A Glimpse Into My Life

See it through my eyes & understand me a little more

Tag Archives: Lessons

Your Problems Reveal Your Priorities

On yesterday, my church celebrated it’s annual Women’s Day and it was amazing. Our guest speaker was a First Lady from another church (her name slips me at the moment but I’ll share it later) and she shared an amazing message. The title of the lesson she brought was “Why me?” and I decided to pay extra attention as that is a question I have found myself asking a LOT! The great thing is that i was not disappointed in what I received from her message.

During the time she spoke, she shared this thought with us: “The trials (in our lives) reveal our trust (in God)*.”  Now when I heard her say that, a thought quickly flashed in my mind:

“The problems we create in our lives reveal our priorities.”

What was interesting about that revelation is that it can be both a good thing and a bad thing. What do I mean by that? I’m only saying that if you take a moment to examine everything going on in your life with complete honesty, you’ll realize that (almost) everything around you and most of the experiences you have are a result of your choice to focus your behaviors and actions on certain things.

To break it down even further, think of a test. You study and you understand the material so well that you are confident going into your exam. When you receive you test and see an “A,” you realize that you efforts paid off. Your priority was doing well on the test so you focused your behaviors and actions on studying and understanding the material. The result? An exceptional grade.

I used that example because people will sometimes hear the word problem and think the worst possible scenario. I want people to know that a lack of major problems is also indicative of where you chose to focus your priorities.

Say you look around and you are living your dream life! You went to school and earned an education in something you’re interested in. You are paid generously for your expertise and you give back to the community in service. Your circumstances simply reveal that you prioritized yourself and your dreams. You see spectacular results because your actions were in alignment with your vision to manifest it. Congratulations.

Likewise, let’s look at the opposite (I’ll take a moment here to admit that this is why the thought was so profound — I’m currently in this category). You have had many opportunities to do what you dreamed of or you are amazingly talented, yet you aren’t where you wish to be. Perhaps you focused on helping others and put yourself on the back-burner. Maybe you spent time in a place or situation with the intention to improve others because you started to feel differently about life. But all around you, your life is in shambles. You are doing everything right and yet, you still ask, “Why me?”

Do you understand it’s because you focused on tasks and actions that were not in alignment with your purpose or priorities?

Don’t worry though. There’s always good news when I share something like this. You can Course Correct. Be warned, the necessary actions may be difficult but once you become aware of YOUR purpose, you can prioritize tasks and actions to support this.

How do you start? Well, you figure out what makes you happy. Begin to understand what drives you to serve others and course correct.

It may take a while to work through your mess, but once you do, you’ll find that your problems reveal your priorities in the best way possible.

*Word in parenthesis are my own and are added for context.

Honesty Is the ONLY Policy

The past nine days have been intensely emotional. That’s the sentence that captures exactly what I’ve been going through. For the past three years, I’ve been on a personal journey to clear myself of negative energy and release toxic emotions from my being. It’s not easy and at times, this process of clearing energy moves way slower than I want it to.

On Sunday night, I had a particular experience that led me to watch a recorded episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass (this one had Bishop T.D. Jakes as a guest and took place at MegaFest). After about 17 minutes, I found myself asking, “WHY DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?” While the focus was on “fatherless children,” there was something that struck me about the pain of having an absent parent. For a while (and this is a story I won’t get into — gotta save something for my tell-all autobiography), I’ve buried the pain of being the child that was overlooked and abused and forgotten about. The thought that came to mind about why I’ve remained wounded in life was that, “Even if people do the best that they could have done, it doesn’t lessen the hurt.”

That statement is true. It doesn’t lessen the sting of being at a Family Reunion (on my Dad’s side) and having to be introduced to family members only to overhear one of them say, “I thought he only had one daughter.” To be an outsider was hard.

And I have spent the majority of my adult life trying to feel the opposite of that. I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve essentially done things because I knew that for a fleeting moment, I’d be the one that they (my parents) would have to pay attention to. Then I read something on Monday morning that talked about letting go of hurts and the biggest impediment to doing so. Before I got to the end of the paragraph and had a major “AHA!” moment, I was sure that the impediment was going to be something like, “We can’t get over our hurts because people won’t acknowledge that we can feel the same way.” That thought process is something like, “You want me to extend my empathy to you but you can’t do that for me.” That’s blaming. That doesn’t work.

That was also NOT the answer.

The biggest impediment to getting through our hurts is that we ask the question, “Why?” The answer is very simple, “Because they could.” It doesn’t mean that they meant it intentionally. It doesn’t mean that they thought less of you. It doesn’t mean that they set out to contribute to the misery in your existence. It just happened. And it happened because they behaved in a way that they could.

