You Are the Light a.k.a “What Are You Waiting For”

I began graduate school when “things” were good in U.S. society. Jobs were plentiful. Innovation was rampant. Grants and Research funding were flowing, I mean not overflowing, yet the stream was strong. Some questioned why I would continue into a doctoral program in a discipline that was so enigmatic. My masters degree and experience was a solid meal ticket.

A third of the way into my doc program, folks were running to graduate school. Various sectors of the economy were tanking. “Things” were bad everywhere, and for nearly everyone. Folks were applying to and matriculating into graduate school like it was the line for commodities at the community center.

Around this time I encountered a quote/saying that was quippy and made me giggle.

“Due to the recession the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off.”

As it turns out, things got THICK in my doctoral program and subsequently in my ENTIRE life shortly after this nugget was shared with me. Amazingly enough, this little quip helped me through the darkest of periods. It was somewhat of a mantra in the last legs of journey through graduate school.

However, tonight it died a miserable death.

Tonight while relaxing and enjoying a sporadic summer evening’s rain and a cool breeze, I sat rocking with my eyes closed and praying. As I concluded I breathed deeply and would normally have begun to hum softly. Instead I unintentionally found myself ear hustling a conversation that flipped my priceless gem completely. This little nugget that got me through by far the toughest process of my life was now shattered.  Something entirely different was revealed; something that is more valuable to me presently.

“As a leader, you are the light at the end of the tunnel. Find ways to be inspired, to chip away at the barriers ahead.” ~ Lincoln Stephens

My breath caught in my throat and my ear hustling game was discovered. Yet, since I wasn’t a part of the conversation I was luckily able to retreat back into my own lair of thoughts. I recalled a poem I wrote last winter just as my current season was beginning.

What You Are

You are life

You are love

You are a covenant

You are a promise

You are a commitment

You are a sacrifice

You are a protector

You are a cover

You are loving

You are sustaining

You are supportive

You are obedient

You are inspiring

You are tireless

There are no reinforcements

You are who your grandmothers prayed for

Due to the encouragement of one of my mentees, it also happens to be the first poem I ever performed in front of an audience.  I’ve shared it with you, because the sentiments of the quote, and the poem are so much more valuable than the original quip.

The original quote and it’s sentiments made me giggle. These words and thoughts bring me joy.

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Public Bathrooms, Toilet Paper & Paper Towels: Faith vs. Risk

A few weeks ago I found myself in a quandary, while sitting in a public bathroom stall. It was in one of my favorite stores and its usually one of the better public bathrooms I’ve ever been in. Yet I still found myself sitting in the stall, on the pot, having done my business, with no tissue.

Well, the NO tissue statement isn’t entirely the truth. There was no tissue on the roll. There was a lone moderately sufficient sized 5 sheet sliver on the floor – that looked completely clean – at least to my increasingly panicked eye.

So I stared at that sheet trying to determine the amount of germs it held, sitting there so innocently on the bathroom floor. I looked under the stall, no one was in the bathroom; I listened intently to be sure. Yup, no one was around.

I contemplated running with jeans at my knees to the next stall to retrieve some tissue from the  roll next door. Yet, halfway to the door in my own stall it occurred to me that it may not have any tissue either. Sigh – could I make it in and out of multiple stalls searching for tissue on the roll, with no one walking in on me? Should I sit here and wait for someone, so I can ask for help?

Sigh.

I looked back down at that potentially disease infested sliver of toilet paper that seemed to be growing longer and longer as it lay on the floor.

With what I’d read in a magazine article about public bathroom toilet seats and floors, all I could think about was trying to explain an STI to my husband if I caught something from a random piece of toilet paper.

I half stood, half crouched at the door of my stall a moment longer.

Should I risk it? Did I have enough faith in one of my favorite public bathrooms, which had already let me down to check another stall? Did I have enough faith that I’d God would create a star wars force field outside the bathroom door so that no one would walk in on me running around a public restroom with my bum out?

Sigh.

I unlocked and cracked the door. No one there.

I opened the door…

AND THERE WAS THE PAPER TOWEL HOLDER!

Angels sung!

I didn’t even have to move my bum completely out of the stall…if I bent over awkwardly.

