Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Think Well


As leaders do we help our people think well? I have traveled to Alkebulan (the indigenous word for Africa) on three mission trips.  The spiritual impact of the trips were so profound I encourage others to take the pilgrimage to the motherland, the birthplace of civilization. When they return home from the trip the overwhelming first response has been – “compared to the United States, the people of Africa are suffering yet the majority are still warm, peaceful and joyful.  How do they maintain this state of mind?”

Author Byron Katie writes that our thoughts create suffering.  Suffering is a choice. Ouch. She encourages us to question and challenge our thoughts. She offers four questions for our examination: 1. Is it true; 2. Can we absolutely know its true; 3.How do we react when we believe the thought;     4.Who would we be without the thought-if we did not believe the thought?

By their actions it appears that the people of Alkebulan choose to accept the thought that they are valuable and worthy.

The other day I visited with a well educated and affluent young woman.  As I listened to her, I could hear how her thoughts of being invaluable and unworthy had moved her into a lifestyle of suffering. She is addicted to prescription pain medication that escalated into heroine use. She was seeking to understand how she choose addiction.

May we remind ourselves and ours to think well… we are valuable and worthy - deliverance is available. All we have to do is accept the gift. Then the journey of transformation begins.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hobby Happiness

I have very fond memories of participating in the childhood of my niece.  I witnessed many of her “firsts”-first crawl, teeth, steps and words. Her first and favorite sentence was “Is everybody happy?”  This question would always make me smile.  After a few months of hearing the question from her, my smiles turned to meditating on that question. Am I happy? Happiness is defined as a combination of how satisfied we are with our life and how good we feel on a day-to-day basis. We have the ability to control how we feel. We can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. 
This wisdom guided me to ask another question – “What makes us happy?”.  Buying stuff, status, wealth, popularity, the refrigerator, the medicine cabinet — all have failed to get the job done. Research suggests that what really works, though, is a passion or a hobby – a time to play. January is National Hobby Month. A hobby is an activity or interest pursued outside of our regular occupation for pleasure. Hobbies are a great source of relaxation. They can reduce anxiety and increase concentration.                                                                         
A hobby can add eight hours of joy, gratification and contentment to your week. For example, I know a business who is a perfect example. A dinner and salsa dancing demonstration at a Latin restaurant inspired him to take dance lessons at the age of 40. As his mastery grew, he was competing in 14 dance categories and found something that ignited his entire being. “It’s changed me totally,” he says. “It’s given me a purpose. I went to the office, had a great family to care for, but dancing shifted my spirits and direction in such an amazing way. I feel 20 years younger.”  One of my sparks came from a recommendation from my physical therapist to practice yoga. Therapy turned into a passion to achieve an advanced certification to teach this ancient mind body system.                                                          
So how do you get your hands on this happiness pill? Select an activity that interests you or has value. Try different activities and see what connects. Meditating on this question expanded my life.  Over the years, the answers for me have included traveling to 34 states and provinces in North America, exploring the continents of Africa, South America and Europe, African dance, drumming, gardening, singing, crocheting, sewing, coin collecting, painting, weightlifting, basketball, volleyball, creating jobs, advocating for a living wage, writing a book, producing a radio show, teaching African American history, mentoring women…I am sure you get my drift.  I continue to explore this question during my quiet time. Use your imagination - the possibilities are endless.

These hobbies re-introduced me to myself, long forgotten under a pile of duty and obligation. They reacquaint us with the enthused, eager soul we used to be and give us a reason to be that person as often as we can each day. Celebrate your favorite hobby this month. Host a hobby party with friends. Research different hobbies with your children and select a new one to try. Hobby happiness is the truth. Have fun! J


Monday, December 26, 2016

Hearts and Hands - Volunteer Thanks


2016 was an amazing year.  So many people volunteered with our organization to make dreams come true. Visit our facebook page in the coming months for our volunteer spotlight.  We share this poem to honor their care and courage:

Dedicated hearts like yours are not so easy to find.
It takes a special person to be so generous and kind.

To care so much is a quality all too rare
Yet you give of your time and talents, for all in need to share

So thank you for sharing your gifts as a volunteer, we're privileged to work with you
We want you to know how appreciated you are, not just today, but the whole year through


Friday, December 23, 2016

Listening Leadership

As a leader in life, are you a good listener to the people around you? The swahili word for "listen" is "kusikilisa" (koo-see-key-lee-zah).  Holistic listening and care of the whole person is one of the tenets of African culture.
Teresa Hoover, the first African American woman executive of a major denominational department for 22 years, served as a role model while training numerous colleagues to add listening to their leadership tool kit.
When we open up the channels of communication and really listen, here is the gift we offer to others:
Eyes - I see what you say.
Ears - I hear what you say.
Heart - I feel what you say.
Attention - I value who you are and what you say.
Only when a leader does these things is she or he able to build trust and inspire people to collaborate with them each day.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sign of the Times

Here are some third-party food certifications that you may have seen on packaged food in your local market.  Below are some details on what some of them mean. 


 


 


Sunday, August 14, 2016

You Are The Air I Breathe

With the current heat wave, here are the 10 big cities with the best and worst air quality per the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA tracks pollution in 500 urban areas with its Air Quality Index—a measure of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone levels. It then rates the air quality on a spectrum from “good” to “hazardous.” The ranking was based on the largest metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of good air quality days.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mind Heart

The State of Mental Health 2016 states that depression is on the rise. Depression is unexpressed anger. Choose natural remedies that restore such as play, fresh fruit and veggies, friends and fun. Source: Mental Health America