Tag Archives: mind

Change and Choices – Part 1

Personal change begins within.  Often we seek to change the minds and hearts of others without realizing that the heart and mindset of another person is based upon their personal experiences and what they have learned from their families and friends.  Those experiences, whether good or bad, have shaped their perspective.  Their personal perspective dictates their actions and reactions to situations and relationships.  Any change that takes place in a person’s heart or mind therefore is the result of a personal choice made by that individual.

We all choose whether or not we want to have a successful relationship, or not.  We choose whether or not we want to follow in the footsteps of those who had toxic relationships also.  You are a product of your environment but you also have the power as an individual to overcome any circumstance that you may have encountered.  If you come from a broken home, you do not have to create a broken home situation for your own children.  If you had an absentee parent, you do not have to be absent from your children’s lives.  If your parents divorced, you do not have to fear marriage, commitment or experience divorce in your own relationship.  If your household was abusive, you do not have to be a victim or victimizer of abuse.  You are not a slave to your past or that of your family.  You are free.  Free to make choices for yourself.  You are free to be better than what you’ve seen, been taught or witnessed.  You are free to make changes to improve your situation and provide a safer life for your children so that they will see a positive example that they can refer back to.        

Statistically more than 70% of Black women in America are single, and approximately 40% of those women have never been married.  However, more than 40% of Black men in America are also single and have never been married either.  This means that just as many Black men as Black women have never been married.  Why is that? Logically you could say that if the 40% of Black women and the 40% of Black men meet, they could get married.  Maybe they just reside in different areas of the country so it’s a factor of distance more than anything else.  Realistically it means that a large percentage Black men do not have the desire or goal to become married.  This means that the 40% of single and never married Black women have to explore other options, such as crossing racial divides, in order to find a mate.  And with there being an overabundance of single and desperate women willing to share a man for the sake of not feeling lonely, many men do not feel it necessary to commit to one woman when they can have a different woman everyday.   

In my own dating experience I meet a lot of single Black men who “do not want a relationship”, don’t consider it a “priority” and do not want to be committed to just one woman.  They are fearful of the possibilities of failure in their relationships because of their past experiences (marriages and divorces) and the situations in which they were raised (single parent homes without their fathers present), or they have so many women pursuing them that they feel they’d be “giving up” something (ego) in order to commit to just one woman.  These men make a choice, regardless of it being conscious or subconscious.  It’s sad, but true.  It’s the reality of dating in the world we live in.      

People are very cynical and negative about personal relationships.  However, that negativity can be overcome through positive experiences and examples.  In spite of some of the bad relationships I’ve had, I recall the ones that were healthy and positive.  Those set an example and developed a standard for me as I move forward in life.  The good relationships taught me that there is hope and the possibility of love.  Those relationships reiterated to me that all men are not dogs, or trifling, or useless.  Those relationships allowed me to value and respect my authentic self and understand what positive attributes I bring to a relationship.  Those relationships also allowed me to improve myself as an individual and as a woman.  I have made a choice that I will have a healthy and successful relationship.  I have made a choice that I want to be married.  I have made a choice that when the day comes, I will work to have the type of marriage I want and deserve.  The only thing I’m missing is a like-minded and like-hearted man who also has the same desire, goals and resolve that I have. 

To be continued…

Preparedness

Everyday is preparation for something yet to come.  I come from a family that has several members who had illustrious military careers, including my grandfather, who was a decorated World War II Veteran and my uncle who is a decorated Tuskegee Airman.  I’ve been taught a great deal about being prepared.  When I was in high school ROTC, I learned that “pissed-poor preparedness, results in pissed-poor results”.  Preparedness in the military teaches you to be ready, specifically, for battle.  But that’s not the only thing it can prepare a person for.  Many people who have had military careers and experience also become valuable leaders.  Leaders are prepared.

