doesn’t need my help, but He does ask for my trust.
o If He can part a sea, number hairs, heal disease and rescue millions, He might be able to handle my “little” problems.
o He loves me – even when I’ve not loved myself…
I believe God has a unique purpose for each of our lives. Are you fulfilling yours?
I marvel at His kindness, and I’m enamored with His grace.
I refuse to concede to the notion that ultimate failure is inevitable. I’m too confident in His faithfulness to me.
In all honesty, this week has already been a difficult one…
The tasks are greater; mornings, earlier; nights, later; hours longer; demands, harder, and the to-do list seems to never get “done.” Many days, though I wake up with optimism, I feel tired before the day begins…
Nevertheless, I’m thankful.
Thankful for new opportunities and new adventures.
For meaningful milestones with my children, my marriage and in my relationships.
I’m thankful for new clients and new business.
…and the health to navigate the unchartered territory through which He will never leave me.
For a moment I considered complaining about my challenges; but, I was reminded that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The moral of the story?
Fret not. He promised He will never leave you nor forsake you.
I’m so glad I don’t have to walk alone. Though it’s just the beginning, I’m looking forward to the long weekend ahead.
When I reflect on the most difficult parts of my life, it was laden with hardships and dismay. On many occasions, I felt that what I’d hoped and dreamed was so far beyond my grasp that it was unimaginable.
Nevertheless, my mom and my faith compelled me to believe that in spite of those obstacles, heartaches, setbacks, betrayals, unexpected pitfalls, mistakes and missteps – that I shouldn’t give up.
I’m so glad I didn’t.
I’m so glad I kept pushing for me; for my children; for my family.
My pace has been slow, but steady. It’s been disheartening at times, but I’m determined.
This picture is a wonderful reminder to me that though I’ve had to fight before – and in many ways, still do, I’ve had many successes along the way of which I could be proud.
This one is for the ones who told me what I’d never be able to do.
Just minutes ago, I was attempting to have a conversation with my son’s Kindergartner teacher. I was quickly distracted by the gray clouds and tiny drops of rain that were most unwelcome. I apologized for said dialogue and told her I’d shoot a quick e-mail instead; but, I couldn’t find Jonathan.
And then I heard this squealing…
I turned around to see a tiny team of five and six year olds huddled under an umbrella with which they were most enchanted. Quite unmoved by the dreariness of the day, they were lost in glee at the thought of squeezing together, peering through the transparent plastic, enjoying their limited protection from the rain, and most importantly, savoring the moment to treasure the unexpected.
This is one of many gems of childhood from which I still try to glean. So often, once we’ve perceived that the day is a dismal one, we use that perspective as our lens. The motif of dreariness can seep into our entire day, often leaving us with feelings of glumness and dissatisfaction that can be hard to reconcile.
But, what if we focused less on our distaste for the rain? What if we shifted our gaze from the grayness of the clouds and instead considered that there are ways that we could protect ourselves from the elements? What if we remembered that even gray days are more bearable when surrounded by our friends?
What if we considered that when going through grays in groups, the people around us have a point of reference; likely understand exactly what we’re trying to describe, and amidst our dreary circumstances, may even be crazy enough to make us laugh in the midst of our troubles…?
I was so ready to exit the uncomfortable scene. However, I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of the incessant jubilance on those little faces. The nerve of them – being happy in a moment of spontaneity when so many things are going wrong in the world! Don’t they know that?
Maybe, regardless of what’s going on in the world around us, we should take a moment to find the pockets of joy that we can grab hold of that seem to be elusive to so many. I think I’m up for the challenge. Are you?
What gray clouds… let’s find ourselves some sunshine from within.
Each night during the month of March, I fall asleep contemplating what my post will be about for the next day. It’s a part of a wonderful commitment I make annually (for three years now) to participate in a month-long writing challenge spearheaded by Two Writing Teachers. In this “Slice of Life Challenge,” writers from all over the world share an array of experiences from snippets of their life that span the spectacular and evocative to the simple and profound.
Last night, I was reflective. I determined I’d write about the unparalleled encounters I’d had after writing a book about my personal experiences with pain and trauma and how the transparency led to unprecedented conversations with others regarding their own pain that I’m confident would have never otherwise occurred. It’s titled, “The Power of Your Pain: Pushing Past from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.“
That was the plan…until I received a text from a beloved friend about the Oscars…
I clicked a Twitter video snippet to find that a celebrated actor (whom I choose not to name. All parties’ names are replete across social media currently), was most offended by a comedian’s joke about his wife because of a medical condition that causes hair loss. Following the comment, he went on stage and struck him with an open hand during the live broadcast.
The comedian was visibly stunned as was the audience upon considering that the incident was not staged. It was followed by an abrasive reiteration of his distaste, complete with expletive(s). The actor later received an award for a powerful movie in which he was featured, though he was visibly shaken at the context of the event both before and after.
Unsurprisingly, there is a wealth of fodder in the stratosphere questioning the propriety. Some condoning, many condemning. I watched both in horror (the incident and the subsequent apology) because what was most apparent to me, was pain.
For many years, I’ve been convinced, that people are often unaware of the most effective ways to handle their pain. It is often bottled, repressed, resisted and frequently in the most inefficient manner. Around the world, we mismanage pain or worse, don’t manage it at all until it bubbles up at the most inopportune moments, spilling into the lives of others – and that comes with serious effects.
Last night’s award ceremony was a perfect storm of sorts, and I couldn’t help feeling as if I was revisiting every chapter of that book.
The woman who was the focal point of the joke felt pain because she felt that it was at her expense.
Her husband, empathizing with her pain, felt a surging pain of perceived disrespect, anger, conflicts regarding loyalty, pressure, the compulsion to – by his estimations – protect and defend.
In confronting the comedian in a most physical (and untimely) way, he inflicted physical pain in addition to the humiliation that was unanticipated, but most logically felt by the visibly stunned presenter.
There was pain in the audience (and subsequent onlookers from other platforms) that ranged from disgust with what they deemed unwarranted violence and those who empathized with both the husband and wife. Some felt insensitivities were over the line and unsympathetic towards women struggling with the ailment and others like it.
Others determined the husband was within his right, and honored her in a most chivalrous, old-fashioned way.
Several have expressed in communities of color, that this was painful at large because of negative perceptions that may occur about races of people with whom others may now reaffirm unfounded stereotypes.
In regards to my personal opinion, I believe that all parties involved could have had a better response. As I’m among the least confrontational, I would not have settled it with a physical altercation.
Nevertheless, what I find even more troubling is anchored by the purpose for writing my book. Pain that is unmanaged or managed ineffectively can be debilitating, causing even further damage to ourselves and those around us.
Of his own accord, I don’t believe the actor intended to respond with impulsivity and regretted it on many levels. My greater concern is that each involved has pain – considerable, layered, growing pain – that should be handled with immediacy.
This also serves as a keen reminder that though we ascribe superhuman status to those who are gifted and talented, we are quickly reminded of the common thread of flawed humanity that we all share. Celebrities are not exempt.
I am thankful that my flaws are not a feature on the evening news and saturated in social media. I am a work in progress, and without the help of God, I imagine I’d find myself as fodder for the next meme just as easily.
I’m praying for all who were directly and indirectly involved in this experience – and I’m encouraging those who were viewers/listeners only to ensure that they manage their own pain effectively, so that it will never be the content of unsolicited conversations, privately or publicly.