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Positive Vibes

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I can’t wait to completely break down this YouTube Yoga Challenge!
Today’s yoga practice was Healthy Energy Flow from Yoga with Adriene. I felt REALLY good when I finished! But instead of getting up immediately I decided to finish the practice with about 15 minutes of silent meditation.
Because the video didn’t have any music and I felt like hearing some, I played this in the background.

But there are subliminal messages and I guess my 3rd eye was wide open during my meditation because I could hear them and they weren’t subliminal at all. They became distracting. So I turned the track off and meditated in silence. I let the universe tell me when to stop and when I did I felt like

In all honesty, there’s been a LOT of stuff bugging me lately, and I’m really trying hard to not let any of it get me down. Some days are better than others. Some days the anxiety and sadness are downright debilitating. This yoga is helping, especially when combined with meditation. It’s officially Leo season, and I’m determined to make the most of it. I’m off to a pool party to set things off right!
I bet a few of you are wondering where Day 1 of this challenge is! Well, I didn’t realize that I was challenging myself until today, so technically it was yesterday.
I’m sure some of you all have seen those articles about self-challenges that are along the lines of “What Would Happen If I …(insert drank a gallon of water, ate organic, did Zumba, etc) for…(a week/a month/a year).” After yesterday’s amazing yoga practice I decided to come up with a self-challenge of my own.
What would happen if I did yoga every day for 7 days straight, specifically YouTube yoga?
Let’s face it, sometimes yoga classes can be expensive. And it takes a while to find one that suits your skill level with an instructor that you vibe with. And yoga can be one of those activities where, if you don’t really know what you’re doing, you can look and feel a bit foolish. So why not YouTube it? There could literally be no excuse that I didn’t get a chance to go to a class or didn’t have time. There are classes as short as 10 minutes and as long as an hour. I can access a quick Vinyasa flow from my phone while I’m on the go. No Excuses!
I’m no stranger to yoga. I’ve dabbled in yoga over the past 20 years or so. I feel pretty steady and capable when I go at my own pace and it always made me feel good and refreshed afterward. While I was pregnant, it did wonders for my pregnancy-induced sciatica. But yoga isn’t something that I practiced consistently.  I figured since I enjoy it and it’s good for your mind, body and spirit, I’d give it another whirl. My best friend Angela swears by it, especially hot yoga. I’m not too keen on the idea of being in a room full of other people’s sweat, watching it drip and I’d just about die if someone’s sweat ended up flinging on me, so baby steps…
I’ll post every day about the video that I do and simultaneously keep a journal, sharing my complete findings about my little experiment at the end of the 7 days. Make sure to check back with me and join my challenge!
For Day 2 I chose a video from the folks at Boho Beautiful called Best Easy Yoga For Stress Relief.

I survived it with no injuries and I feel pretty good. The pace was kind of quick, and while it is for all levels, I could see a beginner having a really hard time with some of the sequences if they tried to do them without adjusting the poses for their skill level. That being said, I’d definitely do more of their videos. But I don’t want to say too much yet because as I said, I’ll share my complete findings with you guys at the end of the challenge!
Wish me luck!

 

I love YouTube. I swear you can learn to do anything on there! I learned how to braid my own hair and I’m using it today to do a little yoga practice. It’s raining and I thought this would be a perfect way to start my day focused, refreshed and ready to tackle the many tasks ahead. instead of feeling drained and lazy. And as always, when I find something dope, I share it with you. So here’s Adriene with a little Rainy Day Yoga. Namaste.

 

I woke up to hear that a member of the 2 Live Crew, Chris Wong Won aka Fresh Kid Ice aka Chinaman aka the one with the little arm, had died. I was pretty bummed about it. 2 Live Crew holds a very special place in my heart and actually play a part in who I am today. Y’all are like, “um what?”. Allow me to explain…

Many moons ago my girl Tyra and I snuck into Jack the Rapper, a radio convention they used to have in Atlanta back in the day. She wore black; I wore white. Our intentions were to sneak in, meet Prince and become Diamond and Pearl. No seriously. And truth be told, we’d have been better than the real Diamond and Pearl even though I had the one down front’s hairstyle for a minute in the 90s.

We heard he was there and we had absolutely no reason to think that he wouldn’t fall in love with us on sight.

I’m telling you we were gone get chose!

It didn’t matter that I had on my Junior Prom shoes (3 inch silver pumps decorated with bugle beads). I knew if we could just get downtown, we’d be set.

Yes, that’s Kool Moe Dee, which is another story altogether! But check our outfits. Couldn’t tell us we wasn’t stylin’ and profilin’!!

The thing is, we were broke. We went to the Tillie and pulled out $5. Maybe. We might not have even had that. But while at the Tillie we ran into a guy from Morehouse who was on his way downtown to do what else but sneak into Jack the Rapper. We hopped in his whip and soon we were in the parking lot of the Hilton. We got on the elevator and ended up bogarding our way past security. I pretended to be a high-powered music exec (yes, in silver prom shoes and a hoochie dress) and breezed past security. I’m from Chicago. Security means nothing to me. Never did. But Tyra is from the burbs. She wasn’t used to sneaking in anywhere and she made eye contact with one of the guards. You never make eye contact. If you do, you act like you belong. She didn’t know this then, but it’s okay. She’s actually THEE PLUG these days. Y’all don’t even know. She doesn’t have to sneak in anywhere.

Anyway, when questioned she started speaking Spanish and feigned ignorance. I went and retrieved my “assistant” because we had an “important meeting”. Leave no woman behind. And it worked. She got through. The problem? Security everywhere. We thought we’d get busted for sneaking in and had to find Prince. We heard he’d be on the roof, so what did we do? Hit the stairs. No security there and we had a mission to accomplish.

