Archive | September 2016

Mastering My Master Dream List!ūüĒģ

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Remember when you were a kid and the question was¬†asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” ¬†Maybe you said, fireman, teacher, artist or whatever was in your heart. The point being, you’ve had dreams your entire life. Some of us embrace our dreams and some of us go, I don’t have time for “dreams”. Life is about reality and it’s just not going to happen.

Somewhere along the line dreams became a dirty word. Something for children. I believe without pursuing dreams we’re not really alive, we’re merely existing. And the result, this entire life journey becomes naught. To sum it up, we were born, went to some job we hated, and then we died. Now, is that the way you envision your life?

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Throughout our series, Discover What’s Next: Living Your Life on Purpose, we’ve been exploring our “Purpose” and the necessary steps to take as we travel down the road to awareness. This is our next exercise in the course, reflecting and writing down our:

Master Dream List

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Pursuing a dream doesn’t mean just thinking about it and boom, it’s realized. Achieving ¬†our passions takes faith, planning, and execution. And the first step to that end is writing them down.

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So, now we’re going to create our Master Dream List. I want you to think of some of the wishes you’ve had since, well, forever. Is it a destination? Is it a career? Is it a creative endeavor? Whatever they are, put pen to paper (or fingers on keys) and take them out of your head and place them into view.

Let’s look at the things we’ve been saying we’re going to do but never have. Like my English teacher from junior high,¬†Fannie B. Raeford used to say, “Procrastination is the thief of time.”

 

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Here’s my list so far. If you’d like to share, let me know yours in the comments.

 

Master Dream List

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* Trip to Florence, Italy – Traveling to in May¬†2017. I’ve been fascinated by the Renaissance artists for years and I made myself a promise after chemotherapy and radiation treatment for my colon and breast cancer to not waste another minute on dreaming about the journey but act on it since I fully understand that tomorrow is not promised. So excited! Don’t worry, there will be a post on the trip.ūüėäūüõĄ

* Writing a book – Watching Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul Sunday and listening to authors who write about faith and positive energy I said to myself, “Hey, I not only have¬†the experience with the subject matter thru my cancer journey but I’ve been chronicling these experiences from day one.” There’s no reason I can’t make an appearance on the show to discuss my observations and beliefs on the power of faith and positive energy.

I’ve already started the process and will be turning my blog into a full-fledged book. Publication date to be announced.

* Living in another country – Destination and timing still being formulated. However, after the election, I may have to move up my timetable.‚Ěďūüėä

 

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As new dreams arise, I’ll be adding them to my Master Dream List.

How about you?

 

 

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Humanity

 

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The “Purpose” and mission for¬†this blog are to uplift my audience and give testimony to my belief in the power of faith and positive energy in one’s life.

As a survivor of both colon and breast cancer, I’ve been both humbled and blessed with God’s grace and favor.

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My heart has been so heavy with grief, anger, and troubled not only as a result of the lives taken in the past few days and weeks but what I see as the ongoing dehumanization of our fellow man.

I work with words and strive to expressly communicate on a daily basis. With that goal in mind, today I find the necessity to express myself thru words and music.

 

Let us all take this moment to pray for compassion and the future of our humanity.

 

Living a Life of LoveūüíĖ

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Sometimes I feel like a walking ball of emotion. For example, I was enjoying my morning coffee while reading Facebook and came across a video post highlighting President Obama’s tenure as President of the United States and his beautiful family and started to cry. Every time I see him and the First Lady and the incredible job they’ve done raising their daughters, I weep for what this country is losing that can never be replaced.

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My cancer fight has made me profoundly aware of the fragility and the preciousness of every day. It makes my “Purpose” of uplifting people to embrace¬†faith and adopt a more positive attitude all the more important. However, in my efforts to bring hope and vision to others, I realize sometimes I’m less patient with those who take their daily blessings for granted.¬†

Well, this is a perfect opportunity for me to take that realization, adjust my attitude and turn this into a positive opportunity for continued self-discovery. With that intention, and per my usual approach, I started to research about the meaning of patience and found the above quote resonated with me.

