My sister-in-love, Arleen, sent this to me this morning and I was motivated to share.
I hope that it inspires and motivates you. Enjoy!
My sister-in-love, Arleen, sent this to me this morning and I was motivated to share.
I hope that it inspires and motivates you. Enjoy!
I just read these words below and decided to create an image that could be captured and shared with others.
We love visuals and memes, and the like. May these words help you and someone that you know—or maybe through your sharing, it helps someone you don’t know.
Have a blessed day!
Since 10pm last night I’ve been fighting a huge tension knot in my back-shoulder blade region. I experienced this same irritant the other week.
It’s reared it’s ugly head again.
The more I chase the pain, more knots and aches surface. Stretching hasn’t resolved it. The back is an interesting place to carry stress, pain, sadness, worry, anger, and any other draining energy. I say this because unlike the limbs it is a region that is difficult to reach by oneself. You need help to cover this large space.
Thankfully I own a few myofascial rollers, one of which I’m using…right…now…as I chase this pain away.
I wish I could have a massage every single day. But my budget just laughs and says, “keep working and wishing girlfriend“.
Aches and pains remind me of my deferred maintenance. These knots make it clear that I’m not taking care of myself like I need to. My body will keep reminding me.
Our bodies do not remain silent. They tell us when they are tired of being ignored, overlooked, abused, overworked, and misused. Our bodies will always let us know when we aren’t doing enough to protect the very thing that we need to make our way through each day.
I’m painfully listening and complying….
I. Need. Release.
If you recall, a few weeks ago I ordered two books online: The 21 Second Hug, written by my cousin, Pepsi Caligone, and Believe Bigger: Discover the Path to Your Life Purpose, written by my friend, Marshawn Evans Daniels.
Well, before I head out to do my workout (and challenge Pepsi’s sister and mom in our weekly Fitbit challenge) I decided to record this video. Check it out. Thank you!
Would you do something for me? Well, it’s not actually for me.
Would you pause for the next few moments and look around you, very slowly and intentionally; paying close attention to every detail. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel?
Take it all in. Don’t rush it.
Now please do something else…
I would like for you to read this post (please click on the link below). Please read all of it. To the very last period. Don’t stop. Continue reading.
Then read this brief message.
Then look around you again. If you can, go look in the mirror.
Now what will you do differently today?
It’s a gift.
Thank you Sean L. Brown for the deep and hard hitting reminder.
Do you hear that? Listen closely.
That is the sound of a door to the past closing.
You have the options of locking it and storing the key or tossing it to never be reclaimed. You can also choose to keep it unlocked, knowing that every time that door to the past opens a flood of things you tried to leave behind come rolling out.
Now let’s be clear, this isn’t the door to fond and beautiful memories of your life and loved ones from years ago, no no no, this door represents the pain and shame, the let downs and setbacks, the hurt caused by others and even by you. This door represents the fear that kept you paralyzed from making forward progress; the doubt that told you that you weren’t good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, attractive enough—that is what this door represents. It’s the past relationships, old lovers, friends turned foes. It’s everything that held you back and held you down. This door and what lies behind it represents everything that was keeping you from being the best you that you could and can be.
So the door is closed.
Did you hear the mechanism click into place as it found the groove of the threshold of the door jamb?
If not, check again.
Today you can close that door to your past then open the door to your future, and take a peek inside.
Breathe in the life, light, positivity, and possibilities.
Your present state is a hallway between two doors.
Do you begin your new chapter or do you keep torturing yourself to re-read old chapters over and over again? You can’t rewrite those old chapters. You can’t make them better. They are as they are.
Let me clarify something else that I know can be a sensitive spot for someone.
I’m not saying that your past is not a reference point for your present and continued healing.
It can be.
I’m not saying that it is not a reference point to guide and inspire others toward reconciliation and healing.
It can be.
I’m saying, don’t obsess over your past, don’t let your past blend with your present so that is becomes your present, and it slowly draws you farther away from that door to your future.
Your past can be so toxic that it can create a house of mirrors and doors that will keep you in a constant state of confusion and chaos, that you can’t find the right door to free yourself and get out.
The longer you spend dwelling on the past, focusing on the what-ifs, how-comes, and why-me’s, the more it drains the life out of you and the older you become; the longer you dwell behind that door the longer your journey to return to the present, and even longer journey to get to your future.