When I tell y’all we climbed every damn stair in the Hilton, its no exaggeration. 

Once on the top floor we dipped into the first suite we could find. It was a party for a group called Benet, featuring a then unknown Eric Benet and his sister. We met the actual Jack the Rapper, took the cutest pic with him that we never saw but were convinced would end up in Jet (and I later did end up in Jet as Beauty of the Week) and then ventured out to find the Purple One. I can’t recall if we knew what the next suite was when we hit it, but it was 2 Live Crew’s. If we knew ahead of time, that didn’t stop us. I’m pretty sure there was food and liquor, and honestly we weren’t that familiar with Luke at the time to be apprehensive. We were young, bold and daring.

The 2 Live Crew party was a real mild event. At first. We got some free cassettes for the single they were hyping entitled, “Pop That Pussy”. B-Side? “Pop that Coochie”. I wish I could see our faces when we saw the tape. There we were, two 18 year olds, who thought we were grown but we were so green. We had no idea what was about to happen.

And then the girls came.

As they played the song, the filthy lyrics and 2 Live Crew’s flow made us giggle. As we watched the music video, we laughed some more at the cheesy acting (“Pop what?“) and the actual coochie popping. We were from Chicago. We were used to guys in Girbauds and riding boots spinning around in circles and doing can-can kicks (that’s what deep house was back then), but we weren’t used to actual hands on the knees, shake-that-ass-bitch twerking. We were too amused.

And then, the real entertainment began. By real entertainment I mean strippers.

We were slack-jawed, flabbergasted and somewhat disgusted at the display. And yet, I was intrigued. Like a motherfucker.

So what do I do? I went into the room where the girls were changing and start asking questions like an investigative reporter. “How old are you? How long you been doing this? How much money did you make?”

Let me tell you, strippers are the nicest people. Seriously. A young lady answered every question I had and she was sweet about it. She was a part-time stripper and full-time hairdresser. In Atlanta. All I could think of was how PAID she had to be. She’d racked up $300 and the night was just beginning. To an 18 year old in 1990-something, that was hot shit.

We moved on from the party, but my fascination with strippers never left.

A year or so later I went to Miami with my then boyfriend, a dopeboy 11 years my senior. (I know, I was fast. He was a really great guy though. We’re friends to this day.) Our first stop was The Rolexxx strip club. And who did we run into? Uncle Luke. And who was he with? My homegirl from the crib. She was his girlfriend. Talk about crazy coincidences!

About a year after that I went to Jack the Rapper again and who did I meet up with? Luke.

He was saying something absolutely filthy! LOL

And Brother Marquise (who is blues legend Betty White’s godson so I met her too. She was a hoot to say the least). Marquise was cool and as we hung out (platonically y’all, platonically), I found myself a little melancholy as I stared out the window to the city below. I remember thinking to myself, “there’s got to be more out there for me that what’s in Atlanta. There’s a big world out there and I’m going to see it!”

Me and Brother Marquise. And don’t ask what I had on. It was cute then, I promise you!

When Marquise asked me where I lived, I pointed out the window and said, “down there, in Midtown.” That was it. A few weeks later player was in front of my damn door. Literally on my doorstep. I still don’t know how he figured out what building I lived in, much less what apartment, but I let him in. He talked a lot of shit but he was respectful. Funny. He also smeared a huge glob of my damn tinted Clearasil (I was a teenager. Acne wasn’t over) in my sink and didn’t wash it away. Don’t know why the hell he was in my medicine cabinet to begin with, but if I helped him clear his complexion I’m glad to have been of service. We never dated or messed around and eventually drifted. Never saw him again.

A few years after that I moved to Miami on a humbug. I had $165 and my clothes in my Geo Metro. I knew 2 people: a skycap named Peanut and a stripper named Quiet Storm who took me in. (Yes, she was the inspiration for the character Ginger)  I got to know the Rolexxx a whole lot better.  Ended up doing music videos. I even auditioned for a part in Luke’s movie, Freakfest 2000. I read for the role of Shana, the good girl. My friend Serci accompanied me to the audition. She wasn’t interested at all. I’ll be damned if she didn’t get the part! LOL. It was all good though. Looking back, I’m pretty cool with not having been in Freakfest 2000. I don’t think I missed out on anything. (And FYI, it was a regular movie, not a porno. I know some of y’all like to gossip. Get it right if you do.)

Fast forward 6 years later, all those experiences (and then some!) led to my first novel, The Rolexxx Club. Funny how life works, huh? Everything you do and go through can turn into something wonderful and none of it is by accident. Ain’t no coincidence bih!!

So live your life to the fullest because it isn’t promised to you. Savor every moment. Remember. Journal. And transmute everything you experience into something creative and empowering. I did it, thanks in part to 2 Live Crew. Who’d a thunk it?

Anyway, this story really wasn’t directly about Fresh Kid Ice. I mean, he was there, but I never forged a friendship with him. But the thing is, he was there, and his energy impacted my life in ways I never would have imagined. Never forget, supporting characters are equally important to your life’s plot! For that, I am thankful. I send prayers to his family. He will be missed.

Chris Wong Won was 53 years old. He succumbed to an undisclosed illness this morning in Miami.

Did you read my blog post yesterday about the FAB OnSELFish 5×5 Self- Care Challenge I’m participating in? It’s okay if you didn’t, because you can re-cap here. And I went live on Facebook to talk a little bit more about it. Didn’t catch it? Well, woot, here it is. (I don’t care if that’s dated, I’ll always feel a woot coming on when I’m excited!)