With that being said, I’ll share that this realization brought about the biggest sigh of relief and then the largest cloud of panic I’ve been engulfed in since I watched an apartment burn to the ground. For me, I felt good because it suddenly clicked that I’m amazing and that I’ve always been amazing. On the other hand, it was absolutely terrifying because I realized that (1) I haven’t been living in my fullest potential AND (2) if I live in my potential and embrace the amazing and succeed, it would mean that I was the reason life has been so difficult in the past few years.

I decided to call this post “Honesty is the ONLY policy” because it means that I can do things that I’ve always wanted to do because I approach life with a zeal and understanding that I deserve the good things. And that’s okay. But I also realized four things:

  1. I am at an exciting time in my life.
  2. I choose to stand in my authenticity.
  3. I am all of that and MORE!
  4. My past gave me the foundation to be great. Not mediocre. GREAT!

With this new policy, taking on my baggage doesn’t seem as scary. I can only come out better anyway.

Have you had a moment that changed the way you thought about yourself? If so, share in the comments.

10 Things Pocahontas Taught Me That Miley Cyrus Never Could

Now, one thing you should know about me is that I like Disney movies. But not the “new” ones. Those are too flashy for my tastes. The ones from the 90s/early 2000s. I think it stops after Mulan (hmm, I’ll have to look into that). Anyway, this post comes about after I watch Pocahontas for the eleventh-million time. I thought of all the lessons that the movie teaches you (now that I’m 23, it all makes sense). Here I was thinking it’s a love story and it’s much more than that. I hope you enjoy this post!

*Editor’s Note: These are in no particular order. I apologize if you are at all confused.

1. Things Should Never Be Done In Anger

There are quite a few moments in the movie where you just cry out, “No…don’t do it! You’re just mad right now.” Okay. Maybe that was just me. Still though, there are times where see exactly what anger can lead you to do. My good friend Kocoum ultimately meets his demise in the movie because of anger (and/or jealousy, the jury is still out on this one). He witnesses intimate behavior between Pocahontas and John Smith (it was a kiss you all) and proceeds to attack. He’s shot. What sent him there? Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever) is upset that she wants her to keep the secret that she leaves the compound and out of worry (and/or anger) she sends Kocoum after her. See, ladies and gentlemen? It’s all bad! Anger is all bad. What you should do when you’re angry is think about the situation. Breathe in through your nose and out through mouth. Then proceed. Things often said and done in anger are remembered most and can lead to awful endings.

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2. True Acceptance of Others Comes from Understanding and Appreciating the Differences and Gifts

This relates to the Savages vs Civilized Folk issue. John Smith mistakenly calls Pocahontas and her people savages. This word, filthy and despicable, hurts Pocahontas deeply. It then leads her to sing the most beautiful song in the movie, “Colors of the Wind” (check it out if you haven’t heard it). It talks about judgement and acceptance of others. The lesson: You can do no such thing until you know someone. Until you’ve walked in their moccasins (oh wait…that’s a book I read as a child). BUT YOU ALL GET THE POINT! Don’t judge people. You can’t do that. If you do, you don’t appreciate them and you definitely can’t accept them. And if you can’t accept them, how will you recognize that they are a gift to your life?

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3. Nothing Can Stop True Love…So Don’t You Try To

Seriously! This is pretty straight forward. Person A meets Person B. There’s a spark. Things get pretty intense. Person A or B, for whatever reason, decide to cool it…or fight it…or let other people come between it. But you know who wins in the end? LOVE! So don’t fight.

“And that’s all I have to say about that!” – Forrest Gump

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4. The Earth IS Important. Take Care of It As It Has Taken Care of You

So, here’s the gist of this. John Smith comes to the “New World”. People are already living there. In his mind, they aren’t using the land “to its full potential” because they “don’t know any better.” His buddies (and of course him) want to tear down the trees, build big buildings, roads, and stuff because that’s what the “civilized” do. However, Pocahontas teaches him a lesson (through song…amazing! I want to say it’s Colors of the Wind) about loving the earth and taking ONLY what’s necessary. Everything else…leave it there. Because it’s good and that is the CIVIL thing to do. We can take a lesson from this. As the weather continues to lose its mind, we should use that as the reminder for finding sustainable and alternative energy options. We are killing Mother Earth and she’s not happy (then again, when have you known anything that’s dying unwillingly to be happy?). We need to remember that this world isn’t for us. It’s for our Children’s Children’s Children — three generations out folks. Give it to them in the best condition possible.

