Plans

Wow, plans change. Life is really that simple. I remember one of my besties, actually my twin telling me moons ago that I get bent out of shape when my plans fall through. I remember it like yesterday, disputing that truth. Resistance, is typically the first sign of something holding at least a grain of merit.

Over the years, I have come to realize that my plans are truly not HIS God’s plans. Never in a million years would I look on a map and find a city in the mid-west to call my new home or adventure at least. Yet, here I stand in the heart of a metropolis over 500 miles from the state I know as my home.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for three weeks now, but I think life and the Lord needed me to add a few more vegetables to what has sized up to be a great meal. When a person arrives, they grow to be okay with uncertainty. When a person arrives, they put aside the familiar and try something new. Life does not have to go the way it was envisioned nor does it have to feel comfortable as hoped.

Two weeks ago, I re-read a card that I looked at yet again from my Sis Ericka. She quoted someone worthy and I want to share that with you. I found this blessing prayer as I stood boldly in the apartment of my new city with no certainty of tomorrow. My heart found peace after reading this.

Blessing prayer by Susie Larson

“Start a Day Blessing: May God give you a sense of what He’s up to in your life. May you see glimpses of the breakthrough that’s just up ahead. May you-with all your heart-believe that trusting Him over what your eyes see, is totally and completely worth it. May you shift your weight off of your logical reasonings and onto the weightiness of His powerful promises to you. You’ve got help and resources that go far beyond anything you could ever need. Smile with joy and walk by faith today. He’s got you.”

More Bags

“OOOOOOO Wow,” my Mother exclaimed as she basked in the view of my, freshly retrieved from my former storage unit, array of bags. Suitcases to gym bags to University swag bags, to colorful grocery eco-friendly bags gathered together in unity around one of the bedrooms of her home. I would like to believe there were on the cusp of singing we shall overcome as I unpacked them one by one, shifting my belongings into vacuum seal bags.

I never saw the room that way and actually found myself tilting my head to behold the same view that my Mother expressed. It was true. I couldn’t help but perk up and smile as I saw a wealth of experiences and journeys enveloping my being in that room. I was able to see each trip I took to Miami to visit Ailin and family. I saw the many Universities I worked with and the moments of connecting with others on both similarities and differences. I also saw the invaluable experiences gained through personal experiences from my 20’s & 30’s.

A feeling of relief entered my heart. I am currently embarking on a healthy, holistic journey. In the past, if I mentioned bags-it had more to do with where I had been and issues unresolved. Now, as I look at the bags surrounding me, my eyes are anew with appreciation for purposeful steps I am taking towards the life I want to live. I am no longer, running from what scares or shares my being.

Yes, my Mother is right. The bags in that room are amazing and I deserve to be awestruck in their beauty as well as wonder. For those bags hold memories of my life’s work, passion, purpose, and promise.

My Letter

Thank you in advance for forgiving my brief hiatus.

No excuses to offer, just a conflict of priorities and a decision made to let rest become my temporary priority.

In between errands, life pursuits, and other strategic musings, I had the opportunity to behold something special in a current read on Whitespace, spirituality, and ptsd. Towards the end of a chapter, the author called for the reader (me) to take a moment and consider what Jesus would say in a letter. Hmmm. My initial response was, “I don’t have time for this.”

Three weeks later, I’m here contemplating what would Jesus write to me in a letter today.

The author challenged for the reader to envision what Jesus may say and write those words down. The author also called for the reader to pen a letter back to Jesus as well.

Part of me believes, that evading the thought of Jesus’s words to me may be a numbing moment of just gliding through the days without needing to ‘feel’ any turmoil—ie vulnerability.

Fortunately, when life or Jesus has something for you to know, it doesn’t fade because you I am not ready to hear it.

I had an interview recently and during both phases of it, I found myself open and sharing some truly vulnerable past experiences.  At one point, I revealed something that I had not even uttered to my inner self.

So, as I sit contemplating what Jesus may want to say to me in a letter.

I think his words would be brief. It would read something similar to this.

“Coretta trust yourself. Your experiences are real. All of your experiences are blessings, but some hurt more than others. My love for you has never wavered. Give yourself the same freedom to show up as you give others.”

And of course, my response or letter back to Jesus would simply read, “Thank you.”

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Working bravely: what are the payoffs?

corettk:

Truly enjoyed the bravery displayed in this post. A part of growing in wisdom is being true to yourself and facing that which may be vulnerable. Take the challenge.

