Listening to your pinky finger

It's hard to calm down when you aren't aware of your body. Yes, we are all aware, in a big sense of our bodies but how often during the day do we go into autopilot and become lost to everything around us including our bodies. We can't even remember how we got from one place to another. Have you ever paid any attention to your toenail unless it was hurting? Well, what we need most to handle the daily avalanche of emotions is presence.  If we aren't present in our bodies we can't control them on a cellular or energetic level. Today, we are going to focus on finding that sweet spot.

I want you to pick a body part that you normally don't pay much attention. For example, the fingernail of your 3rd finger on your left hand or the inside of your nose. Have you picked a part? Okay, now spend the next minute thinking about your chosen part. What did you feel? Did you feel tingling, warmth or maybe nothing? Now, remember that feeling. During the day I want you to refocus over and over again on your special body part. This part is going to be your special friend when you become stressed. Your "little friend".

Practice this special body part awareness as often as you can remember. Continue to connect feelings of peace or calmness to this body part. So, when the lady in front of you insist on paying for three cartons on Almond milk separately so she can get the discount, you can regenerate that calmness and show kindness to this lady. This may be the only way she can provide her children with healthy food.

But, the most important thing to remember is that there is no right way or wrong way to progress through this body awareness or through life. So go share the authentic, totally messy, divine you with the world.

Hug and Kisses

You are not going to be Serena Williams in 21 days

Somewhere along this journey of life I aged. I became a middle age woman and I can promise you it isn't how I thought it would be when I was 20. I gained the weight that I thought I wouldn't. I developed the medical problems that only old people like my grandma got. And recently I have started having abnormal joint ache. Not the "Oh hell, I can't play basketball with the 20 year old" ache. Ache and swelling that get you referrals to special doctor. But I still believe that I and I alone have the power to make my life anything I want it to be. The small problem with making all of these changes it that you have to put in work. And often it takes a change in habit and persistence for these big changes to occur.

But as we all know changing habits isn't easy. We try making the changes alone and when the habit doesn't becomes automatic we sign up for a 21 day cleanse or 30 day fitness challenge. We do okay while we are in the program but two weeks later we are a few dollars lighter and mad at ourselves. What if your failure was due to the misconception of how long it takes for a habit to become automatic?

So, how long does it take to establish a new habit? 21 days, 28 days or maybe 30 days? No, No and No. We have all been bamboozled. Lied to. A plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, in the 60s observed that amputees took an average of only 21 days to adjust to their loss limb. Therefore, he reasoned, without any hard proof, the same must be true of all big changes. So, here we are 50 years later beating ourselves up when we don't make major life changes in 21 days.

Okay, if it isn't 21 days then how long does it take. An average of 66 days. A study by the University College London psychologist Phillippa Lally and her colleagues helped confirm this. On average people who were trying to learn new habits such as eating fruit daily or going jogging, took 66 long days before reporting that the behavior had become automatic. And remember this is an average. Individual changes ranged widely from 18 days to a whooping 245 days.

The 21 day myth also makes us believe that any habit can be changed in 21 days. Sorry, harder habits such as learning a new subject takes longer than eating a fruit a day.  I am happy to announce that the myth of missing a day of a new habit sabotages the whole process is also wrong. Missing a day or two doesn't make a long term difference. Give yourself some slack and then restart. Believing this myth is actually not helpful because you often will give up on yourself before the habit becomes automatic.

Another factor in changing habits is realizing that habits are responds to actual needs. For example, eating that box of doughnut may be because your life is difficult and you need comfort. You have to figure out the need that triggers the desire for the doughnut (comfort) and then find something else that fulfills the need (like calling a friend). As you fulfill the need some other way then you can eliminate the habit that is no longer working.

One last factor, habits are meant to be difficult. Habits are the brains way of making life simpler. Your brain develops habits so it doesn't have to use energy processing the same routine over and over again. We see this in how we drive to work every day without thinking. Most of us can drive to work with blinders on and still make it on time. The brain wants habits to stick so this is why it takes a long time to change them, good or bad.

So, as you can see changing habits are a lot more complicated and will take longer than you think. Give yourself time and compassion as you go after your big dreams and desires.

