Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Truth That Changed Me: We Are Poor

She was only six or seven years old but this was the most gut wrenching experience with her.


It was also a most life-enhancing one for me.

Money was tight with us. We were still renting and although both of us were working, our responsibilities extended beyond our household. My baby girl was in prep school at the time and that was a fee we also had to cover. Her birth father was to help with that but as with many other things he was to assist us with, it fell by the wayside.

Stretched to the fray, when she told us about the all-day fair and concert at school, we knew the budget would have to be adjusted. Thinking that a 6/7 year old could eat and ride so much, we gave Princess Chulumba (our nickname for her), J$500. That would have been about US$12 or so at the time.

We were trying to teach my daughter about budgetting and accountability, even at that age. Actually, it was more my partner who had taken on the challenge and every evening as we were driving home from work and school, she would have to say how she spent her lunch money.

That evening was no different. As we drove home, Princess Chulumba recounted the excitement of the fair, all that she ate and the rides she went on. Little did this sweet, tired but deliciously happy child realize that her expenditure was being tallied.

She had spent well over J$500 and a recount was definitely in order!

The following day was a Saturday so we were home and the Princess was at her desk with pencil and paper explaining her previous day's expenditure. What followed was nothing short of high drama!

It took all day, adding and subtracting, then finally the confession that floored and changed how I related to my daughter on money matters and truth telling in general.

I never lied to my baby girl but I was careful about some of the details - either because she did not need to know yet or for effect. Well, when she finally confessed that day it caused me to rethink my truth telling with her.

My daughter confessed that she had stolen money from my partner's mother's purse. Another J$500. That was how she afforded all those rides and food not just for herself but for her friends as well. She was of the opinion that what we had given her would not have been enough. My six year old said that she did not want to ask for more because "We are poor."

Shocked, flipping mad and yet brokenhearted, I cried and cried. The next day, we drove her to my in-laws and had her confess to them what she had done and made a promise to pay the money back through chores.

Over the six years of her life, I made no bones about our financial situation and that we could not spend on unnecessary items simply because my daughter wanted or liked them.  I was also open with her about aspects of my relationship with her father, not all and certainly not the abuse.

What that experience taught me was how to exercise "wise counsel," meaning know my audience and how much to disclose based on their capacity to understand. Filter became important. I did not begin to lie to her but became more discerning about what she was ready to handle.

A firm believer in honesty and straight talk, I have learned that not everyone is ready or prepared to handle your truth. My favourite example of this is when you pass say a coworker in the hallway and they ask, "How are you?" Do they really want to know? Or is it just a common courtesy?

Now, if you ask me a question about myself I will gauge my response based on:

  1. The nature of our relationship and whether I feel you are just asking for the gossip
  2. How well you have handled my truth in the past
  3. How ready you are for a straight answer

 For sure you will get a truth-filled answer from me but depending on who you are some details might be filtered. More so, you will see my truth if you are really looking and listening to me.

"Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving." James E. Faust

 How honest are you? Do you practice truth-telling? Are you speaking your truth first and foremost to yourself? Do you know who can handle your truth?

Share your experience with me here or on Facebook. You can also reach me via Twitter.

Continue to have a #TruthFilledThursday!
















Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Audio Blog: Expecting vs Hoping: Is There a Difference?


It is official! Our blog post on Wednesday will be audio!

Today, our theme is "Expecting vs Hoping: Is There a Difference?" Listen to my thoughts on this question are here.

Share your thoughts with me in our comment section here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Have a great rest of the day - expecting that it will be so!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Phone Sex Alone Will Not Do

Youth is truly overrated.

No, not saying that because an 18 year old thinks that I am over the hill. When I was 18 it was my firm belief that 30 was the pensionable age. Living beyond that seemed pointless to me. That was until Life happened and taught me many blessons, including the fact that long distance relationships are perfect for me.

Up until my 35th or so year, it was my constant cry that "I can't do long distance relationships!" Tried it at least twice and they ended in abject failures. The first one, my 'partner' stopped writing (no cell phones back then for texting) and the next thing I heard, he got married to a Canadian woman.

The second one was damaged by my own infidelity. Not my most proud moment but I believe in keeping things real hence I am sharing. I got an opportunity to work outside of Jamaica and a year after being away from home temptation came visiting.

Maintaining the health of any relationship requires constant attention.

As any good gardener will tell you, to get those lovely blooms, they have to fertilize, prune, weed and water their plants among other things. A relationship that transitions from being in the same city, if not house, requires just as much tending. Should one partner have to relocate for whatever reason, a more intense degree of tending becomes necessary.

Those relationships that started with distance between them, courtesy of the Internet for example, has to employ master gardening techniques! Translated into relationship terms, the horticultural practices of an expert gardener teach us that for long distance relationships to thrive you have to:
  1. Select good soil - you and the intended must be ready for a committed relationship of a challenging kind. 
  2. Plant 'good' seeds - that would be trust and it must be built from honest and open communication.
  3. Tend - as the seeds are germinating, every effort must be made to 'water' properly and according to the need of the particular seed. Example, I am currently in the throes of a budding long distance relationship. We live thousands of miles apart and in different time zones. After many late nights and early mornings, we have finally come to the understanding that our watering was not appropriate and have adjusted our contact hours and methods. 
  4. Fertilizer - too much or too late will kill the plant (relationship). Find the right blend and apply according to instructions. Your partner is the primary source of those instructions so stop listening to friends and family and hear what your partner is trying to tell you. 
  5. Prune - cut back on what is preventing or has the potential to retard growth. As well, deal with your individual insecurities and do not allow them to suffocate your plant. 
 Those are just some of what we can learn from gardening to help grow and maintain a long distance relationship. Another important activity that must be mentioned is presence.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder but presence makes for some wonderful love making. What? It is the truth! Phone sex just does not compare! Make the time, budget wisely and buy into a frequent flyer/rider/rental car client programme - and get there as often as you can!

I have told you some of my long distance relationship story. What's yours? Share with me here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Do continue to have a #TerrificTuesday and burn up those phone lines, will you! Lol

Photo Source: celebquote.com

Monday, 24 February 2014

Make Love To That Orange!

To be mindful can be such a tricky instruction. I remember when growing and my mother would say things such as "mind your manners," that meant take care that I am being polite.

"Be mindful of people," is another one of those instructions. Not sure who impressed that on me but the sentiment was to put others first. It was not until the early 2000's when I came upon the teachings of Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, that an entirely different understanding of mindfulness opened up for me.

On the "spiritual path" for a few years, the concepts of awareness of the "now" and acceptance of "what is," were ones that I was challenged to embrace. If I am not mistaken, it was my Catholic spiritual director, Sister Maggie, who introduced me to the work of Thich Nhat Hahn. She knew my inability to focus on what I wanted and my propensity to catastrophize coming out of a hard for me break up.

We would sit for hours in room at the retreat center and listen to meditations by Hahn or she would personally guide me. 

The most profound Hahn meditation for me was one in which he took the aspirant through mindfully eating an orange. It has never before taken me one hour to have an orange. Five minutes, if that, was all I needed.

