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Mind-Blowing Happiness™ Blog
Passion. Purpose. Potential.
Does Forgiveness Make Sense?
February 24, 2021
I had a conversation with a friend this past week about forgiveness. I told her it’s not a word that I use often. To me, it implies that you are excusing the abuse or betrayal of another person. I was surprised to find that Mirriam-Webster defines the word forgive as, “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).” Dictionary.com offers a definition closer to my own, which includes absolution. They define the word absolve as, "to free from guilt, blame or their consequences." This is where the waters get muddy. You can forgive someone so you don’t harbor anger or resentment without absolving them of their own responsibility and repercussions. That’s not your job. You don’t hold any authority over them. Whatever your spiritual belief system is, Universal law says that actions have consequences. This concept is often referred to as Karma.
In other words, you have to choose the right kind of forgiveness.
The one that frees you from anger and resentment.
Not the one that absolves abusers from guilt.
So, what do you do in the face of brutal emotional assaults? Cheating husbands, unloving parents, greedy siblings, emotionally unavailable partners or backstabbing friends?
What about physical abusers? Rapists, muggers, violent partners or battering parents?
How do you move on?
First, you leave the decision of guilt, blame or consequence for God, the Universe, Karma or whatever you believe in. Again, that’s not your job.
Then, you protect and heal yourself.
How? First, move out of harm’s way. You may need to change or end a relationship. Once your new boundaries are set, you can work on healing through whatever modalities you choose: books, therapy, journaling, yoga, or working with a coach like me.
Then, you forgive the right way, by reframing your anger.
To do this, find a comfortable chair or cushion in a quiet place in your home. Take a few deep breaths and think about the person who harmed you. What do you know about them? How was their childhood? What were their struggles? Where have they failed? Are they in pain? Do they have hope for the future? Do they have friends who care about them? Do they have a partner? Do they suffer from physical or mental ailments that are diagnosed or undiagnosed? Are they angry and bitter? Imagine them as a joyful and innocent baby before the world took hold of them. Do you feel compassion for that baby? Can you generate a feeling of empathy for your adult abuser? Relax into these feelings and let them fill your heart. You should feel calm.
You can feel deep compassion for your abuser without allowing them to continue to abuse you.
This peaceful feeling will free you of your own anger. It will allow you to protect your heart and heal your spirit. You can repeat the exercise as often as you need to until you no longer hold resentment, anger or grudges toward those who have harmed you.
What about if you are the one who did something wrong?
What if you need to forgive yourself?
The process is the same. You are not in a position to absolve yourself from responsibility for wrong actions. Karma will take care of that. Every action has a reaction in this life or the next. In the bible, it says the children pay for the sins of their fathers to the third and fourth generations. Whatever you believe, consequences will happen.
It’s not yours to worry about. You cannot change the past.
You must, however, release yourself from self-directed anger and replace it with self-compassion. As Maya Angelou famously said, “When you know better, you do better.” Make a commitment not to repeat the offending behavior. No one is perfect, but with baby steps, we move forward into the person we want to be.
If you need to forgive yourself, repeat the previous exercise with yourself in mind. Think about your childhood and all the struggles you’ve faced. Aren’t you deserving of compassion? Let that feeling of compassion replace any self-loathing, guilt or shame. Remind yourself you are doing the best that you can and you’re working to make yourself even better. Sit in that knowledge for a bit and enjoy it. Remember who you used to be and look at how far you’ve come.
You can forgive yourself and others if you forgive them the right way.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is a quote from T.D. Jakes that hits the nail right on the head. Make sure to download my free e-book and sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss out on my upcoming workshops and retreats. Click the link below for more info. I have beautiful things in store for you! xoxo
Feeling the Shift:
Are Retreats Worth It?
