In the midst of chaos, real love emerges. True love.
With very life circumstance comes opportunity for growth. One question is, "What is the take-away?" Another, to get started, is, "What would I have done differently, before this had I known this was awaiting?
Hindsight. Yes. Hindsight should be 20-20. Learning something about the choices we make could play a huge role in whether we move forward.
If you could live yesterday all over again, would you want to be the person you are today? Would you choose the same friends? The same leaders in your community? The same government representatives at the polls? Would you do something to make life better for others? Would you laugh more? Would you share more? Would you have more compassion? Would you love more?
Make the change that moves you forward. What moves you forward moves us all forward. What moves us all forward moves each of us forward.
What, if anything, would you do differently? Do you know? Now is the time to ask yourself and to actually do it.
One hint: Making someone else's life better will make your life better.
Let us move forward in real love. Love is what moves us forward.
This month’s message will be short and sweet.
There are things going on in our world today that could rattle us. In actuality, some of us are rattled. Some of us, not so much. What is the difference? What could help the rattled?
Love. Faith. Trust.
When life challenges us, the answer is always to come together. When we refuse to connect as we should, when we should, life finds a way to force us together. The more we dismiss the message, the stronger the message.
NOW IS THE TIME TO LOVE EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY.
Love, faith and trust in Divinely Ordered Love will lead to a less rattled life.
I hope your February 14 was special. However you might have spent it, I hope you remembered to love yourself first, know that you are, in fact, love in action and just enjoy the moments the day brought.
My day was amazing but I try to make each day special because, well, it is. Each day is a gift to receive and a gift to share. I don’t usually take the day off but I felt quite deserving of some special self-care so I gave myself the gift of some time off work and leisurely doing whatever floated my boat.
I spent some of the early part of the day with my mother as mother-daughter time and it was so much fun. It was heartwarming.
When I was a child, my family exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts and the tradition is still strong. In spite of the fact that we treat one another as though each day is Valentine’s Day, we still participate in the holiday ritual. During these adult years, extending this love and thoughtfulness goes far beyond family. Strangers become somewhat an extension of family. Everywhere I went on February 14, I exchanged Valentine wishes with others whose paths I crossed. This kind of warmth and kindness reminded me a little of the Christmas season. During the Christmas season, people tend to be a little kinder, more thoughtful and more giving.
Initially, I thought I might write this month about why we are more inclined to respond to an arbitrary calendar date than to simply live in the ultimate state of humanity – each and every day – just because that is what we should do. Instead, I decided to share photos I hope will touch a place deep inside you. It is my hope that you will be moved and inspired to think and then feel a sense of urgency to act in love.
After all, Valentine Day really is an everyday kind of day ... and all this on top of Black History Month.
I find it a beautiful serendipitous occasion to have Black History Month and Valentine Day share a month. After all, this is certainly a month for love, loving all and loving the richness of this country that would not exist but for the contributions of Black folk in all areas of life. Black Americans inventions, groundbreaking discoveries and other influences we experience on a daily basis are far too extensive to begin to name.
Please, enjoy some photos, again, to inspire you. Be moved to be grateful for the progressive and vibrant world our brothers and sisters of color gave, and continue to give, us. Certainly, these gifts to our better life experiences are worthy of daily remembrance, acknowledgement and celebration.
Happy Black History Month!
As we are quickly approaching the end of January 2020, I suppose many of you are deep into your new year’s resolutions. Wherever you are on your progress, congratulations for your efforts.
I take a different approach to pursuing self-improvement. Each day is a new beginning for possibilities and I resolve each and every day to get a little better than the day before. I suppose the new year’s celebration is more of a country perspective but I prefer to take a personal and individual perspective. If I want to designate an annual review of where I am and revamp my journey, frankly, I would select my birthday. My birthday is when my year begins.
No way would I tell another person when to make resolutions. This is a personal decision, of course. What is most important is the desire to change for the better. When change begins, really, is not as important as just doing it. Or, at least, trying. And when we do set these life-changing goals, we should be clear and deliberate about making real change. Kudos to all who even see room for improvement and make a good-faith effort to go for it.
Whenever I set out to do anything, I seek guidance first. I go within and search deep for that need and desire that align with my highest self. Anything less will eventually derail.
I want to share with you an entry from this month’s Daily Word magazine. January 3, 2020’s message reflects my intent as I seek to make decisions that create my best life. The article is entitled, “Intention,” and it reads,
“My Intentions Set The Course For An Amazing Life.
As I step more fully into this new year, I am reminded that my intentions
create a powerful blueprint for my life. With a clear mind and open heart,
I move forward boldly and with zeal into this new beginning, eager to
connect with friends and family, reach my personal goals, and serve others.
