Energy Matters. Be Mindful.

 

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By Dawn Onley

The energy we put out into the universe has a way of coming back to us — like a boomerang. It’s how people come to learn us.

Think about one of your dear friends. Say his or her name. What popped into your head just now? Probably a physical image of your friend, but also descriptors – like sweet, funny, loyal, nice, generous, smart, confident, strong, loving — that reinforce your image of him or her.

It’s not just in our conversations and interactions with them, where people come to learn us, although this is the primary way. It’s also in our demeanors, how we express ourselves, how we engage with others in their presence, what we do and even what we don’t do. It’s how we live our lives and the energy that makes up our auras.

This can be good or bad. Friends and family tend to love us regardless and cut us slack for our shortcomings where other people who know us in a less intimate way can form opinions and judgments about us based on the picture that we’re projecting, and we may not even be fully aware of that picture.

When people hear you complaining a lot, talking bad about others, always knee-deep in drama and negativity, they may reasonably conclude that you’re bitter, unhappy, jealous or angry. So this becomes the mental image in their head when they think of you.

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When you constantly need validation from others, people may deduce that you’re needy, insecure, or have low self-esteem.

When you laugh heartily and often, and are usually up for anything fun, people may see you as happy-go-lucky, optimistic, easy to get along with, or adventurous.

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How we interact with others is how others see us. I’m not talking about a bad or good day here and there, I’m referring to the consistent images and the ongoing conversation people whom we know and who know us have in their minds once they leave us.

Once these opinions are formed, it’s tough to shake them off.

Right about now, I’ll bet that some of you are thinking who cares what others think.

And that’s all well and good (to thine own self be true), until…

You go for that job interview.

You ask your best girlfriend why all guys treat you the same way.

Until, no one wants to be bothered.

Energy matters. Be mindful.

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Real Life Happens in the Moments

By Samantha McKenzie

Real life happens in very brief, random, fleeting moments. Sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss it.

It can be made up of split second decisions or the final result of well thought out plans…either way, it unfolds right before our eyes.Image result for live in the moments

Real life happens way before you walk into an auditorium to receive that diploma. It probably started when you opted out of the distractions and chose to focus on studying those few extra hours.

Real life moments happen way before you get invited on a stage to showcase your talent. It began when you picked up a hair brush or that kitchen utensil and made it your first microphone. These are the moments that define your life. They don’t often get recognized as such, but they happen daily and are the real bricks and mortar of you.

Real life is that moment when you decide to tell the truth, because you know in that instant that the lie isn’t worthy of you anymore. It happens when you’re not confused nor wishy-washy about your decision. It’s when your mind is made up and there’s no swaying you. It’s when your yes finally means yes and your no simply means no.

1332264470-o-AFRICAN-AMERICAN-LOVE-COUPLE-facebook.jpgReal life moments are the small pieces of time that help build character. It’s the place in time where principles are etched.

There’s no applause when it occurs.

There aren’t any fireworks or fanfare.

You won’t be able to capture it and post it on social media. It just happens.

Sometimes, it will look like forgiveness to a friend for a decade old misunderstanding or a smile that was just meant to make someone’s day. It’s real and you’ll feel it, if only for a moment and it will mean something to only you. Stay awake for it. This is real life happening.

Real life doesn’t come from watching the lives of others. Celebrities can’t produce a real life moment for me nor you. Your parents, try as they will, won’t be able to provide you with it either. It’s all on you.

So make your real life count. Explode in the small steps you take towards your big dream and let it guide your passion. Pay attention to the brief encounters and the daily decisions that get you closer to the real you. Take advantage of every moment that you create because they were made with you in mind.

Live in the moments.

Believe in Your Dreams

Believe in your Dreams

By Dawn Onley

Everything you’ve ever wished for is on the other side of fear.

Fear can keep us from so many things: Love. The dream job. Untold opportunities. A meaningful life. The right friendships. Fear of failure can keep us from success, on our own terms. Fear of success can keep us stagnant.

When we work through fear, we begin to unleash our highest selves.

This is not simply a concept or a theory. It’s a truth that is as old as the ages, and it is only possible through faith.

At night, we dream big dreams for ourselves, but we have no idea of how big the possibilities are, come day. If we did, we’d act. Right now. We wouldn’t fear. We wouldn’t wait. We wouldn’t brood. We wouldn’t sit at the table when our song plays. We’d get up and dance!

We owe it to ourselves to explore the full possibilities of our lives. We owe it to each other, too.

“The future is as bright as your faith.”Thomas S. Monson

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Fact: Girl Power is a Thing

By Samantha McKenzie

(Sources: U.S. Census Bureau 2013-15; The World Bank Data)

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There are 7.6 billion people in the world and 3.5 billion are women.

657 million  of us live in China. Another 600 million live in India.

162 million women live in the United States.

Our nation’s capital has the largest female population than any other state. The top five states are Delaware, Rhode Island, Alabama, Maryland and New York.

In 39 states, women outnumber men.Related image

In America, 75.6 million women are in the work force.

1.6 million women are veterans.

9.9 million women in America own businesses. Dawn Onley is one of them. Image result for women small business

Women-owned businesses in America have annual earnings of $1.4 trillion.

Women make up 43% of U.S voters.

43.5 million women in America are mothers. 5.2 million are stay-at-home moms.

67.1 million women are married.Image result for women in school

12.7 million women are currently enrolled in college.