February 17, 2021
People often ask me why yoga is so important to me. It is difficult to explain. The best answer I have is that changing the position of my body changes my emotions. If I’m stressed out, I can fall to my knees and collapse into child’s pose to recover. If I’m feeling hopeless, I can lift my arms up toward the sky and stretch through both sides of my body into upward salute to regain my enthusiasm. If I feel uncertain, I can stand on one leg and plant the sole of my opposite foot against my outer calf, sliding prayer hands up to the sky to feel a gentle, graceful power. It’s so much more than this, but this is a start. Changing the position of my body changes my emotions. I might feel strong, joyful, prayerful or grateful. I might learn patience. I feel a shift.
I attended my first yoga retreat in 2015. I hardly had any money but scraped a few dollars together to take the trip to Jekyll Island, GA with one of my friends. It was my first retreat of any kind. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I loved it. Being in a community of like-minded learners was just what I needed.
Since then, I’ve attended a (partly silent) meditation retreat, a juice-fasting retreat in a mansion, a writer’s retreat in Costa Rica and an online wellness retreat in a tiny corner of my bedroom. Each experience was unforgettable. I’ve also hosted many of my own Black Vegan Life™ retreats. There’s nothing like a change of scenery. The same way I’ve discovered that changing the position of my body changes my emotions, I’ve also noticed changing the physical location of my body can have similar effects. I feel one way in Central Park, another on Stone Mountain and another on Miami Beach.
When we retreat, we mindfully move our bodies out of our normal routine and environment. We join in community with a purpose. It’s vacation with intention.
Is it possible to stay home and grow?
Can we change our emotions without moving our bodies?
However, there’s incredible value in a shift in perspective.
There’s an old parable about a group of blind men who stand next to an elephant, not knowing what it is. The first man touches the trunk and says the animal is long and spineless like a snake. The second man touches the tusk and says it is hard to the touch like a turtle. The third touches its side and says it’s massive like a rhinoceros.
To see the whole of anything, whether it’s ourselves or something else, we need to change our perspective. It’s up to us to choose how to do that.
I had a session today with a holistic scientist. He said the brain doesn’t feel pain. When we get a headache, it’s really a scalp-ache. The actual tissue of the brain is so busy processing what’s going on in other parts of the body, it doesn’t have much awareness of self. What a metaphor for life. We’re often so busy with worldly concerns like money, reputation, criticism and entertainment, we have very little understanding of who we are. We don’t think it matters, so we don’t make time to find out.
Who are you?
What feels good to you?
What improves your mood?
What characteristics do you want to develop?
What are you curious about?
What is your greatest potential?
I hope you make some time to retreat. You can take a physical journey, enjoy a day retreat in your town or city, sign-up for an online retreat, or simply set aside a day for yourself at home. If you need to, tell your partner or your kids not to bother you. Plan in advance and create a schedule of things you want to do, but never seem to have time for: journaling, yoga, meditation, a bubble bath, cooking healthy plant-based meals, and consuming spiritual, inspiring or educational books or movies. Take a break from social media and television. Yes, you can retreat for free. It might be your best or only option.
You will never regret the time you spend caring for your emotional and physical health.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is me and my canine assistant, Cooper, on our water-fast retreat. I'm sure this will go on my list of unforgettable experiences. If you're interested in exploring a yoga program, visit my current yoga school at www.myvinyasapractice.com If you want more information on upcoming workshops and retreats click the link below and make sure to sign up for my mailing list. I can't wait to retreat with you! xoxo
All Talk. No Action.
Are You Emotionally Lazy?
February 9, 2021
I was chatting with a friend recently. We were talking about ex-boyfriends the way we sometimes do. We’re grown-ass women now, so we understand that we are partly responsible for our own failed relationships. We’re able to dissect them in the aftermath, whether they’re romantic fallouts or platonic unravelings. Lately, we’ve been talking about the term, “all talk and no action,” even going so far as to coin the abbreviation, ATNA. We’ve all met people who show up in the world like that, flapping their gums and saying nothing. Inspiring hope only to set you up for disappointment. Promising to start a business, earn a degree, travel somewhere exotic, invent something spectacular or really love and cherish you like no one’s done before. Words waving in the wind like a flag, flapping but never going anywhere.
