Why Were You Born?

By Dawn Onley

Your entrance into the world answers four of the five W’s of life. Many will die never having answered the fifth.

Why were you born? This is an age old question.

Know Your Why

For some, the answer lies in the mind waiting to be conceived and in the belly waiting to be born. We possess everything else.

Motivational speaker and author, Les Brown, calls the graveyard the “richest place on earth.” He says the graveyard is where you’ll find “all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step … or determined to carry out that dream.”

It’s fear that keeps us from taking steps to discover what is within the deepest crevices of our souls.

I attended an interesting group session with a life coach a few years ago, and she had the class take part in an exercise. First, she asked us what we dreamed of. She then had us close our eyes for a minute and later write out the things that crossed our minds. She said every thought needed to be written down, and that nothing was too crazy or out of the realm of possibility. After all, if it was something that came to our mind, it was likely something that we were interested in. It could very likely be our passion, she said. It could be our why.

I dreamed of love and using my voice to make a difference, of writing books and starting a motivational blog, of starting a family and leaving a legacy for my children, of traveling the world and living near the ocean. I dreamed of forming deeper connections and spending more time with my friends.

I dreamed of creating something beautiful and lasting, because no one sets out to create anything other than something beautiful and lasting. I dreamed to keep creating, for the very act of creating is the fuel that feeds my spirit and renews my soul.

We owe it to ourselves to find our why, to uncover our passions and to pursue our dreams.

What do you dream of?

Different Life



A Message from the Heart

By Samantha McKenzie

I am your heart.

Many know me as the organ that pumps blood throughout the body. Others know me as the source of love and emotions. Today, I want a moment to explain who I am, and why I act the way that I do.

red_love_heart_tree-wide.jpgAs your heart, I’m here for you. I ensure that you feel the life that you are living. I’m not the enemy of logic. I respect logic. It’s practical, clearly defined and for the most part, it allows you to live a secure life.

But my job is a bit different. I’m here so that you can make memories worth talking about. I want you to live life on the edge, push the envelope, dig deeper inside of yourself and to risk being exposed. I want you to venture out into unknown feelings, to believe strongly in your intuition, and to break down barriers in an effort to grasp at all of the love that you can consume.

I want you to test the limits, and to leave no stone unturned. I want you to know the type of love you yearn for and be willing to say it out loud. It hurts my feelings that you try to keep me a secret. I want to pump faster on your behalf and I want you to unleash me.

I know people are uncomfortable around me. They get these weird feelings that they can’t truly describe. I sometimes make them retreat, go off and hide and sometimes hold back. It’s a common reaction to those who would rather not experience human emotion.

I know I take people by surprise and they’d rather just not deal. I also realize that I have flaws. I can be overly sensitive and often leap without looking. It’s risky being my friend, but without me, your life would be boring.

My best side, if I do say so myself, is love. I love being in love. Matter of fact, I love YOU being in love. I live a longer life span when you are happiest. What can I say, it’s just who I am. I love hard and play hard. Occasionally I get hurt. But I’m a self-healer. I recalibrate well.

So I will end with this last push.
Life is short, so live it.
Love never runs out.
There’s more.

The Power in our Thoughts


By Dawn Onley

To accomplish anything in life, there is always a way. There is always a chance. There is always hope.

If you do not believe the above three statements to be true, they are not true — for you. You don’t need to do anything. You can stop reading at this point. This post doesn’t apply to you.

If you do believe the statements are true, you will find a way. You will take the chance. You will keep the faith.

And, sooner or later, you will reach your dreams.

That’s the power of the mind. That’s the beauty in what we believe. That’s a universal truth.

We hold the key.


People will Talk, So Just Let ’em

By Samantha McKenzie

Many, many moons ago, I worked a short stint at an African-American art gallery. It was sort of a layover job after having my first child – a transition period between maternity leave and finding a new writing gig. The gallery was located in the city’s cultural arts center which was unofficially managed by a seasoned woman named Mrs. Murphy.

pearls-of-wisdom-i-jai-johnsonMrs. Murphy was actually the housekeeper in this three-level building, but she was a central figure. She came to work with a smile on her face, and greeted everyone with genuine pleasantries. Her shift started around 4 p.m. each day and she spent a portion of her lunch hour teaching me about this “thing called life,” she used to say.

