Friday, September 28, 2012

Music is What Feeling Sound Like...

“Music is the last true voice of the human spirit. It can go beyond language,
beyond age, and beyond color
straight to the mind and heart of all people”
~Ben Harper

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me text after listening (over and over) to “blown away” by Carrie Underwood. His message was, “I Think you should write a post about music and how therapeutic it is; how people use songs as anthems to navigate through their tough times…”
Ummm…. I thought it would be a nice subject. I promised I would, but didn’t really get the inspiration… In all actuality, I was having a hard time connecting with anything at all. It seems like much of my inspiration has been hiding from me lately, or maybe my mind is simply focused on other things; blocking any creativity. So I sat with my right hand man on this writing journey, my “editor” (wink) and he said, “Your best work comes out when you tap into your emotions; when you tap into the hard moments in your life…” He continued with, “Some of the best songs that I’ve ever written (in my life), were after my heart was broken, or after I’ve experienced serious pain. Pain does something to creativity that happiness does not; it literally makes your feelings bleed onto the paper…”
This was the 2nd person in a matter of a week telling me how music was and is important in their lives.
I dug deep when I wrote “My Lesson in Betrayal.” It came from a hard place, and while I was writing it, I remembered every moment of the pain. I was forced to think about the work it took to get through it and I remembered how for hours I could sit and listen to Mary J.Blidge, Heather Hadley, Sade and Adele… These ladies seem to know how to sing about pain. They are all well versed in the art of heat-ache and heart-break, and can somehow connect lyrics with the very blood vessels around someone’s heart, in a way no one else can. These were the (sad) songs that I felt were written from my story and to hear them validated all my feelings. When I was listening to upbeat songs, it was simply a sign of a better day. I can’t even recall how many times I’ve said (while hearing a song for the first time on the radio, listening to a CD or viewing it on the TV music channel), “Wow, this song is about me… It’s about my life… How does she/he know my story?” And then I understood what they both meant; how in most of our lives there is rarely a moment when music doesn’t walk side by side with our emotions. There’s seldom a moment where music is not our emotions, planted in lyrics and music.

"When you're happy, you enjoy the music. 
But when you're sad, you understand the lyrics."
 -Frank Ocean

Whenever I want to relive a past memory, I know what song I need to listen to. There will always be a particular song to make me go back in time and relieve the scenes… Music does that for me; it keeps my memories alive.
There is a melody that connects with your senses, there is a song just for you and there is music for every moment of our lives…
From Anita Baker, who back then I couldn’t understand all she was singing about but loved the sound, voice and melody…
Black sheep and Kwame tunes that would get me up on the dance floor as if an automatic button had been pushed…
From Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity” which automatically brings up the picture of “the hubby”…
Shai’s “If I ever fall in love” signifies the first time I went to Detroit to visit “the hubby” and meet his family…
My wedding will always be associated with Brian McKnight…
“You are my Sunshine” was the song used to serenade my little angels…
Beyoncé’s “Dangerously in Love” is for when I am overwhelmed by love…
Luther Vandross’ “Dance with my father”…cry so many tears for my mother… for my father…
Music is our best creation; it is our most honest creation in how it translates our sensitivity, our feelings, and our thoughts with no exclusions…freely.
If I’m feeling down and low, at my happiest, stressed, confident and optimistic, the soft humming in the air or the loud tones has the answers to all my moods… Music always answers all and helps you gets through your personal hurdles.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words
and cannot remain silent”
~Victor Hugo

So how about you? As music played any significance in your life? Are most of your memories bound to lyrics, tunes that keep them alive and unforgettable?

To the soundtrack of our lives...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No One is Ever Alone...

A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!
~Author Unknown

The Story of Old Warwick   

A man became lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch.  Though he wasn’t injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud.  Seeing a farmhouse just down the road, the man walked over to ask for help.  “Warwick can get you out of the ditch,” the farmer said, pointing to an old mule standing in a field.  The man looked at the haggard mule, and then looked back at the farmer, who just stood there nodding. “Yup, old Warwick can do the job.” The man figured he had nothing to lose, so the two men and Warwick made their way back to the ditch.  After the farmer hitched the old mule to the car, he snapped the reigns and shouted. “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!  With very little effort, the lone mule pulled the car from the ditch.  The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule and asked, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called Warwick?” The farmer grinned and said, “Old Warwick is just about blind.  As long has he believes he’s part of a team, he doesn’t mind pulling.

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking we can do it all by ourselves, however, there’s a popular saying that states, “No man is an island.” As big and bad as we are (or whether we want to admit it or not), we need others to survive. The interesting part though, is we don’t always need someone to physically help us. We don’t always need a hand-out, an actual helping hand, or even someone to swoop down and save the day. Sometimes, we simply need others to help us believe in ourselves. Often times, someone can see potential in us that we can’t even see in ourselves, which gives us the necessary extra motivation to push us that much farther. In the story I posted, we can clearly see how the power of “positive reinforcement” can play such a huge role, that an average beast of burden can turn into a towing franchise! Keep that in mind, the next time you feel inadequate, alone and desperately in need of help. Maybe what you actually need, is someone to tell you how strong, intelligent, and creative you are… and of course, I’m not trying to imply that you are a mule!

