Thursday, March 31, 2016

Leaving the Land of the Status Quo and the Valley of Settling for Less



Near the latter part of 2015, I was super excited about coming to you daily with my gratefulness journey and got off to a pretty good start. However, it didn’t take too long for me to realize that much of what invokes the spirit of gratitude within me is of a much more personal nature that the world could probably care less about, given my status as a non-celebrity. However, in this particular moment, I am blessed to be filled with a spirit of hope and expectancy for the future.

I will be the first to admit that I am currently dealing with a number of questions for which the answers seem to be lost somewhere in the land of snail-mail, but one thing that I KNOW FOR SURE is that the perfect responses will come in Divine Time and set the course for the rest of  my days.

Unfortunately, there are too many people walking through the world who do not feel the same way. They have taken up permanent residence in the Land of the Status Quo or the Valley of Settling for Less. These are the “believers” who pray but don’t truly believe. Or the people who constantly complain, but won’t embrace making a change. Or the ones who blame others, but won’t take the time to accept responsibility for their own actions. Or the folks who seek counsel, but come up with a million reasons why viable solutions won’t work.

Truth be told, we’ve all been there at some point in time in our lives. However, when a person chooses to set up camp in “that town where nothing (good) ever happens,” it’s painful to observe. Especially when it’s someone that you love. Or the person that is staring back at you in the mirror.

I recently had a conversation with someone that I have known for most of my life and I was deeply saddened by her outlook on both her present circumstances and her future possibilities. She recently ended a relationship, so she is experiencing the emotions that most of us go through after a breakup. I expected to hear the blues, but what I wasn’t expecting to hear was a funeral dirge.

You see, my friend has decided that because she is of a certain age in her life, she should consider reconciling with her ex (who doesn’t have a good track record with women, in general) simply because she’s afraid that “love” may never find its way to her again and she doesn’t want to be alone. She talked about all of the ways in which he somehow makes her want to be a better woman, but couldn’t provide me with any evidence of his desire to become a new and improved man for her. She was honest in admitting that he has a lot of issues but, with the full knowledge that she cannot change him, she would be willing to marry him if the opportunity were to present itself in the future.

I did my best to make suggestions on how she can work towards getting her groove back in ways that had nothing to do with jumping into another relationship, like revisiting her entrepreneurial goals or focusing on her health or finding new social outlets, but she had a counter-attack/excuse for every solution that I offered.

By the end of the conversation, I came to the conclusion that she chooses to lay on the rusty nail and holler when she could take steps to rise up, get healed and allow the scar to serve as a reminder that settling for less than what you deserve in life is NEVER the best option.

After replaying the phone call in my mind, I began to think of all of the times that I let the fear of the unknown and a lack of self-confidence keep me stuck in places where I didn’t belong. Like my sister-friend, I, too, have remained in situationships, friendships, jobs, organizations, etc., way beyond their expiration dates, all while weeping and wailing and waiting for changes to come, but not taking actions to bring about said changes.

What I failed to realize is that by settling for less, I put others in the position of determining my value (and sometimes my fate), when I should have been defining it for myself. It is also during those times that the woman in the mirror became barely recognizable; reflecting the agony of defeat versus the joy of a victorious life.

As Maya Angelou used to say, “When you know better, you do better,” so I am committed to kicking complacency to curb and saying a hearty “NO!” to the status quo! I WILL NOT SETTLE for anything less than the best that the Creator has in store for me and my prayer is that you (and my friend) will step out on faith and make settling a thing of the past.



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Ex Factor - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.21.15

I have a friend who is dating a guy that she has no intentions of staying with for the long haul, but she is choosing to stick with him until "something better comes along." When I heard her make that statement, I asked her (out loud) "How are we still friends?" and chuckled.

Though I love her dearly, I have a hard time with her mindset for a few reasons:
  • I don't feel that it's right to lead someone on when you know that you really don't want to be with him or her.
  • I believe in taking a break in between relationships to get yourself together and learn the lessons from the last relationship. 
  • You could potentially be blocking the right situation by hanging on to the wrong situation.
  • Life is much too precious to waste valuable time in a dead-end romance.



Personally, I have to thank my last "ex" for giving me the gift of my freedom to pursue a new direction for my life. We were not the best fit for one another for a multitude of reasons, but our relationship (and subsequent break-up) helped me to figure out what works and more importantly, what doesn't work for me. 