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I’ve written in a previous post, “Deconstructing Love”, about the John Lennon quote: “All You Need is Love” as not being an easy proposition. Walking in Love is far more difficult than hating. I believe that’s why we get so frustrated with those who hate on others and say and commit the most despicable acts. Walking in Love means we can’t lower ourselves to retaliate on their level because then we become just as deplorable as they are. We have to rise above, continue to Love and have Faith.¬†

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It’s so important to surround yourself with positive thoughts and people. If I concede that Love is Patience, then I always need to be aware of that when a situation or person pushes that particular button. If I can’t practice what I preach then I need to shut up for that means I’m not really living a mindful life and staying true to this practice is tantamount to my happiness.

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We all have choices in how we interpret and handle a specific situation or event. Do we think what opportunity may lie in the moment or do we fight, blame, or cop out and put our head in the sand? I wake up every morning and remind myself that our lives are a result and accumulation of the choices we make. As a reinforcement, this quote by Norman Vincent Peale is strategically placed in my bathroom as one of the first thoughts I see each morning.

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I have a conviction that the quality of our lives depends on practicing mindful intention. Conducting ourselves each day with a sense of consciousness. Being aware that the only real control is determined by and a consequence of our state of mind. 

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We can be our own best friend or our own worse enemy. The choice is up to us. I’m crafting my life so I leave this world with no regrets. As an expression of awareness, my sister posted a very heartfelt sentiment on Facebook this morning that read:

The people we love need to hear those words from us. When we relate to the world from a positive position we are more likely to respect these feelings and understand the importance of the 3 little words that can change the course of someone’s day.

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Don’t take your blessings and the loved ones in your life for granted. Engage with a positive mindset and reject the negative. Change our relationship to the daily happenstances¬†and decide to wield the only real power; the power to accept, deny, or make that lemonade. It’s totally up to you!

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Life Reimagined Series: The Six Practices of Purpose

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Finding our “Purpose” can feel like a daunting path to follow; intense in its undertaking. My “purpose” for tackling this course – Discover What’s Next: Living Your Life on Purpose is to reassess my life after the destiny-altering experience of being diagnosed with both colon and breast cancer simultaneously, dealing with the subsequent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and ultimately emerging as a survivor.

 

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As a result of my cancer challenge and to further personal growth, I’m investigating the possibilities of what my life may hold and sharing this quest of introspection¬†and discovery with you as I take classes and reflect on ways to live my life with purpose.

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I invite you to follow along with this Life Reimagined Series by regularly reading my blog. Perhaps together we can discover our passions and imagine the endless possibilities.

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“Discovering Your Path to Purpose”

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Once we’ve decided to find our Purpose, where do we begin? What are the next steps involved?¬†In this lesson, the plan of action was laid out and assignment moving forward made clear.¬†

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1. Reflect

2. Connect

3. Explore

4. Choose

5. RePack

6. Act

 

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1. Reflect

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Going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and how I was living. I believe this introspection is essential to personal and spiritual growth.

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My diagnosis was an incredible opportunity to step back and appreciate all the love in my life and the importance of making each moment count. I’m traveling to Florence, Italy next May as a result of my resolution to go for my dreams; a destination I’ve wanted to experience for far too many years. There’s a quote from the play, Rent that sums it up best. “No Day But Today!”

 

2. Connect

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There was a time before cancer that I was reticent to discuss my thoughts, fears, dreams with others. Not even family. I didn’t realize the importance of these connections and sincere desire my friends and family had to help me in any way they could. Don’t be like I was, make sure to connect with family and friends. They know you better than you think. Discuss your reflections with your bestie¬†or whomever you feel would be a great sounding board.

3. Explore

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Listen to where your heart is leading you and don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities. Read, go on the internet, research, and talk to people to open yourself up to opportunities you didn’t even know existed. As you feel more confident about sharing your “Purpose”, take a chance, you might just open up some new doors to what you’ve been searching for.

4. Choose

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Now, we’re not on an endless trip to discover our passions. That’s the old “I’ll get around to it” dodge too many of us make. Be sure to narrow down your options and pathways. But remember, you don’t have to stick to just one idea. Try on a couple to see what makes the better fit.