Yes, my friends we age rapidly when we are stuck in that past darkness, because there is no light and life to uplift us—we are stuck in a quicksand of misery and grief, and the longer that we stay there the more aged we become.
Have you ever seen someone who is or is around your age but they look 20-plus years older? We may silently make the comment “wow they’ve had a hard life!” and wouldn’t it be interesting to observe them to see how much time they spend in the past compared to the present? If I were a betting person I would say that most of their time is spent in the past, obsessed about what went wrong that could’ve gone right. Every woulda, coulda, shoulda has aged them by several years.
Our lack of faith keeps us from closing that door, locking it, breaking the key and tossing it. There is absolutely no reason to continue walking through that door except that you feel that you don’t deserve better than that pain and misery. You don’t believe that better is possible or that better is possible for you. Because if you truly believed in better (for you) and truly had faith that better is waiting for you through another door, you wouldn’t hesitate to look at your past, say goodbye, and walk boldly and confidently away.
I have big, bold dreams that God has placed in my heart and on my mind. I’m inspired and motivated by these dreams. I believe that they can come true. I have faith that as long as I stay in my lane and run my race, committed to doing my part, with my eyes focused straight ahead (and not behind me), that God will bless me with these things, people, and experiences.
I don’t know about you, but I know darn well that my past has no place in my present or my future. I know darn well that there is nothing that I can do to change my past for the better. I can learn from it and leverage that learning for better and greater. But hanging out behind that door would be the quick death of me, and my future is bright, long, and exciting.
My future is waiting for me and I know how it feels to be kept waiting. So I’m walking forward into my next chapter. I don’t need to open the door of my past to remember what’s behind it. My memory is sharp and when it fades, I have plenty of people around me who will be quick to remind me and turn me about-face.
Your future is waiting.
What choice will you make?
Today I spent several hours at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta. It was a gift from my friends T&J, who wanted to honor me through my next chapter in life. So from the pictures below you can see that I enjoyed myself.
But today was more than a Porsche girl’s speed and power fix kinda day.
Today is the anniversary of two major events that directly impacted my life, and will forever remain with me. Two events that involve two people that were in my life but will never be in that way ever again. One transitioned years ago to be freed from a body that wasn’t cooperating with him. The other person—well things just didn’t go as I planned.
I was so moved when leaving the Porsche Center that I decided to record what I was thinking and feeling to share with others who may be going through something similar, and to encourage you to keep walking, keep climbing, keep dreaming, keep being (or trying to be) the person you were called to be.
I refused to spend this day moping around, sadly reminiscing over a past. Instead I choose to spend this day celebrating life and being grateful of my past and for who were in it, and celebrating the life of a person who left here too soon (for all of us still here) but knowing that where he is now is far better than here. Continue smiling, singing, and looking after us Nate (“Badump” to me). You are deeply missed.
We only get this one opportunity at this life on this level of existence. There’s no pause button, no rewind, and no do-overs.
And…I don’t think they have Porsches on the other side. Or iphones, the Internet, social media, IHOP, In-N-Out Burger, Pandora, Netflix, or blogs. *smile*
Live your life and live it fully, with no regrets. Check out my video reflection from earlier today.
Have a blessed day family. I still have a full day of living, learning, and loving left to enjoy!
A few years ago I was cycling with a group of friends on the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia. Someone said to me that they admired that I wasn’t concerned with keeping up with the fastest, more experienced cyclists—that I always remained focused on riding at my pace. I told him, “I’m focused on me and my race. I run, in this case, ride, my race. I ‘stay in my lane’ so-to-speak. If I’m concerned with what other people are doing then I will lose focus on what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m not focused on who’s ahead, behind, or beside me—just me and my bike.”
I learned that lesson the hard way as a track and field sprinter. Every race that I focused on one or more other sprinters, I never finished the race as I desired. Either I got a slower time, had a bad hand-off in a relay, or came in a place other than first. When I focused on me and my personal race, my form was always strong and relaxed, my stride opened up, I felt good, and it showed. Even if I didn’t get the time or place that I desired, I knew that I ran a strong race. It’s about my self-improvement, my ability to challenge and push myself past my comfort zones, my ability to test my strength, power, and endurance. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to win every race that I ran, but as I matured I began to see that it wasn’t about the other sprinters—it was about and for ME!
