Get Off Base

Get off Base. That simple. All of us have a ‘next step’ to take whether it be short term, intermediary, or long term.  But when we find ourselves stalling for whatever reason (lethargy, fear, anger, resentment, comfort, etc) others are short changed. Think about baseball. If the runs (hits instead of outs) are coming in and someone does not move off the base-the play cannot be finished. You cannot win a game without scoring. 

By now, you are shrugging your shoulders saying Retta-we get it, we know it.

Okay, so let me run a list of things we have not taking our next steps on:

  1. Becoming active
  2. Making time for others
  3. Apologizing
  4. Mending a broken relationship
  5. Letting go of toxic partners, friends, jobs, or relatives
  6. That vacation spot you talk up all the time
  7. The hobby you envy others for doing
  8. Counseling (self or group/family/couples)
  9. Volunteering
  10. Mentoring
  11. Home repairs
  12. Investing
  13. Saving
  14. Cleaning up (you fill in the blank)
  15. Speaking up for self

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list but it covers enough items that we put off or delay.

Look over this list or yet-get bold and create your own list.

Now, write down the REAL reason you have not done it. I mean small steps. What would it look like to start. What mentally, emotionally, and physically stops you from starting, maintaining, or completing any task or step you have not made thus far. When you get honest (ie don’t lie to yourself) about what is really holding you back-you can begin to reclaim your mojo. I am currently working on this especially when it comes to relationships. I’m learning how to address without blame. Find my words without shame. It’s tough. It’s easy to pout, throw tantrums, point fingers, and run away from the pain. It’s tough apologizing even when you’re right. It’s hard to swallow commentary for the sake of getting to the root of an issue. But it’s also rewarding reconciling or finding peace with letting go if there’s nothing left you can do-once you have found the cohounas to get off base and take your next steps.

I leave it to you all to dig deep this week. Find an accountability person/partner. List 1 or 2 things you really want to see through-and get off the base.

New Beginnings

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Recently, I made a huge decision to step down from something I love-my work. I enjoyed it but I felt like the Universe was pushing me and I needed time to figure out what’s next. It’s time to hit the reset button while spending more time with family/friends.

This has been an interesting walk thus far. As expected, my days are all mixed with both highs and lows. Any time you embark on a journey such as this-your ego and personality have to shift. Some of the false and broken records you have allowed to loop in your thoughts and values will surface. You will be faced with fears (real or imagined) and that wonderful little ego will go through changes.

In a nut shell, it’s not easy being healthy. I am unlearning 25 years of wrong thinking and poor wellness habits. My days are now filled with rising early to complete two miles of exercise. I set daily goals and weekly plans with accountability margins built in. I monitor my language and notice when I’m not being kind to myself in speech ( we all do it). I am also aware of how I allowed my career or achievements define my entire being.

I’m on a mission to reclaim myself. I only have one shot at me and I have some work to do. My walking partner this morning was a retired teacher and she spoke on learning to pull back and prioritize her wellness upon retirement in 2008. I appreciate her anecdote because it reminded me that the journey I am on is for a reason and my season is now.

My mindset has been tested and I find myself enjoying the support of friends and family. It feels good to see life at a slower more intentional pace. I’m learning that my needs/desires are changing. But, my old self has to die off for me to stay on track. Just tonight/today, I made a decision that normally would have bothered me dearly. It turned out to be one of the best nights ever filled with laughter and joy. I’m glad I prayed and readjusted my path. This is something I’m longing to do more of for life is short. I want all the connections with the new and old. This is why we take our daily breath. This is why I desire to start anew.

Cheers to new beginnings.

I Thought I Had an Answer Once…

One of my favorite lines of a song comes from Little Dragon’s “Twice.” The second verse begins with, “I thought I had an answer once.” As, I looked over a drooling list of things last week I wanted to share…quickly this lyric was scribbled down on a mini booklet kept in my purse. My head was whirling around with things that I know others may be grappling with and I figured by today I would know exactly what to pen.

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As I, like many others, begin to cope with the lost with a slice of life known as Robin Williams-my mind lingers towards the things we don’t always lean into. Many of my friends and counseling/student affairs colleagues or discussing the survival of suicide and the struggle for those who are on either side of depression, anxiety, and trauma. One colleague in particular, began a post for those who felt comfortable to discuss their journey with depression or any mental/emotional journey.

I found myself thinking about an exact moment in time. In my mid-twenties, I had a lot going on and definitely not enough inner stamina to sustain myself. I bore a lot of crosses and had no idea that I was undergoing a much-needed transformation. I was letting go of an angry, rough exterior and learning that I deserved love and healthy relationships. Never the less, there were moments where I went into seclusion, showed up to work late, numbed/froze through the day, basically slipped into survival moment. God placed me in the care of the right supervisors that did not kick me when I was down and showed more love as I spiraled. One evening, I stopped picking up the phone. It turned into days. My friends (in Atlanta) began reaching out to one another. They left heartfelt pleas on my answering machine…and then one of them just decided to not let up. He told me in a message that me giving up was not going to be good enough for him. He vowed to keep calling and even more until I made contact. I finally gave in and picked up the phone.