Therein was the lesson, one that I have, ever since that day, tried to apply especially to my relationships. Devouring and savouring are too vastly different things. To devour is similar to having an interest in something or someone. It satisfies an immediate want or can do so when convenient or necessary to you.

To savour is to be committed to the person or the situation and the potential that either or both hold. As such, you not just spend the time but you gladly and mindfully do so exploring, tasting, basking, I could go on. This is no hit and run. Neither is it a matter of watching the clock.

Whether it is eating an orange, walking along a path, speaking with a friend on the telephone or listening to a stranger on the bus, the experience is one of deeply and consciously focussing on the fruit, pathway or person. It, him or her is all that "is" in that moment for however long or short it lasts. It, him or her is the wonder, the miracle of life.
"Around us, life bursts with miracles--a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life's daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there." Thich Nhat Hahn
What miracles are you seeing, tasting, savouring?

Please share your miracles with me here, on our Facebook page or on Twitter. I would love to hear from you, as I would be to have you join us in Jamaica for our Gathering in December. Check out the details here and make plans to be with us!

Continue to have a #MindfulMonday. Namaste

Photo Source: clevelandfoodbank.org

Sunday, 23 February 2014

This Too Shall Pass: Pain & Pleasure

I know my friends are sometimes impatient with me or simply do not understand my attitude about some things.

Take death as one example. 

I have been told not to say it or to stop being morbid. However, I will do no such thing as "I do not fear death and an ready whenever it's my time to transition." There, I said it again.

In the same way, I try my best to refrain from labelling an experience "bad" or "good." It might cause me pain or it might bring me joy. Whatever the case, it is an experience. Simple.

Friday past was designated as our "Happy Day," and would you know I got into a major quarrel with someone very special to me! "Happy Day" was going sideways in a handbasket and while I was largely responsible for the trip, there was not one thing I could do to turn it around.

My spiritual teachers would say that the momentum was way advanced and I just had to hang tight for the crash landing. That is precisely what I did. Refusing to predict how things would end or label the experience, after praying to be shown what the lesson was, I waited. As always, my prayer of acceptance ended with: "This too shall pass." That to me is a power-filled attitude to maintain about anything, everything and everyone.

Like most, I first thought that saying originated in the Bible. It actually did not. Derived from a Sufi fable, the phrase was attributed to King Solomon. Here is one version of the sufi story, as printed and reproduced in Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth:

"There was once a king in the middle east, who was constantly torn between happiness and despair. The slightest thing would provoke a strong reaction in him, and when he felt happiness, it would swiftly turn into disappointment or hopelessness.
 
The king eventually became so tired of himself, and his life, that he decided to face his problems and call for help. He was notified of a wise man in his kingdom, that was said to be enlightened. The king pleaded for his help, and when the wise man came to see the king, the king told him: 'I want to be as you are. I want balance and clarity in my life – And i will pay you any price you demand for that insight.' 
The wise man responded: 'I might be able to help you, but this insight is so valuable, that the entirety of your kingdom will not be enough to pay for it. That’s why i will give it to you as a gift, if you will honor it.' The king promised he would, and the wise man went on his way. 
Weeks later the wise man came to the king again. This time bringing a jade shrine. The shrine contained a golden ring with arab letters inscribed on it. The letters said: 'This too shall pass.' 'What is the meaning of this?' the king asked as he stood baffled. 
The wise man told him to always carry this ring on him, and to always look at it before he judged anything again. Good or bad. 'Do this and peace will be with you always' the wise man said."

Within a few hours of praying and being guided to the lesson of my experience, the test came. My phone "pinged," and it was my opportunity to demonstrate whether I was ready to move to the next level.

A particular friend has tried to chide me that a certain lesson has been repeating itself. I say tried because I do my best not to take on people's opinions. I will  listen but here again your opinion is neither bad or good. Spirit leads me. So yes, it is true that the full magnitude of the learning was still revealing itself to me and yesterday I realized why.

Until you are ready to face things - person and/or situation - squarely, without denial it will keep appearing and the form will change.

When you are ready to say, "I am not afraid of you anymore, you have no power over me AND you too will pass," it will be Graduation Day. I matriculated yesterday, up from kindergarten into the University of Love.

That is the only constant - Love - as it is the principle of Life. Methods change, Principles do not.

Feel free to share with me your experience with this saying. Let me know here, on Facebook or Twitter if assuming a stance of acceptance as had any impact on your sense of peace.

Do continue to enjoy the rest of your day. Namaste.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Doing A New Thing

Change and embracing it as a constant is very much a part of my journey. As we share this leg of it, you are invited to roll with me.

Beginning today, what will appear here is a link to the Daughters of Sheba Weekly.  This our online newspaper highlights, as far as possible, stories about and for women. Each week, I sift for articles and photographs that tells the week's story about women, ones that I hope will be of interest to you.

Please support our efforts and subscribe to this free newspaper. As well, share the entire paper or stories with your friends.

This is the 5th Edition and you can read it here.

Do let me have your feedback either directly at the Weekly, here on our blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Continue to be blessed and have a wonder-filled weekend!


Friday, 21 February 2014

Hawk De Near!

"Chicken merry, hawk de near!"

My mother would use that Jamaican proverb and knock the merriment off my face for most of my young life. Little wonder that I did not end up with a permanently cricked neck due to my constant scanning of the skies, looking up for that darn hawk every time I was having fun.

Happiness was M.I.A in my childhood home. 

We were not destitute, although if you listened to my mother it was never far. To me, we were doing just fine. Certainly, we did not have some of the luxuries that I saw other children with but I was never hungry. Scared to eat the food sometimes though because it "was poor people food," and my neighbourhood friends might come over and see it. I was also guilty about eating supper on occasions since the stranger-to-me of a father "never provided it," as my mother would remind me.

On the surface, my childhood might have seemed idyllic to some being the only child and seemingly my mother's pride and joy but that was from the outside. The atmosphere in our house was tense and it felt as if the only time laughter was allowed was when my mother approved of it and was participating in the mirth.

That sense of dread became so much a part of my personality.

It still is but I have learned how to manage it. For years, happiness was a very fleeting experience, one whose presence went as fast as Usain Bolt at the sound of the Starter's gun. Forty years it took for me to finally embrace the concept that I was allowed to be happy - whenever, however and for whatever the heck I chose.

My now friendly ghost, Dread, pays a visit ever so often. Sometimes she manages to make herself a sandwich before I realize she came in. Singing, even with my off key tone, is my remedy for her. Whether she is midway through her meal or I notice her bony behind coming up the driveway, I just start singing.

Not sure if it it is my cracked voice or the volume that I sometimes have to reach for, Dread goes running. "This too shall pass" is another my favourite affirmations. It is my final statement to Dread and my welcome to the peace that passeth all understanding that ensues.

