The Best is yet to come

“Hold on my brother don’t give up
Hold on my sister just look up
There is a master plan in store for you
If you just make it through
God’s gonna really blow your mind
He’s gonna make it worth your time
For all of the trouble you’ve been through
The blessing’s double just for you”

Donald Lawrence and Tri-city Singers: The Best is yet to come

This song has been on my mind for the last few weeks, and it won’t let go. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reviewing my life and that of some persons dear to me. This examination has led me to a few conclusions about life’s circumstances and the varied experiences we have throughout our journey.

Life tries you. The moment you are about to relax and begin to enjoy your experiences, something comes your way and you seem to be fighting again. It’s as though you are never really totally able to just let go. You have “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14) in every sense of the word.

I was fortunate to be a part of a seminar on creative writing lectured on by Colin Channer, an esteemed Jamaican author. I asked him why is it that so many horrible things tend to happen to characters. His response was that ‘Art imitates life and the book would be boring if the characters were not challenged!’. I guess it’s the same way we ought to view life – without challenges, it would be boring indeed (Though I’m sure some of us wouldn’t mind a little boredom now and then!). It’s an undulating road, full of highs, lows and the in-betweens (those times when things are steady and are not bad or good, just okay).

In searching for more concretised answers, I read a number of books (Self help and mostly the Christian Holy Bible) and pondered the lives of those around me. Every single one, while using a variety of expressions and situations, pointed me to one salient conclusion: each test and trial was actually preparing them for something better, whatever that something turned out to be. This conclusion was most times arrived at in retrospect.

Little comfort, it would seem, for those who likes their answers NOW. But I recognize, and certainly others will admit, that we really would be struggling against the tide, like the salmon, if we choose not to accept this fact. And most of us do not have the muscles nor the gumption for it. Challenges, though extremely difficult at times, are part and parcel of being alive and serves a purpose. Imagine the opposite – not being alive – and I’m sure we all prefer to face it! In choosing to acknowledge this, we win, because its certainly less exhausting. Instead, we can focus our energy at finding solutions and navigating the plain as best we can, with minimum casualties.

Are we in charge of this ‘Master Plan’ that some persons postulate has been charted for our lives? It really depends on who you ask. The fact is, whether you believe in a supreme being or not, we all have to make decisions that will ultimately direct our path. The thing is to make the choices that will garner the best results for you and yours, because sitting on your hands (so to speak) and living by default can only make things harder.

If you are a logical thinker, you do know that every decision, leads to another decision and a particular set of results. Sometimes we may find ourselves in choppy waters (difficult situations). This may be because these circumstances and situations are dependent on or significantly influenced by others. Even so, it is our reaction and how we choose to view or manage the experience that will ultimately decide if it becomes positive or negative.

We ought to choose to see and hope for the best. The bible highlights for us the merits of faith in difficult situations. Hebrews 11 (the entire chapter) outlines a number of experiences that various characters had and how things turned out for them. If you are not a Christian, examine biographies of persons who became successful despite the extremes that life threw their way.

We have to stand up to the weight of life’s challenges and build the muscles we need for the rest of the journey. It’s either that, or waste away in despair. See it as something exciting that is preparing you for a great reward that you will savour in the end.

Though it tarries, work, watch and wait for it. The best is yet to come.

Stay the course…

Animated_moving_running-woman

A few months ago, I was taken by surprise when I found out that two childhood friends were getting married. I was overcome with happiness for them and expressed my joy by praising God.

I thought about our early days in primary and high schools, and of the twists and turns our lives took. Some of the turns were rough, really rough. For me, there were times that I personally gave up. More than once, I thought it best if I never existed. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

But then, I took a breath. And another breath. And another. And things, though still trying and troubling, didn’t feel as badly as it did. I made plans and started working towards them. As I did, I came upon stumbling blocks, fell down mountain sides, broke my heart, had my heart broken. My body was broken. And for a while, my spirit felt broken too.

I was crying tears through the night, until they pooled in my ears. Through many smiles and loud laughter, I sometimes felt very alone because I felt I couldn’t share what I was going through. No one would understand, even though if I told them, they’d say they did. So I put on a face and pressed on. Sometimes, when you are caught up in your world of pain, you feel so isolated.