I only took a split second to acknowledge, and quickly dismiss, the fact that the paper towels were those hard brown paper bag ones. Even though I used this public restroom many times before, I always use the hand blow dryer to reduce the environmental waste of paper towels.

Sigh. This registers as I make use of the paper towels. I take solace in the fact that least no one  walked in.

My risk was rewarded. There were greater risks I could have taken that would not have required my reliance on so many unknowns. For instance, I could have used the tissue on floor. I could have just pulled up my pants and left (surprisingly as I am writing this I realize that the latter never occurred to me).

How often do you take risks, especially in a situation where you’ve already been let down by someone or something you’ve previously had faith in?

What would you have done?

Showing Up vs. Being There

When I was in 3rd grade I got a certificate for perfect attendance. The irony of the situation was that on the day of the awards ceremony I was absent. That is an experience that has always stuck out in my memories of childhood. 

The thing is, we often have fuzzy moments of our lives that we recall, rather than a life full of intense and vivid memories.

I have experienced many major milestones this past year and have had several intense transitions in my life during this time as well. In just the last few months nearly a dozen folks that I admire, call examples and have looked to as role models have passed on. They were accomplished individuals, some famously so, and others simply known and revered to those who had the privilege of sharing their last name or zip code.

I heard myself saying and saw myself posting on twitter, that there must be some sort of conspiracy going on in the universe. Then as I heard and read the words over several occassions, I realized that isn’t exactly how the universe works. Death is just as common and miraculous as birth…and curiously enough so is the part in between…

The living part. 

It seems crazy, and even definitively inaccurate, to think of miracles as common things. Yet when you consider the human body and what has to be in place and in sync for us to take a breath, and that if for some reason we fail to take a breath we will fail to live, you begin to apprehend how common miracles really are.

We love to think of miracles this time of year. We love to sing of them. We love to watch movies & plays about them. We love to celebrate them.

Yet when was the last time you celebrated the miracle of your life? When was the last time you paid attention to the miracle that is your life?

If someone sat underneath a shooting star reading a book, or cursed the darkness caused by an eclipse, or failed to acknowledge their own birthday let alone the birth of a new baby, we would question their saneness. We would wonder at their lack of humanity.

Yet when was the last time you were present and reveled in the miracle that is your life?

This is what I have been doing. I have been being present.

I have been watching my dog as he walks.

I have been thinking of my students’ faces and backstories as I grade their papers.

I have been watching my husband as he washing dishes.

I have been looking at the walls I wish to paint in my apartment.

I have been riding in cars with my friends and laughing.

I have been sitting at my mother (in-laws’) kitchen table chatting & watching soaps.

I have been writing nothing down, yet remembering so much more. Being present has been the greatest gift of joy I’ve given myself in quite some time. When was the last time you recall being really present in the moment? Do you think being present always bring more joy to our lives? What are some of the ways that you bring meaning to your life?

Make the world stop spinning

Do you talk on the phone?

Let me rephrase that. Do you like to talk on the phone?

I don’t. I’m not a phone talker. I don’t like to do business on the phone. I don’t like to socialize on the phone. I prefer to not talk on the phone.  The best technological innovations for me were smart phones that allow you to text and do email on the go. I can communicate with my loved ones and folks that I work with, without being tethered to a phone or its social conventions.

Yet there are sometimes in life where you’ve got to use the phone. Some of them even bring joy. One of those situations is when you live far away from some of you most precious friends.

My family has known me for my entire life. There are only three people in my family that could ever get me to talk on the phone – my momie, my Aunt Lynette and my mother (in-law). When I was a freshman in college, my mother worked the overnight shift in an Emergency Room. I would call her at work, and as the health and well-being issues of others permitted we’d talk, sometimes several times a night.

I speak with my Aunt once or twice a week, which is quite often for my standards. She does most of the talking; I listen and intermittently ask questions that will keep her going. The conversations usually last about an hour. For me that’s a marathon.

I speak on the phone with my mother (in-law)  about once a week. Although I see her about 2 or 3 times a week, and we can talk for hours on end about any and everything, when we’re on the phone we barely make the minute mark.

One of us: Hey, Mrs. Sawyers.

The other: Hello Mrs. Sawyers.