That day on Silver Comet, I rode 15 miles faster than any of the more experienced cyclists expected me to do. I never cycled that far so I had no reference point. I told them that when they reached their resting points, not to wait for me to catch up, and if they reached the turnaround point and were passing me on the way back, then I would simply turn around and follow.
They thought I would slow down the rest of the group because I was new to cycling, and unlike the rest of them I didn’t have cycling shoes and clips. But what they didn’t know was that as I cycled my body felt like it did when I sprinted. Many of the same techniques and dynamics are at play, and the same muscles are utilized in the same way in both sports (it’s difficult to explain this concept at the moment, so just believe me when I say it’s true). They also didn’t know that these thunder thighs are powerful and strong, and that my core is stronger than even I know. That day, my pace was actually complementary to theirs, I was always only a few minutes behind them (so I always arrived at the rest stops moments after them) and their shock to see me rolling in strong put a smile on my face that remained all day.
The interesting thing is, all of them started cycling faster trying to keep me from catching up—because if the newbie could catch up then they were slower than they thought. Now they were riding my race. I was in their heads.
Imagine if I was obsessed with keeping up with them at their much faster pace. I would’ve ran out of energy; risked injury, falling, or both; and I wouldn’t have had a great day.
When we returned to our starting location the other cyclists were worn out. They were racing each other (the men mostly) and they all were racing me—whether they would ever admit it or not, you could tell by the looks in their eyes. If you have ever competed against someone, in anything, you know that look. I just smiled.
Being so obsessed with me even caused one couple to argue, which threw off their ride and messed up part of their day. When the group asked me my technique I simply said “I rode my race, at my pace and comfort level”.
After that day they looked forward to riding with me. Without trying, I pushed them, and with intention I focused on me and my ride—each time getting better and stronger.
This is my mindset and focus in all things. When I lift weights, drive race cars on a track, go cycling, or set my course on a path to achieve a career or life goal, I never do well if I’m focused on other people.
I am my biggest competition.
I am my biggest obstacle.
I am the one who either gives my all and leaves everything on that track, or the one who half-steps and gives the bare minimum. My race. Not theirs.
This translates into and transfers over to my personal and professional life.
Sure I can say aloud or think to myself about where I could or should be in my career, but what purpose does it serve? That only depresses me. For a long time. Which is counterproductive.
Looking at friends and associates who have soared to great heights in their career should serve as encouragement and inspiration—highlighting their testimony, and that we all have the ability to rise above and over life’s obstacles. It however should never lead to the utterance of words or the formulation of thoughts that say that I should strive to meet or exceed their accomplishments.
I’m not competing with my friends, associates, acquaintances, or even complete strangers. I’m not trying to be or outdo Oprah Winfrey, Joel Osteen, Tracey Edmonds, Mary Kay Ash, John Maxwell, Steve Jobs, Maya Angelou, Sheryl Sandberg, Magic Johnson, or Mark Zuckerberg, or anyone else.
I’m trying to be me.
The best me that I can be.
I’m running my race, at my pace, with my eyes focused ahead. I definitely need encouragement and to be challenged—especially and with great intensity when I slack off—but it’s never with a focus to get to where someone else is or to run past and edge them out.
I would always be behind someone (as they started out on their race years or even decades earlier) or I would be extremely exhausted and irritable if I did somehow catch up and surpass them. I’m risking my health and much more, trying to keep up with and pass by the Joneses.
If I’m focused on someone else then I’m distracted, and we all know what happens to many distracted drivers—they crash or they cause a crash. Crashes can be expensive. Recovery can be long and painful. Why risk it?
Every time I sat behind the wheel of a car on a race track, I wasn’t concerned about how fast or how experienced the other drivers were. I didn’t obsess with trying to outrace them. I was and always will be focused on me, my skills, the car that I’m driving, and the lessons that my instructors, coaches, and mentors taught me. My safety and survival depends on it. The goal is to have a great day, enjoy the ride, challenge myself, hit those apexes, and get back to the paddock safely. If I get great lap times and place well, that’s a huge bonus.
Don’t get me wrong, I love competing—but mostly against myself—against the fear and doubt that wants desperately to take root and form in my mind and heart. If I can conquer that each and every race, then I’m always the winner. If I do better than I thought I would, then I’m a winner.
