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    Tuesday
    Sep092014

    Ray Rice or Janay Palmer: Who's To Blame and Is It Any Of Our Business?

     

    No matter how you feel about our media driven-society, the one thing most of us agree upon is the fact that social media, in particular, often sheds light on issues that are other wise none of our business.

    Had steak for lunch? None of our business.

    Off to San Tropez? Interesting, but none of our business.

    Got a new pair of shoes? None of our business.

    Nice video of your kid singing the equally annoying and adorable song from the movie Frozen. Cute, but none of our business.

    Got a video of your fiancé (allegedly) knocking you the heck out in an elevator? That too, is none of our business. Or, is it?

    Is it our business to chime in when the media catches wind of personal issues that allegedly plague the NFL, NBA, MLB, and quite possibly a city, community, neighborhood, or (as in my case) family near you?

    The personal story of Ray Rice and Janay Palmer could be arguably none of our business. But, the light that their story sheds on an issue that, if really considered, is tormenting the lives of so many women (and some men,) children and the family members that love them, should not be ignored.  This is one of those issues that touch victims of every race, class, and political standing.

    If only for a day, a week, or until the next big thing in news we are either blinded by the light of sensationalism or illumined and diluted by it; and formulate opinions that have no real purpose, we are culpable in the senseless violence that effects 24 people per minute.   

    I sat in audible silence, while scrolling down the feeds of my favorite social media outlets, as my internal dialogue screamed louder and louder in disgust.

    "She hit him first!”  “What did she think would happen?” “She should have left him a long time ago.” “She just ruined his career.” “She must have been with him for the money.”

    As you have probably experienced in your own feeds, opinions are flooding the media.

    All I could think about were the words that women who are victims of violence probably say to themselves, daily.

    "I hit him first!”  “What did I think would happen?” “I should have left him a long time ago.” “I could ruin his career.”

    Those words torment them just as much as the actual violence. So, they stay. They endure. They suffer (in silence.) They continue to allow the abuse. And, the 75% of them that are killed while trying to leave? Well…

    This issue hits home for me.  Right now, as you’re reading this, I am devising a plan to try to save one of my close family members from being murdered by her husband. She has been in an abusive relationship for more than 16 years. Some may even categorize it as a mutually violent relationship. The video that has been shared over 900K times (the last time I checked) was title by some, “Mutual Attack involving…

    The problem I have with that categorization is that the women (more often than not) are the ones with the black eyes, broken and fractured limbs, reconstructive surgeries, tortured souls, and countless hospital visits. The women are forced to pack up their children and live in hiding and on the run. The women are left to explain the actions of their intimate partners as well as their very own actions to their children. The women are left to start over with little to no money and carry the shame of having stayed for so long. 

    I've figured it out! You know what IS actually NONE OF OUR BUSINESSBlame. Fault is a shallow inquiry. Who started it? Who finished it? Who should take the fall? Blame is a pointless discussion.

    By stating your purposeless opinions about Ray and Janay’s personal business, you are an extension of the torture- and an extension of the violence. You are adding to the shame, the sensationalism, and you are abusing them verbally. The truth is: your opinion doesn’t matter. Very few people actually care about what you think. Don’t let social media fool you into believing anything different. Another truth is: you really don’t care about Ray Rice or Janay Palmer. You don’t care if she’s safe and you don’t care that he will reportedly lose $3.529 million dollars.

    If you are engaging in pointless talk and recklessly focused on blame, stop it. Now! Go find something else to do with your life and get out of the way so that the people who actually care can create a healthy dialogue that could spark a solution. 

     

    If you are the victim of domestic violence, there are people who love you and will not focus on blame- but on love. There is hope. There is help. Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline and get help today. 1800-799-7233.

     

    Until next time, Love...


    "Pursue something you freaking love!

    And, the process that it will take you to get it, will be worth it."

    Monday
    Sep082014

    Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend (7 of the Gems I Picked Up)

    The excitement could be felt from blocks away.

    As I drove through the city, looking for the best parking options, all I could see were people walking through the streets with yellow, orange, and white bags with the letter “O” on them.

    The anticipation overwhelmed any feeling of disease from the very present heat of the sun, as everyone was eager to see what Lady O had in store. There were thoughtful conversations, meaningful introductions (I met really cool woman from Memphis,) and few predictions as to how this weekend would turn out.

    Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend tour made it’s first of 8 stops in Atlanta, and one thing I knew for sure was that I needed to be there.

    The Life You Want Weekend Trailblazers (as Oprah affectionately refer to them) were Deepak Chopra, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell, and Iyanla Vanzant. Woven into the core of what each trailblazer, as well as Oprah, had to share was a personal story of how each of them co-created the life they wanted.

    “An evening with Oprah” is how we spent Friday night. I have heard her story many, many times over the years. But, hearing it in person was very special. Saturday was a full day of inspiring stories, interactive lessons, and there was even a 15 minute workout session that sent the energy through the roof. Angela Davis, of Soul Cycle, turned a quick workout into what resembled a church service!

    I had some very significant moments of clarity over the weekend. I even took some time to live Tweet for some of my friends at home. But, there were some things that stuck with me… and of course I just had to share them with you.

