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Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Before the beginning of last year, I set some goals for myself. Not only did I prayerfully consider the things on which I’d focus, once I committed to them, I printed them out, taped them to my refrigerator, confessed them to my friends and family, and then set them into practice.

Here they are….

1.        Breathe first, then speak.
2.       Stop manufacturing stress.
3.       Choose internal calm and joy, even in the midst of chaos.
4.      Be present in all things at all times. Focus.
5.       Do it afraid, if necessary, but do NOT let the fear paralyze you.
6.       Articulate, both figuratively and literally.
7.       Remember yesterday, in order to fully savor today.
8.       Publish weekly
9.       Make one affirmative step towards finding an agent every month.
10.    Run one 5k, one 8k and one 10k by year’s end.
11.      Give at least one sincere complement each day.
12.    Practice the sacrament of Rest. 

I can’t say that I’ve been entirely successful, but I have created some new habits.
1.     Breathe first.
This works because it allows me to pause, and then smile, and then think about how and whether to say what I’d planned. This pause has allowed me to avoid some unnecessary disagreements and allows me to rehearse the difficult things I feel I must say even after having a moment to think them through.

2.    Stop manufacturing stress.
The key here is to question my reaction to most things inclined to stress me out. Why am I responding with stress? Is it necessary? Is it warranted? Do I care? If I cannot reasonably answer those questions, I exhale and let it go.

3.    Choose internal calm and joy even in the midst of chaos.
I’m the boss of me, and that means I can decide not to trip about every little thing. It takes practice, but I’m finding that the benefits are not only for me but for everyone else around me.

4.    Be present in all things at all times. Focus.
This is my reminder to be engaged rather than distracted. Always.

5.    Do it afraid, if necessary, but do not let the fear paralyze you.
I finally figured this out. Fear is a thing, often, a necessary thing. Telling yourself NOT to be afraid is not practical. Reminding yourself not to let your fears paralyze you is wise, brave, and effective.

6.    Articulate, both literally and figuratively.
Articulation in my physicality, articulation in my speech.

7.    Remember yesterday, in order to fully savor today.
This is about making peace with and embracing my hard lessons. I do not want to forget them, for often, it is their bitterness that sweetens my joy. It also reminds me to appreciate and fully inhabit joy, making me mindful of what sorrow feels like…

8.     Publish weekly.
9.    Make one affirmative step towards finding an agent every month, and
10.  Run one 5k, one 8k, and one 10k by year’s end.
I haven’t been consistently writing, but I have been living consistently. When I do write, I have more to talk about. For all I have mastered, I could do better on 8 and 9. Regarding 10, I don’t know that I’ll achieve all these by year’s end. However, I have consistently restarted my running game and intend to continue. My plan is to attempt a half marathon next year. There, I’ve said it out loud.

11.   Practice the sacrament of Rest.
I’m getting better at recognizing tired before I crash, burn, and become a hazard, to myself or anyone in the vicinity.

So, before taking on something new, which happens tomorrow, I am reassessing. I have learned much. I don’t think I set unattainable goals, and I am satisfied with the things I have accomplished thus far. 

I am kinder to myself. I treat myself with greater consideration; I guess that means I’ve learned the hard lessons of this season making it time for something new. What’s happening tomorrow? A little something called 16 to 16. I am trusting God that this is where I am supposed to be because this is happening. A week or so before 16 to 16 came along, I composed a letter of apology….an Ode to my temple.

I’ve learned the hard lessons of this season
 making it time for something new.
You were my first and enduring gift. You are with me every moment. You have never failed me. Where I desire to go, you carry me. Upon rising, I sense your rhythms and we adjust, finding balance, grounding, coming into our beautiful natural pace; it happens without thought. You support me and I have neglected you. Without complaint, without resistance, you have accepted more than was necessary and this body is the result. While I love you as you are, we can and must do better.
There are no accidents. I believe lessons and obligations accompany everything that happens to us. I also believe that if we do not learn and share those lessons, we spend our lives repeating patterns and not being able to move on. I want to be better.

I haven’t felt good about myself. Life happened. Lately, I do not feel comfortable in my own body, and I need to do something about it. While nearly 45% of African American women over 20 have hypertension AND I have a family history, I managed not to have it.  More than 57% of African American women over the age of 20 are considered obese.  As a community, we do not treat ourselves well. I want to be better, not just for myself, but for my family, my friends, and as an example to anyone who might notice. We’re obligated to share what we learn in this life.

51 finds me NOT in the best shape of my life. I am concerned that if I don’t make changes soon, it will become increasingly difficult to get and stay fit…and the odds are against me.
I need to learn moderation, not deprivation. I’d like to eat the soul food I grew up with, even if modifying the recipes is how to keep them around. I want to be active, and I’m willing to bring my loved ones along, kicking and screaming if necessary. It matters. It’s important. We only get one life.

And so, beginning tomorrow, at 9:14 am Eastern, LIVE, my new chapter begins. Stay tuned….

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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