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Archive for the tag “purpose”

Pushing toward purpose

I won’t even fake.

It’s been a long and emotional week. Me and my friends said goodbye to a friend who passed away, we spent time with one another, thankful we are still living and healthy and making our little way in the world. I spent time with my parents, I laughed, I cried.

I helped one close relative put an end to one chapter in their life and watched them step out on faith to start anew. I was scared for them, but also proud of them too. Life is really unpredictable and complicated and we are all on this path to trying to be happy and it’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish because you basically can’t be happy all the time.

I’ve started prepping for my grad school classes that start this week and I’ve already learned about a whole lot and the material is exciting to me. One of my classes started out talking about the cells in our bodies and how these cells do nothing but try to help us stay balanced. The world is made up of all sorts of stuff that is in fact, trying to break us down and disturb our homeostasis, and all our body and mind wants to do is maintain that, but the environment that is around us, the air we breathe, the food we eat, our stress levels, the things that stress us out they continue to wage war on us everyday, and our poor, brave cells are fighting non stop to keep us mentally and physically balanced.

Isn’t that wild?

Life. That’s what it all is, trying to maintain balance, being cognizant of a whole lot of stuff that inherently attempts to break us and stop us, but like those cells, we fight. On a cellular level, even if it seems like we’ve given up mentally, our bodies are programmed to still fight until it burns out (cell death– which leads to ultimate breakdowns in health and eventually our own demise).

See? I’m learning stuff.

So I was up late last night prepping for my classes after driving five hours back from NY, and meeting a younger cousin visiting from Mississippi for dessert, dropping him off at a friend’s house. I was up until one a.m. and was deeply engrossed in the material I was studying. There were studies about the “weathering” effects on black Americans and that a middle-aged black person has an equal amount of wear and tear on the body and emotions as a very elderly white person. Disparities and injustice are real. And to see studies, and documentation confirming things black folks felt like the world tends to ignore and that we just have to live with it first affirmed me, then it made me sad, then it made me furious.

There are even terms for how black people are high functioning copers. That black women, no matter their economic status are the most highly stressed even though recent articles have said we have now become the most educated group in the country right now at really high rates.

Reading all of this at first made me proud, like yup, look at us we still achieve we still go higher. But then I got sad and upset. Why can’t the rest of the world see what I see, and even what these academics have found? But instead a lot of people see something else. Something completely different.

I do like that these courses are asking people to look at the complexities of society and the implications of things like racism, and classism and how it does affect the greater good.

I found myself in the texts, my brain working and wondering how I can craft solutions to these problems, to this calling I have to help women and children and people of color and the disenfranchised. I found an energy even at one a.m. I knew I was tired, but I knew I picked the right path.

I’m going to be exhausted. This is going to be tough. But this certainly feels like the right thing to do.

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There Are Times You Just Gotta Jump

I’ve said it numerous times that as we get older, we really get comfortable with fear.

So much so, that we decide not to try things, not to get hurt, not to fail, not to endure some kind of loss that may or may not come with whatever it is we are deciding NOT to do.

It’s sad. It’s a terrible place to be and I’ve been there.

Fear can paralyze us.

It can prevent us from loving who we want to love, fighting for what we want.

It can keep us under the illusion that we are safe.

But while we are merely surviving in safety and sucking up air, eating from time to time and using the bathroom. It’s kind of like we are just waiting around to die.

Sometimes life forces us to action, whether we like it or not.

So there are some schools of thought that we should be active and proactive in our actions so we can at least have a real say in our decisions instead of life forcing us to do so at the last-minute.

There is a give and take of energy in this universe. And what we do put out there, it does come back.

I won’t lie.

I was scared of letting go of my relationship for real, but even though I was calling myself dating, I wasn’t fully open to the prospect of going all in for some other man who entered my life. I won’t say the men I’ve dated recently were the one anyway, but it wasn’t until after my last interaction with my ex, I coined the phrase, “He is unable, therefore I can’t.”

He was unable to truly love me in the way I needed most. And if he can’t do it, he can’t do it.

The realization was something that actually gave me comfort in letting go.

I opened myself up to the possibility of rebuilding our relationship, but because he was so consumed with life happening to him, and a recent job loss, he did not have room to give me what I needed, and I had decided I no longer had the time or energy to wait.

My vacation allowed me time to step away from my life that was suffocating.

I was just working everyday, but not living.
I was constantly online looking for men, secretly hoping one of them had the answers to my happiness.

I took a chance, and overspent some money, but I went to a different country. I tried new foods, I snorkeled for the first time, and jumping off of a boat into the ocean was probably one of the top things I was most scared of, despite having on a life vest and travel mates who were excellent nurses assuring me nothing would happen to me.

There was fear, the vest and the team of nurses weren’t going to be enough. If I jump off this boat, I may go all the way down. Would this be my last day because I was being reckless? I’m not the strongest swimmer.