Issues arise and circumstances change but our obligations are the same. Whereas help comes in different shapes and forms, there is nothing more powerful than moral support; knowing that you have people to “hold you down”, have your back and root for you, is just as powerful (if not more so) than knowing that there’s someone standing beside you, in the trenches… In all the endeavours, goals, wishes and aspirations that I set for myself to achieve, I have my Old Warwick. He gets the support of “the hubby”, my children, my family, and my true friends (the ones you can blindly count on), who not only have him believe he is part of a team but guarantee him that he is!

For the unspoken support and the obvious presence… Thank you for having my back!

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. 
~Antoine de Exupery

This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Lesson in Betrayal...

“I don’t understand people and how they can wake up one morning and decide someone isn’t important to them anymore”

Last night I sat on my bed in front on my TV. I was ready to watch another display of free, real life drama from our self-less celebrities (they seem to have no qualms sharing their most embarrassing, drama filled life with the public). This time, Evelyn Lozada (from Basketball wives) was the guest on the Iyanla Vanzant show, “Fix My Life” on OWN. My husband is away on a business trip and my 2 “angels” are asleep; so all I needed was an easy show to help escort me to dream-land.

The show was about betrayal; living through it and trying to get over it. This was supposed to be a thoughtless show, and like everyone else who got to hear about her story (and the ridiculous but expected climax/ending of her celebrity marriage), I had that, “Well, didn’t she get what she deserved?” attitude. However, it didn’t go that way at all. As the minutes went by, my throat started to close up on me. My heart started to beat a little faster and instead of relaxing between a few chuckles, I started thinking about my own dealings with betrayal…

Betrayal comes in all shapes and forms. Most of the time, it originates from where/who you least expect it. In Evelyn Lozada’s case, it was from her partner/husband, but it can come just as easily from family members, friends, co-workers and even from general acquaintances; the ones who you don’t place any stock in what they think or say (which makes it even harder to understand why they would bother to betray you). It’s bad enough when a stranger or foe betrays you but when it is someone in your close circle, you feel cheated; deceived and taken advantage of. That feeling of being stabbed in the back repeatedly, that feeling of being caught off guard when you are most vulnerable (amongst people you trust) is hurtful, so painful and beyond understanding.

When having to deal with (and go through) my situations, I cried so much… Every minute of the day I felt an unbelievable level of pain and all I could think of was why, and (in hindsight) wallowing in self pity…
There are many reasons for the “whys.” Some are intentional and deliberate, yet sometimes it is very much unintentional. They’re simply not thinking of anyone else; not thinking of the consequences of “the” action or choice they are making. Quite often they are taking the relationship or people for granted, with a complete disregard for their feelings.

Betrayal changes everything; it changed me. I will never and “it” will never be the same again. The damage is done and cannot be undone. The blind trust you’ve granted to those close to you is lost and depending on the kind of betrayal (and from whom); anger becomes your best friend. Your heart is bleeding and broken, pain is consistent, the wounds seemed to not want to heal and you decline into a destructive, unhealthy self protection mode with walls full of doubts toward everyone. Will I ever be able to trust again? Do I want to trust again? Will the scars ever dissipate? Am I going to be this angry bitter person forever? Will I be able to forgive and move on?

“It was a mistake," you said. But the cruel thing was
it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.”
~David Levithan

When Iyanla said to Evelyn, “Stop making this about him, make it about you and your mistakes,” that’s when the tightness in my throat started.  It’s funny how, regardless of where you come from and who you are, some experiences and the way to overcoming them are universal. There is only 1 process. While betrayal is an equal opportunity corruption (everyone is capable of betraying someone), overcoming (getting over) it, is a different story. I thought that when I finally stopped crying, feeling bad for myself and decided that I was going to “forgive” but not forget, when I said “I will always care but won’t care about the relationship,” it would be okay; but it wasn’t… You see, not only does betrayal change relationships, it changes who we are. Something happened inside of me and changed me. Betrayal hardened me a little; every time I feel betrayed it takes the veil off the easy going, trusting Rose, leaving a less naïve Rose. Who wants to be vulnerable and knowingly leave themself open to being deceived? I’m more guarded and protective of myself, my feelings and definitely more selective of whom I give my trust to. What ultimately helped me and really got me over the hump of being angry, defeated and plagued by the incessant “why”, “how could they”, was the realization of my own involvement; the recognition of the role I played in allowing anyone to betray me, the role I played in what went wrong. Being able to reflect and look back at what were definite signs of wrong-doings festering and choosing to disregard them, reflecting on my actions that might have caused or allowed others to act in a way that was harmful to me and the relationship we had, is what really helped me to move on. Blaming the other person(s) was the innate reaction but didn’t provide solace to the pain. However, recognition where I went wrong and learning from it is what truly helped me. My expectation of others has changed. And while I choose to trust again, nothing is ever kosher anymore. Is that a cynical way of thinking? Maybe…. but I think it is a safe way to behave and avoid unneeded surprises…

“It’s only the biggest slap in the face when someone you trust isn’t being real. Was I not worthy enough for honesty? Not only do I no longer trust you, but I’m second guessing myself. And unlike you, I’m not going to lie, it really hurts”
~Meagan Bailey

To accepting your part in the betrayal...