Now, I wouldn’t get in your face without a good reason, so go ahead and press play and find out how I’ve linked with On_Self_ish to issue a challenge of my own. If you’re an aspiring writer, you definitely want to join in on this, because I won’t do it often, (possibly ever) again. I’m giving away a bunch of stuff, but there are a few terms and conditions.

So go ahead, push play, and get ready to become not only the best version of your self, but a published author! And some more stuff might get thrown in to the mix, so I HIGHLY suggest, that you follow On_Self_ish, and join the challenge, because that’s the catch. You gotta do her challenge, to get the hookup from mine. You’re welcome in advance! It’ll be worth the effort!

Make sure to like my Facebook page and to check in right here for more details! And start writing. I want to see those 5 pages a day, 5 days a week, STAT!

I’m so excited to tell you guys about a challenge I’m involved in. Now before you moan and groan about another internet challenge, don’t! This isn’t about dumping ice water on yourself, or planking, or doing a goofy dance. This is about taking care of yourself from the inside out. Who doesn’t need to do more of that?

My fabulous, fit and fine cousin, Dr. Charrell Joseph of OnSelfIsh.com has issued a new challenge for the month of May. It’s the OnSELFish 5×5 Self Care Challenge which challenges participants to do 5 things toward self care, 5 times a week for the entire month of May. Click play for details!

Now tell me, are you up for the challenge? Make sure to like and follow her page at On_Self_Ish for details about how to make the most out of your challenge, as well as updates about giveaways. She’s already filled me in on what she’s giving away, and trust me, you don’t want to miss out! And you won’t be alone. I’m participating as well, and I’m throwing a lil’ sumpin sumpin of my own into the mix because I got inspired, so keep your eyes on this space or my Facebook page for upcoming details.

I recently went through a break-up that was pretty tough (what break-up isn’t?) and naturally I went through the gamut of emotions that women go through when they have to make a hard decision for their own happiness. Naturally, my ex has been (and been called) everything but a child of God in my eyes, and I probably (oh who am I kidding? I definitely) said some real jacked up stuff to and about him. I’ve had to do my fair share of apologizing because my temper isn’t always what I want it to be.

See, when I fell in love, because it had been so long since I’d been in a relationship, I really romanticized a lot of things that shouldn’t have been looked at through rose-colored glasses. One of my worst habits can be seeing the best in people when I ought to be seeing the truth. And when the cold hard truth hit me, it jarred me out of my fantasy. Do you know what jarring a writer out of a fantasy is like? Let’s just say, I’d recommend that you never do it. It’s much like waking a sleepwalker or a bear…it could be dangerous!

But one of the many lessons that my break-up taught me is that we can’t go around living in fantasies our whole lives. Nope, not even writers. I needed that wake-up call no matter how much it hurt. When forced to confront and either accept or walk away from his flaws in order to facilitate my healing process and love myself the way I needed to, I also had to confront my own flaws. And guess what I learned? I learned that I’m not perfect. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, right? But alas, I’m not perfect. And neither is he. And sometimes I was pressuring him to be perfect the same way I pressure myself to be perfect from time to time. And in both cases it wasn’t cool. And in both cases, I had to cut the guilty parties a little slack.

We all have flaws. That’s what makes us special. Our flaws are the things that endear those that are truly meant to be in our lives to us (well some of those flaws anyway!). Now, I’m not suggesting that we don’t do the physical work and the soul work we were put on earth to do under the guise that nobody’s perfect so we may as well not even try to be. We should always strive for self-improvement. But we should definitely give ourselves a break from time to time. Unconditional love for ourselves can help us to love others the way they need to be loved, instead of the way we want to love them. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Love-fest!

So go ahead, embrace your flaws. Those stretch marks, crows feet, under-eye bags, saddlebags, emotional bags, heck even your fake designer bags (you’ll get real ones one day when it won’t break your bank). Who are you trying to be perfect for? Some people will never be satisfied, but God will always love you just as you are. And once you’re there (and I mean only once you are there), try and embrace a flaw or two of someone else. This doesn’t mean you have to accept bad treatment, disrespect or completely absolve someone of all wrong-doing; but in accepting that others aren’t perfect, what you’re really doing is taking a load off of yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy, and when you compare your expectations of someone to their own expectations of how they should live, disappointment is sure to follow. And who wants to stay in a state of disappointment and anger just because someone else has flaws. Aren’t their flaws their problem? You don’t have to make them your problem! Accept the fact that no one and no situation is perfect and situations and people will be flawed. Chances are those flaws won’t kill you and you’ll learn a thing or two and come out on the other side a better person.

Now in true DJ fashion, you know I’ve gotta leave you with a lil something to get you going on that journey of self-love and self-acceptance that will  undoubtedly improve all of your relationships. And remember, nobody’s perfect. Nope, not even Beyonce.

It’s the greatest love of all! At least that’s what Whitney Houston belted out in her eponymous rendition of the song that is synonymous with self-love.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve walked through a great deal of my life with rose colored glasses on. I’m the eternal optimist, the girl who sees the good in everyone and everything. It’s a great trait to have at times, but I have to admit that it may actually have been a fault of mine. Sometimes I see good that isn’t there, and sometimes I operate under the assumption that the people in my life love themselves. I mean, who doesn’t love themselves, right?