Mrs. Murphy shared hundreds of colorful stories of her childhood, growing up in the south, meeting her husband of 35 years and sacrificing her education to raise her two beautiful children. She was in her late 60s, and as you can imagine, had a fresh take on mostly every topic.

She was a happy woman who was proud of her journey. She had a great personality, an extraordinary relationship with God and the wit and wisdom of the sages. I drank from her spiritual cup often.

One day without invitation she said, “Samantha, people will always talk about you. But let ’em. Let ’em talk. They may be jealous, they may be intimidated, they may be afraid. God only knows, they may just be lonely. Most of the time they are just talking about you because they’re unhappy with themselves.”

“But that is their cross to bear, not yours,” she added. “Don’t worry about what others have to say about you, you just keep doing your best and looking straight ahead.”

I have carried that message with me since that day. Her words of wisdom seemed to immediately lighten my burden. I did care what others thought of me, and I did spend time second guessing myself because of it. I mean, at that age I just wanted to be liked, you know, by everyone. It didn’t matter though, because people still talked.

Mrs. Murphy’s advice arrived at the perfect time and prepared me well. I started to worry less about what other people thought. I tuned my ear to positive things and usedd time for more important ventures, like raising my child and planning our future. And they still continued talking.

I left that job after one year. Mrs. Murphy retired shortly after and we eventually lost touch. She gave me many more lessons within that time – from raising children, to finding my joy and then some. She reminded me to make the best out of my choices. She pushed me to give people something good to talk about, like success. She reminded me that life would provide me with my own share of burdens, no need to take on someone else’s.

Nowadays, I set my sights on what’s most important. And I can only imagine that there are still people who talking. I often hear Mrs. Murphy’s voice in my head, “That’s their cross to bear, not yours.”

Let ’em talk.


Distractions On the Road to Destiny

By Dawn Onley

For years, I would get really hung up on how people treated me.

Loyal to a fault, I would get peeved and even hold grudges toward relationships that weren’t reciprocal. If I supported a person’s dreams yet they didn’t support my dreams, if I helped someone through a trying time yet when I went through, they weren’t around, if I celebrated their victories and they were silent on mine, I would get pissed and eventually I would distance myself from these lopsided relationships.


But the distance didn’t stop the brooding. I spent far too much time nursing hurt wounds. Although we are all different and have different ways of expressing ourselves, I used myself as the example. My barometer was how I valued and treated my relationships and I expected the same treatment in return. I naively assumed that if I offered goodwill that everyone I dealt with on a personal level would too.

When it didn’t happen the way I thought it should, admittedly, I would get distracted. I would allow these distractions into my spirit, even allowing the experiences to lodge in my heart. I would tell so-and-so what so-and-so did. I would temporarily feel better for releasing my hurt, but it never really moved me forward in any substantial way.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the distractions of life were time-consuming and energy-zapping. Even worse, I was allowing them to distract me from my destiny.

One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that to achieve our destinies in life requires a singular, unrelenting focus. Our focus needs to remain on moving the needle closer to our end results and not remaining stuck.

Most of the feelings I was allowing on a monthly, weekly, sometimes daily basis was keeping my mind and attention from more important things.

Any moment spent on items that are not productive to our purpose in life is a moment we can never get back. I thought about this yesterday as I scrolled through social media channels and read posts that were filled with innuendo, drama, and declarations that sprung up from hurt feelings. I thought back to last week and the week before that and even last month. Some of these same people had logged similar posts.

I can relate to some of these people because I’ve been there before. Many times. But a part of growth and maturity requires us to put away things that aren’t helping us flourish.

distractionsIt is so easy to get distracted. There is so much noise in the world. On social media pages there is a constant barrage of life occurrences that take us away from where our minds should be focused.