Anytime I feel unclear about a situation that arises, I pause and ask myself,
What am I trying to express more fully in my life at this time? As I turn
within, I draw upon the divine ideas that re my life’s foundation. As I shift
patterns of thought and set powerful intentions, divine ideas help me create
a powerful new map for my life. The wisdom of God guides me, and my
positive future draws me forward into an amazing life!”
Daily Word, A Unity Publication
Friday, January 3, 2020
I tend to go deeper into my self-improvement pool than areas like getting more exercise. I might look for old habits to break or work to develop more patience or modify a personality trait. Honestly, my goals usually go much deeper than any of these.
I offer this suggestion of looking for deeper areas for growth because the rewards are so much greater.
Each Daily Word, of course, closes with a relevant scripture and I have to share this too. On January 3, 2020, this very special message ended with this reminder, “You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.” – Job 22:28
I absolutely love this time of year! This is such a magical time of year. The holiday season, regardless of the religious faith or type of celebration, is so much more full of love, kindness, thoughtfulness and giving. There is more caring. I am so puzzled why this growth of love is not felt and shared year-round but we will, perhaps, ponder that another time. Full disclosure: I grew up in a family that makes each day magical so Christmas and other holiday celebrations are just amped up versions of any other day for me. And this is a wonderful thing.
I have already received, what I believe is my best Christmas present, this year. And it arose out of the most unimagined way. Nine years ago, I, reluctantly, took on the role of power of attorney for a relative. At the time, there was nothing going on that required me to act on any power of attorney duties. Yet, I knew if and when something prompted me to act, I would not want to. I even remember, a few years after consenting to acting as attorney-in-fact, telling the relative who made the request that I decided not to step into those shoes after all. There was no push back. I left things there. I did nothing to legally memorialize my changed decision. I left it lingering and I knew what I was doing because, emotionally, I felt pulled in both directions. I wanted to help but I did not want the job and it, truly, is a job. I cannot begin to count the times I have counseled clients on all they need to consider when taking on the job of being or selecting an executor for a last will and testament and an attorney-in-fact for a power of attorney. And no one knows the day and moment duty will call.
Well, duty called for me. Wow, did it call! Several months ago, I found myself looking for important papers, learning liabilities and other obligations and making healthcare decisions for someone whose matters were totally foreign to me. During a few of those months, I had moments when I was frustrated and many, many moments when I threatened to withdraw from my commitment. The person entrusted to me could not fully communicate with me for weeks. Somehow, I did not bail out. It was not that I decided not to bail. I think it was more that, each day, I found myself pulled in by wanting to make things better in that moment.
Acting in the present moment seemed to lead me to doing what I was called to do in that moment. All those present moments carried me along a natural path to this moment. They brought me to joy. I became a part of someone else’s journey that was full of marvel. Frankly, it has been a journey of miracles and I have been blessed to be a part of it. The person in my care not only fully communicates but also so proficiently participates in her life that I am thankful I never walked away from the challenge. She is not merely surviving. She is thriving.
The early Christmas present I referred to earlier is the front row seat I have had to another person’s evolving. She has come through her experience better than before. I am thankful for what I have witnessed and experienced but I cannot take any credit for anything at all. I really cannot.
See, she thinks I have done a great deal to help her but the truth is she and I have been led through this journey. Riding on faith, I was led moment-to-moment, moment-by-moment. As a result, I have simply been where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be and I was inspired to do whatever was needed of me, along the way. Additionally, whoever and whatever I needed always showed up, just in time, to help me pull off any task before me.
Seeing others grow, thrive and rise to their higher selves is a gift to them. When I am so fortunate to be a part of that kind of flourishing, doing so is also a gift to me. With this, to all who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and to all who celebrate other faiths and beliefs, I wish you a very Happy Holidays!
One of the greatest gifts in life is being blessed by another person’s blessing. What better paradigm of Christmas!
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
In the Beginning...
Years ago, as a young teen, I began reading something so out of the ordinary for teenagers. I read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s The Erroneous Zones. Actually, I have come to realize this is not typical reading for adults either. It is more popular today than it was, well..., 40 years ago.
That began an amazing journey of awakening. The principles of awakening and consciousness are, as far as I’m concerned, simple yet hard to explain to others and even harder to practice when the concept is so foreign to you.
There have been a host of spiritual teachers who have shown up, at just the right time, to teach me the lesson I needed at that time. There is no way I could write about my awakening without mentioning and crediting Eckhart Tolle. I, honestly, would have to write a book to attempt to describe the effect Eckhart has had on my life. But for those who get it (and those who don’t), one word sums it up. Everything! Thank you Eckhart Tolle!