Photo courtesy of Katja Ott

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

Shit happens
 Even the darkest hour only has 60 minutes…

"This is life. People will screw you over. You’ll fight with your family. You’ll witness things that will change you forever. You’ll blame new lovers for things old lovers did. You’ll lose best friends you thought would always be there. You’ll come to realize that everyone has a past. You’ll cry, you’ll laugh, and you’ll embarrass yourself. But then, you’ll find your very own moment where none of that matter; where you can sit back and realize that shit happens to the people who can handle it and that this is who you are, and that no one should want to change you, including yourself."

To knowing that it is okay...

Friday, September 21, 2012

The 'mantras" of My Life, part 3... Do Unto Others

I have 3 “mantras” that I’m learning to discipline myself to live by; “I am that I am”, “Carpe Diem” and “Do unto others”…
My next 3 posts are going to be dedicated to explaining my reasons for choosing each one of those “mottos”. They all assist in framing the person I ultimately NEED to be

Part 3

Do Unto Others

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz.  I breezed through the questions until I read the last one:  "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"  Surely this was a joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.  Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade.  "Absolutely," the professor said.  "In your careers, you will meet many people.  All are significant.  They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello."  I've never forgotten that lesson.  I also learned her name was Dorothy. 
~Joann C. Jones

                  Our differences shouldn’t determine our preferences
                          and our behaviour towards each other…

Let’s get one thing straight; I have done my share of wrongs. There are many times that I’ve disregarded those around me, not necessarily with negative physical or verbal actions towards them but often times by simply ignoring them. In ignoring them, I certainly ignored their feelings. It’s funny how we think that doing something egregious and life-altering is the only way to permanently impact someone else’s life, but more than often it’s the little things that can potentially hurt people to the core. It’s as simple as not knowing the cleaning lady’s name, after seeing her daily. Because of this, I have learned to rationalize and somewhat accept anything hurtful that comes my way (of course, to a certain extent). I mean, how else do you reconcile not having a perfect record (of being good to others) with problems that occur in our own lives? It only seems fair that I pay some kind of “price” for the little things I’ve allowed to pile up. With that, I have also learned that accepting (or taking responsibility for the repercussions of our behaviour) doesn’t make us the bigger person. It does not make me proud… It’s actually as if you justify all your (purposefully) wrong-doings because of your awareness and acceptance, so that somewhere down the line it will come back to you; so it’s okay! Not so much….

This particular mantra, I hold close to my heart. I guess not only for the obvious reasons that come to mind but also for very personal, hurtful reasons that ultimately I had to deal with. These situations opened my eyes to the unnecessary hurt one can cause by simply disregarding another person…
You might also think it is because I strongly believe in Karma, but I’ll clear this up by saying for me Karma is totally different (but yet again very similar…). With Karma, the overall philosophy is that whatever you project into the universe will be brought back to you. Karma means that, "What you sow, that also you shall you reap" in this and other lifetimes. Karma is the principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility.  So with Karma it is the generalisation that all your actions, emotions, thoughts and behaviour carry consequences (good or bad). However, with “Do unto others”, it is your specific behaviour towards another person that will determine behaviour towards you by others. It’s less of a Universal and cosmic experience; it’s much more specific.

Man is selfish before he is selfless.

This is a definite truth. The reason why many people fail when attempting to commit suicide is because we are wired for survival. We have an innate proclivity towards looking out for ourselves and making sure we are “all set.” It’s the philosophy of “looking out for #1.” It’s so consistent that a person that cares for others more than themselves is usually celebrated as a “Good Samaritan” or declared a “Saint.” Interesting isn’t it… Why aren’t we more concerned about how/the way we treat others? Why is it so fantastic when someone does? Shouldn’t we all? So it’s no wonder that most don’t even think twice about offending, slandering and hurting other’s; even in the most subtle ways. This is the reason we need (and I need) mantras to live by. Where there is no code of ethics, people do whatever is in their imagination. You can’t even join a company without them telling you how to treat co-workers, clients and partners. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the impact we make. 

Until you understand the complete consequences of your actions, you will not understand how they affect others. You’ll never really understand why you should not do unto others what you don’t want to be done to you. It is The Golden Rule for a reason. It ultimately encompasses how people should behave with one another as human beings. It is a great wisdom-key that all religions of the world mainly teach. It’s a key because it unlocks a steady stream of positivity right back to you.  

I realized that it took quite some time in life for me to honestly understand and see the “must” in living by that rule. In my case, I decided to do my darnest to embody the “Rule” which is often referred to as "The Golden Rule" in Scripture. Jesus taught, in Luke 6:31, "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."

“Never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction,
and never be hard upon people who are in your power.”
~ Charles Dickens

And voila!
This is the last post on what frames my behaviour in life; on my journey towards becoming a better daughter, sister, wife, friend, boss…toward just being a better me. I don’t think without guidance and the support of mantras/rules to remind me and focus on, I would be able to keep myself on track to becoming the kind of person I want to be.
“I am that I am”, “Carpe Diem” and “Do unto others” combined are the base definition of the core person I want to be. Someone that is confident and proud of who she is, someone that enjoys the moment; leaving no space for regret, while making sure her actions today will only uplift her tomorrows. Finally, someone that knows that the number one spot is wide enough to share with everybody…

So what about you? Do you have any mantras, mottos or unwritten rules that you obey? Do you need guidance in your life?

