Resting at the end of a Decade: a 2019 Reflection

This last post of the year is a quick review of 2019. Normally, I do a post summarizing each “slice” of my “life’s pie” but I’m switching things up a bit to end this decade.

For the past couple of years since I’ve started sharing my annual reflections, I’ve based them off what I write out in my slighted tweaked version of a planning system I use called the Life in a Notebook annual planning system. I’ve never actually shared what the system looks like, so I’ll do that this time just in case you’d like to try it out versus buying one of those super expensive planners. (Nothing against the planners, they are quite awesome, but just not for me.)

Anyhoo, here’s a bit on how I plan… I usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set. 

How do I come up with the word/theme? Believe it or not they often come to me in a dream state. When they don’t hit me via a dream, they pop up like an image in my mind after I practice some form of contemplative spirituality. The point? Be still, release the mental chatter, and listen to your inner wisdom.

My word for 2019 was “Fulfilled” and my personal theme was “Rest in the Gift of Love” thus it ended the sequence of themes I dreamt up back in 2015 around an overarching theme of Transformative Love. (You can read the archives about that.)

After I have my word/theme, I proceed to write out what I believe is my underlying Desire + the Projects, Goals, and Commitments I believe will help me realize my desire for the year. I center them around 6 slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Physical, Social, Professional, and Financial. 

Here’s an example:

At the top of the Notebook Page I write the words

“Desire + Projects, Goals, and Commitments” | 2019

Under that, I write the slice (C.J. calls it “category”) and a brief description of that slice.

“Physical Slice” [health, nutrition, work environment around me, personal decor, etc.]

Then I write my desire

“To be optimally healthy”

Then, under that I list project, goals, and commitments following the life in a notebook instructions, (no more than 25 items under each slice). I typically write no more than 10 at a time.

“1. Kendo practice 3-4xs a month”

“2. Be sure to take Vitamin D as prescribed 5x’s a week”

I write different levels of goals. 1) Goals I feel are pretty achievable 2) Goals I feel that stretch me a bit, and 3) Goals that are big and scary that I kinda don’t think I will really achieve in a year, but believe are worth my effort because in my striving for them, I will end up with something great. Looking back, I haven’t been disappointed with those results yet. For instance, for every year that I had set a big scary goal to “drive up to Canada and take fun detours along the way” I didn’t think my detours would be a trip to Chiapas, Mexico or a pilgrimage to Avila, Spain, but that’s where I landed. And I still haven’t made it to Canada yet! (Oh, but those detours were awesome!) 

I can tell you upfront and honestly, I often end up scraping stuff when I really feel they aren’t in alignment with my word/theme for the year. 

For instance, after attempting Kendo for a few months, I eventually had to let it go. The problem of my lack of adequate hydration, arthritis, and frequent knee re-injuries let me know my goals needed to be centered on making a concerted effort to drink more water, (a struggle for me that I still haven’t gotten my act together with) and doing exercise that strengthened my joints. I also felt a lot of internal conflict around sticking with something that gave me more anxiety than it eased it – Kendo/Iaido was a bit too expensive for my allocated budget allowance. So while I liked the idea of being a modern day sword carrying warrior, healthy peace advocate is more my forte. 

I can also tell you upfront and honestly, I often still end up accomplishing exactly what I needed for the year. This year, I needed rest…

I’ve decided to share one of my journal entries with you, perhaps something I wrote resonates-take what you need, leave the rest. 

“And then I look up at my whiteboard and remember my theme -ever present this year. “Rest in the Gift of Love” it reads. I needed to rest because I needed to take a step back and understand what truly fulfills me. I needed to determine if I was already feeling fulfilled…Was I answering the call on my life? Was I working on what Lynette’s ego wanted or was I following the voice of Spirit? I looked at all of my busy-ness, said “umm” at all of the goals I’d written, reviewed old journal entries, reread all of my personality test results and finally…finally just got quiet and still. Something was “off”. I was sidestepping something important, but wasn’t sure what it was.” 

“Then the words hit me, ‘go deeper’.”

“On the surface I can unabashedly say that spirituality is my foundation. But I often interpret my relationship to what we call G-d with the works I must do. Love is an action word after all. And I understand G-d as Love. So, do more acts of love, right? But in our charging forward, without a tug on our heart strings, or a gentle reminder to silence our distractions, we forget why we do what we do. At the core of our struggle for justice is the hope for the peace of simplicity. We’re so busy doing and fighting that we forget that we just want to “be”.”