One of us: How are you guys?

The other one: We’re good, just over her [insert some specific activity unique to this day/week about laundry, dishes, cooking]

One of us: Alright then; I was just calling to check in on ya’ll.

The other one: Okay, Love you.

The one: Alright; take care; love you too.

Who says what varies. Yet that is our 58 second telephone conversation.

I LOVE IT! She understands me and accepts me, it’s awesome!

Luckily my friends don’t pester me or get their feelings hurt by this. Most other folks in my life know of my phone issues as well, some have come to accept it over time. Most times I am grateful that they allow me to stay in my phone comfort zone. It decreases my daily dose of being annoyed; and being joyful and annoyed do not usually mix – so it’s a good thing.

This morning however, I HAD to catch up with an old friend. I hadn’t seen or spoken to her in months. We had exchanged short emails to check-in. We had even sent one another various helpful articles; some were recipes, others about new research in our area, or about something that we know the other enjoys or struggles with in daily life.

But we hadn’t talked.

We now live more than an hour’s drive from one another. Grabbing a tea or connecting for lunch or the occasional dinner is nearly impossible.

She’s legally blind. My husband and I only have one vehicle. We both work. We both like to be home in our free time. She has grandchildren to help with and I have a very spoiled doggy to play with. Life is life, but we miss each other.

So last week we set a phone date; and this morning before her first client and after I’d gotten my husband fed and off to work. We talked. On. The. Phone.

As I dialed the number, I was overwhelmed. I thought I might cry when I heard her voice. But I didn’t. We both just laughed. Big Belly laughs. The youngest grandbaby, who was still cooking the last time we saw one another, is now crawling. I’ve started a new job and moved to a new community. She has a new set of interns. I’ve made it through the first 7 months of marriage. She and her husband of 30 years, experiencing a “second wind,” are engaged in the process of adoption and looking for a good fit.

Life continues. Yet this morning the world stopped spinning for 28 minutes, while I talked on the phone.

It brought me so much joy.

Not all habits are bad habits. Some things are just the way we are and our love ones accept it and us wholesale. But maybe, doing something out of the ordinary just once in a while could increase our joy.

What small thing might you do today out of the ordinary that could send your spirit through the roof?

Call Waiting & Procrastination

I live with what I’ve named, call waiting thoughts. What I mean by this is that, I will often be focusing on one line of thought, sometimes in my head and sometimes in conversation with another person, and another thought will form and demand that I attend to it immediately. The same way that the loud singular BEEP would alert you in the middle of a phone conversation that someone else is calling.

It’s an interruption that only the savviest of phone conversationalists could navigate without losing their train of thought. The same goes for when it happens to your thoughts. As of late I’m not as frequently overwhelmed by these types of thoughts. It has been a life long journey to find ways to deal with my active mind and to ferret out how it impacts my productivity.

I believe that I have been gaining success for two reasons.

1)      List making

2)      Controlled procrastination

I’ve discussed my list making and planning before, and I have a future post that I plan to devote to the “art” of list making. This post is about mainly about #2 – the idea that procrastination can be controlled and be effective for focusing and productivity.

I’ve described before how productivity is related to joy. Yet the idea that procrastination can be controlled, as well as an effective tool for creating productivity, is a bit counterintuitive. In fact, it may seem like one of those things that people tell themselves to justify something that can’t really be justified.  However, much like dynamite, using procrastination in a controlled manner is a skill that must be honed however here are the basics.

Procrastination is like nap time, free play and recess in primary school. We needed all three then and we need procrastination now. Whenever you find yourself losing focus, write down what it was that you were thinking about. No matter how random or involved the thought might be write it down. Now every 90 minutes or so take 10 minutes and pursue one of those things that are on your list.

Many times you’ll realize that the rabbit holes don’t go down very far; it usually takes less than 90 seconds to pursue most of the thoughts through to the end. Others however become more involved and end up being great pieces of creative or productivity genius. They become your next project, or your next vacation, or they lead to you solving one of your daily annoyances that decrease your joy in life.

For me the biggest lesson and source of joy that has come from this strategy is the fact that I no longer feel as if I lose so many valuable thoughts. My primary thought or conversation remains intact AND the thoughts that were demanding my attention get their due when the timing is appropriate. BONUS: my brain also gets a little play break to explore new ideas and tangents.

