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When You Know How It Feels

 

 

 

View on Facebook! Marc and Angel Hack Life - Practical Tips for Productive Living

Saw this pic on Marc and Angel’s FB page today and it brought back a powerful memory. Check out their page! Marc and Angel Hack Life – Practical Tips for Productive Living

This is VERY true. The other day, I was in the post office and the woman before me did not have enough to pay the postage for her letter. She needed less than a dollar if I recall, and told the cashier she didn’t have enough. I immediately went in my purse to search for the change she needed.

See, I can remember being in her exact position, at a post office in DeKalb searching my car for change to mail whatever it was I had that day. I don’t recall if I found enough money that day…. I also remember, one of my most empowering memories… a memory that reminds me that no matter how “broke” the enemy would like to convince me I am (and I refuse to receive that nonsense), I am WAAAAYYYY better off than I was a few years ago.

I remember a particular day. I was a little over six months pregnant and we had no food in our apartment. And when I say “no food” I mean NO FOOD. I left our place determined to bring food home, to make a miracle. I knew that if I could go to the Walmart that was next door, with the change I had, I could make a meal for my family. My plan was to buy ONE pack of shrimp ramen noodles and a box of generic saltine crackers. The ramen there was always 17 cents and the saltines were fifty cents. I had just enough to cover my TWO items plus tax.

I was so proud and excited that I figured out a brilliant plan to create a meal. So I walked out into the hot Marietta, Georgia sun, with my swollen ankles, in some run over Family Dollar flip flops (the only shoes I could tolerate at the time) excited! Got to Walmart, grabbed my ONE pack of ramen noodles, headed to the cracker aisle, only to discover SALTINES HAD GONE UP TO 75 CENTS! I was devastated. I stood there staring at the crackers, hoping I was just looking at the wrong ones. I mean, they had been that price forever, they were that price just days prior. How could this be?

So, I took my change, went back to the ramen aisle and grabbed another pack, walked to the front of the store and got in line, and held back the tears as best I could. Focused my energy on overcoming the embarrassment of having to count out my pennies to pay for the ramen, and left a drop of energy for gratitude that we would eat that day.

Marlene Dillon, author of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!
http://improudtobenaturalme.com/thebook Order your autographed copy today!

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Even My Scars Are Perfect

It is a blessing to be loved… an even greater blessing to be loved as is. I have the most amazing friend who taught me the most valuable lesson of self-acceptance. See, I have this scar on my foot… it almost appears to be like a bunion (gross, I know) and it bothers me. I look at it… stare at it.. hating it, EVERY DAY, several times a day. Whenever I wear sandals, I hope by some act of God or the alignment of the Sun and the planets, he will not notice this disgusting, discolored, blemish on my skin. I know, it’s such a silly thing, but it really bothers me. After all, I have always prided myself in having the most beautiful feet. I even remember a time when a guy I was dating in college, looked down at my feet one day and referenced a scene from the movie Boomerang, (where Eddie Murphy inspects his date’s feet to see if they are beautiful, or not). After taking a gander at my feet, he pretended to wipe imaginary sweat from his brow, with a “Whew!” like he was happy to have dodged the pretty-girl-ugly-feet bullet. lol

"Hammertime Feet" scene from Eddie Murphy's movie Boomerang

Anyway, my point is, I have always adored how perfect my feet are—no corns, all in proper height order, and definitely no blemishes. Well, that is no longer the case. And this new truth has brought me much frustration. I have done homemade sugar scrubs, rubbed my feet with lemons, Bio Oil and everything under the sun to return my feet to the beauty they once knew. However, today, I finally got to understand why with all my efforts, the blemish has remained. There is a lesson in my scar that I need to grasp.

A few years ago, I was living in “poverty” in a sense. I had no money, no income, and no real home of my own. We were staying in a transition house in Georgia, where a very kind lady offered temporary housing in her home to couples and singles who needed to get on their feet. While living there, I only had two pairs of shoes and one pair of flip-flops. The shoes I had were very uncomfortable, but I still wore them everyday because I didn’t have a choice. And the continuous rubbing of those shoes against the joint of my big toe formed a large dark scar. Yesterday, as I was talking with my friend, I shared with him that although I am generally pretty confident about my appearance, the blemish on my foot is something I am very insecure about. His response was both shocking and hilarious. He texted, “You are such an IDIOT!!!!! Your imperfections are perfect.” His words completely caught me off guard. His acceptance of the thing I attempted to hide from him constantly, his total acceptance of me “flaws and all,” helped me to see how silly something like that really is. I mean how many guys (worth my time) are going to look down and say, “Dang. You were the perfect catch ’til I saw that dark mark on your foot.” lol It’s silly, but we do this to ourselves. We pick a random unique trait and make it bad.