 

Everything I Needed to Know About Life I learned from Hip Hop

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Hip hop  is the background music of my life. I became a teen in the 80s when Hip Hop was exploding. I wanted to have a love child with L.L. Cool J while rocking to MC Lyte's Ruffneck. Hey, we all can have dreams! Well,  I grew up and became a professional women and was told that hip hop wasn't for me. I was asked how could I love something that called me out of my name and told me I had no worth beyond my body. And for years I couldn't justify my love for hip hop and my strong feminist views. But just like a lot of things you grow up with hip hop taught me how to live my life. Here are a few life lessons I learned from Hip Hop.

1. Always rep your 'hood

You know within the first few seconds of a song where the rapper is from. They all tell you their city and how they are keeping it real for their hood. Now, I will admit some of them get caught up in keeping it real. Keeping it real doesn't mean continuing to act a fool because that is what you did when you were fifteen. It means not forgetting who you are and where you are from. A good example of realizing how to evolve and continue to keep it real is Jay Z. I listened to an interview where he talks about stabbing a producer in 1999. He was starting to have some commercial success and had a lot to lose if he went to jail. He states that he realized that the survival skills that had previously kept him alive could jeopardize all of his hard work and dreams. So, he had to let go of somethings from childhood but he has made millions singing about Brooklyn.

I learned early in my professional life that I had to keep it real. At meetings and events I often was the only person of color in the room.  I had an image in my mind of what others thought I was. And of course I was never going to be that image. So, I decided to take pride in all the qualities I had developed as a southern black girl raised by a single mother.  I also had to learn how to tame some of that energy so that my career and life would not explode. But, you best believe I will always love Sweet Tea and say "y'all".

 

2. Hustling is required

I grew up believing that hustling was something you didn't want to do. Where I'm from hustling was the guy on the street corner or the uncle who always had a new way to make some quick cash. As a grown ass women I know that hustling is required. Hustling is plain old marketing. Another name for hustler is entrepreneur. A hustler is always telling you about what she is selling. How her product is better than her competitor. What deal she can give you. She tells you how one of her products will make the other one better (entrepreneur call this upselling). She will go to extremes to sell her product. And she continues to believes in her product when others falter. Sounds, like an entrepreneur to me. This is why numerous people in hip hop can transition to successful business people.

 

3. Fake it 'til you make it

The majority of hip hop performers don't have the stuff they brag about. No money. No women. No fancy cars or homes. Is this lying or the laws of attraction on steroids? Well, that depends on their next steps, hard work and hustlin'. The laws of attraction don't attract unless you do some work. If you just rap about the good life but don't put hours in the studio or promoting your material it will just be a dream.

I decided at 16 years old I wanted to be a team doctor for the Washington Redskins. Well, you can see that didn't happen. And it didn't happen because I didn't want to do the work or make the sacrifices to be an orthopedic surgeon. But, I did make other sacrifices and studied to become a physician. And there were so many moments when I thought I would never be a physician but  I kept fakin' until I believed I could.

 

4. What You say, I'm PHAT!!!

Hip hop taught me to love my curves. Enough said. Most old school rap talked about black women and our bodies with love and admiration. Songs told me  that being PHAT (pretty hip, ass and tits) was wonderful. I learned to love my curves in a world that showed me only one view of beauty. But, then the climate of Hip Hop changed and I was told that my only worth was my body. So, Hip hop also taught me about sexism. It taught me early how to stand my ground when I was being underestimated and discriminated against because I was a women.

But it also gave me examples of women who spoke of their sexuality alongside their values and ideas. I grew up with Queen Latifah and MC Lyte.  They taught me how to find my power beyond my body without forgetting my sexuality.

I have to admit I don't like a lot of the new hip hop songs that repetitively call women out of their names or only talk about our body parts. I'm definitely more of an old school rap lover. But in being authentic to myself I have to say Hip Hop will always be my first love.

Where in your life have you struggled to be authentic?

Let us know in the comments section.

 

 

New Moon + Eclipse + Spring Equinox

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Life is all about energy. It's about cycles and ebbs and flow.  The current astrological energy is powerful. It is arguably one of the most powerful weeks in 2015. It is a pivot point, a time of choosing new options + releasing old habits.