“In my “being-ness” I sit on the open patio floor, dangle my legs over the edge, look at the forest before me and I breathed. At the alter of stillness, of “is-ness”, I let go of all of my thoughts, worries, and constant questions. I tasted the tears of sweet surrender, touched the richness of the earth for grounding, and listened to the wind and streams sing praises of aliveness. I caressed my face to feel the truth, that I was real and I was whole. I needed nothing because I had everything. And in my heart resided the company of an old friend, sitting with me as we sipped honey flavored tea together. Neither of us saying a word.”

The more I pursued moments like that, the more I realized what fulfilled me, and it wasn’t dressed in accolades. I wanted to love my Higher Power with all of my heart, soul, mind, and might. I wanted to embody the nature, which I have come to understand as Infinite Love. I wanted to become a conduit of the gifts that Love has given me. 

I needed to rest to remember that. Now I can show up and be present to a new decade of life, well-rested and carrying the gift of love and all of the work of transformative love with me. 

May you too carry with you the many lessons you have received, great and small. And may you remember to center down so that you accept the gift of Infinite Love always with you, guiding you, calling you to be free. 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Donations welcomed and appreciated: This site is ads-free and runs on the sheer power of my love and determination. If what I share brings you fresh perspective, inspiration, new resources, and/or value of any kind, please consider becoming a patron of this blog with a monetary donation.




At The Crossroads of Identity

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audrey Lourde

We’re given identity markers from the start. At the time of our birth, our sex and race is declared. If the nurses thought well of your mother and father, then you are deemed to come from a good home. In school, you’re given more labels, and depending on the biases of the teachers and administration team, those labels either lift you up or begin the dehumanization process of “othering”. 

This is why when I first heard about Minority Mental Health month, I didn’t question the need for it. I didn’t have to look for stats to prove its relevance. I understood the value of promoting care and healing for the “minority”. I understood the necessary work we’d have to do in order to deprogram all the lies, all the biases, all the projections of fear and hatred brought down upon us and regurgitated back amongst each other. And in the process of rewriting the negative messages playing on repeat in our individual and collective minds is a call to search for subjective truth and meaning in our lives.

As information becomes more and more abundant and widely available, we are exposed to new words and new ways of explaining and expressing who we are, what we think, what we ruminate on, how we feel, where we hope to go, what we see and “vibe” when we interact with each other and the world at large. At times, it’s overwhelming. For some, it’s relieving, still others it’s confirmation and validation. As we discover more aspects of our being, another expression of our uniqueness and individuality, we yearn to connect with others like us, who get us and garner a sense of “home” and belonging. 

But what happens when you feel a deep sense of “home” displacement? What happens when you feel alien in your own identity? What happens when your ideals about the self and self-hood come into contact with unwanted and undesired change?

Based off of what I have been witnessing and in my own experience, I’d say the one manifestation of the emptiness of fulfillment is a deep fear and desire for someone or something to fill in the gap by giving answers and peace of mind. Even if only a temporary solution to escape the unexpressed and not fully understood feelings of something missing, we want it. We drive almost obsessively on the outside of ourselves for something…perhaps solid, some sort of steady ground. 

Can the horoscope reveal what’s next for me? How about the priest, pastor, rabbi, or guru? Maybe the official representative we’ve given a platform and podium to? We thirst and hunger to quench what’s not easily sated…our need for comfort, familiarity, justification, affirmation, “place” in our own skin, in our vocations, amongst our families, in our society, in the unpredictable and sometimes scary world comprised of people who aren’t like us, we’re sure of this.

I’ve often wondered why would we, born with free-will (so we’ve told) continue to demand the captivity of the boxes placed at our feet the moment of our births, in a bid to give someone else of the very same species dominion and permission to silence the diversity and beauty of our unique expressions of essence and existence? Even as I continue to battle with myself against settling in my own complacency.

And everytime we give up on the courage it takes to take a stand and say, “this is who and what I am” “I define me” “these are my values regardless of the label” we draw nearer to giving away our power and experiencing the slow fade of becoming an embodiment of everything we fear the most. 

*Cues Nina Simone*

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Donations welcomed and appreciated: This site is ads-free and runs on the sheer power of my love and determination. If what I share brings you fresh perspective, inspiration, new resources, and/or value of any kind, please consider becoming a patron of this blog with a monetary donation.