The second biggest lesson that I have gotten from this is the same one that I learned about actual call waiting; if it’s really important the thought will come back. What you are doing and who you are with at the moment is most important. To believe and demonstrate this makes them feel special and/or can make an uncomfortable conversation/meeting shorter and to the point.

If for some reason you can’t get to a place to write that thought down it’ll come back to you – if it needs to do so. We’ve come to believe that every thought that we have is a treasure, when sometimes it’s just a thought. When I was a teenager, I would be on the phone with my best friend and we’d be talking about clothes and dance team and boys and the call waiting would beep. We’d think it was the boy of our dreams calling, or someone for our parents, so we’d get off the phone. Then we’d click over and it would be a telemarketer. We’d be so annoyed and would end up just calling the other person back.

I’ve come to find out that the same goes with call waiting thoughts; and if I manage their ability to distract me by listing them and creating controlled instances of procrastination I increase my focus and productivity.

Do you have call waiting thoughts? Or maybe you work with or love someone who has call waiting thoughts? Is it distracting and how do you deal with them so that you aren’t frustrated? Share your stories with me in the comments and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter; I’d love to hear from you.

 

Silver and Gold

Does anyone remember the children’s song about new and old friends?

Make new friends,

but keep the old.

One is silver and the other’s gold.

I remember my childhood best friend’s mother singing that song. I can still hear Ms. Penny’s mezzo-soprano voice singing that to us as our brownie troop was doing something crafty with string or cleaning up as we prepared for our parents to pick us up. For some reason I also remember singing it in vacation bible school – but somehow that doesn’t seem like an accurate memory.

My memory sometimes gets fuzzy nowadays, no matter whether it’s a long lost childhood memory or why I walked 20 feet into an adjoining room, sometimes I just can’t remember things. Yet the other day, that song came back to me so crystal clear, in Ms. Penny’s charmingly calm voice.

I don’t remember how it made me feel when I used to sing it as a child. Yet this past weekend as I was sitting and waiting on the laundry to finish drying, watching the numbers on the dryer slowly tick down from 4 minutes to 3 to 2, that song came back to me. It found me in a laundromat some 20 or more years later and nearly overwhelmed me.

Here is why.

I was surprised with a celebration of my newly minted Dr-hood. The room was filled with people I have come to know and have created some hilariously good memories with over the past 6 months, I felt loved. I felt supported. I felt special. There were balloons, and cake and so much food. Nothing had been left out. There was nothing missing. I was on cloud nine.

About 20 minutes later, I was finally at a point in the hellos and greetings to remember I was starving and began to fix myself a plate. As I did, someone touched my shoulder. I turned to find a dear friend of mine, that is still in the throes of her own doctoral journey. She still lives in Spartan country and I hadn’t spent any quality time with her in probably two months, and before that maybe more months than that. She had driven about 88 miles to come to my party.

We hugged tightly and rocked a little and I broke down in tears that I had managed to hold back with a camera in my face after initially being surprised. Yet now I could no longer hold back the emotion. She told me not to cry and I said, “I’m so glad that you’re here; you’re the only one who knows.”

The thing is. My new friends were genuinely and godly proud I am sure. They could imagine the difficulty of what I had accomplished, heck some of them had born witness to dissertation related meltdowns. They were welcome companions when the silver lining finally came around. Yet, my dear friend, my old friend, my gold friend knew it all, she didn’t have to imagine, she was there.

My new friends will become old someday, they will tarnish in the most beautiful way and become gold. And hopefully as I wander along the way I’ll pick up some more silver ones.

What about you my friends, do you have silver and gold friends? Maybe you have another childhood song about friendship that is still meaningful?

I’d love to hear your friendship songs. Share your memories in the comments and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter.

I Know, You’re Right

Learning to drive is an important milestone in the lives of most people. However, when I moved to Michigan from NYC and started driving again, it seemed to me that many people don’t realize that driving is a big thing. Maybe they didn’t get that parking lot demonstration in drivers ed about the damage a car can do at just 35 miles per hour. You know the one where they do with dummies and fake blood that illustrates the damage and injuries that can happen if you hit someone at just 35 mph.