Despite this, something deep inside me, compelled me to go on. Though I was challenged, I knew giving up was not an option. This is something I’ve come to know about myself, a statement I’ve quietly whispered through tearful prayers over recent years: It’s hard, but I have no idea on how to quit. It’s not in me to give up.  And it’s not that I haven’t truly wanted to. There are those days when the burdens are too much to bear and it manifests as a heaviness that saps my strength.

It was in those moments, that God said, “My child, my strength is made perfect in your weakness”. Letting go and surrendering control is difficult for me. But I’ve had to just let go and let God. And so I laid down, physically when strength failed me,  and I was spiritually drained. I became quiet and withdrew so I could take sustenance from my source.

It is during these times that I able to see my way.  When I became still, and stopped trying to solve every single thing or explain and understand it all,  I came to recognize there ARE going to be those occasions  and experiences for which there are no logical explanations. This understanding didn’t come overnight but revealed itself as time progressed and I matured experiencially.   Sometimes being still was hard but because I know for sure that this power holds my future, I started to move forward with confidence. I didn’t need to see or know all things, because He sees and knows all things.

I look at my now and think of how things were being orchestrated and organized to meet me right where I am. And I know its the same for all of us. The way is sometimes circuitous: there are delays, disturbances, distractions and mis-directions. Sometimes it seems we take the long route  when the journey could have been less challenging.

But there were important lessons to learn. Perhaps circumventing them would mean a longer journey. And so though the journey seems long, take your time. Be gentle with yourself and stop comparing yourself to those who are ahead of you. That is only a source of frustration. Be reminded ” The race is not for the swift nor the strong but for those who endure to the end”.

Stay the course and draw strength from your source. It’ll be worth it in the end.

 

I’m not buying what you’re selling

Our children are in trouble. And we’ve led them to it.

This morning I stepped into my class and had a long talk with my wards about the image they are selling to those who are evaluating them.

I had to speak to them about ‘impression management’, a term I coined when I lectured a course at a local university and had to create some content for them. Impression management, as I defined it,  is “actively managing or organizing behaviour in a sustained manner that would cause one to be evaluated as desired” (DSM, 2013). I explained to them that many persons engage in this practice without consciously organizing themselves but sub-consciously, since most of us want to ‘put our best foot forward’, we choose behaviours that would cause us to be viewed favourably.

Business entrepreneurs, media moguls, performers/ artists are just a few of the professionals that hire people to ‘market’ them successfully. Many of us tailor our image to suit whomever’s buying: your manager, the voting public, sometimes potential life partners.

The need arose to speak to them due to improper conduct that was observed at an event. There were several adults around, some of whom cheered on the ‘performances’, seemingly unaware of the message they were sending. I was taken aback, and sought to have a discussion with individuals within my area of responsibility, to address the ills that were seen. As I counselled my students, this occurred to me: these children are behaving as we have taught them to. A troubling thought for someone in my profession who sees manifestations of varied levels of conduct disorders, body dysmorphia and social pathology every single day, presenting in young people.

The fact is, the adults of this society are to be blamed. We complain about our children and the varied issues they have but it is us who create their world. As it came out in the discussion, we ‘sell’ them the sounds and images (music, videos, movies, magazines, books)that are rife with violent and high sexual content. Imagine a game where the dare is to ‘punch and knockout’ a total stranger (the old not excepted from this). No matter how much it is said that “There are parental controls on the internet and television”, our advertisements in magazines and television, on the billboards and flyers that is seen all around them are all filled with these images. We claim to try to protect them, but yet, every other image they see, created by adults, tells them something different.

They are confused. We tell our females about respecting their bodies and then create a world that glorifies the biggest ‘assets’ (insert____ here). We say ” You are beautifully and wonderfully made” then point out how great and perfect (whatever current pop artist, model, whomever) looks. We are teaching them that those individuals are the images we see when we say ‘Beautiful’ or ‘Handsome’. They proceed to compare themselves and of course, desire to look like that. Ever wonder why the cosmetics industry makes so much money? We tell our boys that females are to be treated in a particular way and yet create programs that promote promiscuity and label it “a reality show”.