Life didn’t get perfect after that moment. But I knew I didn’t want my friends and family worried. I also knew, that they understood there were times when I wasn’t okay and they were willing to help me take my next steps whatever that meant.

I mention this moment because everyday someone loses a loved one due to suicide. I know some may read my little anecdote and dismiss it. I would urge that person to stop/put the measuring stick down. Everyone’s world and story is unique. At the end of the day, we just want to belong and find our place in this world. When those things do not add up emotionally, mentally, or chemically life becomes even more difficult to navigate.

There is no real answer to mental/emotional wellness outside learning to care for someone other than yourself. I had the privilege two years ago to speak up and confront someone’s symptoms of depression and it gave that young lady the courage to move forward, step out of college for a moment, and get what she needed. It wasn’t a big conversation. It was in one of those, I’m passing by moments that I stopped and acknowledge her pain by saying, “Is everything okay? Seems like something is going on.” She told me the surface level stuff because of time, but later that night the student went into detail and a day later made some tough decisions that were necessary.

That is not a hero moment. That’s a ” great to be willing to help others be vulnerable/human moment.”  Moving forward, put aside your assumptions or notions on mental/emotional wellness and take an interest in those around you. We are our brother’s/sister’s keepers.

Thank you Carrie Bradshaw

Almost a month ago, I had the opportunity to have a lounge filled Saturday afternoon on the sofa. This was a wonderful moment to re-watch Sex in the City the Movie. Of course I’ve viewed this movie time and time again. I love it each time I watch it, but something was different this time.

For the first time, I feel like I overstand the movie and really felt where all the characters contributed to the initial non-marriage of Carrie and Big. Specifically, I want to zero in on Carrie, Miranda, and Big.

Big-he knew what he wanted. Problem: Big didn’t speak enough fast enough about his view of marriage and help Carrie understand that his feelings were important. He stated and pointed out his fears but Carrie in her quest for a spectacular event glazed right on by. How many times do we all in our jobs, relationships. and other places allow those we care about to glaze past our needs. Note to selves: speak up, even when it hurts. Don’t be afraid of the repeat button either. Squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Miranda-we all have that bitter, rigid friend. I do not condone loosey goosey people or tendencies. However, life has taught me not to be a Pharisee (see the Bible). We all make mistakes. Some are deal breakers. But, even when we are hurt-it is important to look in the mirror to see how we have contributed to every situation. Miranda’s husband was wrong but she sure didn’t make life pleasurable or easy. We all get caught up in the rat race but she really needed to live a little. Also, her negativity spewed over so much-it took root in an unsuspecting relationship. Reminder for us all to be careful of our company and keeping space sometimes when everyone is not healthy.

Lastly, we have Carrie. Carrie simply wanted to spend the rest of her life with Big. She allowed the hype and desires of others to supersede the simplicity of being in love with the right man for her life.  From the photo shoot to friends who meant well. Carrie got lost in the hoopla. That was a deep moment for me. I began to realize how often I dream but then life or commentary from others will chip away or add to my original vision. This was a huge lesson for me to learn to keep things simple and stick to what I desire.

So, as we move into a new week…perhaps we all should lift back the curtain to see what things we need to scale back down to size. It’s like a painting almost-nothing beats the original design.

Running Shoes

“Hmmm…I see you have your running shoes on Rainbow.”

That was my thought earlier today before climbing out of bed. It had been a minute (not too long) since I felt like I had a good reflective moment with the Lord. As of late, I’ve been grappling with this thing we call a job search. Funny thing is-it varies in format, duration, and hoops per industry. My current industry is Student Affairs and I have begun to realize that I run a marathon daily from myself and the conditioning required to become the person I desire.

So, you know this comes with a story. Always.

Recently, I have become sensitive to how many times I am corrected on the small things like speech, sayings, and other mannerisms. It’s during times like this that I want to run full force back to Corporate America. Keep in mind-inclusive practices reside there as well. But, I recently had some discussions with a colleague about words such as gip (could be linked to gypsies) or redneck (could be offensive in description). We also discussed absence of something (prayer or religious overtones) does not create inclusion (but there is responsibility to do no harm).

It’s during these moments in which I find myself struggling over sensitivity. Where are the days where people pulled it together and kept things in context? Perhaps I do not belong in this world. I have sat in countless meetings with that thought running wild. I also began to ponder about a job opportunity (s) that I am looking towards and fear snuck in. Perhaps, I’m not cut out for a world of idealism in which there is a problem with everything.