To making a better me...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The "mantras" of My Life, part 2... Carpe Diem

I have 3 “mantras” that I’m learning to discipline myself to live by; “I am that I am”, “Carpe Diem” and “Do unto others”…
My next 3 posts are going to be dedicated to explaining my reasons for choosing each one of those “mottos”. They all assist in framing the person I ultimately NEED to be.

Part 2

Carpe Diem

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, and find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 
~Henry David Thoreau

 We must seize the day! Those are powerful words to live by, and often times we don’t take the time to examine how much we live in the later, rather than the now. We procrastinate. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and today is the dawn of all your dreams and possibilities. Of course, we must be careful to not act like fools in the now, but sometimes you must live your life as if tomorrow is not your end-game. Today is your last chance to do what needs to be done now! It’s ironic how another popular phrase, “Live and let live,” used to be my sole mantra until I inherited (and created for myself) a shit load of responsibilities. I then realized that without a plan, without directions and without goals, there was not a defined purpose in my life. So there is definitely a balance that should occur between the “putting off until tomorrow” and the “living fearlessly today.”  Let’s examine….

So, obviously I had to readjust the way I dealt with life. I had to readjust, without sucking all the fun out of it; and there was Carpe Diem. I can be a responsible adult, caring parent and loving wife, while still living today like today matters most. This mantra tells us to focus on now and this moment. However; in doing so I had to remain realistic and learn that even if now is what counts, there are ramifications (good or bad) of all of our actions that will affect our tomorrow. This is where we can get in trouble if we are not careful. Yes, live in the now and appreciate all that today has to offer; but you must also keep in mind that if you are fortunate enough to wake up tomorrow, you will have to live with the reality of what you have done (good or bad). In essence, make sure you make good choices TODAY! In many cases, our fear of living today actually holds us back from the future that we want. We won’t say what we feel right now, for fear people won’t understand; so we miss an opportunity and we never get that chance again. We don’t run, but walk; then we wonder why we missed life’s bus….
While before I would sit back and be a bystander, waiting for things to happen (or not happen), now I know I have to make things happen in and for my life. Now I have to take on all the challenges, chances and opportunities that present themselves on my path. This is all so that I don’t live with regrets of the “what if’s” but by taking charge of my own happiness…

Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today, because who is to say there will be a tomorrow?  Appreciate every single opportunity, experience and involvement as gifts of today. There is a disclaimer though…. Don’t become jaded and accustomed to the instant gratification that doing “what pleases you when it pleases you” brings, because remember; while you seize the day and enjoy the freedom it brings, your today will set the tone for tomorrow… if and when tomorrow comes!

There is a wonderful movie Dead Poet’s society which capture so well the power and essence of Carpe Diem

To living life to the fullest...Seize the Day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The “mantras” of My Life, part 1… I am that I am

I have 3 “mantras” that I’m learning to discipline myself to live by; “I am that I am”, “Carpe Diem” and “Do unto others”…
My next 3 posts are going to be dedicated to explaining my reasons for choosing each one of those “mottos”. They all assist in framing the person I ultimately NEED to be.

"I am that I am"

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be,
I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”

~John Newton
It’s so simple and yet so complicated…

For all of you Theologians out there, you’ll appreciate the next few sentences. In the Bible, when Moses was sent to free the Children of Israel from Pharaoh’s cruel dictatorship, he had an interesting dilemma. He went into self-doubt, and ultimately found himself incapable of the task at hand. He cited problems with speech and fear specifically. At the climax of the discourse, he asked God; “Who should I say sent me?” God responded, “Tell him I am sent you.” This is not, by any means, a religious blog, but there’s value in that one line. God was basically telling him that, what I am cannot be explained. What I am is bigger than a name that I call myself, an action that I’ve done, or what you’ve ever heard about me. I am that I am.
As the day rises, I am conscious that I am all that I am and will be only what I make myself to be… If we could only learn to truly value the individuals that we are, this world would be infinitely better. I’m not suggesting that we walk around in a condescending manner, telling people that who we are can’t be explained, due to the fact that we are immortal and better than them. What I am suggesting is; have the God-given confidence that makes us unique and never sell yourself short, even when others don’t understand you. We are in the making.

Knowing, understanding, and accepting who and what I am today means not only embracing all my qualities (just as much as all my flaws) but also the ego in me and the relevance of “it” in my life. Believing that I am that I am made me accept the person I am and not wish to be another. It has made me realize that having an ego is not negative, it’s a blessing… it is the “I” that will always cheer for me…and we all need that! And now I can dare; I can make bigger, bolder choices because at the root of it all and in spite of it all, I love who I am. Why don’t you just take a few moments and pat yourself on the back for making it this far. We’ve all been through so much, and some more than others. It might have taken all the strength you had just to be here today, and for that you should understand your innate greatness.