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5. Best Friends Do Things Because They Love Us, It Doesn’t Always Make Sense

Sometimes people do things that we don’t understand. Sometimes we do things that people don’t understand. It makes it even harder to understand when the person is close to you. But you should never doubt for one second that the person loves you (unless of course, their behavior says, “I don’t love you!”). In a very telling scene, the very one that makes me dislike Nokoma (Pocahontas’ best friend forever, in case you forgot), I also see why I love her more. She worried about her. That’s what you do when you love someone. Now, I wasn’t down with the whole “Tell the serious suitor who wants to marry your best friend that’s she traipsing in the woods” deal, but I understood it. I got why she did. It’s because she loved her and she meant it. She showed it through her actions and did what she thought was best for her. That’s all that best friends (and family) do. But sometimes it doesn’t make sense. And that’s fine too.

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6. Hindsight Will ALWAYS Be 20/20

Boy oh boy! This snippet says it all. We go through life. We stumble. We make mistakes. We wonder what if? We get things WRONG! After it’s over, we say, “If I just would have done this differently…” Well, you didn’t! So suck it up! Stop looking back! Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. It’s perfect because it’s the past. But we can’t let that stop us. We can learn and use it as a reference (like we use our encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, and other reference books…because I know we use them). And that’s the great thing about life…we’ll keep going.

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7. Follow Your Heart, Stay True to Your Path

There’s a huge theme that comes up in the movie, very early on. Pocahontas tells her father that she “feels” something happening and then inquire as to what it is. Many of us do this. We feel something. It moves us. It pushes us into a certain direction. And like Pocahontas, we often look to others to ask what it is. The key difference between her Father and Grandmother Willow was that Pocahontas was told to listen to her heart. We should all do this. We’re only given one life to live, one path to take. No one else can do this for us. Suggestions are good…but they are NOT our roadmaps. So close your eyes, breathe in, listen to your heart, and take off down your path!

After you open your eyes of course.

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8. Listen to Those Who Have Come Before You (People and Spirits Alike)

In this movie, there are key elders for Pocahontas. One being her Father and the other being Grandmother Willow. I think it’s great that Disney gives her two figures to look to advice to. We’re all experienced at something, so find the elders that are willing to teach you, even if for a moment. Listen to them! They’ve lived life. I know, this can be a hard thing to do, especially if your experience is greatly different from theirs (in my own experience, I’ve gone further in my education than either my parents, aunts, uncles, and godparents, but I still go to them for help and advice). However, there’s one thing that they’ll always have on you that hopefully comes with wisdom and that’s AGE. So listen. Take the encouragement, bottle it up, and put it in your pocket. Take the tongue-lashings, bottle it up, and put it on the shelf (as a reminder sometimes, don’t carry that with you though…just the encouragement). They’ve LIVED! So listen.

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9. There Is A Leader In Every One Of Us

At the end of the movie, or very close to the end, we see that Young Thomas (why doesn’t he have a last name) becomes the one that the older men look to for answers. Why? It’s simple. He’s pure of heart and showed leadership potential. Every one of us has something that just moves our spirit to the point that we HAVE to do something. So go do it! Be that leader. If you’re afraid, just dig deep. You may see that someone is cheering you on and is very willing to follow! GO LEAD!

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10. Crooked Politicians Should Never Be Trusted

The Governor was downright despicable. Not my kind of guy AT ALL. He manipulated men who had dreams to further his own agenda. Even after he realized his agenda was false, he continued on his path of destruction. Don’t be like him. You never want to be like him. But he WAS the Governor. How many politicians do we see like this? Doesn’t it hurt to know the people you’ve placed your trust in by casting a vote only wants to further their own agenda and not the interests of the people? It hurts me whenever I think about it. So what can we do? Simple! Stay involved. Stay on their heads. Put their numbers next to the ones that you call the most. Write a letter every now and then to say, “I really hope you’re doing what I voted you to do. If not, I need to get on the CORRECT agenda. Thanks.” They are there to work for us…not the other way around.

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So, while I enjoy Miley and Partying cuz I’m in the U.S.A., Pocahontas was a necessary movie for me while growing up. These are the things that it taught/reinforced (I believe I was 5 when it was released…or 6) for me. These are things that have since become important tenets in how I lead my life today. I just hope that young girls are finding lessons in the things that Miley and Hannah are showing them.

Dream.Hope.Believe.

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© This post was written on February 12, 2010 after watching the fantastic Disney movie, Pocahontas™. All thoughts in this post are that of the author except where credit is given.