In Our Rest, We Come Alive

I think it’d be a travesty if I didn’t have somewhere in my archives, a record of a reference to COVID-19. That in the year 2020, a time I once imagined we’d have flying cars, Rosey the Robot, and the full confidence of knowing exactly how to use those blasted three seashells that replaced toilet paper, we instead have a virus pandemic that has put the world as we knew it on a collective pause.

Technology is here to stay

However, there is at least one piece of technology we’ve managed to invent, the video calls! There’s probably more, but this video conferencing software has been made available for mass consumption and we are indeed utilizing this technology like never before. I never would have imagined that video conferencing would be the technological advantage that ensured physical distancing didn’t actually translate into social distancing. I never would have imagined that organizations that have been so insistent on being inaccessible to the most needy of us have made themselves and their services available via these technologies in order to save their existence. It let me know, that “we” of course were right about our proclamations of inequity. And I have a feeling that just as we’ve historically done, for the cooling down and soothing of egos, we’d better be prepared for massive gaslighting and some rug sweeping of history. It is absolutely no coincidence how too many people have conveniently forgot about “Black Wallstreet” and the bombing in Philadelphia…

But here we are, Zoom and HousePartying our way to social connectivity while “sheltering in place”. Because so many organizations and businesses have made these technologies staples to keep afloat, this introvert has been very social. More social than I was when I gladly stayed at home and didn’t need an executive order or recommendation to do so. The extroverts have managed to infiltrate our online paradise and exploit it. There’s pollution all over the online airways now! (Kidding guys!) But seriously, with everything happening amidst this pandemic, my anxiety is doing Grace’s “told ya so” dance. It has transformed from “could happen” and “what if” to “how long does this linger on the mail?” and “The Matrix will have you! The Matrix is Coming!”. My middle name should be Ms.Bleach, and it’s not in reference to the anime series, (which by the way, is AWESOME!). Mr. Clean ain’t got nothing on me!

Our Interior Castle Awaits

Yet, in spite of myself, my lack of control has forced me to really sit with the words of the serenity prayer. Made me contemplate the full depth of asking for serenity to accept what cannot be changed. Made me strum up the courage despite my anxiety to change what could and should be changed, and with great hesitation and a bit of trepidation, surrender to a deeper knowing and wisdom to know the one from the other. I have never prayed for the global healing of the world as much as I have to date. My mental health and healing learning have become more focused, (thanks accessibility!) my determination to slow down and actually understand the wisdom teachings rather than try to meet a goal of reading X amount of books a year just to say I read them, has strengthened as well.

I began to wonder if it was no coincidence that my theme last year was “Rest”. Perhaps we have been given an opportunity to recognize our collective yearning for intentional pause? Perhaps together and individually we are tired, our hearts are weary, our minds are idle, and we’ve been running on “E” for so long that we have become uncomfortable with any kind of break away or cessation from a rat race we complain about, but have convinced ourselves is an impenetrable, immutable fact of life. We’ve been teased with a dangling carrot and it seems that some of us have finally realized that chasing it, whatever “it” is, has been the equivalent of a dog chasing its own tail.

So, where do we go from here? I suppose, only time will tell. But if you ask me, we’ve been given an opportunity to collectively witness, “a kind of love that neither avoids nor invades the soul’s suffering” (Parker Palmer). I’m hoping this tremendous loss engenders a greater respect for everyone’s being rather than just our doing. I believe that tired bodies and dry bones do indeed come alive. And that we are experiencing a call to come alive today.

Here’s some Mental Health Resources to aid in that process:

1)Inclusive Therapists: culturally sensitive tele-therapy available.

2)Find a therapist through Psychology Today.

3)Love Yourself Love Your Business offers virtual peer support centering the challenges of small business  owners and solopreneurs.

4)Trauma Response and Crisis Care (TRACC) is offering free community care services for first responders, organizers, activists, and marginalized community members.

5)If you’re in NJ The Starting Point is now offering virtual 12 step meetings and therapy as well as a free lecture series.

6)In The Rooms offers many 12 Step Meetings and a few addiction recovery related resources.

7)Crisis Text Line is a global not-for-profit organization providing free confidential crisis intervention via SMS message.

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.




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 is assigned 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 necessity or 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, for others, confirmation and validation. As we discover more aspects of ourselves and learn yet another expression of our uniqueness and individuality, we yearn to connect with others like us, folk who “get us” and foster 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 felt from lack 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 solid, something genuine, 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, people who don’t fit the bill of our comfort zones.

I’ve often wondered why would we, born with free-will (so we’ve been told) continue to demand the captivity of the boxes placed at our feet the moment of our births? Why give someone else of the very same species dominion and even 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.

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