Image result for i hate myself gif

Well, I’ve come to learn as I’ve grown older that a lot of people don’t (and from the looks of the gif above, I should have realized that around the the tenth time I saw “The Breakfast Club”!) It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life that I’ve had to come to grips with. There are some people who hate themselves so much that they can’t help but be toxic in the lives of others. Their communication style is poisonous; they don’t know how to listen or speak, and frequently shut people out as punishment and never truly working at joint problem solving. They don’t know how to give love or receive it so they aren’t good at keeping sincere, close relationships. And they often blame everyone else for the bitterness and misery that they find in their lives instead of analyzing themselves and changing their own behaviors.

Perhaps you aren’t quite this far gone and you aren’t what people would call miserable or bitter, but maybe you battle with self-confidence or self-esteem issues. You let people take advantage of you and mistreat you and use you because you want acceptance and love, and you’ll sacrifice the acceptance and love that you have for yourself in order to find it somewhere else. That’s no way to live.

At the heart of the matter, it’s probably safe to say that we all battle with treating ourselves like the royalty that we are from time to time. But there’s hope for all of us.

Try incorporating these 3 simple things into your life.

  1. Write yourself a love letter. Yeah it sounds cheesy, but what’s the harm in a little cheese? Tell yourself all the things you admire about you, the things you might be dreaming of hearing from someone else. Write how much you appreciate your own uniqueness and inner (and outer) beauty. Do this any time you need to boost your spirits.
  2. Start a cleanse. Detox your body from the inside out. Eliminate processed and fast food and eat sensibly. Try a raw diet. Do something radical (but HEALTHY) with your diet. Drink lots of water. Literally flush your body of bad things and fill it with good things. Love the temple that you’ve been blessed with. You might decide to make the lifestyle changes permanent.
  3. Pamper the skin you’re in. Rub yourself down in shea butter or coconut oil with loving strokes. Speak kindly to your body, telling it that you’re grateful for the role it plays in your life. For example, as you slather your legs, thank them for taking you where you need to go. As you moisturize your hands, thank them for the work that they do preparing meals, caring for your family, doing the work at your job, etc. Basically, love yourself up while rubbing yourself down. I’m not saying to take it “there” but if that’s where it goes, so it goes!

I have loads more tips and life hacks on how to love yourself so fiercely that you completely change your life, and will be sharing them LIVE on Periscope on Monday, March 27 at 6 PM, CST. There’s also going to be a ton of good stuff in my upcoming book Queening – A Guide to Treating Yourself like Royalty and Radically Changing Your Life. Make sure to add me on Periscope and join in, and if you’re busy then, you can catch me pon de replay.

Once again with the madness in the title, but I think it fits. Can you all believe that it’s March already? At the end of the month, the entire first quarter of the year will be complete. That’s madness! Oh, did you think I was talking about NCAA Basketball? Nah. Not even with Northwestern in the dance. I’m just not into sports like that.

Anyway, it’s amazing how time flies, especially when you have so many goals to smash! And spring truly is an ideal time to get things in motion (if you haven’t been already), both mentally and physically. So, I’ve got a couple of challenges for all of you.

The first challenge is #MovementMarch! I challenge you to do some kind of physical activity every single day this month, and yes, dancing all night totally counts! I started yesterday with a trip to the gym where I ran a mile, biked 4 miles and did an ab workout. I’m beat today, but I’ll make sure to do something, even if it’s just some nice, easy yoga.

Why are we bothering with this? Well naturally we want to be healthy, but there’s levels to this. When the body is in motion daily, the mind must also be in motion daily. This movement makes room for growth, new ideas, and progress!

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#MovementMarch

The second challenge is the #GrowSomething challenge. Gardening is life. And I want you to see for yourselves what has been revealed to me since I started gardening. Things like the fact that in life, often it looks like there’s nothing going on at all on a surface level, but beneath it all, there’s tremendous growth and development happening. There’s a season for everything, including rest, not just bearing fruit. All kinds of gems like that, but things you’ll see for yourself once you get started.

But there are two parts to this challenge. You’re not going to just grow an herb or flowers or a veggie, you’re going to grow something that can change your life! So here’s how it’s going to all go down.

Start a garden – It may be too cold outside where you live (it’s too cold in Chicago) but it’s not too early to start some seedlings off indoors. Herbs are super easy to grow and you’ll really save a lot of money growing them yourselves. Mint practically grows itself, and basil is pretty easy (and is reputed to be a money blessing plant, ca-ching!). You can always grab some dirt, throw it in a cup, toss in a dried lima bean or a black bean or any bean and cover it with dirt, then water when the soil feels dry. A plant will grow, one that produces more beans. Really.

Start a project – Pick something that will take 2-3 months to complete. Writers, this is the perfect time frame to craft a short story or novella, complete a work-in-progress, or edit a completed project. Others might lose weight, start a fitness program, take a course or stop smoking.

Water your garden daily – This is a double entendre. Commit to your garden and your project. When you’re done you’ll have a completed project and something lovely to look at (or eat!).

springflowers

 

If you haven’t been as productive as you thought you’d be at the onset of the year, it isn’t too late to get cracking. Plant some seeds now so that your garden will bloom in the next quarter!

 

During the next couple of days, things are going to be quite active in outer space. Some of you are wondering what the heck I’m getting at, LOL, and that’s okay. I’m going to explain.

space

Tonight is a full moon, and through parts of tonight and tomorrow, there’s a green comet blazing through the sky (the New Year’s Comet or Comet 45P), and there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse, which means the Sun, Earth, and the Moon will align in an almost straight line (learn more about exactly what that means here). But what else does that mean besides the fact that things will look like the set up to a perfect trick shot on a pool table in the sky?

kanesmooth

It means that it’s the perfect time to invoke change, growth and spiritual transformation in your life!

