Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Quote: Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination. - Mae Jemison
Perspective: I have a fear of airplane travel. I do travel. I’ve been to 16 states in the US (including Hawaii; see pix above), Canada, and the Caribbean. All via airplane. My mother is even more fearful of flying than me. She hasn’t traveled by plane since the 1970s. When I travel, she prays for me – constantly. Yes, I’m grateful. Unfortunately, she panics until I call her when I de-plane.
My grandmother’s phobia was more acute!! She was born in the West Indies. When she was a toddler, she witnessed a volcanic eruption. Even though the family was able to flee to a nearby island, she never forgot the smell and the horror. This scarred her. She often spoke of air travel negatively and rarely traveled.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t want to be ANYTHING like either one of them.
My grandmother moved from the West Indies to NYC in the 1910s. Newly married and pregnant, she was able to run a house, a farm, and few of my grandfather’s businesses. Over the course of the next 55 years, she was able to raise 7 children and one grandchild in the suburbs of NYC. No small feat!!! I can imagine how my mother and her siblings (my aunts and uncles) may have given her challenges. She was a lovely, quiet, dynamic woman. She passed away in 1969.
My mother was the first girl in the family to graduate from high school AND attend a higher institution (secretary school). My mother worked as a secretary in several jobs from the 1950s until she retired in the 1990s. She raised two crazy children (my brother and I), kept 3 different homes afloat, volunteered in church, and nursed my father until he died in 2005. My mother is 86 years old.
I’ve changed my mind; I want to be JUST LIKE THEM!!!
Call to Action: You’re standing on a precipice of the Grand Canyon. Take a deep deep breath. What is possible now?
(happy birthday grandma!!) #crystalsynergy
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Quote: As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down. So it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. – Marian Anderson
Perspective: I’ve had a few romantic relationships end bitterly. It was easy to be acrimonious to ALL men, to blame him, to castigate him. It was easy to live my life in his hands. When I do that, I place responsibility AND control for my life with him. Then (in my mind) he dictates what I eat, what films I watch, what work I do, how I connect with my friends, and how I treat myself! Now my life was easy, right? Do I really want that??!?!
I don’t want anyone to be responsible for me (like a child/parent situation) or be in control of my life. I want to control my own life.
I realize control is impossible the moment it’s suggested. I have power – not control. I have power over my reactions to situations NOT the situation. Now I ask myself – what part do I play in this situation? What was my role in the relationship with him? What is my role in my relationship with myself? Now I can turn it over. Then the solution becomes apparent.
Call to Action: Write down 136 of your own attributes. What are the top 10? What are the last 10?
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Quote: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou
Perspective: When I first heard this quote over a decade ago, I thought about my romantic relationships. Recently, I’ve been expanding it to include familial and casual relationships. It can be telling why someone has a particular demeanor!
I had an interesting "adventure" on a subway ride from Brooklyn to my home. Travel time is normally 1 hour 10 minutes. Unfortunately, there was a broken rail at the penultimate train station and all passengers had to disembark. In NYC when you’re train is delayed, you can get a block pass (a piece of paper) from the token booth clerk to travel via an alternate route. The passes and subsequent ride is free. The token booth clerk refused to give us a block pass. She said we didn’t need a pass. A yelling match ensued with the token booth clerk and the 20 riders. I was thinking, why is she being so rude? What’s the big deal? It’s 11 o’clock at night -- give us the freakin’ passes and let us go home!
Finally a supervisor heard the commotion and came by. The supervisor told the clerk to go on break immediately. The supervisor volunteered to distribute the block passes to us. As the clerk left the booth, I took a good look at her. I recognized her!!! We went to the same junior high school!!! I remember her being a bully. She was friends with a crowd of other bullies. I was one grade ahead of her; she never bullied me. But I always remembered her and her crowd. You never forget a bully or that attitude.
At any point I can change my demeanor, my character, my disposition. I have to want to change then take the action to do it. Otherwise, I am the unchanged from age 10 to age 17 to age 45 to age 70+.
Call to Action: Start singing/read the lyrics to RESPECT by Aretha Franklin. What is your definition now?
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Quote: Happiness has nothing to do with your life's circumstances; it’s based on your ability to accept the things you are experiencing. – Nishan Panwar
Perspective: My level of acceptance depends on my happiness at that moment. Have I eaten a meal? Do I need to go to the bathroom? Am I waiting for a NYC bus in January?
Or does my level of happiness depend on my acceptance in that moment? Can I network (or commiserate or just chat) with others after my meal or while waiting for the bus? What is possible if I’m open?
Yes even if I have to pee … something incredible is possible!!
Accepting is a knowing that whatever comes, I will get through with flying colors. It’s about bending and being ready for whatever comes my way.
Have you ever been fired or laid off? Was your next job more amazing than the previous one? Or did you start a business that changed the world? Or just changed YOUR world and YOUR way of thinking?
When my father died, I realized my mother was my only living parent. Previous to that, my relationship with her was fractured. We had little in common. Did I really want to hang out with her without Dad?!?!!!??
One Thanksgiving we were watching a comedy film on TV together. It was also one of my father’s favorite films of all time. Previous to that, I didn't remember Mom EVER enjoying this film. In fact, I remember her saying it was vulgar. Now she was laughing so loud and long, she told me her stomach hurt. In the past, I remember my father loving this comedy and he would laugh so loud and long his stomach would hurt. My father was there with us watching.
That’s the day that changed us both. We started to talk. Our journey to friendship and hilarity grows every day.
By the way, Mom is 85. Yes she’s still a pistol!!
Thank you Mom for showing me acceptance!
PS >> Yes, I have thanked her in person.
Call to Action: What do I continuously justify in my life today? How am I feeling my way is the only way? What can I turn over and become free of resentment or remorse or guilt? Can I hear another point of view?
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Quote: Just don’t give up what you’re trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong. – Ella Fitzgerald
Perspective: I define a hobby as something I would do for $0. With that said, I have several hobbies. I sometimes think, “What would it be like if I got paid to cook or salsa dance or do yoga.” The truth is I do!! Not a salary but I get many benefits – both spiritual and physical.
When I cook, I increase my creativity and resourcefulness. I look in my pantry and refrigerator and make an amazing dish. When I salsa dance, it helps me to be interdependent with others. How can you coach (individuals or groups) and NOT get feedback and grow? By listening, learning, and interacting. When I practice yoga, it brings all my other hobbies together! When I connect with my breath and my Higher Power before (and after) a yoga class, it magnifies and strengthens all areas of my life.
I can only imagine a day where I dance, practice yoga, AND cook??!!? Amazing!!!
Giving up and quitting is easy. Love and inspiration are easy. I choose the latter pair every time.
Call to Action: What would job (skill) would you do for $0? You’re a famous performer (musician, singer, poet, rapper). Write lyrics to a song about it.