Perhaps they really do intend to do the things they talk about, but just never make it out the gate.
The timing isn’t right.
They lose confidence.
They become distracted.
Perhaps they didn’t ever have the intention to move into action, and they just enjoy hearing themselves talk, like a fish enjoying the sound of the water. Maybe they enjoy the wide-eyed, leaned-in enthusiasm they get from the people who believe them.
Maybe they just like to shoot the shit to the trees and the breeze.
Maybe that alone is satisfying enough,
to talk about a dream
with no intention of moving toward it.
I wonder how those folks feel as they move deeper into the middle of their lives. Are they still talking about the things they want to do someday? Are they paralyzed by the fear of failure? Are they scared of the emotional fortitude required to try new or big things? Do they blame others for their own inertia? Are they simply emotionally lazy and unwilling to make an effort to improve themselves? Or physically lazy and unwilling to put in some work?
Age will one day wake them up.
Even if they make it to one hundred, they will not live forever.
How will they feel when their best days are behind them?
When they are left only with the memories of the things they were too scared to try?
As a self-actualization coach, I know that limiting beliefs are powerful. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of coaching. Most people live in a psychological box created by years of conditioning from family, teachers, media and society as a whole. It defines how they think others view them, their perception of their own beauty, talent and intelligence, their hopes and dreams for the future and their sense of both responsibility and possibility.
There is a quote I love, often attributed to Albert Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
The female poet who wrote under the name George Eliot is quoted as saying, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Old wisdom from poets and scientists still rings true today.
So, what are you waiting for?
What is your genius?
What untapped dream is in your heart?
What community are you uniquely qualified to serve?
What’s your superpower?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, search your heart, then ask your best friend, or your partner, or your parents or your siblings. Sometimes we just can’t see ourselves the way other people see us.
The world doesn’t know all of us, but it definitely has clues.
Don’t be the person with a life path full of missed opportunities, forgotten dreams and ATNA.
You are here because you are supposed to be here.
You are supposed to explore opportunities and try new things.
You are supposed to leave a legacy of love, passion and purpose.
Now get to work.
I wish you Passion, Purpose and the realization of your fullest Potential!
P.S. The photo is the new cover of Time Magazine featuring our youngest inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman. She made our nation so proud. What a shining example of living the dream and working with passion and purpose. If you want to push through things that are holding you back, talk to me about my special coaching package in celebration of Valentine’s Day. What better time to show yourself some love and start moving toward those goals? Click the button below for more info.
How Do You Know Your Path?
February 2, 2021
Today I joined the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). I’ve had my MBA since 2000 and except for a brief year with the organization, I was never a member. It’s not because I don’t like hanging around Black people, and it’s not because I didn’t intentionally pursue my MBA. I love Black culture and community, and I find business, economics and finance fascinating. My issue was that I found the group to be extremely corporate-minded, and although I’ve worked corporate jobs for most of my life, there was always a loud entrepreneurial free spirit inside of me that didn’t take well to all the rules of corporate structure.
So why did I work corporate jobs for most of my life?
It seemed safe.
It felt prestigious.
It was the only path I knew.
I grew up in a family where my options were clear: I could be a doctor, a lawyer or a businessperson. I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor – I wasn’t interested in sick people or blood. I briefly considered being a defense attorney after sitting on the jury for a murder trial when I was only twenty, but quickly changed my mind. I settled on business. I have always been creative and loquacious, so I enjoyed marketing and advertising, and finally settled into the world of corporate sales, first in telecom and later in financial services.
I was trained to be on someone else’s path.
My training was so deeply embedded that I came to believe it was my only path.
Today was a full-circle moment for me. I joined NBMBAA because I wanted to, not because I thought I should. I discovered they have a membership for entrepreneurs, and I thought, “That’s me!”