I have realized that I don’t have to alter myself for anyone. I can add layers to who I am and add value to who I am while on the road to finding my life’s true meaning BUT I don’t stress about it or let it govern me because I LOVE who I am. At some point in our lives, we all seek acceptance, approval and try to fit in where we think we need to be or want to be in order to be happy. But really, doesn’t happiness in life start with the love of self? We should be our biggest self-motivational speakers. Isn’t there joy in realizing and being able to say (in a genuine way and from an unpretentious place), “This is me, take me with no expectations; as I am. This is all I have and need to give”…. There’s an old Southern saying that , “I’m not what/where I want to be, but I thank God that I’m not what/where I used to be!” Never discount the progress you’ve made thus far….

When you have determined and accepted who you are, than you can work on who you want to be. I have learned that skipping steps in the process only ends in failure. True development lies in the road of acceptance. The projected life won’t be worth living unless the today is defined and loved…only then the choices we make for our future become stronger.

Analyse your origin, where you came from and the values you were taught and innate behaviour. Visualize the ultimate ending of your life and in doing so, you need to know your worth; you need to ascertain what your original potential was/is and where you are on the road to achieving it. Do this before getting to the end of the road and still be able to say… I am that I am and I love me

 To shaping yourself...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

Believe in yourself…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  You’re playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.  ~Marianne Williamson
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles," 1992(commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela, 1994 inauguration speech)

We make and fulfil our own destiny, what is in store for us is bigger than the dreams we’ve ever dreamed and because of that we have to set no limitations to our self-worth…
If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Confidence and self-worth creates a feeling of trust and reliability in how you see yourself and ultimately in how others see you. Everything begins and ends with you, believe that you can get all the wonderful “things” life has to offer because you are worth receiving them.
If you are dejected and feel unworthy, don’t give up and give in. Stand within yourself and believe in yourself. Accept yourself as you are with all your flaws, all your faults and all your dreams and know this is only the base of the wonderful person you are meant to be… It all starts with you…

 To believing in ourselves and all that we can be,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Write A Guest Post...

Not too long ago I posted on My Facebook page a picture that had for caption “We all have stories we won’t tell” to which I added “And we all have stories that need to be told” and I believe that to the core…
For all of you that have been following my blog, you know I’m all about personal experiences and the lessons we learn going thru them. As I share my point of view with you all, the feedbacks, comments and personal messages I receive in return shows me clearly what I also knew; to every situation there are thousands of possible outcome/reaction and ours is not always the right one but it is the one we know until we share and learn from others, listen from others and grow from others’ experiences.
And this is why I decided to create a “guest post” section to my blog, for all of you out there who may not have the time to commit to a Blog site, who may only have that 1 story that needs to be told or for others bloggers that want to share their writing with my followers and of course have it link back to their own blog 
If you are interested in posting a guest article send me an email at with your post. Here are the guidelines for an article to be published on my blog.

Your post must fall into one of these categories:
  • Inspirational
  • Personal Growth
  • Life Lessons
  • Leadership
  • Productivity
  • Social Media
Your post cannot be an advertisement for your product or the equivalent of a sponsored post.

Your post must be original and not previously published either on the Web or in print.
You agree not to publish it anywhere else, including your own blog or Web site. You may, however, post a brief “tease” or summary on your site that links to the post.
You may provide up to three byline links: one for your blog or Web site, one for your bio or “About” page, and one for your Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn account (optional).
Your post should be at least 500 words long and no more than 1200 words.

You may want to also read following two articles that are very useful for writing Guest Posts:

I will likely have someone copyedit your post for grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. If I make substantive changes (unlikely), I will email the post back to you for your approval before posting.

I understand the work that it takes to write a blog post. However, the fact that you have written a post and submitted it to me does not obligate me to publish it. The only guest posts I will publish are those that in my sole judgment add value to my readers. The main reason why any post may not be considered is if it is in anyway pejorative, derogatory and judgmental toward anyone; different opinions, stands can be share in very respectful and courteous manner. And you should expect the same courtesy from my readers in their comments.

If your post meets the above guidelines, Please email it to me for consideration at . Please include a one to two-sentence byline that includes what you do, along with your blog address and your Twitter and/or Facebook address.
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To sharing our stories


Friday, September 14, 2012

The Road to Getting "There"... Enjoying The Journey...

There are so many decisions that we have to make throughout life; so many situations we need to go through, venture through, and overcome. There are so many needs and so many wants we feel we need to uncover and acquire. There are so many mileposts in our lives, and it’s almost as if we wouldn’t feel complete if we didn’t make sure to systematically go through them like necessary “check points” or “tolls”.
There are so many goals that we set for ourselves that give us purpose, direction and lastly destination. However, we need to understand and appreciate that the achievement of all the goals we set for ourselves (arriving to our destinations) is nothing compared to appreciating the journey and the experience gained through it.
Value the journey more than the destination…

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
- Greg Anderson

The journey, in its reality, will teach you so much. It will open your mind and eyes to many experiences that will shape you along the way; achieving and reaching the destination is the sum of all of your efforts and your wishes coming true.
I tend to believe that this journey called life is more important than your destination and this is because it’s the greater part of your life. But no matter which one you find more important, you have to enjoy the process.

Put it in perspective for yourself… Process or result? What’s more important?