Don’t be fooled that children don’t have access to content that we wouldn’t them viewing. I laugh sometimes that children seem to be born out of the womb, knowing how to use computers of every kind. Therefore, the adults of this world need to take responsibility for the future they are creating. We keep telling them one thing and doing another. It needs to stop being ‘Do as I say but not as I do’.  We need to stop playing ostrich and burying our head in the sand and exercise some control over ourselves for the sake of our children.  We already know what is out there. We need to do whatever it takes to create a world that allows a child to be a child, for as long as they are supposed to.

The world isn’t running away. Preserve their innocence, just a little while longer. Its only fair.

 

 

The Zika Virus and being scared sh*tless

I live in the Caribbean and we get all sorts of things coming at us every summer through to December each year: storms, hurricanes, floods are commonplace. However, though they happen quite frequently, I always get a bit tense and jumpy when the season rolls around.

We’ve been hit with a number of tropical related viruses and communicable diseases throughout time. I unfortunately, was not skipped the last time around and caught the dreaded Chikungunya Virus(Chick V) when it passed through. Usually all of those things pass me by but I was bit (literally) in the behind by the aedes aegypti mosquito and viola!, the rest was pain and more pain.

That was just a year or so ago and I’m left with all sorts of small issues: lumps appearing at my elbows and my left thumb. They have since disappeared but now I have some arthritic-like symptoms in my joints. Various little aches and pains that I’m told are remnants of the virus, though nothing to incapacitate me totally. This has left me a bit wary, so I’m careful to ensure that the much needed vitamins and irons are regularly taken.

Despite being careful, I have not posted in the past few weeks because its flu season and, of course, I caught it. That, in combination with a number of sleepless nights due to studies and my current mode of employment, left me incapacitated for the past few weeks. I am still not fully recovered (have a nagging cough) but I have still had to power though work and school and any other important task that demanded my attention.

These challenges has left me a bit pre-occupied with the Zick V. I’ve been watching and reading with horrible fascination, all the new coverage regarding this latest epidemic. Is it an epidemic though? It seems to have just surfaced but in fact, has been in existence for quite sometime. I shake my head at all the complications it has brought to the lives of parents who have been caught unaware and quite innocently in a fracas being brought by an insect that was created to destroy another. I watch from the ‘safety’ of my living room, these mothers who have a look of bewilderment and I can hardly imagine the social welfare disaster that has been created. I wonder if these governments are prepared for what is truly to come.

I see their fear and my own stomach knots in response because you sort of wonder ‘what’s next?’. Between science and nature, we have been lashed with a number of diseases that we seem ill-equipped to handle.

I wish the best for them. I hope the powers that be quickly articulates some sort of social welfare response to the crisis that affords them the kind of support they will need over the next few years, at least.

Keep humanity in your prayers. We certainly need it.

Bless up.

 

 

Produce Where You are Planted

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When you are surrounded by utter garbage, it’s hard to imagine or see anything other than filth.

I was at a building some time ago, one that I frequent. It is supposed to be a place of teaching and learning, and one in fact, that produces a number of stellar graduates each year. As I looked around me, my stomach cringed and my skin crawled a bit. There was garbage strewn on the floor, graffiti competing with soilage of unknown sorts and flies buzzing around, making a miserable place even more so due to the heat. I wondered, “How do they function here?”

I went about my business quickly, making use of wipes and hand sanitizer on the occasions that I had to touch something that was suspect. I left, putting it behind me as best I could. It was later, as I tried to complete an assignment,that I was reminded of a story I heard a few months ago. It was of a rose growing and flourishing despite its harsh environment. I wrote the following thought down on a sticky pad: Blossom/ Produce Where You are Planted.

I mused about the various programs I watched in the past of persons who became successful despite extreme odds. There was a basic theme that stood out to me.

Be ‘rooted and grounded’: Be so firm in your beliefs, that nothing can shake your resolve.  See yourself outside of your current circumstances. These people were able to dream and in dreaming, they remained firm in their resolve to get out of their current situations. They were unmovable in their desire to ‘get out of t/here’, a sentiment one might hear repeated by people who are faced with challenging circumstances. Their desire to be more than they were superseded anything that they faced. As a matter of fact, they channeled all that energy, and turned it into the motivation needed to drive them to work harder.