I am grateful for having had the chance to move on (a little bruised, but not broken) and prepare myself for the next relationship while living my best life. Here's hoping that my friend will be able to do the same so that she and her current man won't "both end up with scars."






Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Spirit of "Can Do" - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.15.15

Anyone who is familiar with the Christian faith is intimately acquainted with Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV) It is oftentimes the go-to verse that is uttered when a person is faced with what appears to be an insurmountable challenge requiring outside assistance from Somebody Bigger.

Personally, I have been known to say Phil. 4:13 on the last leg of a mountain hike or during a training run or on each day of the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. I have prayed these words when I have had to finish a 25-page term paper (that I waited until the last minute to write) in record time. I have whispered this scripture silently when dealing with people that I find it hard to "walk in love" with. I find myself meditating on these words when my dreams feel as if they are much too big for me to turn them into my reality.

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation in which a couple of ladies were talking about how they couldn't do without food for a few hours and expressing admiration for a woman who was going to forgo a meal or two in preparation for a medical test. (These are the same women who are always complaining about their weight and then eating everything under the sun.) My initial thought was, "Wow! I know we have to eat, but is it really that serious? It's simply mind over matter."




It wasn't until later that Philippians 4:13 popped into my head and caused me to think about my own mindset when it comes to the things that are seemingly impossible for me to handle. I have found that it is easy to repeat the right words, but it isn't always as simple to walk what you talk. 

While miraculous things are known to happen when you call on a Higher Power, there is also something that has to come from within in order to be successful in any endeavor, great or small. As the Amplified translation of the same verse states: I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace. 

The knowledge that I have been bestowed with the gifts of readiness, equality, strength and peace of mind is just what I need to walk through the world with a "Can Do" spirit. And for that, I am grateful.

Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Joyful, Joyful - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.12.15

Just a few short moments ago, a profound sense of joy filled my soul and spirit, quite unexpectedly. Yes, it is currently Monday. Yes, I am presently working in a position that is far removed from my life's purpose. Yes, I could use some more money in my bank account. Yes, I have a few more pounds to lose. Yes, I am still single. Yet, none of that even matters because I've got JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY down in my heart! And for that I am grateful....


Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).


Friday, October 9, 2015

Grown Woman. Making Decisions and Choices... - The Grateful 49 Project - 10.9.15

Today I am serving up a double-dose of gratefulness, just because...

First of all, I am grateful for the artistry of the one and only Jill Scott, not only for blessing me with the soundtrack for the last 15 years of my life, but also for providing me with a title for this post. In the song Le Boom Vent Suite, from her 2011 album, The Light of the Sun, she showcases her ability to express both frustration (in the first part of the suite) and sexiness (in the second half) all in the same song. Miss Jilly from Philly puts it down, as always, but there are a few words that she utters in the interlude that really captured my attention from the moment that I first heard them: "I gotta do what I gotta do, son. Grown woman. Making decisions and choices...." (4:12-4:30 in the video)



Recently, I asked my Facebook friends for their insight on a major decision that I am gearing up to make within the next year or so. Normally, I am not the type of person to expose my personal choices to the court of public opinion, but I thought that it would be interesting to hear what others would do if they were in my shoes. Needless to say, there were almost as many different opinions as there were people who decided to respond, so I am glad that the final decision fully rests upon me, which brings me to the real point of this post.

There were two women who made specific comments about me being in the great position of having choices and options for my life, as if it was some sort of courageous thing. As a single woman who is not responsible for the care of anyone other than a fur baby, I am blessed to be able make my own decisions without having to worry about directly impacting someone else's life, while others may not feel as though they have the same luxury, for reasons that are either real or imagined. It was not until recently that I began to understand that I have been given a gift that has not fully been utilized and I intend to do something to do something about that.

I refuse to let "If I coulda, woulda, shoulda..." become my life's mantra, so I have made the grown woman decision to make more life-affirming choices as I move towards truly living my life like it's Golden. And for that (and Miss Scott) I am grateful.



Between my 49th and 50th birthdays, I am embarking on a journey of gratefulness as there is always something, great or small, to express gratitude for. I have dubbed this journey The Grateful 49 Project, as I will endeavor to share my thoughts in approximately 49 words or less (on most days).