One of the things that I remember most vividly from this period of my life was that my father would say repeatedly that the right of way is a joke. He definitely encouraged me to learn the laws of right of way and all the other norms and laws of driving. However, he STRESSED the fact that other folks on the road don’t always follow or even know the formal rules of driving, and if I tried to take the right of way, even if it was mine, based on rules that others weren’t following or didn’t know, that I could end up DEAD RIGHT.

That’s a morbid idea. Yet it is true nonetheless. It is something that has made me a more careful driver. It is difficult to understand and remember that being right is not always the best thing. However, the idea that being right can kill you or someone else isn’t something that is only applicable to driving.

Focusing on being right, even when you are right, can kill relationships as well. This little nugget of truth is something that has made my relationships more meaningful and more joy-filled as well. I haven’t consistently heeded this piece of wisdom with my relationships, not nearly as well as I have applied to my driving. When I haven’t it has definitely resulted in some major emotional carnage.

I had this piece of wisdom in my pocket for more than a decade before I got married; well before I was an adult I understood its significance. However, I lost many good friends and had many more unsavory interactions with folks I cared for dearly in my adulthood because I lost focus of this one piece of advice. There were so many interactions where what I was saying or feeling was really of no consequence, yet I lost the chance to have a joyful memory with a friend by choosing to emphasize how I was right.

If our words and our will were cars, how many fatalities would we have participated in during our lifetimes trying to enforce the fact that we had the right of way? How many times have you been right, yet your relationships have died because of it?

Sometimes it isn’t as fierce as an argument in which you assert passionately that you are right, and something someone else is saying is wrong. Sometimes it is as subtle as saying “I know” in agreement, rather than “you’re right.”

As in, “You have to take the next exit because of the construction.” Response choice, “Yes, you’re right;” or “I know.” Doesn’t saying you’re right indicate that you know what they just said. How might the dynamics of our relationships change if we said “you’re right” rather than “I know.”

Finding situations with loved ones where you can say, you’re right, rather than playing the know it all can help you experience more joy and create more affirming interactions with those you love or work with. What are some other situations where you can easily say, “You’re Right,” rather than “I know.” Share them with me, and share your loved ones reaction to it, I’d love to hear about your experiences; and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter.

Think about it Thursday – Marking your Spot

Not the single braid of grad school, yet the simplicity should give you an idea.

I’m getting ready to take Malcolm out for his morning walk. Without thinking I pull my hair into a ponytail with a single braid. When I look in the mirror I realize that I haven’t done that in a while, not since my first year of graduate school.

In fact, I realize it’s been exactly 6 years to the day since I put it in three braids, handed two of my good friends a pair of scissors each, took a pair myself and cut it.

On that day, I was exhausted, too exhausted to fool with my hair. The entire summer had consisted of me showering, washing and/or conditioning it, running the wide tooth comb through it get the conditioner to the ends, then getting out of the shower and brushing it, grabbing my hair at the nape of my neck (or the middle of the back of my head), quickly twisting it into a bun and securing it with several hair pins.

If it felt too plain, I would put on a headband that coordinated with my outfit.

Yet every afternoon I rode the bus home from campus to my apartment nearby, and I was exhausted. I would loosen the bun just a little, by removing a couple of the hairpins. I would feel grateful that I’d made it through another class, that most of the students had learned something, that many of them had enjoyed themselves while doing it and that only a few had left early at the break. I would wonder at how I pulled it off, because I was exhausted.

Every day, that is on those days that I couldn’t get away with not getting dressed at all, I would put on a dress. Why because you either stepped into them, or you easily pulled them over your head, and you didn’t have to figure out what matched or didn’t. It was just one piece of clothing and your body was appropriately covered. I was too tired to fool with clothing.

Yet that still didn’t get me enough energy to appropriately manage my head of hair. This wonderful head of hair that I’d learned to conquer in the heat and humidity of TX, OK and NY. This head of hair that I had managed to keep healthy despite the cold, snow and craziness of water too soft or too hard in OK and NY.