I live in a hurricane belt. Every few years we get the most terrifying of storms or hurricanes that cause millions, perhaps billions, of dollars worth of damage. I remember my first and how fascinated I was to watch the wind wreak havoc on trees and buildings. Some trees danced in a long hard fight against the wind. Some lost and were born down or torn apart. Some bent and leaned from the wind, allowing it to flow over their bent bodies, but never breaking.

We need to be like the trees. When one is buffeted by life’s winds, we need to bend and curve ourselves at our strongest part. There will be some scars, of course. We won’t come away unscathed but will be better for the experience.

Be the change you want to see: The surroundings may not be what you want it to be, but that doesn’t mean you are to give less than your best every single time. Your best shot may be a game changer changer. Imagine, if you are at work, or in an environment of mediocrity, what will happen if you performed optimally regardless of the situation, without making excuses? When opportunity meets preparation, then it will be time for promotion. Not only will your reap your just rewards, but you may cause change in another by inspiring them to become a better version of themselves. This requires you to make no excuses, but to recognize and have an understanding of the season you are in.

Like trees, we will go through seasons. The environment may be harsh and dirty and awful but this is the time we will know what we are made of. There are seasons for storing away and preparing for the journey ahead. There are seasons of growing – when the challenges and the conditions seem their harshest but then that’s when the plant morphs to fit its surroundings. It sheds some unwanted, un-necessary things that will drain it and keeps only that which is key to its survival. When I was in high school, we did an experiment with seeds where we’d put them in a glass jar filled with water and newspaper. The chemicals from the paper was obviously harsh on it but the seed took what it needed to survive and grew into a young plant. Overtime, it sprout roots and eventually was transferred into more favourable conditions. Therefore, expect your conditions to become more suitable over time.

We’re just like the seeds. We are surrounded by harsh conditions but we can take what we need and shed the unwanted. Like the seed’s outer-covering, for a while we need a coat to protect us. But as time progresses, we transform and what used to affect us, doesn’t anymore. Our roots grow out and plunges deep. They run so deep that they pass through rocks and other matter that may prevent it from getting what it needs to survive: water.

Water your soul: There’s a song I love that reads “When I get weary, when I get weary, water my soul, Lord, water my soul”. Water represents not only sustenance for our body and spirit but also cleansing and washing. Sometimes, we need to be washed clean. That means engaging in activities that allows us to just, really, free ourselves, so we are less burdened and able to move ahead unencumbered. Find that thing that ‘waters’ your soul. Only you know it and if you don’t, you will recognize it once you search for it.

Find your source, your sustenance. Reach deep down inside and draw out what you need. Be that “Tree that is planted by the rivers of waters that brings forth fruit in its season”. Bloom, call forth that which is on the inside of you. Remember, that which doesn’t produce, becomes useless and is cast aside.

Be fruitful. Go produce.

 

 

Word Up!

Words hurt and we should take care in how we use them.

I just finished watching Mary J. Blige and Taylor Swift sing “Doubt” on YouTube and as I read the comments section, I was taken aback by some of the comments posted there. Well, I really don’t know why I’m surprised because that isn’t something new to social media. People are now afforded the opportunity to spit their vitriol in whatever direction and much as they desire these days, due the anonymity the medium allows them.

There seems to be a level of meanness in today’s society. Its as though the meaner and more sarcastic you are, people applaud you as being “outspoken”, “tell it like it is” and above board. There seems to be no place for kindness, sensitivity and tact.

I’ve witnessed how an unkind word can ruin someone’s day, damage an already fragile self-esteem, become the basis for how someone evaluates them self. Conversations with peers, students I teach, people I’ve met throughout my lifetime, have expressed how things said to them at one point or the other, have affected them both positively and negatively.

Shouldn’t we then take care in what we say to each other?

Words have the power to create. The greatest example came from the creator who spoke this world into existence. Proverbs 18:21  states that “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”. We have such great power over another and over ourselves in what we speak into our lives and into the life of another. Our words sows seeds that bear fruits of different kinds – what fruits do you want to see being born in another or in yourself since when we speak, we produce? What kind of harvest are you looking for?