Fast Forward to Today...
Today, I absorb, perceive and participate in life in such a special way. I am an integral part of life in expression. Frankly, this is not even a snippet of what it means to be awakened but this teaching really does require a course of sort.
There is something more, however, that goes hand in hand with being awakened. And this is concept is no stranger to you. Everyone says, “Thank you” under various circumstances. We all express gratitude in life. We generally all say, “Thank you,” when we receive something or something goes our way or someone says something to our liking. But there is a deeper “gratitude practice” that changes lives in dramatic ways.
Finding things to be grateful for helps us to always be reminded that there are, indeed, things to always be grateful for. No matter what is going on in our lives, there is something or someone that to be so thankful for. The gratitude should pull at our emotions so much that we cannot help feeling and expressing the gratitude for whatever evokes this emotion from us.
Now, some people have a hard time finding things to be grateful for but the funny thing is when we make an effort to be grateful for all that we have, being grateful always comes naturally.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many gather with family and friends and even reach out to the less fortunate to make their day a little brighter. These celebrations and practices often reflect the gratitude we have for our own lives. This is great. It really is. But there is still so much more to the life of gratitude we could all experience – year-round. Why not!?
Our reasons for being so thankful that we hold feasts and feed strangers exist every day of the year. We have loved ones, health, our faculties and shelter, to list a few. Some might feel they are less fortunate in some areas than others but we all so much more than we typically or frequently acknowledge and celebrate with actions or words. We have breath. We have the promise of hope.
Waking up and immediately expressing gratitude for as many things as time will allow, before moving into your day, will pave the way for a more fulfilling day. The expressions of gratitude act as seeds for more things to be grateful for. The more we celebrate what we have, the more we are given to celebrate. Even when we encounter sadness, heartbreak and loss, something for which to be thankful is still either embedded in or born out the experience. Practice being thankful in all things and the magic will happen.
This whole thought and life of being thankful in all things are nothing new. They are biblical. They are also the essence of The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. I am a fan of Rhonda Byrne projects. I own The Secretbook and DVD and The Power. Now, I am reading The Magicand following its 28 days of gratitude practice. As familiar as I am with Byrne’s work, I am still amazed and moved by the impact this book is having on me. And I am only three days into the 28 days! I cannot imagine what I will feel and how my life will change by day 28 or beyond but I am excited about the journey.
I would encourage you to practice writing out things for which you are grateful. They do not necessarily have to be material things but can be. Whether you are grateful for certain people, your vehicle that gets you from here to there, a state of health or other physical, mental or emotional condition, give thanks. Practice finding several reasons for being thankful and do this each day. Truly feel grateful as you write the reasons for your gratitude because it is the power of feeling that connects to your soul and incites further action in you and your life. In time, you will see your disposition heightened and what brings you joy will increase. Your life will change.
One of the greatest gifts from expressing gratitude regularly, each day, for all we have is what it gives us in return. I find giving continual thanks is freeing and empowering. Freeing because recognizing, acknowledging and celebrating that which is good act as a Light that extinguishes that which is dark and binding. Empowering because no longer being bound, we are strengthened to pursue and act upon that which is good, better and best.
Whatever makes us thankful is, itself, a gift and the thanks we give for it begets more things to make us thankful. The gift is a gift that keeps on giving unto us.
I could never list all those for whom or all that for which my heart and soul sings with gratitude day and night. I must not close this message without expressing my deep gratitude for my mother and my brother, family and loved ones who have come and gone in body but left spirit behind, and a few very special friends who are like family.
By the way, I am Carol and, while I have not met you, I am grateful for you too.
Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
Most of us have been experiencing some interesting weather lately. To say the least. The Southeast sweated through 100-degree temperatures only days ago while snowstorms hit some of us in the Midwestern states and others in the Northeast.
What do we do? What can we do? There are a number of global warming and other scientific issues hovering. But those issues are up for deep conversation – or conversations, rather - for another time. I mean what else can we do during extreme weather conditions?
Yesterday, I spent a very, very cold, rainy and windy day outside at the Farmers Market. Oh! My! Gosh! I thought I was sufficiently dressed for what I thought was ahead. But I was not prepared for the shivering I did. Yes. I shivered even in my knee boots and layered clothing.
Naturally, on a day like yesterday, we do what we can to stay warm in the frigid cold. We brace ourselves to stay safe in the midst of storms. But there is a different kind of warmth that I experienced on yesterday that acts as a reminder of the kind of warming that makes all the difference in all testing conditions – weather-related or otherwise.
