I was in the city on this beautiful, warm day, and I wanted to get a pic by the water but I wasn’t sure if I could make that lil jump without getting wet. I was going to say, “that’s okay,” when a young lady behind me says, “you can do it, sis!” I turned around, jumped and made it. This had me thinking about the importance and ease of what it means to support one another. It doesn’t always have to be something grandiose, flowers and sparkles and rainbows. Doesn’t always require us to be present either or taking professional pictures. Nope. Support is simple and requires us to do nothing but go the extra mile for one another. This young woman’s comment blessed my soul, made me smile and gave me the courage to “jump,” and she didn’t have to do it. She could have let me go about my way. She could have shaken her head or said something smart under her breath. She could have easily judged me. Instead, she empowered me. No celebrity status needed, no large crowd around us, no audience, nothing but the hot sun on our faces and the opportunity to get a cute pic because we felt beautiful today, like the weather was. And just like I don’t have to publish this post, I will. I will go the extra mile like someone did for me and return the love.
Whatever you want to do, do it. Don’t worry about what people will think or failure. Let faith lead you. Make the jump. Leap. “You can do it sis/bro!”
If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I don’t celebrate holidays. This is the time of the year when I have to defend myself against the naysayers who cannot believe for the life of them why I would forsake Christmas (*insert eye roll*), and be on the lookout for people who would want to deceive me into celebrating. For me, the winter months are just as “cold” as the weather. It’s a stressful time. I can already feel the clouds closing in on me and my motivation plummeting.
That’s why I wanted to send you a quick message on motivation just in case you’ve felt your energy draining too. How do we stay motivated even when it’s hard?
Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
Motivation comes from two sources. Intrinsic motivation comes from within you. For example, the desire to publish your book may be important to you. The satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference in the world by adding your voice and experience is gratifying and provides you with an internal reward.
Extrinsic motivation comes from outside you (environment, family, friends, e.g.) and encourages you to achieve your goal by providing external rewards. An example of this might be the encouragement you receive from someone you love for the potential for your testimony to change lives. They may push you to publish your memoir or put in extra hours at the gym. They may say, “Wow, looking good girl!” You know you don’t really look good (you literally just started working out yesterday), but those kinds of positive reinforcements give you that little push you need to keep going
For times like these, it’s a good idea to balance both the extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in our lives. That is, managing inspiration that comes from ourselves and from others.
Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
I bought a book at the Decatur Book Festival I will be reviewing as soon as I find the time. As de Old People Would Say is a collection of Caribbean Pearls of Wisdom & Experiences. The collection was inspired by the author’s great grandmother who was born and raised in the British Virgin Islands and moved to the US Virgin Islands as a teenager. I love this book! It’s like sitting at the foot of the elders and soaking up all the wisdom of their experiences. One saying is:
“Doan hang yoh hat whey yoh han’ cyan reach.”
Translation: Don’t hang your hat where your hand can’t reach.
The sayings have their meanings under them so the everyday person can understand it. This saying means not to overextend yourself. If you know something is too much for you, don’t put yourself in the position. I used to think loving myself was giving so much of myself to others that there was nothing left for me. When I did this, I burned myself out and had to step back. Don’t spread yourself too thin by taking on too many tasks.
A mismatch between your habits and your schedule causes stress.
Limit Social Media Time
We mimic what we are around the most and in this now technological world we must now consider social media as a part of that. Being around people is no longer limited to being physically around them. When it comes to social media, people have become far too comfortable and tend to use the platform to whine, complain, and criticize others. Even worse, there’s a strange habit of sneak dissing. For those of you unaware, sneak dissing is when someone’s post is a cryptic, subliminal message to someone else. They may think that person is wrong about something or is in need of correction in general. The person disagrees with how that person lives their life in some way. Instead of reaching out to the person privately, the sneak disser will publish a post that is speaking indirectly to the person they wish to correct. It is a form of passive-aggression.
