Contentment #MayChallengeDay22

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Contentment is defined as the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.

It’s so easy to be down, to be depressed, and to be so very unappreciative of this moment. So easy to worry about what bill needs to be paid next, what the work schedule is looking like for this week (even though this week has not come yet), what the children are going to wear to school (even though its Friday night) or how many blog followers I do not have (even though there are people praying for your numbers).

I’ve been doing quite a bit of self-reflection and one thing I’m learning is contentment. I am learning to be content with where I am right now. Right this very minute and it is paying off. There’s a calm, tranquil to my days when I don’t have to bunch so many of them up into one. I take risks because right now may be the only opportunity I have. As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how many resources you have, if you don’t know how to use them they’ll never be enough. Likewise, it doesn’t matter how many doors open, if you’re too afraid to walk through them it doesn’t matter. It’s not because I know it all (because I don’t). It’s not because I have thousands of followers or get millions of views (because I don’t), and it’s most certainly not because I don’t make mistakes (I make plenty). It’s not because I don’t have down moments. It’s because I have this moment. This one right here and there’s no telling if I’ll have another one. In this fast paced world of ours, we tend to worry about tomorrow as if it’s promised. We don’t have the time to appreciate where we are because we’re usually focused on the next place. Even in typical conversation we do not listen to understand, we listen to reply. We hear words and we subconsciously search for the ones that will trigger a response in us. Listening. It is a lost art. We hear a lot, but rarely do we understand what we hear and it is because we are not content with being still. I’ll bet there’s a lot going on around you right now, even if you are sitting alone. I’ll bet there’s a lot that you haven’t noticed, even in a small room. You’ve been in that house for years and rarely have you noticed the bird on your windowsill and seldom do you hear his singing. We have to learn to be content with where we are in our lives. Not in the sense of laziness or the unwillingness to work or to change, but content as in appreciating the moment for what it is without constantly thinking about the next. Today is not Monday and you are not at work so stop thinking about that. It’s a nice day out today, take a walk, or take the children to the park. Homework is tomorrow but tomorrow is not here yet. Focus on today.

White Privilege in America #MayChallengeDay18

It just is what it is. White Privilege exist and is alive and well in our society. It means basically that a person feels like they are entitled to things because of who they are and where they come from. Even more, not only are they entitled, but society itself entitles them. In America, white privilege is not something that is exclusive to Jim Crow or something that existed a long time ago. White Privilege exists right here today in our society. Just look at Ethan Couch, better known as The Afluenza Teen. The young man who murdered four people and got away with it on the premise that he suffers from a condition called “Affluenza” or someone who has an alleged lack of motivation and isolation due to being affluent or wealthy. When they labeled Ethan with this supposed “psychological” condition, they were basically saying that he suffers from white privilege. That is, he was born white and wealthy. This is just one such story in which white people can get away with what other people cannot. And I really hate saying “white people” since I don’t really believe in identifying any group of people by colors. There are not white people and black people. There are nations of people. So anyway, for the sake of understanding, white privilege is real and its time for us to stop denying it exists. Just to use politics as an example, had Ben Carson said half of what Donald Trump said he would have been metaphorically lynched. Destroyed. Over with. Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Everybody can see the obvious racism of this “Trump Card” but what many have not said is why he’s winning. Trump in short, plays on the people’s emotions (and not just white racists, many black people are agreeing with him too). He’s simply appealing to the heart of what many Americans have felt for years but have not voiced in public. Donald Trump is not a politician, he’s a business man. So yes, he’s a racist. Yes, he’s a clown. Yes, he’s this and he’s that but the reality is what? Many Americans are supporting him and many will vote for him. Now, what does this say about America? Because this is not about voting or about Trump. What it says is that contrary to popular belief White Privilege still exists, and more so, many Europeans do wish to make America great again. Do we understand what this term means? Making America great again is a term used by racists who wish for things to go back to the way it was in the days of Jim Crow, you know, when niggas knew their place. “Make America Great Again” is for those who wish for America to go back to the way it used to be. Blonde hair, blue eyes, white privilege. America’s sweetheart.

Silent Supporters MayChallengeDay16-17

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Dare I capture a photo of last nights meal? I suppose I could upload it to IG. At least then you’ll know I’ve eaten, right? Or maybe I’ll weigh my self-esteem against the number of followers, out of which only a handful are actually interested. What if my anniversary was yesterday? Does it cheapen the experience that I didn’t post about it?

We live in a world so dominated by technology and by sight that we rarely take the time to notice the small, silent, and seemingly insignificant. Usually, when we think of supporters we hearken to those who are outspoken enough to make themselves known. Visible. These are the commenters, likers, subscribers, and followers. After all, without this kind of support, how do we know if we’re doing something worthwhile? Is our content life changing or are we wasting dashboard space? Well, this thought led me to the intriguing world of the silent supporter. You know, that person who supports everything you do on the low. You may find them listed among your every social media outlet. Silent Supporters. The people who support your every endeavor but never have anything vocal to say. Instead they hang on to your every word in the background, taking it all in, applying, researching, and agreeing in the dark.