Going through school, ultimately what was/is more important: All that you are learning or getting the diploma? When bringing a child in this world, what was/is more important: The welcoming home of your child or the journey side by side in shaping him (her) from day 1 to adulthood?
When working, is enjoying every step of what you do more important than any results of that work?
When you invent (come up with ideas, or create), isn’t that act of accomplishing (the process) more important and fulfilling than the creation itself?
Believing in a cause and entering the journey of seeing it through; isn’t that the most gratifying part?
Belief…Faith…that invisible hand that leads you through it all…
But mostly… as death is a part of our destiny, with no specific time stamps; doesn’t that simple fact talk to us on how we should enjoy our life and the process of living it, making the idea of destination irrelevant…

“The best teachers have showed me that things have to be done bit by bit. Nothing that means anything happens quickly--we only think it does. The motion of drawing back a bow and sending an arrow straight into a target takes only a split second, but it is a skill many years in the making. So it is with a life, anyone's life. I may list things that might be described as my accomplishments in these few pages, but they are only shadows of the larger truth, fragments separated from the whole cycle of becoming” 
~ Joseph Bruchac

I know that I don’t want to reach old age and look at my life with the realization that I wasted the best years of my life by chasing ideologies and goals, instead of enjoying every step of what made me, and made my character… my journey.
It is not where you end up in a moment of your life, it is not where you finish the course, goal or objective you set yourself; it is actually the way you get to the destination or work towards accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself that holds value… but in the end, we may all just find out that the journey and the destination are one in the same…

How about you? What do you feel is most important, having the drive and achieving your goals or the process of achieving those goals? Does the excitement, the rewards measured by the accomplishment or the different steps in making it happen? 

To enjoying our journey…


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Most Important Relationship…

 “The most important relationship you have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself because no matter what happens, you’ll always be with yourself.”
-Diane von Furstenberg

Birth, life and death are the 3 universal check points for every being on this earth. As humans with tangible feelings, needs, desires and goals, we need to make sure we make ourselves priorities in our own lives. We need to make sure that between each check point, we focus on our happiness before all. To some this may sound like a self-centred attitude but truly think about this; if you don’t love, appreciate and have a high opinion of yourself, wouldn’t it be impossible for you to reciprocate those feelings to others? If your focus is to first please others, instead of making you happy, how will you elevate yourself to your full potential?
One clear, realistic truth is that people will travel through your life. Some will stay longer than others, and then some will leave you (by choice or unexpectedly) but as she (Diane von Furstenberg) said, “You will always be with yourself, not matter what.” Through it all, those check points are yours to experience. I can’t think of a better way to live through them, then happy, fulfilled and surrounded by healthy relationships.

“In order for two halves to be whole, each half must be whole on its own."

While we live in a society where our lives are interlocked in so many aspects, we need to remember that we are unique; there is no replica of you… maybe imitations, but no replica. See that as a fact; see that as reality. Then, you’ll realize that while life is provisional, you need to elevate your value first before being able to offer and add value to others. People around us and in our lives are supposed to enhance our lives and not determine the value or worth of our lives.
Women, especially when we become mothers, seem to think our validation lies in how happy our kids and mates are; we over-stress ourselves, leading self-doubt and in worst-case scenarios, depression.
The concept is just as simple as this; whatever we feel or are going through, we will reflect. We reflect our feelings; we reflect our state of mind. In any relationship (work related, friendships or intimate) before getting involved in them, we need to know who we are and love who we are. If you don’t acknowledge that you are first, and if you don’t take care of yourself first, you run the chance of being dependent of your friends or partner to make your happiness their responsibility, which is a heavy weight to carry for anyone…

I’m so engrained with the desire to have the “perfect, balanced life” that I sometimes forget that the change needs to start with me, instead of focusing on making it better for everyone else around me.
I sometimes forget my dreams; I forget my objective of a stress-free life, full of love by taking on others. I need to remember that any dream, or any objective will always be better achieved and appreciated if they’re self-accomplished, instead of being handed to me. I need to remember that just like tomorrow is not guaranteed, the people in my life are also in it in passing but I will ALWAYS have myself (like it or not)…but life would be better if I liked myself…

The most important relationship you will be involved in is truly the one with yourself on the road of self-discovery…

Ask yourself: What makes you happy, and what do you do to make it happen? And what makes you unhappy, and what do you do to eradicate the unhappiness out of your life?

When you answer all those questions, the results will inevitably trickle down to others….

To loving and enjoying being with yourself...