Words are a currency – when they are uttered, they have a value. We determine, by our thoughts,our heart and intent, what value the words will have. In most instances, when we spend our money, we take care in what we are investing it in. There are occasions, however, when we spend it carelessly on an item that we later regret. If we want our investment to give good returns, like money, we should take care in how we ‘invest’ our words, since once uttered, we can’t take them back. Unlike items we buy which we may be able to return, no amount of  apologies can compensate for the hurt created when unkind words are uttered.

As a child growing up with many siblings (one of whom is my twin), I learnt to observe and take care before I speak. At some point in my life, I created the phrase “Remember what wisdom there is in silence”. I was cautioning myself to think before I spoke and also reminded myself to be observant. Too often we express an opinion without knowing the facts and cause hurt when it shouldn’t be.

Is it so hard to speak words that encourage, that are kind? In my culture we say “If you no have nothing good to say, shut your mouth!” (Jamaican Patios). Surely, even if we have to critique or correct, it can be done kindly! In Ephesians 4:29, we are encouraged to not let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths but instead choose to speak words that are “helpful for the building up of others according to their needs”and benefit those who listen. Yes, honesty is always the best policy but honesty  doesn’t mean being unkind.

Stop throwing your words around carelessly. Let us choose to say that which uplifts and encourage.

Word.

 

Exhale: Control

Its that time again. Its the cusp of a new year and I’m skittish, jittery, swinging moodily from melancholy to eager anticipation, unable to steady myself because I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. I don’t like surprises and I terribly lack patience.

Its hard for a girl who likes control to wait.

This pattern of behaviour manifested quite early in my life and has grown steadily in my adulthood. I see it as a sort of weird fascination with things macabre, as I seem to expect bad things to happen. And they do, as life would have it. Things happened, good and bad, and I have dealt with them quite well, I think.

But control – I have been that person who prefers to plan and put things in place so that the best can occur in any given situation. That’s attempting to play God and I don’t have super powers! So you certainly can imagine the disappointments that I have had! Whew! Control is the elimination of risks and no matter how you try, risk is a part of living itself.

The good thing though is that I am that person who self examines and attempts to better herself through concerted effort. I know who I am and see living that way (attempting to play Elastic Girl and keeping all things within my grasp) as an exercise in futility. Having acknowledged this weakness, I’ve arrived at a place that allows me to safely navigate this hiccup in my personality: I’ve become resolute. Resolve refers to being “firmly determined to do something” and though disappointments come, being one who doesn’t readily give up when things don’t work out as I anticipated, has allowed me to experience some successes. What I’ve learnt to do is anticipate and plan for risks in the areas that I am able to.

I’ve recognized, long ago, that making resolutions of any sort is a waste of time. With liking control comes a lack of patience, a bit of hyperactivity and a tendency to get bored easily. I already know that I lack the discipline to sit still and let things happen. So what do I do when I really am in control of a few given things in  life? I have resolved to do whatever it takes, in that moment, to adequately address whatever it is that I am facing. Elastic Girl, despite her attempts at heroism, wasn’t gifted with the ability to travel into the future. Therefore I’ve had to learn to be content with now, and work with what I’m given. Happiness, peace and contentment are sacred to me and so I try (Try  being the operative word), to place myself in an environment that allows me to access those three as best and often as possible.

And that’s about all I can do.

I’ve learnt to appreciate surprises, as much as I hate them. I’m learning to let go and let God. I can’t live life afraid of taking chances and expecting the Bogey Man around every corner. Life is way more than that. Bad things happen, and sometimes they really suck. However, I’ve had so many wonderful unplanned experiences that made me so happy that I’m glad I didn’t know. I recognize now that things will happen as they are supposed to, at the time they were meant to. Now I’m okay with opening myself up to possibilities, exhaling and letting things go where they should. Certainly not an easy task , but I’m willing and I’ve seen that it works.

So okay future. Surprise me.

 

 

Where’s the fun news?

