What’s In Your Head Space

By Samantha McKenzie

Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night with a mountain of things racing around in your head? Have you ever noticed that there are reoccurring thoughts that take up quite a bit of time in your mind? It happens when you’re casually walking down the street or when you find yourself dazing off during a conference call.

Related imageMaybe it’s a person who you can’t seem to get off your mind. Maybe it’s a past situation that went awry, and you keep replaying the conversation (like over and over again). It pops up, goes away and then returns without invitation or permission. It grips you. It shakes you up. It won’t let you go. Before you know it, worry sets in and you realize “it” has consumed a large part of your mental day.

Do a spring cleaning on your mind. Clean out your mental space as often as you can. If you find yourself thinking about a person, call them up and talk it out. If there is something that is unsettling in your life, find a way to resolve it. If you’re not ready to have a face-to-face, then write it down, get it out and let it go. Don’t allow your head space to be a drop off site for life’s crap or a repository for all things you don’t want to deal with.

Learn how to declutter your thoughts. Give your mind a break. Find ways to come to terms with your experiences and accept the decisions that are beyond your control.

Close out a few chapters, find clarity and set your sights on creating your own endings.

Get back your head space. What are you thinking about?Image result for declutter your mind

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Change is a Gift. Embrace it.

Resistance always takes the form of fear. That’s the overriding thing.” – Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art.”

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By Dawn Onley

There has been a lot written over the years about change. It’s hard. It’s good. It’s necessary. It’s disruptive. It’s inevitable. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a process. It signifies growth. It’s the essence of life. It’s terrifying.

We resist change. We embrace change. We surrender to change.

Change exposes our vulnerabilities and fears, in some cases leaving us wide open to judgment, doubt and ridicule – and most of this is self-inflicted. This is how we can become conditioned to stay as miserable as a fish washed up on shore, with all life oozing out –a certain death — over the chance at creating a better life for ourselves.

“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty,” according to Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek.

What I’m learning is nothing is ever certain to begin with. People deal with all sorts of curve balls that life throws their way, everyday.

I’m learning to embrace change, to see it as a gift. To welcome the uncertainty.

Consider this: What if clinging to unhappiness for fear of change is keeping you and I from experiencing the greatest freedom and joy we’ve ever known?

What if that bold move puts a chain in motion and leaves us successful beyond our wildest dreams?

What if one day you decide to take a chance on love and I move closer to the realization of my dreams? And what if it all works out?

How do we ever learn what’s beyond the bend if we’re scared of change? How can we see the bright future if we’re hell bent on focusing on the same overcast skies?

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Change is needed to grow. A change of scenery. A change of attitude. A change in direction. A change in decision. Change is scary, sure. But nothing is scarier than feeling stuck. What if our unwillingness to change is suffocating our future?

We should choose better for ourselves, starting with the best chance at a great life. And this starts with change.

Leo Buscaglia said “change is the end result of all true learning.”

Amelia Earhart said “the most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

Albert Einstein said “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

President Obama reminded us a decade ago that “we are the change that we seek.”

Imagine this: we hold the power. It’s been within us all this time. It starts with a dream, and then a decision, and then an action. We hold the key.

Are you ready? I am.

Let’s go!

There are 7.5 Billion People Living on Earth and 7.5 Billion Opportunities

By Samantha McKenzie

There are 7.5 billion people living on Earth. That means there are 7.5 billion people to ask for help. There’s an incredible amount of opportunities for these human beings to assist us in this thing called life. You are not alone.

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There are billions of people who can join us in the fight against racism. At least half of them can join in the struggle for equal wages. There are millions who share our pain and our joys. There are people who have been through what you’ve been through. People who came out on the other side of it all. There are people out there who have the solution.

We’re really not alone. We’ve got 7.5 billion neighbors. We just haven’t been looking far enough. What if we united on just one cause, like homelessness. Could we end it? Shouldn’t we try?

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What if you knew you had 7.5 billion people to help you kick your addiction or help you get over the loss of a loved one? Would it make you feel supported? Would you be more thankful? Buried in this massive number, I believe, is the cure for cancer, the leader of the next free nation, the child you should adopt, your next business partner, your soulmate.

Within the 7.5 billion population there are opportunities for all of us. Chase after them. Expand your perspective and learn another language while you’re at it. Let’s set aside our differences and unite on the things that really matter. Let’s just reach out and start by holding hands…

Click on the World Population Clock and meet the rest of the human family.

Take Off…

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By Dawn Onley

A recurring thought keeps bumbling about my brain these past few weeks: “Dawn,” it reminds me in a familiar voice that sounds a lot like my own. “When you send up a prayer, make sure you’re ready when God answers.”

Don’t brood on it and don’t forget about it. Don’t leave it hanging out there in the great ether. Don’t just pray without ceasing. Open your eyes to follow where that prayer leads you. Prayer requires persistence, urgency and follow-through.

Make sure it’s resolved. Stay with it. Listen for the answer. Follow where it leads.

And then … take off.

 

 

 

Women Care, Unapologetically

By Samantha McKenzie

Women care. We care about almost everything.

We unapologetically care about everyone. We care about the health and livelihood of our children and our families. We care about the men in our lives and their ability to become successful. We care about other women, near and far, and cheer for each other’s triumphs.

Image result for african american women caring forWe care about humanity as a whole and often wonder how history will record us. Will we be found wanting? We care about the communities we live in and the overall safety of everyone. We also care about the intangibles too, like your thoughts, your feelings or whether or not you really understood us.