Follow Garcelle on Instagram. She posts and is doing amazing things!

So let’s fast forward to today. Spending time together, he discovered something that very few people know about me. I have two auburn strands of hair. My natural hair color is black and has never been colored, yet I have always had two strands of red hair. He saw them today, I guess because the light hit them in a new way. He was so fascinated, tugging gently at them to see how long they are. I, of course, begged him to “be careful” and not accidentally yank them out. I told him that they are “two cool, unique things I like about myself.” He smiled at me, and sounding like Sherlock Holmes, sarcastically replied, “Ah… an imperfection.” I rolled my eyes…

When I thought about his comment later, I said to myself, “What does he expect me to do, look at this thing on my foot like it’s my cool, unique, thing?” Then I thought, “Hey. That’s not such a bad idea. What if instead of secretly hating my right foot for not being perfect, I choose to look at this blemish from now on as an awesome imperfection?” I could  practice what I preach and … drum roll please… accept myself “as is.” This “blemish” can forever (or at least ’til I find the right fade cream) serve to remind me of where I’ve been. When I look down and see the callous, I will remember that I am a survivor, that no matter how challenging things may be at the present moment, they are nothing compared to being homeless. Having only thirty dollars in my account now, pales in comparison to cutting receiving blankets into triangles so my baby could have diapers. Having only a quarter of a tank now, is not the same as running out of gas while driving uphill in GA, and having the gas station attendant take $2 out of their own pocket to buy enough to get us home, since I had already spent our literal last penny the day before. Our “scars” in life help us to remember times we’ve overcome. Maybe you have some scars that up ’til now have caused you much pain when you look at them. I challenge you to give your scars a new, empowering meaning.  When I look down at that blemish, I will now remember that every state of life is temporary and the rough times don’t last always. Even my imperfections have a purpose… and so do yours!

 

Something in the Struggle

Why does a woman who desires children more than anything struggle to get pregnant, while another conceives from a one-night-stand? Why does the most giving man, who is loved by everyone he meets get prostate cancer, and the most evil, abusive, and lecherous individuals live free and clear?

oranges

My theory? It must be something in the struggle. It’s just my theory, but I wonder if I would’ve reached, or even seen, my full potential had I not experienced the “rough patches” of life. I am not saying that I am an angel in any way, or that I have achieved all that I was created to achieve, but most people who truly know me will say that I am a “good” person, who wants to see others achieve their best. Maybe you are that kind of person—one who always thinks of others but still seems to get the “short end of the stick” from time to time. My new belief is that maybe there is something—a lesson, a blessing :), some depth of character, or even strength in a way or on a level that you never knew existed that provides a reason for why we “go through.”

I remember one of my mentors, Rev. Leroy Mitchell, preached this life-changing sermon many years ago. He spoke of how sometimes, “God presses on us to get the good stuff out.” He went on to use the examples of how you must press grapes to get wine and squeeze oranges to get orange juice. He explained that the pressure is necessary.

Maybe the struggle brings more out of you than you ever knew was there. Maybe the struggle helps you define what is and is not important to you. Maybe the struggle helps you weed out who your good friends are and who is just hanging around taking up space. Maybe the struggle helps you decided what your goals are and how important it is to you to achieve them. Or maybe the struggle simply helps you to see that you are “going against the flow” of life, and provides redirection.

As I stand in faith with a friend who desires so desperately to have a child, I remain unshaken in my belief that our Creator does not find joy in making our lives difficult. The pain and disappointments she has experienced on this journey seem so pointless to me, when “God” could simply “hear her cry” and answer her prayer. And maybe you too are currently feeling squeezed by life, or have experienced situations that seem to have “cut” you to your core. I know how that feels, even without living your specific situation. Ultimately, pain is pain, regardless of the details. But one thing I also know is that when I look over my own life, I see how much richer I am for what I’ve been through and I think to myself, “it must be something in the struggle.”

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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From Negative to Positive

How I Used Improv Shift My Thoughts from Negative to Positive in Seconds

by Marlene Dillon, author of I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!

If you’ve read my post Scared Great, you know that last year I took an improv class that changed my life, called the Fear ExperimentUsing the concept behind an awesome improv game, that was taught to me and my peers by the amazing Pete Aiello, I switched a totally self-defeating thought into an empowering one by correcting myself with a better thought/perspective. 

In the game “Should’ve Said”, the actor has to change their last statement for a better one every time the moderator says, “should’ve said.” For example, “I’m so glad we’re skiing in the Alps!” (“Should’ve said.”) “I’m so glad we’re skiing in the Bahamas!” (“Should’ve said.”) “I’m so glad we’re skiing down this mountain of spaghetti!” The crowd laughs. The moderator is satisfied. The actor continues his story.