Nowadays, whether there is $10 or $10,000 in my purse, you can never tell. In a relationship, just broke up or in the throes of a budding one, unless you are pretty close to me to know the details, the smile will be the same. Why? Well, I made a conscious decision to look for reasons, examples, signs,  etc of things to be happy about. Every morning as I open my eyes, I chose to feel happy.

On my birthday this year, I accepted a new position. At this point, I am in probation but I think the job will be mine. It was not an advertised position but everyone was aware of the opening. My job title is "Love-are in Training," and my boss lady is The Universe.

You see, what I learned over these 40 years is this: "The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give." Want to feel and be happy, give love.

There are still quite a few openings at my workplace, so if you are interested, leave a comment here or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Oh, I forgot to mention, in this job, we redirect hawks back to their rightful place. :)

Until tomorrow, have a Happy Friday and love as wastefully as you can.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Break My Neck Or Fly, I'm Jumping

Today has been very hectic so I decided to talk with you!

This is our audio blog. It is a huge chance! Please listen, share with others and give me your feedback.

Until tomorrow, be blessed!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Side Girl or Wifey? Which Are You?

This quote really says it all for me. Could actually hit publish and this would be the blog entry for the day:
"There's a difference between interest and comittment. When you are interested in doing something you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something you accept no excuses; only results." 
Not sure who made that statement but whoever it is, I owe him/her a kiss for being astute. Most often when we use the word "commitment," it is regarding relationship status. So, let's draw from that context an illustration of this significant difference.

"Baby girl, I really like you. I am very interested in you," says guy to girl he is meeting at the club. Girl provides her telephone number after a couple dances and one too many drinks. She rushes home and for every time her phone rings or pings, her heart skips a beat as it must be him.

Three weeks and counting and she has given up on him calling. She feels stupid that she wrote the number a napkin instead of letting him programme it into his phone. He must have lost it.

No he did not. The time was just not right to call. She was a sexy chick but he had to go out of town on business and when he came back all hell had broken loose by his mother's. He just could not fit her in, not even a quick phone call to say "Hi!"

It was not convenient. 

Change the script and boy sees girl on social media site. "Wow, she looks interesting but no way in hell would she even look at me." He clicks and moves on to YouTube to watch the game. This girl keeps coming to mind each time he goes online though and so after day three, he sends a tentative "Hi."

Girl responds and a conversation begins and he never wants it to end. She works nights he found out, so he goes to bed early and gets up a couple hours before she gets off and keeps her company. Girl mentions wanting to see the new band at the jazz cafe and he gets tickets although jazz is his least favourite genre.

Committed. 

This is the difference between paying lip service and providing service. You are willing to do what it takes to help out because you are committed to seeing something grow. Interested is you like the idea of a thing and might even indulge in it but only for as long as it or the person can fit into your rock hard schedule.

I mentioned in a previous blog post about my circle of friends narrowing. This is another reason, as I have embraced another profound quote: "Don't make people a priority for whom you are an option."

Check your life to see what really are commitments for you. What are some interests that you have been passing off as commitments? Very important as well is to identify who regard you as an interest and for whom you are a commitment that they cannot be without. Wifey material or side girl?

Be sure to stay in touch with me here, on our Facebook page and/our on Twitter. Happy to help you figure out your interests versus your commitments.

Blessings.

Photo Source: simplysimmone.hubpages.com

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Beat Who? Me? Are You Nuts?!

The sound of the siren was barely audible to me. Lying on the floor, face battered in and my body feeling as if every bone was broken, the only sound I could hear was my girlfriend's voice.

Twenty-five plus years have passed and so too memory of exactly what she was saying to me. She was the only person in our apartment building who responded to my cries for help. That in itself was a blessing, as he had beaten me before, many times, and everyone including family in the next room immediately developed "Can Hear Nothing" Syndrome.

Domestic violence occurs everywhere, every day and most turn a blind eye to the signs that someone is being whupped next door. Most do and say nothing in defense of the "target" of the abuse or offer support to the family to help resolve the issues. Not until someone is critically maimed or heaven forbid, a body is removed from the home, the neighbours are deaf/mutes.

I do not watch television news, listen to it on the radio or read newspapers. Have not done so in over 18 months now. The news, however, will find you. Take yesterday as an example. I went most of the morning in complete oblivion to the "news of the day." Around 11:00 a.m., as I sat in my stylist's chair to have my dreadlocks groomed, the tension was palpable.

The three stylists in the salon and a client were all wringing their hands, gnashing their teeth and in total outrage. From what I could gather, their mourning was brought about by the newscast that a woman was murdered the day before by her husband.

I will not get into the gory details except to say that the deceased body was viciously mutilated. She had apparently told the husband that she was leaving, after 'suffering' beatings for years at his hands. All present agreed that the "man was either mad or wicked or both!" 

What struck me was the discourse about the complexity of leaving an abusive relationship, especially when children are involved. Where I almost joined in the conversation but held myself back was when someone raised the point that there are women (and men) who choose to remain even when there are no impediments to leaving.

The notion that striking a partner is a demonstration of love is one that I choose never to accept. In my view, it is a mask covering the underlying issue of low to no self esteem.  Whatever the causes of (and there are a few) and the impediments to leaving a violent relationship - being beaten once, worse yet repeatedly is NOT an indication of affection.

My experience of domestic violence ended in divorce. Granted my self esteem was on the ground floor, I knew something was psychologically wrong with a man (or woman) who felt it was his only conflict resolution option. On one other ocassion later, another husband (that is a story in and of itself) made his first move into "beat the wifey land" with me. He was immediately deported, exiled and barred for life although we were swamped with debt.

No-thing is worth my ever being beaten again. 

No man or woman should be worth accepting being beaten, not by you or your neighbours. In the case of the latter, the least you can do is call the police and/or slip the "target" a flyer for the nearest shelter. In your case, the least you can do is get help to develop an exit plan.

Should you need to discuss your personal situation, feel free to contact me here. Otherwise you can leave a comment on our Facebook page or send us a tweet.

Have a good Tuesday!

Photo Source: everydayfeminism.com

Monday, 17 February 2014

Gay, Straight, Black, White, Muslim or Christian: We Are One

As the song says, "I've been a few places in my life and time," and have certainly met quite a few people.

I  have sung songs with some, had meals, quarreled with others and made love with a number. 

Several things that I garnered from of these interactions, regardless where in the world they occurred or from whence my contacts originated:
  • We all bleed the same color blood 
  • We all pee and defecated 
  • All our tears are salty 
  • We all pass gas 
The list of our sameness could go on and I am sure you could add quite a few. Would you?

Such a deal is made about our differences. Sexual orientation tops the current list but racial differences sometimes still assumes the lead. The mode of dress in one culture is measured by another as incorrect/oppressive (the hijab as one example). Wearing certain revealing clothing is considered fashionable by some and others deem it a sign of lewdness and promiscuity.

You might counter that these specific examples are choices that people make, therefore are open to critique. Okay. Then what about the critique and even ridicule that many, unfortunately, have to offer regarding those who are physically challenged, with a body part that "doesn't fit the norm?"