We care to make you happy and care more if we end up making you sad. We care deeply if we caused you any harm and will work earnestly to make it right.

And it doesn’t stop there.Image result for african american women caring for

We also care about all things living. We care about our pets and will sign on to causes that save animals and protect them against cruelty. We care about preserving the rain forests, building more urban gardens and parks that protect the trees. We work to protect our environment and care about having the simple things in life, like clean water and fresh air.

We also care about topics like politics, government, economic, justice, and the infrastructures that manage our lives. We care about corporate responsibility and government accountability. We care about teacher pay and equal opportunity for all mankind. We care about: crime, taxes, social justice, education, health care, technology, nutrition, immigration, foreign policy, civil rights, military defense…and how it all effects our destiny. 

Image result for women caring for othersWe care about other things as well, like what people think about us. We care about our fashion choices, hairstyles and makeup techniques. We care about home decor, candles, and air fresheners. We care about the menu, the grocery list, and the dietary needs of our loved ones.

We care also about our security. We care that the bills are paid. That the car gets maintained as needed and home repairs get addressed immediately. We care about security systems and everything related to making us feel safer.

We care about overarching ideologies that limit the advancement of the human race, like racism and sexism. We care about the influx of cancer, the increase of civil wars across the globe, the numbness to homelessness and hunger and the existence of human trafficking and drug addiction. We care about our place in this world and question almost daily why we’ve accepted a second class position, why we’ve allowed our voices to be tempered, why we’ve lost our fight…why the house and picket fence was all that was needed to silence us.

Even so, we freely and willingly accept this gift of caring and all the burdens that come along. Image result for caring quotesWe are thankful to be a part of the body of women, designed with purpose and intention, to care for the entire world.

We are privileged to be shaped in the image of a Creator to protect and nurture the global tribe. We are grateful for the opportunity to do our part and for the contribution we make towards a hopeful future.

Everyday ladies, you prove to the world that God is love. Continue caring, unapologetically.

 

Kick the Unhappiness Addiction

“Unhappiness can be an addiction. Sometimes we are so addicted to being unhappy that we need an intervention to help us kick the habit of being unhappy. Bad things happen to good people, but so too do good things.

Make the commitment today to kick the unhappiness addiction: stop hanging with other unhappiness addicts, avoid or minimize entertainments that promote negativity or disrespect our extended selves, search intelligently for the best in others, let discernment be your goal rather than judgement. Seek sun-life: expand your circle, try new things, meet new people, learn to love in new ways, find bliss and beauty in the wonders embedded in the ordinariness of life: Reflect God and breathe life into your possibilities and into others.”

—Àdísà Ajamu

NOTE by Adisa: By unhappiness I am not speaking about occasional sadness, or those who suffer under the oppressive canopy of depression, mental health challenges or chronic illnesses.

Unhappy

By Dawn Onley

Happiness is a feeling that too often we attach to things and people outside of our control. If all of the stars align and we can get through the day without too much trouble, we feel happy. We say what a great day we had. We post smiling emoji’s on our status updates and talk about how things are turning around in our favor.

Conversely, if someone ticks us off in the morning, it can dampen the whole rest of our day. We are instantly bothered. We mope. We stew. We talk about how unfair life is and unhappy we are.

The problem in both scenarios is that it allows outside forces to dictate our inner peace. It absolves us of the hard work it takes to maintain our own wellbeing and joy. It gives us an easy way out – to blame others – for our own misery and despair. It reinforces our pessimism and glass half empty belief.

Some people cling to unhappiness as if it’s a life preserver when really developing joy and gratefulness is the way to keep us from going under.

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There will always be unexpected things that pop up in our lives, causing us bouts of sadness, worry, angst, heartache, and anger. Like the lady in the car that rear ends you because she was distracted by a text. Or the discovery that a partner is cheating. Or the sudden health prognosis at the doctor’s office. But to choose to remain there – and it is a choice for those of us who are not suffering from what psychologist and my friend, Adisa Ajamu, calls “the oppressive canopy of depression, mental health challenges or chronic illnesses” — is causing us stress and mental anguish needlessly.

When we cling to unhappiness, we have to realize we are making a bad choice.

Unhappiness is an addiction. Kick it cold turkey or get help to kick it. Just do it.

If you want to be addicted to something, try joy. Try gratefulness. Try acceptance of the things you can’t control. Try living in the present moment.

Do the things that bring satisfaction and enjoyment. Look for qualities in others, and focus on those qualities within ourselves, that encourage our best selves.

The happiness that relies on things going our way or things being easy or life being without struggle or conflict is fleeting. We will all have moments of extreme joy and utter sadness. Inner happiness that is not dependent on outside circumstances is what we should all be striving to attain.

It starts with how we think. What we give our energy to grows.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” — Buddha

Today is the Day!

By Samantha McKenzie

 

Today is the only day you have. Seize it. Image result for carpe diem quotes

Tomorrow is a mere notion. Don’t count on it.

Today is the opportunity. Take it.

Tomorrow is but an unkept promise. Don’t be fooled by it.

Use these 24 hours wisely. Remember, today is the only day you are living in, so make it remarkable.

Do something that you’ve been putting off. Call someone who’s been distant for too long. Explore all that’s available in that charming little town you live in. Scratch something off the list. Say sorry. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for help. Slap that monkey off your back. Live like there’s really no tomorrow.

Because for all we know, today might be our last. Make today, THE day, and live in the only moment that’s here. Live in the present.