This article is part of my guest writing project for the website, visit the site for more entries by talented writers.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Counterfeit Gods || Spoken Word ||

“When people say, "I know God forgives me, but I can't forgive myself," they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important than God's.” 
― Timothy Keller


My Sunday Quote of The Week...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things.”
 ~Robert Brault

The untold gifts in our lives…

This Sunday posting is a little different than the usual quote with the short bit message.
This story had me in tears and while the message came out clear as day for me, I won’t share as it is important that you take away your own message from it…

Mother and son

My mom only had one eye…
I hated her, she was such an embarrassment. My mom ran a small shop at a flea market. She collected little weeds and such to sell, anything for the money we needed she was such an embarrassment. There was this one day during elementary school. I remember that it was field day, and my mom came. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school..."Your mom only has one eye?!" and they taunted me.
I wished that my mom would just disappear from this world so I said to my mom, "Mom, why don't you have the other eye?! You're only going to make me a laughingstock. Why don't you just die?" My mom did not respond. I guess I felt a little bad, but at the same time, it felt good to think that I had said what I'd wanted to say all this time.
Maybe it was because my mom hadn't punished me, but I didn't think that I had hurt her feelings very badly.
That night...I woke up, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. My mom was crying there, so quietly, as if she was afraid that she might wake me. I took a look at her, and then turned away. Because of the thing I had said to her earlier, there was something pinching at me in the corner of my heart. Even so, I hated my mother who was crying out of her one eye. So I told myself that I would grow up and become successful, because I hated my one-eyed mom and our desperate poverty.
Then I studied really hard. I left my mother and came to Seoul and studied, and got accepted in the Seoul University with all the confidence I had. Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. Then I had kids, too. Now I'm living happily as a successful man. I like it here because it's a place that doesn't remind me of my mom.
This happiness was getting bigger and bigger, when someone unexpected came to see me "What?! Who's this?!"... It was my mother...Still with her one eye. It felt as if the whole sky was falling apart on me. My little girl ran away, scared of my mom's eye.
And I asked her, "Who are you? I don't know you!!!" as if I tried to make that real. I screamed at her "How dare you come to my house and scare my daughter! Get out here now!" And to this, my mother quietly answered, "oh, I'm so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address," and she disappeared. Thank goodness... she doesn't recognize me. I was quite relieved. I told myself that I wasn't going to care, or think about this for the rest of my life.
Then a wave of relief came upon me... one day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. I lied to my wife saying that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went down to the old shack, that I used to call a house...just out of curiosity there, I found my mother fallen on the cold ground. But I did not shed a single tear. She had a piece of paper in her hand.... it was a letter to me.

My Son,
I think my life has been long enough now. And I won't visit Seoul anymore... but would it be too much to ask if I wanted you to come visit me once in a while? I miss you so much. And I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I decided not to go to the school.... For you ... I'm sorry that I only have one eye, and I was an embarrassment for you.
You see, when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with only one eye... so I gave you mine... I was so proud of my son that was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye. I was never upset at you for anything you did. The couple times that you were angry with me. I thought to myself, 'it's because he loves me.' I miss the times when you were still young around me.
I miss you so much. I love you. You mean the world to me.

My world shattered! Then I cried for the person who lived for me…my Mother.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

“I will always love you”… The words put together I never want to hear…

Hahaha…Who think I’m crazy now? Who in their right state of mind wouldn’t like to hear and know that someone will always love them? I guess that person is me! I want to hear that you love me now strong and exclusively and not promises of forever we can’t predict…

I’m in love with you; I feel passion, possession, excitement, lust, chemistry, you’re “my everything”, my all, commitment…commitment to the moment. That euphoric feeling of being in love is one that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.
But while being in love is not a guarantee of forever, it is definitely the first step towards what could potentially be a real, substantial love…it is the base of a love relationship… the relationship you build for a lifetime.
In our journey from that first relationship to the mature person we end up being down the road, we all fall out of that “in love” mode at least once (if not more…), and when all its said and done we look back and say “really?, how did I even think that was it?” So obviously, not everyone we fall in love with will automatically be a candidate for a love relationship…

“I’m in love with you” tells me you are smitten by me, you have a carnal passion for me that takes over any other aspect of a relationship, that makes you overlook everything you’ve learned, that makes you forget your own Wikipedia page on “what to stay away from” until…well until reality slaps you in the face!
But I love youI Love you tells me you are committed; those 3 words tell me that you took the time to look over and get over your illusion of what is perfect. You’ve witnessed the different me from when we first met and you took time to know the real, honest me. When all my flaws came to the forefront and while I’m obviously not the perfect princess described in fairy tales, I am your princess whom you still enjoy romancing and claiming. 

Love is the summary of rollercoaster feelings, ups and downs; emotions. Love is affection, commitment, caring, security and trust. Love is getting to that stage where you are okay taking the risk to be vulnerable, to understand without necessarily agreeing and to share shamelessly your inner-self without fear of judgment from our lover. Love knows that while you lay everything that you are on the floor, you may get hurt, but that the love outweighs any negative possibilities…

Going from “I’m in love with you” to “I love” you is my ultimate journey. It is the stage where your relationship has finally anchored on solid ground.

I will always love you…
That moment when you ask you partner who you’ve been in a loving relationship with “do you love me?” and their response is “I will always love you” are words that I never want to hear coming from “the hubby”…
You all must think that I must have been hit on my head really hard or just talking out of my -you know what- but no… Those words put together sound so final, so “not looking forward to anything else”… People usually make statements like that in the height of their emotional rollercoaster. Seriously, how can you predict what you will feel for someone, way down the road? Unless you have a crystal ball and a magical soothsayer in your group of friends, you can’t predict the uncertainty of the human range of emotion. Life changes and people change right along with it… You might find out that what you thought was love, was really your desire to make love to me. You might find out that after years of being “in love”, you have run out and need to refill from a new vessel; another lover. I’m not saying that people can’t build a commitment that lasts the test of time, I’m merely saying that “I will always love you” sounds like there’s nothing to strive for; nothing more to hope for. 