So the other day, I (unintentionally) swapped “should’ve said” for “should’ve thought” and totally changed my perspective from negative to positive in like 5 seconds! For example, “My boss gets on my nerves.” (should’ve thought) “My boss is irritating.” (should’ve thought) “My boss is providing me with A LOT of great reasons to go back and get my degree.” and so on… By simply swapping out the negative statement for a more empowering one, you can switch from positive to negative in seconds. Try it! Hope this helps you!

If it works for you, please share your story below!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I Honestly Don’t Know

What do you do when you have a million and one things pulling you in every direction? Your desire is to move forward and any path can take you where you want to go. What do you do when you honestly have no clue what to do next, or first, for that matter?

Courtesy of gettyimages.com

I have been blessed with the unique opportunity to be the funnel through which every gift in my bloodline has flowed. I can write, draw, design, do hair, sing, write songs, speak, motivate, encourage and a HOST of other things. Sounds like an awesome gift, right? Well, not really. Lol. It is a confusing mess if you don’t know which thing to do for the rest of your life, or better yet which to do first. If you suck at art but are brilliant at math, becoming an accountant seems kinda easy. If you can create brilliant choreography in your sleep, but faint at the sight of blood, you’re likely not gonna head down a medical path. But what if writing advertisements comes easy to you, visions of haute new fashions come to you in your dreams, and in one sitting you wrote a book that will likely help millions of children embrace their natural beauty? How do you make peace moving toward one, when the gift is equally strong in many other areas? This is my conundrum.

Which way to go

I’ve tried the whole “just pick one and stick with it” thing. Sounds good in theory and it’s definitely the most responsible thing… I guess. But when the other gifts won’t let up, I find myself wondering, “What if I’m supposed to do ALL not one?” Sounds impossible. Feels impossible. Likely is impossible… if I believed in the concept of impossible. I believe that anything is possible, even if inconvenient, unsustainable, or unconventional, the possibility may still exist…

So I’ve said a whole lot of nothing or maybe something, lol. All I know is, right now, I find myself moving forward with a big question mark as to what is next. Maybe you’ve been there and in time you figured it out. Standing still is not an option for me so I’ll keep doing the undone tasks, keep making progress on all unfinished business, and continue to write down and record the inspirations that come along the way. Hopefully in my moving forward I will one day look around and realize I have achieved my dreams and had a blast along the way.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Joy in Letting Go (Reclaim Your Dream Part 2)

Passion. Heart. Faith. Joy. All these things mean nothing in isolation… at least not to me. I have spent most of my life as a tight clenched fist hoping for good to come into my life. But when you walk around uptight all the time, being a control freak and perfectionist, there is no room for the ease of good energy to flow. In the last few moments of 2013 I had an epiphany. The most joyful times of my life did not arise from perfectly executed plans; my most memorable moments have all been the result of letting go.

"I give myself permission to let go."—Louise Hay

“I give myself permission to let go.”—Louise Hay

A few months ago, I started a fundraising campaign to help me accomplish a previously aborted dream. In essence, I left school with a degree that was, in my opinion, less than the one I set out to attain. It’s haunted me for years and I decided it was time to go back and “reclaim my dream.” I did everything… well mostly everything… I could to make it happen. I was determined to return to school and get that degree, even though many of my mentors assured me that I did not need a second master’s to become a life coach. I still wanted it and still pursued it, aggressively. With all that work, I was not getting closer to my goal. I finally decided to step back and say, “Am I taking the long road to my dream? Do my mentors have a valid point? Why am I really pushing so hard to do this?” After some soul searching, I accepted that my plan was not working, but was too afraid of people’s opinions to abandon it. Many days I thought to myself, “What if I just go back later if necessary, but for now do a coaching training course? I’ll be so much closer to my goal and it will cost WAY LESS.” I went back and forth in my mind until, just days ago, I decided to drop that uphill plan that just wasn’t panning out. I came to realize that changing my route was not equivalent to giving up on my dream. 

It has been my desire since the days of Growing Pains to one day open a private counseling/coaching practice. I assumed the only way to do so legitimately was as a licensed therapist. I felt that I needed to have a degree in counseling in order to be “official.” This is where having good friends comes in. I mentioned that point to my dear friend, Danielle Navonne, and after allowing me to vent, she lovingly reminded me that I ALREADY HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE IN COUNSELING. I was so committed to my plan to get my LCPC license that I was ignoring that I already have credentials. I also know firsthand that being a licensed counselor is not the only way to support, or produce lasting results, in the life of a client. I have a life coach who has transformed my life, and a dream coach who is responsible for me taking my life to the next level. Neither of them have degrees in counseling, They are however amazingly gifted and well-trained for what they do. So…. guess what? It’s time for me to drop the story that I’ve been telling myself about the one and only route to my dream.