Bishop TD Jakes discusses this idea of destiny detractors in his book, “Destiny.” He uses Tyler Perry as an example of a person who has fought battles his entire life – against a father who ridiculed him, against the people who sexually abused him, against homelessness, and for his place among filmmakers. Jakes said Perry could have lost his focus and could have succumb to feelings of despair on any number of occasions.

But he didn’t.

Jakes said Perry “chose to let go of the fights that were counterproductive to destiny. Instead, he invested his Warrior Spirit in fights that were worth the effort to get his plays and films to audiences. Tyler kept on fighting to live his dream, even when he was homeless and sleeping in his automobile.”

“Because he never gave up, the winds of fate changed in his favor and he has since sold millions of theater and movie tickets to fans of his beloved Madea persona and the characters in his many other film and theatrical productions,” Jakes added.

That’s the kind of fight that’s worth our energy. The fight for our destiny. The fight for our soul purpose. The kind of fight that helps the winds of fate to change in our favor. Not the stuff that really doesn’t matter.

Ask yourself, before you put it out there and speak it into existence, is this fight worth my energy? Will it get me closer to my destiny?

If the answer is no, let it go.




Sorting Out Your Life

By Samantha McKenzie

When I was growing up in a household of five, I had two main chores: cleaning the bathroom and doing the laundry.

We didn’t have a washer and dryer in my home. I had to gather all the dirty clothes from the shared family hamper, load up the shopping cart with a large bag of garments, sheets and towels and squeeze in the detergent, fabric softener and bleach containers. Next, I’d trek down the street to the neighborhood laundromat and begin my weekly task of separating by colors, sorting by fabrics and taking time to read the instructions for items that required to be “handled with care.”

I spent hours in this facility, every Saturday morning, watching the machines conduct the repetitive job of washing away the dirt from last week’s adventures. As unkempt as it was, I began to like the smells and the sounds: The mixed bouquet of detergents and softeners, the humming noises from the dryers and the warm comforting feeling I got from folding the freshly cleaned clothing.

I learned quickly the best time to get there, which machines worked better and how to avoid actually touching my brother’s filthy socks. I took pride in getting the white clothes whiter and keeping the colored clothes from bleeding. I watched the water slither in and form soapy bubbles in between the rotating clothing.

I learned many lessons from this one chore – lessons that would help me understand life’s cyclical nature and constant rhythms.

I learned that just like laundry, people go through situations in life and if we are willing to endure each cycle, things will work themselves out. Some days our situations feel like the dirty sweatshirt that just needed a little extra soap. Other days we are clean enough to give someone else a shoulder to lean on.

I learned from my experience that each stage of this seemingly unpleasant chore was absolutely necessary. You can’t skip a cycle or speed one up. To get yourself to the next step, you had to endure each phase of the process.


And this is life. Much like the next load of laundry, we are all constantly getting dirty, washing ourselves off, and making strides to get to a better place.

Allow yourself to go through these progressions and treasure the time you have to prepare for what’s to come.

Listening to Mama…

Eat your veggies

By Dawn Onley

It goes back to grade school, when you tried to hide the peas and carrots under the mound of mashed potatoes, and you wondered why mama had to give you so much to begin with.

She’d turn around from the stove, take one look at your plate, and say: “Eat your vegetables. They’re good for you. Don’t you want to be big and strong?” First you wondered if she had ESP. Then you might have muttered something under your breath, causing her to turn back around and eyeball you again. Still somehow, deep down inside your not fully developed kid brain, you knew that mama was right. I mean, she looked big and strong and so did daddy, and they both ate their vegetables.

It’s one of those simple lessons that delivers a wallop of truth. These days, I love a good variety of veggies – sautéed, steamed, baked, chopped, raw, blended, juiced … you name it. But I usually have to be intentional about when and how I eat them – although I always do so knowing that veggies are good for me.

Turns out our mothers were right. They usually are.

But getting back to the lesson; isn’t it funny how most of our tests in life can be aced if we learn to follow some basic instructions? These lessons are so simple, yet if practiced routinely and deliberately, they could have a profound impact on our lives.

Treat people kindly. Love your neighbor. Be a friend. Say your grace. Be thankful.

Eat your vegetables.

Delicious salad