Correction

Good or bad, we often expect our closest friends and family to co-sign our actions. And when they do, we love their loyalty, and when they don’t, we decry their betrayal.

But is the person who agrees with our negative behavior really a friend? And is the person who calls us out for behaving badly truly an enemy?

Inhale Love, Exhale Pretense…
Inhale Truth, Exhale Deceit…
Inhale Authenticity, Exhale Insincerity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Feedback

Feedback is hard to hear. And it’s not just the negative stuff we have a hard time hearing; studies show that even comments that could be considered complimentary are hard for many of us to accept. That’s because, according to author Shelia Heen, most “people actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves”, whether those perceptions are positive or negative. We all want to be accepted for who we THINK we are.

But since we don’t get to hear or see ourselves or feel our energy, feedback can be very helpful IF we can receive it well.

Inhale Listening, Exhale Ignoring…
Inhale Receiving, Exhale Rejecting…
Inhale Accepting, Exhale Denying…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Hurtful Words

I once dated a guy who would make “jokes” at my expense. When I complained, he would defend himself and accuse me of being overly sensitive. I finally realized his behavior for what it was…abuse.

People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”
Are worse than careless campers
who walk away from smoldering campfires.” Proverbs 26:18-19 MSG

Inhale Honor, Exhale Dishonor…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Deception …
Inhale Integrity, Exhale Duplicity…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Careless Words

Be impeccable with your word.” ~ don Miguel Ruiz.

Have you noticed how one negative comment can negate a thousand positive praises? Like any decision, what we decide to say has consequences. Likewise, NOT deciding, intending or being deliberate and conscious about the possible impact of our words is also a choice.

How people receive and respond to what we say is their responsibility. Making sure we share our words in truth AND love is our responsibility.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” ~ Ephesians 4:29 MSG

Inhale Intention, Exhale Insincerity…
Inhale Clarity, Exhale Carelessness…
Inhale Responsibility, Exhale Recklessness…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Lessons

I’m a learner. I’ve course corrected many times on my life journey to incorporate the lessons learned from experience, mine and others, and the consequences of my choices, good and bad.

I’m also a helper, so I try to share those life lessons, especially when I see folks going through something similar. But I’ve learned that for some people, the only lessons retained are those learned through experience. And that is perfectly okay.

We cannot drink only of happiness or sorrow and have life remain life.” Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Inhale Experience, Exhale Ignorance…
Inhale Consequences, Exhale Confusion…
Inhale Retention, Exhale Destruction…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Positive Energy

One of the first lessons I learned in the Air Force was the power of my energy to positively impact or negatively infect those around me.

It happened quite by accident when I brought the funk one day and infected everyone in my workspace. “Hmmm…why is everyone so grumpy” I wondered? The next day, I was feeling better … and so was everyone else. “Could it be…?” I pondered.

So over the next few days, I conducted a little clandestine social experiment. My hypothesis was confirmed…I was affecting the energy!” You may be thinking “Durr” but it was a Big AHA moment for me. That lesson impacted how I led then and continues to influence how I chose to present myself to the world – appropriately positive!

Inhale Energy, Exhale Lethargy…
Inhale Positivity, Exhale Negativity…
Inhale Readiness, Exhale Disinterest…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Self-Care

It’s not selfish, it’s self-care.” ~ Renita Alexander

Self-sacrifice is a concept that is reinforced so strongly that women especially sometimes give from a place of lack. Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Goddesses Never Age, uses the image of the nursing mother to encourage women to take care of themselves. She points out that a nursing mother who hasn’t slept or eaten properly is less likely to be able to produce milk.

I shared the wisdom with a group of women a few years ago and one woman expanded the vision to include the expectations that sometimes accompany our giving, especially when we’re giving from a space of lack or depletion.

Giving from a place of lack is like breast-feeding your child and expecting a thank you.” ~ Clarissa Lester Kenty

Inhale Self-Awareness, Exhale Unconsciousness …
Inhale Self-Esteem, Exhale Lack …
Inhale Self-Care, Exhale Neglect …
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita

Oxygen Mask

The safety briefing prior to a flight always includes the reminder to put YOUR mask on before helping others in an emergency. And while we wouldn’t question the wisdom of that directive, in our lives we are constantly flying from one family crisis to another, flailing and sometime failing because we are operating without oxygen. We are trying to help others when we can’t breathe…

Who will give me wings,” I ask—“wings like a dove?” Get me out of here on dove wings; I want some peace and quiet.” Psalm 55: 6-7, MSG

Inhale Rest, Exhale Exhaustion…
Inhale Revive, Exhale Weaken…
Inhale Renew, Exhale Repress…
#JustBreathe…

Reflections With Renita

Emotions

Our emotions are there to tell us something about the way we’re processing our experience. How we respond to our emotions says a lot about who we are…we get to choose.

Positivity is one of my strengths and I usually choose to be positive. Not always, but I work on it. I do things that fill me up, like getting still to pray and meditate and getting physical through exercise and eating healthy. I try to limit my exposure to negativity…be it people, experiences, or lies masquerading as news.

And when I do experience negative emotions, I process them. I cry, I read favorite passages…I get still to feel what I’m feeling. I go to my favorite healing places, like Lake Michigan or when it’s winter in Chicago, I listen to the sounds of the ocean and imagine I’m on a cruise ship or lying on a beach. I let the emotions flow through me like water…and then I focus on the blessings in my life.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Inhale Emotion, Exhale Stoicism…
Inhale Feelings, Exhale Repression…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Numbness…
#JustBreathe…

Reflections With Renita

Model Behavior

I’m a fitness enthusiast and a firm believer that our magnificently complex bodies can stay healthier if we stay active and monitor what we ingest.

But that’s not just theory for me…I’ve got role models for graceful aging in my 80-year-old parents.

My father is still an enthusiastic golfer, talking smack and taking names of golfers half his age!

My mother managed to stave off diabetes by upping her activity and lowering her caloric intake.

And their great physical health positively impacts them mentally, spiritually and emotionally!

At its deepest level, your body is ageless, your mind timeless.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Inhale Stamina, Exhale Sluggishness…
Inhale Strength, Exhale Stiffness…
Inhale Steadiness, Exhale Surrender…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe
Reflections With Renita