I feel as though if in a relationship your partner can, at this moment, make a statement that he will always love you, it means that he is not looking forward to anything more than what he has now with you. It can mean, in fact, that he/she cares, doesn't want to see anything bad happen to you, he/she has affection for you, he/she respects and to a certain extent admires you, but that the excitement, the unknown or desire of it is gone. Isn’t there an excitement in not knowing what will happen? Isn’t that why we put our best foot forward when we meet someone we are interested in, and isn’t that why we get those butterflies in our stomach? It’s because we don’t know. We want them to like us and fall in love, but there are no guarantees…. And that, my friends, is the reason we are on cloud 9, why we smile so hard, and why we can’t stop thinking about that person; because we have them NOW, we know how they feel NOW. Don’t promise me that you will love me 25 years from now; tell me you love me today, and then 25 years from now, tell me you love me today. “I will always love you” gives a sense of submission to your situation. It gives a sense of settlement in what your relationship is, which we should not be mistaken for a sense of security.

With I will always love you; you have gained a roommate…but with I love you, you have the security of knowing there is nothing better…

“Loving someone and having them love you back
is the most precious thing in the world.”
~Nicholas Sparks

To letting love grow unpredictably…

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The loss of a child…Making sense of the senseless…God’s job...

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 
~ Anne Lamott

A little while after I woke up this morning and decided to go through my “news updates” on FB, I saw a post that brought immediate pain to my heart… My friend was announcing the passing of her friend’s baby (barely a month old). Only just the day before (on the same platform), she was commanding strength and perseverance. She finished her status with, “Heart broken and trying not to question God.”

There is nothing more heart-wrenching than the loss of a loved one; while I have experienced that, I also know that the pain of my experience can’t be close to the pain of losing a child…a new-born child. This is the infant you just gave birth to, after 9 months of anticipation, preparation, and visualization of your future as a parent… of his/her future life that will never be.
NOTHING can prepare you for that.
I don’t think that there is anything that will ever console or soothe a wound that deep. 
My sister lost her infant daughter to a “senseless” accident, and although she is a Christian, I know she has never accepted the fate of her baby-girl. To this day, 25 years later, she is still wondering why…

Making sense of the senseless… Some call it God (as I do), some call it destiny (autonomous to God), and some refer to it as Karma. There are also some that simply deem it as part of life. However; you want to define it, believe that there is something bigger out there that helps maintain equilibrium in our world and makes sense of things. “That higher power” will help you move forward, bring clarity to situations and give us a sense of hope and trust.

The practical, sensible and scientific reasons are the ones you will be given right away but will not give you an answer to your WHY(s). Your spiritual guide will give you those answers and with those, you will realize that where they are now is the only place that outdoes being with you…
Do seek for answers from him my friend (you NEED to understand why) and He will give it you… solace will be found in understanding and accepting.
Do not defy Him, as peace of mind will always elude you… Only He can walk us through healing a pain of that magnitude.
But most importantly…only HE can help us see and appreciate the blessing our love ones were, as it is proportional to the pain we are feeling…

For us the friends, the witnesses, whether or not we are spiritual and believe in God, the best thing we can do is to reassure them in believing in the bigger and better thing outside of our control. Pray to God with and for them, to lift them up and embrace them, take care of them and withstand them. Help them find acceptance in what seems unacceptable, but know that it won’t happen overnight. There are some wounds only time can heal...

When you lose a loved one, day by day you wake up and go through the motions, trying to make sense of the senseless; until you get to that place where you accept it. You don’t get over the loss but you get through it day by day.
I remember when I had my first miscarriage someone told me, “Rose, your baby was destined to be too perfect for this world, his soul was to be servant of God and he his home with him to fill his duty”. While I didn’t jump and say “Ohhh fantastic”, it did truly helped me -in time- to know that it was not all in vain…it was not “his” end but “his” beginning…

I quoted this before in a previous blog Let Go"D" and again it stands true in all situations…

When God leads you to the edge of the cliff,
Trust Him fully, as only two things can happen,
Either HE will catch you when you fall,
Or He'll teach you how to fly…

Share with us if you have coping method that worked for you in the past.

 To understanding, accepting and moving forward...
 Photo credits: WeeMeng.Lee

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

"There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.
 It is God's finger on man's shoulder."
Charles Morgan

There was an atheist couple who had a child. The couple never told their daughter anything about the Lord. One night, when the little girl was 5 years old, the parents fought with each other and the father shot the mom right there in front of the little girl....then he shot himself. The little girl watched it all!!! She was then sent to foster home. The foster mother was a christian and took the child to Sunday school... The foster mother told the teacher that the little girl had never heard of Jesus and to have patience with her. The teacher held up a picture of the lord and asked "does anyone know who this is?" and the little girl said "I do, that's the man who was holding me the night my parents died."

No one is bigger than the power of God regardless of your acceptance of the fact…
God's always there with no exceptions, he blesses us in spite of ourselves and for ourselves and that before we ask or realize our need of him.

To knowing that we are never alone...
Picture Courtesy of
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