Monday’s Mantra: Melt Your Matters

If you reside on the east coast or have access to any major news outlet, then you’re fully aware that this side of the nation currently looks like Antarctica repositioned itself in the world.  The monstrosity of snow all around is slightly unbearable.  The first couple days in the house are always delightful because you get to rest, play, watch, eat, and repeat.  Once you realize that a plow truck probably won’t make it to your neighborhood until next year (ok, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration), you suddenly develop a mild case of anxiety.  Maybe this is just my personal experience (I’m okay with admitting it), but something tells me a few more are showing symptoms of cabin fever.  Three things have gotten me through this snowstorm — the congenial company of my boyfriend, Wifi, and music.  Had any of these been lacking, I’m convinced I would’ve put my clothes on backwards on multiple days instead of the one that I did (oh my…don’t judge me).  But, the one outlet that has been particularly helpful is music.  It’s one of the few things that can calm my spirit, minister to the fragmented pieces of my soul, and ignite a renewed sense of happiness.  And sometimes when we need to dig out from the mounds of distractions and disappointments in our lives, music has a way of helping us breathe.

Below are ten of the songs in my rotation that perhaps will regenerate a strong sense of tranquility and cheerfulness to carry you forth into whatever your journey may bring in the coming days.  Hopefully, it won’t be another prodigious mass of snowflakes.  Stay warm!  But, more importantly, stay inspired!

  1. Byron Cage – Like No Other
  2. Coldplay – Adventure of a Lifetime
  3. Jennifer Hudson – Don’t Look Down
  4. Jesus Culture – Set Me Ablaze
  5. Marvin Sapp – Yes You Can
  6. Monica – Deep
  7. Mutemath – Monument
  8. One Direction – Perfect
  9. Tamar Braxton – Raise the Bar
  10. T. I. – Goodlife

Monday’s Mantra: Listen Intently

We all have a desire to be heard.  We want to have a voice.  And if we’re honest with ourselves in this moment, we can admit that there are times when we want others to affirm that we’re right.  Somehow life has a way of causing us to think that if we’re heard then we’ve risen to a place of significance.  And if we’re significant then that must mean we have the liberty to say whatever we want whenever we want.  Now, I would agree that there’s a time and a place for everyone to speak up about that which fosters inequality, bigotry, and hatred.  That I will not deny.  However, there’s much to be learned when we first choose to listen.

When we elect to listen intently, we create paths for deeper understanding, higher intellect, and stronger movements.  And when we choose to listen, what we have to say is not reduced or insignificant.  But, listening makes us slow down, extend our reach, and take in what may be the answer to our prayers or the details we may need to sharpen our foresight.  It’s also a sign to others that we have a vested interest in what they have to offer.  Listening gives us direction and potentially awakens us to those parts of our lives we’ve slept through.

When moving about this week, I challenge all of us to resist the urge to get a word in and instead promote our desire to listen knowing there’s something to be learned when we minimize our speech and lend our ears.

Monday’s Mantra: Love Beyond

I love love in all forms.  I love it in the form of God.  I love it in the form of family.  I love it in the form of romance.  I love it in the form of giving.  I love it in the form of humanity.  I just love how love helps to make us better, more connected, and much more balmy beings.  However, sometimes  I think as we age, we become less tolerable and sometimes slightly insensitive toward our peers and strangers, which ultimately influences our expression of love.  We develop the expectation that people should know and do better solely based on the fact that they’ve celebrated a few too many birthdays and endured what we think is enough experiences to be our definition of better.

Sure, we may think we have the best solution for someone’s problem or the wisdom to right everything that’s wrong, but should that affect the demonstration of our compassion or understanding toward them?  Often we forget that everyone’s journey is just as infinitely unique as our genetic makeup.  We impose our thoughts, ideals, and responses on others and assume that it’s their truth.  You ever realize how difficult it is to love someone through your truth?  It’s challenging, frustrating, and dare I say…impossible.  Everything about life is not commonplace, including people.  We must come to love people where they are and for the uniqueness of their individual creation.  We are who we are on purpose, and the beauty of love is that it can transcend the boxes we put each other in and recalibrate our narrowed perspective of how we think others should react and respond to the happenings of life.

This week I challenge all of us to love beyond…love beyond the preconceived notions…love beyond the choices made along the journey…just love people in their truth.  Ain’t (yep, ain’t!) nobody perfect, but we’re all exclusive and deserving of love.