    So, here are 7 Gems I picked up this weekend:

    1. Everyone is called and has a purpose- you just need to hear it, know it, and honor it. To illustrate this point, Oprah shared how her love of words, ability to speak well in public, literal belief in being a child of God, and desire to fulfill her deepest purpose was woven into the fabric of her being, by a single thread- since the age of 3. She heard it. She knew it. She honors it. She is doing what she knew she would do all along.

    2. Use what you have to share and serve. Most often we focus on what we don’t have, where we wish we were in life, and who we are or are not in comparison to others. If we would take a moment to look at what we already have and who we have already become- and use that to serve others, we would see that we are already blessed.

    3. You should use what doesn’t work as information. What isn’t working in your life is a lesson. It’s building your character, strengthening your resolve, and encouraging you to dig deeper and go higher. Even the things that are not working for you are actually working for you- and shaping you into your best self.

    4. Failure is life pushing you in another direction. The only people who are exempt from failure are the people who never try. When something has failed, it is your opportunity to regroup and redirect.

    5. The life you want begins when you embrace the life you have. This principle is one of my biggest lessons. It’s responsible for the mantra “I used to hate my life and now I freaking love it.” I say those words every single day in an effort to be grateful for how the life I have is preparing me for the life I’ve always wanted. Seeing every day, every struggle, every failure, every sleepless night, and every difficult day as an opportunity to grow is the ultimate life lesson.

    6. If you don’t know your passion, follow your curiosity. This gem comes from Elizabeth Gilbert. She says that not being clear on your purpose can be overwhelming. She encouraged us to look at our daily curiosities because those things often lead us to purpose.

    My biggest takeaway was this precious gem:

    7. "Worry and fear is trusting in your own power." ~ Oprah

    I took a moment to examine all of the things that worried me and all of the things that cause me to be afraid and remembered (right there, while I was sitting the Philips Arena) that my worry and fear are based on my own abilities or lack there of. Whenever I was focused on how I DIDN’T KNOW how to do something, or how I DIDN’T KNOW what to do in a particular situation, I worried. I grew afraid. But, during the times I surrendered my own will to the will of God, I was confident that everything would be okay.

    To understand the fact that you can access the greatest power AND have the greatest power working for you is to eliminate worry and fear.

    If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you will see the phrase: God’s got me, often. It’s what I say instead of I don’t know how this is going to work out, or I’m scared, or this is too hard. The other phrase you will see is: I am who God created me to be and nothing less.

    Those phrases serve as a reminder for me to tap into my source.

    The Life You Want Weekend tour was just the fuel I needed. I feel charged. I feel pumped. I feel ready to stay the course and keeping doing what it takes to create a life I freaking love!

    The next stops are Auburn Hills, MI, Washington, DC, Newark, NJ, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Seattle, WA, and San Jose, CA. If you don’t already have plans to go, I suggest you make plans and grab some gems of your own.

     

    Until next time, Love...


    "Pursue something you freaking love!

    And, the process that it will take you to get it, will be worth it."

    Tuesday
    Aug262014

    How To Be Happy (+ Get Your Mind Blown)

    I have been in high pursuit of happiness for most of my life.

    To wake up happy, go to bed happy, and to experience a blow-your-mind kind of happiness in between, is the ultimate form of bliss for me.

    That’s what I strive for.

    Is my mind blown daily? Honestly, no. But, when I experience a day filled with the kind of happiness that does blow my mind, it’s not by accident.

    I hear everyone wants to be happy. And, for the most part, that is true. 

    The trouble is: wanting happiness is not enough to make you happy.

    To be happy, you must be in pursuit of it.

    Your choices, your day, your effort- your life must be pointed in the direction of happiness.

    You must choose happiness above all else.

     

    5 CHOICES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY & BLOW YOUR MIND

    1. Choose happiness over complacency. Don’t miss the opportunity to be blown away. To be content or satisfied with your level of bliss is one thing.  But, to be complacent or voluntarily unaware of the potential for mind blowing happiness is another. Let life blow your mind.

    2. Choose happiness over fear. Sure, pursuing a new relationship, a new career, or a new goal, can present fear. Getting a new hair cut can be scary (at least that’s how I felt just before cutting my hair in May.) But, on the other side of that fear is the happiness you’ve always wanted.  That happiness is worth stepping up to your fears and telling them to get out of your way.

    3. Choose your happiness over the happiness of others.  This is a big one. Believe me- I know.  But, as a former people pleaser, I’m telling you it will change your entire life. You need to be happy to be at your best.  Not everyone is going to be happy with the choices you NEED to make to be happy.  But, your life is your responsibility. Period.  Do what makes you happy.  If the people in your life care anything about you, they will learn to be okay with that.

    4. Choose happiness over unhappiness. It’s simple. It makes sense. It works every time.

    5. Choose happiness over typical. The typical house, the typical job, the typical car, the typical family, or the typical goal may not be for you. I, for one, have never been a fan of typical. Pursue what makes you happy, what fires you up, what makes you feel awesome- and don’t think twice about.

     

     

    Until next time, Love...


    "Pursue something you freaking love!

    And, the process that it will take you to get it, will be worth it."