New moon are usually all about new beginnings. This new moon is a total solar eclipse. Eclipses are the most powerful transits that you can experience. The eclipse of March 20th is in the very last degree of Pisces, which is also the very last degree of the Zodiac. This eclipse is all about letting go. Letting go of regrets, shame, sorrow or sadness for chances that have gone. You have to remember that those chances were not for you this time around. Also understand that eclipses' comes in pairs and the total lunar eclipse will be on April 4th. So, we have that entire time to bring closure. Then, it is time to open up to the new beginnings that are showing up or will be coming.

Then, later in the day the Sun enters Aries and the Spring/Fall equinox occurs. The equinox is all about new beginnings. This takes place at the beginning of the zodiac, called the Aries Point. Significant events occur at this point and this is the place of initiation and creation. Aries likes to get things done. And it wants it to happen now.

So we have The End of the Old + Birth of the New. Powerful energy to release and start over.

Determine what you want to let go of to make space for the new and then set your intentions for what you want to create in this new season. Write down what you want to release. Then, write down what you want to create. Sit with them. Hold them close to your heart. Then find a safe place to burn both. Yes, burn both. Don't worry about holding on to your new beginnings. Release them back to the universe and know that they will bloom and MULTIPLE.

Hugs and Kisses

She called

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She Called.

I got a call last night. It was the Universe. She said she wanted her talents back .

I gave you talents to change the world. And you hid them in shame. You achieved fortune and wealth without doing a damn thing. That was all me shining your light. And you took it without doing your part.

Don't you understand your power, your strength. I'm tired of trying to show your clueless Black Ass your greatness. Step up your game. Play your hand. I got your back. I always have. Now you need to pay with discipline and dreams.

Or give me my shit back.

How I Got Hijacked

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I got hijacked by an email. This morning I received an email concerning a work issue. The issue has been an ongoing problem for 3 years. It will probably never be solved because it swirls around beliefs. And it is hard to change someone's beliefs even with facts.  I logically know this but I let this email hijack my life for 2 hours.

I spend two hours ranting and raving about this damn email. I was threatening taking off earrings and putting Vaseline on my face. I was ready to fight. I couldn't respond to the email because I didn't trust what I would say.  The more I got upset about the email the more pissed I got that I was pissed about the email. My husband finally talked me off the edge. My entire morning was gone. I didn't get any work done nor did I change the belief associated with the email.

I had totally given my power, energy and thoughts to someone else. I had been hijacked. After I calmed down I instantly started thinking of ways to prevent or minimize the next hijacking. A few things I came up with are:

1. Breathing - If I had taken a few minutes to solely focus on my breathe I may have been able to get myself off the edge. It may have taken me more than a few minutes but I would have been able to regroup. You don't need to go anywhere special or sit on a cushion. Just step away from the swirling emotions and breathe in deep counting to five and then release. Repeat until you feel the shift in your body. I promise you will feel it.

2. Movement - In order to slow down the runaway feelings you have to reconnect to your body. Another way besides the breathe is movement. And I don't mean random movement of flailing arms or specific movement of a middle finger. It has to be focused movement that forces you to feel your body. Yoga is a great way to do this but you can't roll out your yoga mat at work and to a downward facing dog. But you can find a quiet space like the bathroom and do a forward fold. This can give you similar effects as a downward dog or headstand. The increase blood to the brain calms your nervous system and helps reduce the stress. It also changes your blood flow to your heart and respiratory system thus slowing your heart rate and increasing oxygen intake. Which, helps you to calm down.

3. Look at the other person's perspective - Okay, step back and try to see the issue from the other person's viewpoint. The majority of the time things that we get worked up about aren't personal. The other person is responding from they limited perspective. They are responding to a perceived threat, real or imaginary, that really has nothing to do with you. You just happen to be the messenger. They could also be responding this way from a lack of knowledge. So, try seeing how they got to the view they have. You don't have to agree with them. You just need to be open to understanding their view. You also need to think about how you could have contributed to the problem. Could you have voiced your opinion a different way, did you communicate clearly or was your "smart-ass" statement really needed? Alway try to take credit for the drama you add to your life.

I'm still getting hijacked by other peoples issues but I'm not staying on the Tarmac as long.

In the comments below share with us your stories of being "hijacked".