About Last Night, About Will Smith

Some of my dearest friends and I have agreed to disagree about the angry choices a certain actor made on Hollywood’s biggest night.

What’s also true is that I don’t condone violence; I wish he would have handled it backstage, and I was waiting on him to offer a more direct apology in the aftermath.

But as I often say, we rarely know another person’s full story – including the challenges they may be walking through.

As Will Smith accepted his Oscar I saw what appeared to be shame in celebrating his biggest career achievement amid his biggest career misstep – knowing that his mother (who he seemed upset with for not coming) and his children had witnessed his implosion.

Who knows? Maybe he had to beg Jada to show up and deal with her alopecia-related hair loss on a night when other women’s tresses were flowing.

And who knows what else Will may be dealing with in his family, with his health or within himself?

He still shouldn’t have strode onstage and slapped a colleague.

He did what hurt people often do – hurt other people. And in this case, he hurt himself most of all by taking away from the legacy of “strength in the face of fire” that Venus and Serena entrusted to him.

All that said, and even as I shook my head at it all, I could think of times I wished I had handled situations differently. Can’t we all?

Not condoning his behavior, but also not serving as judge nor jury. (The memes and Twitter comments are pure entertainment and offer enough sentences without mine.)

Will Smith will face his consequences, and as he deals with them privately and publicly, I hope the rest of us can use this as a reminder that at every age and stage, there’s room for growth and room for empathy.

And who walked away with his head held highest for showing restraint? Chris Rock, who I’m sure will be telling jokes about that experience for years to come. Get ready, Will.

Every Life Matters

So many people are stunned by the tragic death of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst. And that of actress Regina King’s son. And perhaps the suicide of someone you know.

We must not let this become the next pandemic.

Check on people in your circle – and check the “petty” at the door.

Remind yourself that being kind is often more important than being right, because there’s often a story behind someone’s anger, silence, odd behavior, etc. 

You don’t have to be the judge and jury. 

Your call – our call – is to grant more grace and to love unconditionally.

Even if it’s from a different source, it will indeed boomerang in our favor.

Prayers and peace to all who are grieving, and heartfelt hugs to anyone who is suffering. Please keep reaching out until someone hears you. Your life matters.

6 Reasons to Keep Going

I’m sharing this “public service announcement” to persevere for whoever needs it (and just know, that sometimes it’s me). 

If it’s not you today, pass it on!

  1. Keep breathing – your deep-in-the-valley season is just a pitstop.
  2. Keep dancing – the swirling storm will find it harder to touch you.
  3. Keep believing – beauty can indeed be birthed from ashes.
  4. Keep trusting yourself – you’re a prize worth cherishing, at home, at work and everywhere in between. 
  5. Keep paying attention – to your heart, to your gut, to what people show you rather than what they say, and to what you know to be true. Trusting yourself will never lead you wrong. 
  6. Keep laughing – it’s medicine for your soul, and everything doesn’t have to be so serious. 

Most importantly? Just keep on keeping on. 

I promise you, your best days are ahead, no matter your age, stage or circumstances. 

Your job is to persist in excellence, love with an open heart, set appropriate boundaries, welcome peace and treasure your joys. 

I’m living proof (and there are so many tangible examples around) that it’s all doable. Join me on this Life Untapped journey in your own way and in your own time. Just promise me, and yourself, that you’ll keep going.  

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

Naomi’s Reminder

Welcome to June. We’re halfway through another historic year!

In light of young tennis star Naomi Osaka’s dramatic (and courageous) decision a few days ago to put her dreams on hold and practice self-care, I share the sentiments in this post as a reminder to all of us that what matters most is not material gain nor worldly success.

It is what flows into and from the heart that can make you or break you.

Let us live and lead with more empathy, truth and love, because everyone, at every level, needs it.

You never know what someone else is going through behind that smile, that frown, that fear, that anger, those actions or that attitude. So give everyone grace, because they don’t know your full story either.

Judge little; love liberally – rinse and repeat!

Persist and Win

Stop striving for perfection and persist with excellence.

Why? Because we all stumble at some point, in some way. True victory doesn’t come from not ever having fallen, but in having the courage to dust yourself off and get up.

Rinse and repeat, however many times it takes, until you’re standing firm and striding toward your goals. 

Wisdom from Meghan

Regardless of whether you thought Sunday’s bombshell Oprah+Meghan TV interview was worth your time, one of the revelations Meghan Markle shared during the two-hour conversation offered some wisdom:

Have compassion for people. You have no idea what’s going on behind their bright smiles, polished perceptions and fabulous photo ops.

As we pass the one-year milestone of pandemic living, we do indeed know that everyone is going through something, and wherever you find yourself on the pendulum, be intentional about judging less and caring more.

You could be someone’s differencemaker.

Shine, Will You?

I’ve learned over the years that there’s a difference between humility and hiding.

When we hide our gifts, our talents and our offerings that could bless others, because we don’t want to seem “all that,” we’re actually hiding our light under a bushel. Yet, it is the glow from our light that touches others’ souls, and shows them their own path.

When we find the courage to own our positive, unselfish dreams and walk in our purpose, we open a space for everyone around us to do the same, and that is how DESTINY unfolds. 

So today, walk in your light – with grace, gratitude, joy and even some measure of fun! In the process, you’ll change your corner of the world for the better, and the ripple effect will change even more lives.

Trust Your Process

A reader friend of mine, Sarah Brooks, is a gifted artist who raises funds for World Vision each year.

About 10 years ago, she decided to solicit donations by designing a card that includes a quote from one of my novels – Nothing But The Right Thing.

I share this encouragement today with a reminder to have faith and trust the timing of your life.

Love Hard, Will You?

On this Valentine’s Day, join me on this worthy quest: Love yourself first so you can love others better.

Love all of your gifts and talents, but also all of your quirks and flaws. Love the ways and seasons within you that are both beautiful and less than stellar.

Love the innocent child you once were and the broken but blessed adult you’ve become. Love the “seasoned citizen” you’re growing into each day. 

When you love you like that, it’s so much easier to selflessly care for, lift up, stand with, fully embrace and give to others. 

So start anew, if necessary, to make sure you’re loving yourself, for yourself, just because. Doing so will allow the mutual love and respect that flows between you and others all the more special and all the more real. 

Enjoy your journey, and appreciate as “loving hard” becomes easier by the day.

Be Still, Yet Open

We live in a world that flits past the present moment while glorifying the future. Today, join me in choosing to buck that trend.

Lean into THIS moment, whether it is wonderful, amazing, challenging, scary or uncertain. Give thanks for it, knowing that if it has come into your existence, it has come for a reason – to teach you, heal you, strengthen you, reward you, prepare you or perhaps protect you.

Don’t be paralyzed by the noise in the world around you; focus inward.

Count it all joy and embrace your present, so that when you reach that place known as the future, you’ll be ready to experience, appreciate and celebrate all that it holds, too.

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