 

5. Repack

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This step is crucial in the process. We must all decide what’s¬†essential and what’s not for the next phase of our journey. It might be difficult but must be done. We have to let go of what’s not working and those who aren’t helping. Step into the fresh air. This is your life!

 

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6. Act

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This is when the grand adventure starts. Taking that one small step forward on your path. 

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Where you begin is up to you.

 

Along my pathway of self-discovery I’ve benefited from applying “The Six Practices of Purpose.” Even before taking this course, my natural progression has led me to these principals. I’ve found it’s an excellent blueprint for revealing and strengthening my passion and “Purpose” which is:¬†

“To share my observations on living a joyful life by writing on faith and positive energy.”

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“Who Am I Meant to Be?” 9/11/2012

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FaceBook memories can be great because they take us back to a point in time, or a point of view we had at a particular moment in our lives. Today’s look back took me to¬†a post from 4 years ago – September 11, 2012, reflections from my first blog.

I hadn’t thought of this post in a long while, but it reminds me that I’ve been on a self-discovery quest for many years. My featured series:¬†Discover What‚Äôs Next – Living Your Life on Purpose, is a¬†way of sharing my journey and hopefully in the process bringing others along for the ride.

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“Who Am I Meant to Be?”

First published on Blogger.com on 9/11/2012

Whenever I¬†describe myself I usually use the phrase “A work in progress.”¬†¬†Just when¬†I think I’ve¬†achieved that “ah ha” moment¬†I reluctantly have¬†to admit¬†that “ah ha” what I know for sure is nothing.¬† If you’ve read my other 2 posts you’ll probably notice¬†a¬†reoccurring theme; attempting to figure out what the heck to do with this life and then how to go about achieving it.¬†

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It took me forever to write “Best of Times Worse of Times” because of over-analyzing the¬†process.¬† I need to¬†fully understand a concept before expressing my thoughts.¬†¬†My background is¬†traditional writing – newspapers, articles, even poetry.¬† But blogging?¬† That arena felt foreign and therefore uncomfortable in my mind.¬† Finally, I just had to do what I did in junior high to learn how to swim. Jump into the deep end and let the struggle for survival take over.¬† It worked!¬† I guess that’s just how¬†to approach blogging.¬† Jump in and have faith¬†in my¬†skills and my ability to pull¬†it off.¬†

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Okay, this might sound like it’s “off point”, but when I lived in Minneapolis, I worked for a marketing firm and reps from various magazines would¬†often leave¬†complimentary copies.¬†¬†On one particular occasion,¬†the rep from Oprah magazine asked if I’d like a copy and because my mother raised me right I accepted with a “thank you.”¬† I’m a firm believer in cosmic energy and karma and¬†believe this particular edition of Oprah came to me¬†as a vision quest for my¬†life.¬† On the cover of¬†the magazine in bold, 48 point font¬†was the title “Who Are You Meant to Be?”¬† Well, I don’t think the Universe needed to scream much louder because I had to check it out to¬†see if Oprah actually had a clue as to who I’m meant to be.

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This edition included a quiz¬†based on personality science.¬† It identifies seven “Striving Styles,” modes of thought and behavior that direct us to seek satisfaction in different ways.¬† The article went on to explain that although everybody is wired with all seven styles, most people have one that dominates.¬† The payoff for taking the quiz is to discover your striving style and use that style for the best shot at fulfilling your potential.¬† Now I’m definitely in!

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I won’t go into all the questions but the Seven Styles are:¬†Striving to Help, Striving to Be Recognized, Striving to Be Creative, Striving to Be Spontaneous, Striving to Be Knowledgeable, Striving to Be Secure and Striving to Be in Control.¬† I was sure my personality would play out as Striving to Be Creative or Spontaneous but it blew me away when my score added up to¬†Striving to Be Knowledgeable – You are an Intellectual.¬† I’ve never considered myself to be an intellectual.¬† My husband’s the intellectual in the family for Pete’s sake!¬† But, as I continued to read their definition,¬†intellectual means being incisive and curious; driven to understand how things work.

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I read that article over 2 years ago and the irony is I’m still trying to figure out who I’m meant to be.¬† My life has taken several twists and turns since that day I pondered my place in the world.¬† Truth be told, who we are¬†isn’t set in stone.¬† We are perpetual “Striving Styles” because our lives aren’t linear.¬† We are constantly adjusting our style to meet the hopes, dreams, and challenges we face along¬†our paths.