In the pictures above and below you see me at the Ford Performance Racing School in Utah—racing Ford Mustangs (which runs through my familial veins for three generations). In both pictures I’m smiling brightly because I had an awesome day and it was filled with accomplishments. Everyone else on that track drove or had experience driving manual transmission cars. I didn’t. I was the only person who had little to no experience. A little back in the mid-90s but that’s all. My then-husband gave me two driving lessons before our trip to Utah. You don’t know how much I appreciated him for taking the time to really teach me.
His teachings and what the instructors taught us about the track and the school rules is what I focused on when I climbed behind the wheel. I didn’t focus on the other drivers and what they thought about me, or even about their skill level. I let drivers pass me on the track and there were times that I passed other drivers on the track. Sometimes I played “rabbit” for other drivers and at times when I needed to challenge myself I would find a “rabbit” to catch, so I could see how well the car handled and how well I handled the car.
But I won’t make moves based on someone else. I must focus on my race and adjust for conditions and strategic conservation of resources. But never because of the other competitor.
Imagine climbing up the side of a mountain. You have on all of your gear and the higher you climb the greater the risk that if you somehow fall, you will die.
So what would happen if you began to obsess about the climber ahead of you or next to you? What if you were so focused about reaching the top of the mountain first that you started spending less time securing yourself each step you climbed? What would happen if you stopped paying attention to your ropes and the surfaces of the mountain? What would happen if you weren’t paying attention to your equipment and supplies, the changes in altitude and oxygen, and weather conditions?
We all know what could and probably would happen, and it’s not a welcoming thought. But so many of us do these same things when we’re too focused on everyone and everything else but what we’re supposed to be focused on.
Earlier I mentioned Joel Osteen. Here’s an excerpt from his book “The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today“:
I decided that rather than typing that entire section, I would just share a snapshot for you to read, zoom in on, and focus for a moment. I hope you don’t mind. If you do, then please go purchase the book and enjoy reading it at your leisure. It’s available in many formats.
My aunt Valerie bought this book for me in October 2016. She bought my sister Alexandra one as well. My sister hasn’t embraced the love of reading books as I have, so her copy is at my home waiting for her. I truly believe that one day she will be inspired to read it. I’m positively speaking this into existence. Yes, it’s just that great of a book that I would love for her to read and reflect upon it. Hmmm does Joel have an audio version of this book? Maybe she can ingest this powerful message that way. Okay so I digressed. See what happens when we get distracted? Back to what I was saying….
This section in Joel Osteen’s book inspired me to write today’s message. Many of us feel like hamsters on wheels because we keep running in life like Joel did in his story, so focused on someone else that we miss our turn, opportunity, etc. I can always tell when I’ve lost focus, when I’m distracted—there’s uneasiness in my spirit, I don’t sleep well, I’m unsettled and anxious, and fear creeps in and drops off seeds of doubt—and then my eyes start looking around at what I lost, didn’t accomplish, let go, didn’t follow through on—and then my eyes focus on what others have, what they have accomplished, and where they get to go. It can be difficult to catch yourself from spiraling out of control. But it’s vital that you do.
Your life depends on you running your own race, staying in your lane, climbing your line, and making sure that you celebrate every achievement no matter how small and insignificant it may appear. It’s your achievement!
I wrap this message up with some final words from Joel Osteen’s book. Enjoy!
Thank you Mr. Osteen for sharing these moving and powerful, yet simple words. It’s amazing how simple can bring the boldest blessings.
A few months ago I was having dinner with a friend of mine and we were talking about working out and getting back in shape. I’ve been like a bad debtor, putting in the work (paying my debt) then stopping and hiding out for weeks and months, and then starting up again.
My consistent pursuit at getting and staying in a healthy zone at a healthy weight, has been something I’ve struggled with for years. It used to be my lifestyle to work out 6-7 days per week. Now those efforts are emotionally-driven, determined by what’s going on in my life. That is a roller coaster ride that won’t have a positive ending if I don’t get out of my head and get back to the basics of taking care of this temple, this gift that I can’t replace or exchange, so I should do everything positive to keep it going strong and looking its best.
As my friend and I looked at images of muscular men and women I oohed and ahhed over the ones I thought had awesome bodies. My friend asked me what woman or body type (physique) did I want to physically look like.
I was stumped.
I couldn’t point to any particular body type, shape, build, or even a woman who looked the way I want to look.