Originally posted on Girlsrockinwork:

Brave and work are not two words that often go together in a sentence. Until recently, my only experiences of the word ‘brave’ when in work, have been people saying ‘I’m not that brave; I couldn’t do that.’ But, if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll notice I’ve mentioned it in a few blogs (writingbravery with familydifficult conversations). Yesterday, I signed up to a 10 day ‘Train the Brave‘ challenge created by Margie Warrell. Each day for next 10 days, I’ll receive an email with some challenges to help me flex my bravery muscles (I’m sensing some eye rolling here, just what we need more stuff to clog up our inboxes) but I’m going to give it a go (my first act of bravery). I’m chuckling to myself here at the thought of it; this is not something I would ever have…

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Press #R

Press # R for Release

Last Sunday, as I journeyed from Macon to Columbus, I had time to think about what I call a journey. It was clear to me all the work that had to be done to forgive myself and others over the years.

Forgiveness is a daily journey. Typically, most of us refuse to cruise forgiveness boulevard after two or three trips.

But it’s important for me to relay why it might be time to hit the pound sign for release.

When I left Columbus to return to Carrollton in 2008, my life was riddled with panic attacks. They would pop up quick and remind me of my inability to (at that time) cope with uncertainty. However, by the time I left my journey of Graduate studies, uncertainty became a favorite hangout destination of mine.

In life, plans or made but do not always withstand the thrust of every day occurrences or offenses. During these times, flexibility and forgiveness are the keys to help you hop back in your ride and keep the journey at hand.

Coasting down a new portion of my journey, years later, I would find myself in South Carolina. Life was better or was it? I had a better grip on certainity, routine, and expectancy. However, the panic attacks worsened. They would grip me to the point of near death or at least it seemed. From something that used to pass over a few breaths, swelled into dark moments of terror as my heart, arms, back, and chest twisted and tormented as anxiety danced through my body at night or in the morning as I rose.

Here we are now. Almost one year later since I departed my last major scenic route in life’s highway. I haven’t had a panic attack to boot and my weight is melting away.

Happenstance? Not at all.

Press #R for Release.

The last 10 months of my life taught me to let go.

Life showed me that it was time to clean out my trunk if I wanted to go one mile further.

Yes, I dug around in my trunk and threw out packages, bags, and wrappers of

  • Unbelief
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Fear
  • Irrationality

Boy, that was a heft task. Now, my ride is more smooth.

I still have bumps, pot holes, and detours with the aforementioned swell of negativity.

But, I travel lighter these days recognizing the impact that these factors play on my soul.

Et tu King James

King James.

The version of the Bible named after the King.

The NBA player who sports about several Championship rings.

Commonality?

Both human.

The latter finds himself beloved by many and despised by an equal amount of persons.

Why King James as my topic for the hour?

I can relate.

Not too long ago, I was driving around my hometown and passed by a familiar place from my high school days. My thoughts raced to different memories and persons of interest.

Suddenly, the sweet taste of filtered memories of ages past was interrupted by the tart, tangy memory of being someone’s standard.

Intersection:

There have been times throughout life that when I failed, others felt vindicated if not esteemed. My failure in some feat or goal made others suddenly come alive or reach some level of self-efficacy.

Disgusting. Disheartening. Frustrating.

I remember scowling in a classroom anytime someone jeered when they outperformed me in some arena.

I’m not your damn standard. 

I didn’t have those words at such a young age, but I did ask the unanswered question of why my performance solidified someone else. I even had a Coach who taught social studies come up to me in lunch and jeer, what’s wrong with me (plot in a random name of a kid that generally goofs off academically in school) did better than you. Oh, the tears welled in my throat.

See, I never had the opportunity to marinate in academics just for the sake of it…not before Graduate School at least. No, my intelligence and uncanny ability to thrive in educational settings was my golden ticket and goose. I was athletic but it was underdeveloped due to no money and no support.

But, my intellect was unstoppable.

Yet, even then it couldn’t be pure. I had to hustle my intelligence to reach the next 2-4 stages of life and others emasculated it when there self-worth couldn’t foot the bill.

Why? Same reason why anyone bullies or enjoys in the defeat of another.

So, let me hop off the horse for a moment.

You don’t have to be a King James fan to understand Lebron is human.

He has goals and aspirations. He has a history that served as a motivating force to maintain his current stride.

But don’t forget, he’s human.

Yes, he’s not a toy nor a target for your tantrums.

We all make decisions others may or may not like.