But even with all of the coaxing, I knew deep down, I had just enough to keep me afloat. I was more comfortable with water than I had ever been in my life and that I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try.

When you do something like that and over come a fear like that, and you finally learn how to breathe through the snorkel and finally look down, the world opens up to you in a crazy way. I opened my eyes and I just looked down, I breathed easier and I found myself excited like a child seeing the circus for the first time or the ocean.

I saw fishes of all shapes and sizes and colors, I saw the coral and I was amazed that I could have such a moment.

After spending most of my mornings in deep prayer and journaling, I came home refreshed.

I ate new food and met new people. I was blessed.

So what was going to change when I got home?

Was I going to go back to the gym again after work? Was I going to go back to my tee shirts?

Was I going to really go ahead and go to school?

I found myself looking up online programs, and thanks to the pushy nature of the admissions offices and their knack for intense follow-up, I was meeting deadlines.

I was purchasing books to help me study for the GRE.

I was studying for the GRE.

And today, I paid for and scheduled my test. Nov. 17. EEEKKK Hitting the panic button.

Am I still scared, yes. But I have a renewed sense of purpose I haven’t had in a very long time.

I was telling a friend that it felt natural to make peace with the end of my career in journalism and that I was allowed to have a new calling and a new dream and it doesn’t diminish what the old career and old dream meant to me.

In fact, it is a foundation. It’s still a career that was originally rooted in service and informing the public and making a difference and improving people’s quality of life through education and knowledge. So the transition to public health isn’t a wild leap. It’s an extension of where I am in my life.

I’m not looking forward to the test, but I am looking forward to starting the study and the research and the new challenge.

An urgency for my life sprang up in me.

I was no longer a child. But I am of the age where most people get married and have children and buy houses and I’m not in that group either.

I could take two years to do this for me.

I can jump off of the boat and see my new life spread before me and I can be proud that I went ahead and tried.

On Seeing Myself and Other Revelations

So many things are going on in my heart and mind right now, it’s kind of nuts.

I’m inspired by how kick-ass Lancelot is, and I’m inspired by the book I’ve been talking to you folks about, “Calling in the One.”

There is a section in the book that talks about being a better you and basically having things going for yourself so it’s a lot easier for someone who has their stuff together can enter your life and you can both go do great things together.

The book, and Lancelot’s passion and risk-taking abilities speak to something I’ve known about myself all along but have kind of suppressed the last couple of years, because I’ve been in survival mode.

I do enjoy doing things that I feel are meaningful and that will help others and will allow me to be creative.

Somewhere along the way, I got lost in the sauce. And even with a new management position now, for which I am grateful, I have gotten further and further away from my passion as a writer and a reporter. I no longer professionally identify as such.

I still consider myself a journalist and editor, but I work in the digital space, with online content, primarily. I enjoy supporting my team, teaching them things and watching them grow. But, I can only take them so far, because in this world, I’ve only gotten so far myself and have been struggling with what to do next with this company way long ago.

Something tugged on my heart to go to volunteermatch.com yesterday. And there are times I have these moments. I feel inspired, I want to give back, but I search the site and either the times are bad or locations for the things I’m interested in.

I did something different with my search and put in writer as the keyword. There were few choices that popped up, but one did and it was awesome. It was for a writing coach to help low income kids prepare their college applications and scholarship essays.

I was all over it. I applied yesterday, got correspondence from the organization right away, and as of this morning, I passed the background check. I will be participating in an intense four-day program at a local university, working with a group of 4 to 6 kids, getting them ready.

Then I realized the personal mission I wrote down like three weeks ago. Connecting people to opportunities!! Yes, I am already embarking on that journey! I felt and still feel so good.

Yes, I will be taking two vacation days to do this, but I really want to. It’s important to me.

“Calling in the One” made me think about the connection to feeling good about myself, working on my purpose outside of potential romantic relationships.

I want Lancelot to be proud of me. I want to be his equal. I’ll never know how to do the crazy information technology stuff he does, but I know how to write my ass off. I know how to sit down and talk to people, ask them questions and have them share with me and feel safe. I know how to encourage people and cheer them on and remind them of the greatness they have inside them.

I want to do more of those things.

I find so much joy in talking to my mentee. I decided today to not just talk to her about her goals, but talk about the process of creativity and inspiration. So I shared with her my favorite books that spoke to me and or changed my life forever. Then I asked her to tell me what her favorite books are music are. We could take a short break from prepping our proposal to the local newspaper for an internship for a moment.

I look forward to her response.

It’s becoming clearer to me that I want to transition into working with young people and helping them gain access to opportunities. I don’t think I want to be a teacher, but I want to help them discover their talents and build a plan to help them utilize it and find a way to make a living out of it.