I’ve been in many spaces over the years because I thought I had to be there. Not because I wanted to be there. I defined work as the activity I somewhat enjoyed on the road to receiving a paycheck. It wasn’t the way I would spend my time if I had a choice in the matter. I used to believe “Work isn’t fun, that’s why we call it work.” And I quipped, "Work is interfering with my life!" I’m so glad I’ve moved past that belief system. Working with purpose and passion is FUN. It is also WORK. When the two combine it's magic, much like when sex and love come together.
I am a true believer in Fun. Joy. Happiness. Pleasure.
I don’t subscribe to the belief that you must suffer to live a good life, although I do believe you must work. If you want to grow, you must get uncomfortable.
Are you working with passion?
Are you standing in your own truth and authenticity?
Are you on your own path or someone else’s?
One of the great things about the pandemic is just about everything is virtual now, and more accessible to most of us than it would have been only a year ago. I encourage you to explore new paths to living your most joyful and fulfilled life. Try an online yoga class, yoga teacher training, a writing workshop or an art class. Sign up for a virtual open mic night or a music lesson. Join a virtual book club or movie discussion group. There is a vast world right outside of your comfort zone waiting for you to explore. All you have to do is get a little uncomfortable and reach for it.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is the road that leads to the top of Kennesaw Mountain here in Georgia. If you’re interested in my recommendations for online resources, reach out to me at [email protected] My FREE Monthly Workshops begin this week. This month's topic is "Six Ways to Fall in Love with the REAL You." Use the link below for more info and to sign up.
The Power of LOUD:
Amplify Your SuperPower
January 28, 2021
Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to participate in a full-day retreat with Jack Canfield, the acclaimed author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. His manuscript was rejected 144 times before he found a publisher. Now, he’s sold nearly 600 million books around the globe. As he spoke, he used phrases like “law of attraction” and “quantum field.” He guided the group of us through a powerful meditation and visualization exercise. He was speaking my language. I receive my most powerful inspiration, intuition and breakthroughs when I’m steeped in stillness. Yesterday was no different. Jack guided me through a journey to a pivotal moment in my childhood: my first memory of fear. I came to realize that, as much as I’ve found my voice in many ways, it’s not nearly enough. I still find myself shrinking at times. I don’t want to bother people with repeated phone calls or emails. I don’t want to constantly toot my own horn. I think, Who do I think I am? Then I really run the risk of forgetting.
I am uniquely gifted and divinely talented.
So are you.
We have superpowers, you and I.
I hosted a virtual “Passion and Purpose” workshop last week. During the event, we did an exercise where I asked the participants to write down five things they love to do. I offered my own five as an example: writing, teaching, yoga, hiking, running.
Teaching what I’ve learned is my passion. I realize when I have those moments of fear and self-doubt, I lose the power of my voice. Yesterday, during the conference, I posted my aha! moment on Instagram: “Be LOUD in pursuit of your PASSIONS.” I can’t just identify and pursue my passions. It’s not enough. I must also be LOUD if I want to make an impact.
What does more noise mean for me?
Finally starting my podcast,
Posting more videos,
Doing more live streams,
Sending more emails,
Making more phone calls.
Jack Canfield said, “The last five letters in the Law of Attraction are ACTION. We all want to be great, but we’re not willing to pay the price.”
You know what, I see you Universe, and I’m listening to all the lessons you’re sending my way.
So, what are YOU loudly pursuing?
Everybody wants money, but we have to offer something in return. Otherwise, it’s vapid and imbalanced.
Are you pursuing Education? Healing? Spirituality? Self-love? Purpose?
Whatever good work you pursue, make sure to open your heart and your throat, and BE LOUD.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is the Instagram meme I created yesterday. If you want inspiration in your inbox every week, sign up for my newsletter at the link below.
Privilege and Pleasure:
What Motivates You?