Like Lebron, I know what it is to leave a hometown before others think you should.

I know what it’s like to take your talents elsewhere and know you are still on a puppet string of performance.

I know what it is to be misunderstood and told you are shallow because your outlook on life.

Funny, the only thing shallow is someone else critiquing the miles in another’s shoes.

After the NBA finals, I quietly released an Et tu King James.

I understand being so close but not clinching something that is greater than what it appears.

I cheered for the other team because of preference but still find respect for the man they call King James.

See, we Eagles fly alone. Our destinations do not call for flocks.

Eagles travel the way of  the unpopular while sustaining the jeers, calls, and blame when suddenly a standard , we become.

Stop making another human your standard. Stop tearing down someone else’s dream, vision, or flight plan out of your own fears.

But until then, Et tu King James, Et tu.

When in Delay, Make Not Haste

The past year has been filled with challenges and observations involving my wonderful personality.

See, I classify as a thinker (ESTJ/ENTJ). I think a mile a minute and one of my strengths is the ability to process information rapidly and form a decision in a short amount of time. The downside to such a marvelous strength: haste.

In these last few months, I have developed the inner strength to slow down my pace. In a slower mind state, I am able to understand how quick decisions made on pieces of information (versus the whole pie) could have hurt me in business and relationships.

On a spiritual and mental health level, I was finally able to do some root cause digging in the wee of the morning recently and here is what I discovered.

  1. Haste is a surface response and defense mechanism for fear and shame
    1. Quick action and thoughts allow me to numb, freeze, and remedy before I can feel hurt
    2. Quick reaction allows me to ward off any perceived attacks or moments of vulnerability
  2. Haste in my life is typically triggered by passivity, dismissal, uncertainty, disrespect, or being ignored
    1. Makes me thing of Cognitive behavior and REBT, critical that I reflect for validity and truth versus irrational thoughts
    2. As I dig deeper, the need to make quick decisions or assumptions allows me to feel in control (without control, vulnerability can raise its head)
  3. Hasty decisions never have an upside
    1. In haste, I can easily be perceived as not listening or being impatient
    2. In haste, I can arrive at the wrong interpretation due to not reflecting for meaning

As I wrestled through this map, It became clearer to me that some of my current circumstances are a result of haste. This is my mountain journey towards holistic living that I must make strides in order to sustain the success towards wellness that I have begun. Haste leaves everyone involved with the short end of the stick, there are no winners.

So, now that I shared my root cause journey, will you share yours?

Retta’s Checklist: Get it in gear Summer 2015

Days like this, I am reminiscent of the character, Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Typically, an ‘aha’ moment will lead me back to the mouse and screen to chronicle a relatable moment for the masses. This moment is no different. As I was chatting with my Mother on yesterday, she mentioned that I should tell “so and so” about some career boosters that could help along the way.

Ever the clever extrovert, I began rambling a gazillion ideas and tips immediately. I still haven’t had that conversation with “so and so” because I am firm believer in praying before you offer unsolicited input. However, as my mind began to race, I realized that the commentary I am saving for “so and so” applies to all of us. I’ve had the wonderful experience of scraping my knees along with a misstep personally and professionally to arrive at what I will call Retta’s Get It in Gear Summer Checklist for 2015!

  1. Never isolate yourself
    1. If you find yourself working through some tough emotional deals, privacy is okay but there is a difference.
    2. Learn how to muster the courage to ask for what you need (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically)
    3. Make time for once a month adventures. Dig through your buddy lists (old or new) put $5 back for an ice treat, coffee, bottled water, or a walk in a park. Get creative and make time for good adult interaction that will help maintain your sanity.
  2. Find a positive release and resource of energy
    1. Get active. Dance, Sew, Craft, Box, Walk, or run through a sprinkler. Find a way to release stress in a healthy matter to keep yourself mentally fit.
    2. Pick your hobby back up. You know what brings a smile to your face. Everything does not take money and most communities have opportunities to learn crafts or practice.
    3. Breathe and meditate. Learn how to expel negative energy, bad air, and bad vibes from your body. This can be done discreetly anywhere.
  3. Develop a professional life line
    1. If you have obtained any form of diploma or degree go back and use that network. Tap into your career services or guidance counselors. Alumni or current students have ample opportunities to freshen skills, resumes, and learn new industry information that may not be readily available to you.
    2. Find a mentor or two. Find someone (professor, leadership coaching, expert) in your field or an area of interest that can share and challenge you towards greater horizons. Your quality of life depends on this step.
    3. Connect to your industry of work or interest. We invest in shoes, clothes, cars, vacations, jewelry, etc. It is even more important to put time back into yourself by attending conferences, developmental workshops, or building relationships at social events. If jobs are doled out by who you know…then who do you know (beyond the surface)?
  4. Continue building your spiritual foundation
    1. Get clear on who you are, your worth, and God’s purpose for your life. This will take quiet time, coaching, and introspection.
    2. Identify a spiritual confidant or friends who can share on your spiritual growth journey. Do not limit yourself to best friends or familiar persons. There may be a new person, colleague, former classmate, church member, etc. that may be best suited for this role. Dig deep, pray, and reflect before you select.
    3. Talk to someone. I am biased and believe in the healing ability of therapy. Even if only for one or two sessions. Learn the value of talking with someone who is not trying to run your life and knows the value of silence (so you may unleash).