If this sounds cowardly, it is. Social media has many good uses. Unfortunately, it has become a platform for cowards. We don’t talk to each other anymore. Instead, we post how we feel on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Limiting your social media time will help you to stay focused on what’s important and you’ll develop the healthy habit of ignoring non-sense. Less time on social media will also help you to develop better posts when you are logged in. The time to think will certainly help to guide your posting decisions.
If you find yourself lacking in motivation, it may be time to clean up your environment on and offline.
Control Your Emotions: Mind Over Matter
Mind over matter is a popular saying for a reason. Cliche as it may be, it has a powerful meaning. If you can elevate your mental thoughts, you can master the physical things around you to include your actions. For instance, I used to think of this time of the year as “the darkest time of the year.” Although I still do in some ways, I have stopped speaking that over my life. Why cast those kinds of spells over yourself? If you stay in the light, there can be no darkness. One way to stay positive is to stop allowing our emotions to be controlled by others. The truth is that you will never stop suffering if you have an emotional reaction to everything people say about you. Learn to sit back and observe. Let stones people throw at you be used to stand on and the dirt to plant you. Haters are secret admirers and you should be honored to be the source of their inspiration.
Let attacks be the source of growth. Watch, pay attention and master yourself before your thoughts master you.
Do Something Fun
If your life is all about work, you are probably stressed out or just boring. Take a break every now and again to do something that has nothing to do with work, writing, or children. Don’t be afraid to have some fun. A good way to do this is to reward yourself. For example, after doing well on an assignment from one of my classes I decided to stop studying to catch up on one of my favorite TV shows. I also make it a rule not to work continuously for too long. It’s important not to get too comfortable but the breaks help keep me refreshed and excited about getting back to work. I am also one of the grown people who believe in taking naps. I also enjoy a glass of wine every now and again. I try to limit myself so that when I do drink, it’s a reward for working hard (and not just because it’s Thursday…seriously, drink too much and that starts to affect your outward appearance. You’ll be thirty and look forty. It’s a good idea to moderate your alcohol intake too.)
Over the next few days, I challenge you to think about an inside and outside reward that could help to keep you motivated in your darkest hour. Do you get your drive, your need to succeed, and your willingness to make a difference from inside of you (intrinsic)? Are you inspired by someone else who generates enthusiasm for you (extrinsic) or perhaps a combination of the two? Does the motivation you feel infuse you with the enthusiasm to achieve your goals even when it may become difficult?
Remember to take care of your mental health.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Yah. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of Yah that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.
Your internal GPS System is your discernment. In other words, the vibes that you are picking up. Discernment is your ability to judge well. Your perception of something in an attempt to better understand it on a deeper level. Being able to comprehend the deeper part of something. I believe we all have a certain level of discernment and that it is something that we’ve always had with us. This discernment is that internal GPS system that directs us. Sometimes you walk into a room and your insides start to twist and turn and flip-flop and your nerves start to go off. Or, sometimes you are around certain people and your energy just drains, your spirits get low and you get down. Your internal GPS is telling you something about that place and about those people and warning signs are going off in your body. Stop ignoring this. Pay attention to yourself and what the universe is trying to tell you.
Listen to Don’t Ignore Your Internal GPS System now on Soundcloud for more and be sure to subscribe for notification of new episodes.
In today’s episode, we are talking about the responsibility end of freedom.
Freedom has been turned into a scapegoat that many of us have used to justify our beef with structure. Anything that requires us to act in a way that is disciplined, civil or logical we stray from under the guise of having the freedom to choose.
But choices are not without consequences.
We are adults and have long had the freedom to do as we choose. But as there’s a lot going on in the world today, we must remember that our actions and thoughts are not without a certain level of responsibility. Whether we are talking about writing and books or life in general, our freedom is not as free as it seems on the surface.
Today, I want to encourage you to be more disciplined in all areas of your life. More disciplined spiritually, mentally, and physically. Let’s take responsibility for the lives we live.
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As many of you know, I’ve been doing lots of personal reflection. My focus has been on healing and love. This included taking some extensive time off to spend with Yah, my family, embracing solitude and doing more writing.
In this process, I’ve learned a lot about myself (still learning), got to spend time with my mom, finished two books and moved to Georgia.