My Fitness Role Models Growing Up
Growing up I aspired to be an amazing athlete that possessed a similar physique, strength, speed, and physical power of my two sheroes Florence Griffith-Joyner aka “Flo-Jo”, and Lenda Murray.
Flo-Jo is a track and field legend, a sprinter, whose workouts I used to struggle to follow from junior high and high school. She endured grueling workout programs including long-distance runs (*eeww*) to build her strength, speed, endurance, and that amazing body.
The sports bra that she’s wearing in this picture is neon green and black. Guess who begged her parents to buy her the same one in neon pink and black? Yep. Me!
I wanted to look, train, and run like Flo-Jo. I mean jeesh, by the time I reached junior high we were the same height (5’7) and same weight (125-130 pounds). I had a vision of something and someone to aspire to be more like.
Even after she passed away I continued to reference her training programs so that I could be a better athlete and one day have a body that looked something like Flo-Jo’s.
So now, decades later, I’ve more than slacked off on running and sprinting (although I think about them often), and there’s a part of me that says, “dude really? Do you think if Flo-Jo was still living she would be kicking back on the sofa? Heck no. She would get up and get to the gym or to the track. Get your butt up lazy girl!”
Sometimes I get up and go workout. Sometimes I head for the fridge.
Just keeping it real with you!
Lenda Murray was and will always be one of my favorite bodybuilders, male and female. Hands down this woman reigns as queen of bodybuilding in my book. I followed Ms. Murray’s career since the 1980s.
I was impressed that a woman two inches shorter than me (she’s 5’5) could build a body of that impressive size and with striations that look like they were chiseled by a sculptor.
During the season Ms. Murray would weigh an impressive 150 pounds. During off-season she would average 160-165 pounds.
That’s all muscle folks.
We’re not talking flab, muffin tops, and keg belly. She’s chiseled and in my opinion, absolutely gorgeous from head to toe!
Ms. Murray possesses a level of strength and power that leaves me speechless. She retired in 2004 and still puts most of us to shame. Oh the intensity of her workouts boggled my mind and still do. But I never stopped aspiring to be like the legendary Lenda Murray.
Why These Two Women?
For me these two women were the fitness role models that I aspired to be more like.
I ran track since elementary school and gradually took up lifting weights in high school (even though I was curling dumbbells at home since junior high). By college my fitness levels were at a level where I craved my workouts. I couldn’t wait to achieve a goal I had set.
Flo-Jo and Lenda also showed me and the world what a woman can do when given the opportunity. They showed me what a strong woman can do and can be when she sets her mind to it. People said only men could run certain times, Flo-Jo proved otherwise. People said only men could lift certain weights and define certain muscles, Lenda proved otherwise.
I also saw more when I looked closely at them.
I saw me in them.
They both had big legs like me. Thunder thighs of power and strength. I used to be ashamed of my big legs. I equated them to being fat. You can look at both my high school and college track pictures and see that I wasn’t.
But when you compare yourself to others you begin to see yourself as different, and sometimes that difference isn’t seen as positive—especially when other people tease you about that difference.
I was insecure about my body.
When I saw Flo-Jo and Lenda I soon began to learn that there was strength, power, and great potential in these legs of mine. I just needed to put in the work. But I won’t lie, even with my efforts and great results, I’m just not disciplined enough to reach their level. I love junk food too much 😂 Sad but true.
So here’s what I would say to my friend today if the topic ever came back up…
I don’t aspire to look like Flo-Jo, Lenda, or anyone else. I want to look and feel like ME—when I’m at my healthiest—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I found some pictures that capture the essence of me when I’m feeling and looking healthy; when my mind, spirit, and body isn’t plagued and beat down by life’s toxins. They aren’t from 20 to 25 years ago. They were taken between November 2007 and the spring of 2014. Not that long ago.
Here’s a collage of those photos:
Yes in these photos I was thinner and more muscular than I am now, but what else do you see? When you look at these pictures do you see the energy, zest for life, the spunk and pizzazz?
My friend Tracey Wright told me this time last year (and I’m paraphrasing), “I want old Tasha back…the energetic, wild, fun to be around, bold Tasha…”
I do too Tracey.
What I see in these pictures, what you may also see in these pictures, that’s what I want to reclaim, recapture, and then hold on to and thrive from.
That is my focus. Those are my goals.