Seems like a lofty goal and I guess it does sound like a teacher or a guidance counselor. But I don’t want to be bogged down in the administrative nightmare of working in public schools. And I don’t want suckie pay. But, if I end up happily, ever after with Lancelot, maybe I’d have a little breathing room to do something without thinking about my rent all of the time…Can’t bank on that, but I’m just saying…

So what’s out there for someone like me? How can I blend my talents as a professional communicator with helping young people and get paid and not starve?

What masters degree could I get? What organization could I build or start?

Even with the tee shirt business, where the grand vision also included a women’s lifestyle website with articles and eventually empowerment conferences… I’ve been more motivated.

Trying to build the website on my own, I’m realizing has been holding me back and making me nuts. Just to get going, I may just buckle down and pay money for a simple site and finally get started. Just because the website I was building was free, it’s costing me more time and frustration. Sometimes you just have to jump out there.

Lancelot has shown me that, and so has “Calling in the One.” The book is gangsta. So I’m working on me. The better version of me. The version that seems to be gravitating toward working with young people and helping them reach their dreams.

One of the organizers from the event I spoke at a few weeks ago sent me some photos. Most of them were taken unaware, and seriously aside from me being dissappointed with my weight, I looked really happy. I looked comfortable doing what I was doing.

I saw myself.

I really saw the heart of who I am, in a photograph of me holding a microphone, sitting in a circle of young women, sharing with them.

It moved me.

One of my close friends saw it and said, “Just look at how those girls are looking at you.”

That was cool, if it was a look of interest and admiration, but I was more interested and fixated on what was radiating out of me. It was natural and it was the best of myself.

I had the same feeling looking at that picture, as I did in a photo of me from years ago, when I stood outside of the White House, arms folded, rocking a fabulous suit, with press credentials around my neck.

I feel my life shifting into something I’ve never expected and I embrace that. I’m happy to find myself being filled with purpose again.

Connecting Others to Their Purpose Seems to Be Becoming My Purpose

It is no secret that I am a cheerleader for my friends and loved ones.

If there is something you want to do, I generally believe you can do it, even when I’m lacking confidence in my own life.

One of my closest friends has been struggling to find a job, as a lot of people are in these times.

I’ve always said what she has needed most is a great, well-connected mentor.

I’ve been looking and looking, and I think I found her the perfect person. I reached out to this person a few days ago. We hadn’t talked in years, but this woman had an impact on my early in my career. I sent her a very humble, yet passionate email describing how much I love my friend, and how I think that her mentorship will do my friend a great deal of good and point her in the right direction of entering a related field.

This well-connected woman reached back out to me, said she totally remembered me and appreciated the fact that I wanted so badly for my friend to succeed and was so ready to advocate on her behalf. She said she’d be delighted to contact my friend and help her in any way possible.

I have been over the moon about that this morning, because I do believe this interaction– which is now up to my best friend to knock out of the park, can set in motion just what she needs to get her to where she’s been wanting to go.

That moment inspired me greatly.

Right after that email, I saw another from a company I applied with over a year ago and went on an interview for.

They said according to my qualifications in their system, they suggested a position. Normally, these suggestions are way off, and well below my pay requirements.

I’ve been comparing salaries in this area, and this job could potentially make me happy. So I’m going to apply.

I was talking to my other friend I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a lot about purpose and wondering if as a writer, professionally, I’ve been drifting further and further from what I originally wanted when I set out to be a world-class journalist.

Maybe I did drift, and maybe being a writer for newspapers may no longer be a desire of mine, but I will always be a writer.

But something else has been happening with me. Writing this blog, gives me the opportunity to still do what I love and I love writing this blog and I love the positive feedback people give me.

The other piece of my heart and purpose now really is advocacy. I think this job I’ve come across has the potential to do that. I said several posts ago, I’ve accepted my lot at my current job, and would only apply to jobs that really move me, instead of applying to jobs for more money or to get the hell out.

I’m learning to listen to myself. And I’m listening.

So let’s give it a go.

I took this a step further and decided to write myself a mission statement. If companies and organizations can write them to establish goals and organizational culture for groups of people, why can’t we do this personally? Individually?

I will use my talents and experience as a professional communicator to be an advocate and cheerleader for health, education, the arts, women and girls, and the disenfranchised.

 

I will connect people to resources that will lead them to achieve optimum mental and physical health, and identify and utilize their own creativity, skills and talents in positive and powerful ways.

 

I will use my gifts to empower others.

 

Creativity is my guiding force and inspiration, I will continue to seek inspiration and challenge myself in my creative pursuits– through literature, music, visual arts, technology and entrepreneurial endeavors.

 

Today, I challenge you to really think about the things you love, the things that inspire you and make you feel good and think about your talents used and unused, and the skills you use every day as well as the skills people are always asking you to use. Create your own mission statement and post it someplace to remind you of who you are and what REALLY drives you.

Posting this in my cube has already given me a new feeling and a sense of greater purpose. I’m saying it out loud and whoever comes by my desk will see it too. I’m giving my thoughts real power and standing behind it and challenging myself to live up to it.

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