“Love is as Love Does” a 2018 Year-end Reflection







This last post of the year is a review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2018. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. If you’re looking for that kind of resource, check out Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com she has a great guide on it. 

Personally, I’ve been using a tweaked version of the Life in a Notebook annual planning system that my friend, C.J. Hayden developed.  I typically start with a brain-dump of desires, searching questions, and intentions for the year, and then I convert them into projects, goals, and/or commitments. I utilize both a coach and accountability buddies to aid in my own self-determination to turn my desires and intentions into reality. I’ll share more about the planning system in my upcoming event, More Than a Vision Board Party.

If you’re still here with me though, my hope is that through my personal experiences and the resources I’ve personally used and will share with you, you’ll gain some clarity, confirmation, new insight and fresh perspective.

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Physical, Social, Professional, and Financial.

I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2018 was “Cherish” and my personal theme was “Love is as Love Does” with an emphasis on connections and community. 

I have actually had my themes for 2016, 2017, and 2018 since the end of 2015 when I felt a message stirring deep in my gut, to be intentional about “The Work of Transformative Love”. And so this year was about taking all that I learned about self-love and authentic expression (2016), having a love ethic in work (2017), and going out into community “the world” to actually put love into practice where you have no control of the reaction you’ll get and no expectation of reward. (When other people are involved the real lessons begin.)

Let me back up some…I chose the word “cherish” because around Christmas time in 2017, during a routine exam my doctor found a lump in my breast. I’m not sure how other people react to such news but I actually laughed in her face. I was sure only women who had big boobs had breast problems, certainly not I of the itty bitty committee. And I did immediately think worst case scenario, because that’s my default setting and clutch when I need to make sense of things I feel I have no control over. I believe I mentioned before that when I was younger I had a phase where I constantly thought about death; it was the only way for me to stop letting a fear of it control me. I think I looked over my life and grieved for about an hour or two before I prayed for peace of mind regardless of the results, but told G-d that I wanted to live because I still had work to do. The lump hasn’t gone away yet, but it’s benign and I’m gonna take that as the “go ahead” to keep on living and doing the work I was called to do. So, cherish became my word this year. 

After I got the good news report of no cancer, I landed myself in the hospital about 3 days into the new year. I’ve never been hospitalized in my adult life and the experience sparked a new passion for me to really integrate physical health with mental health. I gave up meat and became a Pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish/seafood) with significant reduction of dairy products and more intake a vegan inspired meals. I worked with a functional nutrition health coach. I started a food and health journal to track my eating habits, my water intake, days of GERD attacks, days of intense migraines, etc. so I could see pattens but also to have a track record for better advocating for myself in the care of doctors who aren’t always patient first. While I still love and cherish the experience of walking in nature or doing some yoga stretches in quiet solitude, I also wanted to cherish the connections I made and the communities I was a part of that I often neglected because of my need for a lot of alone time. 

After doing more research on my Enneagram type, I considered taking up dance class and/or martial arts. I did both when I was younger and knew from experience that I felt most alive in the movement arts. In a class setting, I’d connect multiple slices of life such as personal, physical and social. I ended up going to a ballroom dance class after a Facebook friend invited me out. It was fun, but not really my style. Nevertheless, I hope to host more dance meet ups in the future, and I’ve already found a fantastic instructor to facilitate. By coincidence (maybe) I happened to be reviewing my life in a notebook and thought, ‘oh man, the year is almost over and maybe I should see if there’s a decent dojo near me where I can at least go watch a practice’. I got an email from Meetup about a Kendo and Iiado group and took it as a sign to check out. Well, I went into full practice on the 1st day instead of just observing and pretty much got hooked. It’s kicking my butt, I have like level 0 stamina right now, my coordination is waaay off,  and I’ve already aggravated an old knee injury, but I am very happy with my choice and looking forward to seeing my growth while hopefully making meaningful connections to cherish for a lifetime. 