The people I encountered in the icy cold, winds and rain were experiencing the same challenges I was. We had ice-breakers (No pun intended.) to make us close, in some cases, and closer, in other cases. Either way, what we were doing was beginning with common interests. That was the door opener and what was found on the other side of that door was soulful!
What I found, in the midst of what could have been a deal-breaker, was an uplifting with my fellow sisters and brothers that warmed my heart, my spirit and my body. We bonded. And nothing could be more warming than that!
Blueprint for Inclement weather, freezing weather, sunny weather ... any weather:
Extend a hand. Connect to someone. You will surely reap an experience that makes you forget what troubles you and help you discover what blesses you.
Famers Market at Fairview Market is one of my favorite events ever! On this day, put up a table and hung out with batches of my gluten free muffins made with organic ingredients. I whipped my carrot spiced and banana walnut muffins for this occasion. I provided samples for those who wanted to taste first. Customers loved these healthy and deliciously moist treats. In fact, "moist" is what I hear more often than anything else. Others commented that they could not tell my muffins were gluten free. Exactly! That's the idea! Just plain goodness that is really good for you! Furthermore, what can be better than a happy customer? When my customers are thrilled, I am thrilled.
At the farmers market, my muffins were not the only great food presented at Farmview Market. Farmview sold their amazingly fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. I bought a typical stock of their really wholesome foods. It is really hard to pick a favorite but if I had to, I would have to say their sweet potatoes are at the top of my list.
Prior to eating a sweet potato grown by Farmview, I really did not care for sweet potatoes. I rarely ate them. Having dinner at my mother's one Sunday, I ate a sweet potato she'd baked and fell in love. I have purchased and eaten them regularly ever since! I could be their poster child for their sweet potatoes. :-)
A farmers market is not complete without crafts, art, jewelry, soap and a host of other homegrown or specially, locally created or crafted items. I am truly grateful to be a part of such an amazing circle of inspired, gifted and talented people. Actually, from the moment I made contact with Brad Kelly of Farmview Market when I was interested in becoming a vendor at Farmview Market Farmers Market, it just felt like home.
The icing on this close of the farmers market season for 2019 was entertainment provided by Ron Dometrovich. OMG! He played a diverse selection of music and it was incredible. If you ever get the chance to hear him, do yourself a favor and do.
The weather was slightly overcast but the rain stayed at bay while giving us a cool, light breeze throughout the day.
As I greeted lovely, warm people, shared my passion for the foods I share, fellowshipped with fellow vendors and allowed Ron Dometrovich's music to feed my soul, I realized I was living in my bliss. I was doing what I love doing and I was loving doing it!
Do not take another day for granted to enjoy your journey. If you are not sure what your journey is, all you need to do is follow your essence. Your essence will lead you, always, to being you and when you follow, you will experience unspeakable joy as you find yourself living in your bliss.
Don't wait for a special occasion to live in your bliss. If you are breathing, that is an occasion that is special all in itself!
For a while, we have seen a flux of illness, disease and death showing up in the world. Naturally, the story typically covers treatment, the origin of contamination or the number of lives lost. Then, there are shootings. Mass shootings are becoming more prevalent. The theories for all these disasters are just as convoluted as are the seriousness of the tragedies.
And let’s not forget the flood of pharmaceutical commercials, only to be followed by loads of legal announcements in the event “you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death” as a result of some medication or malpractice. There are various stages and levels of health and wellbeing issues killing us one way or another. There is a reason for this but I am not hearing anyone in mainstream public arenas getting to the heart of it all.
When someone goes to the doctor for an open wound, most of the time, one of the first questions asked is, “What happened?” This indicates the need to get to the cause. There is an underlying issue that must be identified if treatment is to be effective. The same question should be plaguing all of us with the widespread manifestation of illness, death and violence that have become the norm in our society. Though extremely serious, all these occurrences are not the problem. They are symptoms of the problem. So, what is the problem?
Toxicity and inflammation are the root cause of most health issues. Our populations are toxic with hatred, frustration, hunger and despair. These emotional ills only breed mental and physical ills. These ills, then, manifest into illness, disease and death. “Acting out” by many results in shootings, mass shootings. This acting out is hatred that has been inflamed and fueled by more hatred.
What am I saying? I am saying we, as a country, talk about and take a look at bits and pieces of what shows up in our world but we do a poor job connecting the dots. We cannot expect good things to come of evil doings. A foundation of evil doings or evil intent will not – cannot – build anything good. It is that simple. So, whether looking at individual lives or the nation as a whole, there are underlying issues of grave ill at work. Until the ills are truthfully identified and removed, treatment and healing cannot take place.
