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present moment

I Hope You Dance!

While most people I knew were exploring the world in their twenties, I was hiding from it.  Living in survival mode in my twenties and thirties didn’t help me develop long-lasting friendships.  Among other things, I realized the other day that I feel as if I missed out on making lifelong friends because of it.  Now, I feel the urge to explore the world, so what do I do now?  I’m not sure, but I’m not dead yet, so there’s still time.  Meanwhile, I'll be dancing.  Watch this video of Lee Ann Womack singing I Hope You Dance, and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Empower Your Spirit in the God Zone

When athletes perform exceptionally, they talk about being in a zone which I call the “God zone.”  According to a February 19, 2010 article by the American Psychological Association, Dr. Shane Murphy says, “What’s fascinating is that we find that athletes often don’t need to be perfect to succeed.  Being in the “zone” isn’t about perfection as much as it is about staying in the moment, not worrying about failure, and not worrying about what the result might be.  I find every athlete to be unique in their approach to that “zone,” but they use some combination of psychological skills such as visualization, goal-setting, concentration, relaxation or mindfulness, psyching up, positive self-talk and developing a consistent routine in order to get there. Once they’re ready, they focus and let it happen. Their bodies are prepared to succeed – usually it’s the mind that can get in the way – if you let it.”

You’ve probably been in the situation when you were with someone preoccupied with the past or the future.  If you’re trying to love and support them, but they’re not spiritually with you in the present moment, there’s no way they can begin to accept your love and support.  The same holds true of our relationship with God.

I recommend you pray the words below, and I encourage you to add your own petition for a positive change in your life while you focus on being in the present moment with God.

The spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

At all times and in all places, the spirit of God lives and breathes inside me.
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

The spirit of God empowers me with the strength to
[insert your greatest challenge here].
I breathe with the spirit.
I am one with the spirit.
I AM God’s spirit.

I also suggest you try making it a habit.  During a hectic day, I make it a point to pray these lines wherever I am, even in the bathroom after washing my hands which helps me calm down if I’m stressed and focus on the present moment.

God’s Love is Always There for You

More than 10 years ago, when the darkness had control over me, I remember seeing a bumper sticker that said, “The Meaning of Life is to Live It.”  At the time, I was going to the YWCA for sexual violence counseling, and I remember how it made me feel hopeful.  I thought about that recently when I saw an ad in the subway that read “I got my life back.”
Recently, I went through a difficult, dark period.  I thought I forgave my father, but I really didn’t:  not wholeheartedly.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m definitely no saint.  I only did it, or thought I did, because I thought it would help me heal faster.  Overcome with the darkness again, this time, it was worse.  I was in survival mode like I imagine soldiers at war must be.  I felt like I had to keep myself busy, so it wouldn’t devour me.

Thanks to a new friend who’s also a survivor, he reminded me of the power of God’s love while carefully guiding and counseling me about forgiving my father.  However, I had to finish the process on my own in private between God and me.  The excruciating pain left my heart feeling like you do after exercising when you haven’t done so in a long time.  Sore and weak, my heart felt like it had been beaten up, and I guess it had been for all these years.

Thank you, God, for not giving up on me!  Thank you for putting people and signs (some literally and some figuratively) in my life to help me remember that you are always there for me.  You are truly awesome!

My Mystical, Musical Inspiration

On Sunday, 6/15/14, after going to a friend’s house in Lincoln Park during the Old Town Art Fair, I stopped off at a Village Thrift store on my way home because my backpack zipper broke, but I didn't find any backpacks there I liked.  After I turned the corner of the intersection and headed south, so I could catch a bus back home, I heard a cool, new song playing that I really like.  It has an old R&B rhythm which reminded me of the original Motown sound.  
I'm attaching the YouTube link to the song, too.  Why?  Because a young, 20-something African American man who lives above a store was dancing like he was in heaven outside on the landing of his porch between the 2nd and 3rd floor.  I couldn't stop watching him from across the street.  Then I found myself waving and thrusting my thumbs up to him three times.  He saw me, and pumped his arm up as if to say he's jamming and dancing alone, but he's a lot happier than Pharrell Williams.  I could see that he was totally absorbed in the present moment and relishing every single beat.  It was amazing!
He made me remember that I used to be like that, and I lost it along with most of my spontaneity and sense of humor.  I still feel lost in that sense, but I'm re-connecting with my true self that used to laugh and smile all day long just like my mom.  I'll get there, and this stranger will never know how much he inspired me to keep looking.  Here's the You-tube video of the lyrics:  Enjoy!