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¬†“Ah ha”! –¬†I do strive to help, be recognized, be creative and¬†spontaneous. And “Ah ha”! – I also strive to be¬†knowledgeable, secure and in control.¬†¬† Who am I meant to be?¬† The book is still out on that one.

Love this post! And yes, I’m still a work in progress!

“Where No One Has Gone Before”

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Today we Trekkies around the world celebrate 50 years of the groundbreaking series, “Star Trek” and the infinite possibilities it explored!

I was an eleven-year-old black girl from the east side of Detroit on September 8, 1966, and was totally enthralled with a show unlike any other I’d seen before. With a concept of multinational and cultural cooperation, Gene Roddenberry put into action the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s immortal speech, “I have a dream.”¬†

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Possibilities, endless possibilities of technology, vision, and understanding. There were others like me across the country who also envisioned the world where everyone was truly created equal and for 1 hour each week we got to journey into space with the crew of the Starfleet starship, USS Enterprise whose mission was to explore and learn from the galaxy, its lifeforms, and civilizations.

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William Shatner has a documentary entitled “How¬†William Shatner Changed the World”. Although boisterous on his part, Captain Kirk had a point. We see in “Star Trek” the early potential of computers, the idea of the cell phone, and although not yet, to my dismay, teleportation without turning into “The Fly”.¬†ūüėĄ

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Isn’t it tremendous what human beings are capable of accomplishing once we put our energy into progress versus standing still or going backward in time? ¬†If we let go of the notion of race, right and wrong religions, sexes, embrace our differences as the melding of inspirational ideas and perspectives, there’d be no limitations to what the human race could achieve!

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So, In the words of Spock, “Live Long and Prosper!”

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“Nothing is Real ‘Til I Make It.”

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Every morning I make a list of what’s on the agenda for the day. Yesterday morning I found myself feeling anxious and wondered where that was coming from. I believe the key to living a mindful life is stopping and examining our emotional triggers when they occur.

 

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First – take a deep breath, Second – ask yourself:

 

  • What am I feeling? – Anxiety, fear, depression, etc.

  • How long have I been feeling this way? – For a while? Just started?

  • Why am I feeling this way? – What happened? What was the Trigger?

 

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mind·ful·ness

1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”

2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

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Like a journalist, “Who, What, When, Where, Why”, scoping out the details, I believe we write our own story. We do so by picking up the pen and envisioning how the day will transpire. One of my favorite quotes is – “In the story of your life, don’t let somebody else hold the pen”.

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Because my husband tends to look at the world with a more pragmatic eye, I decided to pose the question – what comes to mind when you¬†hear the statement – “Nothing is Real ‘Til I Make It”? I wanted his opinion on how this outlook applies, practically. His response – “Vision, dreams, and aspirations. However, that’s all fine and well until you have to do something with it. When talking to clients about their¬†vision, I remind them that until you take the necessary steps to realize your aspirations, they probably won’t happen.”

 

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We both agreed that planning and preparation are essential to attaining our goals and he referenced Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as a great read on blending the philosophic with the practical since Covey’s message is about creating our reality through a “holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems.”¬†

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey

Investigating my feelings yesterday, I believe the trigger was my upcoming Web Design class. I always want to do my best, so being a little competitiveūüėĄ I check out my classmate’s projects for comparison. Understanding we have various levels of knowledge on this subject, I strive to be as creative as I can and set a standard for my work. ¬†

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The class hadn’t even happened yet and I was already starting to doubt my abilities. So, taking the mindful approach, I decided that instead of feeling anxious about how my project would turn out, I stopped, took a¬†breath, and told myself ¬†– “Nothing is real ’til I make it.” ¬†In Covey terms,¬†that meant being attentive in class, reviewing my notes, asking questions, and producing the best project possible. ¬†Effecting my success by marrying both faith¬†and plain, old-fashioned, hard work.

 

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I’m always advocating if you believe it you can achieve it, so, this was a perfect opportunity to take my own advice:)

 

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