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Don’t Ever Give Up!

There will be days when you feel like you can’t take it anymore.  Days when you can’t think, focus, and can’t even begin to pray because all your energy and strength is almost gone.  When that happens, close your eyes, open your heart and ache for God.  Words aren't needed.

Promise me whenever you feel like this, you will always remember, you are loved.  You are precious.  You are remarkable, and you’re still here for a reason.  

Promise me you will fight the lies the criminal(s) who assaulted you repeated and the victim-blaming crap you read and hear about in the media and society.  They're all lies from people who don't want to believe that someone in their community can commit such evil acts.  

God loved you into life.  When he created you, he sculpted a masterpiece.  You’re a beautiful work or art.  Some people will appreciate you and others won’t.  Some will criticize you and others will praise you.

It’s not always going to be like this.  I pray you get the counseling and support of loved ones that you need.  Don’t ever give up!  I will NEVER give up on you and neither will God.  Remember that when you listen to this Jason Mraz song, I Won’t Give Up.

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.

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!

The Power of Prayerful Affirmations

We’ve all heard about the wonders of affirmations, so why not turn your spoken words in prayer into affirmations that can help you transform your life.  

When I started making prayerful affirmations, I truly didn’t believe what I was saying.  However, I committed to praying the same words over and over again until I believed them.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it was pretty cool when it finally did happen.  Of course, a lot of therapy preceded my even thinking about doing this.

I prayed “My Lord, and my God, I give you my heart, my mind, my body, and my spirit:  all that I am and all that I can be.  Take away all the darkness.  Take it all away, so I can be with you.  Be one with you and be truly free.”

Try it, but remember, the key is not to give up.  You're definitely worth it!

Beautiful Me

Today, I realized I’m feeling frazzled.  Looking back, I realize that I saw this coming.  I’ve been working too long and hard without checking in with myself.  That’s something I learned during a group therapy session at the YWCA.  
For six or eight weeks, we met and discussed stresses that we experienced in our bodies.  It wasn’t just a bitch session.  We kept going deeper until we found the source.  For example, earlier this evening my heart was racing, and my entire body felt tightened like a rubber band stretched to the max.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what I did to myself.  I’ve been there for everyone else, but I forgot to make time for me.
After you become aware of the stress you’re experiencing and narrow it down to a feeling and reason you’re feeling that way, it’s time to think about an action for you to take to begin healing your body.  For me, after I realized I was overextended, I started taking deep breaths.  Then, I took my hands and ran them from the tips of my toes to the top of my head with outstretched hands as I literally and figuratively gave myself to God and prayed, “My Lord, and my God, I give you my heart, my mind, my body, and my spirit:  all that I am and all that I can be.  Take all my fears, anxieties, and the rest of the darkness.  Take it all away, so I can be with you.  Be one with you, so I can be beautiful me.”

Be Gentle with Yourself

Recently, I realized that I was so stressed out, I was becoming depressed.  I needed to nap an hour every day at the same time.  I thought it was just my body’s way of resting up, so I could continue working into the night. It became habitual, so I didn’t think anything of it.  After crying spurts over the weekend about missing my mother who’s been deceased for almost 20 years, I realized that over the past few months I neglected my mental health.  Of course, depression was starting to set in and I was stressed out.
Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, this time of the year is not my favorite since my birthday and hers are in late April followed by Mother’s Day.  What I just realized this year is that I had been ignoring this time of year instead of celebrating it in a positive light.  Why not celebrate Mother’s Day a different way by writing her letters about all of the good things that have been happening in my life?  I like that.  I just wish I would have thought of it sooner, and I wish I would have been gentle with myself instead of stressing myself out.  How can you transform an unpleasant time of the year into a better one?