Where’s all the fun news? I don’t know if you’re like me in this regard, but right now, I’m just tired of all the sad news that I see streaming all over media. Its on my TV, on the net, in my ears, CONSTANTLY. It seems as though the macabre and downright horrible is what holds our attention nowadays. You meet at coffee break in the lunch room and even that early in the morning, the first item of conversation is “Did you see that shooting in  (fill in the blanks) on the news? Horrible!”. If you didn’t see or hear  about it, they proceed to fill you in on all the gory details, despite protests that you really could do without hearing about it.

Why are we so fascinated by all the horror that seems to be pouring out of humanity today?

Perhaps we need to know so that we can remind ourselves to be thankful that we are alive and to live life to the fullest. We certainly don’t rejoice at the senseless acts of violence perpetrated by varied individuals and groups, but we watch in disbelief because its hard to comprehend that someone would knowingly choose to do this to another. It helps us to appreciate that it could easily have been anyone of us. Communicating, perhaps,  allows us to manage the experience. It allows us to connect in our collective disbelief, providing us with a sense of security and community, as we identify and vocalize the pain and fear that is associated with the incident. It could be a bit of self preservation because in knowing that these possibilities exist, we think perhaps that we can prepare to defend ourselves against it. But can we? Even the most experienced and aware individual will have no idea that danger is lurking in his/her own backyard.

So what do we do when our enemy is faceless and destruction visits our safe haven?

The enemy might be faceless but we know his tactics. Any good soldier knows that you can lose a battle but win a war. And in order to win the war, we must study the enemy. The Bible reminds us that we “Wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12-13). The struggles we face are coming to us at a spiritual and psychological level, and so we must counter attack in the same manner. What we need to do is to guard our minds and our thoughts as battles are won or lost in the mind first. Even though we may not be aware of it, any action that we take is often a result of whatever we believe in our hearts. We thought about it, even subconsciously, before we made a move.

Therefore, it is imperative that we “watch our eyes, what we see/look at, our ears what we hear/listen to, our lips what we speak (into being)” and additionally, watch our hands, what we do.  Doing speaks to the thoughts and the heart.  There is a sage bit advise from the good book: in Proverbs 4:23, we are encouraged to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life. One version says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Feelings are the greatest motivator or demotivator. Oftentimes, though some may be more logical than others, its our emotions that informs the decision making process.

Am I saying that we are close it all out, to the point that we are ignorant to the occurrences in our society? Certainly not! But we need to protect our mind and our spirit. It cannot be healthy for our psyche to be inundated with abominate stories over and over. They are, unfortunately, a part of our reality. So what do you do then, to manage the emotions that accompany the information?

Filters become important. Limit what you watch and listen to and when you do it. Deliberately constrain yourself on how many hours/times per week you engage in the activity. Otherwise, I believe, we become numb to it and that can become dangerous in itself. We begin to see these occurrences as the new normal.

We should, instead, deliberately search out the good, fun stuff. And news media should begin to think that there is an audience for it! Obviously, if there wasn’t an audience for the bad, it wouldn’t be so readily available, would it? Yes, good news is out there and I don’t mean the kind that highlights the latest faux pas of a celebrity (which, on second thoughts, can sometimes  be entertaining!). Catching up with an old friend or a good book is always recommended.  Just do whatever it is that allows you to find some modicum of peace, even momentarily. Every little bit counts towards your total well being.

So, go on now, go. And here’s the fun part – it’s all up to you, to create your own personal time away, just the way you want it. Be sure to make it fun. And make it last…

…and perhaps,  invite me along.

 

 

 

Make Peace With Your Past

“It is well, It is well with my soul! ”  

                                                           A renowned hymn

I’m a grown woman. And when I look back at my past there are those occasions that I have to ask myself “What the hell were you THINKING?!” I laugh out loud at my naivete, how wide eyed and not so innocent I was. How I thought that I had a handle on things, only to find that what truly existed was arrogant ignorance.

Youth does that to you. When we are young, we think we sorta kinda will be that way for a VERY long time, and make our way through life wreaking havoc in many ways, on our lives, our future and that of many who happen along our path. But we have so much fun doing it!

Now older, and hopefully wiser, there’s the opportunity to reminisce and we sometimes find it challenging to reconcile this current state of mind and being with the past we’ve had. We look back with regret on some actions. Some others might cause us to chuckle or literally laugh out loud. One thing is certain, rarely do we ever want a do-over (well, for the most part)!