I think silent supporters are great and may actually be the backbone to success because they are the people who do. Act. Apply. Listen. Now success is more so determined by the personal standards of the individual, but from the basic perspective of the kind of primary support we all need to keep going, silent supporters play a significant role. They are the people you inspire every day but you will never know it. Well, if your paying attention you just might. You see, the silent supporter doesn’t say anything, his presence alone is necessary. He’ll follow you any and everywhere as long as you have something to say. The point is: don’t lose hope and don’t give up. There are people who actually follow your advice, except you won’t know it because they choose to instead put it into practice. (They laugh at your not-so-funny jokes too). And when it comes down to investing, these are the people who put their money where their mouth is, hanging on to your every word and taking into account the wisdom of your perspective. Makes you consider the weight of influence we each have on every single eye that scans across these blogs. It’s really something if you think about it. As individuals we make such great impacts on so many people worldwide and we would never really know to what depths. So then, what are we giving them? Is it something worth having or a waste of someone’s time? Are we givers of life or takers? How will your blog influence someone today? You choose.

Success is not always what you can see. Silent Supporters are out there. They are listening, they are watching, and they are learning. Never lose sight of that.

Define Your Goals #MayChallengeDay14-15

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I always say that I don’t really sit down to seriously write a book until I know how it ends. The reason I stick to this strategy is the same reason most of us have such a difficult time reaching our goals: We don’t define them. If I don’t know where I’m going with a story, the ultimate ending, I usually have a hard time getting into the flow. The flow. Its that first draft stage where you put your head down and you do not come back up until the work is done. Not even for air. You worry not about the technicalities of the work or what other people are saying about the publishing industry. Those things will become nothing more than a distraction. Well, at least to me (I can’t speak for you). So, as for me, once I do get started I can’t  worry about typos, editing or what Stephen King said. Not right now. Not in that moment. At that point I’m just trying to get the basic layout on paper. But how can I lay the foundation that will lead me to a certain point if I don’t know what that point is? I cannot build a brick house until I know I want it made of brick, least I lay the foundation with straw.

The same can be said of our life, our blogs, or whatever it is we set out to do. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the power of patience. Oh patience! I was in such need of it. If I could have bought endurance in a bottle I would have done it. I realized that my lack of patience was draining all of the potential out of my work. Why? Well because I was rushing an idea and not sitting down to seriously analyze what it will take to bring that idea forward. And not only to bring it forward but to seriously consider the plausibility of the idea. Does it makes sense? Is it real? And not only is it real, but do I believe in seriously reaching this goal that I have set for myself or is it just a dream? I hear people talk a lot about following your dreams. People are fond of dreaming, but as long as we are still dreaming our goals will be just that: imaginary.

Anyone can set goals. We’ve all been to school or to some educational setting even if it were our own living rooms, where someone told us to sketch out our short term and long term goals. In short, many of us know exactly where we want to go, and where we want to be. The problem is not the goal itself. It’s not that it is too difficult or too simple. The problem is that we have no clear vision of how we plan to get there.

The chart in this post is a great start. Make sure that your goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. I tried to think about which of these was the most important, but I think they all are. If your goal is not specific enough then it won’t be measurable. If goals are not measurable then they won’t be achievable and a goal that is achievable is naturally also not realistic. If your goal is not realistic then there is no real time limit that can be placed on it. Which in turn means its more likely to stay in lala land than put into action.

What I Learned About Blogging, Writing, and Life #MayChallengeDay 11-12

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Sometimes we just want the easy answer. The easy answer, and the smooth path. We want to lower mountains, and bring them down to our understanding. And we want as many tips on how to do so as is possible; we want things to be as easy as possible. But what I have learned, whether about blogging, writing, or life in general is this: You can have all the talent, and all of the opportunity in the world but if you do not have the persistence, the endurance, or the discipline to keep working then you do not have anything. Determination is called drive for a reason, it moves you.

MAY You #MayChallengeDay 9-10

May you never forget where you come from

May you never forget who you are

May your trust be earned

May your love be genuine

May you listen not to reply

May you listen instead to understand

May your eyes speak integrity

May your lips echo the eyes

May you treat others, the way that you treat yourself

May you treat yourself, the way that you treat others

May you defeat fear with a smile

May you smile through the fear

May your heart be content

May contentment be in your heart

May you not complain today

May you use your time wisely

May wisdom be the orchestra of your time

May you see the beauty in every day

May today be

beautiful

EC Quote Friday – MayChallengeDay6

Yayy, I made it through the first week of the May Challenge! Is anyone else playing? Because I feel like the only one lol. I rest on Saturdays so unfortunately I will not participate in this challenge on Saturdays so I will see you all Sunday. I plan to incorporate some flash fiction and poetry into Week Two, time permitting. In the meantime, below is your EC Quote Friday:

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