Tag Archives: reflection

Transformations: Monday Motivation – Ten Things to Remember and Avoid This Week

A good friend sent this to me about a year ago in an email and I thought it would be a good idea to frame a post around it. As we all start our week, it would be a great way to reinforce good habits  that have gotten us to where we are now, but also shine a microscope on things we may need to improve on.  Life for most of us has become ever so stressful and for some of us maybe even difficult, but if we can focus on these ten do’s and dont’s it may help change at least the way we feel about ourselves and improve our relationships with others.

Ten Things To Remember:

1. Do kind things for others without expecting a reward
2. Always improve yourself
3. Take responsibility for your own shortcomings
4. Complement yourself when things go well
5. Nurture friendships and relationships
6. Be aware and pay attention
7. Meet new people and try new things
9. Slow Down
8. Look up
10. Believe that good things can happen to you.

Ten Things To Avoid:

1. Don’t hide behind emotional walls
2. Don’t judge others
3. Avoid self-pity
4. Never forget that there will always be greater and lesser gifted people than yourself
5. Never let fear stand in your way
6. Never let your inner voice put you down
7. Avoid negative people
8. Try not to be suspicious of others without good reason
9. Don’t put yourself down in front of others
10. Don’t be a tool.

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Transformations: The Family That “Preys”

Madea’s Big Happy Family comes out this weekend and there has been a “feud” brewing that has spilled out into the media between Director Spike Lee and director Tyler Perry . Now, I’ll do my best to recap: In 2009 in an interview Mr. Lee, while acknowledging the success of Mr. Perry’s films thought that it solidified or promoted negative stereotypes of blacks in America.

“Each artist should be allowed to pursue their artistic endeavors, but I still think there is a lot of stuff out today that is coonery and buffoonery,” he said in ’09. “I know it’s making a lot of money and breaking records, but we can do better. … I am a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows (Tyler Perry’s ‘Meet the Browns’ and ‘House of Payne’), and I am scratching my head. We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?”Spike Lee

“This is where the whole Spike Lee [thing] comes from — the negativity, this is Stepin Fetchit, this is coonery, this is buffoonery, and they try to get people to get on this bandwagon with them, to get this mob mentality to come against what I’m doing. I’ve never seen Jewish people attackSeinfeld and say ‘this is a stereotype,’ I’ve never seen Italian people attack The Sopranos, I’ve never seen Jewish people complaining about Mrs. Doubtfire or Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie. I never saw it. It’s always black people, and this is something that I cannot undo. Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a new version of the darkie because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone.”Tyler Perry

Let that marinate for a bit. Now, see if you can take the racial context out. Done? Ok. What is this really about? Two people with the same goal. To inform, entertain and most of all inspire us with a dialogue surrounding the struggles of ordinary people who overcome situations in their lives and come out on the other side empowered and transformed. Same goal but through different means. One through serious, rigorous debate and the other through feel good laughter. Which one is right? Does one have to be wrong?

I think there is a lesson in this. Many times we meet people who have the same desire as we do, the same passions as we do and possibly the same goals that we have. We find similarities and possible kinship in them because we sense that they share the same aspirations. We go our own way, learning, achieving, reaching higher until our goal(s) are accomplished. But we mustn’t criticize or look down on those who go a different route, forge a different path, traveling in a way that may seem strange or different to us. I’m learning this lesson. It’s all part of the “transformational” process. It’s all in an effort to be balance in my thinking. My goal is to be the best version of myself that I can be. There are those who are on the same road that I’m on, only they chose their own direction. They navigate themselves differently. Instead of “preying” on the differences and criticizing the person, I’m going to pray that we all reach our goal of self-improvement and encourage, empower and assist each other. Maybe sometime soon Spike and Tyler can hopefully display the unity that’s so badly needed.

Dedicated to all the men out there that are who are working hard out there battling the negative  stereotypes in their own special way.

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Monday Motivations: Vertical Thinking

The world we live in is constantly changing, headline news keep us up to date with the late breaking stories in pop culture, political uprisings, natural disasters, the unbelievable and horrific suffering of innocents at the hands of  the powerful and selfish, a hailstorm of sound-bites and information for us to form an opinion on. Here’s the rub: with all of this audio-visual stimulation we receive at such blinding speed, what or who are we to believe in? what do we take in and what are we to filter out? Which way do you go, Left or Right? Which station do I listen to, what frequency is best?

On my journey of transformation I’m learning more and more that it is easy to let the noise and chatter of the outside interfere with the internal filter of the mind & more importantly the heart. How do you elevate above it all so that you can keep clarity of purpose and more importantly, eyes of discernment? I believe the key in doing this is to rise above our own “horizontal thoughts.” What do I mean? Basically this means moving from intentions and motivations that keep us thinking basely in the mindset of just our physical and emotional wants: “closer to the dust and farther from the sky” to purposes and actions that keep us living and “Thinking Vertically.”

Vertical Thinking is really spiritual thinking. It is the ability to see a thing through the lens and focus of spirituality. In our daily inter actions with people it’s easy to look with our horizontal vision and compare ourselves to others, let our ego dictate our decisions, or even blame others for our own biases. This, along with the tug-of-war between wants and needs, the base and moral has always brought into conflict our want for a better life vs. our need for internal peace. We all need to make a living, provide for family and cut out for ourselves a path for survival. The financial turmoil that grips this economy recently has caused many to have to reset, recalibrate and check goals, acquisitions and even life courses. Many of us are unemployed and trying to hold on, while others secretly still try to live outside and above our needs and means. Add to this is the unsteady global unrest, which moves us sympathetically and causes an unbelievable amount of stress on our peace of mind about our place in the world.

Vertical thinking allows us to pause and reflect on what your life focus may be and course correct if necessary. All of us has a level of spirituality, even if it based on some basic innate internal rules of civility. We all at some point wrestle with the big life questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? This is natural. Everyone has to get those answers at some point in their life whether at the beginning, middle or end of our life walk. As I look at the things taking place in the world I am reminded of the need to look at things through the lens of spirituality and remember that life is not about the accumulation of things, but the acquisition of experiences that lead us to decide your purpose or in my case, His purpose.

I believe we are children fumbling, crawling, reaching out to take steps we’re unsure of. I believe that while we look to our left and right we perpetuate the divisive issues that continue to break our “family” apart.  I believe that the suffering we inflict upon ourselves and others could be solved if we looked, examined and changed our heart’s motivation. I believe if we loved our neighbor as we love our families, as we loved ourselves the world would be a much more peaceful place. I believe that we make things too convoluted, too complicated for ourselves. I believe we need to give more and take less. I believe that looking up, being humble and realizing our inability to work beyond His parental guidance we find peace of mind. I believe Vertical Thinking prevents Horizontal Problems.

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Transformations: The One Within

“Only when the clamor of the world outside is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration. Listen carefully.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
I have truly appreciated the Servant Hearts posts. These meditations have moved me closer toward the servant I want to be. I imagine the thing that fascinates me is how continual this process is. A servant is always refining, gathering and filtering him/herself to the goal of personal and objective change. A servant leader is always aware of how his or her actions or inactions affect others around them. This has been one of the threads that continually runs through all earlier and, hopefully, future Servant Heartsposts.

This is where we can give pause for a moment …


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Vertical Thoughts: Only Breath by Rumi

“Only Breath” a visual Poem by Rumi. Read by Coleman Barks. It’s a powerful argument for unity and a reflection on our own spirituality.

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