Which way should I choose?

The amazing blessing of all this is that by changing paths I am so much closer to my dream. The process of attaining my license as a therapist was going to take me at least three years! Going through a life coaching training program will take me a few months and cost fraction of the price. Now, the money I have raised through my FundRazr, coupled with the money I have saved on my own, is nearly enough to pay for my coaching training! Doing it this way has been nagging at me for weeks, but I refused to let go of the story I was telling myself about how it must be done—that one and only route to my dream. I am now realizing that sometimes the plan we have doesn’t work out, or feels completely uphill, simply because there’s a much better way, possibly one that we’ve been ignoring.

“Do not confuse your route with your dream.”  

So what’s the point? :) I’m writing today to tell you to be careful of mistaking the route for your dream. There may be numerous paths to get you to where you desire to be. Tony Robbins teaches a very successful strategy for accomplishing goals. One of the steps is simply, to look at the results you are getting, and if what you are doing is not working, try something else. Why continue on a path that’s not getting you closer to your goal? Let go of the story that there is only one way to accomplish it. Likely there are multiple routes. Don’t be too embarrassed to try something new for fear of what people will think. Anybody who supports you will want to see you succeed. If the new route will help you arrive at that success faster, why wouldn’t they support that? It’s just a matter of communicating the new plan, if necessary. (Some people do better with less information. Just show them the end result. ;) )

If you’re on the wrong path, and you know it, it’s time to meditate, pray, get clear in some way on how to get on track. Do not confuse your route with your dream. Changing paths does not mean that you’ve given up on your destination. The blessing of our dreams is that there is often more than one way to get there—or at least that’s what I believe. If you’ve been following a path to your dream for a while now and it feels like you’re not really making progress, it may be wise to consider another route… or at least leave room for the possibility that there could be a better way. I feel such a relief for no longer ignoring all the signs that this route is not “it.” I am truly overjoyed at the thought that I am now closer to my goal because I simply let go of what I thought was the only way.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

From Me to You

More personal than usual. This is a letter from my future self to my present self, requesting insight on the rough journey… just in case one day I forget. Similar to K’Jon’s “On the Ocean,” a song that got me through many rough moments. I would pick up my baby and dance with her everytime it came on the radio, believing that one day my ship would come in, too. 

From me to you.

I will never fully remember your pain, the frustration, the lost sleep, the angry moments waiting for our ship to come in.

I will likely not believe the stories you’ll try to tell me of sleeping in cars, heating baby bottles in gas station microwaves, or of drinking 2% because WIC didn’t cover soy.

I will likely doubt the 8 hours sitting on the side of a Georgia road just shy of exit 333, the site of the Kroger that was home to you more nights than one.

I will likely forget the days of no diapers where onesies were cut along with receiving blankets into triangles to attempt to catch the moisture.

I will likely not remember the cold showers the first week because the homeowner forgot to pay the gas bill in that house with mansion sized rooms.

I will likely not remember the Cobb County library being our only entertainment next to the visiting the park down the street from the Dominoes Pizza we could never afford.

I will likely forget my “first born” sitting on my lap, curled up against my pregnant belly with my little one kicking her from inside, or the startled look of confusion on her face each time.

I likely will forget the meals of lentils, grits, and ramen that I made while 6 months pregnant that fed us, me sacrificing and giving away the greater portion, and saving some to feed my “first born” too.

I will likely forget the roaches that made life there damn near unbearable. That beautiful, spacious, Marietta apartment with the pool and exercise room that was damn near uninhabitable for me.

I will likely forget the day we knew we’d have somewhere to stay so we left only to have to return and find the door locked and our calls unanswered, too broke to go anywhere we slept in the driveway hoping someone would come home. They didn’t.

I will likely forget staying up late with my little one sleeping on my lap, working on my first book while everyone slept.

I will likely forget all these stories and that is why I am grateful to you for writing to me tonight. The rough moments will one day be faded memories that seem like myths and fables. This is our life. These things did happen. We will arrive. I promise you that. I promise you that.

 

Maybe you can relate, maybe you gave up on your dream. Please support me as I stand in courage reclaiming mine. http://fnd.us/c/0dg5f/sh/6waf0

Maybe you can relate, maybe you gave up on your dream. Please support me as I stand in courage reclaiming mine. http://fnd.us/c/0dg5f/sh/6waf0

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2013 in Inspirational

 

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