My observations here ought not to be taken to mean that I do not critique or notice differences. It certainly does not. As the years go by however, I am learning to relax more into the differences that surrounds us. What do I do?

Well, my basic premise is that "We are One." From there, I allow people to 'tell' me who they think they are. This conversation is had verbally and/or by observing their behaviors and responses to events in their lives and environment.

The result of this has been two-fold: narrowing and widening. 

My immediate circle of friends and confidants has significantly narrowed, drawing closer to me like minded persons ad kindred spirits. These people share my approach on many things, including not being afraid to tell me when I have messed up.

Interactions with those outside of that previous circle is from the wide angle - still grounded in the principle of Oneness but operating on "It's Your Life To Live," engine.

Yes, I notice behaviors that are not necessarily ones that would be my choices but I am accepting that that is the way the observed choses to experience this leg of his/her journey. More and more then, I am able to "let it be."

Not advocating anything here but to share that focusing on our Oneness has brought me a sweeter experience of peace. I go to bed at nights now and sleep like a baby without anyone's business or way of being causing me insomnia. How is your sleep?

Tell me about it either here in our comment section or on our Facebook page. You may also tweet us.

Continue to have a great President's Day those of you in the USA! Those at work, give it your best even though it is Monday!

Photo Source: ipeace.us

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Allow It To Come

In Jamaica we have a saying, "What a fi yuh, caan be un-fi-yuh." Translation: What is yours is yours.

No need to fuss, fret or fight. Sleep, eat, enjoy life because if it is to be a part of your experience it will come. I always loved the way The Beatles put it:
"When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be Let it be, let it be Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be..."
 
Let it be. Allow life to unfold. Our struggling only suffocates the flow of yours to you. Of course I know it is easier said than done!

Many days, in the midst of my beating against the walls that seem to be blocking Mine from me, I hear a gentle voice saying, "Claudette???" As I turn to the sweet sounding call of Wisdom (Mother Mary), the pressure eases and the wall slowly begins to crumble.

My eyes swollen from the crying and shrieking at the previously indestructible wall, I see in the distance Mine sauntering to me. 

It always astounds me - the power in turning. Every time that I have turned from the fight, the fuss, the struggle and instead "allow," Life reveals what is best. Funny too how the best is never usually packaged the way you imagined. It nevertheless contains all that will lead to the highest and most delicious experience of Love.

It is true - just let it be and what is yours must come.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Always know that you can share with us here, on Facebook or on Twitter.

Be blessed.

Photo Source: musicandlyrics.tumblr.com

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Happy Birthday Indeed!

For the first six or seven years of my life, my mother religiously threw a birthday party for me. Then they stopped for some reason. I think money became a real challenge by my seventh year.

Noticeable as it was even to my small mind that the parties had come to an end, it was not devastating. Somewhere in my memory there are images of confusion and strife between my mother and step father around these parties. The young me clearly understood that the celebration was not embraced by all or wrapped in total love.

The next time there was a birthday party, hosted by my mother, would be my "Sweet Sixteen." My memory of this the last party that she would throw for me is again not completely pleasant. I do, however, recall having a serious crush on someone - a boy name Errol and he did not turn up for the big event. The funny thing is, someone else had a crush on me and did turn up, unfortunately as this was an experience a girl of that age ought not to have had.

Before you the reader get the wrong impression, let me quickly say that while my journey was full of pits and falls, I truly feel blessed for everyone. Now at this point, on this day February 15, 2014 celebrating my 40+ birthday, I can with conviction say, "My life is rich and I am grateful." 

The last birthday party that I had was in Edmonton, Alberta in 2006. It was a fun-filled pyjama party that had my then partner cheating right in front of me! Lol

My next big bash, if I am granted the time, will be next February. It will be a bash and a bang whether I an celebrating it alone or in the company of friends. The vision of the occasion is already imprinted on my imagination, awaiting execution. My Beloved will be there as always.

My Beloved is Spirit and Spirit takes the form of who or what I need for highest and widest expansion in the moment. That is the lesson of all these birthday parties - embrace them and the memory of them for the essence of what they were.

Today, I am celebrating this birthday with friends near and far. I thank each and everyone for the phone calls, the greetings on Facebook and Twitter. I am honoured by the messages and conversations on BBM and I am deeply moved by the wine and cake private 'party' later this afternoon.

A very enormous thank you and I love you to the one who has had my attention for a little while now. Your sharing this day with me as we have is truly precious.

Oprah's closing piece in her magazine include these words: "This I Know For Sure." I borrow them today and say,
"I know for sure that Love is real, has always been and forever will be as long as we are."
Love has been with me, amidst the parties and when the music was barely discernible. So, I am full of gratitude for another year and more chances to expand into what I am, which is Love.

Namaste.

Friday, 14 February 2014

You See: Love Is My Religion

Lying is not my favourite pastime. I do not like to be told lies. Now in my more mature years, I do everything possible not to tell lies. Rather than lie to you, I will remain silent, unresponsive and/or basically just ignore your question.

That is why I will not lie regarding my true feelings about Valentine's Day.

There were two days in the year that held special romantic significance for me - Valentine's Day and New Years Eve. God alone knows why as nothing special or romantic really happened for me on either day!

I got dumped one Valentine's Day, yup on the actual day or better yet night when I was all dressed and ready to be taken out. Guess he found a sweeter Valentine and I was tossed to the curb like the wrapper. That was my first adult experience of Valentine's Day and it went virtually downhill from then on.

New Year's Eve fared better for me over many years, with many enjoyable parties, dinners and formal gatherings. However, it too lost that romantic shine about eight years ago. "Left with a broken heart," shattered would be more accurate, December 31 became the night that I spend quietly and reflectively, contemplating the upcoming year.

Truth is neither Valentine's Day nor New Year's Eve hold any spark for me. V-Day is only significant in the fact that it precedes my birthday. Notwithstanding, I do appreciate and even enjoy watching the anticipation and glee that others have for both.

As such, not to be "left out" this year I decided to turn Valentine's Day into Validation Day. February 14 seems to be the only time you can share and express love freely to people without being suspected of or charged for sexual harassment.

So until 11:59 tonight, I will be like a hippy or an evangelist in the park, spreading the love all over social media. Heaven help me if there is a Facebook or Twitter rule against that sort of dealing! Lol

I love you all and feel free to love me back, if only for today, here on Facebook or Twitter.

Namaste.

Photo Source: quotespictures.com

Thursday, 13 February 2014

That @$&# This Moment

Have you ever had the experience of asking, begging, pleading with someone to stop doing something for ages and they ignored you? Then, one day without rhyme or reason they just stopped!

That was the situation with a partner I had. Nothing, no argument - scientific or otherwise - would convince him to stop smoking. Just about everyone in the family tried to no avail. Then, right after one Christmas holiday, he just upped and quit. No forewarning, no weaning, cold turkey and never looked back.

I have seen people do that countless of times. With no seeming external pressure able to convince them, one day out of the blue they get up and do it! That "it" can be anything. Smoking, learning a trade, riding a horse again, swimming or just live a "straight and narrow" life.