The lunar eclipse, the full moon and the comet mean that the sky is going to be pretty active, even if we can’t see it. And I believe, like many, that as above, so below. So if the stars and planets are doing a special dance in the sky, that means things are going to get shaking here on earth. Let’s break that down a little more.

Comets are really interesting. Comets always get people up in arms. Will it hit us? Miss us? Is it a sign from God of a bad omen or a good one? Is the world going to end? We really have no way of knowing (well, there’s NASA but you know what I mean, right?) so I don’t particularly like to focus on that. I don’t like to get too easy to get caught up in doom and gloom. But one of the most fascinating things about comets is that they are made up of all the elements (fire, air, earth, and water) existing together and releasing themselves in various ways and at various times. Dust combines with ice and gas and is then combusted by fire and everything releases into the atmosphere.

comet-45phonda-mrkos-pajdusakova-will-zoom-past-earth-this-week-this-green-comet-will-be-closest

(Comet 45 P)

So I like to think of comets as a method of release, of letting go of things that are frozen inside, things that are dusty, things that drown us and things that set us on fire. We can release it into the ether and let the bad go and allow the good to manifest. We can literally set the skies on fire with our power, ideas, dreams and light!

And that leads me to the moon…

This full moon is also in my astrological sign Leo, (for all you Leo’s who want to know how this will affect you, click here) so I’m kinda stoked about that, but even if you aren’t a Leo, this full moon and eclipse can be really special for you.

leo_horoscope

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this month’s full moon is called the snow moon or the full hunger moon, because February is usually the month that the most snow falls and is difficult for hunting. But that doesn’t mean that this full moon has to be difficult for you.

The moon represents our inner selves: our emotions, desires, dreams and the person we long to be but can’t always be. When it’s full, sometimes we feel pretty full ourselves. Full moons are a time to unleash those dreams we’ve held inside and let creativity and imagination take over. With the full moon being in Leo, the sign that rules entertainment and creativity, it’s a superb time to let your artistic side loose and use it to make your life better and help make our crazy world a better place. After all, that’s what art and creative manifestations do.

And with a lunar eclipse taking place, now is the time to move past, to literally eclipse ANYTHING that has been holding you back or keeping you in the dark. When you move past something you transform. You change.

citsci_monarch_metamorphasis_fl_hw_sid

So how do you invoke this amazing transformation? Do you let the stars do what they do or are there action steps that can be taken? You already know what I’m going to say, right? Let the stars do what they do but TAKE ACTION!
Reflect. No matter where you are on your journey, look back to see how far you’ve come. You’ve probably done so much to be proud of that you didn’t even realize. Make a list. Journal. And give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve earned it!
Be Grateful. Thank the universe, God and the people in your life who have helped you to get to where you are. Oh, you thought you did it all on your own? Nonsense. You had help. Gratitude is a surefire way to increase the flow of blessings in your life and to vibrate higher.
De-clutter. Clean up a little. Get rid of clothes you don’t need and make room in your closet. Cut off negative people. Been hanging on to a friendship or relationship that isn’t working? Let it go. Getting rid of things (and people) that aren’t useful makes room for new things (and people).
Venture out. Mythology says that the full moon is the time when evil spirits like demons, werewolves and vampires walk the earth. Well grab some Florida water, silver bullets and a garlic necklace and go out anyway. Try something new. Go to a new place. Expand your horizons. If you keep doing the same old thing you’ll never transform.
Strut your stuff! Don’t go out without looking your best. If the moon and the stars are gonna look all fancy, flashy and sparkly, you should too!
Stay POSITIVE! Many believe that full moons magnify the heart’s intentions. If that is the case, why not intend on something wonderful happening? Don’t let whatever’s been getting you down keep you down or worse, magnify! Write down all the wonderful things you’d like to see happen and start working towards them coming true.
Now, I’m gonna hit the gym. I’d better look great for all this magic that’s about to go down!
Enjoy your weekend! I hope something magical happens for you!

Peace & Positive Vibes,
Meta

joyce-meyer-quoteI love this quote by Joyce Meyer because I am so very serious about controlling my thoughts. Sometimes I’m really good at it, other times, not so much…

For example when my guy does something that upsets me I will run it over and over in my mind. I’ll pick it apart and find every flaw in his words or actions. I’ll examine and assign motives without even communicating with him and before long I’m swimming in a cesspool of negative emotions. I suck right? You better had said “No!” Because I don’t suck! And neither do you because I know you do the exact same thing. C’mon. Admit it!

But what good does filling my mind with negative thoughts do? NONE!

It doesn’t change the situation and only serves to make me re-mad (I know that isn’t a word but I say it all the time and you know exactly what I mean). So I’m basically fuming and fussing (and cussing) about the same thing on multiple occasions. By this time, my guy has tuned out because that’s generally what people do when they get nagged about the same thing over and over again. And nothing changes. At least not for the better.

But I’ve noticed that things definitely not only improve but transform when I stop focusing on what is making me angry or upset with him and turn that focus onto something wonderful that is going on in my life. Because filling up my headspace with something that I’m happy about is so much more productive than filling it with negativity!

This change in focus isn’t just a relationship fix though. Guarding your thoughts and making sure that the bad ones don’t get in your head works miracles with your career and your finances!

Imagine how much a salesperson can sell if they meet their clients with an upbeat and positive attitude instead of appearing defeated before they even make a pitch. I’ve known quite a few successful salespeople and they always walk into their meetings the picture of confidence and capability. They claim the sale before they set foot on the client’s premises.