my dojo

When I first came up with the word cherish, it was about cherishing my life because the fragility of my humanity became spotlighted with health issues. However, somewhere along the lines I got caught up in the cycle of enough/not enough and began to think I needed to create a life worth cherishing more. *sigh* I said ‘yes’ to a lot of things this year. But this time, which much greater discernment. Some cool things included: a trip to San Diego for work, a trip to North Carolina to have sister time, a comic con, a trip to DC to visit the African American Museum, and a hiking adventure with my bestie. However, my favorite ‘yes’ adventure was an opportunity to go to Spain. I realized that because of all the hard work I had put in the year prior (2017 theme) and the gift of a grant from Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers), I was able to afford something I had always wanted to do, go on a spiritual pilgrimage! So, I went. I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to go or why I wanted to go with the group I went with (Mystic Soul Project) until I saw this quote during my museum trip…

Mystic Soul Project goes to Avila, Spain

When I came back, I felt refreshed! I met some amazing people, new friends I hope to see again next year at a conference we all intend to go to… yet still, something was missing. I was trying to wrap my mind around the experience and what I got out of it, but struggled to find meaning out of what I saw and felt. I struggled long after the trip was over to write the right words to convey what having this space and place to ‘be’ did for me. Hence, I never blogged about it. 

It wasn’t until I came across this text,

“this experience and others like it showed me how the collective unconsciousness of the external world can determine how we experience things as individuals. I came to realize just how much I had internalized external messages of racism and homophobia and projected them onto myself. I saw that I had internalized the message that I was not worthy to be in the space, a part of this practice, in this community, in this lifetime.”

that I understood what I needed to clear out, and how having this space gave me enough breathing room to finally do so. I could fully grieve the pieces of myself that had been hurting for years, to find relief that I wasn’t alone in both the feeling of this deep sense of unworthiness that creeps up in the places of shadow, manifesting as self-sabotage over and over again. And now that I could pinpoint a cause and effect, I could consciously give myself permission to be at ‘home’ within myself and anyplace in the world. The author, Larry Yang then goes on to reflect, “that was for me a moment of waking up. And waking up gives us the power to choose to move toward what is calling us to be free.” Wow! and heck Yes!

I already knew how important spiritual community was to me but after being in a POC-centered setting for spiritual enlivenment, I realized how much I really desired to be in and lend my gifts to communities that gave precedence to people who felt “other”, who were unorthodox, who wanted to simply “belong” and were tired of a inauthentic sense of belonging aka just trying to fit in by way of conformity to mainstream thought and practice even if it conflicted with and often times contradicted their own principles and values for living. Through my involvement with the organization I’d pilgrimed with, I started a POC-centered monthly fellowship where we explore the intersections of contemplation, activism, and healing together. You’re welcome and encouraged to come, (or any of the community groups if you’re not in my neck of the woods). This journey also led me to seeking more knowledge about spiritual activism, healing justice movements, philosophy, physics and theology. I may be going back for my Masters in the near future, or at least taking more spiritual studies coursework. I’ll keep you posted!

In growing my spiritual life, and staying true to wanting to support people who feel “other”, I launched the in-person meet up aspect of my mental health for business owners initiate, Love Yourself Love Your Business. It was decided that we would form a nonprofit organization in 2019. I’m feeling hopeful and grounded about the project and could use all the help I can get with it! 

Taking a step back, I realized that one of my biggest motivations for even caring about my financial slice is any contribution I can give to help build healthy and “beloved” community, protect our environment, and create more peace in the world. But it’s a balancing act. Sometimes an overwhelming balancing act, but boredom will never be an issue! I admit, was more lax in my efforts to make money this year compared to last year which meant more money going out than coming in. On the plus, it forced me to redo my budget and my numbers AND reach out to the finance community with questions regardless of feeling embarrassed about my lack of know-how. I’ve concluded that I can be more impactful with money in my pocket and food in my belly so yeah, I’m going to be operation pay off debt and save money next year.  

This brings me to how I actually do that and find balance. I chose to work in the Virtual Assistance industry because it offered me an opportunity to leverage skills I already had, but also left the door open to possibilities for growth in ways that I feel only entrepreneurship/running a business can give. Being an independent professional, I get to choose the type of clients I want to work with and in turn they choose me as their partner. 

As much as I love seeking deep truth and meaning in the world. as much as I could literally spend all day getting lost in my own personal research, I go nutters if I’m not getting things done in a practical and graspable way to aid the bigger picture. Setting up a crm system so a client can follow up with someone who is willing and able to pay top dollar is instant gratification for me. Learning that said person who paid my client top dollar no longer has to take pills for diabetes or was able to turn a new leaf in their organization because workplace culture improvement…that’s the sweetest reward and satisfaction. I wanted to honor our partnership by increasing my skills, the kind of skills that a robot can’t fulfill such as emotional intelligence, being more ethical in my work, etc. I enrolled and graduated from AssistU and am now connected to a whole community of highly skilled professionals with extensive networks. (And quite frankly, they are just really amazing women.) 

