Staying Motivated (even when it’s hard)

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.


 

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Nubian Books Bookstore, Morrow, GA

“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.”

– Marianne Williamson


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About.
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.
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The Ancient Origins of Modern Holidays

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I don’t celebrate Holidays. You all know this but rarely have I gone into why. With the high volume of “I don’t celebrate holidays” I’ve had to repeat this year, I thought it would be a good idea to go a little bit into the history of Holidays. To put it simply, all Holidays go back to the worship and honor of a God or Goddess. I don’t celebrate Holidays because I choose not to take part in that energy, the energy of the Gods. That’s the short version and for the sake of time (because this is already a long post), I’ll only cover some of the major Holidays.


New Year’s Day – The Babylonian God Akitu, Roman Goddess Janus

In Egypt, the year coincided with the rising of the star Sirius, the Phoenicians and Persians began their new year with the spring equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice. For the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—signaled the start of a new year and represented the rebirth of the natural world. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. During the Akitu, statues of the gods were paraded through the city streets, and rites were enacted to symbolize their victory over the forces of chaos. Through these rituals, the Babylonians believed the world was symbolically cleansed and recreated by the gods in preparation for the New Year and the return of spring.

Later, Julius Caesar instituted January 1st as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of change and beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future.  This idea became tied to the concept of transition from one year to the next.

Valentine’s Day –Lupercalia, Februata, God of Fertility

Originally celebrated on February 15, Valentine’s Day comes from Lupercalia, the “festival of sexual license” and was held by the ancient Romans in honor of Lupercus, god of fertility. Clothed in loincloths made from sacrificed goats and smeared in their blood, the Luperci would run about Rome, striking women with februa, thongs made from skins of the sacrificed goats. The Luperci believed that the floggings purified women and guaranteed their fertility and ease of childbirth. February derives from februa or “means of purification.” To the Romans, February was also sacred to Juno Februata, the goddess of “fever of love”, and of women and marriage. On February 14, small pieces of paper, each of which had the name of a teenaged girl written on it were put into a container. Teenaged boys would then choose one piece of paper at random. The boy and the girl whose name was drawn would become a “couple,” joining in erotic games at feasts and parties celebrated throughout Rome. After the festival, they would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year. This custom was observed in the Roman Empire for centuries.

Easter- Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus, Goddess of War and Sexual Love

Rabbits and eggs have long been part of spring celebrations as symbols of new life; symbols of fertility. (Wreath-circles are symbols of the womb)

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is known by her Babylonian name, “Ishtar”. In ancient Canaan, Ishtar is known as Astarte, and her counterparts in the Greek and Roman pantheons are known as Aphrodite and Venus. In short, she is the goddess of war and sexual love. Her cult practiced sacred prostitution or temple prostitution where women waited at a temple to have sex with the Gods. The word Easter does not appear to be derived from Ishtar, but from the German Eostre, the goddess of the dawn—a bringer of light. Ishtar and Easter appear to be homophones: they may be pronounced similarly, but have different meanings.

In brief, Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols.

Halloween – Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ SAH-win, sounds like Halloween), Lord of Darkness

Halloween kicks off the start of some of the world’s major Holidays and it is the time of the year where heavy witchcraft takes place. In fact, from October 31st through November 1st, this is known as the Witches New Year in some pagan circles. The Celts believed that the dead could walk among the living at this time and that during Samhain, the living could visit with the dead. This is why people dress up in costumes. They are representing the dead who, on this night, walk the Earth and visit the living.

According to the book Halloween—An American Holiday, An American History, some of the Celts wore ghoulish costumes so that wandering spirits would mistake them for one of their own and leave them alone. Others offered sweets to the spirits to appease them. In medieval Europe, the Catholic clergy adopted local pagan customs and had their adherents go from house to house wearing costumes and requesting small gifts. Though some would say that Samhain and Halloween are two separate Holidays, they are not. The only difference (as with all the holidays) is that one is ancient paganism (the maintaining of old pagan practices and traditions) and the other is neo (new) paganism, the incorporation of a more “happy” appearance to seem nice though it is the honoring of the same deity.

Thanksgiving – Ceres, Goddess of Harvest, Grain, Crops

We are taught that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. We are also taught that the real Thanksgiving involved the slaughter of the Natives and the stealing of their land. Both of these accounts are not entirely true. Around this time, I see a lot of people who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving going back to the Natives and while they were a conquered people, it is deeper than that. Thanksgiving, like the other Holidays, go back to the worship of the gods and goddesses. Specifically, this Holiday marks the worship of Ceres, Goddess of Harvest though she has many names. (Ceres is where we get the word Cereal from.) When the pagans had a good season, they thanked their Gods / Goddesses for their bountiful Harvest.

In ancient Rome, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome’s plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as “the Greek rites of Ceres”. Her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ceres’ games.

Christmas – Saturn, the Sun God and The Winter Solstice

Christmas has nothing to do with the bible or the real messiah. Instead, it too is an ancient pagan practice. According to the book The Bible as History, December 25 is referred to in documents as Christmas Day in A.D. 324 for the first time. Under the Roman emperor Justinian, it was recognized as an official holiday. An old Roman festival played a major part in the choice of this particular day. December 25th in ancient Rome was the ‘Dies Natali Invictus,’ ‘the birthday of the unconquered,’ (Sun), the day of the winter solstice and at the same time, in Rome, the last day of the Saturnalia. In other words, Christmas is the celebration of the Winter Solstice (the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year which began today, December 21st), the Honoring of the Sun God Saturn and the festival of the Saturnalia (party to honor Saturn).