And we’ve all heard the saying, “It takes money to make money!” That’s because money is a magnet if you look at it properly. Some people look at that saying from a totally skewed perception, and think that they can’t prosper because they don’t have enough money. But the saying doesn’t say, “It takes a lot of money to make money.” It doesn’t even say you have to have enough money. It just says it takes some. So even if you’re down to your last penny, you still have some money and the ability to make some more. Don’t you know someone who always seems to land on their financial feet no matter what comes their way? I bet they didn’t have a negative attitude!

So how do you do it? After all, filling your mind with positive thoughts when your world is falling apart ain’t easy. Or is it? It can be!

Here are some tips to keep your mind overflowing with positive thoughts!

Identify negative thought patterns
Chances are you already know the negative self-talk you engage in. Thoughts like, “I hate my job and I’ll be stuck here forever!” or “I’m never going to find a man.” Be honest about all the bullshit you tell yourself about yourself, your life situation and about others. Journaling is an excellent way to monitor the things that go on in your head.

Stop that stinkin’ thinkin’!
There’s no good in identifying negative thoughts if you aren’t going to stop thinking them. You’re not identifying them to dwell on them! So when the dark clouds start to gather in your head, send in a gust to blow them away! Distract yourself with art or poetry or music. Bust a move in the living room or the bathroom or your car. You can even literally say out loud to yourself, “STOP!” Do what you must, but cut the crappy cerebral action STAT!

Retrain your brain!
Identifying negative thought patterns isn’t enough. And stopping the thoughts isn’t enough. (Yeah there’s a little work to this filling the mind with good things, but it’s worth it!) You’ve got to replace those negative thought patterns with positive ones. This may mean saying out loud or writing your replacement thought. I’m a big fan of writing things because it also trains the brain that you are acting on something. It makes things more tangible and lasting. Instead of complaining that you’re overweight, try saying, “I’m eating healthy and working out and I feel great! My body is changing already from the inside out.” Maybe you aren’t really doing these things, but if you keep saying it or writing it, you will start to! It’s like the great prophet and Funkateer George Clinton said, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.” (*Young heads, please look up George Clinton and don’t make me feel old!)

Use your words!
Your vocabulary is everything! Change the way you talk, change your life! Stop saying things like “I can’t” and “I don’t have” and “I don’t know how”. Statements like these are really limiting and have no business coming out of your mouth! Say “I can” or my favorite “I AM!” I think that those are two of the most powerful words in the universe because what ever follows you must become. You’ll feel great, I promise! Try it! Say, “I am beautiful!” “I am wealthy!” “I have a great life!” Feels good huh? If it doesn’t, keep on saying it until you start to tingle a little.

Make some Lemonade!
It’s amazing how many women love Beyonce’s Lemonade but aren’t aware that they don’t actually have to be Yonce (See what I did there?) in order to manifest their own experience of turning a negative to a positive in their own lives. Lost your job? Start a business! The work you have to put it won’t give you enough time to cry over the spilled milk of a gig that is now a part of your past. Broke up with your BF or GF? Relish being single! Travel and do all the things you planned to do with your significant other by your dammy! When things don’t turn out quite the way we desire the first time, we can try again or adjust or dreams (by making them bigger – I don’t believe in downgrading my fantasies!).

Well ladies and gents, I hope you’re feeling full of positive energy! Oops! Let me adjust my language. I KNOW you’re feeling full of positive energy. You’re ready to tackle anything that comes your way. So what are you sitting around reading for? C’mon go-getters, get going!

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So folks, we now have a new president elect of the good old U. S. of A and lots of people (myself included) aren’t all that thrilled about it. But what was especially surprising to me was how impactful the results were to some people. I am seeing a lot of really emotional responses (and throwing a few into the atmosphere myself) to the election. All over my various social media timelines were people whose feelings ranged from disappointment, to anger, to hopelessness, to fear, to complete and utter depression. I understand those feelings, so I hope that you understand me when I say that we must not let our emotions get the best of us. We must transform those emotions and that passion we feel into fuel to continue whatever missions we’re on in life.

*in my Iyanla voice* Oh beloveds! I know how difficult this is to process. I know it feels like a giant setback to progress that began 8 years ago. But try to process those emotions quickly and definitely don’t allow who sits in the Oval Office to determine your destiny. Yes, the President and government have a lot of power, but ultimately, you are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul (I taught my students Invictus the other week; it’s still lodged in my brain!). You may be feeling like the progress you or your community made was all for nothing, and you were set back 1000 years. But it is only that way if you let it be.

You see, setbacks and disappointments are often doorways to life’s biggest opportunities. When you don’t get what you want the first time around, you find alternative methods, you become flexible and more creative with problem solving. You find other means to your end. You become more self-sufficient and you also find and bond with those who are meant to be a part of your tribe.

My Uncle, Chief Monroe Smith, always said that when he was told he couldn’t have or do something when he was the fire chief of Compton, that he had the same response: “Don’t tell me what the fuck I can’t do! Tell me what you’re going to do to help me get what I want!” Ah, spoken like a true Smith. We’re a feisty bunch. But we get shit done.

I’m definitely feeling every bit my uncle’s niece right now. Don’t tell me what I’m going to lose or how I’m going to hurt or suffer because of the regime change. Don’t you dare put that evil on me Ricky Bobby! Speak life over my life, not doom and gloom! Tell me what you can do, what we can do to make things better.

Do you truly want change, or just to wallow in unhappiness and dissatisfaction? If you aren’t happy with something, you can either complain, or you can mobilize and continue fighting to make a difference. I think that the latter option is the better one.

Life isn’t over today, regardless of who won, not if you’re reading this. So if you’re alive, commit to making a difference in the ways that you can and connect with people who can help you. Don’t give up fighting for justice (or peace-ing for justice), don’t give up hope, don’t give up on life or on love.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

What are you waiting for?