I decided to amp up my workout routine recently, in preparation for the Opera Ball that I’m attending on October 2nd and for a cruise I’m going on early next year.  My workout is HARD; however, I’ve already seen results. Mark England is designing my dress for the Opera Ball and has to alter its size by about four inches.  That’s a reduction in my dress size in only about four weeks.  In addition to my weight loss, I have to prepare for that upcoming black tie event in other ways.  I had to select my make up palette, shoes, handbag and jewelry to compliment the dress, even though I had yet to see the finished product.  This meant that shopping had to be done, appointments had to be made, and orders had to be placed.  I don’t have an assistant (yet) so those preparations had to be done by me.  For the cruise early next year, I’m already considering what other preparations I need to make so that I will have an enjoyable trip, outside of what clothes to pack and how many swimsuits I will need.  I need to purchase my airfare, reserve my hotel in South Beach, arrange for my car service to and from the airport both here and in Miami, decide how best to get to the Port-au-Miami from South Beach for the cruise itself, which night clubs I want to be guest-listed on, etc.  Those preparations are not ones I want to leave for the last minute because other situations could arise that would distract me.  When traveling I like to be able to relax once the date of departure arrives.  In order to maintain that Zen-like feeling I get when I travel, I will need to be prepared in advance.  I also need to consider the possibilities (such as airplane delays) and have mental plans of action at my disposal for those possibilities. 

That’s how life is.  Those who are prepared for the inevitable possibilities can relax and better handle what comes their way, whereas, people who procrastinate or fail to evaluate situations are often left unprepared, confused and miss out on opportunities.  We prepare our children for their future by providing them with educational opportunities when they are young.  We hope they pay attention to what they learn in school, so that they are prepared for what they may encounter during their college years.  We all prepare for work each day, either by checking our schedules and emails, meditating, exercising, reading business articles or whatever your daily routine is.  It’s how you prepare.  It determines the initial response you will have to whatever interactions you are involved in.  We plan and pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Murphy’s Law states, “That anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.  However, if you prepare yourself, even the situations that are “wrong” can turn into something “right”. 

Having faced a layoff earlier this year, what I thought was terribly wrong in my life would have been a lot worse if I had not had a level of preparedness.  I keep my resume updated, I have marketable skills, I had rainy day money in my 401k and my faith is stronger than I am.  I had even decided what I’d do while I was laid off.  That wrong turned a promotion and a raise to replace the position I was being laid off from.  That wrong became a right, even though I wasn’t expecting it, I had preparations in place.  The end result was completely unforeseen. 

Being prepared doesn’t require that you know in advance what the end result will be.  It only requires that you do your best to develop a contingency plane for the events that may be out of your control, but controlled by you after they occur.  How you react to and evaluate a situation, and how much energy you exert, are all within your personal control, regardless of the situation.  It helps to have an awareness of a situation in advance, but that’s not possible the majority of the time.  The only thing you can do is be ready for the possibilities, the changes, and the choices.  This can not be accomplished by sitting in the background to see what others will do.  This can not be accomplished by crossing your fingers and hoping the issue will go away.  This can not be accomplished by “just praying about it”.  After all, faith without works is dead and we’re given free will to make decisions for a reason.  Therefore, you have to be prepared.  

Of course, no one can ever be prepared for every instance in life, but it serves each of us best to make an attempt to be prepared, more than it does not to.

On a Clear Day

It is said that on a clear day you can see forever.  This morning, as I drove Super Son to school, from the Westside of the city, I could see the Renaissance Center with the sunrise gleaming off of it.  It appeared to be so close that if I hadn’t known better, I might have tried to reach out to touch it.  As I marveled, I said aloud, “on a clear day you can see forever”. That caused me to reflect on clarity in our minds and hearts as well. 

When your mind is clear, you can see possibilities as endless and limitless.  You are more open to change and therefore, more likely to adapt to situations and environments.  If your mind is clear of negativity and fear, you can make the impossible, possible.  If your mind is clear your faith and perseverance are stronger and challenges become opportunities instead of struggles. 

When your heart is clear, you feel love deeply and without fear of rejection or pain.  You can give of yourself to others fully and with trust, knowing that you may or may not receive the same in return, but it doesn’t prevent you from loving regardless.  If your heart is clear of pain felt resulting from your past, your ability to move forward into the realms of love in your present and future are not impeded.  You are then able to be loved in return, fully and deeply.

Sometimes we hinder our own success because our minds aren’t clear and we refuse to view things differently.  We stick ourselves in a box labeled “comfort zone”.  Sometimes our relationships fail because we hinder ourselves with fear and apprehension.  We stick ourselves in a box labeled “past experiences”.  This is neither a prosperous or productive way to live.  

I encourage you to clear your minds and hearts, not for anyone else, but for the limitless possibilities it will create for you; professionally, personally and financially.   Because on a clear day you can truly see forever.