And because I feel at peace in my work, I am more creative and intentional about how I spend my time outside of the work that pays the bills and funds my heart-work projects. As I grew more intentional about how I spent my time, I came back around to the original reason why cherish became my word for the year. I didn’t need to go out and create more “worthy” life experiences to cherish. My life is already full. Even as things fall apart and build back up, as we learn and unlearn lessons, war within ourselves, find peace within ourselves, life is beautiful. Sleeping in a warm bed through the night is cherished experience. Eating good food to heal my body is a cherished experience. Drinking clean water is a cherished experience. Laughing until tears run down my cheeks is a cherished experience. Hugging my friend as she mourns the loss of a relationship is a cherished experience. Feeling deep sadness and disappointment for mankind because of the hate and anger in the world is a cherished experience. Finding a spark of hope from a kind gesture that reminds you that people still care, is a cherished experience. Looking at all the amazing accomplishments of peers via the limited scope of their social media posts and deciding, plus believing that my life matters and is just as valuable even without “all that jazz” is a cherished experience. 

When I view love as a verb, I understand that I do not have to earn my place of belonging. Because “love is as love does” is more about how I live in accordance with the truth that I am already worthy of belonging. That you are already worthy of belonging. And how we honor and cherish the sacredness of this inherent sense of belonging is by how we treat ourselves and one another.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Donations welcomed and appreciated: This site is ads-free and runs on the sheer power of my love and determination. If what I share brings you fresh perspective, inspiration, new resources, and/or value of any kind, please consider becoming a patron of this blog with a monetary donation.










The Courage To Reach Out







It started with a mood change.

A couple of months back I felt a shift in my mood, and it took far longer than I’m proud to admit before it finally dawned on me that while the lack of sun made me wish for more beach day weather, I wasn’t taking Vitamin D like I was supposed to and it was probably the main culprit in my melancholy filled days. I’d been avoiding picking some up because I hate taking pills and I figured if I just ate enough veggies I’d be fine…blood work said otherwise, and I stopped being hard-headed and made my way to Vitamin Shoppe. After asking for some help and voicing my strong disinterest in taking pills, the store associate helped me find a liquid version that would do. 

But let me backtrack some…during this rough month of a sinking mood, I caved in on myself. I wasn’t journaling as much, but I was journaling. I didn’t exercise consistently, but I still exercised. I still went to support group and I was busy with work. I figured whatever it was, I’d get over it. Every now and again the “check on your strong friend” post comes around. And I remember  thinking, “what does that even mean?” and if I were the “strong friend” what kind of check-in would I even want that didn’t interrupt my sensibilities as an introvert? My introversion had turned down so many efforts to get me to come out and play, surely who would waste their time reaching out to me and my constant, “maybe next time” or my “I’m in between financial blessings right now”, or even my flat out, “I really don’t like being around a lot of people like that”…? 

On the flip side, I wanted to call up friends and cry or vent or rant or something, but sometimes you get so used to being the person who inspires, the person who uplifts, the person who is sending out the positive vibes in a crazy world in the hopes of giving some kind of balance between good and evil, that you forget that the ones who truly love all of you will know that you’re human and that you need a hug too sometimes. So, instead I thought, “I don’t want to be a burden.” “They’re busy with work and family stuff.” “They’re going through things too and I don’t want to give them my baggage on top of their own.” 

Beware of Stinking Thinking.