I had moved to curly girl mecca, MI where there were only a few weeks of humidity spread out in days here and there, and cool or cold weather nine months out of the year. Yet now, here in Michigan, was where I was too exhausted to fool with my own hair. So every day, I’d twist it into a bun, and when I got a headache midway through the day from the hairpins or too tight elastics, I’d pull it down, put it in a ponytail and braid it in a single braid.

This is how it was the day I decided that a bun for 3 months straight was unacceptable and the hair had to go. It was no longer going to defeat me every morning. I had cut my hair before; not nearly as short as I was thinking of doing this time, yet still I knew it was needed. Dealing with my hair was exhausting, and it was making me feel like dealing with my life was exhausting.

I had to start over and my hair had to start over with me. So I called two of my friends over to my apartment. told them I had more dinner than I could handle, which I did, I always did. Then over dinner we started chatting and I told them I was going to cut my hair.

They gaffed. NO it was so healthy. Why did I want to cut it. Are you sure? Why don’t you think about it? Then my gurlfriend looked in my eyes and said to our guy friend, “She’s already made up her mind; she just wants to know if we’ll help.”

She was right, of course. So we brushed out my hair. She parted it in three sections. We braided it into three braids. I grabbed three pairs of scissors. Everyone had a braid and a pair of scissors. I counted to three and we each cut my hair at the base of the braid. Then the wine started. We took a few pictures; the summer day turned to dusk and then turned to night.

The night of the big chop. This was taken on my balcony right after we cut my hair.

In the light of morning, I was excited and held no regrets. In fact I went shorter. I grabbed a pair of clippers I had (cutting hair was a skill I’d picked up from my dad, nothing fancy just low and neat) and cut off another inch or so.

In the shower, I put way too much shampoo in my hand for my new hair. Then, even when thinking i had adjusted, I still put too much conditioner in my hand for my new hair. When I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror I was stoked! I wasn’t exhausted at all.

This was what it looked like (while studying/editing) after I cleaned it up with a pair of clippers the next day.

This morning as I walked the dog I felt the change of seasons in the air. I had a sweatshirt and jeans and my hair was in a ponytail with a single braid. I defend my dissertation today and I have more in my life now (a dog, a husband, a business, 4 classes and sets of students, a car, etc) than I did then, yet neither my hair, nor my life, exhausts me as much as that first summer (first summer of the Ph.D., first class).

I haven’t even thought of cutting my hair this summer, and I think it’s only been in a bun for about a week or 2 total days this summer. That’s the thing about seasons, what you need during one you don’t during another.

Me & the hubs at a fundraiser last week, the total length is back and the chic ponytail has made a return.

What about you? Is there something that you should let go of in your life that you’re holding on to as the seasons change for you? Or maybe you shaved a beard, grew a mustache, or cut your hair, or colored your hair too? Share with me in the comments how you have marked the beginning or end of seasons in your life. Click here to follow me on twitter.

Think about it Thursday – Memory Lane

So I’ve established that I have busy-bee tendencies that disguise themselves as productivity at times, and at other times come together to gang up on me and make me cranky. I’ve also established that being productive produces a self-feeding cycle of adrenaline that only makes the desire to do more things more intense, so I can feel more productive. Yet there is one thing, that isn’t exactly about being productive, that I wish I did more often because I do enjoy it tremendously.

I wish I spent more time RE-membering the things that my addiction to productivity has accomplished. Just like venting is good for negative catharsis, RE-membering is good for building up joy, and you should find someone, or a few some ones, that know your personal AND professional work, that you don’t mind walking down memory lane with from time to time.

Why, you’re asking? Well I am glad you did…

There is this thing about words that we often forget due to the structure and trauma of schooling, as well as the auto-pilot nature of reading, writing and talking for more folks at most times. This thing is that words have parts; those parts have individual meanings; and those individual meanings could illuminate different things in our communication at different times.

There are also things that we tend to forget about activity or work. For instance, that they are actions that create products; that these products are often external to ourselves; and these products are often taken away from us to be used by others who do not know us very well and have their own plans for what we’ve created. Often we also create these things for others to begin with, and have already moved on the next activity on our to-do list so we don’t think very much about this last bit of information.

This is why we must RE-member.