The fact is, no one can go back and change the past. We have to learn to live with or beyond those experiences and count them for what they truly are – life lessons. Every single action, even when you still haven’t identified its purpose, has one. You were allowed to make that choice and go through that experience simply because there is purpose embedded somewhere in it. It may have been crappy but hey, even poop has purpose!

We have to look at our current state and view the past objectively since we can’t change it. That machinery, as far as we know, has not been invented yet. And if all the movies we have watched are to be believed, every time you go back and change the past, it has an effect on the future. Imagine all the drama we would create travelling to and fro trying to remedy things only to move into our present and find important aspects all altered! I think we’d stop midway after a while because we’re so tired!

Would you be the person you are today if it weren’t for those experiences? Haven’t they provided you with a better perspective on things? I admit some lessons may be hard to learn, but you can’t miss the forrest for the trees in this instance: You can identify that there was a lesson and you have learnt it. Every teaching and learning event comes with sacrifice – it’s always something.

Look back and find the lessons you have lost there. They are treasures surrounded by the harsh conditions they were founded in and probably still encrusted with. It may require a little deep digging but I know it’ll be worth it. Then you can finally say “It is well with my soul”. Your mind is at peace. All is in balance.

Woosah.

Maintaining Your Momentum

“Heights by great men, reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companion slept, were toiling upwards through the night”. 

It seems my best ideas and aha! moments happen for me when I’m tired, in need of encouragement and having some ‘self talk’ to get me through a rough patch (and these have been happening a lot lately!). I was musing over the fact that things are moving in a positive direction for me but its been a struggle to maintain this upward movement.  With the success has come more responsibility and challenges and sometimes my knees (physically and mentally) buckle under the weight of it all.

So what do you do when you are getting your heart’s desire, but realize there’s way more to it than you previously thought? In Jamaica, we have a proverb, ‘The higher monkey climb, the more he exposed’. It means the more success you attain, the more you will be challenged and your varied weaknesses brought to the surface. They will come at you from all directions and you wonder what the heck is going on! What am I doing wrong? You ask yourself how do you adequately manage these challenges and minimize their [negative] effects?

Recognize that success is intentional: It’s hard work but you can decide to have fun with it along the way. Attitude defines your altitude and having a positive view of things will get you farther along than you focusing on the negatives. Success is an action word in every sense and is affected by your mental and emotional state as you traverse this path.You have to engage in activities that will take you where you need to be or to maintain that which you have attained. Success is lived every day that you don’t give up or give in. It’s lived when you choose to wake up so you can exercise, meditate or do whatever it takes to  navigate your day purposefully.

It won’t be sudden: It will take some time – it’s not an overnight thing. The journey becomes less frustrating when you acknowledge this. Acknowledgement allows you to focus on what needs to be done and in identifying appropriate ways to address your needs.

It takes work and commitment: Some around you may be sleeping on their gifts but you have to decide not to be like them. You alone gets to decide on what you need, and so you should define it according to your terms,THEN work towards it. You won’t attain what you need by sitting down and complaining, hoping and dreaming. It’s not a wishy-washy thing where today you believe and tomorrow you don’t. Double-mindedness only delays what you are working towards. Decide what you are going to do and just do it. Everyday, without fail, until it becomes a habit.

It’s always darkest before the dawn: ‘Toil’, which I define as “Working extremely hard or incessantly”, speaks to consistently applying oneself to labour, physical or mental. To get what we desire we have to ‘toil upwards through the night’, through the dark hours of doubt, loneliness or exhaustion of varied capacities (money, time, skills, body, emotions). The adage, however, points to something important: they were toiling upwards. It means then that you will eventually be rewarded for your hard work and you certainly won’t always be where you are. Change is constant and an eventuality- you alone decides on the direction that it will take.

This is how you maintain your momentum. By daily applying yourself, living your vision and remaining focused. By not hurrying along and comparing yourself to those around you. By remaining mindful of your purpose, and engaging in activities that are geared towards accomplishing it.

Success won’t come overnight. But then, due to your significant investment, it won’t be as fleeting. You’ll appreciate it when it comes even more.