Do something wonderful and don’t let anyone stop you!

It’s funny that all over Chicago I see stuff like this:

An image I captured on a Chicago street
An image I captured on a Chicago street

Messages from God, or at least from conscious graffiti artists, are real. I can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. If you do me wrong, I will not forget it and chances are I won’t let you forget it either. Sometimes, I’ll remind you of how wrong you are every, single time that I see you. Others, I’ll wait for the opportune moment to strike back like a viper.

Pretty terrible, huh? I can admit it. I’m human. Just like you are. Just like the people who do us wrong in life. And God isn’t finished with any of us yet! Can you sense where I’m going with this? No one is perfect. People make mistakes. And even when they don’t acknowledge or apologize for said mistakes, you’ve still got to find a way to forgive them.

Some of you are balking already. You might not feel like you can forgive everyone, especially if the person was your abuser or rapist or someone who harmed someone that you love. And I feel you. Trust me, I FEEL you! But stick with me for a second so I can explain to you what I mean by forgiveness.

Forgiving doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting. It means detaching yourself from the pain and negativity that accompanied the grievance. There’s no real reason to hold on to negativity. What purpose does it serve? How does it help you grow? It doesn’t. So forgiveness becomes really important if you want to be your best self. You’ve got to get rid of negative energy and refuse to carry it around with you because holding a grudge can be like drinking poison and expecting someone else to get sick.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Forgiving doesn’t mean you aren’t mad. Sometimes anger is cleansing. Sometimes it is more harmful to pretend that you aren’t hurt or angry or upset, because you are lying to yourself and those are the worst kinds of lies. The one person in life you can not, you must not lie to, is yourself. It’s pretty fruitless because you know the truth and you’re betraying your spirit when you lie to yourself.

This past year, oh who am I kidding, my entire life, I’ve taken the bumps and bruises served out by some people who didn’t have my best interest in mind. It angered me. And I carried the bitterness for way too long. Today I can say I’m a better person, still a work in progress, but better none the less.

So I challenge you to forgive someone, or at least begin the work it takes to forgive someone this week. How? Here are some tips:

    • Take a deep breath. As you exhale, picture all the negative energy leaving your body. As you inhale, imagine all the wonderful things life has to offer entering your body.
    • Write down all the things that caused you pain or grief or anger. Put the paper in a glass bowl and burn it while praying to a higher power to release the bad feelings and renew you with good feelings. Then flush the ashes.
    • Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Sometimes, our lack of forgiveness isn’t even about another person, it’s about being mad at yourself. Stop that shit! Give yourself a break. Love yourself.
    • Go near a body of  water and meditate as you watch the waves ebb and flow. If you can’t do that, go for a dip in a pool or take a bath or a shower. Relax in the water and imagine it washing away all the negativity.
    • Avoid negative energy at all costs. If you live with negative people, shorten your contact with them and practice loving them from a distance. Even if this negative person is a parent, you can still love them while lessening your interaction with them. Yes, they’ll probably notice your distance, and they might call you on it. Tell them you are focusing on becoming a better person for yourself and ask them to not take it personally. You’re just trying to grow. The old, “it’s not you, it’s me” line works wonders here. And if it gets too bad, consider cutting them off in a more distinct way.
    • Understand that misery loves company and hurt people, hurt people. Don’t take what someone else did to you personally. It’s probably more about them than you.
    • Listen to this song and let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go…

So are you up for the challenge? What do you need to let go of today? And if you’ve got tips for others, please share them in the comments below.

Peace & Positive Vibes,
Meta

 

Normally, I am waaayyyy too vain to allow anyone to see me in this state! I have HUGE bags under my eyes, not a lick of makeup on and my hair is a mess. I’ve been sweating and I have on a Planet Fitness t-shirt. Not one of my finer moments! But I’m not a get-cute-to-work-out kind of girl! (I always feel like those girls are trying way too hard and doing way too little working out, but to each their own, right?) And that’s what I had just finished doing.

I filmed this video on Tuesday at an ungodly hour, before heading to work at the University, but I’m posting it today, on Saturday morning, at what’s kind of an ungodly hour, at least for a Saturday. And I’m doing so purposefully and not because of procrastination, because I’m trying to make a point.

When you’re aiming for success, sometimes you have to work while others sleep. You have to toil away while everyone else is guzzling Bloody Marys and Mimosas at brunch. Because you have a dream, a vision. And dreams and visions are nothing without action. You have to see what you want then ACT to create it. And the action doesn’t always take place at a convenient time. Some sacrifice has to happen – not forever, but for a while (but that’s a story for another post). The work seems especially hard when you’re focused on building a solid foundation, but that’s when it’s most important. You have to keep going, even though you’re tired and the results you desire aren’t coming quickly enough. Because that’s the difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn’t: the successful person didn’t give up when the going got tough!

So yes, it’s Saturday morning, and I’d rather be cuddled up with my man, watching reruns of bad reality TV and stuffing my face with leftover food to nurse a slight hangover, because that would mean that I didn’t spend Friday night on a date with my laptop instead of my baby. But I’ve got some goals that aren’t going to achieve themselves, so I’ve got to put in this work! I’ve got to sweat! And speaking of sweat, I’m off for another run! Something I hate to do, but again, that’s a story for another post.

Happy Saturday!

Peace & Positive Vibes,

M.

keep-calm-and-get-your-sweat-on-3

The word meta, pronounced “metta,” is a bit different than my name, which is pronounced “may-tah,” but I love the former as much as the latter, especially because of the meaning.