What propels them is motivation, self motivation. That "to hell with this" force comes from deep within and whether anyone agrees with their when or how, they are moving full stream ahead.
"When you do what you fear most, then you can do anything." Stephen Richards 
Fear is most often the emotion pinning one down to a habitual behavior. It might be fear of gaining weight should you stop smoking, fear of failure if you step out and start your own business or fear of another heartbreak should you agree to move in with a long distance lover.

"One day your soul just opens up," wrote Iyanla Vanzant and you simply, quietly and without fanfare say "Yes!" It matters not if you gain weight. There is a gym for that. If the business crashes, MacDonald's is your favourite fast food corporation and they are hiring. Living with Johnny turns out to be a nightmare. Then you go tour the countryside and teach English as a Second Language.

You wake up one day and stop asking yourself the "what if it doesn't ..." questions. Instead, you say loudly and boldly, "So what if it doesn't!" 

Before I leave this Earth plane, all the stories of my screw ups will be detailed. The thing that I am most proud of in all these stories and those still to come? I truly did and continue to do it my way - with or without company!

What stories of self-motivation, of @#&& this decisions are you writing? Share with us here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Would love to hear from you.

Continue to be blessed and ride the wave!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

If You Could Read My Mind

It will be a short post today. Why? Well, if I were to start detailing the random thoughts going through my head, this will turn into a novel.

Mundane thoughts such as:
  • Why am I the only one being bitten by these mosquitoes? 
  • How badly damaged are my teeth now from cracking three to four glasses of ice cubes daily? 
  • Why do I eat so much ice? 
Then there are the thoughts about my friends, the really close ones, that float through my mind over the course of the day.
  • Is she really okay as she says? 
  • Do they really have that great sex? 
  • I wonder what is really going on with her health wise that she isn't saying?
I am sure my friends will probably know themselves when they read this!

I get quite a few emails and inbox and direct messages on Facebook and Twitter, respectively. Responding to each, I always bring myself fully into the conversations. However, there are times when I wonder whether my response might be misconstrued, be too blunt or, heaven forbid, taken out of context.

Not to mention my thoughts around relationships, past, budding or the "not sure where this is going" ones. Only today, my random thoughts on this subject have been:
  1. What the hell does he think I am? Stupid? 
  2. He wants me to do what? Wait on him? Do I look like a tree? 
  3. If this continues for a couple more years, will I even want to be seen publicly with anyone? 
"Whatever results you’re getting, be they rich or poor, good or bad, positive or negative, always remember that your outer world is simply a reflection of your inner world. If things aren’t going well in your outer life, it’s because things aren’t going well in your inner life. It’s that simple." ~ T. Harv Eker Quotes from Secrets of the Millionaire 
Some thoughts I entertain beyond their "random" nature, meaning passing nature. Allowing them to linger, thoughts about my life and how I desire it to unfold are my favourites. Thoughts about "doing what I love," how I will spend the day and what is flowing from me to share are those that I savour.

What are some of your random thoughts? How do they affect your day and your living? Do you believe the saying "What you think about [consistently] you bring about?" 

Let's share thoughts on this or any other random topic. Write to me through this blog or at our Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Be blessed and have a thought-filled day!

Photo Source: lolsnaps.com

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

"What's Love Got To Do With It?"

The tension was building. We were in our eighth year and we wanted more, plenty more.

Morning, noon, night - it mattered not the hour, our thoughts were heading in one delicious direction. Money. We needed more and fast!

We met in 1990, soon after I had returned to Jamaica from university in Europe. Armed with a Master's degree, the world was my oyster and all I needed was someone to eat that baby with. I found The One and our relationship was hot, passionate and totally taboo.

With time, we adapted and finances became the hottest thing happening in our bedroom. 

It had crept in through the back door, left open by all the mounting expenses of coupledom and raising a young child. School fees, rent, car payment, food, clothing, utilities were some of the basic expenses stealing our joy. Added to that were the costs associated with taking care - completely - of my mother.

Love has a funny way of being sidetracked when money problems step in. The after sex conversations, if there was any 'action' going on in the first place, quickly went to money. "No hon, we can't do that, it's too expensive and we still have the light bill," usually killed the afterglow.

Hard as we tried, it got worse. Sadly, we had no one to counsel us, as who wanted friends or family to know the real story. "We'll plod along, cut back, scrap the vacation," was my then partner's solution.

In the end, after 16 years, we crashed and burnt. 

Money, however, is not to be blamed. Actually no one is to be faulted. Hindsight has taught me that. Our challenges, not dissimilar to that of many couples, married or not, included:
  • Failing to discuss, understand and negotiate prior to "becoming One," our financial lifestyle. 
  • Getting on the "Keeping up with the Joneses" bandwagon and having no clue how to ride.
  • Trying to live up to the expectations and demands of third parties, namely family.
"Money ... is like a beautiful thoroughbred horse--very powerful & always in action, but unless this horse is trained when very young, it will be an out-of-control & dangerous animal when it grows to maturity." Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace Revisited 
That is exactly what we were and what many entering or in relationships are: untrained horses. We have been set loose, metaphorically, on this track of "Money Is All There Is" and no one really trained us how to race.

Indebted and mortgaged to our necks, marriages and relationships, specifically the live-in ones, are heading to the break-up courts. How can this change? With little to no financial expertise, my top three suggestions and not in order of priority would be:
  1. Before shacking up, legally or otherwise, even while still dating, talk about your financial history, outlook, desires. If you are not a "best fit," and the differences are fundamental, walk!
  2. Get to know and understand your personal and true relationship with money. Heal what needs to be and embrace and enhance what is working for you.
  3. See a financial advisor if you need expert help to physically sort your financial situation before tying the knot or entering a committed relationship.
Relationships are wonderful, yet they are not "trouble free." Minimize the one greatest challenge that many couples face and do the preparatory and exploratory work before "putting a ring on it!"

Need support or street-smart suggestions? Contact me through this blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

Continue to have a blessed day!

Photo Source: fabulouslybroke.com

Monday, 10 February 2014

Livestream Your Vision

We are now 41 days into the 'New Year'. Do you know where your Intentions are? 

Those pesky little things that you wrote down and downloaded or cut out pictures symbolizing the desires for 2014. Intentions is my preferred word for them rather than New Year's Resolution. We have discussed the difference before but in case you have forgotten or it missed you, check here for a reminder.

Shared on Facebook yesterday how much I enjoyed attending church. It was a last minute decision, one that I am thankful that I made. The topic of the sermon was: "Success: Love It!" It was part of a wider theme that is aimed at assisting congregants develop a "Game Plan for Success."

Each of us determine our measure of success. The Minister reiterated that and gave examples that success in this moment might look different in the next. On a larger scale, success for me will be different from your idea of success.

Unfortunately, however, many of us do not embrace our internal ideals - so to speak. Instead, we use society's standards of success. The prescription of success, according to those standards, include hard work, certain careers/jobs, buying everything big and seemingly better than what the neighbors or your cousins have and having 'lots' of money - hard cash and/or access to credit. Anything less than or besides these are deemed "doing okay" to being a failure.