I’m grateful for Flo-Jo and Lenda Murray and their journey. I’ve admired them for over 32 years. They have taught me to be my best me, to persevere, to love the skin I’m in, and to not abuse this temple for it is a gift. They have taught me to never ever ever give up and to stop being concerned about the person next to me, ahead of me, or behind me. Run my race, lift my weight, do my own thing!
I hope that by sharing my story it will help someone else.
Warmest wishes and love,
1) Comment below and tell me how you’re doing, and be honest. We’re good at lying about this. We need to heal, renew, and restore ourselves.
– If you’re thriving then yell it loud. So I can celebrate with you.– If you need prayer, then tell me, and you don’t need to go into specifics if you don’t want to.* You can speak in general terms, like “prayer for strength” or “prayer for clarity” or “prayer for healing” or “prayer for new positive opportunities” or “prayer for patience”.– If you’re having a bad day or not-so-good one, and you need a good laugh, then tell me. I’m always down to make someone giggle or roar with laugher.– If you need a hug then let’s meet up and share some good vibes. If we live too far apart to meet up, I will send you a virtual one…heck I might even record myself so you can feel it a little more.2) Choose a day THIS WEEK and MAKE THE TIME to spend taking care of YOU.– I don’t care if it’s at the nail salon, a library, spa, at the park, movie theater, a museum, or sitting in the back of your car with pillows and a thermos of tea while reading a book.– During this time you need to DISCONNECT from everyone and everything. That means EVERYONE and EVERYTHING that would have you investing more time in others than yourself. Pour back into YOU. Recharge for YOU.CHARITY starts with YOU, just like you must put on your oxygen mask FIRST before you place one on others. If you’re not well then you can’t possibly take care of others.Your strength doesn’t matter if you’re no longer around to be strong for others. Too many of us are passing away too soon because we wear ourselves out so much that our bodies just give up from fighting us so much.
3) Share this with other strong women so that they too can take a moment to breathe, embrace this message and our need for self-care, and then make the time for some self-love.
Earlier this morning I wrote a post for my Breaking Bread With Natasha site. The message hit me so beautifully hard that I felt compelled to share excerpts from it here with all of you, as the message applies to all of our life struggles.
Please take the time to read this pointed part of the message below. I hope that it helps someone as it has definitely helped me today:
When I selected today’s scripture I decided to include a visual, and of the images that I found the waterfall was the most moving in my opinion. Why? Because imagine being on a lazy river or even one with rapids, what you can see around you and ahead begins to compute in your mind your confidence to handle these things.
It’s the waterfall that we don’t plan for.
We haven’t a clue where it is, how steep it is, what’s at the bottom, and if we can survive the fall.
That is life.
My life for many years was a river, sometimes a smooth ride and then there were moments of roaring rapids. Then in 2017 I found myself approaching a waterfall. I didn’t plan for the waterfall. I didn’t see how close it was until I was already nearing the edge.
That waterfall was my divorce.
No matter how hard I tried to swim in the opposite direction or swim to the banks of the river, the powerful water dragged me to that waterfall—and over the edge I tumbled.
I didn’t know how steep the fall would be, what was at the bottom of the fall, if the water was shallow or deep, or if I would survive the entry into this pool below. I had a piece of debris that I clung to as I tried to keep my head above water. My eyes grew bigger and bigger as I approached the waterfall. I was so focused on my ability or inability to swim, but quickly I had to remind myself that it’s less about me and more about God.
I had to put my confidence in God because I know that although I’m a decent swimmer, I’m only capable of doing what I do because of Him, and I can only get better through and by Him. I also know that when I panic my only thought is how to get to safety and out of the water, and I’m sure that in my panic I make the process more difficult because I’m focused on self, not on God.
God brings calm. He brings clarity. He brings strength and determination. God makes a way out of no way.
I went over the edge of the waterfall and although fearful I’m confident that God will always protect me. I’m confident that all of the bumps and bruises in life can and will be healed by God. I’m confident that He has greatness waiting for me and all I have to do is remain connected and faithful.
It’s important to try and ignore the temptations that lure us from God. But understand and believe that God’s Hands are still upon you and can save you from those temptations—He will show you a way out. It is always our choice to take the way out or remain in the snare.
So as you journey on your river are you solely relying upon your abilities and self-confidence, or are you secure with God-confidence (or as my friend Marshawn Daniels calls it, “Godfidence“)?
You will know for sure when you approach the waterfall.
