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Free to Be
Greetings lovely one,
We’re almost at the finish line to the obstacle course that is 2020. As friends have been scurrying around doing their best to get sales and donations during Black Friday and all the Small Business Saturdays and Giving Tuesdays, I’ve been thinking about a couple of phrases that really put pressure on us, like:
“It isn’t about how you start, but how you finish.”
“If you’re not first, you’re last.”
Admittedly, that last one I heard in a Will Ferrell movie. Sometime during my own entrepreneurial journey, phrases like these started bothering instead of pumping me up. I began to feel they were a part of a hustle and “team no-rest” culture that has been plaguing us and contributing to the high suicide rates amongst entrepreneurs.
There’s been plenty of years, days, and moments that didn’t start or end well for me. And I always ate up my so-called failure and lived into a belief that I just couldn’t measure up. It wasn’t until recently that I made a conscious effort not to succumb to the okie doke about something being inherently wrong with myself and needing to be fixed that I’ve been handed, and willfully plated. Instead, I began to yearn for and offer myself radical compassion.
Radical compassion is a rebellious act of love offered up towards myself and others. It’s preemptive and subversive to a system that has been long established to create and contribute to a growing fragmentation of the self and society.
The book Awakening Together, by Larry Yang, mentions that the Dalai Lama observed:
“In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences, yet never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbors.”
This was a pretty accurate description, even before COVID hit. We know deep-seated feelings of separation and “can’t get no satisfaction” like The Rolling Stones sang… we’re spoon fed this mindset, we digest and then it churns in our bellies, and gives us heartburn, and yearning for more, more and then: regurgitate and repeat. Mr. Yang continues, “...the collective unconscious of the external world can determine how we experience things as individuals … I saw that I had internalized the message that I was not worthy to be…”
You know what I’ve found in simply “being”? Struggle, pain, joy, gladness, exhaustion, and need for rest, light, and dark … and it was all good.
Listen, sometimes we coast in, just barely making it to the refuel point before we then head off with the expectation that the next year should be grand … possibly, maybe?
Honestly, I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we did the 30 Days of Thankfulness challenge. It forced me to pause and count my blessings in the midst of all the loss and unrest we’ve individually and collectively experienced this year. It is truly by grace, therapy, and a good support network that I have made it this far.
One of my favorite lines in Mr. Yang’s book is that we have “the power to choose to move towards what is calling us to be free.” That motivates me much better than a focus on how I finish, because the passage speaks of the effort towards something … it speaks to me of hope.
How will you choose to move towards that which calls you to be free – as we continue to feel worthy of being and offer ourselves compassion through each step, hesitation, and sidetrack along the way?
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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What’s the Buzz? Here’s what’s happening
Join me on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 for a Heart to Heart discussion about Women, Leadership and Spirituality hosted by Global Women 4 Wellbeing (GW4W). This diverse panel will be comprised of women who come from different business and spiritual backgrounds. We will talk about how spirituality can enhance how a leader impacts their organization; how this ties back to women in the workplace; and the ways that women and leadership show up in different spiritual practices. Learn more and register here.
Tales from the blog keepers
Music and dance are a huge part of my mental well-being. But something about drums really does it for me. Let’s dance! Bomba: A beautiful expression of Afro-Puerto Rican culture.
How do we awaken together when people cause us so much hurt and pain? If you’re like me, my natural reaction is to straight up isolate, but that’s not very healthy. So, here’s How To Manage Conflict When Your Default Defense Mechanism Is Cutting People Off.
I love media projects that focus on mental health. Check out Bloom: A Touching Animated Short Film about Depression and What It Takes to Recover the Light of Being.
Finally, some stock photo diversity! This collection is a disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive stock photos shot from our own perspective, featuring disabled Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).
Muse of the month
Artwork shared with permission. Please support Illustrious Voices.
Blerd’s the word
So there’s this scientist dude who makes animations to show how the physics of planets, stars, and the speed of light work in his free time. I think it’s pretty cool. (By the way, the scientist dude is James O'Donoghue, a planetary scientist at the Japanese space agency, JAXA.)
Speaking of Japan … a friend reminded me the other day about D’ART Shtajio, a 2-D animation studio situated in Tokyo founded by 32-year-old animator Henry Thurlow, background artist Arthell Isom, and his twin brother Darnell. According to the article, the Isom twins are both Black men, making D'ART Shtajio one of the first major anime studios founded by Black men. For street creds: Arthell Isom worked with animation studio Ogura Kobo as a background animator on Bleach, Gintama, Black Butler, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Naruto…
They had me at Bleach and Gintama. I am all here for it!
Until next time!
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