What if you were to disagree with that premise and try your own formula?

That was the cornerstone of the visioning process suggested in this blog at the start of the year. I posited that You are well able to identify and 'dream toward' your success-filled life as you see it.
"To think about your life is to create it. You have to take ownership of where you are right now and know where you want to go before you can get there. Keep collecting evidence for your success. You can believe it, and you can be it." Ali Vincent
Notice my choice of words: "vision," "dream," and "see." An intention is having a purpose, something or a state of being that you are aiming towards. Fundamental to setting "your eyes" on that intention is envisioning, constantly dreaming and seeing yourself living as desired.

It is very much like "live streaming." You are not at the event but you are watching it, seeing it from thousands of miles away as it occurs. You are caught up in the excitement of the event just as if you were there! That is the formula for success.

Aligning yourself with your desires, your best life, long (or shortly) before it actualizes is key, the core even of this process. Other practical steps worth incorporating in your daily routine include:
  • Eliminating inauthenticity from your life. Know who you are, embrace that person and do not allow anything or anyone to diminish your sense of self. 
  • Clarifying your desires and when necessary be specific. However, some desires are best left general when stating the specifics might provoke negativity within you. For example, adding a picture of a 20-bedroom mansion to your vision board to illustrate your desire to own a home might be a challenge while living in your Mom's basement. A general statement such as "my desire is to own property with a very well furnished house," might be easier for you in this moment.
  • Watching your language! There is a biblical passage that says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue... ." Remove, reduce and rethink some of the words you are using to tell the story of your journey. Rephrase statements that begin with "I want," for example. Say instead, "I will..." There is another sage piece of advice relevant here. "If you can't say anything good," shut up! 
  • Focussing on where you are going, repeating every chance you get your intentions and feeling in the moment as if you are already there. 
  • Gratitude. Need I say more? Be grateful for where you are, those walking with you, even the challenging ones, for the sun, the moon and the stars. Practice "radical gratitude." 
If you need further support with any of this or on any other topic, feel free to contact me here, through our Facebook page or on Twitter.

Looking foward to seeing some of you in Jamaica later this year.

Blessings!

Photo Source: deliciouslyfitnutriciouslyfed.com

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Today Is Time To Relax

Today, we are taking it easy at DOS. No heavy discussion, no focus, just relaxation.

What better way to do so than to share the information about our upcoming First Gathering in Jamaica?

From Sunday, December 14 to Sunday, December 21 this year, members of the Daughters of Sheba Facebook Group will gather for the first time. We have decided to invite well wishers and Friends of DOSF to join us.

This will not be one of those big conferences neither is it a gathering loaded with workshops that you have no time to enjoy the location. In this case, it will be the parish of St. Elizabeth and there is plenty to see and do on this, the South Coast of the island. We have limited spaces available and you, along with your children and spouses are welcomed to fill them. We are also looking forward to having among us men who are Friends of DOSF.

We have developed a special itinerary for the week, including road trips and a visit to a local charity that supports young women (and men). As this is an intimate Gathering, there is a screening process as part of the registration and prior to making any payments for accommodation. The Registration Fee, payable in full by August 2014, is C$275 per adult and C$$135 per child (16 and under). Contact me through the Speak With Me section on this blog for more details and to make payment arrangements.

The package include:
*Continental Breakfast each morning (except one)
*Special Jamaican Breakfast Event
*Welcome Reception
*Special Gathering Formal Dinner•
*Beach BBQ•
*All Day Lyme••
*Transportation to and from Montego Bay Airport
*Boat transportation (x1) •••
*Transportation for Day Trips (x3)
*Visit to Charity•

•Food & nonalcoholic beverages/wines are included
••Food is included with Cash Bar
•••Food and beverage cost not included

Group accommodation rates apply at Idlers Rest, the Gathering hotel. When making your reservation be sure to provide this code: DOS2014. Daily Room rates for the Gathering are:
Double/Single US$100
Triple US$125
Quad US$150
One-bedroom Suites w/ Refrigerators & Stoves US$150

The meal and tour/activity package for the week is: US$275 per adult US$220 per child (16 and under) Payment in full is required by October 2014. No refunds, except in proven emergency situations will be made after November 30, 2014.

Contact Julie Mahon at Idlers Rest via: reservations@idlersrest.com or (876) 965-9000. You may also make your reservations through their US Contact Number: (718) 355-8391

Pauline's Travel Agency is the official travel agent for the event. Contact her via email  or by telephone at (876) 929-3505 and quote Reservation Code: DOS2014F to get any available group discount from your city.

I do look forward to spending this week with, so check out the details, contact me and let us plan to meet and have some fun on my island home!

Continue to have a relaxing Sunday!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Thief: How To Catch Or Stop Being One

"People who violate your boundaries are thieves. They steal time that doesn’t belong to them." Elizabeth Grace Saunders 
I was such a thief!

It took all of 40 years for me to be caught, thrown before the courts and sentenced! The presiding judge on my case, thankfully, understood the journey that brought me before her.

She was compassionate even though no-nonsense. While she listened to my explanations and recounting of all that had been done to me, she was not beguiled by any of it.

My court case took six months. One hour twice per week, through snow then spring rain, I would make my way to my psychologist's (the judge) office downtown Edmonton, Alberta. It had taken a couple months to find "the best fit," as after agreeing with my friends that professional help was needed, the challenge was finding the right professional.

This Jewish therapist got me. By the second session, she had a handle on claudette and saw glimpses of Claudette. Long before my insurance coverage ran out, working in tandem with my Spiritual Director (a Catholic Nun who I trusted and loved world without end), this therapist was conversing with Claudette.

Breakthrough occurred the third time we sat on the floor with her basket of yarns. The exercise was to choose yarn by colour that represented people who played and/or continued to play significant roles in my life. I would string the yarn around my body within a virtual range of their proximity to me. This was indicative of how close they were to me and how much they influenced me.

As the exercise progressed, she instructed me to move the yarn either further from or closer to my body as guided by my Spirit. This is why she was an excellent therapist for me as she easily and comfortably blended science and spirituality to help her clients heal.

This form of Body Talk therapeutic approach was largely responsible for sentencing me to a life of Freedom!

Boundaries were at the root of my emotional challenges and balance was the key ingredient for my healing. In my childhood, my sense of boundaries was never allowed to develop due to:
  • Sexual abuse and molestation 
  • Parental abuse - verbal and physical (mother) 
  • Abandonment (father) 
Seeking to find my place in the world, like everyone else who had these experiences, I was wide open to even more imbalances. Intimate relationships became power struggles, my pursuit of higher education was so driven it almost burnt by brain out and my career was less about passion but more focused on getting to the top as quickly as possible.

Power - I had lost it (or so I thought) at the hands of molesters, abusers, lovers and general users. My efforting was to regain my power and I was completely out of balance, invading other people's boundaries and unhappy.