Ask yourself, why so much illness? Do yourself a favor and be honest. Please do not stop with superficial answers. Explore with deep, honest responses. After all, superficial responses and apathy only keeps us ill and dying. Take a hard look at the chemicals people have been consuming in alarmingly increased quantities in the place of good ol’ real food. The fact that the government can get away with essentially making people ill and causing death with its “approved” chemicals in place of food, alone, is mind-boggling. Then, to deny adequate healthcare to millions and no healthcare at all to millions more, too, are unbelievable.
These are just some of the tough questions and types of answers and connecting dots I implore you to do. Do this with everything because, indeed, there are deeper answers for all the urgent problems we face today.
There are deeper reasons for mass shootings than most are talking about. A few brave and commendable folk spend a few minutes or, maybe, a couple days analyzing what lies beneath. Anyway, keep asking and keep answering and keep connecting. Then, when you do – when you connect – do something!
Your “something” might be the conversations you start having with those in your circle. How or where you spend your money might change to support or fund those who support what is right. You might be a beacon for someone else to make personal changes in their daily lives. As simple as it sounds, it is just as powerful to make real change with a vote.
There are no little elections. Each election is an opportunity to tell someone “we do not like what you stand for or what you say and do.” Each election is an opportunity to get people to do right by us. Each election is an opportunity to let folk know we are not for sale and our wellbeing is not for sale and our children’s future wellbeing is not for sale. Tell them and show them you mean business.
There is no greater force than love. If you live your life with this truth as your fuel, I assure you, you will begin recognizing a need for true healing and when you do, the ball will be in your court to.
I don’t know of anyone who does not realize the importance of family. There is immediate family and extended family. Most people define family by blood relationships. We go so far as to recognize the families we marry into. Granted. These are all family relationships. What, however, about the extended family that has nothing to do with blood or marriage?
You might not believe this but I see the world’s population as my family – both immediate and extended. Immediate, in the sense that I see us all as brothers and sisters. Extended, in the sense that most relationships have the feel of an extended nature.
Recently, I had a beautiful reminder of just how blessed I am to have sisters and brothers wherever they might be. Because I step into the world, open to relating to others, I have developed some truly beautiful, lifetime relationships on my journey. In fact, these people help make the journey a treasured experience. Clearly, not all people are receptive to being kind or even humane but that’s okay. Frankly, that’s their loss. Those are the extended family members. I, of course, still love them.
Back to my reminder...
Years ago, in another life, I made an acquaintance who became a friend who I came to consider immediate family. Family, so much so that she was declared my first rescue’s Godmother. Yes, my first rescue, Nefertiti, a mixed beagle, was my child and she had a Godmother. Anyway,...
Nef’s Godmother and I allowed our life journey to take us on paths where we would make occasional contact, see each other once in a while and talk just a bit before we would lose contact altogether. Twenty years since last seeing my “sister-from-another-mother,” a friend called to tell me he had run into my sister. She asked if he was still in contact with me. Ecstatic to learn she had a connection once again, my sister gave her number to my friend. He called me to give me the news. He had run into one of my favorite people in the whole wide world and she was anxious to reconnect with me. And reconnect we did!
Just a few days ago, I called Nef’s Godmother and we talked, laughed and caught up like two high school girls! We picked up where we left off 20 years ago and planned to make plans for short-term get-togethers and long-term get-togethers.
At first blush, it seemed as though we closed the 20-year gap but with a look from a higher consciousness, there never really was a gap. The only perception of gap was in the form of time but time, itself, is an illusion. At least, the Universe does not perceive time as humans do. Thank God for that!
One caveat. Do not get cocky and think you have forever. While time is not what it seems to the naked eye. No one knows when you will – or if you will – be given future opportunities to connect or reconnect with others.
Take no one and no thing for granted. Receive, appreciate and love all family, immediate and otherwise, today. Do this each day.
I am so very grateful for all family. I realize I am abundantly blessed to have special relationships that withstand that all-so illusory (test of time) time.
My sister from another mother and I had a reunion of a lifetime by phone that ended in a heartfelt, “I love you.”
Do yourself the biggest favor ever. Do away with those restrictive definitions and ideas of what family is. All that really matters is that we are open to love. We when open ourselves up to receiving love, the most amazing people walk into our lives and we experience unspeakable joy.
Open up and just be open. When you do, you will certainly discover your family outside the box.
I can only imagine how amazing my in-person reunion will be with my sister Kay!
Carol's life journey has always been one of service. There have been a number of avenues but the mission is the same. Particularly, with respect to the disadvantaged populations, Carol works to engage, inspire and enhance.