Feel.

I guess I could’ve chosen another word this month, for July to focus on, but as a Nation, I believe this is where we are. I chose “Feel“.

America is changing. There are many things that have occurred that causes trauma to bring out actions that were once hidden and contained in one space – to open up into the main arena- which often is the community, at large or even small communities as of late.

The mass murders that have occurred over the past few months have caused me to put a few projects on hold and to take take to be present to you feelings, lately. I am not feeling just for myself, but I find myself feelings for others, as well.

The victims, the perpetrators, the communities affected. And I’ve been doing the only thing I know how- which involves prayer, and open lamenting. Open lamenting involves talking about the grief , and the actions and behaviors and losses I don’t quite understand. I choose to feel.

I am still feeling. And possibly will be all year- who knows… Because someone has to. Someone has to make the things people numb out to – be at the forefront. And if that’s what I do by writing, so be it.

Someone has to speak to the pain, the hurt, the challenges, the shifting of this world as it evolves. Sometimes faster than we are changing ourselves. Someone has to respond with love, encouragement, to love this life with freedom even when it seems it’s too risky to go out in communities for fear of being harmed.

I used to live on the Arkansas River in Tulsa, Ok. And this photo above was a place where I considered to be my safe space. When things began to shift and change, I would walk the path alongside the river and it would calm me. Until one day the river overflowed its banks. And it was in my backyard. We had to move. We shifted. And not reluctantly, at all. We just knew it was time. So together, we shifted with the way life was leading us.

Even as things shift and change in your life, find yourself safe space. As life shifts and challenges, you and atrocities happen all around. Remember also what “centers” you. Remember to ” give thanks” even when it’s hard to. Keep a heart of gratitude.

We need to have a certain level of adaptability to life, when things shift. We cannot choose numbness, or indifference, or ” anger” as our way of dealing; because it may cause self- sabotage, or systemic sabotage, or even resentments and hate. We have to tap into where love is. We cannot freeze up. We must feel.

Pray. Cry. Deal with and talk about how you feel about women’s rights, death, loss, grief, murder. Don’t distance yourself, don’t ‘veg out’ on TV.

Feel. Believe. Trust.

Even if believing is a challenge.

Choose to feel. Allow yourself to breathe. Because when challenges sometimes happen , the first thing we do is hold our breaths.

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I AM ENOUGH BECAUSE I AM AWARE.

2D278918544E4C25A95045BF2C4CD158-1.jpgI decided to write a new series. I was in a ¬†Celebrate Recovery group and¬† talking about feeling “helpless”. It was a process for me to discuss in group, because as soon as I¬† spoke about why I tend to feel worried and¬† procrastinate on some things, I realized that¬† This vulnerable space I often feel between¬† not worrying and trusting God¬† causes me to¬† feel way too vulnerable.

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I Am Enough Because I Am Aware. 

Aware of what? Yogu may ask.
I am aware of my surroundings, the people I love and even the people I am not all that crazy about. I am aware of where I am going, and often where I am I am aware of the mistakes I have made, and the ones that  I almost made. I am  aware.
Awareness is about being tuned in. Choosing to  listen, tune in and observe. I hear what my soul is saying: My mind will and emotions, and I am  listening to what is right for me.
  1. ¬†What is right, or isn’t right… in my relationships?
  2. ¬†What is right,¬†or isn’t right¬†for me in regard to my emotions?
  3. ¬†What is right or isn’t right, for me ¬†in terms of how¬†I¬†operate in this world?
  4.  Who am I influencing and am I a RESOURCE  to someone else?
  5. 5. Am I really taking a God-honest look and reflection of how I present myself in this world?
Am I responsive to others in my circle?
Do I have a protective circle of adults, friends and  teachers/mentors who  reach out to me, assist me in decision-making and share their lives with me on some level?
Who are these people who help me to stay aware?
* ( You fill them in: ) 
  1. My Mentors:
  2. My Family Members:
  3. My Friends:
  4. My (Adult) Teachers:
  5. My (Adult)Leaders: (both in my life and in the media or books.)
Please note the names and reasons why these persons are significant in your life, today. How do they aid in helping your progress, grow and  become your best self?
Then ask yourself:
How often do you connect with them?
 