Fast forward six years and a significant relationship crashed to the floor, amidst deceit and attempted manipulation. My dog philosophy came right to the fore. With my life in way more balance - I was at peace with my past and with where I was.  Finally,  I was doing Me, how I wanted and, more important, as led by Spirit. So, I simply peed on the dying relationship and moved on.

Balance of body, mind and Spirit allows you to be clear about who you are, what you will do and who you will do it with and for. 

Equally, having balance in your life erases any desire to step over anyone's borders. Those who want you in their lives will issue a 'entry permit' which clearly states where you can go and where is off limits. Read carefully and feel within yourself whether that territory matches your exploratory plan. Otherwise, just pee on it and move right along!

Check out this website for more information on Body Talk Therapy and find a local therapist if you feel out of balance. Stop being a thief and/or learn to spot one!

Feel free to share your thoughts on this or any other topic with me here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Also, have you considered joining us in Jamaica in December? Look at our Events page and make your reservation soon!

Have a great Saturday!

Photo Source: yoddler.com

Friday, 7 February 2014

Me? Valentine? No Thank You!

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by a girlfriend's office for a visit and lunch. What should have been a relatively short stop turned into a three hour stay.

With a rare afternoon of no after school activity, her son was also there. He, as always, engaged me in conversation on a myriad of topics. Supposedly doing his homework, every time he heard a word that he did not understand, he raised his hand to be heard.

As we drove home hours later and after answering questions on marketing, report writing and my favorite song, his mother and I were finally able to talk about relationships. Actually, we got to that quite circuitously.

Currently, I am in Jamaica and have been for just over two months now. Us Canadians refer to this type of behavior as "snowbirding." I had made up my mind that another winter was not going to catch me in Canada and so in November of last year I arrived in Kingston, Jamaica.

My girlfriend and I were discussing my short term plans, as I do have a return ticket that either needs to be used in a few or the departure date changed.

"I have been researching apartments and not sure whether to go furnished or unfurnished," I told her. Her vote was for unfurnished as "the furnished will not be up to your standards," she declared.

What came next explains why I am sharing this conversation on the day that the upcoming Valentine's Day is the focus. 

Again explaining to my girlfriend that my standard is a bed, living room set, fridge and stove, I reminded her that my intention is a "nomadic life." Ever the optimist and always hoping for a relationship for me, she said, "That might change."

"No, it will not. I do not even want a relationship, at least not one that last for longer than I am in town!" Ever the witty one, my friend chimed, "So, what about...?" Preempting her, I cut her off, gesticulating in the air like a weather reporter pointing to various cities on the map: "One in every city!"

I honestly thought she was going to die from laughter. Thankfully, her son was long bored with us to listen to anymore of our conversation as it was strictly adult for the next few minutes.

At my age and with the number of scars on my heart, I am long over Valentine's Day. 

The last time there was someone physically in my life to spend the day with, we had a major quarrel on the "Day of Love." To express my growing feelings for him, as well as to say I 'see' him, being the practical romantic that I was, I bought him a few items, including chocolates, a really nice silk shirt and a way too expensive bottle of cologne.

Had he been annoyed at the cost of my gifts, I would have understood. His frustration was with the fact that I had bought him a Valentine's Day gift! "Now I have to get you something," he wailed.

That was the last Valentine's Day penny I will ever spend. It was also my last live-in relationship.

Call me jaded, cynical or both, romantic relationships are not worth my time nor the effort! I have accepted that I am not cut out for them. Since that awesome February 14 event back in 2008, I have had another relationship and I skipped over Valentine's Day. It ended anyway! So the problem is not the event but my inability to settle for cheapskates, liars, users and players.

Does that sound bitter? Not meant to, however, what I have come to accept is that when you have an insatiable capacity to give love, restricting it to one day or even one outlet just does not cut it. This Valentine's Day will be as any other day for me.

My expressions of love and appreciation will flow wastefully. I have been asked what that means. It means to give without expectation of return, to anyone, anywhere without concern of betrayal.

Loving wastefully means to love without strings, supporting the other's growth and being fully prepared to release them. That is what happened with my last Valentine and will happen with the next few - one in every city!

For those of you who are still less jaded than I am, today is Rose Day in our 7-day count down to V-Day. Be sure to send one, even to me, here or on Facebook or on Twitter.

Be Love!

PS.: Be sure to check out the details and book your space for our First Gathering later this year!

Photo Source: smsblaze.com

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Positively My Body

My mother was seriously overweight. In Jamaica's current parlance she would be described as "fluffy."

Compared to many of the women that surrounded me in those years, my mother was 'fat'. Granted, back in the 1970's body size did not seem to have the attention it now has.

By the time of my first serious relationship, things had changed. 

I recall the man that seemed so progressive in every other way warning me to "watch the midlife spread." That was when my adventures in one week dieting started. Despite being hungry as a dog, I would refuse a full meal on dates, choosing instead a salad. The genesis of my hatred for salads lies in those years.

Thousands of dollars would be wasted over my 20's and early 30's in unused gym subscriptions, on gym wear and shoes, fitness equipment, diet and exercise books and on various related audiovisuals. At least one intimate relationship crashed on the rocks of the "I am too fat" sea.

Liposuction - considered; facelift - explored; breast augmentation - discussed and thankfully I never had enough financial resources to afford any of these procedures.

A couple years ago, I was in a Toronto store trying on some jeans. Not finding any that fitted just right, I lamented to the saleslady how sad it is that my butt is so flat. She vehemently disagreed with me but offered to sell me some for C$30.00 if it would make me feel better.

Is that what it is, we really do not feel good about ourselves because our bodies do not look like the models'? 

Praise God on turning 40 and no longer feeling the need to look any particular way to secure a partner. Yes, most of female body image challenges are directly related to snagging a partner and/or keeping one.

It took all this time to understand that my body, your body will respond to inner cues and not the other way around. If my self talk is one that is diminishing of who I am as a human being and more so as a woman, not only will my behavior reflect it but so too my body.

Read an interesting article on this subject and the author provided the following tips for maintaining an healthy body image:
  • Remember that health and appearance are two different things. 
  • Accept and value your genes — you probably inherited a lot of traits from your family members, so love those traits as you love your family. 
  • Keep a list of your positive qualities that have nothing to do with your appearance. 
  • Surround yourself with people who are supportive and who make you feel good about yourself. Treat your body with respect and kindness. 
Yesterday, we looked at the media and its impact on our view of the world around us. The media's influence is much wider than that, extending to how we as women love or despise our bodies. Popular culture, peddled by the media, would have us in a schizophrenic state, constantly trying to fit body images that simply are not innate to our beings.

We are all uniquely different and the sooner that is embraced, the happier all of us will be - in our individual "image and likeness of God." 

Need support accepting that? Drop me a line here, on Facebook and/or on Twitter and let us talk.

Blessings!