In a book by historian Jack Finegan, Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World, “the worship of the sun-god continued widely throughout the empire, and under Aurelian (A.D. 270-275) the cult was restored to its former high estate. In the year 274 Aurelian declared the god — now called Deus Sol Invictus — the official deity of the Roman Empire; he built a temple of the sun in Rome and set the sun’s birthday celebration (naturalis solis invicti) on December 25, the date then accepted for the winter solstice (also in his solar character the birthday of Mithras.) In the time of Constantine, the cult of Deus Sol Invictus was still at its height, and the portrait of the sun-god was on the coins of Constantine….Likewise, it must have been in this time and with the intent to transform the significance of an existing sacred date that the birthday of Jesus, which had been celebrated in the East on January 6… was placed in Rome on December 25, the date of the birthday celebration of Sol Invictus. This date appears in a list of dates probably compiled in A.D. 336 and published in the Roman city calendar, edited by Filocalus, for the year 354 (Finegan, p. 211-212)”.

(Finegan mentions January 6th but this is also a pagan Holiday. It is called Epiphany. The truth is no one knows exactly when Yahoshua, the real messiah, was born.)

In short, when Constantine became Emperor of Rome, he fused ancient pagan practices with the Bible in order to unite the pagan world. As a Pagan High Priest himself, he sought to reconcile and blend pagan practices with Christian beliefs, to merge paganism with the Roman church. This included sometimes killing off some pagans in the process who refused to accept the Christianizing of their Gods / Goddesses.

Sources:

The Bible as History

http://www1.cbn.com/the-pagan-roots-of-halloween

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/the-thanksgiving-truth_b_1105181.html

Myth & Mystery: An Introduction to the Pagan Religions of the Biblical World

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)

https://list25.com/25-popular-holidays-with-surprisingly-pagan-origins/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day

Halloween—An American Holiday, An American History

https://rcg.org/articles/ttbsvd.html

http://www.dummies.com/education/history/world-history/gods-and-goddesses-of-greek-and-roman-mythology/


I AM SOUL, my short poetry book with select poems from this blog is now available. CLICK HERE.

How to Use the Holidays to Sell More Books

I don’t celebrate Holidays, but this is some valuable information! Its always wise to release books and implement sales around high reading cycles (Holidays, Weekends, Summer etc.)

*Comments disabled here. Please refer to original post*

Nicholas C. Rossis

Written word media recently published a great post with ideas on how to take advantage of holiday marketing trends to sell your books. With Christmas fast approaching, I figured this is a great time to have a look at the main points:

1. Between mid-November and early January, everyone loves to shop

From early November through early January, everyone is in a buying mood, so this is the perfect time to sell more books. Here are a few noteworthy dates within this range that are significant online shopping days, with ideas on what tactics and messages will resonate with customers:

When to promote during the holidays | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Info by Written World Media

Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: dailyfinance.com

2. Focus on Amazon

Focus on Amazon – over half the shoppers will use it for their holiday shopping. Emphasize links to your books on Amazon. Your prospective customers will already be shopping on Amazon, so make it easy for them to…

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My Pros and Cons of Autumn

Cons:

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Yea yea yea, it’s officially Autumn, so what. Today marks my least favorite time of the year for the Western part of the world. For one, I don’t celebrate holidays, so this is the time where people look at me like I got 3 eyeballs, a long green nose, and a broomstick hid away somewhere. At this time of the year flowers and pretty plants wither, and everything loses its vibrant colors and instead becomes a collection of blacks and grays.

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The trees look creepy all naked like that, someone should find some leaves to cover them. This is basically the time of year where everything dies and the Earth is cold (and I utterly despise the cold).

 

 

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But…

Pros.

What I do like about the Autumn (or what I like to call the reading) months is the peace it brings to our homes on the inside. Since were pretty much buried in, this is the time to catch up on some much needed studying. It is the time to cook foods that warm your soul like Chili, Greens, and Macaroni and Cheese fresh out the oven. And it is the time where we must turn up the heat and snuggle under the covers next to our lovers.

file(3)Speaking of cuddling, this time of the year makes movie night a lot more exciting than the summer months. In the summer, no one wants to be in the house because it’s so very nice outside. Summer is the time to get out and about and smell the fresh air. Winter and Fall however, is the time to be homebodies. A time to relax with a cup of warm tea, hot chocolate or coffee. I mean sure, you have a cup of coffee every morning but none of them can compare to the feeling of having the steamy liquid to engulf your throat when it’s bitter cold outside.

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The Fall / Winter months are also a great time to read so I will be looking to put my Fall Reading List together. I think perhaps I’ll even challenge myself to get through a certain number of books this year. My only set back is that I don’t want it to cut down on my scripture reading time so I’ll have to stick to a nice balanced schedule. I mean you know, priority is everything.

Is this time of the year exciting to you? Is it not exciting? Why? I would love to hear your pros and cons!

No Thank You

In case you’re wondering where the Christmas lights are, why I did not decorate my blog with carved Turkeys this weekend or why I have yet to regurgitate from the bowels of Neo Paganism some exciting holiday cheer, I just thought I’d warn you not to send me a holiday greeting or to send your cute little devil friends, I’m sorry elves, to come beating down my door with laughing hatred…no thank you to it all. I actually don’t celebrate holidays. There I said it. You may now refer to me as your crazy blogger friend who hates Jesus, I’m used to it.

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