Can we Live?

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

We wake up just enough to stay woke but not enough to live. We live on hours and minutes and second hands, gas, and expressways. Espressos and Starbucks. From the bed to the car to the job, back to the car to the house and to the bed where we will lie down again so that we can wake up and exist again. Begin again. Breathe again. Boldly expecting these bodies to be there to back us up again. Do we ever back up? Can we stop? When was the last time you experienced something beautiful and told no one? Can we be beautiful without filter? Can we examine this breath? This gorgeous breath. This inhale and exhale. This miracle that is in us. Can we examine these lungs? Let the seconds and minutes and hours add up, can we forget about time? Let it pass. Watch the orange and yellow rays of the sun bleeding into the sky. Can we experience the day passing onto the next? Can we catch it moving? Can we listen to the sound of quiet? Do we even know if silence has a sound? Can we listen to the birds sing for hours at a time and let the leaves change and crumble into colors? Can we let the wind blow dust onto the windowsill, can peace be still? You have to wake up before you can stay woke. Can we live?

12 Life Lessons I Learned in 2017

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  • Growth is painful, uncomfortable, and frustrating. It reveals the raw and aching part of us and demands our masks to fall so that we may accept who we truly are and what truly is. This is unpleasant and frightening but necessary because, without this kind of mental and physical suffering, we cannot grow.

 

  • Deceit lies, and lack of proper communication can destroy any relationship. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known a person, how many secrets you’ve shared, how many deep conversations you’ve engaged in or how many tears you’ve shed, deception is a rotten fruit that contaminates weak foundations. No matter how embarrassing or silly, be upfront with the people you say that you love.

 

  • There is, sadly, a thing as being too nice. Energy is precious and we cannot risk being vulnerable to the first smile or positive comment that is thrown in our direction. Not in this world. While we can be positive examples, we must also accept that for some people it’s too late. They have been too far corrupted and will only trample our kindness and gossip about our weaknesses. Like the saying says, “Not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life.” Discernment is key.

 

  • Let go of people who have let go of you. Do this without feeling ashamed, embarrassed or like you’ve done something wrong. Let go courageously. Without the need to explain yourself or to apologize for being misunderstood. People who have lied and betrayed you and left you out to rot will always make it seem that you are the person who is possessed and that you are the one who has done wrong. These are lies. In the words of Najwa Zebian, “shame lies on the person who takes advantage of a good heart.”

 

  • Laugh often and cry when necessary. Scream if you have to. Do not be ashamed. This is healing. Let the tears cleanse you.

 

  • It’s OK to be hurt, we’ve all been at some point, but don’t play the victim. Self-victimization paralyzes so that we have an excuse not to take responsibility for the lives that we live. We are always looking back on childhood, on past relationships and on failed circumstances as a crutch for why we are not the people we know that we should be. In the words of Pierre Jeanty, “When are you going to stop complaining about who you are now, because of who they were to you? You speak as an activist, yet live as a slave without a voice.” The past is our lesson. It is not our cage.

 

  • Do not work so hard to prove your sincerity. It will only come across as fake. There will always be people who do not accept you and to them, it does not matter how hard you try, you will never be enough. Forcing these people to understand you will do more harm than good. Don’t overdo it. Just be you.

 

  • Stop misinterpreting silence for whatever your imagination has made up. You don’t know what’s going on in people’s lives, why they have chosen not to respond or what circumstance held them up. Sometimes silence means people aren’t interested and that they don’t care but not all the time (though our doubt would have us to believe so.) Other times, silence means they don’t know how to respond or have not gotten around to it yet. Stop stressing over made-up mental scenarios.

 

  • Do not force locked doors to open. Sometimes it is just not the right time. If you break the door down, it will never be the same again. Remember the butterfly: If you force it out of its cocoon, it will never fly. It is not that this isn’t your door, it’s just not your time.

 

  • Do your own research and try things out for yourself. Experiment so that you know intimately what works and what does not work. Take risks and see what is legit and what is fabricated for yourself. Do this and you will not bend to every new opinion that surfaces.

 

  • Follow your own advice and show yourself the same love you so desperately seek from others. Give it to yourself first and then pour into the cups of those whose hearts are worthy. You are special so not everyone can receive what you have to give. Your love is not a game. Your love is a gift. Give it that distinction.

 

  • Never sacrifice your personal integrity for the sake of being “liked”. Don’t let people censor and edit your voice. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. Walk away. Turn down whatever does not feel and taste and smell, like you.

Controlling the Energy Around You

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.

Positive Thoughts

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.

Mental Rest

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.

Her

I’ve grown an extra set of eyes just to catch the shadow in her walk. Micro-managed every detail of her smile, every light in her footsteps, and every scar in her heart. I stalk her intentions and pick out pieces of glass that may have found themselves in her thoughts when the levees poured over when the skies darkened and there was no light; when the glass broke. I scan her body with the intrigue of a man caught lusting for the first time. You see I need to make sure that her back is not bent, that her shoulders are sharp, and her head held high. I am intrigued with tasting her words before they exit her mouth, and I refuse to release my stare from the interior of her mind. I understand that my ways can be likened to that of a stalker but tell me, is it too much to zoom into her soul every morning to make sure that she smiles? Is it too much to hover over her sleeping eyes and find my way into her dreams? You see I have to make sure that she’s not distracted by destruction. I can never stop watching this woman’s ways and monitoring her heart. If I am to be of assistance to anyone it starts with her because she is me.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Even Rain is Just Water: A Memoir of Rejection, Revelation & Redemption by Lynette Davis

Title: Even Rain is Just Water: A Memoir of Rejection, Revelation & Redemption

Author: Lynette Davis

Print Length: 296 pages

Publisher: Reflections Books; 1 edition (May 30, 2017)

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B071DC83TN

*I received this book as a gift from the author*

When I first read the title of this book, I knew that I would read it. With a powerful statement, as Even Rain is Just Water it had to be good. I was not disappointed. Lynette Davis gives us a riveting account of her life as the victim of emotional abuse at the hands of someone who is to be a girl’s first teacher, supporter, and motivator. Her mother.