January 22, 2021
After watching Joe Biden and Kamala Harris get sworn in on Wednesday, and before watching the inaugural concert, I managed to slip in a conversation with a podcaster. As we were talking about how to identify talents and work with passion, the conversation shifted to a discussion of working for “free.” She wasn’t getting financial compensation to create her podcast, nor was I for my interview. We are both promoting ideas that we love. We are pursuing our passions. As we finished our talk, it became even more clear to me that money isn’t our only currency. I work to promote and teach ideas as a service to our world. It is my purpose. I work to inspire others. I work for the love of my daughter, my dog and my new grandbunny. I work to take care of my physical self. I work to open my eyes to new parts of the world that I haven’t seen before. I work to heal and grow myself and others. I work to knock down doors, open up minds and uplift people. If my primary currency were dollars, I’m sure I’d be doing something else.
In my books, Generosity is the first of the advanced steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness™. It’s the point where you pivot from foundational ideas like healing, spirituality, community, self-love and peacefulness, to less-obvious paths. In Thinking Outside the Chrysalis, Drop #6 is “Give it Away for Free.” In 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness, Step #6 is “Throw the Boomerang.” Both point to the importance of generosity, not only as a way to help others, but as a way to help ourselves. Money isn’t our only currency. We work for joy. We work for passion. We work for the privilege and the pleasure of sharing our talents with the world. Of course, we all need a place to lay our heads at the end of the day. Money is necessary, but it’s not most important.
I spoke to another podcaster earlier in the week who quipped that people in public office must be self-centered; why else would they aspire to that? It’s true some are motivated by narcissism and power. We just had four years of that. But some are motivated by service. Some are motivated by compassion. Some are motivated by justice. Some are motivated by love.
Now, that we’ve survived the first three weeks of 2021, let's try being motivated by love.
I hope the Biden/Harris administration brings back a return to basic decency in government. We have a lot of work to do, but if we want to change the world, we’ve got to begin by changing ourselves. We must learn to take pleasure in the process.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is of me wearing my #pearlsforkamala on Inauguration Day. If you’re looking for ways to identify and ignite passion, purpose and pleasure in your life, sign up for my virtual workshop this Sunday, January 24 @ 7pm at the link below.
This Too Shall Pass:
Self-Care Tips for Difficult Days
January 14, 2021
2021 is making 2020 look like a walk down Easy Street. I know it’s only been two weeks, but I’m trying to recover from last week’s insurrection in Washington, DC while preparing for this week’s domestic terror threats across all 50 states. I’m deciding between the potential for catching COVID-19 and the possibility of side effects from the vaccine. I’m determining whether it’s better to stay indoors and virus-free or go outside for my daily trip to the gym or yoga studio to maintain my sanity. I’ve opted for outdoor exercise, and I’m trying to balance that between the fickle nature of weather and the demands of self-employment. I’ve opted for at-home yoga, but it’s so easy to be distracted when I’m in my own home. I've got issues.
Sometimes I can’t stop watching the news. Sometimes I can’t get a good night’s sleep. I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions, and it’s only been two weeks.
It’s not just the chaos and negativity that has 2021 feeling like a challenge. We’ve had unbelievable highs as well. I never dreamed both Georgia and the U.S. Senate would flip blue. That amazing high on January 5 was quickly crushed by the insurrection on January 6. Then hope sprang anew when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were finally certified by congress after the attack on the capitol building. The decision to quickly impeach the chief instigator felt like relief, only to be followed by threats to elected officials who don’t fall in line with our current dictator-in-waiting and his mob of supporters. I’ve never known so much violence and potential for violence in our nation against a backdrop of so much potential. We have our first Black and female vice president for goodness sake! The contrast is downright bipolar.
I say all that to say, sometimes we feel stressed out. Unless we sit down and take an accounting of what’s going on around us, we may not know why. We might just notice we feel uncomfortable or anxious. If you have financial dilemmas or other personal challenges on top of the ones we are all dealing with, you have even more stressors at play.
We can’t work to solve problems unless we first acknowledge them.
Listen, we’re in the middle of a shitstorm.
There, I said it.
We are all stressed out. People of color are even more so because we are the favorite target of hate groups in this country. I would imagine my LGBTQ and Jewish friends are quite concerned too. But, at the end of the day, any thoughtful person who’s been paying attention to this mess has at least a little bit of low-grade agita.