Re does not only mean, “to do again;” it also means “back to the original place, again.” And, member, is also understood as, an element, portion or part of a body/person. Which means that the parts of remember mean to bring back a portion of our body/person to its original place. When thought of this way, a walk down memory lane, where you spend time remembering what you have accomplished, reassembles the creation with the creator.

We often think of this spiritually, when we think of worship. When we sing that we should “count our blessing, count them one by one,” what we are saying is that the equation for joy is remembering each blessing = remembering the God who blessed us; that bringing creator and creation together helps understand things better. The same equation holds true when translated to our imperfect, busy, to-do list laden lives.

When we re-member what our actions have created, we bring back to our memory the fact that we are creators; that we are creative; that we are not merely cogs; that we are not merely worker bees…that we are NOT merely at all. We are all artists in some fashion. So if we are writers or teachers, when we RE-member, we bring back our thoughts to our heart. If we are engineers or contractors, when we remember, we bring back our drawings or buildings to our hands. We bring wonderful things back to ourselves, making us wonderful all over again.

When we RE-member we bring back the pieces of ourselves that are scattered to a whole picture in our mind; and our hearts rejoice. I also like to think that God laughs when we remember to remember what we’ve managed to accomplish, because then it is evident that we aren’t ungrateful for the blessing the universe has given us – we just forget to remember.

When was the last time you updated your resume, portoflio or maybe even your family photo album? If you updated one of these things right now, what might you Re-member that you’ve accomplished? Had you forgotten anything? What have you accomplished that brings you joy? I’d love for you to share; leave me a comment, and don’t forget to follow me on twitter @busi_B.

Manifest Monday – Celebrate Your Victories

Few folks would call me a Negative Nancy, yet I have been prone to obsessing over my negative thoughts. Although I’ve learned to manage negative thought patterns, I still have obsessive negative thoughts that stew internally; it is still a battle I engage in more often than I like to admit. This internal obsessing is the most effective and efficient way that I defeat my efforts at cultivating joy.

I obsess over why I had the negative thought in the first place; you know, over what sort of person I must be to even think such a thing.

I obsess over getting rid of that negative energy I created.

I obsess over how to find a way to not have those negative thoughts.

I obsess about the fact that I wish I were more positive in that situation. How I had the opportunity to be positive and I blew it.

So even though I don’t say negative things about or to folks 9 times out of 10 times that I think them, I still beat myself up about the fact that I think them. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a symptom of lunacy, and have decided to stop. So welcome to steps 11 and 12 in the process [everyone do a celebratory dance here]. I believe this will help increase my joy and here’ why.

I LOVE to celebrate my victories, especially ones that get me points on the grown up board. Yes, I said the grown up board. I have this imaginary chart in my life where I get stickers for doing well in certain categories in my life. It is sort of like those charts that you have in kindergarten classrooms and then at the end of the day if you did well you get to lead the line to the bus, or the next day you get to be student of the day and get your snack first. A residual technique from my experiences teaching 1st grade, yet it helps me, so stop judging.

So I’ve decided that to increase my joy I will start giving myself stickers every time I have a victory over my negative thoughts. So the next time I think that I am an idiot for forgetting the laundry in the washer overnight and now it smells like mildew and has to be rewashed 3 times, I will think to myself, “Yes, but you weren’t cheap and bought the 64 load liquid detergent so you are prepared to solve this problem.” YAY!!!! I get a sticker. I get several actually; because in grown up land being prepared gets you a sticker AND I followed a negative thought of myself with a positive thought of myself! Plus I remember that I bought the detergent on sale! Grown-ups LOVE sales!

So that’s three stickers for one thought! One thought that began as a response to a negative thought has resulted in three victories. Three victories are the result of something that I would have obsessed over as a failure. I think I may throw in an extra sticker for such awesome improvement – heck I would have done it for my 6 year olds, why not for myself.

Celebrations also help us remember and reflect on the joy in our lives, past and present. So next time you want to have a party for Pitty Patty invite Positive Pete along for the fun. It’ll be a match made in joyful heaven, I promise.

So what are some of your persistent negative thoughts? How do you plan to turn them into celebrations of personal victories? Let me know by leaving a comment below, or following me on twitter @busi_B. I’d love to read them!