As a  young woman who is tuned in and AWARE :
I realize I must be productive, mature, positive, acquainted and alert .
 
I am productive.
I tell you , this one took a while. ¬†I ¬†used to find it hard to stay¬†productive. always learning, absorbing, seeking knowledge… Something was always in the way of my growth and progress for a while. Then ¬†I had to take ownership and make personal goals about where I wanted to end up. ¬†I actually take the time to read daily the blogs of persons that¬†inspire¬†my passions of photography, and of ¬†writing, and self-awareness . ¬†It has¬†definitely¬†made me more¬†creative. Yes,I study my craft. The things I am in good in. ¬†Communicating, ¬†Perceiving, Writing, and Observing. (And those are just a few.) ¬†I wasn’t even aware I was really doing this, until I had a really major epiphany /downfall ¬†in about 1997. It was more emotional ¬†and¬†spiritual¬†than it was mental. Well, I take that back, it was actually very mental.
I ¬†was ¬†in really made aware and I realized how unimportant TV is, to making me a¬†whole¬†person. I thought: ‚ÄúI am a person who is well-loved, ¬†complete, and ¬†considerate of others’ and their personal growth. And i want to give that back to others. How can I do it? ¬†Because when I was struggling, ¬†and my life had fallen apart, I wanted to help others pick backup the pieces. And so I committed myself greatly to that goal.
 
I am mature.
I don’t waste time ¬†on issues that are petty and ¬†issues that don’t matter. I spend time alert to how I can grow to be a better person and thrive in the skin I am in. I ¬†work my strengths. I¬†challenge¬†myself to take on new projects or learn new ¬†skills that help perfect my ¬†work, my calling and my purpose.
 
I  am positive.  I am  one who tends to notice people, point out what is of interest to me, and I compliment what I see. If I see value in them, I note it. I am embrace what they give me, as well.  When negative energy surrounds me, I choose to remove myself from it, because I am clear it will not help me to continue to grow and evolve, and RISE. I know myself. I am willing to share myself with others, as they treat me with the respect I deserve, and I am familiar with people  who have like-passion and purpose.
 
I am acquainted Рwith myself and others.
Why is it important to¬†¬†be familiar ¬†with persons of similar passions, they enhance and direct me ¬†closer to my goals and my purpose in life?¬†Because¬†it’s¬†energizing! Synergetic! I have so much fun being connected to people who ¬†actually love some of the things I love! And we join together for a common purpose, and common goals! It feel absolutely¬†synergistic! Some of the most influential moments in my life have been in the¬†presence¬†of leaders ¬†and deep thinkers who ¬† move me of out complacency and encourage me to be a better person and become more¬†self-actualized.
 
I am alert.¬†I am careful about my relationships and I am careful about who I surround myself with as resource. Relationships can be the most ¬†helpful or the most¬†hurtful¬†aspects of your life that ¬†either help you ¬†to soar, or cause you to become quite defeated. I¬†have¬†learned from enough hurtful relationships, that it’s not worth my time, nor my energy.¬†
Bottom line:
¬†Why invest ¬†and waste time in something that¬†doesn’t¬†help me to be better? I have become so much better as a person because of people who were attentive, involved and noticed my strengths and help me build them.¬†Those¬†who helped me to become, and¬†¬† and¬†invested¬†in me.
 