The testimony switches back and forth between Lyn’s experiences as a child and as an adult, both of which include some form of emotional abuse and neglect. Lyn’s mom treats her sister Vanessa better than she treats her and at just three years old Lynette concludes that she is unwanted and unloved. One of the most heartbreaking moments for me was when Lyn and Ne-Ne were at her mother’s friend’s house eating some good food and Lyn approaches mom to ask for more potato salad. The way in which she asked was filled with such innocence that it made my heart melt. As someone who has worked extensively with children, I can just hear the tiny voice ask, “Can I have some more ‘tater salad, please?” To my astonishment, Lyn was chastised for saying ‘tater salad instead of potato salad.

There were many of such incidents as this one that made Lyn bow her head in shame. Ella’s sisters also seemed to give her the same treatment, like Aunt Cleo using Lyn and Ne-Ne as if they were her personal servants, promising to take them shopping only to have them washing her dishes. I wanted to jump through the book and tell her about herself. That was bogish all the way around.

When we got to Lyn’s adult life and her marriage to Ray, things did not look much better. Ray seemed to check out and Ella treated her grandchildren with the same level of disdain as she did their mother. Despite all this, Lynette does not lash out or rebel the way we may think. Lyn is kind, compassionate, and takes the abuse with a strength that not many people in this world understand or that many people could appreciate. It takes strength and courage continue on to be a kind-hearted person in a cruel world.

What I absolutely loved was how Lynette gave us a glimpse of the time by the many historical events that happened and what she was doing when it happened. Everything from the death of MLK, the Rodney King beating and even the shooting and eventual death of Tupac. As Lynette lived her life, all these things were happening around her and we get to witness them in real time. She even did this with the music. The New Millennium craze was funny when her friend said, “They didn’t believe Noah either.” I remember that time and how hyped everyone was that the world was coming to an end. These kinds of historical events infused into the narrative as well as the music of the time, for me, provided the story with light and was refreshing amidst the suffering.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Even Rain is Just Water is Available Now on Amazon

Be Sure to Follow Lynette Online. Also, you can learn more about her in our interview HERE.

Twitter: wewalkbyfaith88

Staying Humble

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Humility is not something that someone does once, but that one must strive to maintain if it is to be a consistent part of that individual’s life. As I thought of this, I also thought on how arrogance is not always boastful or typical of what we commonly associate with pride. There are many subtle ways to which a person can display a characteristic of pride.

Humility – a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness

Assumption

It is a mistake to assume that people do not know what you know, or that they are any less intelligent than you are. Even if you are wise, remember that even a fool is considered wise when he just stops talking. I am sure we all have our own stories concerning people who were surprised to discover that we knew more than what was perceived by way of our silence or decision to withhold certain information. Assumptions cover a lot of ground as they are always based on preconceived notions and unanswered questions. It is always best to communicate with others to learn more about them, than it is to assume something about them. It may seem odd at first, but asking questions is a good thing because it helps us to understand and to get to know the individual.

Acceptance

This is a tricky one and comes through very subtly. At any time in our lives where we fight against acceptance, then we exhibit a form of pride. We must understand that stepping stones exist for a reason; they are bridges to the next level of our growth and for that we may not understand it when we first encounter it, whatever it may be. People who struggle with acceptance also have a habit of disagreeing with every single thing. This too is a form of pride. The person may not realize it, but they are expressing a form of arrogance. Why is it that you have something to say about every thing? How is it that everyone is wrong but you? That person needs to sit back and ask themselves why.

The thing to remember is that all is not meant to be understood in the moment, but to be accepted. In the words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them.” Sometimes we are not in a place in our lives to understand, no more than a five year old understands how to safely handle a weapon, and for that we must accept the place we are in now until we can grow into the person who could. “At present you need to live the questions. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer.” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Asking

No, begging is different. But seriously, being afraid to ask for help is another subtle form of pride. It stems from our fear that others will either judge us or think that we do not know something. But you know what? So what! So what if you don’t know? No one knows everything and everyone has something to learn from someone. If you are afraid to ask for help when you need it, now is a good time to ask yourself why. Why does it matter how others perceive you? People talk a lot about keeping it real but being afraid to admit our wrongs, or our mistakes, or ask for help is not being real. That’s being fake.

Contentment

This one is like acceptance. Once you’ve accepted what is, then you can just be. Another subtlety, people who are not content express a form of arrogance. What you’re essentially saying is that what you have is not enough. I’ve learned that discontent is also a triplet, she has two identical sisters who accompany her everywhere that she goes. Now, I actually have a twin sister and though we look alike, we are also very different. For that, discontent has two twin sisters and although they can be very different, they are also very connected. Their names are covetousness and complaint.

When you’re not content in your present situation, you can be sure that a lot of complaining will accompany it and leading you to ultimately covet what you do not have. However, I’ve also learned that contentment is like this undercover miracle worker. When you are truly content in your life, all worry, stress, and depression leave you. I know that many of you are off on weekends and especially on Sundays.  Just take some time today and embrace the stillness, and to practice being content in all that you have.

Go Into Yourself

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“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart…This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity..”

― Rainer Maria Rilke