Long story short, this break has paid off in more ways than one and I want to share with you something I shared with my Bimonthly email list already. That is, learning to control the energy around you so that you’re more positive, have more energy, are happier and accomplishing more.
To start, I’ve been practicing this by training my mind to be more positive.
Many are already talking about the power of positive thinking, but how does that look in action?
What I’ve come to understand about the power of thought is how much our thoughts contribute to our physical well-being.
We can literally control the energy around us by the quality of our thoughts.
This means that I cannot focus my thoughts on the negative all day, every day and expect to be happy and energetic. If you wake up complaining, go to work complaining, blog your complaints, Tweet and Facebook your complaints, how do you (realistically speaking) expect to have a good day?
This includes limiting what my ears hear and what my eyes see. I can think positively but thinking positive is not enough.
I must also eliminate negative people, places, and things from my life that influences the way that I think.
Why is this important?Because we cannot heal in the same environment that broke us.
I’ve found that watching and listening to what is less negatively stimulating can help me to think less negatively.
An example of this online is following more positive minded people on social media and accounts that encourage and build up instead of tear down. I removed those persons whose energy brought me down and followed those whose energy built me up. This doesn’t mean those I removed are bad people or that I love them less. It means that I love myself enough to protect my energy.
This process of falling back in love with ourselves begins with setting standards for what we will and will not tolerate. This is important because you teach people how to love you based on what you allow to take place.
My break has been more so about mental rejuvenation more than physically. Being tired all the time does not necessarily mean that you’ve had a productive day. It may mean that you are busy but it doesn’t always mean that you’ve been productive. Sometimes it means it is mental rest that you need.
Because the spiritual (mind) and the physical (body) is connected, once we control the way we think we automatically control the way that we feel. Sure, I can get more hours of sleep (and I should) but…
ultimately it is my excitement and passion about the good in my life that will fill me up with positive and empowering energy.
Or, it is my depressed demeanor that will do the opposite.
Your mind can tire you out or fill you up.
For this, I am personally striving to cut down on complaining and worrying by focusing instead on positive thoughts and alternatives. This is not easy, is a daily process, and also means not allowing others to project their negative energy onto me. Giving into other people’s problems or letting people complain to us too much can drain our energy and leave us empty.
Being an ear is great but there’s a difference between being supportive and just letting people dump their issues in our laps.
We are not toilets and shouldn’t allow ourselves to be used.
Do not misunderstand me: Venting can be a good thing. Having someone to talk to is mentally healthy but in the words of Rudy Francisco:
“Some people will take until you have nothing left and then hold a grudge against your hands for being empty.”
Next, we’ll talk about some backlashes to the new and positive you and how to stay encouraged despite them. In a world this cold anything good is bound to be met with opposition. This should not surprise us. In fact, we should prepare for it.
Another episode of The PBS Blog Podcast is available. Today, we are talking shining unapologetically. Not to be confused with trying to be seen of men, letting your light shine is about being a good example to those around you by just being yourself. You don’t have to know the right people, make a lot of money or have the right connections to be a positive influence on the world. You just gotta let your light shine.
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“Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I was browsing my archives and thought it was interesting that I came upon this post I wrote on the same day it was published two years ago, August 10, 2015. I don’t believe in coincidences so I am re-posting this for whoever needs to read it. It is, after all, Throwback Thursday.
What if I told you that inventions were built on your smile? If I told you, that babies were made from your good morning? That because of you someone glided their way home today. Kissed sunshine into the arms of a loved one or sat down to give birth to their first poem. Trembling and afraid, they are virgin to this moment. Nothing to warn them of the Sanchez in their blood or the Maya on their skin but here they are because you loved them. What if I told you that inside the creases of your armpits were hugs that wrote masterpieces, which sang platinum albums, and wiped away tears as easily and as gently as music? What if I told you that your words are music? That someone somewhere is listening to you strum their pain with your fingers. That with your words alone you Lauryn Hill them back to Zion. Never underestimate the hope you unknowingly gift to others, like slow songs that mean nothing until you are desperate enough to listen to the words.