I had such a thoughtful conversation with my 19-year-old son recently – about really seeing and hearing each other as human beings, worthy of uniquely full lives and flourishing dreams, and deserving of respect.
He is my introverted, yet self-confident “thinker” who uses words sparingly. So, whenever he launches into conversation with me, I listen – to hear what’s on his heart and mind, and to learn more about what he values and how he’s navigating life. It’s amazing to witness the man he is becoming and to learn from him as he grows.
When we, the teachers, are also open to being students, we stretch beyond our comfort zones, lean into unconsidered truths, and perhaps come out on the other side wiser for the journey.
Which do you prefer – flattering words that charm you or insight that informs and refines you?
Which do you believe will make for a better you, and as a result, a better world?
Perhaps this next generation has answers for us to consider. We’re never too old to evolve and appreciate the process.
I’m honored this week to be a featured guest on Earrings Off!, a podcast focused on the journeys of women and men of color and how we are navigating this world with hope, authenticity, daring and candor.
Thank you to Earrings Off hosts Lou Ali and Teresa Vaughan for featuring me in Episode 35! I share how my love of writing developed as a young child and has been nurtured throughout my life by family, friends, mentors and readers.
Listen and be inspired to chart your own course from dreamer to doer, whether you’re a writer or passionate about some other endeavor.
Whatever your gift or talent is, you’re meant to share it with those in the world around you, so that in their joy of experiencing you, you too are rewarded.
I learned of Juneteenth when I was 21, during a summer internship in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A young black couple that befriended me took me to my first-ever Juneteenth celebration and opened my eyes to why it was significant.
I wondered then why I’d never heard of it, and it’s a reminder today of the truth that many of us “don’t know what we don’t know.”
Today is an excellent day to spend some extra time seeking information through Google or your favorite search engine; to buy some ebooks, audiobooks or print books that detail the rich history of African American dreamers and doers; to watch some of the documentaries that add context and revelation to the pandemic that is known as racial injustice, such as 13th or the classic Eyes on the Prize or others you discover through your own research.
Juneteenth is “a thing” because it took forever for freed slaves in part of these United States to learn that they’d been free for a while, yet were still treated and viewed as someone’s property.
Today, let’s loose shackles of every kind by pushing ourselves – whoever we are and whatever we look like – to learn something new, do something different, and become better and wiser comrades on this journey called life.
Nearly 15 years ago I penned a novel that still resonates with readers – and me – today. This nationally published book, Watercolored Pearls, shares the story of three women friends who find themselves relenting to the doubt, worry and fear that lurks in their daily lives – silent enemies that seek to overshadow their inner wisdom and beauty and mask their gifts and growth. Then an older woman comes along who sees herself in them, and remembers her own journey to wholeness. She tells them to take heart and be of good courage, and to keep going, because their individual paths are leading them to purpose, and even joy.
In the vein of the message I shared through those fictional characters, I share this poem with you. Aptly titled We Are Watercolored Pearls, I wrote it in 2014, for guests at a brunch I hosted to celebrate my 10th anniversary as a multi-published author. I share it with you now, during these turbulent times in our world, to remind you that it often takes shake ups and setbacks, twists and turns, pauses and pitstops to arrive at your destination whole and ready to thrive.
So stay the course, lean into life’s lessons and enjoy the journey as much as you can – with this poem serving up some inspiration.
Someone recently called me a risk-taker, and at first, I didn’t fully agree. (Most folks are surprised to learn that I can be shy or consider myself an extroverted introvert.)
Then I paused and did a mental rundown of every time I’ve ignored my fears and followed my heart – whether personally, professionally or in daily life – and I had to accept that yes, I’ve been a risk-taker, in ways that have stretched me and yielded phenomenal growth, meaning and joy.
When I look back and consider the pitfalls and valleys along the way, they seem necessary side effects of pursuing and cresting some amazing mountaintops. And as “auntie” Dr. Maya Angelou once so eloquently stated, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey.”
So yes, I’m a risk taker in my own unique way, and because of that, I’ve tapped into numerous blessings beyond my comfort zone. God willing, there are more to come.
What about you?
Do you see your dreams and desires on the horizon, just out of reach but fully attainable if you lean in to life or to thinking differently, and leave the safe shore?
Stretch yourself. Create a plan when possible, or simply follow that nudging when it won’t let up. Go for it and don’t look back.
I’m not a huge fan of current-day rap, and I didn’t know the name Nipsey Hussle until the rapper/entrepreneur/community builder’s recent untimely death. But in that brief time, the overwhelming mainstream media coverage about his impact, and the unfiltered grief of his friends and fans (he’s reportedly the Tupac of this generation), have shown the world what it means to live with honor and create a meaningful legacy that outlasts you.
I also don’t know whether Nipsey Hussle was a man of faith; but in his own way, he exemplified the St. Francis of Assisi mandate to “Preach the gospel and sometimes use words.”
Today is his memorial service. May he RIP, may those who loved and admired him be inspired to emulate his positive focus and generosity, and may we all aim to leave our family, our community, and this world a little better for our having been here.
If you’re in any way familiar with college basketball, you’ll know the term ‘March Madness,’ which describes the season of NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments that determines the championship teams each year.
Even a sports novice like me knows that these weeks of play matter most – to the teams and their coaches, to the fans creating fantasy leagues, and to students and alums of schools in the running to claim the title. Every team wants to make it to the Final Four and finish with the big win.
Because March also ushers in Women’s History Month and my favorite season (spring!), and continues the Christian period of Lent leading up to Easter, I consider it an ideal time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far this year and renew my commitment to thrive.
I invite you to create your own version of “March Madness” and do the same:
Write journal entries, essays, poems, short stories or chapters in your book-in-progress that reflect your goals and dreams. If you can better articulate your inner world, you can manifest it. (Details about my author coaching opportunities are here.)
Review your 2019 goals and be honest about whether you’re truly ready to live “Life Untapped” or if you’re more comfortable “talking versus doing.”
Wherever you are in the process, NOW is the perfect season for rebooting rather than ruminating with regret. Go for it, and view each milestone as a win. Seemingly small victories eventually lead to battles won.