Monday’s Mantra: Rest

Yes, rest.  It’s just that simple.  In today’s world, we celebrate the art of busy.  If we’re not doing something at all times, then clearly we’re falling behind in the “race” and certainly not moving closer to attaining our goals.  Well, let me be the one tell you (again), that the best of you doesn’t come from a place of exhaustion or overstimulation.  We weren’t made to be on the move and involved all the time.

As each second of this last week in 2015 passes away, spend a few of them putting your mind and body at ease.  You can meditate, watch movies, read a book, sleep a few extra hours, silence social media notifications, write a poem or journal entry, take a bubble bath, or admire the abundance of flora and fauna outside your window.

With rest comes clarity.  With clarity comes creativity.  And with creativity comes possibility.  But, it all begins with rest.

Monday’s Mantra: Give a Gift of Time

Tis’ the season for holiday parties, stocking stuffers, mistletoe, overcrowded shopping malls, and a smorgasbord of baked goods.  It’s hard to believe the time has come so fast, and some of us are probably trying to catch our breath from all of the festive, extracurricular activities competing for our attention.  But, as we move about this week of Christmas, it’s important that we all pause to take a moment to rest and reflect on the true riches of life.

One of the things I love most about this time of year are the various theatrical presentations of the birth of Jesus.  The story itself is full of majesty and power, but it also serves as a reminder of who Jesus is as the Son of God and as a giver to the world.  While we know that He performed many miracles, it’s also important to recognize that He unselfishly gave His time to enhance the lives of others.  Time is something that we all tend to take for granted because we simply assume there will always be more.  But, in the midst of all the holiday frolic, let us not forget to invest our time embracing loved ones, causes, and humanity.  These are the things that truly make us wealthy, keep us humble, and define the love we all declare we have in our hearts.  I suspect that when we give more of our time, we will find that it’s a gift that’s forever priceless and infinitely nourishing to our souls.

Wishing everyone a happy and blessed holiday season!  xoxoxo

Monday’s Mantra: Face Your Feelings

Life has a way of bringing you to a place sometimes where you just don’t feel like it.  I know there have been several instances in my own life where the idea of staying snuggled under my cover after hitting the snooze button an unidentifiable number of my times was far more appealing than facing my tasks, my world…my life.  But, when I really think about where I’ve been, what I have, and all that awaits me, I can’t allow myself to watch a day go by and not give it everything I have.

While we’re all entitled to a break every now and then, we can’t afford to spend too many days trying to be invisible, particularly because isolation is often the root of destruction.  I am sure there will be plenty more days when you simply don’t feel like it.  You’re human.  But, pushing past your feelings promotes a life of purpose and promise.  We have to learn to get out of our feelings, and get busy living…not because every day we’ll have something to gain, but because we weren’t built to lose.

Monday’s Mantra: Look for the Light

Last week was seriously a doozy…and not in the best of ways.  I thought it was going to be a breeze considering I was only in the office for three days.  But, every day felt like an arduous climb.  I don’t know if my brain and spirit were frazzled because of the multiple tasks that were happening simultaneously, the interstate traffic, or the thawing of my frozen digits after waiting outside for almost an hour in the slug line (note to self…drive to work or refrain from staying at work late on the day of the National Christmas Tree Lighting).  I just know I’ve had better weeks.  But, the one thing I remember about the entire week that somehow made everything alright happened on my evening Metro commute on my last day of the grind.  The doors opened at the stop right before mine and a father and his two young children boarded.  I immediately stood up so he could have my seat since I was right by the door.  It was the least I could do considering he had his hands full with two small children and no stroller or extra help anywhere in sight.  As I re-positioned and the train jerked us all forward without much warning, I heard the father tell his daughter how nice it was for someone to offer their seat to them.  She looked at him in agreement in a way that only a toddler could and mouthed the words “thank you” in a tiny but boisterous voice in my direction.  My heart melted…instantly.  All week I hadn’t really felt like being excited about much of anything, but in a second, the gaiety of an innocently animated toddler made me smile.  There are times when the intricacies of life can be quite overbearing.  So, let me and a toddler be the one to tell you that there will always be a light (sometimes even in a little human form) at the end of the tunnel.  ::doors a new week::