Now, the meaning of my name is pretty awesome: it means sparkling like a rare jewel in Swahili. But the meaning of meta as a Greek prefix is probably a bit more awesome than my name. It means beyond, as in taking things to a higher level. And that’s what a productive life is!

Being productive is what the #MetaMondayChallenge is truly all about, not just putting my name in a hashtag. LOL! By making the first day of the workweek more productive, we are laying the foundation for a more productive week. And, we all need those!

This past week, I discovered a movie on YouTube, called The Meta Secret (it took zero prompting for me to click and see what that was all about!). It’s a continuation of the movie The Secret. The Meta Secret isn’t produced and directed by the same people as The Secret, but Bob Proctor, one of the stars of The Secret is behind it.

If you’re needing some motivation that goes beyond visualizing where you want to be, and you’re curious about The Law of Attraction, check this out! It will definitely give you some stuff to chew on.

Note: There’s a part in the YouTube video where the dialogue isn’t in English and English subtitles are covered with Thai subtitles, so you won’t really be able to completely get what they’re saying unless you speak Japanese or Thai, but DVD copies/rental of this movie are available at Amazon.com. You can also check out the book at Amazon.com.

You can also study these concepts in more depth by reading The Kybalion, which is widely published on the internet for free.

Enjoy!

Happy #MetavationMonday! Manifest greatness! And as always, peace & positive vibes!

Manifest Mondays are all about dreaming, setting a goal for the week and attracting positive vibes. I believe that Monday can be the best day of the week…yes, even better than Saturday and Sunday!

A lot of people don’t like Mondays, and I get it. The weekend is over. The workweek is beginning. The daily grind resumes. And if you’re anything like I used to be, you’re familiar with the feeling that there’s just not enough of that fun, free, feeling of the weekend present during the week.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Monday can become your favorite day of the week.

Don’t believe me? Watch how I prove you wrong. Mondays can be the most productive day of your week instead of a day you dread. All it takes is a little bit of work. I know, I know, you’ve already got enough work to do without some chick online telling you that you’ve got to do some more. But if you stick with me a bit, you’ll see that not doing this little bit of work now will actually add to the amount of work you’ll have to do later. A simple exercise could make the difference between living the life you want to live or continuing down a path of boredom, frustration and unhappiness.

If you stick with me through this exercise you’ll see that together we’re going to transform your Mondays! I’m not saying your entire life will change by Tuesday morning, but it’s well within the realm of possibility, especially if all your life needs is a little tweak to the routine.

Do me a favor. Grab a piece of paper and write down all the things that make your Mondays less than extraordinary. Go ahead and let it all out, but make sure to number each gripe that you have. It should feel good to let it go and get it all out. But you’re not going to stop there. Now I want you to look over your list and pick the ONE thing that drives you the absolute craziest about Monday. Pinpoint your biggest bugaboo.

Now on a clean sheet of paper, write down today’s date. Write down that big gripe you have at the top of the paper. Now, use the rest of the paper to write down all the ideas you can think of about how you can fix that gripe. Because there’s absolutely no sense in griping about something that is within your power to be changed.

Maybe what sucks the joy out of Monday is that you feel stressed and overwhelmed with all the things that you have to do that week. That can be pretty easy to fix if you let it be. You could try simple solutions such as:

  • Prepare meals for the week on Sunday and packaging them in a way that makes cooking a no-brainer during the week.
  • Populate your calendar with all the appointments that you know you will have during the week and set reminders about the important ones.
  • Create a to-do list for the week (To de-stress Monday even further, do this on Sunday or even Saturday)
  • Get as many household chores done during the weekend as possible. Enlist in your family to help you if you have a family, because more than likely they are contributing to the mess! Or call a housekeeping service to help you manage the load.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep on Sunday night so that you wake up Monday morning feeling refreshed.
  • If you hit up a Sunday day party, the way I love to do, make sure to give yourself a cutoff time for drinking. Trust me, giving your body a few extra hours to detox from indulging in alcohol and munchy bar food never hurt anyone.

The list goes on, but I think you’re starting to get the idea. A simple change here and there can make all the difference in the world. But what if your gripe about Monday is that you have to return to a dead end job that is sucking the life out of you? Well, that can be changed too! I’ve done it myself and I can can show you how to do the same thing!

I’m going to challenge you to transform your Mondays. I welcome you to share your gripes, questions, solutions and success stories on Instagram and Twitter. Just make sure to use the hashtag #MetaMondayChallenge so I can read how well you’re doing, and if you’re not doing so well, maybe I can lend a hand to help make things a little bit better. The and because I’m not perfect, I’m going to challenge myself too! Although I love Mondays there’s no reason for me to not try to make them as awesome as possible.

My Biggest Monday Gripe is: I’m always running late for whatever I have to do on Monday, mostly because I had too much fun on Sunday! This has a tendency to throw my entire week off! I don’t prepare enough for the week ahead because my weekends are spent either working or being social. Another reason I run late is because I can never figure out what I’m going to wear. So I’m doing things differently this week. I am actually writing this on Sunday afternoon while a Snapped! marathon plays in the background. I’m going to do all my laundry – meaning I will wash, dry, iron, fold and hang up everything (I usually take the lazy way out. Hey! Nobody’s perfect!) and make sure to knock out a few blogs posts as well and schedule them to post automatically. That ought to free up a lot of time during the week, make things run more smoothly and keep this blog popping with content.

So let’s get cracking! We’re going to work at this every Monday, until we work backward from our biggest gripe to our smallest. Once we get this big hurdle out of the way first, all the other hurdles will seem small in comparison.

Good Luck!

Peace & Positive Vibes,
Meta