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I’ve now lived in Chicago longer than any place since I started my military career. I thought after 27 years of moving every two to three years, it might be difficult to stay in the same city. But not only have I been in the same city, I’ve spent these last nine (!) years in the same building.

So this last month as summer has lingered and I prepared to move into my own place, I’ve spent my mornings on the roof, enjoying the amazing view and being grateful for having a place to call home.

“Home is where you make it.” ~ Anonymous

Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Entitlement…
Inhale Peace, Exhale Chaos…
Inhale Home, Exhale Loneliness…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Internal Compass

Everyday we receive guidance about what we’re supposed to be doing.
If we’re still enough to pay attention, we can hear it.
If we’re paying attention, we can recognize what it is.
If we recognize it, we can choose to be obedient.
If we’re obedient, we will act on the guidance we’re given.
And our actions can impact the world…or at least OUR world.

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3: 5-6 MSG

Inhale Stillness, Exhale Distraction…
Inhale Recognition, Exhale Rejection…
Inhale Action, Exhale Ignoring…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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When the Coach Needs a Coach…

Staying in the precious, present moment is a topic I write about and speak about …and this week it’s been a topic I’ve struggled hard to BE about. And so I’m grateful for people in my life like Coach April, who was obedient to her God voice urging her to remind me to be here, now.

God deals out joy in the present, the now.” Ecclesiastes 5: 19b MSG

Inhale Now, Exhale Future…
Inhale Present, Exhale Worry…
Inhale Joy, Exhale Anxiety…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Absolute Power

If we lived up to what we say we believed…if we treated others the way we would like to be treated…if we could fully comprehend the internal impact of our behavior toward others on our own humanity, we would behave differently.

Of course, we can’t or don’t and so sometimes understanding the overt consequences of our behavior is enough to keep our egos in check.

But when there are no consistent consequences that deter us from ignoring morals and mores and manners, when there are no consistent consequences for deviant behavior, chaos ensues…

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~ Lord John Dalberg Acton

Inhale Morality, Exhale Immorality…
Inhale Consequences, Exhale Corruption…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Nihilism…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Melting Pot…?

I watched some of the PBS series on Italian Americans last weekend, and I was struck most by the fear this new group of immigrants generated in the European Americans who were already established in this country. Like the Irish who had come earlier in the century, Italian Americans faced negative stereotyping, discrimination and violence.

I was reminded that the struggle to live up to the ideals of our founding has existed since America came to exist. I was also reminded that the achievement of ‘whiteness” available to these groups seems to have robbed them of their collective memories of prejudice and distrust experienced by their ancestors.

If they remembered, would that change their attitudes?

“Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.” ~ Coretta Scott King

Inhale Acceptance, Exhale Abhorrence …
Inhale Immigration, Exhale Marginalization…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Antipathy…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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American Complicity

I suspect the one third of Americans who still approve of #45 is the same one third who frequently invite the one third they’ve identified as the “others” to just leave America. Or if they stay, to be denied full access to citizenship, preferably while serving time or detained in an ICE center….and servicing the government for free. OR be exterminated.

And if the remaining one third is disengaged, that could happen.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” ~ Haile Selassie

Inhale Engagement, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Speaking, Exhale Silence…
Inhale Action, Exhale Complicity…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Leadership Responsibility

I peeked at the news last week to catch the reaction to retiring Tennessee Senator Bob Corker’s comments about #45. Corker had a lot to say; his most shocking to me was that #45’s reckless threats toward other countries could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

Whoa…what?! So let me understand this…the GOP leadership recognizes the danger represented by #45, the potential for World War, the possibility for world destruction…and they’re unwilling to take action?

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inhale Statesmanship, Exhale Showmanship…
Inhale Gravitas, Exhale Frivolity…
Inhale Governing, Exhale Hypocrisy…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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Looking for Leadership In All the Wrong Places…

In response to #45’s support of white supremacists rioting in Charlottesville this past August, author J.K. Rowling posted: “One good thing about that abomination of a speech: it’s now impossible for any Trump supporter to pretend they don’t know what he is.”

I would say that many if not most of the people who voted #45 into office knew exactly who he was and like him just the way he is. And J.K. knows a thing or two about the type of people who support a would be autocrat…

“They were a mixture of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking glory, and the thuggish seeking a leader who could show them more refined cruelty…” ~ Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, character from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books

Inhale Leadership, Exhale Weakness…
Inhale Leadership, Exhale Oppression…
Inhale Leadership, Exhale Evil…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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The Evil Men Do…

People want to ascribe evil to only the most extreme behavior and label it inhuman. But evil is an all TOO human characteristic. And just like all the “isms” plaguing American society, is rooted in human frailty and fear.

“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.” ~ W. H. Auden, English poet

Inhale Conscience, Exhale Corruption…
Inhale Morality, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Humanity, Exhale Evil…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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My Community

I don’t usually miss the Chicago Marathon. If I’m in town, I’m usually on the east side of Michigan Ave, between 13th and 14th streets, rooting for anyone I know, calling out the runners with names pasted on their shirts, and reminding them there is less than half a mile to the finish line. I’ve seen sweet proposals, runners supporting other runners who are just trying to finish and efficient emergency response when needed.

This year I stood next to a family from Iowa as they waited patiently for their runner, pride streaming down their faces when they spotted her. I cheered for Brittney too, and for the husband who spotted his wife standing next to me and detoured to get some love.

I felt the energy of my fellow Chicagoans standing next to strangers and encouraging other strangers to FINISH…and it felt good.

“People are hard to hate close-up. Move in.” Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness

Inhale Community, Exhale Separation…
Inhale Connection, Exhale Distance…
Inhale Civility, Exhale Disinterest…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

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