CHANGE

It has been said that the only constant in life is change. And boy have we all experienced it in the last 2 years. I remember praying for the return of normalcy, only to be presented with new challenges. It is truly inevitable.

I think part of our tendency to avoid or fight change is the feeling that we are losing control. It might be overly philosophical to question if we ever truly had control in the first place, especially when we see daily evidence that seemingly supports the notion that we do have control. Take for instance your decision to get out of bed, brush your teeth, and go to work every day. While some might agree that there could be a higher power that woke you up in the first place, you did have to make a decision at will to commence your day. It is not as if there are magnets underground dragging you to your intended destination each day. Or are there?

I would like to believe that we do control a good portion of our lives by what we say and how we think. A few years ago, I made a (daily) commitment to write down my goals for the year every day in a notebook. As the year progressed I found myself actually checking off items from that list. By the end of the year, all of those goals had been achieved. Writing it down and seeing it every day changed something in my psyche and in the world around me. It was as if everything in the universe was working towards propelling me towards that goal.

I am sure we have all encountered individuals or groups that did the exact opposite. You may have told them your goals or expressed a certain vision that they could not see or appreciate. Rather than encouraging you or helping you find resources to make those goals a reality, they researched all the ways your plans would fail and made sure to expedite their doubts and negative energy to you as often as they could. This world is full of energy that is constantly looking for balance. How many times were you successful in environments like that? Places where you felt you were stupid for dreaming? Places where “reality” was shoved down your throat in the name of “being honest” or “support”?

If you are in the aforementioned situation, I urge you to leave IMMEDIATELY. This world is already too grim to have the flames of your dreams extinguished by those who do not share the same winner’s mentality. You have to surround yourself with people who get it. People who understand that just because you do not have it now, does not mean that you never will or are not supposed to.

This concept reminds me of the times that I would try to get a job in retail as a teenager. Every job I went to wanted me to have prior experience in the same field. But I had never worked a day in my life-where was I supposed to start if they all wanted a pro at the cash register or doing store inventory?

The same applies to your dreams. Obviously they have not come true for you (yet), but those without vision will explain to you that since you are not experienced in having this dream become reality, that you should stop dreaming. Or if they simply cannot imagine this dream coming true, they will dissuade you from pursuing it. Do you want to know why it is called YOUR dream or YOUR vision? Because it is YOURS to understand and YOURS to fulfill.

So to close, I will leave you with a playful anecdote about the little engine that could (SPOILER ALERT). A small engine train was sent on a mission to pull another, larger train that had broken down over a mountain. Now I am sure that the bystanders were looking at the train like “Are you serious? You think a train as small as you can accomplish this daunting task? We had better get a bigger train in here to fulfill this mission.” Sorry to spoil the ending to this children’s story for you if you have never heard it, but the little engine train accomplished the task. And do you want to know what the driving force (no pun intended) was for this train? The little train repeated the phrase “I think I can” over and over again until she made it to the other side.

I THINK, THEREFORE I AM.

Remember the power of positive thinking, positive affirmations, and a positive environment to nourish your desires. I promise you, the formula is that simple! All it takes is will power.

Accept, Consider, Demand

Last Wednesday God blessed me with another year of life. Most years on my birthday, at the stroke of midnight, something comes over me. I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose, maturity, and wisdom. But this year was not the same. And I wondered why. Was it because I was waiting and expecting this day to come? The answer to that was no, because that is exactly what I had done in previous years. So what was it?

I realized that year 27, at least as far as it seems right now, has prepared me for many years to come. Put simply, I went through some things last year that pushed me beyond what I was used to. I had to take a stand on all fronts and demand respect. I came to terms with the fact that I have accomplished more than I thought I would at this age, even though my checklist still remains. Above all, I opened my mind to situations I might never have when I was younger. I truly blossomed into the woman that I am today, that I will be for probably the rest of my life.

That is not to say that I will not grow any further. But I laid the final few stones of the basis for the person that I want to be in the future. Those stones include things that I will not accept, things that I will consider doing, and things that I demand as the standard.

First, things I will not accept. I will not accept being used for what I can do for others. I will not accept being told the extent of my capabilities as a business woman, future physician, or advocate for the community. I will not accept unbalanced friendships or relationships that compromise my creativity or energy.

Second, things I will consider doing. I will consider getting to know those on the “margins of society” so-to-speak. Because their experiences and stories inspire my pursuit of bettering the world in my own power. I will consider performing acts of kindness for those who I know cannot or will not return the favor. Because I know that my karma is not what they do to me, but how I respond. I will consider someone else’s point of view and belief system. Because I am in no position to judge others, regardless of whether or not I believe they are right.

Finally, things I demand as the standard. I demand respect from everyone, whether in a higher or lower position of power than myself. I demand the right to say no to being social if doing so does not serve my happiness or my success. I demand the freedom to express myself without being judged. I demand the Golden Rule: Treat me as you would like to be treated. I demand to be treated as the brilliant mind that I am, that I know we all are. Individually we have diverse talents, but collectively those talents are a force. In my 28 years of being on this earth, I have learned that what you demand of life comes to fruition. Be clear, be passionate, and above all, be sure.

You Don’t Always Get What You Want When You Want It

So what do you do when you do not get what you want when you want it? How does it make you feel? Does it make you believe that all your efforts were in vain? That you were not meant to succeed or be happy? Or does it fuel your quest to ensure that next time you get it? That maybe the timing was off and that in due time your goals will become tangible?

I think the first thing most people feel is frustration and disappointment. It is a bit unnatural to just accept in that moment. Accepting that you did not get your way sort of like a grieving process. You go from denying to bargaining, the whole nine yards until finally you accept your reality. But does your current reality represent your fate? The answer to that question separates everyone who endures this circumstance. The optimist is hopeful that this is just a temporary phase in their current reality rather than permanent defeat. The pesimist accepts their fate as permanent and will likely never try again.

Does this ideology work with everything you want? Sometimes we want positions of power. Other times we desire people. When is it time to go against the grain and try to force what appears to be unnatural to work in our favor? For some it has led to success. For others it has led to quite the contrary.

Is life easier when we just accept what comes to us? Just accept what flows? Possibly so (assuming what comes to us is good). But is ease necessarily good? Sometimes it is, sometimes it can be dangerous. Ease does not stimulate growth. We do need the tugging and pulling. The seeds that are planted underground and know darkness from birth might squint in discomfort when their first leaves see the sun. But they know it is good for them. It is necessary for their survival. The rain helps them grow, too, no matter how light or heavy it may be. Perhaps what you need supersedes what you want, and the ultimate goal is to want what you need. What you want might be fleeting. What you need is your power.