Of course, I did eventually notice where my line reasoning was heading and made the vulnerable decision to reach out until someone would listen to me as I shared my struggles and the fears that were keeping me from being…myself, I suppose. Which led my bestie who happens to be a nurse to get on me about taking my vitamins. Even I have to remind myself that loving someone, starting with myself, is hard work, and that it takes effort and a commitment to do that work. Effort presents itself in such subtle ways…ways like not making assumptions about what other people are thinking or their availability to be there for you when you need a helping hand. But also, I recognize and acknowledge that to even be at a place where I can notice my mood dropping and do something about it before it becomes more than that, took years of mental health recovery work. And that my mental health recovery and now ongoing maintenance journey was, and still is my own…

Then I thought about the fact that we are a society that salutes those who are “self-made”, those who pick themselves up by the bootstraps, and have “don’t get sick” health care plans. We wear how tired we are as badges of honor and testament to our value. We are driven by the notion that we must all be able-bodied and able-minded “strong friends”.  In which case, wouldn’t we then need to check on each other since we’re all so “strong”? Yet, we don’t.  Despite being told over and over again, either from the spirit of our hearts, the gut intuition,  or 75 year strong Harvard studies,  that the quality of our life emotionally, physically, and mentally is directly proportional to the quality of our relationships. We still struggle with the very vulnerable position of being the friend that needs to be checked on, to the point that it paralyses us from asking for help in the first place, or even receiving help when it’s offered. 

Have The Courage To Be You.

And there’s that word again, vulnerability. Relationships, whether they are friendships, romantic, business, or internal take vulnerability. And “Once [your] vulnerability is ‘regulated’ by an abiding self-acceptance, [your] sense of personal power is almost unassailable. It can no longer be threatened by some external force beyond [your] control.”  We have to have the courage to be vulnerable even though it’s uncomfortable, even though it isn’t easy…and getting comfortable with vulnerability is something we can learn. 

When I was a little girl, I can remember a time when we would have lunch and then go out for recess. There was a few times when I was slow moving and everyone had already gone on ahead and split into their friend cliques to play tag and such. As I looked over at all the fun, I really wanted to play with everyone else but they seemed so far from me…But whenever I thought to give up, to make myself small…despite my awkwardness, there would always be some kid that would run up to me and silently ask through their playful eyes, “why are you standing here all alone?” and then they’d offer me their hand, and I would in relief and graciousness take it.

The older I got, I would reach for someone’s hand and hope that they would take it. In doing so and depending on who I reached out my hand to, my hope was that they would accept my love and my vulnerability…sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn’t. And when they wouldn’t, life would still go on…go figure! Eventually, I learned to be the friend who ran up to someone and offered my hand, my time, my resources , or simply my presence. I am constantly reminded about how wonderful it feels to both offer a hand, and to receive a hand after mustering up enough courage to reach out. 

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.







“Work is Love Made Visible” a 2017 Year-end Reflection







This last post of the year is a quick review of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2017. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. If you’re looking for that kind of post, check out Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com she has a great guide on it. Personally, I’ve started to use a tweaked version of the Life in a Notebook planning system that my friend C.J. Hayden developed.  I typically do better with a brain-dump of desires for the year, and then writing intentions and goals in 90 day increments.

If you’re still here with me though, my hope is that through my personal experiences and the resources I’ve personally used and will share with you, you gain some clarity, confirmation, new insight and fresh perspective.

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Spiritual, Personal, Social, Physical, Professional, and Financial. Though I have come to believe that spirituality is the foundation of the pie and “personal religion” is the slice.

This year I didn’t do a notebook system. Instead, I simply wrote a list of desires and intentions and crafted a vision board, (image you see above). I did the vision board with my family because they were new to the concept and wanted to try something different, and quite frankly I wanted to try something different for this year. I’m typically not big on vision boards, but I wanted my board to be of use to me so I hung it on the wall right next to my desk so that it wouldn’t collect dust. I purposely found words and images that were in alignment with the intentions I had already written down for the year and added intentions to my list that came up as I let my imagination run free gluing images to my board. I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2017 was “Work”. It probably doesn’t seem like it’s the most motivating word but when coupled with my personal theme: “Work is Love Made Visible” (Kahlil Gibran) it made great sense.

I have actually had my themes for 2016, 2017, and 2018 since the end of 2015 when I heard a message deep in my heart, “The Work of Transformative Love”. And so this year was about making what I’ve learned about living love out loud visible through my work.

Because my focus was on putting my head down and “making it do what it do” as Ray Charles said, I did not set big lofty goals for too many things. I wanted to be the best of who I already was, I wanted to do better at what I already had the capacity and grit to level up on. I understood that mastery of your gifts and talents requires prioritizing and focus.

