Ignite Purpose

Our dreams can ignite a passion for a cause that reveals our purpose. We all have a purpose…our reason for being here. When we don’t fulfill our purpose, things come undone or don’t get done.

Our purpose is sometimes revealed in an unexpected way when we experience something personally or something happens to someone close to us and we feel compelled to act. Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving after a drunk driver who had a history of arrests for intoxication hit and killed her daughter.

misty4secondpositionOr sometimes we’re exposed to something for the very first time and we don’t understand how we’re going to live with out this in our lives. Think Misty Copeland who wasn’t introduced to ballet until the relatively late age of 13.

Every now and then our innate and obvious passions and talents are nurtured and developed from the beginning of our lives…we call those people prodigies. Pablo Picasso’s passion and talent for drawing were evident, encouraged and expanded from an early age by his art instructor father.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets that kind of early, sustained support, but that doesn’t mean we can’t act on our desires and use our talents to fulfill our purpose as soon as we know what it is. It doesn’t matter how or even when we get to our purpose. It only matters that when the discovery is made, we strive to live in and on purpose.

Our light is revealed as we strike our gift against the needs of the world…” ~ Mark Nepo

Inhale Dreams, Exhale Delusion…
Inhale Discovery, Exhale Discouragement…
Inhale Development, Exhale Abandonment…
Just Breathe…

#ReflectionsWithRenita

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Centered

Everything I read during my morning devotion encouraged me to get still. I was feeling agitated…nothing debilitating just an increased level of “did I get this done” and “what can I do to make a difference?”

I realized I hadn’t been doing what I know to do to keep myself centered and receptive.
I was watching too much news.
I wasn’t entering my items “to do” in my phone planner app as soon as they occurred to me so I could let them go.
I wasn’t taking the time to slow down and really get still.
And I was feeling some kind of way that wasn’t reflective of how I want to feel.

So I took the time to get still, breathe in unison with life and let the truth flow in. And already, I’m feeling more at peace…

“Being centered…plunges us again and again, into that unseeable stream in which life is continually vital and refreshed.” ~ Mark Nepo

Inhale Centered, Exhale Chaotic…
Inhale Slow Down, Exhale Stress Out…
Inhale At Peace, Exhale Agitated…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Keep Dreaming

Our dreams are like babies. They need to be fed, nurtured, and protected in a safe environment to thrive. If they are not fed enough, or neglected too often, or exposed too early to a harsh world before they are sufficiently developed, our dreams die. And even though our bodies may continue to function, when our dreams die, we are less than alive.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

“Harlem” by Langston Hughes

Inhale Dreams, Exhale Stagnation,
Inhale Inception, Exhale Restriction,
Inhale Conception, Exhale Destruction…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Dream On

The dreams that you have, the desires placed on your heart, the emotions you experience in response to events are there for a reason. They are showing you bits of your destiny…what your world can look like if you step into the fullness of who you are…and how stepping into your purpose can impact your larger community, even the world.

“If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” ~ Ava DuVernay, director of Selma

Inhale Dreams, Exhale Distractions…
Inhale Desires, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Destiny, Exhale Complacency…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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How Are You?

I admit, I have struggled to stay positive in the face of so much injustice, so much hypocrisy … so much inhumanity. I haven’t been able to watch the videoed violence against black bodies, seemingly a new one each week, but like most people of color at least, each incident has impacted my sense of security. It’s personal…it’s frustrating…it’s heartbreaking.

I weep at night for the families and friends directly impacted. I look at the faces of the black people I see on the train and wonder…”How are you doing? How are you coping with the trauma?”

And then I remember that “suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.” ~ Pema Chodron.

And I try not to panic…

Inhale Action, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Caring, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Resolve, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Humanity

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Right Now

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God, that’s why they call it the present.” ~  Babatunde Olatunji

This right here, right now moment is all we really have, so be in it. Embrace this moment…wallow in it…let it wash over you. Enjoy the wonder, the emotion of it…see what is there to see, experience the flow of life, feel what you are feeling.

…Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive….” Ecclesiastes 9: 7-10

Inhale Now, Exhale Frustration…
Inhale Now, Exhale Worry…
Inhale Now, Exhale Anxiety…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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Expectations

Letting go of the illusion of control doesn’t mean we can’t expect good things to happen. In fact, we SHOULD expect that a loving Father is going to provide for our needs and not fall into despair when that doesn’t happen on our timeline.

Our expectation may seem like unrealistic optimism, but when we look for and expect what God has promised, we can be confident.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV

Inhale Expectation, Exhale Hopelessness…
Inhale Provision, Exhale Withdrawal…
Inhale Favor, Exhale Despair…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Freedom

When you can encounter each experience with openness, when you can let go of your expectation about what you want to happen and embrace the excitement of infinite possibilities, when you can let go of the belief you are in control…you will experience freedom!

“To live your life without expectation-without the need for specific results-that is freedom. That is Godliness.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Inhale Openness, Exhale Expectation…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Control…
Inhale Liberation, Exhale Struggle…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe
#Expectations

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Present Moment

I am a planner. I believe the way to make a vision reality is to plan the route that makes the most sense and head in that direction. But sometimes I can get so caught up in adhering to my plan for the experience that I miss the experience!

So I’ve learned to try to keep the planning simple so I can take the time to enjoy the journey.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42

Inhale Being, Exhale Doing…
Inhale Presence, Exhale Planning…
Inhale Now, Exhale Next…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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American Myth: The Western

I remember watching westerns as a child; not a lot of movies but TV shows like Bonanza and The Big Valley. But if you did watch the big Hollywood westerns, you probably had a strong sense of the good guys and the bad guys….the noble settlers versus the ignoble savage; the strong, silent cowboy versus the blood-thirsty savage; civilization versus savagery…

And then we became more self-aware as a nation. We realized the people we labeled “savages” were simply protecting their land, which they viewed as sacred, and their way of life from the entitled interlopers. Avatar could be considered a modern “western” told from the perspective of the natives.

We learned that the myth of the American cowboy derives from Mexican as well as Southern American sources.

So much of what we think we believe about ourselves comes from what we are taught directly from our parents and educational institutions and what we perceive indirectly from society.  We are  influenced by soft information in all its forms and just like those who don’t live in this country base their beliefs about American on what they see in Hollywood movies, we perceive ourselves and other based on what we see in the media.

The justifications, assumptions and attitudes about peoples of color during the founding of this country shaped government policies and artistic expressions, which in turn influence our current attitudes. Tweet this now!Tweet

Long past the time the “settlers” of this country sought to eliminate its original inhabitants by forcibly removing them from their lands, isolating them on reservations, or assimilating them into European culture, American Indians, according to Harvard project, “State of the Native Nations” experience epidemic levels of alcoholism, drug abuse, diabetes, and other health problems that are linked to cultural stress.

Long past the time the founders of this country built a thriving economy on the backs of a people they stole from another country, Black Americans suffer from a racist policing system, originated to enforce the subjugation of an oppressed people.

Long past the time the government of America took a portion of inhabited Mexico and declared it our largest geographical state (until they took Alaska), many Americans have decided the Mexican descendants of their Texas cousins are somehow different and less desirable than the immigrants from other locations.

To paraphrase the late Maya Angelou, when we know better, we have to do better…

The easy thing to do is focus on the symptoms of this oppression.  The hard thing is to examine how we got here.

The easy thing is to ignore the reality of racism for people of color. The hard thing is to examine why we are still here.

The easy thing is to deflect blame. The hard thing is to accept responsibility.

The easy thing is to reject new information and realities. The hard thing is to transform through a deeper understanding of truth.

Transformation often only comes when an individual becomes uncomfortable in their current existence, when what they know becomes more uncomfortable than what they fear. Tweet this now!Tweet

Are you ready for a change?

Something to think about:

How uncomfortable are you right now?

Renita Alexander, Leadership Unlocked

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