Then it hit me. Take your hand off the escape button and put your running shoes down. See, I had already began planning my escape route without much thought. Things are becoming hard to navigate and I wanted no parts anymore. Reality quickly took root. This is what it looks like when God prunes away your impurities.

During your in between stages-there is a constant pruning away of the person you once were. As I continue my job search, I realize my current professional direction pushes me further and further away from my roots or past. I cannot think the same and embrace inclusion. I cannot look back without tripping in the present. I have to let my old self die so that the new self can journey safely towards whatever destiny that awaits. It’s only when discomfort raises its head that a flight schedule appears in 2.2 seconds.

But I need this discomfort. It signals that I’m on the right path and there’s exposure waiting for me. Exposure to new things and access to deep seeded impurities that need to be removed. It doesn’t happen with ease or in the good times. This phenomenon occurs when your patience runs short and when insecurity perpetrates as your new best friend.

So, as  I take a seat…I take a bow to fear-not in support but acknowledgement. I almost took a wrong turn today.  Fortunately, my inner spirit spoke and those running shoes are back on the floor.

Letting Go with Both Hands

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Seems like I might have started something. If so, I’m glad for obedience. Last night I was sitting down to relax when I heard the Spirit tell me to write. The spirit wouldn’t let up. I had been there before and knew-that was my grace. Shock of my life. I received some great messages from friends that took time to read my post. It sparked so many valuable conversations as well as a greater level of enlightenment. Of course, in my head-I thought that was the gist of it. Wrong.

Remember in the last post I was speaking about a book entitled “Fake Talk” by John Stoker. The book is uncovering so many layers. I had no idea the level of peeling that was about to occur. See the message below that I rattled to some friends over facebook early this morning in between work errands: (no edits-appears as written)

Good morning-i have to share a God blessing with you all this morning. Y’all know i’m a perfectionist and I place a lot of pressure onto myself frequently. But through reading, learning, and you all i’m getting better at letting go. Well long story short-i’ve been avoiding my boss b/c of fear of negativity with my search. This morning she pops over-of course im praying like ugghh-God take the wheel. She actually brought my blessing. She supported me and my search. She reminded me that last year I quit my search early worrying about my staff and she didn’t want me to do that again. She does not want me in Oct. to feel like-I passed up on a good thing. I couldn’t hold my face. I had to whisper “can i hug you?”-and we both cried. I was need in of support and couldn’t ask for it. See i built a mental pic in my head that folks are judging me b/c im judging myself. You have no idea how relieved I feel right now. I feel like i have a second chance to take my search slower but actually do a knock-out job applying for something real.

That moment could not happen until I let go. I mean let go with both hands like you are 7 years old on the bike that you have finally mastered to navigate without hands. It’s an exhilarating feeling when you can allow yourself to feel instead of numb. Hurt instead of hide. Cry instead of shame. And finally, laugh instead of complain. Everything is not right in my world right now. But, I’ve spent so many days as of late not really devoted to Jesus or anything healthy. Bogged down in feeling left behind or not good enough. Funny thing is-if you just let go (you fill in the blank) -see what God does in his own timing.

You can’t make a job hire you. You can’t make an estranged person love you. You can’t make yourself matter to a (fill in the blank) if it is not in the cards. But you can matter to yourself. When you matter you can forgive and not one up people. You can let a debt slide and know that good will find its way to you. You can hold your tongue and offer mercy when someone lashes out at you. You can even say a prayer-when someone smothers your voice in a moment of dire need to be important.

What you cannot do-is create a self-fulfilling prophecy by limiting yourself and others with what happened yesterday. FEAR will eat away at your soul, let alone your dreams. I was just speaking Fear all through my future last night-until  heard my own words. I realized the future didn’t or wouldn’t have a chance until I found the courage to let go.

I will continue to add to this message of letting go and forgiveness but it is my prayer that where this message finds you-you will be able to take what you need and add to it. And if it adds a blessing to your moment please share. It’s not about me. It’s about the beauty of healing.

Courage to Move

A lot has transpired within the past three months. I have seen dreams crash and burn. I have also seen old dreams awaken after decades of sleep. One thing that is without fail, when God gives you orders to move-it would behoove you to do so. See, His grace is for an appointed time.

I believe my experiences I have taught that once we start getting lost in our thoughts and not following that inner prompting to move on what is right, we lose that opportunity. What is for you is indeed for you. But, obedience and timing do make the difference.

I have to admit I question my small voice just to experience the regret of finding out that voice was right. I was reading a book called “Fake Talk” today and it unravels the mystery of emotional intelligence and where irrational thoughts thrive. Short and sweet, it’s interpretation. Sometimes what we see is more of what we interpret. That’s what makes that small voice safe. It isn’t analytical and it is not ego based. That small voice, spirit, intuition, etc. has the pulse on opportunity as well as your passion.

So, do yourself a favor today. Silence the noise and distractions so you may hear your next move when it is speaking to you!

Living life out loud on purpose

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