1. Be grateful for what you have.
2. Don’t skip your exercise.
3. Take breaks from the news.
4. Do your best to get quality rest.
5. Whether you read a book, take a bath, chant a mantra or do a meditation, make some time for stillness.
I’m here to tell you this too shall pass. 2021 has more goodness in store than grief. More hope than horror. More love than hate. We’ve got this.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. I’m a huge fan of Zora Neale Hurston. The photo is one of my favorite quotes from her. It speaks directly to racism or any ism in such a beautiful way. If you’re looking for a place to connect and share self-care tips, join me tomorrow, January 15 for my Virtual Self-Care Gathering. You can register with the button below.
Room to Recover:
Who Profits from Conspiracy Theories?
January 7, 2021
January 6, 2021 is a day we will never forget: The Day of the Insurrection. Images of the U.S. Capitol Building being stormed during a congressional session to confirm the Biden/Harris ticket will remain in our collective memories for many years to come. The fact that we were ushering in our nation’s first Black woman as Vice President creates a remarkable dichotomy, highlighting the chasm between the old guard and the hope of progress. While the attack was outrageous, it was a long time coming. The wound that broke open yesterday had been festering since the birth of this brutally conceived nation. The lies that have been told to the American citizens scaling the walls of the Capitol are no different than the lies of white supremacy and national superiority that have been told for centuries. What has changed is the speed at which these lies can be disseminated.
When I was a kid growing up in the eighties, we learned about the impending age of information and technology, but nothing prepared us for their impact on these same lies embedded in the psyche of our nation. We imagined quickly accessing and sharing music, art, movies, research and science. There was no such word as “disinformation” back then. There was no internet. We didn’t know lies could be monetized quickly and strategically: the bigger the lie, the greater the profit. Conspiracy theories went from the corners of dusty rooms to the center of a profitable industry. Our disgraced president has collected over $250 million dollars from his disinformation campaign. Misinformed American citizens believe they are fighting for justice. It’s sad to be in the presence of profound ignorance, but even worse to be in the realm of strategically orchestrated malice.
2020 was a year when many of us were forced to bring self-care to the forefront of our priorities. We simply had to maintain our mental health under the pressure of a multitude of simultaneous environmental stressors. 2021 is off to a hell of a start. The good news is the events at the Capitol Building yesterday could very well be the catalyst our nation needs to take action. Legislators can enact laws to counter disinformation and radicalization within our borders. Laws to contain the power of an unstable president. And laws to make sure our governing bodies accurately reflect our diverse population.
But what do we do when we can’t stop watching television? When we find ourselves fearing the dissolution of the imperfect and fragile democracy that we call our own? What can we do with our pent-up energy and stress?
We can follow what our courageous leader, Stacey Abrams, did when she came under fire. We can take our energy and use it for a just cause. We can do what Nancy Pelosi did after congress was attacked. We can get on with the business of doing good work. We can do what Hillary Clinton did after losing a sexist election to an unqualified conman and narcissist. We can dust ourselves off and keep going.
Before we do any of this, we must give ourselves room to recover.
Today I encourage you to pause. Turn off the television for an hour or so. Light a candle. Read a prayer or a poem. Meditate or sit in contemplation. Take a nap. Let your mind and your body rest. And when you’ve allowed yourself respite, take a moment to think about how you can turn your outrage into action.
Check on a friend. Support what John Lewis called “good trouble.” Bring positive energy into a space that’s full of anger. Discuss solutions.
When I was a kid, nothing prepared us for the weaponization and monetization of lies at the speed of light. This nation lost some of its last bits of innocence yesterday. It’s time for us to grow up and confront the monster we created with all the maturity of a well-raised adult.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is of our beloved shero, Stacey Abrams. Congratulations to her for her amazing work in turning Georgia blue AND electing both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate. I still can't believe my dream came true! If you'd like help dreaming beyond the chaos of yesterday and into a brilliant future, join me for my Vision Boarding Workshop this Saturday, January 9 at 1pm. You can sign up with the button below.