So for my Professional slice, I focused on finishing and publishing my book about mental health and entrepreneurship. I focused on rebranding my business beyond the aesthetics of a new website. I prioritized building a practice filled with clients that I would love. The kind of clients who would inspire me to want to be the best I could be so that they in turn could develop as leaders and serve more people. I’ve been challenged all year to try to think of ways in which I could get things done as efficiently as possible, while also being able to help them iron out ideas and develop new ways to do things. It’s nerve wrecking and exhilarating at the same time. I’ve been challenged to improve my own systems and continue to develop and honor my boundaries, to develop my communication style, to increase my skills and efficiency, and to step up as mental health advocate and event organizer to leaders and would be leaders. Because I’m team #alwaysbelearning I’m super excited to be a new student at AssistU come January.

In my Finance slice I was determined to earn the kind of money that sustained my business and gave me room to create, save and giveback. I discovered that I had to give myself permission to earn money that helps me sustain my life. I had to give myself permission to believe I was worthy of earning more than just survival mode money. I realized that many of us who come from social work backgrounds tend to be the self-sacrificing kind. We are so used to giving with our hearts and not receiving much in return that making money comes with some guilt and feeling uncomfortable. I have to work transform that line of thinking even more that I thought I did. I have to work on a new set of beliefs that tell me making money will help me be in a better position to help more people and to give back on a larger scale. This year I wrote out affirmations and repeated mantras such as “I am worthy of taking action toward a better future that brings me wealth in every area of my life” (hey I don’t knock the power of a placebo effect). I started to pay attention to the wealth of resources I’d been introduced to via my clients who are in the personal finance space. I read, actually liked, and began applying what I read in my friend, Emily’s book, End Financial Stress Now: Immediate Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Financial Outlook I shared one of my client’s new personal finance book for single moms with a special single mom in my life (my lil sis) because why not pass the resources on if they help?

With a better grasp on my professional and financial realities I was able to set aside what I needed in order to create a Physical slice that honed in on what was ailing me. I finally made some long overdue doctor appointments, I had to handle the personal crisis of medical shake ups and make new commitments to my health and wellbeing. As I shared in my last post I began to focus on the connection between gut health and mental health, and became more committed to addressing wellness holistically and with compassion.

It is also with compassion that I forgave myself for letting my social slice narrow down to the bare minimum. I didn’t get out much this year. I recognized that I’m the type to isolate and be perfectly happy alone so I made it a priority to attend gatherings to uplift my spirit, and give me shelter from the storms that brew when I sit inside my mind too long. I made sure to attend support groups, as well as help facilitate support groups. I hung with my few good friends and said yes to new experiences as long as they did not distract me from my work of love. But I didn’t do too much outside of my comfort zone. However, I embraced my quirks and fought hard to remain true to my truths and my values even if it felt uncomfortable, even if others couldn’t receive and accept me for me. I learned to love again and I didn’t rely on anything or any one person to give me that kind of power, I held the courage to grow within myself all along.

I realized that foundationally, spiritually, I had my work cut out for me. It’s hard to choose love when there’s so much hate and fear and animosity all around you. This year I’ve seen many friends become enemies, I’ve seen overt calamity and chaos at levels I hadn’t wanted to fully acknowledge before. It left me very disheartened and fighting feelings of hopelessness. However, I am the type that when I really feel resistance I eventually let myself feel it and all of the fear, worry, and angst right along with it. I confront my negative emotions, I make a decision to do what I feel is life-giving even though it’s hard, even though I get angry, discouraged, and disappointed sometimes. Even as I have to acknowledge that I may not be around to see the seeds planted take root and grow. It seems to me that as society swings from one side of the pendulum to another I have to hold fast to my great commission. I have to remain true to who I am and what I’m here for until I can’t anymore. So while I’d acknowledged the many different set of belief systems that weren’t necessarily in alignment with mine as best I could, I fought to transcend anyone’s box or side of the fence they think I should be on. This year has been tons of learning, collaborating, acting and then finding time for restoration and readying myself for activation time again.

When I reflect back about what I’ve written about purpose, these words come to mind: awareness, acknowledgment and experimentation, courage, mastery, and embodiment. There’s more but I’ll leave it here for now.

As I head into 2018, I hope to take with me the many lessons I’ve learned about taking a concerted effort for love in action and continue to apply it in practice and policy. I hope to take what I’ve learned about exertion rather than apathy and explore creative ways to live awake as much as possible, to be a part of helping others live awake as much as possible, and always staying focused on the message, mission, and ongoing work of love.

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

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