I truly believe that most of us in some way have arrived at this checklist a time or to. But, the key to growth is being committed to continually reflect, assess, and equip yourself towards the person you desire to be. If you take on the challenge of this checklist let me know. Would love to share in the journeys of my beloveds.

Badge of Honor

Thursday, May 14, 2015, the youngest sibling in my family graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree of Science from Kennesaw State University. This momentous occasion was an amazing celebration of the tenacity of the human spirit. It was my young sister Ashley who was on stage that day and we, the King family, bowed and curtseyed as she strolled across that victory line for all to see. But, what most human eyes did not see was the glory of the Lord radiating from my Mother’s smile.

It was Mother who was on the receiving in of painful calls of failures, rejection, frustration, and even heartaches in the wee hours of morning or during the bustling work hours of day. It was Mother who borrowed from Aunts to ensure her first-born did not have to quit studies at the University of West Georgia, Junior year during Summer 2000. It was Mother who took out student loans for her middle children to meet their book and scholar needs at Fort Valley State University and Columbus State University. Yes, it was Mother that paved a way for her youngest to signal the call of excellence as four King Women stood tall beside each other with Bachelor’s degrees side by side in their scholastic family tree.

My Mother and Grandmother placed a premium on scholarship and civic engagement. You carry your community for it carried you when you knew no better. We never thought much in my family about giving our free time or resources to others because this is how my family through the ages survived. Others made sure we were equipped and in turn we sow generously everywhere we stroll. The same generosity we invested in others was required of ourselves. My Mother taught her King women to read and travel far away through reading at tender ages. She adorned us in the girliest of dresses but ensured a book was in our hands. From Book-mobiles to Book fairs, the King girls always adventured to lands far away. My Mother knew then she was equipping us with a key to success, our minds. My Mother knew life would be harsh, some would not believe, but if we invested in our minds/hearts early, our paths could not be deterred.

So, it is with great pleasure that the King Women of Columbus, GA stand tall. My Mother invested in a legacy of determination, strength, and agility by simply exposing her children to reading. As my Sisters and I, journey through Business, Student Affairs, Teaching, Counseling, Marketing & Public Relations, we now set the stage for a generation of Kings growing today (my niece and nephew).

My Father played a significant role in supporting us through college as well and stands tall as he sees the reward for the sacrifices made on behalf of his family’s educational endeavors. But, the Badge of Honor goes to Sherry Lynn. Beyond the money, the hugs, and the pep talks she created the vision, nurtured the development, and supported a shift in our generational legacy. Four King Women stood tall on Thursday, May 14, 2015. What an honor for these Four King Women to represent the tenacity of a Mother who believed.

Time

One of my favorite Rolling Stones numbers is entitled “Time is on my side.”

That song comes to mind as I make it home from seeing my nephew, Isaiah, graduate from Pre-Kindergarten tonight. I nostalgically ponder upon the path that both of his parents journeyed to arrive at today’s celebration.

My sister had a rocky transition as she put aside her studies at a four-year college to prepare a way for my nephew to enter the world. Things were hectic and tense among the expectant families and the early years saw two families who were worlds apart collide.

However, as years have gone by, maturity and wisdom would win the hearts of all. Each family member  was forced to release their grip of fear and embrace chance. My nephew’s bright smile allowed for groups of people to learn from one another and discover life without being right. My nephew’s parents had a tough course in front of them, but today marked a celebration of what endurance and time can overcome.

Time is indeed on all of our sides as we learn to release our best laid plans and embrace the gift of uncertainty, second chances, and opportunity.