P.S.: Remember to check out the events section of our Facebook page and make plans to join us in Jamaica on December 14 - 21, 2014

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Build Your Own Soap Box

"One channel is the Stress Channel and the other is the Peace Channel. We really do have a choice about what we listen to. The Peace Channel can only be heard when we are present in the moment, when we are in the now. To tune in to the Peace Channel, all we have to do is be, experience, notice, and naturally respond to what is arising in the moment. To tune into the Stress Channel, we just have to start believing our thoughts again. [...] Eliminating stress is just a matter of tuning out the negative and tuning in the positive and just being, experiencing, and dancing to that music instead of the mind's chatter." Gina Lake 
Group think sessions, as I mentioned in a previous post, are not something that I willing or even regularly attend.

My tendency is to be a rebel. 

Not without a cause but for the one and only cause that has ever really mattered to me. That is to be myself. This independent streak has been noticeable in me since I was eight or so years of age. Fully aware that I can think for myself, my mission was to do the things that my heart was propelling me to do.

Talk. I love to talk. Any subject that attracted my attention would get its deserved exploration then I would share my findings. Literally, I created my own 'soap box' in our backyard and would stand there and share my thoughts with the Julie Mango tree. Incidentally, those are my favourite type of mangoes!

Wikipedia provides this definition of groupthinking:

"Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences." 

Simply stated, to groupthink is to "hold the party line."

That has its benefits but the risk of myopia and rigidity of opinion and approach is too great for my liking. As well, to hold the "line," it must be fed to everyone in the group and therein lies my challenge.

As a society, we are constantly fed a line. Invariably, that line is grounded in fear and "othering" of people, places and things different to our particular group. The diet, necessary to keep us in tow, is fed by the media and other entities of influence such as religious organizations, political parties and even educational institutions.

Silence and getting with the programme, drinking the kool aid, behaving and dressing as everyone else and, most important, speaking according to the script are some of the 'rules' to be observed.

Conspiracy theories are not my thing, however, there is enough evidence throughout history to show how countries, communities and small groups of people have been "brainwashed." One of the most horrific examples is Hitler's Germany.

Yet there is always a renegade, a rebel who refuses to drink the beverage. That individual, the Anne Franks of our world, choose to see things differently, focus on "what is possible," rather than on what is.

My suggestion is not necessarily to switch off all televisions, radios etc. While a total black out of the negativity and sensationalism of our media would greatly enhance the reclamation effort, we have a more power-filled tool.

Choice.

Choose for yourself how you will view your life and how you want it to unfold from this point onwards. Let that choice guide you if, when and how to withdraw from the group.

Then, build your own soap box and speak Your Truth from it - even if you are the only one listening. Really, how many more listeners do you need? There is power in one - it is called, I believe, the butterfly effect.

We want to support you however possible so write to us here, on Facebook or Twitter and let us know how your station is coming along.

Blessings!

Photo Source: sodahead.com

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Do You Like Sex?

By the end of the day, someone will most certainly point me to texts on the "History of Sexual Repression." As well, there will be messages regarding biblical passages that outline all of the dictates around sexual relations.

Both types of references will be appreciated albeit unnecessary. Why? Well, in my view #Sex - the why's, when's, with whom and where of the act - is totally personal.

Having a moral compass that guides interpersonal relationships is a wonderful if not necessary thing. The question becomes, however, who sets the compass? 

For centuries, sex, sexuality and sensuality have been guided and in fact controlled by the Church. Some blame it on the Catholic faith, others simply lay blame at the feet of men generally.
"Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!" George Bernard Shaw 
We all do it but somehow it is the #Sexuality and sexual expression of #Women that have been subject to power and control. The sexual exploits of men, while 'scandalous' for those in office in the United States mainly, is quietly seen as a mark of their prowess.

I love sex. I embrace my sexuality in all its expressions and manifestations. My sensuality is what makes me the woman that I am - warm, caring, nurturing and self-assured. Does any of that make me or any woman who feel as I do wanton hussies? Absolutely not.

People go out if their way to make distinctions between having sex and making love. For the most part, I try not to do so because even with the person who has my heart, there are times we 'have sex' and other times when we 'make love'.

What experience, mistakes, age and maturity have taught me is:
  • My sexuality and sensuality are nothing to be ashamed of. 
  • My femininity is to be embraced but not suffocate me 
  • Sex appeal cannot be bought at the designer clothing store, spa or had through wearing Christian Louboutin shoes. 
  • Strutting half naked is way less attractive than showing that I have a brain and know how to use it. 
The most important and valuable of all lessons though is knowing that my body is mine, the temple of the Being that I represent and Who - not the Church or any other human - will guide me how to express its Love. 

So whether having sex or making love, the essence remains the same - the act is a combination of souls seeking to release, channel and share the beauty within. Many in their shortsightedness and soulless lust, often miss this point and instead see the act as a way to control and exert power.

"The overriding message: for many, sexuality is emerging from the realm of guilt and sin and becoming instead a divine blessing and a way to reach new, transcendent heights." Holly Lebowitz Rossi

Share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment, messaging on our Facebook page or send us a tweet.

Have a sexy day!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Be Like A Dog

"We don't have to be defined by the things we did or didn't do in our past. Some people allow themselves to be controlled by regret. Maybe it's a regret, maybe it's not. It's merely something that happened. Get over it." Pittacus Lore 
That certainly sounds harsh: "Get over it!" Yet, it is so true.

"No use crying over spilt milk," is another one of those sayings that confounded me in my much younger years. Now, at my wise old age of 40 plus, let us leave it at that, my motto is: "Handle life [stress, challenges] like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, then pee on it and walk away!" 

The amount of pee I have used up in the past few years could fill a swimming pool. 

See, my recently found dog philosophy has had me lifting my 'hind' legs and walking
away from so much drama. Looking back, yes I do look back not to wallow but to learn, had I not been able to do that my life would be much different today.

For sure I would not be writing this blog. They do not permit electronic devices in Canadian prisons or asylums!

The experiences over my life but just in the past eight years were enough to either make me a lunatic or someone's b'tch in a 2x2 cell! My faith in Something bigger than myself and/or any problem that confronts me remove regrets from my thoughts.

Dumped, broke, stranded, ignored, hungry, abandoned were some of the situations I found myself facing. At peace, provided for, lavishly accommodated, improved health and weight management, surrounded by Love are few of the rewards of my mistakes!

There was a time too when I would say that these grace-filled moments came at a high price. Actually, they came at the RIGHT price. These "blessons" costed me some time and some pain but measured against the smiles, the love and the warmth that I experienced while they lasted - it was worth it.

It certainly is not an easy thing to do - pee on situations and even people who helped to cause you grief. The only 'mistake' that I can see, though, would be to allow them to hold you in bondage! That is exactly what having regrets does.

Should you need a demonstration on how to pee on hurt-filled situations, check the nearest tree in your park or hydrant. If it is too cold for the dog-tutors to be out, then email, inbox or tweet me.

Be blessed and empty your bladders!

P.S. We are pleased to announce that The First Gathering of DOS will be held from Sunday, December 14 to Sunday,  December 21, 2014 in Jamaica!  Check our Facebook page for details and reserve your space now!

Photo Source: dawgbusiness.blogspot.com