Many of you know that I’ve been an advocate for survivors of abuse for many years. As a person who in the past has been physically, verbally, psychologically, and financially abused it’s important to me that we reveal all of the tactics used by abusers to wield a false-sense of “power” over their “victim”. I don’t simply wait until Domestic Violence Awareness Month to educate the masses. I’m focused on year-round help, healing, and empowerment. Since we’re starting a new year I decided to “dig in the crates” and find an oldie but goody message that I shared from the past on my Paradigm Life blog, and reposted here.
When we look at abusers, one type of person that often goes overlooked but always leaves you perplexed and bewildered is the narcissist. This is because the vast majority of us don’t know that someone’s a narcissist and many narcissists don’t even self-identify (why in the world would they accept responsibility and take ownership for something that doesn’t make them sparkle bright?). They’re simply labeled as “arrogant”, “pompous”, or “spoiled”. But it can go deeper and darker depending on how long this personality has been free to roam and stir up a path of destruction. Left unchecked and untreated they can disrupt families, workplaces, communities and more—and in their minds, everyone is to blame but them.
When we look at the #MeToo movement you can’t help but to see a common thread amongst the individuals being accused of harassment and abuse–decades of narcissism (of various degrees) on the loose. For the most part these are career-related, workplace scenarios being described. Or examples of powerful individuals using the power that they have achieved from their careers to take something from someone less powerful. Imagine the context with personal interactions within the home, with spouses, family and friends. This personality type can be toxic to any environment left unprotected.
Of course there are levels and degrees of narcissism (from basic to sociopath to full on psychopath) and there are many layers of tactics that they deploy (to include gas-lighting, revisionism, and the silent treatment). I’ve personally been on the receiving end of them all, hence one of the reasons that I share with others who may be experiencing some of the same trauma.
Read my October 24, 2014 post from my Paradigm Life blog as we discussed the art and madness of the dreaded Silent Treatment.
Now let’s also be clear, that not every adult who opts for the silent treatment route is a narcissist. They’re just immature and childish, and haven’t let go of the preschool antics. However, if you see and experience a pattern of behavior that frequently includes this tactic—you’re most likely tussling with a narcissist. Beware!
Here’s another message that I reflect upon from the past. On April 5, 2016 I wrote this message as a reflection to a Facebook post written by a man who was reflecting over his marriage and the ups and downs that he experienced trying to juggle marriage, career, and family.
I shared the message as I share it today, with hopes that it reaches those single individuals who dream of one day marrying, those married couples who are struggling and contemplating divorce, those married couples who haven’t yet hit any bumps, and to those who are divorced and aren’t quite sure if getting married again is the thing for them.
Please read this message, reflect on it, share your thoughts, and then be sure to forward this message to others. With more and more people waiting to marry, others divorcing in staggering rates, or an increasing number of people opting out and choosing to bypass marriage altogether—it’s refreshing to look through the lens of someone who struggled, recovered, and reclaimed the connection he was losing because his priorities were misaligned. It can be a message that can help others before they cross that bridge, as well as those who have crossed it and are sliding down a collapsing hillside. It can also help those who have reached the bottom of the hillside and wonder if it’s worth taking the journey again.
I look forward to your positive comments.
I think this week will be a week of deep reflection and taking small moments to browse my insights over the years–to see my areas of growth as well as stagnation.
I also know that I have new followers to my sites and social media profiles, and some people would guess to know the true me. Nowadays it can be difficult with all of the snapping, chatting, posting, and tweeting we’re doing.
We’re all, for the most part, great marketers and do a pretty good job of projecting the image that we want the world to “buy” about our lives and our values. By looking at my social media I think that you can tell that I’m definitely not “pitching perfect” or even any resemblance. I’m just sharing bits and pieces of my life as they unfold. But even with these small glimpses it leaves people to make assumptions about my life and the person that I am.
Well on June 14, 2015 I shared with the world some interesting facts about me. They are still true today. Oddly enough, I find that even when I speak openly about my quirks and flaws, boundaries, and values there’s always someone who challenges it, doesn’t believe it, tries to change me and my mind–and then is left dazed and confused when they get exactly what I said they would. Just like you I want to be accepted, flaws and all. Don’t make me more than I am or try to reduce me in any way. I’m not your Superwoman or your doormat.
So if you never had the chance to read this message, or you simply need a refresher, here you go!