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::

Monday’s Mantra: Be Kind to Yourself

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”    This is usually advice that’s supposed to guide how we treat others.  But, honestly it should also guide the way we treat ourselves.  We may think that the way we respond and interact with others is important (it most certainly is), but what we internalize and embrace in our individual minds and spirits is just as significant.  It’s true that we all need that time of reflection to discern those areas of our lives that could use some improvement, but we should not get in the habit of being overly critical of ourselves and/or allowing guilt and disappointment from our decisions to poison our confidence and self-worth.  It’s very easy to tell yourself you can’t do something or you’re not good enough.  And sometimes we speak negatively about ourselves without even realizing that’s what we’re doing.  All of that negative energy slowly begins to invade our hearts and rest in our minds as if it has a place there.  But, just as we should make it a point to uplift and build others,  we should also speak life, positivity, and triumph in our own lives.  Anything you allow to grow and manifest in your mind will ultimately take root in your actions.  You are imperfect, but important.  You are unique, but not invisible.  And how you see and think of yourself is power.

Monday’s Mantra: Pump Your Brakes

Life sometimes feels as though it’s moving at the speed of light.  You’re running to this meeting.  You’re volunteering for that event.  You’re co-developing programs and content for business ventures.  You’re leading a ministry.  You’re sprinting out the door at 7:00 a.m. every morning and hoping you beat the traffic to the office.  You’re baking cupcakes and cookies for your kids’ birthday party.  You’re buying wood and building floating shelves because it looked easy (and cute!) on Pinterest.  You’re driving to the grocery store with your significant other on Bluetooth trying to get him/her to find the list you posted on the refrigerator two nights ago.  You’re checking in as Dr. Phil every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday trying to encourage and support your friends with advice.  You’re working late (you really want a promotion).  You’re meal prepping and browsing YouTube videos for new fitness routines.  You’re literally trying to do EVERYTHING!  Aren’t you tired?  I mean I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  And honestly, the list is never-ending.  There’s always something else you have to do or somewhere you want to be to show you’re committed and you care.  Each day that you spend overextended and tired, you lose a little bit of your heart, peace, and soul.  While you’re running around taking care of everyone and everything, who’s taking care of you?  Sometimes you have to pause, assess, and restructure.  I know society wants all of us to believe that we’re only successful once we’ve proven we can juggle two hundred different balls in the air, but it’s really just an illusion that’s deflating our hope and dismantling our future.  It’s okay to say no.  It’s okay to relax.  And it’s okay to simply BE.  If you live life in the fast lane, the true riches of life will pass you by.