I am appreciative. ¬†I am aware of when I need to be grateful and practice gracious living. I used to always pray for humility. I believe I used to know that being the babe in the family made me less aware and less conscious of the need to be aware,¬†because¬†everyone took care of me and things for me.¬†I know , that I was a very ¬†hard time in my life, right? (I’m being sarcastic).¬†I was really blessed to have¬†people¬†care for me in ways completely undeserved, but I also know that I have to begin to get over myself. Being so important at a young age, made me take things also for granted, and I needed to grow up. So I had to ¬†learn¬†to be grateful, and ¬†it took a while to learn that. I ¬†began to use prayer as a¬†vehicle¬†to¬†help me.
When¬†I¬†am¬†UNAWARE, here‚Äôs what happens: I¬†neglect myself. I ¬†tend to do things that dont help me to grow, nor thrive I tend to not care about anyone, even myself. When I am neglectful, I am ¬†talking too much, and not listening enough. I am full of myself , when I am ¬†neglectful. More ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ than needs to be.‚ėļÔłŹ I ¬†tend to not ¬†be very thankful either, when I am¬†full of ¬†myself.
 
Have you ever been more concerned about yourself than what‚Äôs really important ?¬† It’s not just being conceited, either, I tell you… it’s being like a glutton. ¬†Consuming and wanting¬†something¬†so bad you’d do anything to get it. Quite honestly, that may involve being out of control. Immoderate. ¬†I don’t like that feeling of being out of control. It makes you feel small, and¬†insignificant. It makes you feel like you are not very important and… I don’t think we are well-liked ¬†when we lack self-control. With every ¬†act of ¬†pride, a lack of self-control follows.
What self neglect can look like for me:
 
when I am UNAWARE, I don’t take CARE OF ME.
– Not eating healthy –¬†(eating too much junk food)
– Not resting well –¬†(staying up all hours of the night)
РNot spending time with people who appreciate me, or my time. (being with inconsiderate persons)

When I am UNAWARE, I am Negative. 

endurance.

endureSo my word for the year 2015, was ENDURE. What an experience. (Let me tell you, if you ever intentionally ¬†intend to pick a word to focus on for the rest of the year, ¬†don’t choose a hard one.)

I am finding out that endure means to be triumphant. So awesome. Why ? Because there is a place inside of me¬†that requires less effort, as I endure. That says you will be triumphant, because of “Who God is in you.”

Loving the feel of this word once I get my shoes in it. I think I’m gonna wear them a while. They make me stand a little taller.

I have SO much to be grateful for. And so much more to be triumphant for in 2015 – it’s time I believe ¬†– to be one who endures in that triumphant space in my life, ¬†continually . And to be prosperous in God’s strength.

To endure.

If I were to be honest with myself, there were times where I didn’t give my life it’s all. Not in my choices, but my mental endurance. My belief in myself. Places I haven’t endured. Because I didn’t think I had it in me.

But I may have been trusting a bit too much in myself.

Lesson Learned: ¬† Make sure you ¬†place God first in all things. Never try to do things just because it’s something someone else would enjoy Always go to God first and ask Him HIS plan, because it saves you ¬†from heartache, and the tendency to try to please man first.

So… it’s time to surrender more in this life, to His life. The God kind of Life. Him as Yahweh. Yahweh who makes all things right, because He is Lord over Everything. ¬†Yahweh means “I AM”.

God illumines my darkness. God is ever-present. God loves me and is always near. This is Yahweh.

Moses had a revelation of himself, when he looked into the reflection of God’s mirror. His stature increased His size and His authority. When He faced His God His significance ¬†changed. As does with us all. ¬†We change: our nature, our authority, our countenance, our spiritual nature –¬†once¬†we have a face-to face encounter with the Lord.

I love that God¬†¬†goes deep inside of me where the recesses of ¬†‘Jennifer’¬†is¬†broken… not all together, a little shattered and imperfect; and ¬†I love the fact He makes me right.¬†My crooked places straight. Amen.

Ps 18:30¬†“As for my God, his way is undefiled: the words of the Lord are fire tried: He is the protector of all that trust in him. “ (DRB)