30.2% of women in the U.S. have college degrees.

Girl power is a thing.  And we’re not going anywhere.

Women who hope, also thrive. #facts.

Honoring Our Seniors. Giving Them Their Flowers Now.

“The elderly pass on history, doctrine, faith and they leave them to us as inheritance,” Pope Francis preached in November 2013. “The wisdom of our grandparents is the inheritance we ought to receive. A people that does not care for its grandparents, that does not respect its grandparents, has no future since it has lost its memory.”

“Do as much as you can, for as long as you can, for as many as you can, while you still can.” – Joy Onley (inspired by a quote from John Wesley)

The Honors Class, December 3, 2017

Five years ago, my mother started The Honors Class, a local nonprofit in Frederick, MD (my hometown) which honors senior citizens 90 years and older with various celebrations, services and gifts. The tradition continued yesterday in a beautiful setting overlooking a golf course and autumn hues, as more than 20 elders were feted by a crowd that included the newly elected mayor, Michael O’Connor, and several members of the Board of Alderman, a governing body known as City/Town Council in most jurisdictions. Those BoA leaders in attendance included Kelly Russell, Derek Shackelford, and Roger Wilson.

“Frederick is a better city because of the selfless sacrifices and contributions that our seniors have made through the years,” O’Connor wrote in the nonprofit’s “Attitude of Gratitude” event program. “They have given us so much and are so deserving of any honors bestowed on them. We celebrate these seniors today and always. And, we tip our hats to The Honors Class for your generosity and devotion to our community’s elderly.”

I have come to really love each program honoring the eldest members of our community. I’m in awe of their lives and immensely grateful for their sacrifices. I’m so proud of my mom and the members of The Honors Class for giving these seniors their flowers while they are still here to enjoy them. The elderly have added so much value to our lives just by being in it and events like this help to show them that we were listening, that we learned something from them, that they are admired and that we are incredibly blessed to call them family or friend.

My mother has always taken to the elderly. When I was a child, she ran a program through the church that paired children with an elder and we were each responsible for checking in on our “adopted grandparent” by visiting them, writing them letters, buying them gifts for their birthday and Christmas, etc. The seniors really enjoyed it, and we kids did, too. I grew up seeing firsthand both my mom’s love for the elderly and just how needed this type of program was for communities.

As an adult, I see how easy it is to overlook our seniors while we go about our busy lives. We can get so consumed with living that we forget to let our loved ones know just what they mean to us. We can take for granted that they’ll be here longer than they actually will. One senior in my mom’s group that I instantly took to, a gifted poet, died last month. During a summer event, I told her I wanted to reach out to read more of her poems. I never did and now she’s gone.

A quick phone call or visit might not mean much to us, but it could mean the world to someone else. Let’s vow to take the time to do this, if we aren’t already doing it.

I know I will. I will stop talking about doing better and will just do better. I will get more involved in my mom’s nonprofit and will honor these seniors. I will visit my Nana more often. When the thought of a person enters my mind, I will reach out then. I won’t put it off for tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised.

I will share the flowers now. I will let them know that I appreciate them and that they played a role in shaping our community. I will tell them that their sacrifices made my road easier. That they are my heroes and sheroes.

I will help grow the work of The Honors Class and give the elderly their flowers now because, the sweet fragrance of gratitude while they can still smell it and see it and receive it and enjoy it is better than all of the eulogies in the world.

How to Help #metoo

Editor’s note: Someone asked me why I thought so many women were coming forward, almost at the same time, to tell their stories about being sexually harassed or raped. The person was puzzled by the sheer numbers and the similarity in stories. He began, like many of us, to form the opinion that this can’t be true. How could this be going on and we not know about it? How come they took so long to come forward? Why now? And without much hesitation, I responded: “Even in our pain, we, women, find strength in our unity.” 

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Dear men and women,

I’ve been a mixed bag of emotions listening to the stories of women who are now coming forward to talk about their experiences dealing with sexual harassment. I’ve had feelings of joy because of their bravery, feelings of disgust towards those who have taken advantage of them, and even more so, feelings of anger towards the people who continuously blame the victim (like, for real, what is wrong with you people!). I’ve also felt a great sense of peace, knowing that this is the time. This is the time to lend our voice, to support one another, to confess our sins and to ask for forgiveness. This is our time, I believe, to peel back the layers and deal with our nasty truths: we have failed.

And so today, I wanted to share a few thoughts on ways we can act when we hear about, read about, or learn about another woman’s painful story.

Listen. Listen in a different way. Listen without a predetermined mindset and without prejudice. Listen wholeheartedly as if the person that’s speaking was your child.

Don’t make the story about you. Even if the person is talking about you, don’t take on the burden of blame at the moment. The story is about the person who is telling it. You can deal with your own guilt at a later time.

Don’t offer ways you would have handled the incident. That’s irrelevant and probably not even the truth. Fear sometimes paralyzes us. Consider, for the moment, that the person who experienced this terrible act did what they thought was best at the time.

Embrace them for their courage. It’s not easy talking about painful memories or experiences we have bookmarked with shame or guilt. Acknowledge their bravery. They will need it in the days to come as they move through their trauma.

If you don’t have anything to offer, don’t say anything at all. There’s no need for filler statements. Life has already taken care of that. This is a time for healing. Give them that chance.

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To my sisters near and far – I believe you. Stand up, speak out and move towards the light.

Onward.